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.
* * *
I pack quickly; there's no reason to take your
time with jeans and tee-shirts. I
leave a long and detailed note for Frohike
and Byers, taped to my main computer
screen, explaining exactly what they should
and should not do with her while I
am away. I organize rough drafts of the
stories I'm working on for the next
issue and stack them next to my keyboards
with another note full of editing
suggestions. I debate about locking my room
when I leave, and decide to leave it
unlocked. I figure it'll be a rare gesture
of trust - plus, I know both of them
could get in if they really wanted to.
I turn off my alarm clock. I clear out my
half of the pantry shelves of anything
that looks like it's about to go rancid.
I realize I have no idea how long I'll be gone.
I'm stuffing a Nation of Ulysses tee into my
bag when Byers walks in. He hovers
in the doorway for a while, not sure whether
to come or go. He tends not to go
anywhere unless he's specifically invited.
"Come in already," I tell him.
Byers steps out of the doorway, but he doesn't
come much closer. "I'm sorry about your father."
"If my father was dying -"
"Byers, you hate your father. He's a
right wing supremacist bastard and stands
for everything we're trying to fight - your words."
He lowers his eyes; he can't argue with that.
"How come you never talk about him?"
"Because I hate him." The words slip out
before I can stop them, and the
symmetry is so painfully absurd I start laughing.
Byers doesn't join in, but me
must think it's good for me or something because
he just lets me get it out of
my system. When I stop, the room goes somber - Byers'
"Will you be all right?"
I nod, let him play mother hen.
"You'll call if you need anything?"
I glance at my shoddily packed duffel bags.
"Well, now that you mention it, I
need something now."
He looks at me, expectantly. This is harder than
I thought. "I need a suit. I don't think my
stuff is appropriate - I mean, I have
nothing to wear if - if - "
"Langly," he says; but all I hear is stop
being such a baby. "I think I can
manage to lend you a suit."
I smile, briefly, grateful that he understood
what I was trying to say without
me having to say it.
* * *
My mother's family lived a few miles south of us - which,
in farm country, meant
my parents grew up as neighbors.
They started dating in high school,
went to the prom together, got engaged and
quickly married, moved into the guest room that
was, at the time, my grandfather's farm, blah,
blah, blah, happily-ever-after.
I don't think my mom ever got used to leaving
the comfort and security of her
childhood home. Or else she was fundamentally
unhappy living with my dad. She
would find excuses to go back to her parents' place,
where she could sleep in
her old bedroom, which looked pretty much the
way it was when she started dating
my dad. I think she just liked the feeling,
in that brief second when she woke
up surrounded by all those familiar things from
her girlhood. For that one
second she could really believe she was a little
girl again, without all the
crap in her life.
It didn't take long to figure out that these l
ittle escapes from reality were
directly proportional to my father's
consumption of Old Thompson.
She used to take me with her when I was
little. I would curl up in
bed with her - it was a small bed,
a young girl's bed. I liked going with her,
preferred her parents to my father's. I felt
like I belonged with her family,
the way we all looked alike. My mother
and I stood out at Langly
only Danes in a sea of dark Welshmen.
When I was too big to fit on the bed with her,
she stopped taking me.
One of the only times I remember
wishing I was short - she never let me get that
close to her again.
Now, what I think is: She knew what she
was going to do, years before it
actually happened. And in her twisted
logic, she thought it would be easier on
me if she had been a bad mother;
if I didn't need her, or love her,
or want her around anyway.
And then I just think I think too
much and I'm grasping for straws.
After a while she started staying there longer
and longer - whole weekends
instead of single nights,
then weeks instead of weekends, then almost
whole months at a time. No one was
surprised when finally she just didn't
come home at all. Except me.
She'd been MIA for few days. I didn't
pay much attention - she'd been gone for
longer than that before. I figured she
was at my grandparents'. I figured maybe
she wasn't feeling well and was staying
inside, staying scarce. I figured she'd
be home soon enough and I could stop
eating my dad's burnt grilled cheese
sandwiches and doing her half of the
chores. No need to think twice, or notice
the hard resignation that had taken
hold of my dad's eyes, or regret the fact
that I never said good bye to her when she left -
Until I caught my father packing her
clothes in a cardboard box.
I must have made some noise as I bolted
down the hall, because my dad started
chasing after me, calling my name. But I was
already on my bike, racing down to
my grandparents' farm. I didn't
bother knocking, just ran up the stairs and went
straight to her room. It was empty. The
bed looked like it hadn't been slept in
in nights. I staggered against the
doorway, heaving, trying to catch my breath.
I couldn't process what was happening.
My grandmother must have heard me.
She came upstairs and walked into
her room, saw me staring at the
perfectly tucked sheets.
"She's gone, Richard," my grandmother said.
"Yeah." I folded my arms across my chest,
hunched my shoulders inward. My mother
used to say that it looked like I was pulling
a cape around myself, trying to
disappear. I stood like that a lot. Still do.
"She told me to tell you she loved you."
"Yeah." My pulse raced.
"She said she didn't want me to tell you
where she was going."
"Did she say," I had to struggle to catch my
breath. "Did she say when she was coming back?"
Oh, I get it. She isn't coming back.
"You look so thin, Richard. Why don't
I make you something to eat, and we can
"No, I gotta - I gotta - go," I shoved
past her and ran down the stairs and
jumped back on my bike and started peddling.
If there was any twisted logic to our
relationship, it totally backfired. I
wasn't happy she was gone because she'd
been a bad mother and I'd be better of
without her. I just thought she left
because I was a worthless son - not strong
enough to protect her from my dad,
not special enough to justify her
union with him at all.
I peddled as far away as I could before
my legs went numb and I came to a
skidding stop and curled up on the
grass and stared sideways at the
horizon - and all I could think about
were the grass stains I just got on my
clothing and how my mother was the only one
who could ever wash them out. And now
she was gone.
* * *