I should give you the tour. Pardon the mess. It’s a 6 bedroom ranch style home in southern Arkansas. There are 2.5 bathrooms. There is a 20 acre yard with a garden. I have a lot of money. You probably wouldn’t guess that if you met me on the street, but there you go. You’ve got the inside scoop. I inherited most of it from my grandparents. They owned stuff, like, important stuff. I don’t know too much about it on account of my parents were estranged from them and refused to talk about them, which is why when my grandparents died the money skipped straight past them and right into their only grandchild’s lap- that’s me. I am, since you can’t see for your own two eyes I’ll tell you, 5 feet and 4 inches tall. I have brown wavy hair that comes to my shoulders and I mostly wear it in a ponytail. I am 28 years old. I’ve lived in this house that I bought with the inheritance money 5 years ago. I also quit my job about 4 years ago. See- I kept working for a little bit after the money came, which I think says something good about me. But then, eventually, I quit and now I don’t do anything, which I think says something bad about me. So, I have money. So, you get it.
My best friend is Marshal. He is 27 and he works at Subway. He’s kind of ugly. But so am I- I guess. I weigh a bit more than “they” say a person of my height’s supposed to weigh. So, I’m fat and Marshal’s ugly on account of his acne and his deep brown circles swallowing his eyes and his lankiness and his occasional drug use and his long hair. So, that’s us. He stays with me sometimes but then I always get sick of him and throw him out.
My parents sometimes want to borrow money from me, which is fun and funny. And most of the time I say no but sometimes I say yes. It’s nice having that power over them now. Growing up they were dumb as rocks and never gave me an allowance and wouldn’t let me do anything of the things I wanted to do, like go to space camp or ride the mechanical horsey at the supermarket. So, now I get to say what and when and whatever they can and can’t do. So, ha!
I get these huge cysts behind my ears. Well, not HUGE. It’s not like anyone else can see them, but I can feel them. They are huge and painful and sort of itchy and I always try and pop them like a zit, but they’re not a zit and it just makes them hurt more but then sometimes they do sort of pop and this white puss comes out of them and the bump goes down. I inherited that from my father. Real nice, right?
Oh, look. Here comes Jim. Jim’s my occasional boyfriend. He’s ugly but not so ugly as Marshal. He’s kind of cute ugly- you know, like one of those mutt dogs? He’s like that. Scraggly. He’s about 43 though so the cute’s bout to start wearing off and then he’ll just be ugly. He’s knocking on the door right now and I’m answering it. “Yeah,” I say. He doesn’t say anything, just walks right in, goes to the couch and takes his clothes off. “Okay,” I say. I take just my sweatpants and underpants off. I get on top of him and ride the horsey. We finish quickly and I roll off of him and we watch some TV. He coughs. We watch. He coughs. We watch. He coughs. “Jesus,” I say, annoyed. “What?” He asks, annoyed. “Coughity, cough, cough, cough.” “I can’t help it. I’ve got bronchitis.” “Shit, man. Did you just give that shit to me?” “I don’t fucking know.” “Get out of here. And take some goddamn vitamins!” “Ah, fuck you.” He gathers his clothes, puts some on, leaves some off, and slams the door.
“Jesus.” I say to the empty house and then get up and run a bath. I like to bathe. It’s pretty good. That steam rising up off the hot water and twisting and turning out the open window. It’s snowing outside right now. They say we’re supposed to get about 10 inches by tomorrow. We’ll see about that. I call up my Mom while the water runs.
“Hey.” She says back, and I can hear the clanging of plates in the background.
“What are you doing? Eating? Or doing dishes?”
“Polishing the silver.”
“Huh. What did you do today?”
“Worked. Came home. Made dinner. Cleaned. Polished silver.”
“What did you do?”
“Ya know. Same old.”
“No, not nothing. I did something. I sold that old wooden horsey grandma left me.”
“You did? Why?”
“Well, I was going to throw it out, like I told you last Sunday- didn’t you tell Bill Biggins that?”
“Oh, right. I mentioned that to him. But I thought you’d just give it to him. That’s what I told him.”
“Well, why would I do that?”
“Well, you don’t need the money, do you? And they’re hard up.”
“Well, that’s life, isn’t it? You can’t get something for nothing.”
“Well, you did. Didn’t you?”
“Well, that’s me. I’m the exception.”
“Think mighty high of yourself.”
“No, Mom. It’s just the facts of the lottery of life. I don’t think I deserve it, but I don’t not deserve it. Same as anyone. Just happened to happen to me. Can’t help it. But that don’t mean I gotta go giving everything way.”
“Well, what did you charge him?”
“15 at first, but he only paid 10. See, I’m nice.”
“10 for that old piece of crap? I’m not even sure it’s safe for kids anymore. You test it out?”
“On what? It’s not like I can ride it myself anymore.”
“Honey, you couldn’t ride it when you were a kid either. You little chubbybubby.”
“Thanks. Well, I’m sure it’s fine.”
“Okay. My bath’s ready for me now. Don’t want to keep it waiting.”
“Alright then. Talk to you tomorrow.”
I stuck my toe into the water and it zapped me with its scalding temperature. “COLD!!!!!!” I yelled, even though the word I wanted was to say was HOT. That ever happen to you? You go to say something and you end up saying the opposite? Weird brain stuff, huh? I ran some cold water as I undressed the rest of the way. I put on a fancy facemask to make my skin look radiant. I tested with my other toe. Just right, said goldilocks. I slipped the rest of the way in and under and listened to my heart beat under the water.