Pink Bath Water

By. Lloyd Hudson Frye

Merrill was a tall, handsome pre-med student back from WWII as a medic.

Lorena was a beautiful brunette, the best friend to Merrill’s fiancé.

There was consensual sex one night. Lorena wanted what a doctor could buy her.

What Merrill didn’t know was Lorena was already pregnant by another.

“Merrill darling, I thought you should know that I’m pregnant.”

“But it was only the one time!”

“Still, I’m pregnant.”

The marriage was rushed and seven months later, little Boyd was born.

Unfortunately little Boyd didn’t resemble either of them in the slightest or any relative or ancestor either.

The “make an honest woman of her” family moved four states to the east to the only medical school that would accept young Merrill with his grades. They found a basement apartment in the deepest part of the slums and set up house.

They made such a beautiful couple in church, the handsome, young medical student and his beautiful young bride. Oh yes, and the baby that looked adopted.

Neither spoke of Boyd’s lack of corresponding features. Merrill had seen a guy on campus that looked exactly like baby Boyd, but never brought it up.

Merrill studied hard and applied himself, but repeated fights with Lorena made getting passing grades more and more difficult. He resented getting trapped into this loveless marriage. The bitterness between them grew until one day she wrote the dean of the medical school and said that Merrill was a sexual deviate and unfit to be a doctor. She sensed she was going to lose him and at least he wouldn’t have a doctor’s income to heal his wounds.

There was no affection any more with the letter handed him by the dean and asked what this was all about. Merrill began to hate the baby Boyd. Boyd became the living embodiment of his trap. He told Lorena he wanted out now, but she wouldn’t hear of it. The good life was just around the corner and she was determined to have everything the world had to offer.

Each day Merrill snuck out the door in the morning so as not to wake either of them. He hated to hear her voice. He hated the baby that tied him to his deceitful, destructive wife.

Finally in class one day as the lecture covered areas of the body that when punctured, little or no blood would flow. These areas when submerged in warm to hot water would then reveal the wounds by drawing out the blood from heat. Merrill was excited as a plan formed in his mind. A smile formed he couldn’t get to go away. A plan to make Lorena sorry she had tricked him into such a horrible marriage.

He went over the plan in his mind until he was sure it would work.

At night he would lay awake thinking about if it could backfire.

At last he was ready to put it into action.

“Lorena I’ll look after Boyd while you go to the store.”

“Oh thank you, that saves me a lot of time.”

“I’ve been thinking and there’s a lot I could do to help with Boyd.”

Baby Boyd was three and beginning to talk. He complained about being sore after daddy touched him. Lorena just thought that Merrill was playing too rough. She didn’t say anything as she noticed puncture marks inside Boyd’s thighs and abdomen. She ignored Boyd’s constant cries when she held him, telling him to settle down and quit crying.

“DaDa hurt me.”

“Hold still.”

“Hurts.”

“Stop it, don’t make me spank you again.”

One day she came back to the apartment after discovering she had left her wallet out of her purse when standing in the checkout counter. When she unlocked the door, she noticed the record player was on and stepped inside without a word. Walking down the short hall she saw in the front room Merrill holding Boyd in front of him. Merrill’s back was to her and Boyd was standing up facing Merrill. Boyd was crying as Merrill pushed a scalpel into his little thigh repeatedly, careful to extract it and not leave a trail of blood. Lorena backed up, grabbed her wallet and slipped out the back door.

She walked back to the store with the image of little Boyd with a scalpel going in and out of his little body. She decided that Merrill could practice whatever kind of medical procedures he wanted to on her son, after all, he was a doctor.

Lorena looked away in the evenings when it was time for Boyd’s bath. But no matter what she did she couldn’t stop hearing Boyd.

“Look Mommy, pink water.”





Lloyd Hudson Frye was born in California in 1947. He earned a BS degree in Business Administration from CSUC in 1975. Lloyd spent 28 years working in electronics before being NAFTAed in the back in 2003, at the age of 55. Lloyd has been published in: humdingerzine.com, dyingwriters.com, writers-voice.com, skivemagazine.com, various op/ed pieces in associatedcontent.com, mockfrog/westnet.com.au, writesideup.com, localwriter.com, the vagrantquarterly.com, eastsidesun.com, the Amistad-Howard University, aforementionedproductions.com, goclickthis.com and thuglit.com.