Some Weird Sin

By Cameragrrrl

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.

* * *

"I'm sorry, dad."

"I'm sorry, dad."

"I'm sorry, dad. I'm sorry! Wake up!"

He doesn't answer. A nurse walks in and 
asks me if I'm okay, do I need anything, 
shouldn't I go home and get some rest, 
and I say, "No, I'm not okay, but I'm 
better than him!" And she backs 
away like I punched her or something, 
and I try to apologize but she's already gone. 

* * *

Frohike was the one who found the warehouse. 
He called me and Byers together for 
an unofficial meeting. He drove us down 
to Takoma Park, pulled up right in front 
of the building and said ceremoniously, 
"This is it, buddies. Our new home."

Byers and I looked at each other like, What 
the hell is he talking about?

And Frohike just shoved the newspaper ad
in our hands. We had to admit, the 
price per square foot was within 
our budget - owing largely to the location, of 
course. There was nothing for blocks but phone lines, 
old factories, and homeless people. 
The sort of place that always looked overcast, even 
if it was sunny. 

"It's perfectly inconspicuous," Frohike said. He 
started poking around the corrugated steel façade. "We 
can put in a camera, right here. And check
it out - free parking."

Byers looked distinctly uncomfortable. "You want us 
to live here? Is it even zoned for 
residential occupancy? Is it legal? Is it safe?" His 
eyebrows winced up with every word; they were 
practically floating above his head. 

I put in my two cents. "There are separate 
bedrooms, right?"

Frohike looked at us like we were crazy to 
question him. "There will be."

So we bought the place. It was a year after we 
started publishing. Our Xerox-quality 
'zine was steadily snowballing into a 
legitimate publication: 
We actually sent it out to a press instead of 
drawing straws to see who got to spend an 
afternoon in Kinkos' self-service copy center. And 
readership had increased to a point 
where the 'zine was paying for itself. Sometimes 
we even made a little profit. We were
only a few bucks shy of affording a 
colorized front page; that's moving on up 
in the publishing world. So what if we had 
barely four hundred subscribers? 

We moved into the warehouse within a month. Byers
got first dibs on the bedrooms - although, they 
weren't bedrooms at the time. He picked the only one 
without a view of the garbage incinerator in the 
building behind ours. I guess he preferred 
the giant air conditioner ducts and dying trees across the 
street. My room was the smallest. All 
of our walls were fashionable cinder block, ceilings 
lined with exposed pipe. 

Strange. But it was real homey. 

Well obviously, not the warehouse itself - although 
I'd like to think, in time, that we turned 
it into something as personalized and comfortable 
as a home. But the homey feeling came with
the fact that I was living with people I 
liked - even admired. I had a job that was
totally satisfying and not illegal. I felt 
like Byers and Frohike would care if I suddenly 
jumped on a bus and booked town. 

Some days I flattered myself into thinking they might 
even try to stop me. 

Of course, I never let the guys know how I felt. 
Bravado and self-possession more than 
covered up for my terminal insecurity. Granted, 
I have to thank Frohike for pointing that out to me.

I think his exact words were, "Langly, the day you 
admit your kung-foo isn't always the best 
will be the day I finally get to know the guy I've 
been sitting next to all these years."

Touché. Anyway, the bottom line was, I had a 
safety net: People that cared about me. 

Since that embarrassing stalk-session with Smithee a 
couple of years ago, I hadn't tried to 
contact my mom again. I'd put the photograph 
away and tried not to think about it - except 
I found myself reverting back to that old habit of 
fixating on all the happy families I saw on 
the street, and when I tried to talk 
about it to Smithee he just told me to share whatever 
drugs I was on. Some friend.

But Smithee was a distant memory now. I had Byers 
and Frohike - my surrogate parents, pretty 
much - to catch me if I fell. And I saw what losing 
that Modeski woman was doing to Byers. 
It was killing him. I wasn't going to let 
the same thing happen to me. 

So the photograph came out of my drawer. I went 
back to that random intersection of streets, 
sat on the steps across from her building, in broad 
daylight, and watched and waited. It became a ritual 
for which I went out of my way to make 
myself anonymous: Pulling my hair through
the back of a baseball cap, swapping 
out my glasses for prescription shades, buying 
incognito jogging sweats. I even 
stopped shaving until I had something 
resembling a beard and mustache - although 
my facial hair was too orange and 
shaggy for anything as neatly sculpted as 
Byers'. The end result was sort of 
Suburban Yeti. I barely recognized myself. 
Not taking any chances, though; I knew I didn't 
exactly have the kind of face that blended into a crowd.

And it worked. I saw her.

My reaction was spring-loaded, palpable, like a
vacuum filling with a rush of air. Like I 
suddenly had to laugh, cry, and yell at the same 
time. Or like I could go crazy. It was 
the same feeling I'd had back in my tool shed, years ago, 
right after she left, when I snapped out of 
my reverie and all this raw emotion 
flooded my body - which promptly translated 
into raw destruction.

"Mom?" I croaked out. Too softly - she didn't hear. 

Now the overriding feeling wasn't anger. It 
was something closer to regret. It 
was like, why couldn't I have done this sooner, 
instead of wasting all this time? It was like, 
okay, it was unfair of her to put the ball in my 
court, when she was the one who left - but 
relationships go both ways, and I should've done 
something -

But I didn't have the guts to do anything. 
She walked into her building and I lost her again. 

