Pick Your Poison

“Pick your poison” he says. It was tradition lol. Our twisted tradition. We all get to pick our poison. I really like ribenna. But I’ve never had alcohol, Papi is a stickler for rules. I’m not 14 yet. No alcohol till you’re 18. But apparently, dying people get a pass. So, maybe I’ll try the wine. It always looked pretty to me. Everything was already laced. I just had to pick and he’ll pour. I know the drill. So wine it is. Nice and white. Papi beamed his approval. He raised a proper lady. I sipped, I didn’t swallow at once, I want to savor the taste. It isn’t all that. I still prefer ribenna. But we don’t do take backs. You pick, you drink. So I keep sipping, gulping more like, but not in an obvious manner. Papi wouldn’t approve. Gradually it is washing over me, that slight tipsy feeling that I always wondered about. It feels…good. That I can savour. I’m feeling detached now, like I’m floating.
“Are you scared?” He asked as he poured his own drink, the usual, neat vodka. “No Papi”. He looks annoyed. “You’re in denial. You’re really dying.” He said with an edge to his tone. “I know Papi,we do this together don’t we?”. He seems confused for a minute. Then, I watch his mask slip. It happens every time. Once he moves in for the kill, he becomes…intense. At this point they would typically be begging. Him, me, God…they’ll howl and cry. Papi would get excited and taunt them. Hold out hope of escape. Then when his drink runs low, like an hour glass, he’ll finally do it. Rape the girl and leave. The poison would do the rest. Next day, the contractor would come by. Pick up the body and leave. No moss, no dirt. Papi gets his money, I’ll get my school fees everyone is fine. Except for the next victim I lure home of course. Papi always told me, “never draw attention while extending an invitation. Don’t sweat a rejected invitation, just move on. And if anyone so much as looks at you cross eyed, tell me and we’ll move. ”
We have a system. It’s worked what? 8years now? Papi’s getting old. “Your mother is a whore. I’m not your real grand dad.” he spat. That jolted me out of my weird tipsy state.I laughed. Funny how people bought everything I sold them. From the poor kids i lured home, to Papi. In retrospect, I sold myself short in this life. I could have done something better with my persuasive skills. “No Papi, she’s not. And yeah, of course you’re not my grand dad. I left home when I was 5. Mom is just a tired woman in the village with a uterus more active than her brains. Too many mouths to feed and a deadbeat village drunk for a husband. No sir, she was no whore but there was nothing for me there. I left one morning and just kept walking. My story varied from place to place. I stayed with some people till they actively try taking me to the police or motherless homes then I’ll run. All that was till I met you Papi. By then, the easiest story was the I don’t remember anything story I told you. Now look at us Papi…look all I’ve done for you. Aren’t you proud of me Papi?”
He looked sick. Perhaps his poison is kicking in. Of course I would have loved to let him pick but, he pretty much drank the same thing all the time anyway. “You tricked me?” he is slurring words now…Papi never slurs, the poison it is. I’m so relieved. I was almost worried it won’t work. When Papi finally told me my time had come, I knew I couldn’t let him continue the game without me. Who would stop him from continuing this game? Who would pick his poison? I had to do it, but Papi is paranoid. This was the only way. He let his guard down only on these occasions. I just needed him to let me near his drink long enough to slip in the poison. Getting that was the trickiest part. Papi got the poison directly from the contractor. I let the contractor sleep with me to get it. He probably thought I wanted to kill myself. Papi would be mad about that too. He was saving me for himself, like the other girls, we all had to be virgins. He started lunging toward me, he probably sensed something was off, it wasn’t just the drink. I’m deriving a perverse pleasure from the panic in his eyes. The poison has me paralysed now, it won’t be long now. He desperately wanted to claim his prize, but maybe the poison wouldn’t let him get it up.”You’re dying Papi” He was on top of me now. Still limp, his face contorted with rage, he lunged with his fingers forcefully. There was nothing to take. “The contractor” I explained. “No…” maybe his poison was more intense, maybe his heart just couldn’t take all the multiple shocks. I’m dying happy. Papi went first. It’s more than I could’ve hoped for. I’ve done so much wrong in this life. Maybe killing Papi would get me a do over. Then again, probably not.

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