Yesterday and the Next: a short story transcribed by Emily in 2003...
The first time she tried suicide she was twelve. The day before she went for a walk on a dim and frustrated morning and returned stung. She was spun into a life that contained no more laughter or dreams of love, but only lifeless thoughts of bitterness and escape of the colder days. She is not yet a character in this story, however. As of yet, there are only four. So weíll start with the host family, who probably plays the largest role, though they had yet to be troubled with the heavy concerns of a young girl.
In the mean time, Alan and Natalie had two children, both debuting their theatrics for the first time in the school play. Their son was playing the role of a mountain, though a little unstable, and their daughter, a clown. Really, I saw no reason whatsoever for the play to actually have a clown, but the part was played brilliantly nonetheless. Their son was... I guess I should introduce myself, as I am the one telling this story. I am Millionaire Platinum. I am the one telling this story.
Their son, Piercy, had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of six, proving once and for all that Natalieís smoking was out of hand. She was eventually able to quit, though there was never an easy moment for her. I gather itís probably pretty tough to quit. People seem to inform me of this nonstop when I donít ask. But their daughter, Emily, was fortunate enough to avoid most of the exposure to the smoke, as she was several years younger. Because of this, she never understood Piercyís constant coughing, and every time it happened during the play, his mountain suit would shake violently. The people in the audience found it cute, but they were unaware of the cause. Sick children are often cuter than those who are diseased I find.
I donít necessarily think that Alan and Natalie were bad parents by any means. Maybe a little, but when you think about it, they were just always at work trying to make the most out of what they had. Itís hard to actually blame them for that. And they grew up pretty different as well. I donít know how they ever got along in the first place. Alan was always a bit more conservative in everything and Natalie smoked. That pretty much sums it up. They didnít really seem to have personalities beyond that. They were kind of a typical family though I guess. Middle class with a couple of kids, though itís getting tough to call that typical.
Most of the families that lived around them went to those "rich people" country clubs for the sake of social status. I hate these people. Every last one of them. I canít understand what it is that people think they enjoy about it. You dress up, go and eat some pasta or something, maybe dance, act rich. They always take on this arrogant attitude too, claiming it to be ďelegance.Ē I donít think a single person who enters that club deserves to live. Thereís nothing positive about it. Nothing. Not one thing. Alan and Natalie were nothing like this. They seemed to share my opinion and that, to me, was outstanding. First off they didnít have the money to be a part of that whole "society" and second, they would rather be jagged in the face by a broad sword, than be associated with it, and I really liked that about them.
But it was probably primarily the financial issue, because Iím guessing they had hordes of debt. They had a nice house, but they both worked nonstop for it. That and Natalie spends money like a fiend. So most often, the kids were left to entertain themselves.
Emily was always pretty good at this. She was the funny one. She had to be funny though, she wasnít a 10 year old with COPD. Well, I guess Piercyís almost 15 now, but heís the same little kid he always was. So Emily was funny by default. When you grow up not realizing what it feels like to breathe like a normal human being, I could see life being one big huge crushing blow. Emily didnít have that, so naturally, she seemed to have a little better outlook on life.
She also had a pretty clever tendency of using sarcasm to get what she wanted. Sheíd always say something a little racy kind of jokingly, but then gauge the reaction to see if she could get away with it not being a joke. This is actually how I figured out that she liked me back in the day. That was the most awkward moment history has ever known. I canít even remember anymore what it was that she said to me. I just remember it was hugely abrupt and it contained the word "horticulture," which I still cannot really effectively define.
She was certainly a weird one. Nobody questioned that. Iím sure you could prove it mathematically or something if you needed to, but there was no need. It was just common knowledge. Half of it was this absurd book she always carried around. Some girl with a shoulder "smooching" the wall or something. It was seriously just the most abstract, ridiculous piece of literature to ever achieve publication. Then if someone made fun of her for it, sheíd say something even weirder like, "come on, itís the 80ís everyoneís..." and then sheíd have some clever thing to finish the sentence, none of which I remember. And actually none of which was clever either. It was just annoying. And I donít think I ever once understood what her point was, because the 80ís thing had no relevance to anything except the fact that, yes, it was the 80ís, as it is now. And still today, it makes no difference to anything. Christ died on the cross however many years ago, which puts us in the 1980ís AD. What exactly does that have to do with that awful book? That girl was just a piece of work. Missing a good chunk of logic here and there. I never knew what to say to these bizarre little things of hers either, so I found my responses to be "yes" to virtually everything she said.
Either way, I think half of it was for attention. She probably didnít understand her brotherís disease at that time, and her parents spent every available hour trying to cheer him up. This left very little time for her, but she always seemed to be in good spirits anyway. The bad spirits were reserved for the Chile girl, who was an exchange student around that same time. This girl was weird. I know I said that about Emily but Chile girl was really something else. And not only that, her head was weird. Maybe thatís inappropriate to say, but it seriously looked black and white. I didnít like looking at it. And every time I did accidentally catch a glimpse, it was burned into my retina for like eight days. Iím thinking thatís probably dangerous.
