Cordelia Blake called him a pig once in the eighth grade, so he caught her ponytail on fire, so she glued him to his desk and shot him with a paintball gun, so he told the principal about her make-out sessions with Willow Vanburen under the bleachers, so she busted him for cheating on his English final. There's no one he hates more in this world, but also no one closer to being considered a genuine friend of his. Of course, he'd sooner drink acid than admit that out loud, but it still stands true regardless of if he wants it to or not.
She came to see him when he was reaped, toothy grin as she slipped a cigarette out of her boot and flicked it at him.
"Last one you'll ever get, I reckon," she said, "Fuckin' bum. You know you're gonna rot when you die, right?" She hadn't ever been one to shy from him, so even when he advanced, their faces hovering mere inches from one another, she did not blink. She did not move a muscle.
"Beats burning," he said puffing air and smoke into her face.
"Fuck you." she said back. And then she laughed. And then she left.
He flicked the still-lit cigarette at the door the instant it was closed, watched the shower of sparks as it collided with the thick wood of it.
"Anyone else coming?" a peacekeeper asked, shoving his bald head through a crack an instant later.
"Nah. It's Saturday. Mom's probably at the casino or passed out next to the toilet."
A wave of different feelings warred for superiority over the man's face. And though guilt was a strong contender, it ultimately lost out to confusion because Ramsey hadn't sounded upset at all by this fact. It was spoken so plainly, like it was normal.
"Gotcha," he'd remarked, closing the door, only this time Ramsey heard the click of a lock behind it. He checked his teeth in the mirror. Then he smiled. Then he smashed the grinning reflection of himself with his bare knuckles. Then he tucked a particularly big shard into his boot just to see if he'd get away with it, just like Cordelia had told him to do without saying the words. He'd known her his entire life, after all, and not once had either of them shared something with the other.
He tasted blood. Possibly, it could have been something else, but he was all too used to this: the metallic taste and the sting of his tongue against a cut on the inside of his lip. He bet that if he smiled right now, his teeth would have been tinged pink and red with it. He spat onto the concrete as they escorted him further.
"Are you disappointed?" he asked the biggest one. For the most part, Ramsey Robichaux had been uncharacteristically compliant. Of course he'd save his best behavior for a moment like this, where he got to live out all those angry thoughts he'd been harboring for so long. A fist through a wall could only relieve so much unbridled rage, you know? But they'd found the piece of broken glass he'd hidden in his sock and that had made them a bit testy and then they'd punched him in the face and ever since, there was a weird tension that hadn't been there before.
If he knew love, he knew it in her. If he knew fear, she struck it within him.
if ur reading this rn pls note that it is 3 am and have not proofread and that's very brave and sexy of me
The world would be a much more enjoyable place if everyone would just be a bit more honest. It's an under-valued trait these days, honesty. Each day is more duplicitous than the next. More delusional to boot. I've always been honest. Say what you want, (people usually feel free to,) but you can't say I don't tell it how it is. Or at least how I think it is. Sometimes I'm a bit of an unreliable narrator when my anger gets the better of me. But I'm honest no matter what.
For instance, I look like a rich bitch. I f u c k i n g hate it, but I know it's true. I mean look at me. I look like I'd be a level five vegan, whatever that is, or like I would consider yoga a sport. I look like I had a live-in nanny and toys made of wood, you know? Everyone gives me shit about it, all of us poor little war kids marching along. We're poking the sleeping monsters with sticks because whatever horrors they might possibly have in store could never be worse than what we have all been through. What we have all seen. What we have all done.
Until four months ago, it didn't make any kind of a difference what any of them said, because it's true: I look like a rich bitch and that was always funny because, well, because until four months ago, I wasn't even close to rich. I was sharing a room with my three year old sister, and my little brother slept in the living room. My mom and whoever she had with her stayed locked up in the back most of the time. But things have changed, and now it isn't funny when they make the jokes, because it's true: I am a rich bitch now. Because four months ago, my Mom was killed, and she wasn't supposed to have been.
Yeah, if you think this story is going anywhere good, you got another thing coming. Things don't get better in the badlands. The sun doesn't shine on the junkyard, so much as it attempts to start a fucking brush fire. Oh, and if you're thinking, just fuckin' leave! I got news for you: you can't. I tried. Lots of people do. It's confusing, it's hard to- It's like... It's like it's a part of us. It's like we're branded, or we smell of it, or something. No matter where we go, how far we run, how good we do for ourselves, that shit don't matter. We're junkers.
I'm an orphan junker now, I guess, though it doesn't feel too terribly different from when I wasn't one.
Roughly the same level of parental supervision. She was actually better when she drank, that's the fucked up part. I got to where I actually... preferred it? I told her that, too. Shouldn't have. I was just a twelve year old though, I guess, and she was on her latest sobriety kick, and she'd already given the twerps and I the whole I'm ready to be a parent talk for the billionth time. Meanwhile, Molly's diaper rash was so bad she was walking funny and Lucky's black eye was so swollen he couldn't see, and I was-
Angry. I guess I always am, on some level. You would be too, don't flatter yourself.
Since I'm so honest, I guess I'll just say it: My Mom was a fuckin' narc. Should've figured when she laid off Lucky's adderall but go figure, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. She was informing on some drug operation for some old guy and he found out and... yeah. Mom was supposed to be under peacekeeper protection. That's a lawsuit out the ass, my guy. Ramsey called her a cunt once, my mom. Eh, I could kid myself and say he was right about her but, to be fair, he called everyone a cunt. He was an interesting creature.
Creature. That was a good word for him. He was like a wild animal. People think its as simple as getting it while it's young, raising it to love humans. And sure, maybe when they're little they're fine, but it's out of necessity. They don't bite the hand that feeds them until they're certain the hand can be what feeds them.
Or so they say. I got a leopard named Prissy two months ago and she hasn't attacked a single person so far who didn't deserve it. The new house I bought had a straight-up hedge maze/rose garden in the backyard. Stone fence, ten feet high. Right at the center is where I keep all my shit, and when my asshole friends find out and try to go snooping, well... Prissy steps in. She just understands, you know? We're both women trying to make it in a male-dominated power structure. I keep sending her the riffraff trying to steal, she helps me weed the fake friends from the real ones.
Haven't found a single real one yet. Wish I wasn't being honest now.
I met a real classy lady at the laundromat whose husband is a lawyer. I know it's legit cause she had to cash in a twenty for some quarters and she smelled like lavender. She took in Molly. I go visit on the weekends sometimes. Little brat is sprouting like a weed. And Lucky went to stay with the family of his best friend back in the badlands. I try to reach out but he don't really pick up so much these days. Prolly just, you know, typical twelve year old attitude shit. Like, I remember when I was twelve, I stole my mom's purse and went clubbing and then the girl I was with started wigging out and we ended up arrested. Mom burned my fuckin sketchpad for that. Threw a glass bowl full of potato chips at my head, too. Kids gotta learn, I guess.