Sunday, February 04, 2007


The house is at the base of two hills, the lowest point in a little green valley, surrounded on all sides by similar houses but separated by fences, and really it's too large to be a house, but a house anyway with two peaked roofs and two separate attics. The house is gray and tall with many windows and two garages and a neat hexagonal lawn lined with a garden of green shrubs and snow-covered dead little flowers. I tell Aaron to stop. "We're here," I say. 'We are here,' I think, but I feel desperate and disappointed and I think the words, 'home-invasion' but I'm not excited and I'm not anything so I hold my hands together in a little knot and carefully stop myself from thinking.

Erik snores against the window.

"Where are we?" Aaron asks.

"Here," I say.

The garage-doors are open. I can see two gray sedans, and from the garage-ceiling hang two gray racing bikes and along the garage-walls are rows of gray steel grids from which hang power-drills and hammers and screwdrivers and skill-saws and routers. I open the car door and slowly step out onto the sidewalk, which is snowy and icy and deadly. I move closer to the garage. Now I can see the little line of light beneath the door that leads from the garage into the house, an elongated rectangle of light, very symmetrical and bright. I move toward it.

"Wait," says Aaron.

"Yes, wait," Erik says. Erik has awakened and is out of the car. His face is very tight and small.

I move at a steady pace. I can hear Aaron and Erik behind me and feel Aaron and Erik's bodies approaching, but when I turn, Aaron and Erik's bodies are still some distance away and so I continue my pace into the garage and toward the door. I turn again and see Aaron and Erik. Their faces are little red balls floating from their necks and their mouths open and close in a rhythmic way but I can't hear the words their mouths are forming and these words must be very important but the mouths are moving secretly and angrily and I want suddenly to be these mouths and understand the movements of these mouths and to form words with these mouths in a meaningful and important way and later to write the words down in my diary.

My hand is on the door. Aaron is distant. Erik is nearby.

Anastasia once told me it was good luck to touch every door that you see and that if you miss a door you will probably die. I didn't believe her.

"That's stupid," I said. I was very short then and my hair was very long.

"It's true," Anastasia said. "Everything's true."

I followed her into the backyard and onto a rough patio where we sat cross-legged, knee to knee. Our knees were bare because we wore skirts that fluttered when we moved and the sky was a soft blanket above us, wide and long so that no matter where you looked there was the sky falling down on you.

I said, "Don't be so permissible. For example, I could say, 'You are the ant-queen' and that wouldn't make it true."

"It would be kind of true."


"If you tell me something, then the thing you told me is a real thing and real things are true."

I looked dumbly at Anastasia. "Follow me," I said.

I walked slowly into the garage, this garage, and Anastasia followed close behind. There was little room to move around because of the cars and the tools and bicycles and toys and footballs and everything else our parents had crammed into the little garage. I moved sideways next to my mother's car and leaned against the wall and removed a battery-operated power-drill from the grid.

"You're a robot," I said. "I helped put you together on your birthday. We bought you in a kit at the store because I wanted a little sister."

Anastasia didn't say anything. She leaned against our mother's car, a great gray sedan with four large and heavy doors and a massive windshield that shined with some of the outdoor light.

"I put your head together, that was my job. I used this power-drill to put your head together and I'm bored and now I'm going to take it apart." I turned the power-drill on. "Don't worry about the pain, it shouldn't hurt that much, and anyway you're a robot and you can't really feel pain, pain, for you, is just part of your 'programming' and nothing to worry about. I know about these things. I learned about them in school."

"Don't," Anastasia said. "Please."

But I did.

I removed her eyes first.

Outside of her head, Anastasia's eyes were very large and round like billiards balls, maybe, and Anastasia's eyes were very soft and pliable and I pushed them with my fingers and my fingers pushed into Anastasia's eyes and Anastasia's eyes began to leak a clear fluid, as though I had punctured the eyes with my fingers and the eyes shrank slowly and became shriveled things like little brown prunes or raisins.

'Which is wrong,' I think. I think, 'I am wrong.'

Something has happened.

Erik is touching my shoulder softly from the side and Aaron is staring directly into my eyes.

"You stopped moving," Aaron says.

Erik says, "You said something but I couldn't hear what you said."

"Nothing," I say. "I was thinking something." I touch the door. "Home-invasion," I say.

