Leg Day, Part III

Hey everybody, much apologies. I drafted this on Thursday as I was coming down with a nasty flu, and in my fever-ridden state, I thought I’d published it already. Lo siento! And now, without further ado (though if you haven’t seen them, first go read parts one and two) here is the conclusion to Leg Day. Oh, and if you don’t know the “Mullins” reference, check this video out.

After dinner, Char wheeled into her room, flopped on her bed, and messaged Eddie:

Hey

Hey, what’s up?

no legs tomorrow

what? why?

dunno. Dad filed a grievance.

SHIT

WHAT????

I did that once too. When we found out Cleo was pregnant.

Oh my god. Oh my god Eddie what am i going to do????

I can’t believe he did that he should have known better argh wtf do you want me to come over

no. You know my dad’s always had his head in the clouds. Just tell me where it is. You know what.

7th Street and Collins. We can come with you.

Not until you’re ready

are you ready?

Char held down the delete button, watched it eat everything. She spent the rest of the evening patiently repairing her wheel. At ten o clock, her dad paused in the doorway.

“Lights out, honey.”

“I know. Five minutes.”

He pressed his palms against the rims of his chair, wheedled back and forth. “Listen. I was thinking. I’ve got tomorrow off, why don’t we make a day of it?”

“A Leg Day, Dad?” She hated herself for saying it, but out it came.

Dad flinched, but soldiered on. “We can go to the zoo, I know you’ve been wanting to see the thylacines. And then maybe one of those monster movie immersives? I hear Riders is pretty good.”

“Dad, you hate those things.”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, I just thought it would be good to get out of the house. I understand if you don’t want to hang with your old man.”

Char bit her lip. “No, it sounds cool. Just do me one favor, okay? Let me sleep in.”

“Done and done, kiddo. Goodnight.”

She leaned over and turned out the light. Sat in the dark. Listened to the tap run as Dad brushed his teeth. The creak of the floorboards in his bedroom as he rolled over them. The ebb and flow of his snore. When Mom was alive, she used to spend half her nights on the couch, complaining with bitter love that she’d married a chainsaw. But for Char, Dad’s snore was like crickets, or the wind in the beech trees, his somnolent growl softened into a lullaby by all the walls between them.

Mom. Mom, and Cleo’s baby. She cried then, stuffing her fingers into her mouth so she wouldn’t make a sound. Then, her rim replaced and wheels greased, she rolled out into the street, and downtown, to 7th and Collins.

Toughs hovered on every corner, accompanied by ladies wearing amounts of makeup inversely proportional to amounts of clothing. They watched her roll by like vultures tracking a baby gazelle. LIVE SHOW XXX The neon lights gleamed as she rolled in.

“Give me the Mullins,” she said to the waifish girl behind the counter, whose cobalt-blue eyeliner winged all the way to her hairline.

“You sure, doll? Once you’re off the grid, you’re one of us.”

“I know.” She took the paperwork the waif pushed at her. “What’s this.”

“Affidavit. In case you’re caught.”

Char signed. The bell over the door jangled behind her.

“What,” said the waif, “Did you bring your whole family?”

“Eddie,” Char turned. Dad? Dad, I’m sorry, it’s too late.

“Sweetie, it was always too late.” Dad nodded up at the waif. “Give me the Mullins.”

“You guys want tourists, kittens, oakhearts, or bladerunners?”

“Baby, we were born to run,” said Dad.

“Is he always so cheesy?” the waif asked, passing Char two pairs of black, titanium legs, curved like halos, like scythes waiting to reap.

“Yeah,” Char said, feeling tears spark behind her eyes. “Totally.”