What happens when a malevolent Minister, a pregnant fast-food manager, a loyal dog, and the son of a kidnapper are forced to navigate an undead apocalypse and swarms of super-intelligent rats? The cannibalistic undead plague a Michigan town, prompting the National Guard to join forces with the Michigan Militia. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s a cat stuck in a goddamn tree! Will anyone survive, and will their humanity remain intact? The Finster Effect is the fourth terrifying novel from the author of A Stabbing for Sadie and Kiss Me Like You Love Me, and the creator of Stig and the Puppetman.
Reviews for The Finster Effect
I received an advance copy of this for review. I am a long-time fan of Wed’s horror, and after Kiss Me and Sadie, I expected Wednesday to weave another convoluted tale that was not for the meek.
The Finster Effect is this author’s normal style, which can hop back and forth between perspectives of characters to give a fuller view of the plot, taken to 11 on the dial. I understand that some readers may find this style of narrative “disjointed” or “confusing,” but focused readers will find it easy to follow. Zombie Fic is, at this point, an overtrod ground, but Wed takes it to a fresh place. The story is solid, and readers may find themselves drowning in narrative overload – some of us really like that.
Frankly, I think this book needs to be optioned for a movie. It reads like one – a sick, demented movie, perhaps by Lynch, that swoops and dives at all the right points. I read it through in two nights, utterly enjoying it every step of the way.
– J. Grant
Wednesday Lee Friday brings the reader to rural Michigan at a time when colliding events turn the world upside down. The Finster Effect is edgy, graphic, and suspenseful as the story unfolds into a barrage of imagery that devours the readers attention. Zombies, rat plagues, ‘end of the world’ fanatics… definitely a new twist to the zombie apocalypse genre.
This is a great read. The characters are fascinating and the story keeps you involved. Once you pick up this novel you don’t want to put it down.Close
Reverend Jacob Lugner
En Route to WAFX Studios
“Come on!” I laid on the horn before reminding myself that patience was a virtue. Our Lord in Heaven valued patience, and so did I. Today of all days, though, I could not be late. Time waits for no man.
“Happy liviiiiiing…happy miiiinds! Men A DEX!” That foolish jingle played all morning, every day, until I didn’t want to turn on the radio at all. I switched off the news and tuned over to the gospel station.
People didn’t need that poison anyway. There’s nothing wrong with a man that God can’t fix. People have no faith anymore, not true faith. Everybody needs control, and pride. Pride is a deadly sin, is it not? Yet parents today endeavor to instill children with so much pride, they think they can do no wrong. My own Papa had no pity for youthful foolishness, no pity for children who didn’t learn their verses. And look where it brought me, to a loyal congregation and a lifetime of doing God’s work. Today, I continue my true calling on a grand scale.
If the Lord helps me, I can save countless people. Countless. If I miss this appointment they could give my spot to someone else, someone who might poison people’s minds with all manner of trickery. No. I need to get to this meeting on time; and I must impress this man. But I couldn’t do it on an empty stomach.
The car ahead of me drove off at long last. A tired-looking young woman held the paper bag of breakfast out the tiny window. Sad, the way people are separated from one another through these little glass windows. The pale, droopy brunette looked miserable as she muttered a meaningless, “Thanks.” I took the grease-spotted thing from her, shaking my head.
“Perhaps customer service is not the right line of work for you, my dear,” I told her. She’d probably never given it much thought. I looked at my watch. “Not exactly fast food is it?” Pointing out how awful she was at this might be just the push she needs to rethink her life. I couldn’t let an opportunity like that slip away, no matter how busy I was.
The girl gave me an ungrateful look and turned away. Young people had no gratitude these days. That’s why they ought to be in church. Once people realize how much Our Lord has done for them, they’ll have to start doing more for each other. It just naturally follows.
When the lackluster woman turned back to the window, I sped off. I was in a hurry, after all. No time to listen to the whining and justifications from a fast food waitress. I was back on the highway when I realized she forgot to give me my orange juice. Ten miles away from my meeting, there was no going back now.
