The next morning began with Jeff and his brother getting ready for their first day at their new school. Their mother was frantic, trying to get them ready before she had to leave for her own errands. Apparently Liu had awoken late and was still getting dressed when Jeff had come down to the kitchen for breakfast, as he could hear the two bicker all the way upstairs.
“Honestly Liu, is it really that hard to set your alarm?” he heard his mother ask. Knowing her, she was probably picking at Liu’s clothes and hair, making sure everything was in place.
Jeff could hear his brother as well. “Mom, stop! It’s fine! My hair is fine! Would you just leave me alone?”
Not long after Liu stomped down the stairs, toothbrush in mouth and buttoning up his shirt.
“So how are you this morning?” Jeff asked with a hint of sarcasm.
Liu pulled the toothbrush out of his mouth, spat in the kitchen sink, and began pulling a box of Pop-Tarts from off the shelf. “Could definitely be better,” he replied in a bitter tone. “Watch out: Mom’s being a mega bitch today.”
The two fell silent as their mother quickly paced her way into the room, putting on a diamond earring in one ear. The business suit she wore was a bright red. Being a real estate agent herself, she did everything she could to get the attention of buyers and sellers alike; wearing bright colors was just one of her strategies. All it ever did for Jeff was make him think of blood, like she was some kind of ravenous predator.
Jeff’s father had already left for work, so at least he was spared from the nonsense. Jeff wished that he could just get his morning routine over with and leave. But he knew his mom would flip if she realized that he had left without inspecting him as well. She wouldn’t like Jeff leaving without the protection of his older brother either.
As he sat at the table, his mother gave Jeff a good look-over, and a sharp tsk of disappointment escaped her.
“Did you really have to wear that shirt today Jeff?” she asked as she walked over to him. She put a hand into his hair shaking her head. “Ugh, I should have taken you somewhere to get a haircut. It’s getting way too long. You’re starting to look like a damn hippie.”
His mother’s criticisms was starting to get to him. As he ate his cereal, he started gripping his spoon more and more tightly. It wasn’t until he pulled his fingers around the handle into a fist that he realized what he was doing.
Suddenly Jeff was gripped with the idea to shove the spoon into his mother’s eye socket. Her screams echoing in his head. He could imagine the wet sucking sound as he scooped her eye out, leaving nothing but a bloody hole in the side of her face.
This was only fantasy, yet it was one that managed to surprise even him. He was aware he was prone to such flights of fancy, yet he had never had such an intense desire to act until this very moment. He grunted, shifting away from his mother’s hand.
She sighed and left the room, saying nothing else to either Jeff or Liu. Most likely, she was content to ignore the two for now and move on with the rest of her day. Jeff shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he tried to push the images from his mind. He held his spoon properly and finished his cereal in haste.
“Come on, Jeffy,” Liu said as he slapped his brother on the back. “The bus is going to get here really soon. I don’t want to have to get mom to drive us if we miss it.”
Jeff grunted and gulped down the last of his cereal. “I’m coming, I’m coming,” with little enthusiasm. “Just don’t leave me here to rot.”