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Baby (standard:other, 871 words)
Author: CeejayAdded: Aug 04 2006Views/Reads: 1873/1141Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Hidden conflict shows itself to the reader through an argument seemingly about money.


The air outside was heavy. It was early August, the dog days, and the
humidity bound Carly and Mitchell in their cooled apartment. Carly, 
naïve and nineteen, pulled her damp, short blonde hair into spiky buns 
jutting off from the sides of her heart-shaped head. She pinched her 
nose's bridge under the pink, plastic-framed glasses to ring out the 
uncomfortable sweat. She slid quickly out of the moist bathroom and 
into the short hall towards the eat-in kitchen. 

“Good morning, baby,” Carly sang, cutting the silence of seven o'clock
AM as if with a knife. 

Mitchell only grunted in response, reading the stock page of the Sunday
paper. His girlfriend of over a year slipped into the chair next to him 
at the island table. 

“What's wrong, Mitch?” 

“Absolutely nothing, baby,” he snapped, hurling at Carly a brick of
hostile sarcasm and a little honesty, “and my name is ‘Mitchell.'” 

“Then what's the attitude for? It's because of me, isn't it?” Her face
fell from its usual beaming smile. 

“Will you quit acting like a child? I didn't say anything. I always have
an attitude. I am a lawyer.” 

Mitchell did not raise his eyes from the red and green numbers and
arrows, which littered the black and white pages. Carly observed 
silently that his fingers were darkened by ink. 

“I am not a child,” she inserted defensively. “I am a woman. No man of
your age would date a child.” 

“If I recall, Mr. Humbert Humbert was older than I am now when he
pursued his Dolores.” 

“He was only in a book. And are you comparing me to that creature?
Lolita? I'd have thought you were too mature to sink so low.” 

“Don't be stupid.” 

“What's your problem?” Carly shut her eyes for a second to forget the
way Mitchell raised his eyebrows when he was being completely terrible. 

“Your friends. You have them here until some ungodly hour when you know
very well that I need to get up every morning and review cases. This is 
my apartment. I pay the bills. I am the only one with a job at this 
table. What is it that you do all day?” He raised his head and examined 
her critically, laying his paper down in impertinently. 

Carly finally caught Mitchell's eyes in hers. She quickly turned away
and gazed out through the third floor apartment's large triptych 
window. The sycamore tree in the front yard was the oldest in the area 
and she liked to look at its multicolor flakes and imagine that each 
layer was a new day. They always overlapped, like each day's new 
problem became the next one's. This one with Mitch seemed out of the 

“Every time I ask you if you want me to get a job and help to pay, you
say, ‘No, no, it doesn't matter, I have money!'” 

Carly moved to the cushioned stool a few feet from the red, sparkling
vintage table and poured herself a glass of pulp-free orange juice from 
the carton on the bar. 

“Just tell me, Mitchell, if you want me to work.” 

“I feel used. There's a baby living in my apartment and bringing her
friends into my home to show off all of the unnecessary things that she 
has grown to expect from me. Yeah, I would like it if you'd paid for 
the dumb cable TV and high-speed Internet. I would like if you'd pay 
for your organic groceries, designer cosmetics, and the fancy alcohol 

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