Feigning a Fine Fettle

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Murphy’s Law

Murphy was dead. He was scrawled on the pavement without dignity. Harvey was crouched over Murphy, his hand over his mouth and his eyes bulging. Harvey blanched at the sight. What the hell was he going to tell Ruben? That he wasn’t watching? That Murphy had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Murphy had been Ruben’s favorite and now Murphy was dead.

Harvey paced back and forth, careful not to look down at what was left of Murphy. What was he going to do? He couldn’t just forget what had happened, Ruben would start asking questions, questions that Harvey didn’t know if he’d be able to answer. No, the only thing to do was to tell Ruben and tell him soon. Just get it over with and hope that the inevitable tantrum wasn’t too bad.

What was left of Murphy had to be dealt with before Harvey could tell Ruben though. The body couldn’t be left out like this. All he needed was for someone to walk by and see his crime and that would be that. Harvey picked up Murphy and started toward the dumpster at the end of the street. The end of the street was near and Murphy was a small fellow, so this didn’t prove to be too difficult. Harvey made it to the dumpster without any cars driving by and chucked Murphy into the dumpster without ceremony or hesitation, glad to be rid of the body. Harvey kicked the curb. What the hell had Murphy been doing there anyway? He wasn’t supposed to be there, it didn’t make sense. Whatever the reason, Murphy’s Law had bitten both of them in the ass.

The only thing left to do was inform Ruben. Harvey turned back toward the house. He walked slowly, prolonging the trip to put off the confrontation with Ruben. Despite his slow pace and short steps, he made progress. He was at the front door sooner than he’d have hoped. He opened the door and entered. He stopped by the kitchen to wash the blood off his hands. Then he entered the den. Ruben was there, his back to the door. He was drinking from his Juicy Juice box and his legs swung off the couch as he watched Bob the Builder.

Shit, thought Harvey, this is it.

“Hey there Ruben, how’s it going?”

“Hi daddy,” his six year old said. “I’m watching T.V.”

“Listen… Ruben… I- I need to tell you something about Murphy”

Ruben tensed and bit his lower lip. He looked at Harvey with guilt in his eyes.

“I only let Murphy out because I wanted him to be free,” Ruben blurted. “I was going to tell you but I thought you’d get mad at me!”

Harvey looked lost for a moment. So the hamster had been in the driveway because Ruben had let him out. Harvey sat down on the couch next to his son and stared at the anthropomorphic construction equipment on the television as they jabbered inanely and twitched about.

“Are you mad?” asked Ruben.

Harvey came back to his senses and looked at his son.

“No, no I’m not mad. Not at all. I’m sure Murphy will enjoy living in the wild again. Heck, I bet he’s already found a nice hamster village to live in Probably has a big hamster house and car and everything.”

That seemed to cheer Ruben up. His attention span reached its limit and he turned back to the television set. Harvey let out a great sigh, slouching down into the cushions of the couch. Now how was he going to explain to Angelo he was late to the job because he ran over his son’s hamster? Shit…

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