Today of all days, I should not have been thinking of Papa. Not the kind, neighborly Papa they knew around town. I’m thinking of the Papa who was quick with a belt and an Old Testament verse. The one who believed locking me in my room for days at a time, weeks in the summer, was the way to keep me devout. He wasn’t all wrong. I surely would not have read the Bible so much if I’d been allowed any other book. He meant well, my Papa. But some days I had trouble honoring the fourth commandment.
The meeting was in Public Access Studio C. I was almost there, and ten minutes early. Thank you, Lord. I parked inside the iron gate, which was very tall and encircled two large studio buildings and four big storage huts. They reminded me of the big dome where Papa used to practice his golf swing. He’d take church sponsors there and they’d talk about family and community, and drink red wine.
That mobile phone my son insisted on started making that godawful noise. Did he really need to know where I was every minute of the day? Or was he just calling to tell me more about that fancy new house of his?
“Hi Dad!” Sounded like he was grinning…again. I had to wonder what he and that wife of his were getting up to, to make him sound so happy this early. “Just wanted to make sure you’re doing okay. You didn’t forget to buy bottled water did you? Today’s the day —”
“No, ‘Rus, I didn’t forget. The Lord and I have managed for quite some time without you around to remind us to drink water.” My-son-the-doctor who thought he knew every last thing on God’s earth, checking up on me again. No idea where he gets that. Not my wife’s way, may she rest in peace.
“Dad, I’m only asking because—”
“I’m going into my meeting,” I told him, “I have to hang up now. I’ll see you for lunch on Sunday.” It’s presumptuous of him to think I can just drop what I’m doing to talk to him about water. I filled up a half-dozen bottles of water from the kitchen sink—same thing I do every morning. He bought me some fancy forty-dollar bottles just to keep water in. I buy bottles full of water at the store; don’t cost $40. No reason not to use those with plain old water outta the tap. But no…that’s not fancy enough for my doctor son.
My ‘Rus seems to think old people aren’t good for anything once they get past sixty. He oughta know better since the men in our family preached well into their nineties. Big, God-fearing congregations, back when the whole town would turn up for Sunday service, back when more people knew that God was the path to righteousness.
“Good morning mister…Luger?” A white man who looked like a salesman shook my hand with a grip much harder than necessary. Why do people feel like they need to break your hand when you’re just trying to do a bit of business? I told him who I was and he smiled and nodded. “We’re this way.” He gestured past the studio and into a little lobby.
We passed a secretary who had on too much face paint. I thought about telling her so, but women don’t take kindly to that sort of thing. She looked the type who might take offense, and who knows where that might lead. Vengeful people can get up to all manner of unkind shenanigans; and it was clear that she wasn’t right with God. Best to say nothing if you can’t say something nice, my Grandpop always said.
We entered his smallish office that smelled like cigarettes and cheap air-freshener. Despite the “No Smoking“ signs posted all around the place, his pale curtains were stained with tobacco smoke.
“Why don’t you tell me what you hope to accomplish with your program? How you think it will improve the community.” He sounded friendly. You can never tell with these corporate people, smiling to your face and bearing false witness against you soon as your back is turned.
“My flock is full of so much joy. I want to spread that joy as far as I can—to every single Christian who asks for it.” I told him. He didn’t react. I know his type. “I don’t just want to share scripture with the people; I want them to know how it can fulfill their lives. People want to learn what they can do to bring God’s plan into fruition.” I watched him. He nodded just a bit, and I prayed that the Lord would help me know what this man was thinking, how to convince him.
“Not just for Christians. Jews too. God loves the Hebrews, I’m sure of it. I am quite enamored with the Old Testament.” That got him. I knew it. Of course I knew already that the tribe who murdered Jesus would never find their way into God’s Kingdom.
He shook my hand and took out a folder full of contracts for me to sign. Already, I had gone further and served God better than my own Papa did. It was the best thing that could ever happen—television. I would prove to the faithful—to everyone, that God was speaking to me, and not to that betrayer of children in The Vatican. Me. Today was my beginning.
