State of the Uniom

Tonight, President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union Address since taking office in January of 2017. Fox News has exclusively acquired a copy of his speech. It’s printed below. It has not been altered from its original state, all director’s notes are President Trump’s own.

(Applause)

Thank you. Good Evening. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States.

Settle down, settle down. Look at that guy still clapping. See? He loves me. Just like the American people. The real American people love me.

Last year, a month after my inauguration, I addressed Congress to discuss plans to Make America Great Again. I was the first President to give such a speech. In my remarks, I laid out plans to cleanse America of mistakes made by previous administrations and to reestablish America as a great and thriving world leader. Since that address, we, the American people, have made great strides towards a prosperous, safe, and free future.

(Applause)

Since I came into office last year, we’ve accomplished much as an American people. The economy, as a result of my tireless efforts on the golf course, is booming. BOOM – ing. The stock market is growing at an unpresidented rate and unemployment is at an all time low. (Really Big Applause) These are direct results of my refusal to coordinate with global economies and my continuous urging of congress to deregulate. I have also worked hard, despite pushback from the Democrats, to close our borders entirely – except perhaps to the kind and pure Norwegian people. Without access to the outside world, our economy will thrive. American people will buy American products and employ American people. We will rise again.

In the past year, we have accomplished many great feats. Of these, we passed the Tax Reform Act. This act, passed rapidly with the help of speed reading demons, puts money back in the pockets of the American people. Back in the double-breasted, Armani suit pockets of the everyday, working-class American people.

(Applause)

As we continue to strive for greatness, we must acknowledge past mistakes – other’s mistakes that is – and do our best to regain safety, security, and prosperity. This will be accomplished by the removal of dangerous and unqualified people from our great land. As I speak, murderers, drug dealers, and members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are being forcibly removed.

(Applause, ICE enter, members of the audience are escorted out of the room in handcuffs.)

Robert Mueller is, at this very moment, being detained. After tonight, he will no longer be able to bring discord or disillusion to our country. He will be Mexico’s problem.

(Audience member begins “Send him to Mexico” chant)

Speaking of Mexico, I spoke at length during my campaign and in my address to Congress last year about the construction of the great, great border wall. I would like to assure the American people that construction of this great, great wall will continue. We will protect our land from criminals, rapists, and free-thinkers. And do not worry! Mexico will be paying for our safety.

Very, very far from Mexico is a very, very small man named North Korea. (No relation to North Kardashian). He is a small and insignificant bug with firework play things in his backyard and a very small red button. Know, we Americans are not afraid. We raise our very large hands to our very large nuclear button in a mutually assured destruction game of chicken. We will win. Our chickens are stronger and filled with steroids because our food is not regulated.  Hawaii can attest to the vast success of our military protection and power.

As you may have noticed, there are a number of people missing from tonight’s engagement. Snowflake Liberal Dems have chosen to boycott my speech.

(Look directly into camera)

I would like to tell these people that America will be Great and that we do not need them to make it that way. Their refusal to attend historical and patriotic events reflects poorly only on them and shows disrespect for the American people. The American people, especially those who voted for Crooked Hillary (a faint “Lock Her Up!” is heard from the balcony) and her minions, should be ashamed.

(Big Applause)

To those Americans who have been pillars of patriotism, you are the heart of this great land. (Applause) Actually, I am the heart. You all are capillaries. Yes. Capillaries. You keep my heart going and have spread believe in me across the country, so that I may continue my – I mean our – pursuit for greatness.

As the fake news media insists on spreading lies about me, I remind everyone I am not a liar. CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, BBC, Russian Prostitutes, my son, the Washington Post, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, John Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Saturday Night Live, the Pendleton Record, every woman ever, Billy Bush, Henry Holt and Company, Stephen King, Anderson Cooper, Melissa McCarthy, my other son, and Nordstrom continue to spread lies.

(Booing)

They are liars. I am a truther.

(Applause)

Melania, I will be truthful, I am sorry. I am sorry that you believe the fake news media and I forgive you for wearing a pussy bow when I won the 2016 Presidential Election.

Thank you, God bless you, God bless the United States, and God bless Fox News.

(Thunderous Applause)

-M.M. Gavin

 

The Inspiration Olympics

Hello M.R. Gavin,

In your last letter you asked what inspires me and how I mold that inspiration into something more. Inspiration is something that I think about often and fight with daily. As  such, I think it only appropriate that I dedicate the entirety of this not to trying (though likely failing ) to respond to your query.

