Little Benny


Blood. Under the swinging doors, blood oozed towards his feet. Jack slapped a steak onto the glass counter, "This one is on me, Betty. Go on and have a good dinner with Rick." When Betty walked out, Jack turned to the ooze that now filled the tile cracks. He checked his watch. It's too early.

"Benny," he called out to his grandson. "Why you butchin without my supervision?"

No response from Benny.

"I'm coming back there...

" better not be in your school clothes again."

He walked to the front door of his corner shop, locked it, and with the falling sun behind the town's bank, he flipped the sign around. Closed. Behind the counter, he untied his white apron, streaked with crimson fingerprints, hung it up. Next to it, he grabbed a second apron. The apron's cloth was no longer visible. Years of streaks and fingerprints caked on, like a painter's apron. His boots shuffled through the ooze, to make sure his grandson knew how to cleave the cow.

He pushed against the door. It didn't budge.



"Benny open up."

After Benny didn't respond again, he, in his knee-high boots, shuffled to the front door, unlocked it, and walked down the sidewalk.

Bloody boot prints stamping onto the concrete.

What in the world is this boy up to, he wondered. In his 60 years, the door locked on him only twice. Once when Mr. Copper, his previous boss, had an affair with a neighbor girl. And another when kids from down the alley were stealing meat.

The back door was hinged open. The blood ran down an incline into the alley.

"If you have your good jeans on, Benny."

He climbed the incline, gripping a steal sink to not slip. He reached the top and froze. A figure laid in the middle of the room. Jack's legs gave out under him. His grandson motionless on the ground. A butcher knife beside him. His favorite jeans buried in an emptying flow of blood.