I am tired of all of this faux sentimentality.
It runs through my neighbourhood like a disease.
Every day it's the same, moms expressing their love for their offspring, husbands for their wives- god dammit, even people who aren't related profess their admiration and enjoyment in each other.
I'm sick of it- it's never tested. I don't believe in it. After all, we all stand alone, do we not? If the ship was sinking, would it not be ourselves that we would save? Who are these foolish people who lie to themselves, pretending to give a shit about anyone else? It's not the way the world works. At least, it's not how my world works. I like to read the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzshe. Now there's a guy with the right idea! Be honest! Stop deluding yourselves. Embrace the cold reality. Question everything, everything, everything.
I decide to stand alone, for this world is nothing but lies and deceit. My father whipped the creativity I had out of me, then went about his business as though nothing had happened. My mom looked on; looked through the tear stained face of her only son, and discussed the gardens of friends, the benefits of Maple flooring compared to Oak, the size of her hips. I fear nothing but the lies and the deceit. I recognise this in me and I accept it, totally. I fear nothing but the lies and the deceit.
I get a shotgun from my father's shining wooden cabinet- it's a beauty. In general, it's not hard to get your hands on guns in America, but it helps to have some in the house. And anyways, I'm only sixteen.
The house is silent; no one is in, Mom is out at a private gallery viewing, and Father is probably drinking at work. He's the boss though, so he doesn't get fired for things like that. Truth is, no one would say a word. He could drink as much of that dammed whiskey as he wanted in a day and no one would do anything. That's another thing I can't stand- sycophantic behaviour. It's only the Under classes of this world that get punished for shit. When you're Big Daddy, you can drink and and turn up late and ogle the secretary's bum 'cos apparently you've earned that right. Guess you earned the right to beat the shit out of your son, too.
I look out of the window, at the nice, affluent America that I despise. Nothing wrong with making money and living well, assuming that it's not from corrupt, hypocritical means, but that's the problem- it's all fucking corrupt and hypocritical. People all standing on each others necks to get up that ladder. That'd be ok- brutal- but ok, if you all just ADMITTED that's what you did. But no- you have barbecues in the sun, with friends and the precious pet dog, and close your eyes and ears (eating meat that's USDA approved which means shit- I've read about how they play soccer with the turkeys heads, and slice the noses off living pigs like they're already pepperoni and all the crap and the guts lying around and then the meat just gets some cursory glance by an inspector too terrified and trapped by the bullshit to do his job properly so it's deemed ok for human consumption when it's often not- and yeah this happens more regularly than you might like to think. Burger King anyone?)
You watch the news, but it's far away and doesn't really matter, but you pretend to care. It's quite amazing how far some people will take it, even getting slightly wet eyes at the plight of some kids in Romanian orphanages. Then two minutes later, it's forgotten and it's really, REALLY important who wins the NFL. You see, I don't care about the Romanian kids OR the fucking NFL. I don't believe in anything but the questioning of all doctrines. And I REALLY believe in that- just that, whereas you pretend to care about the kids and the sports, but the truth is you don't really care about anything much- the only difference, the only thing that separates us, is that you don't know it.
So anyways, I hold the gun and I look at it real good and hard, the way a man might look at a woman he wants to fuck, the type of fuck that he would like to have so much that he'd still do it even if she didn't want it. He'd rape that woman to get that fuck. He'd be really very honest about it.
I walk downstairs to the back door and step outside. It's a mild, windless day: the sky is clear blue. Makes me think of the morning of September 11th. Terrorists or freedom fighters? You decide.
I see Mrs Laney from next door and she's got her kid Samantha with her, who's with a friend- the Church girl, Becky from a few doors down. They're walking slow- kinda weary, like the kids have been playing up a bit and Mrs Laney hasn't got the energy to get any momentum going. She's an ugly woman, all straw like hair and big belly, but she's covered in Chanel this and Prada that, pretty tacky really. I watch until I see they get to their house and go inside. Then, with the gun concealed down my baggy pants I make my way to their front door and ring the bell.
I hear her plodding towards me. I inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. The air tastes of burning sausages and bonfires.
The door creaks, opens.
'Oh hello, Tyler," she says and she squints with short sighted eyes, "what's up?"
