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Coward

“Everyone argues,” thought Rubin James as he zoned out on his wife’s high-pitched shrill. She was yelling about his distance from her and how he wasn’t home enough or something of that sort.

Rubin was an average 40-year-old man. He wasn’t extremely tall or abnormally short. He was not a fat man, but his stomach still always didn’t quite fit in his slacks, and usually a slight bulge of fat hanged over his belt.

He was also a very logical person. Through out college he didn’t have a nickname like Party-man Peter, no; he was simply referred to as Rubin. He was a manager at a computer software company where he edited writing programs. He met his wife, Sharon at a high school reunion when he was 30. She was the opposite of him, a peppy girl, who liked to do things like skydiving and bungee jumping, she always seemed to be looking for a thrill, the thrill he didn’t provide.

By the time Rubin was 32 they had a son named Sean. He was now 8 years old. Sean always tried to fix things in their house. He would do anything from trying to glue the legs back on old coffee tables to trying to resolve the problem when his parents fought.

Rubin tunes back into the argument. His wife is glaring at him.

“You could at least try to work at home instead of spending 24/7 at that stupid office of yours.” Sharon yells.

“Maybe this is why I leave.” Rubin yells back. “I can’t take your whining about every little thing. At least I can hear myself think at the office!”

“Oh, sure,” shouts Sharon. “I bet that’s exactly what you’re doing at your office.” She says with sarcasm. “Is that why I found that beer bottle in your briefcase? I’m sure your working real hard!”

“Whatever, I shouldn’t have to deal with this.” Rubin storms out of the room. “Let’s go Sean, were going for a walk.” Sean walks into the room.
“Why are we going for a walk?” Sean asks.
“We can go get some ice-cream,” Rubin kneels to look at Sean. “It will be fun!”

Rubin and Sean walk out of the screen door and onto the sidewalk they walk in silence. Sean stares out the ground counting his steps.

At the ice-cream story Rubin walks up to the counter and orders the ice cream.

“Two vanilla’s pleased.” Rubin says two the man at the cashier. He is an old man in his 60’s. The man walks away to go get the ice cream.

Suddenly a figure runs into the ice-cream parlor. He’s wearing a black mask. In his right hand he holds a gun. He holds it in the air and shoots the ceiling.

“Everyone on the ground.” the man screams. Sean and Rubin bend down and lay on the floor.

“Daddy I’m scared.” Whispers Sean.

“Just don’t talk and will be ok.” Rubin whispers back. But deep in his gut he has the same fear. The man points the gun at the ice-cream seller.

“Put the money in the bag.” He yells.

“I’m sorry, I can’t let you do that.” The ice-cream seller holds his head high. He is about say something but before he can finish Sean and Rubin hear a echoing bang. The vanilla ice cream he is holding stain's red and he slumps to the ground without a sound. Sean whimpers into his father’s arm and tears swell up in Rubin’s eye from fear.

The robber sprints out of the parlor. People start to slowly get up and take out their phones. Rubin doesn’t move still in shock. Sean burry’s his head into Rubin’s. Rubin starts to get up but Sean doesn’t move. They hear sirens.

Through the crowd Rubin and Sean leave the parlor and walk onto the street. Sean goes limp in his arms and starts crying.
“Daddy,” Sean talks through sobs. “He’s dead daddy!!! Forever! Why?”

“It’s going be ok. Sean it will be ok.” It was all Rubin could think to say.

“But he’s gone!” Sean keeps sobbing. They start to walk home.

“That man has gone to heaven honey.” Rubin starts to regain his senses.

“But what about the man who killed him! He ran away!” says Sean.

“Well, Sean he is a bad man.” Rubin starts to explain. “Bad people always get caught by the police. There pretty good about that stuff.”

“But he ran away!” Sean says again.

“Well that’s is the worst kind of person Sean. People like that are cowards. They do bad things but they can’t take responsibility for them or face up to their crime. He’ll get caught.”

