I don't know what this
I turned around and closed my eyes.
He turned around and closed his eyes (The whole story is that trick, the one Doctorow borrowed. My turn, now.) and took three deep breathes, then two more. Unconsciously, his hands balled. "Okay, I've got this," he said. Six feet, five inches tall. One hundred and eighty-seven pounds (thirteen stone). Thick, grey-white hair. Thirty-three years old. White.
He walked into the house. Dinner smells --Garlic, tomato sauce, cheap red meat -- greeted him. "Hello," he said.
"Hi honey, you're home," his wife looked tired. She turned and smiled at the children running ram-shot through the living room.
Consistency is the most important thing. If you're going to be a monster, you need to be a consistent one. If you're nice one day and a monster the next, that is worse for a child's upbringing than a monster all the time. At least with a 100% monster they know what's coming and can prepare accordingly. With a 100% monster children won't be caught off guard.
People won't be caught off guard, but I suppose this is the lesson in the scorpion and the turtle.
(Everyone should find a way out. We were happy. I know I was the sky, should've found a way out. . . --- Issac Brock.)
Locked in this room, Danielle wailed and threw his body against the door. It rattled in the frame and he screamed, a high pitched, animal-is-tic shriek. Downstairs, seven people, four adults and three more children pretended, badly, not to hear the wailing. Some of the adults made excuses into their soup bowls. Things like, "He needs to learn his lesson." or, "I don't want to listen to that any more today."
The dining room. The dining room is bare walls with glue stuck on it --an unfinished project from over a year ago, when the wallpaper ("Garish," they said) was steamed off. The bulbs were iridescent, uncovered. The shadows under battered the table were sharp.
The shrieking stopped. The small talk continued.
. . . my life is fucked up. This is too close. I'm watching children get damaged by the adults they live with and I'm not stopping it enough and sometimes I contribute.
I am a monster, but I've got rules and guidelines and I can use the way I feel a lot of the time to point me in the right direction. It is the opposite of the way I feel, a lot of the time. Examples:
Kiss on the cheek
Tell people: I'm really well, thank you.
These are the opposite of the direction my moral, emotional, reactive compasses point me toward.
So many of my responses are autonomic. I hear myself talking about things I know I've learned at some point, but have internalized so deeply they come out subconsciously. Polite firmness. Friendly assertiveness. Helping others.
I wasn't always a monster.
I'm certainly self aware, maybe more self aware than other monsters I'm living with.
A charnel house of broken children and the ghoulish grownups feeding on misery so much they're autocannibalizing even as they suckle on the souls of their children.
Like I said, my life is fucked up. (We are water.)
Just diving right in here, aren't we? (we are.)
A Pyrrhic victory for a monster could be a solid win for the heroes, (re: good guys --the children) if they had the right attitude.
I'm too close to this.
There are two couches in the living room, pointed at the television, not the fireplace with the crooked, cracked masonry.
The floors are wood, badly finished and wearing down. Scratched, scuffed. Blood red.
I'm so tired I can't even
. . .is how that works.
Unrelated, that is.
The stairs all creak.
The adults murdered a family of mice living in the basement last winter, but it sent a message. In the basement there was a fridge. The dead mice were left there for almost a week. The basement stank and the smell sunk into the clothes hanging, drying. But there are no more mice in the house.