*Author's Note: Any persons engaging in any sexual activity are at least eighteen years of age.
Kenneth Kay came to in the rear of an ambulance as it screamed west on I-10, racing toward Lafayette General. Great, retching coughs began to wrack his body and the EMT gently assisted him in rolling onto his side to help clear the airway of any mucus or regurgitation.
"What the fuck happened?" Kenneth coughed out.
Factory caught on fire," the EMT said.
"What?" Kenneth asked, horrified. "Everyone all right?"
The EMT didn't answer him, just continued to monitor Kenneth's vitals and then adjusted the mask back over Kenneth's mouth and nose so Kenneth's lungs could fill with oxygen.
The emergency room of Lafayette General filled with the victims of the Bender factory fire and were triaged and seen in order of severity.
"No, no, you see her first," Kenneth demanded as the orderly began to wheel him into a station ahead of Patsy Bordelon.
"You got head injuries; she got burns," the orderly corrected him.
"What?" I ain't got no..." Kenneth said then blacked out again.
When he came to, there was bright sunlight streaming through his window. The room was a semi-private room; Big Mike occupied the other bed. They called him 'Big' Mike as a joke; the man was just over five feet tall. Big Mike was also very stocky, back chest and arms a mass of rippling muscles.
"Man, we fucking lucky even be alive," Big Mike groaned out when he noticed that Kenneth was awake.
"Uh huh," Kenneth groaned, not feeling very lucky.
"Heard some of us died," Big Mike went on, then Kenneth heard Big Mike sob softly.
"Oh God," Kenneth moaned, morning the loss of his friends and fellow workers.
"Man, what the fuck happened?" Big Mike asked.
"Man, I don't know; was getting me a coke out the machine, next thing I know there I am, waking up in some ambulance," Kenneth admitted.
Four days later, Lafayette General released Kenneth Kay. Big Mike had sustained a broken back and would be in the hospital for several more days.
Jennifer Kay, Kenneth's wife, drove the forty miles from Bender to Lafayette to pick her husband up. The tall blonde let him know she wasn't all that thrilled to have to have to make the long drive.
Kenneth sat next to her and wondered, not for the first time, why he had ever married the shrill woman. Yes, she was beautiful, or had been beautiful nineteen years ago, standing behind the counter of McDonald's, but beauty alone was not enough to justify her attitude or behavior.
Their marriage was the usual 'guess what dear' arrangement and Kenneth agreed to do the right thing and marry the frightened, angry Jennifer Moore and give the child that grew in her belly a loving home. He put his dream of becoming a professional baseball player on the back shelf, along with his dreams of becoming a rock star bass guitarist and took a gob at the Bender mattress factory. When he found out that the Midnight to Eight shifts paid twenty cents more an hour, he leapt at the chance.
"No, no, see, the more we can save up, Sweetie, the sooner we can get out of this dumpy apartment and get our own house for you, me, and Kenny," Kenneth said, rubbing his wife's swelling belly.
Jennifer gave birth to a beautiful little blonde girl and named her Jadia Ann Kay.
"Jadia?" Kenneth screwed up his face at the odd name.
"Yeah, see, I was in school with this girl; her momma named her Veresa, you know? Instead of like 'Theresa' and I remember thinking that was so cool that her momma loved her enough to give her baby her very own name, you know? I mean, there's like a hundred Jennifers all over the place, but how many Veresas you know, huh?" Jennifer explained.
"Jadia?" Kenneth asked again. "Where the fuck that come from?"
"Yeah, it's like Nadia, but with a 'J,' get it?" Jennifer said.
Kenneth sighed, knowing that it would do no good to argue the point with Jennifer; her mind was made up.
Before Jadia was even walking, Jennifer announced that they were again expecting.
"Fine, but I get to name this one," Kenneth insisted.
"Uh huh," Jennifer said, having no intention of letting him name her baby.
Jelissa Amy Kay came out also sporting a thick head of blonde and her mother's mean blue eyes.
"Jelissa?" Kenneth asked, frowning.
"My mom's name is Melissa, so it's like Melissa, but with a 'J,'" Jennifer explained, then continued to coo and croon to the wrinkled up baby.
"Sounds like a n*gger name," Bernice Kay, Kenneth's mother whispered loudly to Kenneth.
Kenneth had scrimped and saved, despite Jennifer's ability to spend extravagantly and managed to put together a tidy sum toward his dream of owning a house for his family.
"Fine, you can buy it, but I'm not living here," Jennifer snarled when Kenneth showed her the home they could afford.
"It's a starter home," he patiently tried to explain. "I've got enough saved up to where we can buy it outright and then we fix it up and sell it and put that money toward a bigger house."
