Back Door

You’re going to talk to Andy?

Yeah. If he doesn’t apologize
I’m going to tell Mom.

When? I want to go with you.

Right now. We talked
about it a little Thursday night,
and of course I haven’t seen
him since then.

He’s in the basement?

He wouldn’t come in the front door.

My sister looks at her door
for a few seconds and makes a sound
between grunting and sighing.

Andy’s fake-fighting an invisible
enemy with one of Dad’s gold-plated knives.

You should put those back.

Why?

Cause they’re our dad’s.
He doesn’t even use them.

What does he even need them for?

Drawing and making blocks
for printing.

But those he got as an award.

He says something under
his breath. I guess my sister heard it.

Maybe if you ask him.

Yeah, right. Ask your dad
how to make his stupid comics.

They’re not stupid!
I say it before I realize
I’m defending them.

They’re stupid. You never know
who’s really good and who’s not.
That’s not how stories work.

Wait, which one did you read?

The one about the house
and the trap-doors.

No way. He didn’t make one like that.

It’s right here, dude! He leans
under the drafting table
and comes up with a shoebox
labeled “Breakaway.”

Weird…

Look, my sister says. The two of you
can paw through Dad’s private stuff
when I’m not around.

She looks directly at Andy.

I’m here for an apology, and then
I’ll leave.

The hell did I do?

You knocked on my door
at 3:30 in the morning.

Yeah? I wanted to talk.

And you stared at me
from my door
for 40 minutes.

You didn’t have to pull a fucking knife
on me. I think I deserve an apology
from you.

She rolls her eyes a little.
You were going to leave?

I wouldn’t have had to stay
so long…

Dude, just apologize
and we can forget about it.

Andy looks at me like I’m a stranger.

Why didn’t you answer my question?

What was your stupid question?

It wasn’t stupid. I was on the couch
and couldn’t sleep, so I thought
I’d keep you company.

I didn’t want any company.

He smiles. Then why was your door unlocked?

Because I live here, and we don’t lock
our doors to go to bed.

If you don’t want company,
don’t let anyone in.

My sister huffs again.
Look, either apologize
or get lost.

Now he laughs
like he does. All teeth.

You can’t kick me out.
Your mom said I could stay.

That was before she heard about you threatening me
in the middle of the night.

I didn’t threaten you.

Christ, she says. I’m just going to get Mom.

A gust of air seems hit us
from the stone.

Seriously? You’re going to try
to kick me out for asking you a question?
I hate this place.

What was your goddamn stupid question?

Never mind. I don’t want to ask it
again.

I follow his line of sight.
He’s looking at the back door.

Wait, why do you hate Jean?
What did she do?

Don’t you pay any fucking attention?
She dumped me a week ago. Bitch.

My sister starts toward the stairs
and suddenly I don’t know which way
I’m supposed to go.

Added: March 13, 2013 | Last changed: September 7, 2015