A glass of crazy, p.1
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       A Glass of Crazy, p.1

           Tina Laningham
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A Glass of Crazy


  A Glass of Crazy

  Tina Laningham

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.

  Copyright ? 2014 by Tina Laningham

  This is a work of fiction.

  Names, characters, and incidents are the product of

  the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,

  organizations, or events is entirely coincidental.

  ISBN-13: 978-1495494734

  ISBN-10: 149549473X

  Special thanks to Tracy Muras.

 

  For those who have braved the insanity

  of overcoming an addiction.

  - 1 -

  This is not the story I wanted to write when I turned fifteen. If your parents are still married, put down this book and walk away while you still have your innocence. If your parents have told you they're getting a divorce, keep reading. You're going to need some help.

  My name is Abby Alexander and I almost didn't survive my parents' divorce. I mean this literally, not figuratively. I actually almost died. And no, I did not try to kill myself. Unfortunately, the lessons I learned are not taught in school and believe me, when your parents are going through a divorce, they can't stop their own insanity long enough to teach these skills to you at home. Basically, you're on your own.

  It doesn't matter how you find out. Some parents actually sit their children down and talk to them like normal people. Other kids find out by overhearing an all night scream-a-thon. Or if you're like me and your parents are famous, you find out with the rest of the world on the six o'clock news.

  No matter how you find out, you're going to have a mental break from reality. This is normal. After all, the reality you once knew doesn't exist anymore and who knows what frightening step monsters lurk ahead? But don't worry about that just yet. The only thing you need to understand now is that a mental break will occur and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

  I know. It happened to me.

  Obviously some pathetic joker used a cheap cell phone to capture Dad with his secret girlfriend. The low quality video played for the ninth time, in case anyone missed the first eight broadcasts and for those who had their TVs on mute, the scrolling news feed at the bottom of the screen read, U.S. Senator John Alexander has extramarital affair. I couldn't stop watching because every kid at Marconi High School was probably watching it, too and tomorrow was the first day of school. My hand covered my wide open mouth and when a text bleeped on my phone, I didn't even blink.

  Rafa: u watching this?

  My thumbs blazed over the mini keyboard.

  Abby: is anyone NOT watching this???

  Seeing Dad on the news wasn't the issue. He was on TV a lot, usually about some new law he wanted to get passed. Wasn't the news supposed to be about stuff like that? I shot a text to Megan:

  Abby: omg!!! Come over NOW!!!

  The TV screen went blank. Mom whizzed by and tossed the remote on the black leather sofa that wrapped halfway around our African safari-themed parlor.

  Ohmygod. This was one thing the Queen of Control couldn't deny. Did Mom find out the way I had-on TV with millions of other people? Not that it mattered now. The only thing that mattered was that Mom knew, but what was she thinking? No, what was she feeling? Mom never had a feeling in her life, but I was pretty sure she was having one now.

  "Put your phone on mute," Mom said and peeked through the zebra patterned drapes. Then she put herself on mute. No surprise there.

  Still nothing from Megan, but she was on her way. I didn't need a text to tell me that, since we could practically read each other's minds.

  While Mom collapsed in a chair and massaged her temples, I clicked the TV back on. HER name was Katrina and she looked like a high school senior, but according to a television reporter, she started working at Dad's Washington D.C. office right after graduating from college.

  She must've used red food coloring to dye her hair. Parted perfectly in the middle, it waved up and around black cat-eye glasses and curved back in, touching just beneath her chin like a giant red heart. But that's not the first thing I noticed. It was kind of hard to miss all that cleavage. If the phone hadn't bleeped, twice this time, I might've actually heaved.

  Rafa: looks like a cat woman

  Rafa: OMG her name!! She is a KAT woman!!!

  I powered off the TV, but the video still streamed in my mind. There was no power button for that. Who was this woman? This complete stranger was stealing the show-the perfectly scripted Alexander Family Show with Mom directing every move, created for the public's viewing pleasure. Up until this moment, the Alexander family consisted of John and Doreen Alexander and their daughter, Abby. So who was Kat? The family pet? The bizarre creature Dad was bringing home that nobody else in the family wanted?

  Without thinking, I reached to hug Mom, but stopped because it wasn't something we normally did. Part of me wanted to be the grownup and comfort her; the other part wanted to be held like a baby and told everything was going to be all right-like that would ever happen. The hugger in the family was Dad, when he was home.

  My eyes welled up and I tried not to blink, but a teardrop smacked my arm and it hurt more than anything the reporters had said because one thing I knew about myself was that I didn't cry. Now nothing made sense.

  Mom peeked out the window again. "We have to be strong," she said, "for your father."

  I bolted to the foyer and took the stairs three at a time as if running hurdles for the school track team. I needed to run and run and keep on running. Not toward anything but away. Away from the La-La Land Queen Doreen built around herself a long time ago.

  To shut the bedroom door, I lifted the antique glass doorknob ever so slightly. Mom had our hundred and something year old house listed as a Texas Historical Site, which meant like everything else in my life, my bedroom was open to the public. Every year during the Historic Houses Tour, anyone willing to buy a ticket could parade through my room-the only place where I could be alone-and gawk at my personal stuff.

  Even though my screaming red Asian-themed bedroom represented Queen Doreen's obsession with d?cor and what other people thought, it also represented Mom's one and only act of rebellion. While our neighbors filled their Victorian homes with nineteenth century furniture, Mom pioneered a movement of younger historic homeowners to break away from that cobwebby tradition. To meet the requirements of the Historical Society, homeowners had to maintain the architectural integrity of the house, not its furniture. Mom discovered this loophole and went all avant garde on everyone by establishing the Society of Modern Victorian Women.