If you ask Mikey Goretti, he’ll tell you that life sucks. Wife left him, crappy jobs, nothing ever goes the way it should. How did a nice boy from a God-fearing family go so terribly wrong? He’s a people person! He loves people, especially girls. If Mikey loves girls so much–why do the girls he meets never seem to make it home? This tale of a serial killer, his best friend, and a heavenly Angel promises to disturb, horrify, and amuse–that is if you can see past all the Red.
Reviews for Kiss Me Like You Love Me
“…a fast, gripping read that will make you look askew at everyone you know.”
– A. Brandt, Ann Arbor, MI
“Kiss Me Like You Love Me had me from the Narrator’s first line…I could not stop reading until I was done.”
– Dan Martin, WAAM Radio
“In a fresh and original voice, Wednesday Lee Friday gives readers a look into the life of a disillusioned serial killer from the perspectives of key characters involved in his life. I found myself drawn in by her realistic sense of humor, casual writing style, and insight into those time-honored words of wisdom we’ve all heard…and sometimes understood. Her strong characterization and flow of perspective made this a book difficult to put down. While not entirely grammatically correct, Friday’s accessible style of writing, down-to-earth references, and genuine opinions make this book worth a read.”
– Cats ‘N Books
– James L Grant –Author, and co-creator of “Two Lumps”
“This is Mikey’s story and the tapestry of his life is woven both through his own words and through the recollections of those who thought they knew him…”Kiss Me Like You Love Me” is Wednesday Lee Friday’s third novel and, not to put too fine a point on it, it is a tour-de-force. “Kiss Me Like You Love Me” is an ambitious book and a compulsively readable one (I burned through all two hundred and forty so pages in five hours); and if there’s been a more convincing fictional evocation of a homicidally divergent mind published, then I’ve yet to read it. Wednesday Lee Friday has a vital, vibrant and visceral talent and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.”
– DarkLordZen, Amazon.UK
“One would think the story of a serial killer would be dull and ordinary; butKiss Me Like You Love Me is anything but. It’s filled with interesting plots and background stories told in a way that draws you in. And you can’t leave a chapter half way through like other books. No. You need to finish the chapter. Get it. You’ll like it.” Read the full review here.
– The Lonely Reviewer
Dropped on the Head
They say if you get dropped on the head as a baby, you’ll never be right again. It used to be a joke, don’t know if it still is, but when somebody does something stupid or shocking somebody might say, “What? D’ja get dropped on the head when you were a baby?” Everyone would laugh and think it was such a stitch, except the poor guy who may or may not have had his little baby head smacked in by linoleum or parquet or whatever they make floors out of these days.
Point is, if anyone said that joke to Mikey, they’d probably get a punch in the head. Having been dropped more than once as a baby, he doesn’t find that joke funny in the slightest. Or at least he didn’t when I knew him. He might now. Mikey’s changed a lot since the days when I knew him, around the neighborhood. We were pretty tight for a while, but not so much anymore. I guess that’s why I never saw any of this coming.
Usually when you tell a story about someone, you start with their birth or maybe when you met them. In Mikey’s case, though, neither of those will work. I’ve known Mikey forever; he’s always been there. Our moms were friendly for a time when we were little. My mom thought Mikey’s mom was “a little fruity,” as she put it. That day I do remember. I was standing there in Toughskin jeans with reinforced knees, feeling as sad as I can ever remember. My Mom told me I couldn’t play at Mikey’s house anymore. Apparently Mrs. Goretti had said something terrible, something that made the whole town turn against her. She said she knew better than Pastor. Nobody knew better than Pastor Simms.
My mom said we were a good Christian family and that it would be “wrong to exclude the boy.” That meant Mikey could still come over and play at my house; I just couldn’t go over there.
Mikey, unlike his Mama, quoted Pastor at every opportunity. My mom said he was the most obedient boy she had ever met, and even said I would do well to take a page out of Mikey’s book. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, since Mikey never had much in the way of books. I knew she didn’t mean his Bible, and as far as I knew, the Bible and schoolbooks were the only books Mikey was allowed to read. He kept those magazines, but he hid them. Later on I figured it out. My mom just wanted me to be more like Mikey and do what he did. Ha!