“Promise.” The tears start to go away in Sean’s eye.

“Bad people always do. I promise.” Rubin assures him.

“Well, ok.” Sean leans into his father. They walk the rest of the way home in silence. The walk seems to take an eternity. When they finally get home Rubin opens the screen door for Sean and takes out his phone. He dials 9-1-1.

“Hello, what is your emergency?” a muffled voice asks.

“I would like to report a murder.” Rubin responds calmly. Just before the police officer asks the address Rubin snaps the phone shut.

“Dad, I think the police were already there when we left.” Sean says to his dad.

“Yea, your right. Um, Sean why don’t you go upstairs to your room Sean, I’ll till your mother what happened.” Rubin says with an awkward tone in his voice, like the voice you use right before you take you pet to the vet to put him to sleep. Sean shuffle’s his feat up the stairs and sits on his bed.

“So what took you so long?” He hears his mom say from downstairs. He presses his ear to the floor. But instead of his fathers usual response he hears nothing. Strangely it doesn’t feel right in the house without the arguing. He hears his father open a drawer. Then walk slowly back into the other room.

“I’m sorry.” He hears his father say quietly. “I can’t take this anymore.”

“What are you talking?” He hears his mom respond. “Do you want a divorce?” She laughs.
“Something better.” His dad says.
“What?” His mom screams. “Wait no-” he hears his mom scream but she doesn’t finish her sentence. Then Sean’s body paralyzes as déjà vu rushes back. He hears the same echoing bang and his breath stops. He runs down the stairs and can barely believe his eyes.

His dad is staring at the ground with a pistol in his right hand. Below him he see’s him mom lying on the ground, unmoving. His dad looks up and see’s Sean.

“I’m s-so s-sorry Sean.” His dad stutters. “But see I did take responsibility, the police are on their way.” He seems to be trying to convince himself more then Sean. “I’m not a bad person.” Sean doesn’t hear the words coming out of his father’s mouth. He leans against the wall and curls up in a ball.

“This is a dream, this day is all a dream I’m going to wake up.” Sean keeps repeating this to himself like if he says it enough everything will go away, but it doesn’t. The room stays just as cold and his father still stands with a gun in his hand.

“I’m so sorry.” Rubin says again. His right moves to his temple. Sean hears a click. He falls to the ground, his presence disappearing from the room, leaving Sean alone in the dark house. He disappears, just like a coward.



Join the Discussion


This article has 9 comments. Post your own!

blaster said...
Jan. 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm:
PSS  I should abide by my own advise. Ooops!  I had typos in my last comment.  :(  Should have written--"an end"
 
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blaster said...
Jan. 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm:

Two weeks later and I'm thinking the way you change point of view is really sophisticated.  Kinda like childhood and innocence come to and end and suddenly one views the world through different eyes.  Also, you extend this to the audience since we view the world through your characters--really thought provoking without being heavy handed. 

PS  I agree with the other comments, edit your work and be careful to submit the edited draft. 

 
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Blaster said...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm:
Yes, but it's still true.  I keep thinking about fear and the desire to run away and escape responsibility for the "bad" things we do.  Also something about the ice cream shop representing childhood and innocence and how as one grows up that becomes "blood stained".  Again--deep!
 
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Blaster said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm:
I've been thinking about this story for two days.  Lots to chew on.  Very deep. Are you sure you're only 12?  Must be channeling again.  
 
Zanebeast60202 replied...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm :
thanks!! Do I know you though?
 
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juicygee said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm:
Woah Zane that is deep. Good job!!!!
 
juicygee replied...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm :
By the way its me josse
 
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Ms. J. said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm:

Zane, we are very impressed with your story. Even though we don't know you, we think you are a great writer.

9/10 period (8th graders)

 

 
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Ms. J. said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm:

Zane, you're story is awesome! Very original, creative, and engaging.

7/8 period

p.s. edit your work ;-) 

 
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