  Rafa labeled Mom's interior design "D?cor de United Nations," but quickly pointed out Mexico wasn't included. Mom argued that Mexico was represented under Spain, but Rafa took that as a double insult and went emo on Mom, stating that Mexico had won its independence from Spain two hundred years earlier. Mom said she didn't need a history lesson from Rafa, but I admired his courage to argue with her in the first place.

  If they gave an award for pretending, it would go to Mom for giving each room in the house its own cultural theme and pretending she had been born an international aristocrat. In the reality outside La-La Land, Mom came from a one stoplight town known mostly for its swap meets. Still, rebelling against the Historical Society was the tiniest morsel of something courageous I could find in Mom and it gave me a reason to admire her.

  But right now I needed Megan. Why wasn't she checking her phone? She'd better have an actual excuse, like getting kidnapped and taken to some remote island with no phone signals.

  Throu
gh Chinese silk sheers, I studied the hungry pack of reporters who had set up camp in front of the house wearing multi-pocketed vests and carrying cameras with foot-long lenses. Some stood around waiting, while others snooped like hound dogs. I couldn't figure out why any of this surprised the media since scandal was the norm on Galveston Island. The locals always joked how everyone here was either wanted or not wanted. Like three years ago, they arrested the mayor because it turned out he had embezzled a million dollars from some church in Denver, faked suicide, and changed his name before moving to Galveston and running for office. Eventually he went to prison and when he came back, everyone welcomed him with open arms. That's the last time Galveston was on the news for a scandal, but this was different. This was Dad.

  Megan. Ohmygod, come on. I touched her number, but it went straight to voicemail after only one ring. I screamed at the phone, "Get over here, NOW!" and threw the phone on the bed. Not even making out with Brad could be more important than this. Except this is Megan we're talking about.

  From gingerbread porches, our neighbors watched the paparazzi like spectators at a tennis match, turning their heads back and forth, not wanting to miss anything. Reporters swarmed the ones who dared to open their white picket fences and shoved microphones in their faces, but what could they possibly be saying?

  I clicked on the TV and Mrs. Busybody next door was going on and on about her shock and disappointment in "John." The scrolling ticker below now read, Confirmed: U.S. Senator John Alexander (TX) Commits Adultery. While Mrs. Busybody babbled on about how well she knew Dad, which was a lie, the camera panned the street and caught Rafa strolling up the sidewalk unnoticed.

  I lunged to the window as Rafa slipped over a neighbor's fence and I nearly took Mom out dashing downstairs to let him in the back door. "Hurry!" I whispered.

  Rafa sneaked in and said, "You ignoring my texts?" I couldn't figure out why he was shouting until I spotted wires from his ears to a phone perched in the pocket of his white shorts.

  I twisted the deadbolt. "This isn't about you."

  Rafa fixed his flip flop and slid his foot back in. "How's the queen of La-La Land taking all this?"

  He said it loud enough for Mom to hear, not that it mattered since nothing ever registered in Mom's mind that didn't fit into her fantasy world of bliss and perfection. I yanked the wires out of his ears and hurried upstairs with Rafa following close behind.

  "What are kids saying?" I asked, squeezing the bedroom door shut.

  Rafa scrolled through messages. "Uh, you don't want to know."

  I sat on the bed and cupped my head in my hands. "Please tell me I'm asleep."

  Rafa wrapped his skinny arms around me. "It's real," he whispered.

  My lip trembled.

  A siren shrieked and I nearly jumped out of my body. We shot to the window. A circle of news vans blocked the street.

  "I hope they get arrested," Rafa said. "Bloodthirsty animals."

  The room started spinning and I took a deep breath, trying to get it to stop. One by one, pieces of me started shutting down. Since my body didn't want to move anymore, I lowered myself into the ghastly ornate throne in the corner and stared straight ahead at nothing. Numbness was good.

  Rafa snapped his fingers. "Abby? Abby?"

  I wanted to answer, but nothing came out. I was in safe mode.

  Rafa pulled blankets and pillows out of the closet and made a bed for himself on the floor. I closed my eyes. I was tired of thinking about it. The faint sound of Rafa snoozing on the floor made me sleepy, but my mind was still reeling. I finally gave up and let my thoughts run wild, hoping my mind would eventually wear itself out. I guess it finally did because I shot up and gasped to the sound of the alarm blasting and according to the clock, it was six in the morning. Rafa was gone and so were all the blankets and pillows he had put on the floor. He must've set the alarm and slipped out in the middle of the night.

  Or maybe it was all a dream-a dark, twisted dream. Dad, the Kat creature. The whole thing was too bizarre to be real. I clicked on the TV and like a bad rerun, they were leaving the hotel. Oh, and Dad looked incredibly happy.

  Mom appeared in the doorway clapping, like she'd resigned from our sleazy reality show to star in a better one. "Today's the first day of school. Up, up!"

  "You're joking, right?"

  Mom had that I'm-completely-serious look on her face. "How would it look if Abigail Alexander didn't show up on the first day of school?"

  It was so annoying the way she talked about me in the third person. I rubbed my eyes and tried to think. "Ohmygod, you set the alarm." Even though Mom's frozen eyes revealed she didn't care, I continued. "It had to be you, because Rafa would know that going to school is definitely not a normal thing to do in this situation."

  But suddenly going to school sounded better than staying home all day with Mom. For one thing, Megan would be there. New school, new teachers, lots of things to take my mind off Dad. For once, I mean truly for once, maybe Mom was right.

  I rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom. If my freshman year was starting off like this, things couldn't possibly get any worse.

  2 -

 

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