I am inspired when my surroundings change. I am privileged to have spent a large chunk of the past year traveling. Being surrounded by new people and old buildings has a way of filling your soul with a simultaneous creative contentment and unsettling. At once you feel both relief to be in the place you are and drive to leave your own mark and inspire others. I firmly believe that a change of scenery is the single best solution to writers block.

I am inspired when I am angry. It seems counterintuitive, but my best writing emerges when I am enraged. Putting words to paper makes me feel as if my grievances are validated, and also gives me a platform of ideas on which to plan my next move. In the past year and a half, our political state has been a particularly fruitful source of inspiration.

I am inspired by the people that I care about. You. M.J. Gavin. P.D. Gavin. Susan. I am very grateful that the list could go on seemingly forever. I am inspired by their dedication, their passions, their joys, and their fears. They give me the courage to do things which scare me and the resources to fall back on should I fail. I think inspiration is contagious.

I am inspired when I do something which scares me. Sometimes this means traveling to a foreign country by myself. Other times this means speaking up in class. Fear is a finicky thing. It exists in the life-altering and in the minute, yet it fills the jar regardless. The same goes for inspiration. My capacity for inspiration can be filled equally by events of incomparable magnitude.

The second part of your question was how I turn inspiration into something more. This is a little more difficult to answer, especially since most of my creative energy is dedicated to mandated school work. That said, I believe we should treat derivatives of inspiration in the same manner we treat inspiration itself. If the smallest of moments can ignite creative energy the same as a large event, then why should all resulting works be compared by size? Writing is writing. It has the potential to fill another person with inspiration whether its sitting on a blog or on the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List.

In closing, I guess the best I can suggest is to go with your gut. Don’t second guess yourself or pin your success on the opinions of others. You are a beautiful, strong, creative musk ox. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Peacefully,

M.A. Gavin

On Journeys

M.A. Gavin,

Thank you for the book recommendation.  I am rapidly approaching the end of a reading journey, and am looking for some new literature to explore.  As I complete The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, I am reminded of what P.D. Duck would say, “The point of the journey is not to arrive.”  That quote is oddly fitting in both the context of a reader, and of the story.  The series is essentially about a man’s journey to the Dark Tower.  It is his entire life’s work, and although I have not finished, I am afraid the main character, Roland, may be disappointed in what he finds when he arrives, but hopefully, he recognizes the beauty and impact of his quest.  In the context of a reader, finishing a book is not the point.  If it where we would just skip to the end.

You offered a quote that very accurately describes our current political situation.  It is funny how you can always find a quote to describe a situation, but I find P.D. Duck’s quote – borrowed from Neil Peart – to be one I regularly reflect on.  If the point of life was to arrive, would we simply want to arrive at death?  Thank heavens that is not the case!  Each leg of life is a journey, and those journeys build and intersect to create a series of journeys  we call life.  Unfortunately, I often find myself less focused on the journey, and more focused on the outcome.

Imagine if instead of reflecting on a journey at its completion, we were more open to embracing the journey as it happened.  There could be more learning, more willingness to experiment and explore, more meaningful interactions; the possibilities are endless.  Consequently, a journey is just aimless wanderings if there isn’t some sort of end game or goal.  I guess my point is, while it is important to have goals and plans, we need to be willing to embrace changes and opportunities as they present themselves to make the most of the journey, and have the best outcome at the conclusion.

I am glad our journeys have largely overlapped, and for once I am not too anxious to see how this particular journey (writing) ends.  Instead, I am ready to embrace whatever our writing journey brings us, and enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph we string together.

While you left me with a book suggestion, I am not yet sure how I want to conclude my half of our correspondence.  So for now, I encourage you to embrace your journey, and hope to hear from you soon.

Happy reading, and happy writing!

-M.R. Gavin

Something new

M.A. Gavin,

It has been two months since the conclusion of our first co-authored story, and two months since the election that has undoubtedly changed our country.  Why we stopped writing is a mystery to me, although I would like to suggest some potential reasons.

1: The election results.  Due to the election of now President Donald J. Trump (#notmypresident), you were initially too depressed to continue writing our silly stories – designed primarily for our own entertainment.  Now, because of the political atmosphere you are distracted from writing by other obligations to defend the rights of fellow Americans, protest the insanity of the political scene, and to educate yourself with an arsenal of material to provoke conversation and potentially open the eyes of others.  Perhaps, now that we have this new president, we can restructure our blog from fiction to a platform allowing us to provoke thought and conversation.

2:  You no longer like me.  Was I too much for you over the holidays?  Did I overstep a line when we wore matching pajamas?  Are you holding a grudge because my dog vomited in your bed?  Perhaps I didn’t laugh at one of your jokes – I am obligated as your straight man.   Was I not gracious enough when you cooked for me?   Whatever the possibility, I express my sincerest apologies and hope to make it up to you with a round of naked yoga, bird calling, or an extremely large dish of ice cream, and then, continue our writing endeavors.

3: You were attacked by a magical creature.  Is there a creature capable of stealing one’s memories?  There must be!  Why else would you have stopped our writing experiment?  One day you were walking in the city, contemplating your next piece of writing, brainstorming how we should proceed, and suddenly, it swooped out of the sky and knocked all memory of this blog right from your head.  Why else would you have left me hanging?

4: You ran away.  We are certainly not the most well traveled pair.  Maybe you decided it was time for you to embark on a hero’s quest.  Exploring the great unknown you are traveling far and wide, north and south, east and west meeting a host of people opening your eyes to far better writing than ours, new ideas and views of others.  Regardless of where you are travelling… WHY DIDN’T YOU INVITE ME?!

Well, those are my primary thoughts on where you could be, or what could have happened to our writing endeavor.  Nonetheless, I felt it was time to pick up one pen and see what happens.  I propose we begin again either with a new fictional story, or in a blog correspondence, or whatever else you may fancy.  We still choose a day to post, and stay at approximately 500 words.

I hope you consider this proposal and pick up a pen.  Please include if any of my above conclusions are correct (I am leaning toward 2 or 3 being most likely).

Happy Reading!

-M.R.Gavin

Chapter 45

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream,” rang through Beatrice’s head, not only because they were in a boat, but also because her mother was singing it at the top of her lungs, with Pepe howling in the background. Arthur sighed, audibly annoyed.

“What’s next?” Beatrice called over the crashing waves.

“Hopefully land,” grunted Arthur.

Just then, Beatrice heard a loud mechanical buzz coming up behind them.  It was a helicopter! Pepe, whose favorite pastime was chasing cars, tried leaping out of the boat, but was caught in mid air by Beatrice’s mother moments before plunging into the dark abyss. The helicopter slowed to a hover shining lights upon their dingy.  

“They found us!” Beatrice’s mother wailed, “I knew it was too good to be true.”

But Arthur sat smiling casually, seemingly unperturbed.

Arthur’s team popped their heads out of the helicopter, calling out to reassure the boat’s passengers everything would be okay, and they would soon be safe.

However, they soon found everything would not be okay. Because at that very moment a behemoth of a whale leaped out of the choppy ocean, hitting the helicopter with a flick of its tail and sending it spinning. Arthur’s team began yelling a series of expletives followed by some very official sounding numbers and concluded with Bobby screaming, “Abort mission!” One by one, they put on their helicopter hats and flew away, leaving Beatrice, her mother, and Arthur stranded once again.

Baffled, the three sat in the boat silently. Even Pepe didn’t move an inch.  Time seemed to have stopped.

After what felt like centuries passed, Arthur spoke. “Well, that didn’t go as planned.”

They sat a little while longer, unsure if Arthur’s team would come back and wondering what would happen if they didn’t.

Suddenly, as if answering their prayers, the water around them began to bubble and churn. The boat rocked perilously; Beatrice’s mother shivered. Looking to her right, Beatrice could see something moving in the water. She feared the whale was returning destined to sink their small boat.

POP

It wasn’t a whale, but the large metal hull of a submarine appeared instead.  As it settled parallel to them, the hatch on the top of the submarine creaked open. Climbing out of the vessel was someone Beatrice recognized, but could not place due to the individual’s uniformed attire and department issued cap.  

“That’s my boss,” Arthur leaned in and whispered.  Beatrice didn’t have to look to know Arthur was smiling and saluting.  

“Ma’am,” he said.

“Arthur,” she replied, “Beatrice, Tess.  Your work has been phenomenal.  Because of you we have finally been able to infiltrate the cousins and will be stopping them from any further terror.  We will need you to confirm the identities of each of them, and verify that none are missing.”

