All the windows wore horizontal white shutters, which could be closed on the will of the inhabitants, effectively shutting the house into it’s own reality, it’s walls protected by custom and privacy laws. The vines were carefully tended so as to not block the windows; after all, it was important to occasionally let the light in. At least, that’s what Nancy said, and we pretty much did what Nancy said.
To the outside world she was Nancy N. German (as by friend/brother Toolie was fond of saying, the second “N” stood for Nazi), a dental hygienist in her early forties. Never married, few friends, usually found either at work or at home. As it was, Nancy bemoaned the necessity of her spending any time away from the home. However, money being as it was, something had to be done to bring it in.
Sometimes people ask me why Sammy doesn’t work so my mother (they think Nancy is my mother, because she told them she was) can stay home with the kids. I tell them it’s because Sammy (who is also supposed to be my father, even though the little freak hasn’t gotten it up since 1981) is simple. In the head. And then I do that thing where you poke your temple and twirl your finger. Sometimes I cross my eyes and let my tongue hang out.
As you can imagine, this behaviour hasn’t won me many friends. What it has won me has been a lifetime of abuse and ostrasization. If you have ever experienced life outside of the pack, you will understand me when I say that when you are an outsider, anything can happen to you. My guidance counselor (whose name was Mr. P. Didhee, I shit you not) used to rag on me all the time. He had a favourite line: can’t you at least try to fit in?
The thing was, I could, but I couldn’t, you know. Yeah, lot of times I knew what everyone wanted from me, what I was supposed to do to be normal. Sometimes I could do it, because it was nothing much. Sometimes I could do it, but I wouldn’t, because I thought it was dumb. So yeah, I’ll have a smoke. No, I won’t help you burn ants. I never got that. Where’s the fun in that? It’d be like God putting you into a family where everyone hates each other.
The other thing was, Nancy prefers me to be on the outside looking in. Apparently we can never really trust anyone else, from the outside. No matter what, they have a different agenda, and sometime our agendas will conflict, and they will become the enemy. It was inevitable. And yes, she really does think like that. If there’s one last sweater on sale and you stand between Nancy and her discount, do yourself a huge favour and step aside.
To date, Nancy has physically assaulted seventeen different women during sales at the mall. She has been banned from the mall seven times, but simply returns the next day as if nothing had happened. Mall security just leaves her alone. Can you blame them? Who would want to deal with a gigantic (five foot eleven!), angry woman with rage issues? Not worth the $4.50 an hour.
So everyone outside of the house is an enemy. Pretty intense training for a kid. I have to say, it has come in handy. While my neighbour was learning to play the violin, I was learning to pick pockets. I could hotwire a car by ten. I was driving at 9; I used to prop Sammy up in the passenger side and tool around the neighbourhood. I liked to see how many times I could swerve suddenly and slap Sammy’s head against the side window.
Sometimes a cop would pull me over, so I would cry and do the “my daddy’s drunk and I’m just a little girl” thing, and tell them how I had to drive my daddy home so mommy wouldn’t leave us. That bit worked perfectly every time. Well, one time the cop took me in to the station and put Sammy in jail. I fucked off while the cops were photocopying Melissa Sotheby’s library card (I had also long ago learned the advantages of a set of fake ID).
I’m pretty sure Nancy’s not my mother. I remember someone else, a redhead like me. She used to hold me, and sing me a song. I can hear the song when I’m asleep, but it always sublimates into whispers when I awake. The kind of recurring dream thing that really starts to piss you off by, oh, aged eight. Nancy says the redhead is a false memory, or maybe a movie I watched. Only the dream woman didn’t call me Sarah; she said my name was Lydia.
Sometimes, when I was about six or seven, we would have to do these bullshit assignments when you wrote about your families and what they did, and stuff. The very first one I wrote caused a lot of trouble for me. Nancy had made quite certain that I understood the importance of secrecy, and the value of lies. My problem was, while I understood this on a verbal level, the idea didn’t quite translate into the written.
My first assignment told it as it was. Every grisly detail, including the times that I found Sammy masturbating in a closet/bathroom/hallway/kitchen/McDonald’s restroom/etc. They made me stay after school and talk to a man with a nice voice who had licorice. Luckily I had come to realize by then that when strangers gave you candy, they were out to fuck you one way or the other.
They wanted to talk about my assignment, which I knew right away was bad, so I immediately disavowed all knowledge. After being reminded of my signature, which appeared at the bottom of the written confessional, I immediately switched to story mode. I explained it all as a fantasy, a game I played when pretending to be someone else. It could just as easily have been a pirate story.
Nancy got there pretty quick, and took me and the paper home (although she had to threaten to sue before they would give it to her). Each one was punished by burning; the latter via fireplace, the former via curling iron. You didn’t like to bother Nancy too often, that’s for sure.
I guess maybe I am a bit selfish. Nancy says it’s all for a good reason, the secrecy and paranoia. She says we’re part of an army, a tiny unit hidden away in a sea of hidden units, all over the country, all over the world. When the time comes, we will rise and throw off our disguises, and glory in the death and destruction of all mankind.
That last part pisses me off a bit, because I still haven’t kissed anyone. I’m not picky, boy or girl is fine by me, but if we kill everyone else off, all we’ll have left is guys like Sammy. I’d toss my own salad before I’d kiss that bloated white freak.But you don’t know, either, because there could be some hot guys on our side too. After the slaughter there will probably be some kind of orgy, I suppose. After all, there ought to be. After all, where’s the fun in fighting for Hell if you can’t enjoy the sin along the way?