I know that children are a blessing in our lives. God knows John and I love all three of our children. But just at this moment, we have been cornered by the enemy and the inmates have taken over the asylum. There’s only 10 days left until school starts. We are out of money, food, gas, patience and our minds.
We haven’t seen much of our 16-year-old son. He appears in the shower or kitchen sometimes and then mysteriously disappears. Laundry and dirty dishes appear after a sighting. I recognize some of the clothes as his but others are items I have never seen before. Several female items have shown up in his laundry, including a bra. I asked John if he thought our son was a transvestite, but John said no, he’s just lucky. That can only mean what I don’t want it to mean, so I’m choosing to ignore it.
We have also noticed a young man, dressed in the all-black goth style, living on our couch. He has many tattoos including brightly colored flames on his neck. Recently we noticed our 15-year-old daughter has acquired tattoos of flames on her neck. John and I are beginning to suspect a connection.
As I said, there’s not much food left. John and I have been living on Totino’s Pizza Rolls and vodka. We were foraging in the kitchen the other day when our ten-year-old son found us. Then he said, “You guys must be tired of vodka, let me make you something better.” Whereupon our 10-year-old son opened the liquor cabinet, grabbed some bottles, some ice from the freezer, and announced he would make us two Sex on the Beach cocktails. Not only did he make those cocktails, they were among the best I ever had.
John and I stared into our cocktails. I must have had a look of stunned horror on my face after what I had just seen and tasted. John sensed my shock, gently touched my hand and said, “Look at it this way, darling. Bartending is a job skill after all.” In my mentally porous state, that statement was somehow comforting.
We took our Sex on the Beach cocktails, some saltines and some Twizzlers that we found and navigated back to our bedroom, where we have been living since mid-August. We smelled cigarette smoke on the way, which may have been from our daughter. I prayed it wasn’t from Bartender boy, and we just decided to believe it was old flame-neck.
From our window we can see into Frank and Nancy’s backyard next door. They are living in their camper. We watched them slip into their backyard carrying IGA bags. We believed they had actual food. I took a light pillowcase and in lipstick wrote the word ‘HELP.’ John hung it out the window and then in the cover of darkness, Frank came to the window and said he’d bring us hot dogs and potato salad. Plus, they would trade us some of Nancy’s Valium for vodka. Frank said, “Stay low, all the kids are nagging for a last hurrah of the summer. As long as they think we are too poor to buy anything, too weak to drive anywhere and too stupid to come up with new ideas to entertain them, we’re safe. Keep the faith.”