So I went back. Once or twice a week, every week. 
I never worked up the courage to say anything to her.
Didn't want to rock the boat - it was enough, for now, 
to know she was accessible. She was a real person 
again, not just some memory. It was like fast
forwarding a movie and watching a character age 
fifteen years in five minutes. I could see 
her hair was more grey than blonde, now. She'd 
gotten a little fatter, a little more stooped. She 
seemed to like the color blue - in her 
wardrobe, anyway. I became familiar with her 
schedule, with the other people in her 
building, with the people she nodded to in the street. 
Sometimes I saw her with bags of groceries. 
Sometimes she looked like she was going to work, 
well dressed, with a purse and nice shoes. 
Sometimes I didn't see her at all. I made up 
stories about where she was going when she left, 
what her apartment looked like. I imagined 
she had pictures of me hanging on her walls, 
and I hoped she felt guilty every time she looked at them. 

Sounds desperate, but it really felt good just 
to know that I had the power to reach out 
to her, talk to her, tell her who I was - if I wanted to. 
Or not. My choice. 

Power. Choice. She took those things from 
me when she left. If she was forcing 
me to make the next move in our relationship, 
I had to reclaim them. I mean, it's not 
like anyone asked me what I thought when she left. 
No one came and said, "Okay, Richard, 
you decide: Your mom stays, or she leaves." 

She sure as hell didn't. So why did she deserve better

Was I bitter? Yeah. Stupid? Hell yeah. And it's easy 
to say if I knew what I know now, 
I'd have done everything differently. But I was 
only twenty-two - what did I know from hindsight? 

I don't even know what the guys thought about what
I was doing. I just sort of snuck out 
when whenever I could without arousing too much attention. 
It was hard to sneak anywhere around them. Byers seemed 
to think I'd taken up smoking. He kept
lecturing me about it. I would find these anti-smoking 
brochures slipped under my door, strategically
placed warnings about Joe Camel in my e-mail. Good 
for him. I let him think whatever he wanted.
It was kind of funny, actually.

Frohike was harder to convince. He muttered stuff
about dissension in the ranks every time 
I went out. One night, he just stayed up and waited for me 
to come home. He was sitting on our ratty 
old sofa, arms folded across his chest like an 
angry father. 

"So who lives there, huh? Blonde? Redhead? Informant? 

"Whoa, slow down there -"

"I think I deserve to know if my coworker - nay, 
housemate - is a Judas." 

Coworker, housemate. I noticed he left off 
friend. "Are you going senile? You followed 
me around, confront me about something you know 
nothing about, and you're saying I betrayed your trust?"

He just shrugged like, well, did you?

I threw my hands up in the air. "Time out. This 
isn't fair. You're - you're bribing me. You're 
saying if I don't tell you what I'm doing - with 
no guarantee that you'll even believe me - then
you get to keep thinking I'm a - a - what the 
hell did you call me?"

"Judas." But he didn't say it like he was 
answering my question. He said it like 
that's what I was. 

"Fine," I huffed, dripping sarcasm. "Get ready for 
this, because it's a real front page 
conspiracy: My mother lives there." 

He was real quiet for a second. Then he 
snorted, "Sure, Langly. And Area 51 is 
giving public tours now."

"See! See, that's exactly what I mean!" I was 
pacing around the room, picking stuff up
and putting it down again in a completely different place. 
Nervous habit. Frohike was 
eyeing me. "Is this what hell is like? My mother 
really does live there. I'm -" Stalking. 
"I'm trying to get in touch with her."

"You call spying on someone from across the street 
getting in touch with them? No wonder you're
having a dry spell with the ladies. So, out with it. 
And put that disk back where you got it. 
There's stuff on it for next week's issue and I 
don't want it to get lost." He folded 
his arms, expectantly. "Well?"

I was glad for the beard, so Frohike couldn't see 
how angry red my face was. I dropped the 
disk on our couch, and told him to come to my room. I 
pulled the family portrait out of my
drawer, slapped it on the desk. 

"See. That is my mother," I said. I was almost 
shouting. I flipped the picture over and 
shoved my finger at the address. "And that is where
she lives."

"Oh." He cleared his throat. At least he had 
the decency to look embarrassed. 

"You're damn right, oh!"

He cleared his throat again. "Langly, if you don't
mind me asking, why are you stalking your own mother?"

I turned away from him, arms folded tightly 
across my chest. "I'm not stalking 
her. It's just, I haven't seen her
since, you know, since I was thirteen, and 
I'm just trying to talk to her, and it's hard. What
do you suggest, Doohickey? Just ring her 
doorbell and say 'Hi, I'm your son!' and hope she 
doesn't call the cops?"

He pointed at the address. "If that's her 
handwriting - yes. It sounds like she's expecting you."

I suddenly felt tired. I carefully replaced the 
picture in my drawer. "Is the Spanish 
Inquisition over? Because I really, really don't 
feel like talking about this."

He looked like he was about to say something, 
then changed his mind. "All right. All 
right. Can I just give you one piece of advice? 
Lose the peach fuzz, man. The beard and 
mustache thing only works on ex-narcs and Santa Claus."

He sort of patted my shoulder, and left. 

I stood there for a second, then went straight 
to the bathroom and shaved my face. 
Frankly, it was looking like peach fuzz 
gone amuck, and it itched like crazy. 
But I didn't miss what he was saying between the 
lines. Not lose the beard. 

Be yourself. 

* * *