But Jennifer decided the bigger house would come now, not later and forced Kenneth to put the tidy sum toward a much larger house. At fourteen percent interest, the mortgage easily swallowed more than half his paycheck.
As the three women and Kenneth settled into their home, Jennifer announced that they were again going to be blessed with another baby.
"God damn, Honey!" Kenneth whined. "I can barely keep us fed! And now we're going to have another baby?"
Six year old Jadia and five year old Jelissa decided that they hated Jacy Alice Kay and tormented the small brunette infant as often as they could.
Kenneth did not even ask about the baby's name, nor did he ask about the parentage of the infant. He and Jennifer were both blondes and both had light blue eyes. In Kenneth's family tree, there had been only one other brunette in the last hundred years and no one was quite sure of Oliver Kay's parentage either. But even Oliver had light blue eyes, not the deep brown eyes of Jacy Kay.
Of Jennifer's lineage, very little was known; most of her kin had lost contact with one another years ago. So, it was possible that brown hair and brown eyes was a recessive gene somewhere in Jennifer's genealogy.
But Jacy was, from the very day of her birth, a Daddy's girl. Jennifer contented herself with caring for her two girls, leaving Jacy's care to her father. And leaving Jacy's protection to her father as well.
"Mom! He hit me!" Jelissa screeched at the top of her lungs after Kenneth administered a spanking.
"I caught her about to drop this on Jacy's head," Kenneth explained, holding up the large ceramic piggy bank.
"I wasn't," Jelissa lied. "I was just showing it to her!"
"While she was asleep?" Kenneth sneered and Jelissa did have the good grace to blush at being caught in such an obvious lie.
Kenneth did not catch the fact that Jelissa referred to him as 'He' and not 'Dad.' He did not catch the fact that Jadia did the same thing, calling him 'he' or 'him,' but never 'Dad' or any other term of parentage.
Jennifer, however, did and smirked whenever her two angels did this.
Nineteen years later, cruising down I-10 in his battered F150 Ford pickup truck (Kenneth wasn't allowed in her BMW, even though he paid for it) he wondered again why he had married her at all.
She was still a beautiful woman, still had the thirty eight D breasts, the thirty inch waist, and the thirty four inch hips. She still had the long, smooth legs and the penchant for short skirts and short shorts, the same flawless skin and honey blonde hair, pale blue eyes and dazzling smile (that she very rarely graced him with), but the interior did not mirror the exterior beauty at all.
"So," she spat out the first words she'd said since he'd climbed into the passenger side of the truck. "I suppose you'll be sitting around all fucking day now that you're out of a job, huh?"
"I'm not out of a job," he protested.
"Oh come on, Kenneth! The fucking factory is gone!" Jennifer shrilled at him. "What? You're going to stand around in the ashes?"
"No, Big Eddie came to the hospital and told us we're getting paid, even if we're not working, until the new factory gets opened," Kenneth protested.
"So, you think you're just going to sit around fucking up all my fun?" Jennifer snarled.
"Fucking up what fun?" Kenneth asked as she slammed on the brakes inside of their garage.
"If you think I'm going to quit dating just because you're home, you got another fucking thing coming," she spat as she marched into the house.
"Wait, what?" Kenneth asked, sure he had not heard her correctly.
"You heard me, ass hole," she spat, and then smiled tightly.
"Oh, I guess you didn't know, huh?" she asked, smile growing even wider. "Well, now that it's out in the open, I guess I don't have to pretend any more."
"Wait, what are you talking about?" Kenneth asked.
"Oh, come on, Kenneth, grow the fuck up, huh, Numb Nuts?" Jennifer giggled. "Like everyone else figured it out years ago. You're at work, I'm out."
Kenneth's head actually ached and his vision blurred as he listened to his wife recount her numerous infidelities. Behind her, her two angels laughed at him. Jacy, however, looked absolutely mortified as she listened to her mother berate her father.
"Well, pack your shit and take your two precious little bitches with you," Kenneth finally spat at her.
"Oh, no, Sweetheart," Jennifer laughed out loud. "No, no, no, that's not the way it goes! This is a 'No Fault' state; that means I get half of everything PLUS custody of the kids. That means you get to pay the mortgage, the car notes, AND child support. Oh, and you can kiss your precious little angel good bye; fuck if I'll ever let you see her again. Go ahead, dumb ass, fucking divorce me; I dare you. Now, if we're finished here, I got a date with Cecil. See you."
Kenneth stared in shock as she marched up the stairs, already pulling her cell phone out of her purse.
