My father named me Colt, after his favorite pistol. It should go without saying that he was expecting a son. Instead, he got me.
It’s this same pistol that sits across his lap as he stares unblinking at the TV, some eighties movie that I don’t recognize blaring from the old, boxy set. I stop in the doorway of the living room when I spot the gun.
It’s a bad day.
"Dad?" I have to yell to be heard over the actors on the screen, but I don’t want to startle him. My father is like a wounded animal in that way. Sneak up on him with the best of intentions and get your eyes scratched out for your trouble.
His gaze meanders over to me, his eyes glassy and, I notice as I step closer, picking my way around dirty laundry and old fast food bags, his pupils are pinned—tiny black fly dots in a brown soup.
My father, you see, is a junkie.
"Whudduyu want?" his words slur together, sleepy and slow.
I lean against the doorframe and run a hand down my face. Tuck my hair behind my ears. "Ma sent me to check on you. Your landlord called again and said he’s evicting you next week if you don’t come up with rent. Says you’re dodging his phone calls." I’d almost told the guy to come down here himself, but I knew he wouldn’t. He might own the shithole apartments, but that doesn’t mean he’ll set foot in them.
Dad stares at me, his mouth partway open, exposing uneven yellow teeth—junkie teeth, let’s be honest—but doesn’t answer me. It’ll take him a minute to catch up, but I don’t have the patience to break it down for him into child-sized pieces.
The wrinkles in his brown face twist when understanding finally dawns. "I don’ owe that man nothing. I give him an ounce of weed las’ week an’ only charge him two hundred." He waves his hand like he’s dismissing me. "We square."
I have to fight down the urge to correct his English, a habit I’d fallen into as a young kid already more fluent in the language than both my parents who still, a decade later, have Mexican accents that are hard to miss.
"Well, there’s an eviction notice on your door, so apparently he doesn’t think you’re square." I nod toward the .45 across his legs. "Do I even want to ask what that’s about?"
Get Your Copy Today! Amazon | iTunes About Nikki Archer: Nikki Archer lives in New England, where she teaches high school English and spends her free time pursuing as many degrees as humanly possible. She divides her life into hockey season and baseball season, and she really really hates socks. She spends all of her extra money (and some that’s not exactly extra) on concert tickets and trips to interesting places. Her first novel, “Whatever’s Left,” is a YA romance, but “Exit Wounds” is her first venture into the world of crime writing. Connect with Nikki: Facebook | Website Enter Nikki’s Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway