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 used to play this game with myself - who 
else? - where I would go to this 
little hill behind the tool shed. 
I would lie on my back, my head facing 
downhill, and take off my glasses and 
stare at the horizon line until the sky 
and the ground bled together and I 
couldn't tell them apart anymore. 
I could watch the whole sunset this way. 
I'd stay there until my father would 
yell at me to come in for supper. 
I could usually tell by how said my name, how 
he slurred the R, whether he'd been 
drinking. After a while, I could ballpark 
how much he'd been drinking. By around my 
fourteenth birthday, I could pinpoint it 
to the ounce and alcohol content by volume, within 10%.

What a skill. At least I knew when it was better not 
to come in for supper. 

I had a pretty good spread going on in the 
tool shed anyway - that's where I 
kept most of Ellroy's presents, 
tightly under lock and key. That, and 
my tape player, and my ever-increasing 
collection of bootlegs. The music I listened to 
depended on the mood my father was in - and 
thus, the mood I was in: 
If he was feeling nasty, I'd blast Minor Threat 
or The Stooges, and try to lose myself in 
the volume. If he'd had a good day, 
I'd sit back and listen to Bowie - pre-
Serious Moonlight, of course - or Lou 
Reed or something. Something mellow. 

I would plug in my soldering iron - a present from 
Ellroy for splicing together some wires 
in an heirloom lamp - and while I waited for the 
iron to heat up I'd close my eyes, and 
imagine I was in New York, seeing all these bands 
live. Just thinking about their energy, 
just hearing it on my crappy speakers made the 
hairs on the back of my neck stand up. 

It didn't even have to be New York - just 
anywhere but Saltville. Anywhere that 
didn't have so many damn chickens 
and cows and nothing else. Why did 
everything I love seem so far away? 

Lousy Nebraska. Square state hell. Middle of nowhere - 
literally. Saltville has the distinction 
of being almost exactly midway between the Pacific 
and Atlantic oceans, almost exactly 1,733 miles 
in either direction before you hit salt 
water. Talk about land-locked!

One of the only things that made living there bearable 
was the two mile bike ride from my house 
to Ellroy's Electronics. It was probably the most 
enjoyable twenty minutes of my day. 
I made sure to go there as often as I could. 

Ellroy's was always cool. I mean that both ways - I mean, 
he always kept the place at a constant 
65 degrees so the equipment would be happy. And 
he was always cool to me. He was also one 
of the only people I ever saw my mother 
befriend. She used to drive me down 
to Ellroy's and they'd let me explore while 
she leaned against the counter and 
chatted with him. When I was older, I escaped 
there by myself as much as I could. 
After a while, he'd just keep a box of spare 
parts for me always lying around in 
the back room - most of the stuff he'd give 
me for free. He didn't have any kids, 
and I think he liked the idea of someone 
looking up to him, following in his 
footsteps. He taught me basic electronics 
repair and maintenance - basically,
everything I know about that stuff now 
evolved from those lessons in 
Ellroy's workroom. And I was prodigious. When I 
got better than him, he created a token price: 
He'd trade goods for services. A broken 
television, busted clock-radio eternally set to 11:45, 
toasters that refused to heat up, 
cassette players that spit out tape, VCRs that 
recorded when you hit play and played when 
you hit record, whatever - I'd fix them 
all, good as new, and Ellroy'd sell them 
for a modest profit. And in return I'd get a pile 
of junk. 

Well, junk to most people. Not to me.

Random gears, screws, cables, wires, sockets, circuitry, 
housings, switches. Sometimes he'd give me used tools. 
He gave me my first computer - an old Apple 2. 
Ellroy allegedly bought it off some chump for an 
absurdly low price and said if I could fix it, 
it was mine; and I did. So he gave it to me as a 
Christmas present that year. I think I was 
twelve or thirteen at the time. Pretty young.
I remember not knowing what a chump was, and Ellroy 
sitting me down in his back office, trying to explain it.

"A chump's a sucker. Someone so deadened by society 
that it's easy to pull the wool over his eyes."

I must have looked blank, because he just smiled at me and 
said, "You'll understand one day, Ringo."

I suddenly became very interested in cleaning a smudge off
glasses, so I wouldn't have to make 
eye contact as I mumbled, "Don't call me that."

"But your dad always calls you - "

I bristled. My dad called me a lot of things that
I'd rather not have other people repeat 
to my face. But instead all I said was, "It's not my 

"Sure, Richard. Whatever you say, kid."

And that was that. Ellroy smiled again, 
and started babbling about some new 
shipment of radios and cassette players 
he was getting in the next week. I tried 
to be excited with him - and 
I was. I needed a new tape player, too. 
But mostly all I could think about what 
how I hated being called Ringo and how I really 
wished I understood what a chump was. 

* * *