“The Struggle against Death”
by Connor J Aaserud
Is was another warm summer evening when Ben was sitting on the porch of his tiny house two miles north from the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As Ben lit his cigar, his eight year old son, Max, came out of the house with a backpack and a suitcase.
Ben smiled at his son and said, “You got all your things together?” Max nodded.
“What about your homework? Is that done?” Ben said.
Max returned back, “Why are your fingers always yellow. And if smoking can kill you, why do you do it?”
Just then a car drove into the driveway.
“Your mother is here,” Ben said. Max always asks questions like this. It drove Harry crazy. He was always talking about how bad smoking was for you.
Ben and Max’s mom were divorced. Her name was Erica. Erica didn’t like him that much because Mark smoked in front of Max. Although she never admitted it, he thought this because she always talked to him in a bossy tone. She never does this in front of Max. She probably thinks he’ll be hurt to know the truth.
Mark quickly threw the cigar under his feet and stepped on it to burn out the fire. Then, he kicked the cigar off to the side so Erica wouldn’t see it.
Max slowly walked down the stairs to his mom’s car and got in. Erica got out of the car and started walking to the porch.
“Smoking again?” Erica said sternly.
“What makes you say that?” Ben responded.
“Your breath smells horrible. And did you really think that I wouldn’t see that cigar.”
“I was kind of hoping.”
Erica slapped Mark on the cheek and yelled, “I told you to never smoke in front of Max!”
“Erica I’m…” Mark was cut off.
“Save it,” Erica said. “You have one more chance till you can’t see at all anymore.” She turned and started walking back to the car. Max was sitting in the back seat, trying not to cry. Erica started the car and drove out of the driveway.
Ben stood there on the porch for a few minutes, rubbing his cheek every now and then. Then, finally, he went inside. He sat down on the couch. He looked at the time. Max wouldn’t get to bed for another two hours. He’d call up Erica to apologize to her.
He turned on the television and started watching Monday night Football. The Seahawks were playing the Cardinals at home. The score was 21-7–Seahawks at halftime.
Max isn’t probably in bed by now. Ben dialed Erica’s number and waited for her to pick up. She pick up in an instant and said sternly, “I meant what I said.”
“What do you what?”
“First off, I’m sorry about earlier today. But I still can’t help to think that you owe me an apology.”
There was a pause on the phone. Mark just stood there waiting for an answer.
“Erica,” He finally said.
“Well, I was asking for …”
“No. I will not give you apology. Your disgusting habits could kill Max.”
“Yeah, and the chances are about one to a million.”
“Well, it’s still a chance.”
“There’s a greater chance of you dying in a car then there is of second-hand smoking.”
Again there was a pause. Until Erica finally said, “See. This is the reason why I hate you.”
Then she hung up.
Ben got in bed. Sleep finally hit him. But at 2:15, the telephone rang. It was from Erica.
“What’s with calling me at. . .”
Erica immediately screamed, “YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED MAX!”