Her voice was what allowed Beatrice to identify, Arthur’s boss as…

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton.

#notmypresident #stillwithher  

 

Epilogue

The four of them, Arthur, Beatrice, her mother, and Pepe were able to identify all of the cousins, but one remained unaccounted for – Beatrice’s father.  

  • M.M. Gavin

Chapter 44

Pepe waddle down the hall and turned the corner.  He sniffed diligently along the baseboard of the hallway until he came to an outlet.  Beatrice thought it was odd to have an outlet in the hallway and even more odd that she hadn’t noticed the outlet as they circled the home.  To be fair, the outlet was covered in a vertical striped wallpaper, which covered every inch of the hall – except the floor, which was creaky, worn wood – and looked more like a Christmas wrapping paper than wall paper.  Pepe paused, lifting his snot and loudly sniffing the air.  Whimpering and swatting Beatrice’s leg he sat down.

“Pepe?” Beatrice’s mother whispered, as she knelt down.

“This must be something…” contemplated Arthur, “but then again I am following a fat, little dog.”

Beatrice’s mother glanced around, taking a deep breath.

“What are you looking for, mother?” questioned Beatrice.

“There are no vents that I can see, and we have not seen a window since we left our room, but I swear I smell fresh air, salty air in fact.”

While Arthur, Beatrice, and her mother squatted down, crawling around to find the source, Pepe walked straight to the camouflaged outlet and let out  a shrill yip.

Startled and concerned her cousins would hear, Beatrice swatted at Pepe’s rump without turning.  The sound of gently rolling waves, sprinkled with shells rolling and chiming together, and a soft tickle on her neck by loose strands of hair and cool breeze, surprised her.

“What?” she turned.

The three of them gaped as the wall adjacent to the outlet gradually disappeared above them, while Pepe sat wagging his tail with glee and his nose touching the outlet.  He sprinted out, immediately lifting his leg onto the nearest patch of grass.

Beatrice’s mother was the first to exit.  Her broad smile lit her face and the setting sun improved her fading dye job.  Arthur and Beatrice followed.  Moments after leaving, the wall behind them returned to its place.  Despite the setting sun, they all squinted in its brightness and the harsh wind blowing salty air on their faces.  Moving forward and away from the house, Beatrice could not help but feel relief.  

“Watch where you step!” called her mother, “This must be where they let Pepe out.   I should have set him down ages ago!  He would have led us here straight away.”

Amused, but not distracted.  Beatrice began assessing the situation.

“It is almost dark,” she said plainly, “but if I remember correctly there was a small town not too far from here. Right, mother?”  

“It has been years since I’ve been up here, but I believe so.  We will probably have to pay someone to take us to the mainland.”

“The mainland?” stumbled Arthur.

Beatrice looked surprised, “It makes sense doesn’t it?  This is an extremely private island, where everyone has and keeps their own secrets.  Where better for them to go when they aren’t terrorizing the planet?”

-M.R. Gavin

Chapter 43

Baffled as he was, Arthur was well trained and his survival instincts kicked in quickly. He estimated that it was about 4 o’clock in the evening, an estimation based on the light coming through the window. There were a lot of clocks in the house, but they were all set to different times and some moved obviously faster than others. He’d also determined a few weeks prior that the house slanted, indicating the exit was on the downward slanting side.

Arthur moved quietly and fluidly, as if there was no doubt he was going in the right direction. Beatrice’s mother followed behind him, clutching Pepe to her chest, and Beatrice took up the rear. They followed silently, trusting Arthur would get them out of that god-forsaken house.

It was the best look that Beatrice had gotten of the house since she’d arrived there what felt like months ago. It was bigger than she’d remembered, funny considered what she remembered of it was from when she was a child. The hallways seemed longer, and the doors seemed farther away. They made turn after turn into empty hallway after empty hallway. Beatrice tried to keep track of their path, just in case they had to turn back. Every turn they made, she expected to see a cousin or a cousin’s child, but she saw no one. In fact, the entire house looked, sounded, and felt empty. There were no nasty kids running around making a mess, or nastier adults making an even bigger mess. There was no screaming, yelling, or maniacal laughter.

After what felt like ages, Beatrice’s mother said she needed to pause for a moment.

