Sticky Fingers

Short Stories




   The steamroller smokes and hums as Emitt and I sit on the sidewalk at midnight. It’s a good thing neither of us is talking since you can’t hear a thing over the construction workers.


     “You don’t mind do you?” Emitt says to me as he pulls out a cigarette. He sticks one end in his mouth and cups his gloved hands around his lighter. 


     “Actually I do mind,” I say as I turn to face him. Only Emitt’s eyes shift to look at me. He sighs and lets his head drop as he blows out a cloud of smoke. “Don’t act like that Emitt. You know smoking is bad for you. I don’t want you to get cancer or something.”


     “Why do you care?” He gathers his thick eyebrows together and tosses back his unwashed ginger hair.


     “Because I’m your sister, Emitt.” His mouth scrunches as I say his name. He hates his name because our dad has the same one. “Please put it out.” I feel my pocket vibrate, and I pull out my cell phone. “It’s mom. I need to get home. You were supposed to take me home hours ago.”


     “Don’t blame this on me,” Emitt says. Actually I’m not blaming him. I’m thanking him. I hate it at home. He gets up, his fake leather pants squeaking. He tosses his cigarette onto the pavement and stomps on it with his boot. “There. You happy now?” He turns around and walks towards the car. 


  I lift myself off the sidewalk and smile as I follow after him. I climb into his car and close the door. I see an iPhone lying on his dashboard.


     “Whose is that?” I ask.


     “Bernadette’s,” he says.   I accidentally let out a growl.


      “Did you say something?”


     “No.” I tap my foot as I continue staring at her the phone.  I pick it up and touch the screen with my thumb. Her lock screen photo is a picture of her and Emitt. Look at her stupid face.


She’s not even pretty. He deserves better than her. “Actually,” I say without looking at Emitt, “I do have something to say. I know you’re gonna get mad at me but I just need you to know that I hate Bernadette.”


     “What? Why? She’s a great girl. Is it because she moved in with me?”


     “No. It’s because she doesn’t even love you. She knows that dad has money and she wants it. That’s the only thing you two have in common; both of you are waiting for dad to die.” I pull my bleached bangs down over my eyes and sit up straighter.


   From the corner of my eye I see Emitt raise his right eyebrow till it almost reaches the roof of the car.  “Well that’s just too bad, Alex. I love Bernadette, and the two of us can do what we want. You’re not my warden or my guardian angel. I don’t have to listen to anything you say.”


The big vein in his forehead starts sticking out, and his neck is turning red. 


     “You don’t have to but you always do.”


   He grips the steering wheel tighter with his left hand and starts sucking the nicotine off his fingers on his right.


     “Stop that,” I say as I swat his hand away from his mouth.


     “Don’t tell me what to do, Alex. Hurry up and get out.” The car lurches forward as Emitt  pulls into the driveway and puts on the brakes.


     “Alright, just know, Emitt, that one day she’s gonna leave you, and you’ll be left with nothing but late mortgage fees.” I slam the car door shut and stride into the house. I peek through window to look back at Emitt. He’s staring at Bernadette’s phone. 




Two weeks later Emitt and I are standing outside of his apartment door. I’m tracing the


outdated pattern on the carpet with the tip of my shoe.


     “Did you touch my keys?” He asks me.


   I shake my head and pull the corners of my mouth down into a rainbow shape. Emitt grunts and brings his shoulders up closer to his ears.


     “Just knock and see if Bernadette’s there.”  I really hope she isn’t. I’d rather stand out here for a million years. Emitt shakes his arms as he adjusts his jacket and knocks on the door.


   Bernadette opens the door. “Hey Honey.”


   I walk inside after Emitt and throw myself onto the sofa face first.  I hear Emitt laugh. I like it when I make him laugh. I sit up and reach for the remote.


    “Oh, are you going to watch something?” Bernadette asks me.


     “Yeah,” I say without turning around to face her. “Is that a problem?”


     “No. Well yes. I was actually watching something before you got here.” Bernadette is staring at Emitt and so am I. Me or her Emitt?


     “Bernadette, I know you’re watching something but Alex doesn’t have cable at her house


and she really wants to watch this movie that’s playing tonight,” Emitt says as he strokes


Bernadette’s arm. 


   I see Bernadette’s neck muscles twitch, and she sticks her chin out. “Alright,” she says almost inaudibly. She leaves the room, her skinny arms and dyed hair swinging behind her. I smile and change the channel. Emitt sits next to me and puts his arm around my neck.


     “Hey Emitt?”




     “How long has it been since you last talked to dad?” I pull my legs up and put them to the


side of me  as I stare at Emitt.


   Emitt takes his arm away from my neck and rubs his hand over his eyes. “Alex, just let it go please. It’s none of your business how often I talk to dad. I’m a grown man, and I don’t have to answer to him anymore.”


     “You need to talk to him, Emitt. He’s your father and he loves you.” I grab the remote and


turn the volume down.


     “She’s right, Emitt,” Bernadette says. She walks out from the kitchen and leans up against


the doorway. I whisk around to look at her and raise my eyebrows.


     “No one asked you, Bernadette. It’s none of your business,” I say. She frowns.


     “It’s neither of your guys’s business,” Emitt says. 


     I ignore Emitt’s last statement. “Why do you even care, Bernadette? Their relationship


doesn’t affect you.”


