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Hate on First Sight | A Short Story

Every time Meri did a walk-through of the cemetery, she ended up scolding the groundskeeper about leaving flowers to rot. 

“Miss, uh, flowers die…just like people.” 

“You’re right. You are sooo right. This is the thing though, Jimmy. When people die, we mourn them. Sometimes, loved ones bring flowers every week. Sometimes they bury them and never come back. Ever.” 

She gave him a reassuring smile. “However, anyone else visiting the cemetery sees those dead flowers and lots of things go through their minds. Things like, that poor bastard doesn’t have anyone who loves them. Or, how long does it take for flowers to die and rot like that…? It gives them a glimpse of their own mortality just as much as all the headstones. Do you understand what I mean, Jimmy? Are you picking up what I’m laying down?”


“Listen. Once they all look the same color, it’s nothing more than potpourri in shit shape…not fitting for a once-living human’s gravesite. Throw them the hell out!”

“Sure, uh, yes, miss.” 

Leaving him to ponder the vastness of the universe – based on his stunned expression, she continued her inspection of the mausoleum. 

She staggered to a stop when she found a grown man on the floor of her beautiful structure in a three-thousand-dollar suit and an empty bottle of Grey Goose beside him. 

“How in the actual hell…?” Walking to him, Meri pulled her cloak of peopling around her. “Sir. Oh, sir.” Under her breath, she mumbled, “Are you fucking kidding me…?” 

Crouching beside him, she reached out to touch him. As her finger landed on the shoulder of his suit jacket, he reacted as if she’d set off a firecracker. 

He simultaneously grabbed Meri’s wrist, pivoted her over his body, and hovered directly above her. Their faces were far too close.

“How did I…” She frowned as she processed her situation and then yelled, “Excuse me, sir! How dare you manhandle me! What are you doing here? Unhand me this instant! Do it now!” 

One side of his mouth lifted in a smile. “Which?” She frowned harder. “Answer your question or unhand you?” 

“Both! I cannot believe I’m on my back in the mausoleum. I have meetings today. My clothes. Ugh!” She released a bloodcurdling scream of frustration. 

Jimmy came running from the grounds. Seeing her on her back, beneath a strange man, and other various clues such as her scream, didn’t seem to instill him with a sense of urgency. 

He mumbled, “Sorry to interrupt, miss. I’ll leave you to your business.” Then he turned to leave. 

Closing her eyes against the soft laughter of her assailant, Meri said, “Jimmy. So help me god…please come over here and help me up.” 

“Sure, miss.” He walked over. 

“Stop calling me miss. We’re cousins and you know my damn name.” She held out her hand and realized Jimmy was standing several feet away with one hand out. “Please. To all the saints milling around without a damn thing to do. I’m gonna lose it.” 

The man half covering her laughed warmly. He bounced to his feet, grabbed both her hands, and literally shot her to an upright position on her feet. It happened so fast, she was dizzy. 

“Sorry about that.” He winked and started brushing the dust off her back.

Slapping his hands away, she glared menacingly. “I don’t know you but I’m positive I’m supposed to hate you. Like…Biblical level hate, medieval hate, you killed my father, prepare to die hate. Who the hell are you?” 

“I came to chat with my dad. Yesterday was his birthday. He loved Grey Goose. The gates were closed by the time I made it from the airport. I scaled them and caught Pops up on all the happenings of the last year.” Leaning close, he said shyly, “He was fascinated and drank me under the table. As usual.” 

Tucking her arm through his, he added, “I am starving! Let’s go have breakfast! Do you like pancakes?” 

He’d half guided, half carried Meri twenty feet to the exit of the normally dignified marble structure before her brain caught up to his actions. 

“Let me go! Are you damaged? Are you an escapee from a mental hospital? You can’t just…” 

He nuzzled her cheek with a sigh. “Can’t I though? You’re just adorable.” 

Not one human who’d ever met Meri from the day of her birth had ever blasphemed in such a manner. She gasped as his sin ricocheted through the bowels of hell and sealed his fate. 

“How dare you? Bunnies are adorable. Small children – without snot who don’t speak or touch things – are adorable. Sleeping puppies – I’ve heard – are adorable. All from a distance, mind you, but adorable.” Then she screamed in his face, “I am not now nor will I ever be adorable!”

“Meri…?” Her father’s voice behind her made her jump. “Please explain why you’re screaming at your sister’s ex-husband. We have visitors on the grounds. A little early for this sort of thing – even for you, dear.” 

The object of her pure, unadulterated hatred smiled with his perfect teeth. “I’m Phillip Baileywick. It’s so lovely to meet you.” 

Meri punched him.

© Shayne McClendon

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