Look how black the sky is, the writer said. I made it that way.
…and Mary-Anne had been talking for about 10 minutes before I stopped totally zoning out, just trying to mellow really on the B-side of this new Beach Boy album. There is nothing more depressing than coming home after last bell at StoneyBrook High, trying to get my room in order for the Baby-Sitters’ Club meeting, and then realizing that you really don’t even give a shit anymore. Like, sorry that you have diabetes Stacey, but do we have to spend half the afternoon discussing it? And yeah, it really bums me out to watch Claudia just snort up half those Pixie Stixs when she is so blatantly trying to get attention to her sugar problem, but every time we try to talk to her about it she says she needs it to focus on her art and that her super-strict Asian parents are coming down on her ass again so what’s the point, really? This whole club is really getting to be a drag but whatever, I started the project and I just know that bitch Marci is waiting for me to like, drop the ball on this whole thing so she can pick up all the money and maybe Mary-Anne’s boyfriend Logan as a nice “fuck you too” perk.
“So, right, what Mary-Anne was saying,” I tried, but my voice was kind of mumbly so I started again and accidentally ended up shouting over Mary-Anne, and she got this look on her face like I slapped her or told her her mom just died (again). Whoops. So much for best friends, right?
“Sorry, I just want to make sure we’re um, all clear on who is going to baby-sitting David Michael tonight, because that should be, our top priority right?” Now everyone was staring at me and I wish I had eaten lunch or at least some of those Jiff/Wonderbread peanut-butter sandwiches Mom made. There was still some organic Farmer’s Market celery stalks that were half-wilting with Hidden Valley in those new melamine plates in the middle of the room, but I was two second’s away from shaking Claudia down for some Snicker’s or something, or maybe just going to grab the Tylenol P.M. in the medicine closet and my hands were shaking and why was everyone just staring at me?
“Yeah…but…David Michael is your brother” said Dawn in that stupid No-Cal way, which, like d’uh, obviously. As if I had forgotten, which I sort of had but that was besides the point. She flicked her L’Oreal model hair behind her head and I swear to god, she may think it looked cute but to me she looked like a friggin’ horse whenever she did that.
“Right. Definitely. Dawn, I know that. But I’m going to the Richardson’s tonight so I need someone here to watch David Michael.” Which fine, I sort of just grabbed the Richardson kids out of the pile which is against club rules or whatever, but it was my club and if I had to spend another night listening to an eight year old talk about his Megaman action figures like that makes him better than me, just because his dad sends him better gifts on Christmas….whatever.
“I’ll take David Michael,” Mary-Anne said quietly, like literally I almost stopped the tape in the middle of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (yeah wouldn’t it) just to make sure the noise wasn’t coming from some background noises that Brian Wilson had thrown in there.
“Thanks, yeah! Now, what were you saying about you and Logan?” I was totally dizzy from relief and relished the idea of drifting into a semi-conscious state of Ritalin withdrawal so Mary-Anne could bitch about her boyfriend. Another meeting of the Baby-Sitter’s Club had come to a close.
Chapter 2: Claudia’s Candy War
We were going 30 in a 25 mph Stoneybrook crossing lane, my dad’s hands clenched white against the wheel while I could practically hear him grinding his teeth all the way in the backseat. I was sitting next to my older sister Janine, who had spent the last three days on some sort of cleanse diet because she was, in her words, “packing on the pounds like I was the one eating all the junk food.” Or because someone had switched out her carefully hidden birth control pills with orange Tic Tacs last month. Either one.
My mom was crying in the front seat and if you knew my dad you’d know he never goes above the speed-limit, it’s just like one of those “never happens” scenarios, which I would probably ascribe to the fact that his daily dose of Valium that he thought he was hiding so well from the rest of the family had been dumped down the drain earlier in the week and replaced with Blue M&M’s. My mom’s Prozac prescription? Tiny crushed up pieces of Certs, inserted carefully back into gel-cap casings after I dumped out all her Happy Pills and let the Newton’s dog lick it up off the floor. Without their carefully regulated diet of feelings, my family was on the verge of a major meltdown. I caught myself smiling in the rear-view mirror and had to reapply my mask of “ambiguously ethnic inscrutability,” as Janine might call it.
Earlier at Kristy’s house I had been entirely on edge as our mein fuhrer tasked out assignments and then barely paid attention when Mary-Anne went to the bathroom to puke up her lunch. Some great friend, Kristi. Some great club we have going here. Still, it was better than being at home, especially now that my dad decided it was time to put my Grandma Mimi in a nursing home and told me that if my grades didn’t improve they would up my Ritalin dosage to 10 mgs and take away my art supplies. Yeah right. All those non-generic prescriptions that my parents think I dutifully take every morning actually get tongued and later used -spittle and all – for an art piece I’m working on. I’m going to title it “The Haloperidol Generation,” even though I don’t really know what Haloperidol is. I read about it in this amazing book I took out from the Stoneybrook public library: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
I knew the Stoneybrook board was thinking about removing the book completely because of all the negative press it was getting, but I thought it was fantastic. Mr. Ellis was currently my hero because he really spoke to how I felt: Like everyone was some happy robot going along with their fake little lives, but inside they secretly wanted to murder everyone. One day, I think I’d like to lose my virginity to Bret.
“What are you smiling about?” Janine hissed, one hand over her double-C cups (and growing by the day), “Do you know mom and dad are totally going to flip out when they find you used their new curtains to sew together that hideous sweater you made? Not to mention, you made it, like, 8 sizes too small, even for you. It looks like it belongs on a baby.”
“Oh right, it’s for a doll Laura Perkins wanted me to make,” I replied smoothly. I couldn’t wait to be an Aunt.
/And you can read it here as well/
/Bret Easton Ellis is the acclaimed author of American Psycho, Less Than Zero, and Rules of Attraction. His books have been published in over 40 languages, and banned in 8 countries. This is his first attempt at writing young adult fiction./