[Time warp to an argument. One that would occur in the second half of the book, if the book should ever be finished. First draft, of course. No dialog tags and still getting a feel for the characters.]
You knew that Father was alive. You knew that I didn’t’ know. You knew that you were supporting a smug, lying sack of shit who was deliberately torturing her husband for not loving her.
How dare you! You come waltzing in here and pretend that you know what has been happening. Mother was a saint looking after Father.
Mother was a hateful, stupid cow who always hated Father and reveled in finally having him under her thumb and helpless. She could pretend he was anything she wanted him to be without him being able to say anything about it. Gods but she must have loved him losing the power of speech.
Oh, words. You have fine words. He never did know what he was creating in you. Puffing you up and pretending that you were important when you were nothing but and empty shell.
I hate it when you parrot Mother and do it badly. Has she been dead long enough that you’ve forgotten most of her spleen. Well, you’d better hope that you’ve been coward enough not to do anything provably illegal. You’ll be clutching your bible and chewing on her liver in jail, if you have.
You are a trumped up. . .
Oh, I’ll trump you all right. You have nothing in your hand but a little bit of information that might be interesting to me and you know what? I’m willing to let that go. The family history can die with you. You and Mother and your sluggish bile. You have nothing on your side but possibly a little local corruption and xenophobia.
You are Satan’s tongue. We were a happy family until you were born. Tempting a good man with the weakness of his pride in his intellect.
Happy family. She got herself knocked up.
Myrtle was shocked rigid. She was gripped with fear. This had never been said and there were no familiar arguments to put up against it.
Do the math. Barbara was born six months after they were married. You were born six years later. In a world with no birth control, that means it took him that long to be willing to touch her.
You would speak of sex.
And she would not speak of sex while humping for her own purposes.
I must forgive you. You have become unaccustomed to the company of Christians.
I know plenty of Christians and I know that chanting Jesus, Jesus, Jesus doesn’t keep anyone from fucking like bunnies.
Your words! If Mother were alive.
If Mother were alive I’d spit in her hateful face. But she’s not so I’ll settle for undoing some of her crime. I’m having the tumor removed from Father’s brain.
Father had a stroke. Myrtle’s voice was small.
That was a lie. That was the lie that Mother told me. She didn’t bother to tell it here, so this proves that you helped her lie to me. Here she just told people that they didn’t have enough money to do the surgery. She let everyone think that Father was sitting in his own drool, piss, and shit because she couldn’t part with the cash to fix him.
And you know what? The surgery that would have been fairly simple then may kill him now. He’s been wasting away for decades. He may not have the strength to get through it. How does it feel? To murder your own Father. For someone else’s spite. How did it feel? You had to snuggle up against Mother, she had emptied you out so that she was all you had. You’d have had to go into that house knowing that he was upstairs dying. Upstairs so that she could complain about going up and down. Too pigheaded to convert a parlor into a sickroom because that wasn’t done. It was a parlor. I can just hear her saying something stupid like that.
I will pray for you.
You do that. And pray for yourself. Old farts don’t do well in jail. And you’re going to be talking to a lot of earnest law enforcement personnel. It’s going to get embarrassing.
It will not embarrass me, as I have done nothing wrong. Not like some people who abandon their own kin to go swaning off.
How marry unwisely and get dumped. I’m sure you enjoyed knowing that I was in the hospital and left without the wherewithal to answer the divorce.
Yes. Mother knew. Mother got the pleasure of telling me that the infection was the supernatural striking me down for not honoring her properly. Selfish cow. God, I hate it when her hatefulness comes out of my mouth. But I’m angry.
Do not refer to God as the supernatural. It belittles Him.
Your worship belittles him, but that’s a topic for another time and a brain that’s actually working. I’m excoriating you about Father. You knew he had a tumor and that Mother was using it to imprison him. You knew it and you did nothing.
There was nothing that I could do. I had cleaved to my own husband and had a child to care for. You’d know nothing about that, I’m sure.
You are lucky that my knees are sore or I’d stand up and slap you. You helped Mother help my lying ex-husband steal my daughter and you have the gall to accuse me of having no children. You can’t even keep your indignant lies straight. You betray yourself on all sides.
I can’t blame you for hating Father a little. After all, he left you, and he left you with a hateful, spiteful woman.
Father never left me.
He left when Barbara died. When she was six. He never said much about it, but he told me some. He stayed away for years.
But he came back in the end.
He came back because she played her standard card. It didn’t turn out quite the way she hoped.