   Bernadette walks forward and crouches at the back of the sofa. “Because no one should be on bad terms with their parents.”


     “Yeah, because if someone is on bad terms with their parents they won’t get any


inheritance,” I say as I scrunch my nose at Bernadette.


   Emitt’s vein makes an entrance and he sets his jaw. “Alex, don’t be rude.” He stresses my




     Bernadette unfolds her long limbs as she gets up.


     “Emitt, are you going to let her talk to me this way?”


     “Bernadette,” Emitt says as he stands up, his eyebrows drawn together.


     “We just want you to make up with your father, Emitt,” Bernadette says. 


     “No. She just wants dad’s money. She doesn’t care at all whether you’re on good terms with dad or not.” I stand up and clutch the edge of my sweatshirt’s sleeves with my fingertips. 


     “What did I ever to do you, Alex? Why are you treating me this way?” Bernadette asks me.


     “Hmmm I don’t know, let me think. You stole my brother from me and fool him into thinking you love him even though all you want is his money.”


   “You’re humiliating me, Alex. Please stop.” Emitt’s eyes are becoming blood shot, and they’re drooping like a hound dogs. He walks towards the door and zips up his jacket.


     “Where are you going?” Bernadette asks Emitt.


     “For a drive,” he says without turning to face us. His shoulders are hunched up and his


hands are in fists.


     “You can’t do that. You’re my ride home. I want to go home now.” I walk towards him and


put my hand on his back.


   He breathes in deeply through his nose and tilts his head up. “Fine, just don’t talk to me.”






     About a month later Bernadette and Emitt are driving me home.


     “Why are you stopping the car?” Emitt asks as we pull into my driveway and Bernadette


takes the keys out of the ignition.


     “Because you’re going to talk to your father,” she says as she jingles the keys with the tips of her fingers. Emitt slams his back against his seat and crosses his arms.


     “Emitt, please. Just talk to him. I’m tired of you and dad being on bad terms, ok.” I lean


forward and place my hand on his shoulder. He shrugs my hand off and shakes his hair out of his face. “Emitt,” I say. Bernadette turns to look at him and reaches for his hand.


    Emitt mumbles curses under his breath as he swats Bernadette’s hand away and throws the car door open.  I smile and skip after him. I open the front door and Emitt walks inside. I see Bernadette follow us so I slam the door in her face. Emitt didn’t see me do that…thankfully. 


     “He’s in there.” I point to dad’s study. “He knows you’re coming by the way.”


     “Stay out and don’t listen,” Emitt says to me as he closes the double doors.


     Hours pass and by this point Bernadette and I are sitting drinking coffee. I hear doors being  opened so I turn around and see Emitt. Bernadette jumps up and walks to him.


     “What’s happened, baby?” she asks Emitt.


     “I think what Bernadette really means is ‘are we getting any money?’” I say. Emitt looks at Bernadette.


     “That’s not what I mean. But now that we’re on the subject…” she holds Emitt’s hand in both of hers.


     “We’re not getting any money,” Emitt says. His voice is so monotonous I can’t tell what


he’s thinking or feeling. “We get the ownership of my dad’s company, and Alex gets the money


he’s saved and put aside.” 


     I grin and tug on my earlobe. “Looks like your plans to suck Emitt dry have been prolonged,” I say to Bernadette. Everyone’s heads in the room whip around to look at me. 


     “You know what, Emitt? I can’t take this abuse. I try so hard to nice to be nice to Alex, and I try so hard to be there when you need me, but you just stand here and let her insult me! I’m done, Emitt.” I cringe as I see Emitt flinch and bite his lower lip as she pushes away from him.


      “Where are you going?” Emitt asks her as he turns around, his leather jacket snapping.


      “Sean’s,” she replies without barely moving her mouth.


   Emitt’s hands twitch and he sticks his chin out. “Sean’s? You’re still seeing him? You told me you stopped hanging out with him after-“ Emitt lowers his head and pulls on the corners of his mouth with his fingertips. 


     “Did you really think I stopped hanging out with Sean? I’m a grown woman, and I can do


what I want. Besides, Sean treats me better than you ever did. When Sean and I were together he-” 


     Emitt cuts her off. “When you were together with Sean? You were never together with him. You cheated on me with him.”  I see Emitt’s eyes slowly turn red and his Adam’s apple is moving up and down as he tries to swallow back his tears. “Fine, just leave. Take the car, take my house, take my money I don’t care. Just leave.” He lumbers away to the kitchen and leaves the room quiet. Bernadette grabs the keys to his car and slams the door shut as she leaves. 


   I walk into the kitchen and see Emitt sitting at the table. His head is resting on the surface and his hands are on the back of his neck. My father walks past me and towards Emitt.


     “Son,” he says as he sits down next to him. “You can stay here for the night if you want. You know where your room is.” My dad gently rubs Emitt’s back and leaves. Emitt lifts his head from the table. His eyes are bright red.


     “Can you go tell dad ‘thank you’ for me?” Emitt asks.


     “No. You tell him yourself.”


   Emitt stands up. I always forget how tall he is. He follows after our dad, and I hear whispering.


I sneak over to the hallway where they are and peek around the corner.


   They’re hugging


View kiddo's Full Portfolio