"Why this house?" Aaron asks.

"Because they're rich. Can't you see? The house is very large."


I consider Aaron's question. "I removed Anastasia's eyes with a power-drill," I say. "I was thirteen." I open the door into the house. There is a long hallway with shiny hardwood floors and a high white ceiling and very flat white walls, all well-lighted with regularly placed fixtures made to look like torches but instead of fire there are little twisted fluorescent light-bulbs and the light from the fluorescent light-bulbs is pale and dead. "Follow me," I say. I step into the hallway. I listen to my shoes on the hard-wood floor. "Home-invasion."

When I was fifteen I was alone in the house for a year. Merna was at college. Anastasia was dead. My parents were vacationing in the Virgin Islands or something and my grandparents were my caretakers. I came home from school and found my Grandparents cold and unmoving in the family-room. I called my parents told my parents and my parents laughed at me and said, "You're so funny…" I called Merna and Merna said, "Don't call me bitch." I left the bodies in the family-room and closed all of the family-room doors and carefully placed thick bath-towels under the family-room doors and removed the knobs on the doors and filled the doors' knob-less holes with cardboard and then, with old white paint from the garage, painted the family-room doors so that the family-room doors looked like solid walls. I called my parents and told them what I'd done. "Don't lie," my mother said. "If you always lie some day you'll turn into a slut," my mother said. "All sluts are liars and all liars are sluts."

"No mom," I said. "I did it."

"Don't call me again," my mother said.

I walked to the grocery store. I wore loose clothing and I filled my loose clothing with fruits and vegetables. I thought, 'It's better to steal healthy food.'

In the morning, I went to high school and to math class and to my math teacher I said, "I'm quitting. You won't see me anymore."

My math teacher said, "You're not really allowed to quit. There are laws and other things. Besides, next week is quadratics." He looked at my hands very carefully. "Quadratics!" he said.

"I'm moving to Tibet," I said. "My parents are Buddhists and we are going to learn meditation from this really famous monk in Tibet for a year and become better, more centered people. I think I am supposed to learn 'enlightenment.'"


I nodded.

My math teacher's eyes became very active and his hands clenched into fists repeatedly until he stepped to the whiteboard and began erasing equations in orderly way. He erased variables in alphabetic order, then numbers from least to greatest. "Quadratics are really dynamite. You could really learn a lot," he said. On my math teacher's desk was a shiny silver pen with a very sharp tip. My hand reached slowly toward it and removed it from the desk. The pen was heavy in my hand and the pen was heavy in my pocket.

I stayed home whenever possible. With my math teacher's pen, I made shopping lists, and late at night I took the shopping lists to the grocery store and stole what food I needed. On Sundays I called Merna. I would say to Merna over the phone, "Today I stole apples and pears and carrots and lettuce and a pineapple and a cantaloupe."

"I told you not to call me," Merna would say.

"I have become enlightened. I meditate three times a day."

"Good for you bitch."

I loved my sister very much and she loved me.

In the garage, I built a small model house, three feet high, five feet a wide, a detailed miniature version of this house with windows and hardwood floors and carpeting and a garage and two attics. I made little people and little furniture and arranged everything as it should be within the model house. I called my mother and told my mother about the model house.

"It's perfect," I said. "It has everything."

"You're such a lying slut," she said.

I took the model house into the backyard and soaked the model house with lighter-fluid and made a little lighter-fluid trail up to the model house and from a distance lighted the little lighter-fluid trail with my zippo lighter and watched the little model house burn into tiny little ashes.

"Beautiful," I said then. "Beautiful," I say now.

"What?" says Aaron.

I tell him about my grandparents and the model house.

"I don't believe anything you say anymore," Aaron says.

At the end of the long hallway is the foyer. To the left is the carpeted family-room, separated from the foyer by a low wooden railing and sunken into the floor, three steps down. To the right is the main entrance and wide wooden door with a four-panel stained-glass window depicting the flight of pigeons near a willow tree. Above is a silver chandelier.

I jump into the family-room. I jump onto the piano.

"Get off," says Erik. Erik looks around the foyer and angles his head as though listening for sounds or movement or danger.

"Let's destroy this piano," I say. "Help me push it outside. I have lighter-fluid. We can burn the whole thing on the patio. We can take all the furniture to the patio and burn the furniture with lighter-fluid and make a big pile of burnt furniture and pianos and stuff."