And I donít even think I know where Chile is. Itís somewhere on the globe, I remember. When I was a kid, probably her age, my brother and I used to spin the globe and announce our future residence. I got Chile more often than the Pacific Ocean. And the only thing even close to the Pacific Ocean was the entire Soviet Union. But it never phased me. I just announced proudly it. "Chile!" Never bothered to look where it was exactly. And not only do I have no clue where it is, but I havenít the slightest idea what language they speak. What I do know is that she was just absolutely miserable at English, so I can guess that English probably isnít their native language. Just an assumption. She was seriously terrible at it. Just horrid, and it was the most outstanding thing for entertainment value.
Her first English word was "sweepstakes." Iím not making this up. I swear to you, her first word was "sweepstakes." She knew nothing else. And even as she began to pick up a few more words here and there, it didnít help any. Thereís a pretty slim variety of sentences available that contain the word "sweepstakes" and she didnít say the ones that didnít. But it wasnít even funny though, thatís the thing. It was just flat out aggravating. Completely ignoring her seemed like the most appropriate move of the time.
It didnít take too long for her to catch on though. Iím sure her language was just some off-shoot from English anyway, they all are. Everything is just a bunch of Latin thatís been tampered with. I have no idea why this is. Iíll give credit to the guy who came up with Latin. Thatís it though. I canít figure out why everyone has to learn all these other languages when theyíre just a bunch of Latin spin-offs. I imagine it would be a little more convenient if every human being just spoke Latin, and then there were some Chinese people too. Wouldnít that be easier? We wouldnít have to be told the root-word in Latin for each new addition to the vocab in any language ever. It just seems so obscure to me that weíre so persistent on creating a billion things just like it to memorize so that we canít communicate with each other the slightest bit at all.
Anyway, so this little girl from Chile was just a complete firecracker, and she did eventually catch on. She was still terrible at speaking, but she picked more vocab than just "sweepstakes." She still never got a grasp on the whole "culture" side of things though. That was annoying. You canít refer to a car as a "vessel" and expect people to know what youíre talking about. And on top of that, she says it with this massive accent so you canít understand it anyway. And it wasnít just the car-talk, everything was off. She could not pronounce one word properly and she just went to town with it. It was better when she couldnít talk at all. That was aggravating, but at least it wasnít flat out painful.
I wasnít the only one who couldnít tolerate this girl either. Nobody could. She meant well. I would actually go as far as saying her intentions were amazing. But she was so bloody irritating in the process that it didnít even matter. Emily was the only one who could pseudo-tolerate her, and so every morning, she was forced to walk her to school. It helped that they were in the same class too. Of course Emily was always getting sick, so her theatrics seemed to indicate. It seemed to accompany her new job status as the mandatory Chile girl observer. And as it is, Chile girl... you know what? Weíre going to call her Miranda. Her name is too much of a hassle to say and sheís worn the same "Miranda" shirt every day sheís been here. So by default, sheís a Miranda.
So when Emily would get sick, Miranda would take that little walk solo. Nobody else would dare walk her to school and have to hear the words "pertinent data" and "antihistamines" in the same sentence. It got to be too much effort to nod like you understood what she was saying. People with that thick of accents shouldnít use words like that anyway. Every time she spoke it sounded like she was saying she was pregnant or nursing or something. Thatís what everyone at school thought. It was their justification to why she was always so depressed and weird, and weird-looking. I personally figured she had indigestion. She never said that, but judging by her behavior, it seemed appropriate. Iím never too thrilled about things when I have severe indigestion.
So Miranda picked up a habit of walking herself to school. And by this time it was nearing the end of autumn and thick, darker clouds often crowded the sky. It was almost like watching the tide as the clouds would shift and, without fail, drench Miranda every time she walked. These same clouds left little room for the trees to cast any shadows, which Miranda had always used to guide her feet. She would never actually look up simply out of fear of meeting someone elseís eyes, and these shadows were a good guide for her to find her way back home.
Some of these shadowless mornings, her feet would carry her off to the parts of town where every telephone pole was absolutely encased in spray paint, somehow not really noticing where she was. But she always seemed to make it back home. And her first task upon returning home was always to wake up the sleeping Emily by prancing her weird face around Emilyís bed. Emily hated this, and the last time it happened, Emily simply left. She didnít really have anywhere to go, but she needed to be alone. So she just ended up in the field behind her house. When she laid down she felt the bee along the side of her neck.
She ran back home to an empty house. No Miranda, no Piercy, no parents. One by one her hopes in this world fell as her tears rolled down her cheek and pooled into her pillow. One by one her dreams of love and belonging passed her by. Her faith in this life was stained and her mind contained nothing but the desire to die. Given the free choice between happiness or death, she would no longer choose life. The only thing left that appealed to her were the bottles of her motherís pills.
When she... Son of a bitch my fucking roommates are such assholes. I just want to be left alone one hour to write this fucking story and they wonít stop banging on the ceiling. I donít understand what it is that theyíre trying to accomplish. Iím already aware that theyíre there. Theyíre so belligerently drunk that they canít control the volume of their voices. Thatís been apparent for hours. They donít need to accent that with a fucking broomstick. Their shitty music has been blasting through my vent for the past four hours anyway. Is that not enough? You need to club shit with a fucking broomstick too? Seriously...