Mom was around for the fire, though. That was terrible. We had Fire Safety Week at Sunday school. I think I was in second grade, maybe third. Mikey didn’t go to school with everyone else, only Sunday school. They taught us about family fire drills, and the importance of smoke detectors, and how to properly call 911. They had just started 911 back then, and people didn’t really know how to do it properly.
Mikey came back to church and said his family did practice fire drills. They had a meeting place outside, so they’d know if everyone got out of the house. He said he’d put new batteries in all the smoke detectors, and that they had a new fire extinguisher for the kitchen. Teacher gave him a gold star. I didn’t get one. My mom said that kind of planning was for hysterics afraid of their own shadows. She said if you were careful, no fires would ever happen. People used to say that a lot back then. Turned out, Mikey’s family didn’t really do anything for fire safety. Mikey made it all up.
Later there was a big commotion, with lights and police and fire trucks, outside Mikey’s house. His dad was gone by then and it was just Mikey and his mom and sister. Jeanette was three years older than Mikey, and sometimes acted more like a mom than a sister. She was in her bathrobe with her hair wrapped up in a towel when the fire happened, and everybody ran outside to see what was going on. Jeanette was really embarrassed and didn’t want anyone seeing what she called her nudity. She was far from naked in her long bathrobe, but if you looked really close you could see part of a boob.
Mikey ran through the house screaming, “FIRE! FIRE!” and making sure his mom and sister were safe. Nobody asked him how he knew about the fire, or how he had learned to spray the base of the fire with the extinguisher, or why he didn’t call 911.
I asked him if he’d set the fire. He said no. But he never explained what had happened to the lighter I kept by my fireworks. He said my mom must have found them. But if she had, she’d have taken everything and not just the lighter. Mikey had to have stolen it.
I never told anyone about Mikey starting that fire. Somehow I thought I’d be in as big of trouble as he’d have been. Besides, a guy doesn’t rat on his best friend, especially if no one got hurt. And that time no one did get hurt. Now I know I was setting myself up for a pattern of apathy that would lead to—I’m getting ahead of myself. Point is, I should have done something about Mikey years ago. I didn’t. Now I have to put it right.
A sometimes terrifying, often intriguing, and always thought provoking glimpse into the mind of Sadie, a victim of child abuse, drugs, and the vagaries of fate as she sinks into mental illness and battles her own special kind of demons. A Stabbing for Sadie is a wonderful journey through the twisted mind of a casualty of abuse, who lives with her own monsters, and fights to survive every day. It delves into notions and nightmares that haunt this strong and sometimes funny woman as she copes with false accusations and true horrors. This is a riveting, edge of your seat thriller as told from the other side. A Stabbing for Sadie will leave you breathless…wondering what you would do…and wondering what’s on the mind of the person standing next to you…
Reviews for A Stabbing For Sadie
“A Stabbing for Sadie is one of the more innovative books in its genre to come out in a long while. This breaks the formula and offers you a truly unique and riveting story.”
– Lorne Cook, Author “Lorneisms”
“A Stabbing for Sadie is the story of a young woman struggling to live her life despite the persistent echoes of a childhood of abuse and neglect. The first-person perspective gives Sadie’s rational but naive (and often paranoid) outlook on her life, and forces the reader to infer what aspects of her experiences she’s hiding from herself. The result of this format makes the story unfold beautifully, as the reader and Sadie are tensely and simultaneously exposed to the truths of the central incident.”
– Jonathan Harford, Actor
“…an absolutely fantastic first novel!”
– Duncan Moron, JournalStone
“I could NOT stop reading SADIE…It’s an outstanding story.”
– James Grant, Author and “Two Lumps” Artist
“What turns a killer into a killer? A Stabbing for Sadie is the unique tale of murder from a side rarely visited – the side of the murderer. Sadie was never the most balanced girl, with a dark history of a horrible childhood and her daily demons which drive her to do things most of us would never think of doing. A Stabbing for Sadie is a must for thriller fans seeking a story of another perspective.”
