A new episode of The Retribution Serial appears below after The Roach Coach.
The Roach Coach
Editor’s Warning: Not for the squeamish.
by Lou Rera
He bit down hard.
The liquid oozed from the center like a TV candy commercial—touting the yummy goo of a creamy nougat filling. He shoved his arm deep into the aquarium again and scooped up another handful. He stuffed his face like he was gorging on buttered popcorn. A cockroach crawled out of his mouth, scurried across his cheek then dropped to the floor. Jason’s throat was pulsing to a salivary orgasm when his eyes rolled back as the yellowish bitter liquid trickled down his throat.
“Jason,” his mom yelled. “Get up here! Jason, do you hear me?”
“Blee-up inna secon,” he mumbled. “Urerpp…” he belched.
“Jason I’m not going to tell you again!”
Buzzzzz. Buzzz. Buzz. Buzz.
The doorbell distracted her as she wiped the flour from her hands on the ruffles of her 1950’s style apron. As she past the hallway mirror, Jason’s mom leaned back slightly and did one of those coiffing pats to the spring curls in her hair. She grinned. Her image was downright sinister.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Renfield. My name is Offerman, Jack Offerman, he said. “I’m with Child Protection Services. May I come in?”
She slammed the door in his face and went back to the kitchen. Offerman pounded his clenched fist against the solid oak door. Over and over. From the inside it sounded muffled, and weak, like a trapped miner running out of air.
“Mom, when’s dinner?”
“Wash your hands dear, I know what you’ve been up to again. My word, you’re like a boy with his hand in a cookie jar.”
“I’m starving, Mom.”
“Go on, do what you’re told—first course will be ready in fifteen minutes.”
His mother smiled to herself, shook her head a little and thought, He’s a good boy—little rambunctious. That kid’s hungry all the time! She wiped her hands on her apron again and got back to the batter station. She reached her hand into a jar of frenzied cockroaches and grasshoppers and dropped them into the egg and milk mixture, then into the flour. Both species made half-hearted attempts to drag their bodies away, out of the sludge of the batter, but even for insects, it was like crawling in wet cement. A few of the lucky grasshoppers sprung out of reach only to be eaten by Jason’s free range salamanders. One of the cleverest of the escapees found itself stuck on its back staring upside down into the five eyes of a late summer spider.
Jason’s mom paused, mesmerized by the way stragglers could swim so courageously in the mixture of egg and milk—like water striders on the surface of a pond. Jason’s mom used a strainer—scooped most of them, then dumped them into the flour and seasoning mixture handed down from her great grandmother. They were lively in a pathetic kind of way—more sluggish with palsy legs coated with a thick batter coating that always fries up nice and crispy. Their antennae were sending out distress signals to nowhere.
Jason sat down at the table wearing a western cowboy shirt with the collar snug tight from his Roy Rogers bolo tie. His fingernails scrubbed raw as he held his hands up for his mom to inspect.
There was a clang and scuffling sounds coming from somewhere. Jason was about to get up, when his mom came into the kitchen, a bit winded and red in the face, but ready to continue preparing dinner.
The dinner hour in the Renfield home, played out the same each and every night. Jason’s mother would be the darling of the culinary fad-of-the month club if anyone actually knew about her unusual kitchen skills. The appetizers always started the dinner hour off with fried “chapulines” mixed with common household availabilities. What ever was in season. Grubs, or more appetizingly called the “silkworm larvae,” were always a favorite of Jason’s. He sometimes squealed when he ate them.
After a short but brutal run-in with Mr. Offerman in the mudroom, near the back door, Jason’s mom did have something rather special tonight for Jason’s most discerning and developing young palette.
His mother thought, there is nothing better in the world than the love of your boy.
◊ ◊ ◊
Lou Rera is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), Just Buffalo Literary Center, and the Short Fiction Writers Guild. His novel, SIGN, a supernatural thriller of deception and murder, was published by Netherworld Books in June 2014. His collection of flash fiction: There are no doors on a cocoon, was published in 2008.
A Serial in Eight Parts
retribution: deserved punishment for evil done.
If you missed Episode 1, go HERE
Retribution Episode 2
Levi had held up quite well after the murders, continuing to practice medicine and seemingly little different, maybe just a little quieter and more reserved than before. When they let Allens go, however, Levi fell apart and in a space of a few years had lost his house, his practice, everything. I tried to talk to him several times during that time but he put me off, and I eventually left him to himself, respecting his desire just to be left alone. I felt a little guilty about not being able to help, but I was too good a friend to butt in where truly I was not wanted.
During the meal we exchanged small talk and I caught up on his current situation and the goings on of the town. He had quit drinking and had started a small house remodeling and repair business.
“Why don’t you go back into medicine,” I asked.
“Well, I’ve thought about it, but I just don’t have the desire. I enjoy what I’m doing now and getting along fine.”
I wanted to ask if he had been able to start seeing anyone, but I hesitated. During our college days, I could have asked easily, but that was a long time ago, and I wasn’t sure about our current status.
“Why don’t we go hiking tomorrow,” he asked as we walked out of the restaurant after paying the check. “I don’t have anything pressing and it’d be fun. Just like old times.”
I said yes and we made a date to meet. Seven the next morning at the coffee shop on the highway. I watched him walk away down the street. He had seemed ok, and I hoped that he was going to be all right now.
Since I was going with Levi in the morning, I got in the car and drove toward Richard’s house. To spent the evening with my brother and do my best to ignore his wife.
To be continued