by Timothy McGivney

an excerpt


Bedroom door locked, check. Curtains closed, check. Lights off, remote in hand, check, check. It's just me now, total darkness, total silence. Standing with head bowed, legs spread wide in a tight V shape, left hand on hip, right straight above me, I activate the remote. Lightening quick, the hand above me shoots down and back, propelling the remote across the hardwood floor. Simultaneously, a spotlight from above showers my body in a pure and commanding light as a microphone beneath me bursts out and up to meet my parted lips. Pause. One hand gracefully reaches for the shaft of the microphone while the other tenderly caresses the head. Pause.

Through a ceiling to floor mirror that covers an entire wall, I "smize" at my stunning reflection, having easily mastered the come-fuck-me look that's going to sell me millions of CDs. Christian Louboutin's red-soled, six-inch heels, check. Fishnet stockings, check. White satin traffic cone bra (originally worn by Madonna in Truth or Dare), check. Flawless hair, nails, and makeup, check, check, check. Once again, I've outdone myself. I'm the total package-unfuckingstoppable!

My top of the line Karaoke system stores over a thousand songs. Of these, I've mastered at least half of them. But it's only this one that really counts, and as I hear the familiar notes to "On My Own" (from the eight time Tony award winning Broadway smash, Les Miz) flood the room, my body softens, my heart opens and I begin to sing. The room fills and swells with the voice of an angel-my voice. It's this one song that will be my ticket to fame and freedom. It's this one song that I've been preparing for above all others. It's this one song that will make judges Andy and Tara shit bricks. If they could just get the chance to hear me sing I know they would love me. They'd both weep buckets, maybe even Imon too, but it doesn't really matter 'cause Helen will love it for sure. Three votes and I'm in.

It's just how to get there is the problem. I stop singing, suddenly depressed. The closest auditions are over two hundred miles away and I'm on lockdown until college starts up again in the fall. It's my fault, I know, I wasn't careful enough with the Black Amex card, charged a few too many bags and shoes last month, wasn't quick enough intercepting the mail, or maybe the last head job I gave Phil, Uncle Prick's number one accountant, wasn't "mind blowing" enough. Not sure where it went wrong for me, but when Uncle Prick found out I'd "stolen" the card from Satan's Bitch, all hell broke loose. He immediately seized my driver's license and all of my maxed out cards, iPhone, laptop, and my car keys-any link to the outside world, gone. And here I've been, holed up in my bedroom for the last few weeks, only coming to my door to accept trays of food from the help.

Discouraged, I crawl on hands and knees across the floor and retrieve the remote control. It landed near the entrance to my balcony-unbroken, awesome. Maybe watch some TV? I flip through the channels, only mildly annoyed that all the programming is still being interrupted by the boring ass news. Haven't they cleared this mess up yet? Maybe it's a good thing I'm grounded after all, it'll keep me from catching anything. Sighing, I click the off button and toss it aside, pushing the doors to my balcony open.

Hot, dry air consumes my lungs, obliterating all signs of central air. It's high noon and the sun knows it; I let it beat down on me as I crawl into a lounge chair. Nothing but dirt and sky for miles. I like this view of nothingness, a wasteland-like oasis. Where else could I see brown meet blue so completely? This is probably what it feels like when Madonna meditates.

The view on the other side of the mansion is ruined by a dirt road that branches off to a main road which leads to a town of sorts, which leads to another town and then eventually to civilization. This is Uncle Prick's place and has been in the family since his great-great-granddaddy sucked up all the oil for himself. Uncle Prick bulldozed the old place down ten or so years ago and rebuilt from the ground up, saying the land is all that counts anyway, not what's built on it. I kind of miss the old place, but Uncle Prick said it had to go and everyone knows it's his way or the highway.

I want no part of this "family business." I was made for better things; the stage and screen, not dirt and grime. But he can't see that. He wants me to be a lawyer or get some worthless business degree so I can work for the family. It's true I completed my freshman year with a 4.0, but I've only been keeping my grades up by default.

