Some Weird Sin
Disclaimer and some such:
I do not have the rights to use any characters
officially associated with The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen
television series. I am using these characters without the
permission of FOX, 1013 Productions, Chris Carter, or
any other copyright owners. Of course, this is intended for
[non-profit] entertainment only, and no
infringement on copyrights or trademarks
was intended by the author.
Any similarities to people, places, and other works of
fanfiction are purely coincidental.
All other characters not officially associated with
The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen (including, but not limited to,
Smithee and Ellroy) are property of the author
and should not be recycled into another story without
No animals were harmed during the making of this fanfic,
except for two mosquitoes and one waterbug.
Cost of coffee drunk while writing this: $15.82
Cost of paper used to print out draft copies: $2.38
Cost of Anne Hawley's beta-reading skills: PRICELESS
The 'present' of this story takes place a few years
before The Lone Gunmen series timeline.
* * *
Every year, my father dragged us down to the
Elgin Walmart for a family portrait. He had
them all framed and hung in ascending order
leading up the stairs. I used to stare at them
whenever I walked to or from my room - going
forwards or backwards in time with the pictures.
There was a strange evolution from shot to shot:
Each year, we smiled less; each year, my parents
looked more uncomfortable standing that close to
each other; each year, I inched further away from
my dad. By the last picture, we all look stone-faced
and pained. I was thirteen in that one - the year my
mom left. We didn't go back to the portrait
studio after that.
The evolution of a dysfunctional family. No, the
de-evolution. I have to laugh when I think
about it now - because if I don't laugh,
I'll go crazy.
There was only one good picture of all of us - the
very first one. We're all smiling and optimistic.
Before any bad shit happened, when my birth was
still a celebrated event, when my parents still
sort of loved each other and had newly-forged
hopes to raise a family and live happily ever after.
She took that one with her.
I didn't even notice it was missing until almost
a month after she was gone. Which was strange,
because for a while right after she left I kept
combing the house for traces of her, something
she might have forgotten that she'd need to
come back for - I didn't fool myself into
thinking she'd come back for me. But I really
didn't notice much of anything that first month
after she left. I didn't feel anything.
I walked around in a daze, hardly eating,
leaving my chores unfinished. I forgot day-to-day
details, like tying my shoes or
putting my glasses on before I left the house.
No one seemed to care, or tried to make me snap
out of it. They just felt bad and tried not to
mention her name in my presence. Even the bullies
at school left me alone.
And then I went through this phase, for a
long time, where all I could see was the one
thing I didn't get to have - happy mothers
and their children, together, laughing and
cuddling, everywhere I went. It was one big
long distance commercial hallucination, which
made me alternately insanely jealous or insanely
disgusted. Sometimes both.
I hate remembering that time of my life.
So I was shuffling up the stairs to my room,
probably coming home from school, when I
finally noticed the empty picture hook and
the less-faded patch of wallpaper. I ran
outside, where my father was weeding his
small garden in the front yard.
"What'd you do with it?"
He looked tired. "Do with what?"
"The picture. That picture of us -"
"I didn't take any picture."
"But there's one missing from the stair -"
He grabbed me by the jaw and pulled my face
so close to his I could smell the whisky
on his breath when he growled, "I said, I
didn't take any damn picture."
He let go, and I fell forward, smacked
palm-first into the dirt. He started
walking back to the house. Just before
he opened the door, he yelled without
turning around, "Your mother took it,
Ringo. Now leave me alone."
I retreated to my tool shed, turned on the
Ramones as loud at my player would go,
plugged in my soldering iron - and whatever
numbness I'd felt was sucked away by a
sudden, searing, wall punching, radio breaking,
sobbing-until-my-throat-stung tantrum of the
nth degree. My body snapped out of whatever
state of shock it had been in for the past
month. All of Ellroy's presents were ripped
to shreds. My knuckles were bleeding and sore,
fingernails torn. They hurt like hell - and
I was just so relieved to feel something that
I didn't care.
I wiped my eyes and went back to the house. I
found my dad passed out in the living room
in front of the Zenith, empty bottle at the
foot of the chair. Dragging him to bed had
been my mother's chore. I tried to lift him,
but he was too heavy to move.
Fuck it, I thought. That was really the
beginning of the end for our relationship;
I just left him there.
* * *