He doesn’t know his letters.
That’s what Ricky thought when he looked down at the refrigerator magnets. “CAT”. Only the A was an upside-down V. Little Ricky sat next to his handiwork grinning broadly. The wife was supposed to be teaching him this shit while Ricky made it rain, but she was busy taking care of her mom for the week after the battle-axe cracked a hip in a fall at the Dante Club on mahjong night. He was no Neanderthal like his old man; he knew this parenting gig was a joint venture. Still, it chapped him he would need to take time out of his busy day for some impromptu home schooling. So, he squatted and patiently quizzed the little bastard on letter after letter. The kid showed some promise.
For the next couple weeks or so every morning with his coffee Ricky would sit and work through the plastic letters with the tot.
It got to where Ricky hardly noticed the kid on the floor beside him wrestling with the magnetic alphabet on his own after their lesson each morning while he commanded the universe from his kitchen.
In Ricky’s line of work there was occasional need for pruning. One such case had arisen, and he was communicating the details by phone over his morning Joe.
“Listen carefully,” he said. “It’s an odd name so I’ll spell it: B.L.A.D.Z. George Bladz. No, I don’t know how you say it. The only thing you need to say to him is bye bye. Now spell it back to me. That’s right, B.L.A.D.Z. Now find him and then lose him.”
Two days later Rick’s doorbell rang during coffee. This day Little Ricky was napping. Of course, the detective could come in for a cup, he had nothing to hide. Have a seat. No, he knew nothing about a stiff named George Blazes or however you say it. The cop seemed stoic taking in the cramped kitchen, until his eyes alit on the fridge. He then jumped up, cuffed Ricky and walked him out of the room. As he left the kitchen Ricky noticed over his shoulder the magnets on the lower panel of the old GE. B.L.A.D.Z.
He had to smile. Maybe the kid was going places.
Scott MacLeod is a father of two who writes in Central Florida. His work has appeared in Bristol Noir, The Yard: Crime Blog, Short-Story.me and Gumshoe Review. He can be found at http://www.facebook.com/scott.macleod.334.