by Scott M. Roberts
Another eviction notice. Not really a notice, though -- a note. Just a couple of
lines scrawled out in Ernesto's handwriting, amounting to little more than, "Hey,
Mr. Rick Manchester, you're a filthy, lazy, S.O.B., get out in four days." That's
all it was. A note and a signature, Ernesto Ruiz Montalvo. The fourth this month,
counting down the days. And then, he'd have to abandon Tommy. He'd have to
leave his little son here alone.
Rick's fingers shook as he closed the front door. He needed a drink, but last
night's bottle was half gone. If he drank it now, he'd have nothing left after he
visited Tommy. Rick brushed his hands over his beard and stood and trembled at
the weight of the eviction note in his hand until he let it fall to the floor. Upstairs,
that's where he had to go now. Tommy would have to see him now, wouldn't he?
Because it was all about to end. Everything was about to be torn to pieces by
Ernesto Ruiz Montalvo and his damn eviction notes.
He touched the wall reverently as he made his way up the stairs. Even though
he'd put plaster over every spot, he knew right where to lay the tips of his fingers.
This was where Tommy's head hit the wall. This was where his Dukes of Hazard
watch tore into the wallpaper. This was where Rick picked his little son up by the
neck and threw him down the stairs. The top step. It squeaked today just as
loudly as it had fifteen years ago. In four days, he'd never be allowed to touch
these walls again. Never hear the squeak of the step that warned him too late to