Nikkeh (diskolem0nade) wrote in writingcritic,
Nikkeh
diskolem0nade
writingcritic

Crit: moderate

RE-EDITED (As of 8/21/08)
Unfortunately, I still don't have a title for this.

Warning: There is profanity and mild drug use in the story.

The cigarette quivered between my lips as I struck the white-headed match against the side of my shoe.  Two matches went to waste.  I tossed them into the ash tray in the middle of my dad's bed, the same stale-smelling bed where he sexed it up with random women.  She probably had long brown hair piled on top of her head, fire engine red nails, large fake boobs, and a skinny-ass body.  A whore.
 
The white head of the match licked my shoe.  With a satisfying crackle, the flame came to life, easing itself into a tamer, smaller fire.  The familiar scent of sulfur filled the room.  The flame danced rhythmically as I pinched the stick between my fingers, shaking back-and-forth for its life.  It tickled the butt of the cancer stick, and I casted the match to the glass tray with the rest of its brothers.
 
I took a puff and allowed the smoke to dwell within me for a few seconds.  It leaked out from my mouth, rising languidly into the smelly air.  I tapped the ashes into the ash tray and hoped that the bed sheets would later reek of cig smoke.  My dad deserved all the problems I could stir up, and if he didn't want it, which I was sure he didn't, then I would shove them down his throat.  Hell, after he cheated on Mom with his new girlfriend, Marie, I would be ready to force any problem down his throat until he croaked.
 
Then again, my mom didn't deserve that kind of prize; she didn't do anything to prevent Rick from having custody over me.  When we left the house to move into the cramped apartment, she merely stood at the steps with her arms crossed over her chest and her head tilted to one side.  As we drove off, the helpless expression on her face didn't change.  Mayna, on the other hand, had her own life.  Because she was twenty-eight years old (and I was sixteen), she didn't have to deal with the custody crap, or Rick, for that matter.  She had her own home, husband, and job.

I, on the other hand, shared an apartment, and I had no boyfriend or a job.  I hardly had a life.  Rick ruled it all.  The only thing he really did for me (without knowing it) was earning money from his well-paying job, which he spent recklessly on an infinite supply if cigarettes.  I snagged them quite often, and he never noticed.

"Casper!"
I sighed. Shit. I put out my cigarette and returned the ash tray to Rick's bedside table.
"CASPER!"
"What?" I yelled.
"Git over here," Rick bellowed.
A please wouldn't hurt now and then.
"What is it?"
Oh, that's what. Marie.
"Marie," said Rick "is moving in with us."
 
My mouth nearly dropped.  It surprised me enough that she wanted to have a relationship with Rick, but the fact that she wanted to stay with us completely blew me away.  We hardly had any space in our apartment for another resident; Rick will undoubtedly kick me out of my room.
 
"Hello, Casper," she replied kindly.
"Casper, go help Thom bring up our dinner," Rick commanded.
"Who?"
"Marie's son. Go!"
 
Do this. Do that. Damn.
 
As soon as I reached the stairs leading to our apartment floor, I spotted someone struggling up the steps with several bags of food in his arms.
 
"Need help?" I called.
The guy peered over his load and replied, "Sure."
"Are you Thom?"  I grabbed one of the three plastic bags from the guy's hands.
"Yeah.  Are you the daughter of my mom's new boyfriend?"
"Unfortunately."
He stared at me with calm hazel eyes.  "Why do you say that?"
 
Because my dad was a bastard.  I didn't actually say that, or anything at all, so Thom left it at that.
 
"Finally!" Rick exclaimed.  "What the hell took you so long?"
Thom opened his mouth to reply, but I cut him off.  "It was a rhetorical question."
"Oh."
 
"Marie," said Rick "I'm glad you decided to buy Chinese takeout because I am sick of eating this bitch's crap."  He motioned over to me.  "I let her live in my apartment, and she can't even cook."
 
Marie gave me a sideways glance and smiled uncomfortably at Rick, who hogged the box of chow mien.  "I'm sure it isn't that bad," she replied awkwardly.
 
Thom's gaze bounced between my dad and me.  He appeared amused, but at the same time, I knew he understood why I previously said it was unfortunate to be Rick's daughter.  Aside from the tacit acknowledgement and amusement, his face didn't show any other forms of emotion throughout dinner.  Marie and my dad, on the other hand, kept the conversations flowing, but Thom and I had no part in them.  I just wanted to finish the stir fry on my plate, dart out from the apartment, and have a smoke.  The less talking I did, the quicker I could escape.
 
"I'm heading out."
As I dumped my dishes into the sink, Marie asked, "Where?"
"Out.  Just out."
"She going to smoke," my dad told her as he glared at me.
 
I ignored him, grabbed a coat, bounded down the stairs, and plopped down on the wooden steps outside the shabby building.  The Zippo and Marlboro box inside my pocket felt like home in my hand.  As soon as I lit a cigarette, the slam of a door crashed behind me.
 
"Hey," said Thom, taking a seat next to me.
I nodded.
"Aren't you cold?"
"No, I'm used to the Bay Area chill."
"I've lived in California all my life, and I don't think I think I'll ever get used to it."
"Depends on where you live."
"I only live fifteen minutes away by car."
"Did your mom stay with you before she moved in with Rick?"
"Yeah, now I'm searching for a roommate to help me pay the mortgage and other bills."
"You got a house?"
"Yep, nothing fancy.  It's a dinky, little two-story place."
A soft laugh escaped my lips.
"What's so funny?" he asked calmly.
Even in the darkness, I could spot the curious twinkle in his eyes.
"Who used the word 'dinky' nowadays?" I answered.
"I do.  My dad does."
"He does?"
"Did."
I stared at him for a while.  Then I realized what he meant.  "Oh," I said.  "I'm sorry."
He shook his head.  "No, don't be."
 
A thin cloud of smoke hovered around us.  Then it floated towards the starlit heavens.
 
"You smoke?" I asked.
"Used to.  I quit after my dad passed away."
"Good for you."
That same amused look flashed in his eyes.  "Are you being sarcastic?"
"No, I honestly mean 'good for you.'"
"Thanks, I guess.  Hey, I never caught your name."
"Casper."
"As in Casper the ghost?"
"Yeah."
"Is that your real name?"
"Does it look like I'm shitting with you?"
"No, I guess not.  Sorry."
 
I look a long drag and allowed the smoke to warm my insides.
 
After a while, I told Thom, "No, don't be."
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