I hop to the floor and push the piano. The piano doesn't move.

"Come on," Erik says. "Stop it."

"Whoever these people are, are probably home," Aaron says. "I don't know where they are but they're here, and if they come in here, what're we going to do? Kill everybody? Tie them to chairs and torture them or something? It's too dangerous. We should go watch a movie or something. This whole thing's stupid and I've let it go too far." Aaron falls heavily onto a wide sofa. His torso falls at a different speed than his arms and his head, and each part of Aaron is falling at a different speed and the sofa slides a little and hits the wall. Aaron's narrow little head flops over the top of the sofa and his wide fat body sinks into the sofa until the sofa springs back and holds Aaron's body in place. "This is nice," Aaron says. "I don't want to burn it."

"My grandparents died on that sofa."

Erik chuckles.

Aaron touches the arm of the sofa and pulls the fabric on the arm of the sofa and moves the fabric side to side and rubs the fabric. "Nice sofa."

"Erik," I say. "Make love to me on the piano."


"It'll be very entertaining for Aaron."

Erik looks confused and moves away from me. "I can't," Erik says. Erik moves into the hallway and leans against the wall. "My name is Todd."

I sit at the piano and push the piano-keys and listen to the sounds of the piano-keys which are high-pitched and very raw, and so I push some other piano-keys in a rhythmic way but with no regard for sound or beauty. "This is my step-parents' house," I say. "They're probably sleeping. My step-parents sleep all day. They're very boring people and they can't move from their bed because their bed is so comfortable and it's painful for them to move and especially to see people or to watch television. They're hiding from us. My step-parents hide from everybody. My step-parents are terrified that murderers will come and burn them in their bed or even tie them to the bed and cut small pieces from their little bodies until they slowly, painfully bleed to death, and especially they are terrified of bleeding in the bed and staining their very soft satin sheets. I told them about the bloodstains I made on satin sheets and how hard the bloodstains were to clean and they are terrified for their bed which is very expensive and antique and from Lisbon." Aaron and Erik aren't listening to me. Erik has moved to the sofa and is sitting next to Aaron. Aaron holds in his hand the television remote-control and has turned on the television, and on the television is a beautiful elderly women with beautiful elegant wrinkles wearing a soft red skirt and a beautiful white blouse and she is crying and behind the beautiful elderly women is a young man with wide white teeth and symmetrical facial features and he is leaning against the wall with his hands in his pockets. The symmetrical young man shakes his head and say, "It had to be done." I don't know what that means. I think, 'People who are symmetrical are happier than people who are not symmetrical.' I say, "I'm asymmetrical and it's really really terrible."

Erik looks at me and then back at the television.

Aaron says, "Sshhh."

"Steal everything," I say. There is a sound from somewhere and I look there and it is the stairs and there's a foot. It's the foot of my step-mother who hates me and who beat me when I was young with a stick. "She beat me on Fridays and Sundays," I say.

"Sshhh," Erik says.

I can see the ankle on the stairs and I can see the knee on the stairs and the hem of the thick terrycloth bathrobe and the waist with its little tie and slowly the bulge of breasts and shoulders and the little wrinkled head above the terrycloth bathrobe and the long gray hair pulled tightly into a little gray pony-tail and draped carefully over one shoulder. And my step-mother can see me with her little gray eyes and it is terrible and I am terribly aware of her terrible wrinkles.

"You came," she says with a little delighted smile. "I didn't think you'd come, you never come here anymore."

"I came."

"Who's this? Who're these people?"

"It's Aaron and Erik. They're my lovers."

"Oh, you're terrible," she says. She steps down into the family-room and holds out her finely wrinkled hand to Aaron and Aaron takes her hand and their hands are shaking. "I'm Stella," she says. She looks at Aaron and Erik and Aaron and Erik look at her in a curious way and the television is bright and lighted behind them. On the television, the beautiful, elegant woman is crying into her old and useless hands. My step-mother smiles at me. She says, "I'm the old, useless grandmother."


MadisonGlass said...

Sorry I haven't been commenting to you on the blog. But it is very good. Of course. Just don't quit writing it. It is all so brilliant and I want to read it all.

amber said...

all of your little insecurities are for not. now we have a 'rising action.' it's damn good o. damned good.