– Midwest Book Review
“Friday takes you into the mind of a serial killer so thoroughly, you wonder why she didn’t kill more people. The character, that is, not the author … something tells me we don’t want to know the author’s body count. Five Stars!”Close
– Scott Sigler, NYT Best Selling Author of “Infected” and “Ancestor”
A Stabbing for Sadie
By: Wednesday Lee Friday
Late Point of Attack
The next morning I wake up on the smooth tile floor in the kitchen.
Even though the sun is coming up, it is cool to the touch, just like I remember.
And just like I remember, it hurts. It hurts to lay on the floor all night—it
hurts to hit the floor so hard. It hurts to know how much anyone wants me
there, sprawled out on the hard kitchen floor. It hurt because Tiamata made it
that way. But not today…not this day.
My hands are sticky; and as I look down I can see dark, molten
something splashed on the sunshine yellow tile. Deep, sticky and maroon, I
think it should seep into the cracks in the pattern but it doesn’t. Then I am
reminded of what the tall man in the blue work suit said years and years ago
when he put in the floor.
“Linoleum One Piece we call it. It doesn’t come in little squares like the
old tile did. It’ll be easy for your mommy to clean.”
‘My mommy doesn’t clean the floors, I do.” I said to him. He looked at
me almost like he didn’t believe me. I smiled my sweet smile at him, and he
Tiamata, huge and angry, loomed in the doorway. I knew It wouldn’t
attack while the tile man was here. It never attacked while anyone else was
here. It was clever that way…clever and deceitful. That’s why no one ever
came to help us.
“Sadie,” It said, laughing slightly…almost the way a person would,
“Don’t bother the nice man while he’s trying to work.”
“Oh, she’s fine ma’am. She’s not bothering—”
But I was already down the stairs and out of sight. I spent the day in the
basement, telling Pydely the Spider I’d take him with me if the tall man in the
blue work suit ever let me come to live at his house. Snidely and Pydely were
the two house spiders who lived in our basement. They were nice to talk to.
I was sure there were no Tiamatas at the tile man’s house; I could tell by
the way he smiled, like everything was safe and okay where he lived. I thought
maybe if I could make him smile again he’d want to take me to live at his
house…didn’t every house need a little girl after all?
Years later I would realize that I’d spend most of my life trying to find
some nice man to take me home with him; some nice man whose house didn’t
have any Tiamatas. It devastated me to realize what a huge cliché I had
Later, Tiamata did attack; slamming me down on the hard new tile that
was still covered with dirt and dust from the workmen. It was then I knew that
my sweet smile had done me no good. The tall man in the blue work suit had
gone home without me.
“Tell a total stranger I don’t clean this house! You think anyone else
ANYWHERE would ever put up with a stupid little asshole like you running
Did It know? Could It tell that I wanted to leave with the tile man? It
seemed to know everything. Again and again my head hit the floor, Tiamata
crushing my chest as it straddled itself above me. “Never tell ANYONE what
goes on in this house!” Then, eventually: darkness.
My head hurt today. Today would be a shaky day. I could already tell
that without even having to stand up. More and more these days, my hands
got shaky. Sometimes they’d shake all the way up to my eyes. That’s why I had
to stop driving the car—if I got shaky behind the wheel I could actually kill
someone. It’s a freaky thing about driving, one minute you’re listening to the
radio and thinking about sex, and the next, you’re causing a crash that ends up
with a complete stranger impaled on their steering column. And you can’t see
it coming…and there’s nothing you can do. Just imagine, idiots rubber necking
at the blood and carnage, pretending like they care, when they really don’t care
about anything but the chance to see free gore. Then, later there’d be one of
those tacky displays with flowers teddy bears, pictures and letters by the side of
the road to mark yet another terrible thing that I did. The cross without the
grave. Every time you drive by, you see it. That’s the sort of thing that makes
people hate you. Why did they use flowers anyway? Who ever decided that the
same gesture men on TV use to apologize to their fictitious girlfriends should
be used to mark the occasion of death? Mad girlfriend: flowers. Birthday:
flowers. Death: flowers. And if flowers mark death, why in the world do they
send them to people in hospitals, who are trying to get better? That’s what I
mean…none of it makes any sense.
