Cost by John Wentworth Chapin

I dropped my infant brother on his head, and although he screamed for two
hours, I didn’t tell anyone; the lump went away before anyone came home. 

I rifled through the bedside table until I found dirty magazines; I
masturbated furiously and put them back exactly as they were.

I watched from the darkness of the landing as he told my mother he didn’t
want to be a father or a husband or a goddamn cash cow anymore.

I read his email when he left his laptop on while he went to the store.

I saw the cat’s collar glint in the headlights before it thudded under my
tires; I left the body to be discovered by the owners rather than risk a DUI.

I sobbed alone in the elevator on the way back to my hotel room; we were both flying home the next day, me to my empty house and him to his husband.

I fished his cell phone out of the toilet and put it on the bedside table and didn’t tell him.

I slipped the photographs under the front door of my ex’s parents’ house
at two a.m. after their porch went dark.

The accumulated weight of what has gone unseen is more than I can bear.


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Filed under John Wentworth Chapin

5 responses to “Cost by John Wentworth Chapin

  1. So, “The accumulated weight of what has gone unseen is more than I can bear” is because you are drunk and remorseful or … ?

    I liked the neat structure and not wanting to be a goddamn cash cow anymore!

  2. I just read this over at Fictionaut since I’m only an enth of the way through the stories here, so I’ll post my comment here as well:

    This, John, is absolutely awesome. Even as a series of statements, it tells a linear story, a horrible confession of things that somehow seem not as bad had we known the circumstances yet together, are truly unbearable. I love the way you’ve simplified each to its core. Personally, I like the ending as it is. It’s both a wrap-up and a potential lead-in to one more final, horrifying act. If I could give you an armload of stars on this, I would.

  3. Martin Brick

    “Well-crafted” comes to mind. I love how it begins seemingly random, and slowly reveals the edges of a full story. And “accumulated” – perfect word.

  4. Ganymeder

    Very powerful. If you don’t mind a small suggestion, you don’t even need the last line. The point is abundantly clear without it.

    Extremely well done.

  5. Pingback: Week #21 – Unseen « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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