I do nothing for a moment, then I say:
"Your kid, Samantha..."
"She's got a friend in there with her hasn't she?"
"Yes, Becky Church is here- why?" She frowns at me, confused, slightly uneasy.
"It's just that I've heard you talking about Becky- you know, to my Mom. About how nice she is, what a lovely girl she is. How your kid should learn some manners from her- stuff like that. I think you might hit Samantha sometimes, when she plays up. Think I might have seen it once or twice. And name calling- telling her she's hopeless, that you wish she'd never been born and that her dad was alright before she came along. That wont get you good behaviour, now, will it? You expect respect from that?"
I've got her now. She stares at me, horrified. I have just broken a polite society rule- never be honest.
"What's this got to do with you?" she says coldly.
"Well I've got a question for you Mrs Laney and I need you to answer it. You're always praising Becky and bitchin about your own daughter. So you see, I've got me here a big old shot gun and I'm gonna shoot you, or Becky or Samantha dead- it's going to be up to you."
I pat my pants and she looks down. The tip of the gun is just visible. I push inside, before she can react and hold her firm from behind, my hand covering her mouth.
I growl in her ear, "Now- you answer me- who should I kill? The daughter you're always bitchin about or the girl of no blood relation to you that you're always praising? Make a decision, or I shoot you!"
Now I know this might seem quite far fetched, but I promise you this is how it all happens. Into the house, and bam!- she gets her question.
I can hear the girls playing in the garden, lots of shrieking and laughing. There's no man of the house, not anymore. I have nothing to worry about but getting Mrs Laney's answer.
I guide her slowly into the front room.
"Sit," I command and she stumbles onto a chair.
I release my gun from it's hiding place and point it in her face.
"Now one more time- who do I kill?"
She's losing it now- realising this is serious, that there's a madman in her house who just happens to live next door.
"Please," she sobs, "please don't do this!"
"I just want your answer, Mrs Laney."
"I don't want to die!" she weeps.
"So you're choosing one of the children?"
"No! No!, not my baby- you can't shoot my baby!"
"So you mean I should kill Becky then?"
I am speaking quietly, firmly- I'm enjoying this.
She shakes her head, wildly: "No! That's not what I meant!"
I push the gun under her double chin and fix my eyes onto hers.
"Make a fucking decision, or you're dead."
There is a shocking silence. She goes completely rigid. Tears stream down her face. She is mute with the horror.
She comes back to me, struggling with everything- but not completely, because suddenly the decision is easy. Suddenly, she is honest.
"Kill Becky," she whispers, and then she slumps down into the chair.
I let her have a moment. I rest the gun against my leg and scratch my arm. Outside the kids are singing. Briefly, I envy them.
I look down at the crumpled, trembling woman. I almost smile.
"Well done, Mrs Laney- you made a choice. You should think about that choice and why you made it."
She says nothing, but she is becoming slightly calmer as she notices that I have not moved. I have not gone outside and shot dead an innocent child.
"The gun wasn't loaded, but you didn't know that. You didn't want to die, Mrs Laney. You wanted to save you own life. That is understandable. It seems you also wanted your own flesh and blood to survive. You chose the outsider. The stranger. Her manners may be good, but she lost out here. It might be harsh, but it's true. Why is that? Perhaps now in life, you will treat your daughter as just that- your daughter. And you will know that you really mean it."
She is silent, but perhaps something clicks.
"You're a god dam son of a bitch, Tyler," she finally spits, but I like her spirit, I like her truth.
"Yes, ma'am I think I just might be."
She sighs, shifts her weight around on the chair. "I hated her, when Simon left- I hated her. I blamed her. I guess I should have blamed him."
I don't say anything. I don't need to.
I take my gun and stick it down my pants again.
"I'll be going now." I turn to the door and then I look back- I want this moment to be stored in my mind forever.
She sits, quite still, but there is something there that wasn't before. An energy. An acknowledgement.
"You know, you really should read some philosophy, Mrs Laney," I say as I make my way out, "something that opens up the mind. Take my advice! Friedrich Nietzshe is the man."
I slam the door behind me, and walk past the kids, who are sitting on the front lawn making friendship bracelets. Samantha looks up at me and smiles. I am capable of seeing it for what it is- a real, shy smile, like the one I used to have.