I was almost done writing this too and now I canít remember any of it. I had the perfect words to end it too and I donít have the slightest idea what they were. Excellent. This is such bullshit. Okay, so anyway, what was going to happen was that the next day Emily had to walk this girl to school again, she didnít think anyone cared about her, didnít really want to do it, so she took a monster handful of her momís pills. Thatís pretty much it. Thatís pretty much the story. I had it so well scripted though. The words were going to be perfect. It was going to be this huge climax grand massive conclusion, and then my stupid ass roommates started banging the ceiling with sticks. Theyíre always doing that shit and it just kills me. Oh, Iím Brian by the way. Iím the one who was actually writing this story.
I canít believe people are seriously that retarded. If they would have just left me alone for another minute, Iíd be done by now. Thatís what I hate about living here. Itís just one miserable day of this shit after another. Although I do have to admit, I donít mind the vent. Itís got a few enjoyable features. I hate being in the presence of my roommates, but I do enjoy their existence as itís emitted through my vent in the evenings. It keeps me company in a fairly pleasant way. Particularly the way in which I donít need to respond. In fact, itíd be pretty weird if I did. But as it is, itís pretty relaxing. Every night above the soft sound of the air emitting from between the metal bars, it empties those soft dusty voices. But aside from that itís useless. It generates almost no heat at all and offers me a giant dust eruption every ten minutes.
Either way, I live with obnoxious morons. They break every item in the house daily, and theyíll all live on welfare for ever. Not one of them will ever do one useful thing in life. The most successful out of the three used to pump gas up north. Thatís it. The best theyíve got.
And all three of them do nothing but watch music videos all day with watered down lyrics about teenage sex. No real instruments, no skills, talents, or music theory of any sort. Just a bunch of digital bass noises and some jackass dancing and talking plainly to a beat. This shit leaks through my vent too. I hate it when my vent it sings to me. No amount pillows can dull the sound enough to make it bearable, and 7:00 every morning, it ravages my room. Doesnít matter what I do. Fall forward, spring forward backward whatever the hell all that shit is, without fail, 7:00 every morning of my life.
The conversations are entertaining though. Either way, Iím getting tired of writing as Brian. Even though heís fundamentally me, just with a different name. Iím Grant. For the record, Brian is Piercy pretty much too the tee. Itís confusing I know, but the kid with COPD, thatís Brian in real life. Brian made up Piercy. He just kind of scripted him in for the sake of the story, and since heís not very clever, he just made him exactly like himself. Really there is no Piercy. At least nobody with the name of Piercy. I thought it was kind of a nice thing for Brian to do though, so for the sake of the story, I scripted myself into Brianís name. Otherwise he wouldnít have had a personality at all. He gave his to the imaginary Piercy. So I figured Iíd send mine down his way and hope that someone did the same for me. Kind of making sense?
But once I sent my personality down the story-line, I was entirely identity-less. So Gabe was nice enough to lend me his personality. So thatís who Iím writing under right now. But thatís not really true either because Iím not even writing anything write now. Iím just being scripted to say this by Gabe himself, since in essence, itís just him writing about himself in the third person. And since Michael actually made Gabe up after his own personality, ultimately Michael is in control. But Michael was left empty because the person who wrote him into all of this is actually the one whoís currently writing it all. And that identity couldnít be lost alongside the same means that everyone else passed theirs along.
Michaelís sister was kind of in the same position, as Alan scripted Natalie based on himself, and in his place, Miranda, Michaelís sister passed on her personality. So in essence, there never was a Natalie, and Alan is actually Miranda. Of course genders were switched for the sake of the story. Grandpa Miranda doesnít really sound right. But Miranda also gave her name to the Chile-girl so that she would no longer be referred to as "the Chile-girl." I thought it was a very nice gesture.
And Platinumís position in the story was a little obscure too, but thatís okay because he wasnít the actual author anyway. He was just scripted to be the writer, me, who actually wrote all of this.
Itís been close to fifteen years since the pill incident and much has changed. I remember my brother passing away that same year. Brian never really had a normal life. It was some form of lung cancer he died from, I donít really recall anymore. It happened fast and then it seemed to be over real quick. My dad always blamed himself because of the smoking, but Mom had a way with helping him through it. Millionaire Platinum and I ended up getting married a few years later. We were both pretty young and it was toward the end of Autumn. We actually had the reception at the old country club as odd as that was. Neither of us could stand that place. Our sonís birthday will be here in a few days and more than anything heís just excited to see his grandma. He canít pronounce Miranda so it kind of comes out "Grammamurna." We still sometimes wonder what happened to Chile-girl. None of us have seen her since that fall she stayed with us.
Looking back on it, those were truly some of my favorite memories, though it didnít seem like it at the time. I guess most memories just fade so quickly that I hardly notice theyíve passed. I think why I look back so warmly on this one is simply because I remember what itís like to be young. I was always troubled with so much, so passionate about everything, and eventually you just become almost numb to it all. In that autumn, I remember when every second had meaning. It just reminds me of what it means to actually live.