Sheila let that sit. Maybe Myrtle could understand a little innuendo of a certain type.
What standard card.
She got herself knocked up again. With me. Without him. He was states away.
So you know. You know that you’re a bastard and no part of this family. And yet you come back and make trouble for us. Oh, you are a viper.
You are an ass. Of course I’m part of this family. He was willing to stay married to the goring cow to be sure I was his. He checked the law and you’d better check it, too, before you start thinking that you can just brush me off.
You knew you weren’t his.
I’m his. I guess she picked someone that he valued to bump uglies with. You were around her enough that you probably know who it was. Heck, you were living with her when she did it. I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to think about it, though.
He killed himself.
Most men would, waking up with that.
Myrtle’s face contorted with anger. The anger was galling and caused her to pace around the room.
You’ll be talking with the Feds over helping John kidnap Elizabeth and pretend to be Father to sell off his property. I’ll leave that mostly in their hands. Unless Father dies, of course. I may have some time to devote to checking in on the case, if I’m left at loose ends.
May have the time. You talk about persecuting me if you have the time. Do you even hear the evil in your voice.
You’d know evil. I’ll leave it to you. I’ll leave Elizabeth to John, too. She’s grown up twisted and gutted. Being in the same room with her disgusts me. He can have what’s left.
What’s left? Barbara is a fine woman.
You don’t like her any more than you like me. From what I hear you don’t like anybody. You visit your daughter, but she’s difficult to take, except in small doses.
Sometimes the Lord gives us burdens.
True. And sometimes it’s jackasses piling on your back. I will give you that the jackasses don’t have quite the ammunition that the Lord does. Although some of them do try to hurt you to biblical proportions.
And who has hurt you more than you’ve hurt yourself?
You for one. And to no purpose other than humoring an idiot. I suppose I never had the fear of Mother put into me the way you did while Father was gone and there was no one to protect you from her whims and crotchets. It must have been frightening for a child. I’ve always pitied you for that.
Pitied me? Pitied me because Mother loved me?
Mother never had enough perspective to love anyone.
I pity you if you think that. To think that a person needs perspective (the word was spat out in a hiss), an intellectual distance to love.
They need enough wit to be able to tell that there’s another person there. You were never there for her. No one was. There was just her. Her and her daughter. Her and her husband. She had no clue who Myrtle was and no care for what Myrtle wanted. She was the center of the universe and if she was happy, all was well in the kingdom. It didn’t matter who else was bleeding or in pain. They were only complaining about selfish things. People were dolls to her.
And don’t think that I didn’t notice that John enjoyed being able to call Elizabeth Barbie, like she was a doll. That’s just sick.
He doted on her the way Father doted on you. And he ruined her just like Father ruined you.
And you stood by and let it happen. You enjoy watching evil, don’t you?
There is no enjoying evil, there is just no getting away from it.
Trapped at home with Mother. Yes, I can see how you’d come to see that. I’ll let the Feds find out if you were paid off. If you were, your butt will be warming a jail bunk.
Myrtle hugged her bible.
I take it that’s a yes. I take it that the theft has already been sanitized with holiness.
I have a daughter. You wouldn’t . . .
You’re lucky you stopped yourself. There’s an ugly shepardess within reach that I’ll be throwing if you ever sully your lips with that particular lie again. And there are ways to get money besides back-stabbing relatives. I know. I was left penniless and sick.
John was a good man.
John was a leach. And a liar. He ran from me and if they let him out on bail, he’ll run again.
He can’t run. He has someone he loves, now.
Maybe. It’s been years since I’ve laid eyes on him. I remember his love as being a bit thin, in the old days. His sense of entitlement was thick, and his spite was thicker. His love wouldn’t warm a butterfly.
Well, I’ve said everything I wanted to say. You are a coward and a criminal. I pity you but I’m tired of pussyfooting around you out of pity. I’m going to take care of Father. And then I’m going to have surgery myself. There will be lawyers and lawsuits and I’ll be taking back everything that John took from Father. You can have Mother’s house. He never liked it.
I forgive you.
Liar. You hate me. I got away. At least you think I did.
I don’t expect you to forgive me or to understand.
Good. I’ll be too busy for either for the foreseeable future.
You lack the love of God.
But I do love my Father. And I hate his enemies. I’m not used to hating. Tell me, does it get easier with time?
I’ll be going.
[Not much left in the Nanowrimo doc for this Beginning. And I haven't checked the remainder. If it's just filler, I won't bother posting it.]