The Last of It

It was a ridiculous way to die, and for that alone, he would never forgive her. In the future, when people asked about his wife’s death in lugubrious, respectful tones, he would have to say, “She was trying to buy Girl Scout cookies at a table set up too close to the railroad tracks and was hit by a train.” Fucking Wendy. She probably loved the idea of being the nice lady who would stop rush-hour traffic to make some cute little Girl Scout’s day. Heartwarming, right? Now those girls were traumatized witnesses to her horrific death by commuter train, some of them injured by shrapnel from the Civic, while her own baby screamed for the breasts that lay in the ground, cold and empty.

A stream of women had knocked softly at his door every day since the story hit the news, presenting their casseroles with moist, tragic eyes.  A lawsuit against the Girl Scouts would dry every tear in town. No more lasagna or offers of babysitting after that. Not worth it. The doorbell rang apologetically. A zaftig redhead bearing chicken soup whisper-wailed her condolences, scurrying away as she heard Ella crying within.

In the kitchen, the baby screamed against his chest as he rinsed the last of the six frozen plastic baggies under hot water. Too hot, and the enzymes would break down. Too cold, and the baby wouldn’t drink it.  “Soon, sweetheart,” he sang as his wife would have, but even he could hear that his croon was more like a bark than a lullaby.

Ella sucked with savage intensity on the bottle full of her mother’s last living essence.  Wendy’s milk disappeared too quickly inside their only child. Steven brushed his pinky over a dribble on Ella’s chin and tasted the last of it.

March 19th through the 23rd–the third week of the third month of 2012–is flash fiction week on the Nose. All stories to have three characters and top out at 300 words.

Julie Goldberg blogs at Perfect Whole. She is working on her first novel.


12 thoughts on “The Last of It

      1. Yes! My similar Girl Scout cookie-buying experience, and my morbid thought when pumping and freezing milk many years ago that if I suddenly died, the milk would be all my baby had left of me, and that my husband would have to feed the baby the last of it. It’s so depressing! Now it’s fiction. And the baby is a teenager.

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