If my mother and father were still alive, I'm sure I wouldn't be in this predicament, but they were killed in a freak helicopter crash six months after the birth of me and my twin brother, Walt. They had been vacationing (from us, maybe?) on some exotic island that I can't pronounce. Details of the accident are sketchy, having occurred in a foreign place, but apparently they were out on a bicycle built for two, enjoying their beautiful surroundings, when a helicopter, from above, just took them out. The pilot lost control or something; no one really knows for sure except he crash-landed right on top of them. Walt and I were staying with Uncle Prick and Satan's Bitch (AKA Aunt Virginia) at the time and that's where we've stayed ever since. When I learned how they died, I swore off Uncle Prick's helicopter for good, bicycles as well.

Worst of all, I can't get my hands on any of my money until I turn thirty-five. I'll be a tragic cougar before I ever get what's rightfully mine. Uncle Prick controls everything and has threatened time and time again that I won't see a dime unless I get the proper education to come work for him. Yeah, I'll get a stipend of five grand a month when I turn twenty-one, but who can live off that? It's so unfair!

It's been no big hardship for Walt though, oh, no, he's the golden boy in Uncle Prick's eyes, can do no wrong. He can't wait to work for the old fart, already started his summer internship-briefcase and ridiculous ties, it makes me sick. Why should I be punished because my dreams are different? Because I dare to dream? It's outrageous, really.

So, I haven't figured out my escape plan yet, just been biding my time with perfect grades to throw off any suspicion. Too bad Uncle Prick doesn't crash in his helicopter, he flies around enough in it, or choke on those damn Omaha steaks of his. He can't scarf down enough of those and is a prime candidate for a heart attack; stressful job, smokes like a chimney, drinks scotch like water-refuses to see a doctor. In fact, he brags about how he hasn't had a physical in over twenty years.

No one would be surprised if he dropped dead on the spot sometime, or died peacefully in his sleep one night or, fuck, was murdered even-taken out by some angry ex-employee! I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes he'd kick the bucket. It's common knowledge Uncle Prick has lots of enemies. He'd be the first one to tell you that "ya gotta burn them bridges to keep the wolves at bay." Someone could hire a hit man and take him out, at close range even. I'd love to see him know that it was coming too, maybe he'd even piss his pants before the bullet hit home, splitting that unibrow of his right in half! Fuck, yeah! Not a bad idea, maybe I should look into it.

No, a dead Uncle Prick wouldn't solve my money problems. I'd still have to deal with Satan's Bitch. It's true she's near worthless, just a useless ball of mush trapped in that retarded body of hers, but she'd inherit everything I'm sure. I used to kind of love Satan's Bitch (I think), back when she was normal; now's she's just a nosey little bitch that nags all day, barking endless orders from that annoying electric wheelchair of hers. Someone should put her out of her misery, wheel her to the stairs and kick her over, nice and quick. Nobody would suspect a thing. It's a miracle it hasn't happened already.

She's almost completely paralyzed except for a few of her little fingers, which she uses to maneuver the chair around. There have been plenty of times she's lost control and rammed right into the railing, or over a dog. She's killed two of her prized little Pomeranians by accidentally pinning them to the wall with her chair. I saw her do it this last time too. She got all flustered when she realized she'd done it and instead of backing up she gunned the chair straight ahead, full throttle. The front wheel had the little beast pinned at the waist, back against the wall; it was squealing too, right up until the metal foot rest broke its neck. There's still doggie DNA on that wall I'm sure. Uncle Prick just bought her another dog, anything to keep his "sweet pea" happy.

God it's hot out here, so sleepy all of a sudden. I'd kill for some shade and a nice, cold Dr. Pepper. I tilt my gaze toward the intercom; it looks a mile away. I guess I'm just not thirsty enough. Doing nothing all day sure is tiring.

Poor Billy, now that's someone who could use a good nap or two. Working like a dog for the postal service all day and then stacking shelves at the A&P until the sun comes up. He's never too tired to try and stick it in me though, and fuck if I'll ever let that happen! That thing is monstrous, twice as wide as my microphone and even longer than my remote, with a huge mushroom head, fat as a bright pink cupcake. Doesn't taste near as sweet though and my jaw is still aching from trying to take just the head into my mouth. But I have to do something to keep the boy happy, may even have to sit on it eventually if I'm going to convince him to drive me to the American Star auditions. A girl could do worse. He is sort of dreamy, in a Zac Efron kind of way, motorcycle included. Oh, fuck me. Don't know how I'll last two hundred miles on the back of a motorcycle, but these are desperate times and I have dreams to fulfill, and a motorcycle isn't a bicycle, right? Besides, it could make an exciting entry for my memoirs.