I feel kind of shaky and queasy today. I have that sick feeling you get in
the bottom middle of your stomach like when you know something bad is
going to happen. I feel sweaty and heavy and tired, like the effort of lifting
myself off the ground is too much work. I shouldn’t feel tired though; after all,
I just woke up. I certainly didn’t want to hang around here all day. It seems
like there are a lot of people here.
Footsteps sound behind me, and I realize there are lights coming in the
window. I can barely see them blinking against the faded yellow paint around
the window over the sink. Blue, pink, blue, pink, it’s like someone is having a
rave party in the driveway. But that doesn’t make any sense. There would be
music, and kids, and it wouldn’t be taking place in the driveway at my parent’s
house. There are many things I could say about my parents; but for now lets
just say that they are the last people you’d ever see at a rave party. More
footsteps, then more still. Why are there so many people here? Men, it sounds
like, walking all around and talking quietly. I try to sit up to see who is there,
but a sharp pain goes through me and I pause for a minute. I try to brace
myself with my left hand, but it slips in something slippery on the floor and I
fall back again with a hard thump.
“My God. Miss…MISS! Are you alright?” an older man in a grey suit
and tie is walking toward me, fast. “Don’t. Don’t try to move, we have an
ambulance on the way.” He looked worried. And when I looked at his open
jacket, I saw the black and silver handle of a gun poke out.
An ambulance? Surely it’s not as serious as all that. I think I’m bleeding
maybe, but still…I can’t be paying an ambulance; I got a bill for that once
before, it was crazy. Over six hundred dollars just to drive me downtown. I
could have taken a limousine for that much; and the driver wouldn’t have asked
me stupid questions the whole way there.
The man in the suit kneeled down next to me. He seemed very like a
gentleman. He pulled my shirt up slightly to expose a small slice. He asks me
if I can hear him, and then tells me not to stand up.
“I’m okay,” I tell him, and hold out my hands so he can help me up. In
my right hand is the big knife from Dad’s cutlery rack. The one we got him for
his 51st birthday. That was the party where they made the wrong ice creamcake.
It should have been chocolate with chocolate chip ice cream, but actually
it was chocolate with mint chocolate chip. Dad didn’t care; in fact, he said the
cake was really good. But that didn’t stop the screaming, plates flying, and
swearing all through Dad’s party. No one got to feel happy at all that day. And
no one said anything about it. Just for a stupid cake.
The man in the suit looked at me kind of strange. Then I realized that
my hands were bloody. Not a bit of blood like from a paper cut, it literally
looked like I’d been finger painting in blood. But that was stupid, no one
would do that—it’s not like I’m Charlie Manson’s long lost daughter or
something. Heh heh heh, not anymore, at least.
“Why don’t you set the knife down, Miss?” He sounded really tense all
of a sudden, scared even. He reminded me of that cop on TV with the sexy
young partner. You know that one who was also the dad in that 80’s movie
with all the slutty dancing in it? That guy. It was rather perceptive on my part,
because he actually did turn out to be a cop. As I expected, he helped me up
very like a gentleman. Standing up, I felt sick and dizzy still.
When I went to wash my hands, which were really filthy, he turned all
mean on me. He even took out his handcuffs for some reason.
“You’re under arrest,” He said in a totally official tone,” for the murders
Murders? That sounds serious. I giggled to myself when he said that. It
sounded just like TV. Next thing, he’d probably make some wise-ass comment
that’s totally inappropriate, you know how they do? Like you’re watching and
you’re thinking “What the hell are they doing making snide remarks when
there’s a person lying dead right next to them?” And nobody is offended at the
wiseacre remarks and general lack of humility before death. After they do that,
they get all serious about trying to bust whoever did the murder, when really
they don’t care at all. I mean, what the hell kind of person behaves that way?
Anyway, The Gentleman Cop seems rather pleased to have found himself a
“murder”, for whatever that’s worth.
