My sister and I don't fight about everything. She's two years younger than I am and she's been a pain in my ass since the day she was born. Growing up we were the same height and to make matters worse our grandmothers bought us matching outfits every Christmas and Easter. It was probably the only thing those two women ever agreed about. They're just like Susan and I. I don't remember the exact calendar date but I still remember the incident. Susan and I were sitting on the couch and fighting about who was going to hold our brother. This was right after my sister Beth's birthday so he was three months old. Everyone wanted to hold him because he was so sweet and cute. Just a blonde haired, blue eyed bundle of pure joy. It was a cinch that he wasn't related to any of the rest of us. All four of us girls fought over who got to hold him and when.

Saturday night was family night at our house. As soon as our baths were over we got to watch TV. We didn't get to watch much TV so that was a treat for us. That and the hot buttery popcorn my mom made. The second our pajamas were on we raced down the hall and over to the couch. The faster you were the better your spot was. The logistics were critical because the further away from the end of the couch you were the harder it was to gawk at Tom Selleck. The little girls didn't give a damn but Susan and I ran down the hall every Saturday evening. That night, not only did Susan get the end spot she got the green throw pillow. My mom gave her a heaping bowl of popcorn and my dad put more juice in her glass than he did in mine. It wasn't fair but I was used to it. My parents loved her more so she always won. I did what I could to get back at her but I was no match for them.

The show had just started when Susan set her bowl down to take a sip of her juice. People were watching the TV and not me so I took a handful of popcorn out of Susan's overloaded bowl. A single partially popped kernel fell during the transition from her bowl to mine. As luck would have it Susan saw the popcorn before I could grab it. I'm surprised I have any hearing left because she screamed loud enough to wake the dead. To be fair to my parents they yelled at both of us. They took our popcorn and the juice away. I had already finished everything because I was a pig but Susan still had some popcorn left. I smirked at her as my mom carried our things back into the kitchen. Susan pinched me but my parents didn't care when I told them about it. All they did was tell both of us that if we kept fighting we were going to have to go to our room.  

We knew they weren't kidding so we stopped bickering but I wasn't about to forgive and forget. I was looking at the TV but I didn't really see it. Instead I plotted and schemed. There had to be a way to get back at her. The show stopped for a commercial break. Susan got up to go to the bathroom. The minute her back was turned I moved into her spot. I missed most of the next commercial after Susan punched me. My ear was burning and my cheek hurt. I grabbed one of her long blonde braids and I pulled as long and as hard as I possibly could.

Curiously, instead of dealing with us my parents started arguing about how Susan and I were fighting. When you're a child and your parents are fighting you're scared. Susan and I stopped fighting. She held my sister Amanda's hand while I pulled my two year old sister Beth onto my lap. I brushed her silky blonde hair back but there was nothing I could do about the bewildered look in her bright green eyes. It was easier to pretend to watch TV than it was to listen to my parents fighting. Susan and I were now sitting right next to each other. I was sorry I had ever told her there was a fox under the window that only I could get rid of. I wanted to tell her the monsters in our closet weren't real either. I forgave her for the time that she threw up in the middle of the night and blamed it on me. There was a moment of silence. All we could hear was the man on TV. 

"Do you have fifty dollars?"

I don't know why my dad turned to watch the commercial but all the eyes in the room followed his.

"Fifty dollars. Some divorce attorneys charge hundreds but all you need is fifty dollars..."

My dad looked down at my mom. She was still holding my brother and he was still crying.

"Do we have fifty dollars?"

Now my mom was crying. Susan and I were holding the little girls. We were sitting next to each other on the couch and offering whatever comfort we could to Amanda and Beth. They were too young to understand what was going on but we weren't.


All of this is in the past but if I could go back in time I would. I would go back and I would give each of my parents fifty dollars.



Thanks to Scaevola for corrections 05/12/08.


"Freedom, that is what we want the most, total freedom!" An olive skinned man, roughly dressed in muddied jeans and red shirt that may have never seen an iron, stood in front of a group of a dozen or so similarly clad men of varying ages. His unkempt beard bobbed with each Spanish-African-accented syllable. A sub-machine gun was slung lazily from his left shoulder. He raised a grey military cap from his head and waved it wildly. His booted foot rested on the bull-bar of a dark dirty-reddish Jeep, probably stolen.

"Kill the president," an unknown voice of a keen, reckless rascal bellowed out. A stir rippled through the crowd. Soon the band was in an uproar of cheers, for they knew little discipline.

"Move out, men!" Engines revved and wheels spun as the rebels' Jeeps were started. "We will overthrow the coalition within the hour." That was at five o'clock.

It was now six-thirty. Five of the fifteen rebels were dead, and six more injured. Nine coalition soldiers were dead, no one knew how many were injured. A cabinet minister had taken a stab wound in the chest but was stable, and a handful of civilians had shrapnel wounds ranging from slight scratches to critical organs no longer functioning. "Come on, you babies," the rebel leader screamed at his men, "You can do better than that!"

"Surrender, swine," the leader of the coalition forces' voice echoed demandingly through the shattered window of a government office. Juan and his half-organised, half-trained followers had been making trouble since the government had shut down a cocaine plant powered by slaves. They had finally launched an all-out attack on the capital.

"You have no power over us, we do not need you." Juan had no intention of being ruled by anyone, he wanted to make up his own rules along the way.

Cut to a modern family home, a teenager is struggling to see eye to eye on anything with his family. "I'm leaving," he blurted simply to his parents.

"Do you have any money?" his mother enquired, still managing to be concerned despite the rift between them.

The youth held up a fifty dollar note. "I'm sick of this place, I'm sick of you, I'm sick of being tied down." He pointed to an empty notebook, laying open on his desk, "Pages and pages, perfectly blank, stretching to infinity. Take it all in. Can you feel it? That is the future."

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