“Carrying Pepe around is like running a marathon cradling a bowling ball!” her mother stated, breathing heavily.

“That’s ok, we can take a break for a second,” Arthur said, still on high alert. His eyes darted from side to side, checking for anyone or anything that may try to stop them.

Arthur casually pulled Beatrice to the side, stepping momentarily away from her mother and Pepe. Beatrice saw in his eyes that something was wrong.

“Birdy, I don’t want to scare you or your mother, but something is…off,” Arthur said, trying to sound calm. “We’ve been going in circles. Every clue indicates that the exit should be right there,” he continued, pointing down the hall. “But its not. We just end up right back where we started. Beatrice, I don’t know what to do.”

Beatrice tried but failed to hide her surprise and disappointment. She knew it was too good to be true. Why would the cousins just let them go? It was counter-intuitive. It was another one of their tricks, and she’d fallen for it. Face first.

“There has to be another way. We can’t just be trapped in here forever,” Beatrice whispered, beginning to panic. The walls that had seemed so tall and the hallways that had felt so long suddenly began closing in. She felt trapped, and struggled to catch her breath.

Just then, a chubby Pepe waddled over to Beatrice. He nipped at the old pair of pants Beatrice was wearing, pulling her forward. Beatrice looked at her mother, who in turn looked at Arthur. He shrugged, “I guess we’re following the dog.”

-M.A. Gavin

 

Chapter 42

Beatrice moved hurriedly down the hall reaching a stairwell and sprinting up two steps at a time. She reached the top, violently crashing into someone.  Flailing her arms and on the brink of flying back down the stairs, she thought, I guess he lied, they’ll never let me leave.  As she thought of her foiled escape, a firm but familiar hand grasped her shoulder and grabbed her wildly moving arm, pulling her back to the landing.

“Beatrice!” the being said in a hushed surprise.  “Arthur?” she questioned. They looked at each other in disbelief.

“My dad-”

“They said we could go”

“- He said I could go”

“Can you believe it?”

“Where is my mother?”

“Your dad?”

Tired of the unmoving banter, Beatrice gripped Arthur’s hand, dragging him forward.  Arthur continued to blurt a series of questions, the same questions they had been contemplating since Janelle moved in down the street.

Half-way down the hall Beatrice slowed.  She had a vague memory of walking up here as a kid.  Uncle Gerald had the room two doors from the stairs on the right Grandma and Grandpa had the big room at the end of the hall.  Her mother and father had the room on the eastern corner of the house with many windows, so her mother could see the sunrise.  Of course they would keep her mother and Arthur there.  When she reached the room Arthur had stopped babbling and looked at Beatrice with astonishment.  

“How did you know which room?  Did he tell you?”

“I remember this room as a kid.”

Inside her mother turned to them with her eyes wide; Pepe waddled – he really had put on weight – with excitement toward them.  

“I need something to wear and then we need to leave.  Now,” Beatrice demanded.

Arthur nodded in agreement, but said nothing. His face was blank, though Beatrice knew he was contemplating.  

“They are letting us go for a reason,” he said solemnly.  

“I agree, but I am not letting them know and I am leaving,” Beatrice declared, “We can figure out what their plan is once we are out of here and in contact with your colleagues.  

“What did you dad say to you, Beatrice?”

“Your father is here,” gasped her mother.  

“Yep,” replied Beatrice changing into a pair of purple tie-dye jeans, probably from Janelle’s teen years, which she found crumpled in the closet.  “Good thing I lost weight,” she mumbled to herself.

“Anyway, he has been there the whole time, watching us.  He said he ‘needs me’ for them to be successful again.”  Fully clothed, she tosses her mom a coat, scoops Pepe off the floor, and walks to the door.  Striding right up to Arthur, Beatrice says, “For three years, we had a marvelously stable life.  The past several months have been insane, but I know who you are and what you can do.  Get us out of here.  Please.”

He stared, astonished by how much she had changed, knowing he would do whatever she asked.

“Let’s go.”

-M.R. Gavin

Chapter 41

“We can finally be successful again.” Beatrice  had no interest in her father’s definition of success and refused to play any role in him achieving it. Beatrice was suddenly aware that she needed to get out of that room. She needed to escape, to find her mother and Arthur. Before, she’d been safer in the room by herself, separated from the cousins. But now, she wanted out.