I didn’t even get to wash my hands before they put me in the car; the
mess is going to get all over the place. I thought that was kind of stupid since
they’re the ones that are going to have to clean it up. It’s hard to wash blood
out of pretty much anything, unless you have some kind of oxygen-based
cleaner. I saw those on TV; where that bearded guy is yelling and pouring red
wine on stuff. They look excellent.
They made me have to have my hands behind my back. If I’d felt
cleaner or prettier, I’d have smiled my sweet smile at them. Men were often
delighted by my sweet smile. The handcuffs hurt to have on, but I think they
might have put them on me too tight. As the Gentleman Cop was holding my
head so I didn’t bump it (which was really nice of him, I thought); another guy,
this one much younger, came out of the house. I wondered how many people
were in there, and thought that it was kind of rude of them not to introduce
themselves. I did grow up in that house after all.
“We gotta rush a bus on the other vic, he’s still breathing.” Said the
young cop. He was ugly in a high school bully sort of way—the kind of guy
you’d think would only be a security guard, not a real cop. Why did he want a
bus? Surely, getting more cops here to help out would take less time than
walking to catch the freaking city bus…
“Who, the husband?” asked Gentleman Cop.
“Yeah,” replied the Ugly Cop in a silky sort of voice. “Looks like we got
us a witness.”
“Y’hear that?” he asked, leaning toward the back seat with what I took
to be kind of an attitude “you left one alive.”
“Of course I left him alive!” I told him, “He’s my DAD. What kind of a
person do you think I am anyway?” he stared at me a moment, then shut the
car door, leaving me to count the diamond shapes in the grate that separates
the front and back seats in the police car. I guess that’s so I don’t reach
through and club one of them. Ha, that would be hilarious. He’s not really my
Dad, but that’s not any of these people’s business.
I saw that Mrs. McMurtry had come outside with her youngest boy to
see what was going on. I used to baby-sit the McMurtry boys when I was in
high school. There were three of them eventually…clever, rambunctious boys
who didn’t ever just want to sit and watch TV. This one had just been born
back then, and I was afraid to pick him up. You have to be really careful
picking up babies because their heads are too heavy for their necks. If you
don’t hold their little noggins just right the weight of the head can snap the
neck. Plus babies are really easy to suffocate, not that I would do that or
anything. They say you can just set a pillow on them and they’ll just stop
breathing without you having to do anything else. One minute, you’re
watching a baby, and the next, it isn’t breathing anymore.
When babies are born, they have big soft parts in their heads, like spaces
in their skull so their brain can get bigger as they learn more stuff and grow up
and everything. Not Casey’s though. My brother didn’t have a space in his
head when he was born. They had to put one in at the hospital. I remember
he had bandages on his head for a long time. But they were gone in time for
him to go to school. I think they were, weren’t they? I guess it’s a bit fuzzy
now. It was so sad seeing him with a big bandage on his head and everyone
asking “What’s wrong with that poor little boy?” And I told them, “Nothing.
The doctor fixed him and he’s all better.” Besides, it’s rude to ask people what
is wrong with them. Most people don’t really care anyway, they only ask so they
have more to dish when they tell other people about the poor, piteous boy
they saw with the big bandage on his head. I do remember feeling happy once
my brother was well, and happy to finally have a sister. When the doctors ask
me if I have any happy memories of childhood that is usually what I say. Casey
was “all better” now, the doctor had said so, and I told that to everyone who
asked. But that’s because I was too little to know any better. We never really
got better, none of us did.
The youngest McMurtry boy walked by and waved to me on his way to
the same high school I had gone to when he was born. He looked so tall and
grown up in his blue letter jacket with red sleeves in colored leather. I wanted
to wave back, but it was probably best that my bloody hands were still cuffed
tightly behind my back. Mrs. McMurtry caught my eye, and I smiled at her. I
hope she saw me. I wouldn’t want her to think I was ignoring her, I
mean…how rude! Shaking her head slowly, maybe even sadly, Mrs. McMurtry
went back inside.