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Meet FFO Staff Writer Jason Beech: Look At Him

Some of us fall face-first into the gutter. For others it’s a long, slow descent. Either way, down is down. Or so we thought. Until Mr. "Messy Business" Jason Beech gave us a different view. The multi-talented Mr. Beech has also kindly (and WISELY) joined our merry murderous band as an FFO Staff Writer. So if we were shuffling in your heels? We'd keep our wary eyes wide open!

Look At Him by Jason Beech


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Look at him, my sweetheart, my man, with a cup of tea ready for me when I get home from my first job. He’s been so good since he lost his salesman’s gig—treats me so well, despite my grumpiness as I head to the supermarket to work the second salary.

***

Look at him, supper ready, the spare room painted: a real delight now that I’m home, tattered, eyes half-closed from sheer exhaustion. I would’ve gone for neutral though—the baby we’re trying for could be a girl after all.

***

Look at him, covered in dust like a sugar-powdered cupcake, his carpentry skills better every day. The place could do with a vacuum. But that’s a nice TV cabinet, even though our TV is mounted on the wall.

We live upstairs in a one bedroom apartment. It’s tight enough already. But what a lovely thought … though his eyes droop in disappointment at my reaction.

He shrugs. “We can put it in the bedroom.”

***

Look at him, all passionate playing his video game. He doesn’t see me come in, or hear me drop my bag on the floor behind the sofa. He has his headphones on, talking to someone as they converge on another virtual gamer and shoot him dead. Look how he keeps his social life well-oiled. Keeps his spirits up despite no luck in the job market. My man. What a trooper.

***

Look at that cute little grunt he purrs at me when I get home at 9 pm. No meal tonight, but I guess he’s had a day hard at it with job applications. He gives my hand a quick squeeze and even makes room for me on the sofa between dishes and unopened mail. And he’s become real good at this killing game. There’s another win. My man.

***

Look at how he does me. I’m in real need of lovin’. My jobs have killed my social life and tonight, tired as I am, I just needed some touch to spark something inside. He’s lasted only three minutes by my reckoning, but hey, he’s lost a little stamina—my fault as much as his. But god how he stinks. Whooo, that’s some body odor. I think about telling him, but I sense he wouldn’t like it. I might’ve been better off using a toy, to be fair and all.

***

Look at him, how he leaves the dishes piled up in the sink, on the coffee table, by his feet at the sofa, while he laughs at some Adam Sandler movie. I laughed at Sandler when I was twelve, too. Never wanted to live with him. How my man picks his nose, scratches at his balls, and misses another date with the shower. I’ll just sit at our dining table, scrunched against the wall, and watch this zoo. There, he expects me to feed him, too.

***

Look at that dumb look he gives me, half-ten at night, when I tell him I’m pregnant. That little shake of the head at my tears; that slide back onto the sofa when he expects I’m done. I’d force him to spend the night on the sofa, but that’s where he’s been the last few nights. I’m fine. I sleep with my phone and hover a finger over my friends in the Facebook contact list. But I’m afraid of what I might say. I think of their smiling profile pics and clutch the phone to my chest instead.

***

Look at that half-assed resume to Verizon. He’s filled it with spelling mistakes, missed periods, and half-a-dozen exclamation marks. His elementary school teacher would have patted him on the head all those years ago, but now she’d smack him on the back of it, laws be damned and all. Those pills, that life with him has forced me to take, pulse in my peripheral vision. Now I have a baby inside I can’t escape with them. Can’t drown him out. I look across the little kitchen counter at him as he bobs and weaves from imaginary bullets, a victorious “yesss” out through his teeth every other minute. I crush the pills, eye his food, rub away the shakes, and shake the dust into the sink and down the plug hole.

***

Look how nervous I am on this date. Hubby is on the couch building fake structures and shooting fake pixels. This real man in front of me, athletic, charming, handsome, has me nervous, so nervous I’m crying, and he walks away so I sit like a fool in this nice restaurant, with nice people staring at me, not staring at me.

***

Listen how my voice has become mouse-like, afraid to voice an opinion. How did that happen? My hair is greasy and my stomach aches from the knots and bile. Look at how I crush these pills into his food, the seventh day in a row. I can’t tell the effect, his demeanor has been sleepy for months now. I hand him the bowl, wait in vain for acknowledgement, and rub my big belly in sympathy for the kid.

***

Look at how he hits me in the face when I tell him to get off his ass and get a job—we have a baby to feed. How I shake that he barely holds himself from worse. Next time, I’m not so sure.

Look how my finger bleeds. I’ve cut myself chopping vegetables. I suck breath and stare at the back of his head after he checks his shoulder, raises his eyebrows, and flicks the channel.

Look how sharp this blade is.

Look at the deep cut and how it takes ten minutes of cold water and a forest of paper towels to stem.

Look how he kills those pixels and air pumps.

Look how the knife handle sticks out the back of his head, his face smushed on the floor, and the sticky redness pooling around his indoor-pale face.

Look at how I’ve got my bounce back.


Jason Beech lives in New Jersey, but it’s Sheffield, England, which forged him. He writes crime fiction, sometimes horror and supernatural, and loves a bit of Ellroy, Leonard, Banks, Sansom, Brazill, Nixon, Pluck, Hinkson, and other good stuff. You can find his work at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and other digital retailers. And you can visit him on Facebook (where he manages Messy Business), as well as on his blog.