"Hey, Cese, yeah, Dumb Ass is home; think you could come get me in about thirty?" Jennifer said as she slammed the door to the master bedroom.
"Daddy, I swear, I didn't know anything about..." Jacy whispered, sobbing as she hugged her father tightly.
"Shh, Sweetie Pie, it'll be all right," Kenneth whispered. hugging the twelve year old tightly.
"Fucking Numb Nuts," Jelissa chortled as she waddled her immense bulk out of the kitchen.
"Shh, it's going to be all right," Kenneth soothed.
Kenneth smiled tightly as a car pulled up in front of the house, ghetto music blaring and thumping out of it.
"See you," Jennifer cheerfully called out and smirked as Kenneth gave her the finger.
"Uh huh, like you'd ever get this again," she sneered, lifting the hem of her skirt to show him that she wore no panties.
"Oh, couldn't get any panties big enough to fit over that huge ass of yours?" Kenneth smirked.
For a moment, Jennifer stared in shock; Kenneth wasn't supposed to talk back, he never did. Then she glared hatefully at him.
"I ought to make Cecil come in here and kick the shit out of you," she hissed hatefully.
"Wouldn't recommend it if I were you," he said easily.
"Fuck you, ass hole," she snapped, not being able to think of anything else to say.
"Never again, but hurry up, don't keep your n*gger waiting," Kenneth said and returned to the computer screen.
The door slammed and Kenneth shook his head sadly.
Two more mouse clicks and all of Jennifer's credit cards were cancelled; balances paid in full. He then increased the amount for the mortgage and her car insurance, as well as decreasing the deductibles on both. The increased premiums were paid out of a secret bank account that Jennifer had established. Kenneth knew about her account; had known about it for a few years, but since she was only depositing three to four hundred a month into it, saw no reason to make waves about it.
It took slightly longer to set up a new bank account under his and his mother's names; he did want his children to be cared for, even if, according to Jennifer, he was not the parent of any of them. He smiled as he transferred the forty two thousand, five hundred and eighty dollars out of Jennifer's secret account into his new account.
Finally, he sighed, sat back, and then picked up the telephone.
"Hey Mom," he said.
Five minutes later, Kenneth stomped up the stairs. Jelissa's door was the first one on the left so he knocked on it, hard.
"What?" Jelissa insolently barked.
"Open the door," Kenneth ordered.
"Go away," she barked back.
"Fine," Kenneth said and tried the knob.
"Go away, Numb Nuts," Jelissa chortled as he rattled the locked door knob.
"Uh huh," Kenneth said and took a step back.
Jelissa screamed in terror as her door splintered inward.
"I said 'open the door' and I meant open the door," Kenneth growled. "Now, get your fat ass the fuck up and go get in the car. Now."
"Fuck you, you can't tell me what to do," the seventeen year old yelled, still terrified.
Kenneth yanked her out of her bed by a handful of her greasy hair, slapped her face twice and said calmly, "I am not joking, get your fat lazy ass down in the car, now."
Jadia didn't even wait for her father to knock on her door; she was a coward that hid behind her mother or behind Jelissa. She raced down the stairs and got into the rear seat of her mother's BMW.
Jacy looked on fearfully as her father approached.
"Go ahead, get into the car," Kenneth quietly told her.
"Yes sir," Jacy said.
"You just wait until I tell Mom," Jelissa shrilled as she got into the rear seat of the car.
"Fuck your mom, okay, Jelissa? Fuck your mom, okay? Need me to spell it out for you? I don't give a shit what you tell your mom," Kenneth snapped as he started up his wife's car.
"Daddy?" Jacy quietly said as they pulled up in front of Bernice and Melvin Kay's home.
"Yes, Sweetie Pie?" Kenneth asked.
"Please take care of Pebbles?" Jacy begged in her whisper soft voice.
"Damn, forgot about...okay, I'll make sure she's okay," Kenneth promised.
Pebbles was Jacy's cat; she'd had the animal since she was nine. She'd named it after the Flintstones cartoons. Because she loved the cat, Jadia and Jelissa constantly tried to hurt the animal. Therefore, the animal had a real distrust of everyone except for Jacy.
"Wait, what's that mean?" Jadia braved asking.
"I know you will," Jacy smiled tightly at her father.
"Thanks, Mom," Kenneth called out as the girls trooped up to the house.
Kenneth drove to Huvall's Texaco and bought two five gallon cans, then filled them with gas.
"Might want to put some newspaper down," the clerk suggested as Kenneth loaded the two cans into the trunk of the expensive car.
"Fuck it," Kenneth smiled.
Kenneth drove back to the house, located the crate they used to ferry the cat to Dr. Dupre's office for her yearly shots and entered the house.
