Crystal’s favourite time of the day was her tea parties with Rodney and Patrick.
Crystal would get the little plastic cups out.
The tea was imaginary and they’d all sip the tea with their pinky fingers up in the air.
Rodney was happy to play along, it didn’t bother him, it was only an hour of his day - and he got to go upstairs and out of the basement for a time.
The basement was damp and dark.
Patrick hated the tea parties. Patrick was a stubborn sort that did everything through gritted teeth. But he held on, not wanting to upset a little girl like Crystal, nor upset himself too much.
The tea parties weren’t going to last forever. Crystal might get bored of Patrick and ask somebody else to do it or she’d simply outgrow them, like all good girls…
Well, the tea parties did come to an end on that wet Wednesday evening, for Patrick.
They were on their crossed legs and sat around the miniature tables with their miniature cups in their hands, pretending to sip from the empty plastic. Rodney was making Crystal laugh, he always made Crystal laugh.
He was pretending to eat a giant cake and Crystal held her belly in a fit of laughter.
Crystal loved Rodney.
Patrick saw the rain fall out the window and something inside him just broke.
“This is fucking bullshit,” Patrick shouted.
Everybody held their breaths.
There were two of the house’s servants in the corner of the room watching. One rolled their eyes.
He had seen this before.
“Sowwi?” Crystal said in that cutesy voice.
“I just can’t waste my fucking life playing tea parties with a fucking child!” Patrick shouted.
“Patrick, you can’t use language like that in front of a…” Rodney interjected.
“Fuck you, Rodney, fuck you. You’re complicit in encouraging this… this… thing, as much as any of us,” Patrick said.
Rodney looked over at the servants, they had left the room, and the door swung shut behind them.
“Patrick, you are saying bad words that we are not allowed to say,” Crystal said.
“Fuck you,” Patrick said.
With that, Crystal started crying, big loud sobs. She screamed and screamed and threw her cups and plates at the window. Her face went red. Every sob echoed throughout the room.
Rodney gently got up and walked towards the door. He grabbed the handle.
But it was too late.
Patrick’s guts splattered over him and caught him just as he was opening the door - a red gush had drenched Rodney.
Crystal was walking towards him.
“Now Crystal, I love tea time, and I love you, and I didn’t make Patrick go cuckoo, please Crystal,” Rodney screamed.
Crystal was angry. Her face was bright red. Tears on her cheeks.
She extended a hand to Rodney.
Rodney delicately took it.
“I wuv you, Rodney,” Crystal said.
Rodney saw the smear of Patrick’s guts meshed into the carpet.
The Empty Car Toni came out to the car and found it empty. Rupert was just in the passenger side mere minutes before, and then she went into the store and then round the back to the bathroom - she got a coke and went for a piss. He was just sitting there reading a book. He had his headphones in and he was barely acknowledging her or the scenery around them and it started to grate on her. Then she went into the store. And then she came back and faced an empty car. Completely empty. Toni leaned through the window into the back seat and saw that there was nothing but the cheap upholstery of the 90s Audi. it stunk of leather and carpet. She opened the boot. It seemed ludicrous that he’d even be in there and yet, she felt a crushing disappointment when the inevitability of an empty boot faced her. She walked around the entire car four times. There were no footprints or any evidence that he was anywhere. That he’d even been there. Even his book and headphones were gone. She looke
“Listen.” Kim said. Kim was in the car, parked on the bank of the lake. She was speaking to Troy. Troy never listened. This was why they were where they are now. Troy just never listened. “Ok. Look.” Kim said. He had nothing to say. Just that dumb look on his face. It frustrated her to no end. “I owe you an explanation.” Kim said. Again, Troy sat silently. Surely he knew this was the end. The big fight they had. The volatile torment their relationship had endured in recent months. It would be an insult if he didn’t know this was actually the end. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Kim said. Really? Are you going with that? Did you just watch a 90s sitcom or a poorly written Rom-Com? It’s not you - it’s me. What’s next? ‘I’m in a weird place right now.’ “Ok. Forget that.” Kim said. Kim looked down at Troy’s chipped and cracked finger nails. She looked at his tatty jeans. She looked at his unkempt hair. She remembered her father’s words when he first met Troy. That boy is going now