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.
* * *
My father sold the farm eventually. It
shouldn't have surprised me. My mother
was gone, and he knew - no matter how
much he may have wished it wasn't true -
that I wasn't going to stick around
much longer. He certainly knew I didn't want
to be a farmer.
But I really didn't expect him to sell it.
At least, not while I was still living there.
That would be like admitting defeat, and my father
never admitted defeat.
It happened, without warning, on some overly-warm
spring day. A strange man in a suit came by our
house and asked to speak to my dad - 'strange,'
because I'd never seen him before. I knew everyone
that had ever come to our house - okay,
not hard when you've lived with the
same few hundred people all your
life - and none of them ever wore suits.
He didn't say much to me, except to
notice my hair and say, "Don't you kids
ever go to the barber these days? Got one
about your age too, same thing." I think he was
trying to relate to me or something, but it
just came off as condescending.
My father greeted him nervously; the first time
I remembered seeing my father nervous.
If my suspicions had been aroused before, I was downright
paranoid now. I hung in the background,
listening in, trying to figure out what was
going on. But the conversation was all surface,
nothing revealing - except for
the fact that Suit Man kept calling my
father 'sir' - also a first.
When they left the house and started walking
around the grounds, I tried to follow them.
They walked for a while - at that point, my father owned
about seven hundred acres - but in flat Nebraska it
was hard to find ways to hide
myself in the scenery. I had to settle
for picking a fixed vantage point, pretending
to be heavily involved in some task, and just try to keep
them in sight. After almost an hour, the
best theory I could come up with was
that my father was giving Suit Man a
tour - which seemed really unlikely. A
tour of what? Cow pies?
Of course, I found out in about fifteen
minutes that that's exactly what they
had been doing.
The ended up in the barn. I crouched behind
one of old horse stalls - a throwback to my
grandfather, who kept horses on the farm before my
dad took over - and watched and listened.
"This is a good piece of property you have, sir."
"I know," my father said. He sounded . . . I tried to
place the emotion: He sounded numb.
"Frankly, it's perfect for us."
"I'm sure it is." Same tone of voice.
"In fact - and I hate to even mention this, because
you're really giving us a wonderful price - I'm
curious as to why you're selling it in the
"There's nothing wrong with the land," my father was
suddenly angry, defensive - familiar territory.
I was almost relieved. You tell 'em, dad!
"No, no, not at all. I never meant to imply - I was
just - curious." Now Suit Man sounded
nervous. "Listen, sir, I have all the papers with me. I
took the liberty of preparing them a few days ago,
based on what we talked about over the
phone. If you're ready, we can sign them now."
My father nodded and Suit Man pulled a pen out of
thin air. Papers were signed and re-signed.
They shook hands. Suit Main left. I blinked, and it
was over. The farm was gone.
My father stood in the middle of the barn,
holding a fistful of carbon copies.
His shoulders shook, I thought, in anger.
Then I realized - he was crying! Of
course, I had to notice, even when he
thought he was alone he tried to hold it
in, crying through clenched teeth.
He looked around, like he was desperate to
remember what he saw.
That's when he saw me.
My hands and feet went cold, and I thought,
this is it, he's going to kill me!
But all he said was, "Come here." Numb.
I walked over to him. His eyes were raw and
watery. "How long've you been there?"
"The whole time," I admitted quietly.
He slapped me. Hard. My glasses dislodged
from behind my ear, and hung crooked.
I didn't try to fix them; I was too shocked.
He'd never slapped me before, open
palmed, stinging. He'd rarely hit me at
all in the past few years, which I
frankly assumed meant I wasn't worth
the effort - a lot of other kids in my
school regularly came to class with
bruises or welts. It was pretty common, and
all I ever thought about it was well,
at least your parents touch you.
"Why?" I choked out. "Why'd you sell it?"
"What's the point?" he said, his voice rising.
"I'm not going to be around forever, and
I won't trust this place to hired help. It's a damn
joke. You're my only child, and lord
knows you're not going to care about this place
when you can play with your computers."
He spat the word out, like it tasted bad. "I
might as well sell it off now, make a
little profit, and retire in dignity." He
was huffing, his cheeks striped
where tears tracked through the thin layer of
dirt that was always on his face.
"You're right, I don't want to be a lousy
farmer - there are a hundred more
valuable things I can do with my life!"
I clamped my hand over my mouth,
immediately regretting what I said.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I didn't - "
He slapped me again, hard enough to
bring me to my knees. My glasses went
When he finally spoke, that numbness had
returned to his voice. "There's nothing
shameful about being a farmer, Richard.
It's good work. My father was a farmer,
and his father before him. This land's
been in our family for generations, since
before the Dust Bowl. It's nothing to be ashamed of."
I said nothing, staggered back to my feet.
My cheek burned. I just remembered
the look in his eyes after Suit
Man left with our farm on a piece of paper. He'd
cried - !
"When I get the money, I'll give you
your share. Then I don't want to ever hear
you asking for my support again.
You could have had this place. I know you don't
think much of it, but it would've
made you a good, honest living. Now it's gone,
everything the Langlys worked for. Your
choice. Remember that."
He didn't stick around for my answer - not
that I had one to give. He parted the
doors of the barn and walked out into the
open field. Just before he went
totally blurry I saw him ball up his
hand, the one he slapped me with, and shove
it into his pocket like a bad habit.
That was a month before I left. For some
reason, that's the last good image I
have of him in my mind - walking away
from me in his overalls and boots, walking
back to his big, empty house: His wife
and son driven away, his livelihood and
family legacy sold off. Out of focus.
So why didn't it feel like a victory? I just
* * *