As usual, Pebbles was nowhere in sight and did not respond to Kenneth's calls. Finally, he pulled out a can of her cat food and popped the top on it.
He dropped the smelly stuff onto one of Jennifer's grandmother's china plates and patiently waited. Finally, the smell won out and Pebbles came out from behind the couch to investigate.
"Got you, you rotten beast," Kenneth smiled and put both cat and plate into the crate.
Jelissa huffed in irritation as her mother's cell phone again went straight to voice mail.
"Mom, call me back; I'm at Grandma's house; Dad's gone off the deep end; this is real, call me," she whispered urgently.
"You don't have to whisper; I know you're calling your mother," Bernice snapped, startling Jelissa.
"Why I got to be here?" Jelissa shrilled at the woman. "Huh? I'm seventeen; I'm old enough to take care of myself."
"Yeah; I'm eighteen," Jadia echoed, standing behind Jelissa.
"Bye," Bernice waved. "You don't want to be here? Then I damned sure don't want you here."
The two girls smirked as they marched toward the front door.
"How you plan on getting home?" Bernice asked. "It's nine miles and I know neither one of you've ever walked that far in your lives."
"No, but you can drive us," Jelissa ordered.
"Could, but I'm not going to," Bernice said and started to pull bowls out for the stew she was cooking.
"Then how we going to...?" Jelissa shrilled.
"Beats the hell out of me, but I don't care," Bernice said and put the three bowls on the table. "Jacy, Melvin, supper's ready!"
"Excuse me," Melvin ordered as he forcefully nudged Jelissa aside.
"Um, where's mine?" Jelissa finally asked as Jacy took her seat at the table.
"I guess yours is where ever you're going, remember? You're old enough to take care of yourselves. Bye," Bernice said, waving her hand.
"I hate you," Jelissa shrilled at her grand mother.
"That's nice, dear," Bernice smiled. "Bye."
Kenneth punched a few holes into the gas tank of the BMW and after a long moment, a few into the tank of his pickup truck.
He then took the first of the five gallon gas cans upstairs and began in the bedroom he shared with Jennifer.
The bed got a liberal dousing, as did the chest of drawers and the low dresser. He sighed as he looked at the forty two inch plasma television, then shrugged and took one of her ridiculous figurines and hurled it at the expensive television.
His stomach actually hurt when he entered Jacy's room and began to drench her bedroom in gasoline. He spotted a small framed photograph and picked it up. It was a photograph of him and Jacy as they posed with the small fish she'd caught the first time he'd taken her fishing.
He carried it downstairs and put it on top of the crate. Inside the crate, Pebbles, now done with her snack, was beginning to yowl.
He want back upstairs and gleefully drenched Jadia's and Jelissa's rooms with the remainder of the first can of gasoline. Then he simply threw the can onto Jelissa's bed.
The second can was emptied on all the furniture downstairs. Then he took the crate and the small photograph and left the house. He set the crate and the photograph down at the edge of the driveway, and then went to the side of his house.
He set up the sprinkler and locked it in place, aiming the spray at Ray's house. On the other side, he did the same, making sure to lock the stream onto Debbie's house.
Then he smiled as he looked at the expensive monstrosity Jennifer insisted that they buy the house he did not want, did not like, but had called home for the last fourteen years.
He opened the front door, struck the fireplace match and dropped it on the gasoline soaked Oriental rug.
Then he closed the door, walked down to the edge of the driveway and waited.
By the time the first fire truck arrived, it was far too late; the house was nothing but a ball of flame. Ray's house had begun to smolder, despite Kenneth's care to set the sprinkler on it, so the first fire truck took care to keep the flames away from Ray's house. Debbie's house was set a little further away so the second fire crew assisted the first crew looking after Ray's house.
"What happened?" Sheriff Dick Davis asked as Kenneth stood on the opposite side of the street, holding a violently shaking crate and a small framed photograph.
"Set it on fire," Kenneth shrugged. "Couldn't keep up with the payments so me and my wife, Jennifer, we decided if we burned it down, we'd get the insurance money and then we'd you know, get us a smaller place, one we could afford."
"You, you started this fire? Deliberately?" Sheriff Dick Davis asked, making sure that Deputy Orville Jackson was close enough to hear Kenneth's confession.
"Yeah," Kenneth shrugged. "Took the brats down to my Mom's for supper, you know, and then went to Huvall's and bought a couple of cans of gasoline and spread it all around. Oh, and did the car too; fucking payments were killing us, you know? God damn shame, though, forgot all about the truck. See, it's paid for. So, when you think we're going to get the insurance money?"