Her father was standing on the side of the bed closest to the door. She was standing opposite him, contemplating her options. Beatrice examined her father, wondering if he would try to stop her if she left. He was tall, but slim. His shoulders hunched over him, and there were dark circles under his eyes. Still, Beatrice had learned long ago not to underestimate a person based on his appearance. After all, Gerald Jr. used to wear tape on the arch of his glasses and had an assortment of pocket protectors- one for each day of the week.

She refocused her attention. Her father was saying something, “…can you believe it, Birdy?” He looked at her expectantly, but she said nothing. He continued to ramble and reminisce, and Beatrice continued to ignore him. She moved a step to her left, testing to see how he would react. He angled his body to face her, but didn’t move from his spot. She moved another step. Again, he didn’t move. One more step. Her father stopped talking, but again, he didn’t move.

Were the cousins waiting outside the door? Is that why he wasn’t trying to stop her? Did he think she wouldn’t actually try to escape? Was he testing her?

“You know, you’re about as subtle as your mother with a bullhorn.”

“You don’t know anything about me.”

“Beatrice, I know I wasn’t around. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t keeping up. I know more about you than you could ever imagine.”

Beatrice stood silently, resolved not to give her father the satisfaction of getting to her. For a split second, she turned her attention to the door, and wondered if she’d ever escape.

“I won’t stop you,” her father said, as if reading her mind. “If you want to walk out that door, I won’t get in your way.”

Was he tricking her? What was on the other side of the door?

“It’s not a trick, I promise,” he added, placing his hand over his heart. “Turn right. Go up the stairs. Your mother and Arthur will be there.”

Again, Beatrice had the nagging suspicion that something was very, very wrong. Why would her father just let her go after going through all that trouble to get her there?

“I’ll even sit down, if that makes you more comfortable,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed.

Beatrice walked cautiously out the bedroom door. To her surprise, no one was there. She looked to her left and then to her right, debating whether or not to trust her father. She flipped a mental coin, and turned right.

-M.A. Gavin

Chapter 40

“You look beautiful,” said a low, gravely voice.

Sure, thought Beatrice, in this disgusting room, in a nightgown I wash in the sink, with my extremely unkempt hair.  I look like a fucking queen.

“The last time I saw you was in this very room.  I tucked you in.  It feels like just yesterday.”

The memory you cling to, I threw away years ago, Beatrice taunted in her head, counting paint chips all the while.

She heard the floorboards creak.  More precisely, she heard the sixth board into the room creaking, most likely being stepped on by his right foot.  The constant comings and goings of her cousins had given away that much.  She listened to the hesitant steps continue toward her, but never turned.

“I wanted to see you so many times since then.  It’s not like I wasn’t near.  Every time your cousins visited you, I was nearby. In fact, I coordinated most of their trips, hoping to see you.”

Knowing the room’s precise size, Beatrice side-stepped his hand at the exact moment he reached for her shoulder.  His signature move of comfort.

“When your mother took you away from me, she destroyed me.”

Beatrice finally turned, tilting her head, “Destroyed you?  Like you and my cousins have destroyed so many others?  Destroyed you?  When you tried to turn us into the monsters of mayhem you all are?  Seeing as it didn’t stop you from ruining lives, I am sure it didn’t destroy you.”

She turned resolutely, scolding herself for saying anything, and resolving not to say another word.

If there had been another person in the room, they would have seen how alike Beatrice and her guest were.  Similar defensive posture, the same mousy brown hair, round faces, each with a slightly too small nose, and too big ears.  Their resemblance was unmistakable; the primary difference was Beatrice’s hazel eyes, and petite mouth (in those regards she favored her mother).    

He had left his hand floating in the air while she spoke; slowly dropping it, he asked, “Would you mind if I sit on the bed?”  Receiving no answer, he quietly sat down – every spring in the bed squeaking.

“I know that what happened that day was horrible for you, but that is just what we do.  We aren’t just destroyers of the lives of people we don’t know… we are equally as mean to each other.  It is what we do, who we are.  We have to,” he sighed.

“I don’t know how much you know, but the reason the rest of your cousins brought you and your mother with them is because your grandfather passed away, leaving me as head of the family.  I needed to see you again.  To talk to you.  I ordered them not to leave without you this time.”  His voice had a sudden youthful joy as he finished, “And now we can finally be successful again.”

-M.R. Gavin