Tweeprose: ‘Who Owes Whom?’ by A. N. Gretly (for @MariemAmer)

…and so, the rat-faced kid hurdled up and down the ragged alleyways of Creekwell City, holding the blood-stained grey suit close to his chest. He giggled cheerily as he maneuvered his way through the packs of ladies who scattered at a place known as the Meat Market where women sold their bodies on sale. Charlie, which was the rat-faced boy’s name clenched the suit tightly because for him, it was quite a prize. At the end of the street, Charlie stopped in front of a middle aged woman with thick and bare thighs, wearing high heels, and smoking a cigarette. Caked make-up covered her face like a kabuki mask, but the deep dark halos under her eyes, and the sick purplish hue of her eye lids were too intense for the cheap make-up to conceal.

“Look, ma!” Charlie squeaked raising the crumbled suit in front of his mother’s face “Look what I got.”

“Get away, you piece of shit,” The woman said “I’m workin’ here!”

“Look what I found—”

But the woman couldn’t take it, she slapped the kid with the back of her hand, then flicked her cigarette at him, which bounced off his head. Charlie ruffled his dirty blond hair, looked at the woman with suppressed wrath, then ran away once more.

He didn’t have much on his mind, except maybe killing his bitch of a mother, but that thought wasn’t new, because it was always screaming at him from the back of his head. Charles didn’t feel like running anymore, he didn’t feel like looking for something else to steal. He made his way to the apartment building that stood over an old bar called The Cave, and went up to the second floor. The hallway barely fit two grown men walking side by side, its walls cracked and damp with holes here and there housing strange, almost alien rodents. Charlie turned his head from left to right, reading the numbers on the doors, and wondering about the lives they hid behind them. He was so lost in thought that he did not pay attention to what was in front of him, he bumped into something, and fell on his back.

“Watch where you’re going, you piece of shit!” A man said standing over Charlie, he was so large that his shoulders almost touched the walls on both sides of the hallway.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dylan,” Charlie said “I didn’t see you there.”

The burly man was Eddy ‘The Fist’ Dylan. He was an ex-boxer who owned the entire apartment building, and the bar underneath.

“You better watch out next time,” He growled “Whatcha got there?”

Dylan grabbed the grey suit out of Charlie’s hands, and rubbed his thick fingers on the dried blood stains.

“I-it’s nothing, Mr. Dylan, sir.” The boy said “I just found it in an alley.”

Eddy Dylan held the suit for a few second, and studied it, then threw it at Charlie’s face.

“Tell your damn father that his rent is late,” big man Dylan said “Tell him if he doesn’t pay, he’s gonna get it.”

“Okay, sir,” Charlie said as he got up “Will do, sir.”

With that, Charlie squeezed himself past the ex-boxer, and scurried like a rat. He made it to the door marked 220, and opened the door. Inside, he saw his father sitting in an armchair, bottle in hand, watching some game-show on an old television set, with his fat belly moving up and down in synchronization with his harsh breaths.

“Look, pa!” Charlie said as he stood between his father and the TV “Look what I got.”

The fat man looked at the blood-stained suit his son held in his small hands. He lazily raised his vision, and stared the boy in the eyes.

“What is this?” Charlie’s father barked “You think I’m a fucking hobo, you piece of shit!”

“Look what I found—”

But the fat man didn’t let him finish. He threw the bottle at the boy, which hit him in the shoulder, and fell to the ground with a crash.

“Now, look what you’ve done, you piece of shit!” The fat man said “I’m gonna kill you!”

Charlie’s father tried to get out of his chair, but Charlie didn’t wait to find out if he’d succeeded. He ran out of the apartment, and into the street, still holding onto that grey suit. He made his way to St. Martin’s street where he took a left into an alley. He threw the grey suit on the ground, and stomped on it.

The rat-faced boy did not owe the world anything, he knew that, he believed in that, but he knew that the world owed him everything. He believed that everything was up for grabs, and one day, he’d be able to grab it all.

Now you see it, now you don’t.


About Ahmed Gretly

Ahmed Nader Gretly. Construction/Site Engineer, fiction writer, poet, psychopath, researcher, a book addict, and a daydreamer from Cairo, Egypt. Currently doing Construction Project Management, MSc, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
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