A pair of Neil’s tighty whities lurks beneath the bed. My arm darts towards them.
“Make sure you always have clean underwear on”, my father said. He worried in the event I became a body to find that the rubberneckers orbiting the crime scene would notice the state of my clothes. The TV always skipped the honest parts of decomposition or else my father would have known better.
My thumb and forefinger clamp down on the waistband, the safest area. I drag the pair out, careful not to summon dust demons or alarm whatever else lives around them.
My father wasn’t good at following his own advice. I always sat on the floor in front of where he sat on the couch when we watched TV. I learned to not peer too much over my shoulder when we talked; once you see half of where you came from, you can’t quite ever unsee it.
I stop pulling once the tighty whities are out from beneath the bed. I get on my knees; examine the pattern of dust and stains on the fabric. Today, Neil learns how to use the washer.
J. Bradley’s is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.