Excerpt from A Week of This by Nathan Whitlock
(ECW Press, 2008)
Manda liked to make clear how awful she thought the place had become – how awful he’d let it become. “This used to be a cool little apartment,” she’d tell him. She hardly ever came over anymore, and when she did, she couldn’t help but condemn it.
“This is why your mom doesn’t come around. She thinks it’s full of mold and doesn’t want to get sick from it.”
“She doesn’t like the stairs,” Marcus countered sleepily. “She doesn’t give a shit how the place smells – her house is like an ashtray, you know that. She just can’t get up the stairs easy. She almost went down on her back a couple times.”
Marcus’s hair flopped down over his forehead like an omelette. He didn’t get up.
“She told me that, too,” Manda said. She pulled at the living room window, and her fingernails crunched the baked corpses of wasps and flies. The window wouldn’t budge.
“It smells dead,” she added. “Do these windows even open?”
“Oh, but wait!” Manda said suddenly, and out she went while Marcus hid himself further under his blanket. He was sure she would bring in some new thing for her house, and he was so sick of looking at chairs and paint samples. Instead, she walked back in with her whole upper half magically transformed into a plant.
“Move all that,” she said from behind the thing’s leaves. She bent her knees in the direction of the trunk he used as a coffee table. Manda flopped the plant on the trunk and stepped back without taking her eyes off it. “For colour,” she said in a serious tone, as if colour were something he was being rewarded for, like bravery. “You need some green in here.”