Chapter 15 read by Jessie
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Margaret ran over to the carton of cigarettes sitting on the toilet and opened the window next to it. You’d think it was to air out the smoke, but Margaret wanted to smell the cesspool outside the window.

“I shoulda lit his third hand on fire, when I had the chance instead of joining that stupid cult -She thought, as she and her brother sailed out of the bathroom-. I didn’t reckon on him trying to escape”.

The cold afternoon air was cold compared with the bathroom’s lame excuse for air. It wasn’t on fire, which was good, and it wasn’t intent on getting back into the bathroom.

-¿Who has? -Charlie mumbled.

Margaret didn’t know how or if she was required to respond. She’d always been told by her father to “Move to the bright light”, but now the bright light was trying to kill her and Charlie.

-¿Is the light trying to kill us? -Charlie asked.

-¡Shhh! -Margaret cloaked her labia-inferiority in dead-pan sarcasm. Then she incorporated her labia-inferiority and, ¡voila!, Charlie’s been a pain in her ass ever since-. ¡Let’s go! ¡I’ve got a date with an ex-con, cult member!

The front door was open. They went into the kitchen at the precise moment their dad sailed into the bathroom with the expression of a post World War II rooster.

-¡Hey! ¡Yah-hee! ¡I’m home! -He exclaimed.

-¿Is that you, Dad? -Margaret said-. ¿Or is someone torturing a mule?

-Nobody’s torturing anyone anywhere, ¡ever! -He responded, failing to steady his - or anyone else’s - nerves. He looked at his offspring suspiciously-. So, ¿where is this killer-plant-cult meeting?

-We’re meeting in the garden -Margaret responded immediately-. And then we’re going to convene at the bathroom door and listen in.

Dr. Berger grunted and put his hands up to both sides of his head.

-Never tell me that you’re meeting in the garden -He said-. Or that you’re gonna listen in at the bathroom door. That door is to be listened at by me and only me.

-I just wanted to be able to see -Charlie admitted, pretending to be as blind as Margaret was stupid.

-We lit Charlie’s hand and jacket on fire in service of Mr. Martinez -Margaret said-. ¿What more do you want, dad?

-¿Huh? -The question had apparently sailed over the good doctor’s toupee’d dome like a warning shot.

-¿Why do you think I set Charlie’s hand and jacket on fire? -Margaret asked.

-¿Because I have two wise-asses for kids? -The heartless hater hurried his reply-. Mr. Martinez is very colorful, ¿isn’t he? He wears manatee skin suits, and he’s very tall, tropical, and muscular.

-He’s also simpering, incoherent and manic-depressing -Margaret inserted.

-So -Dr. Berger continued-. In summary: Quit lighting jackets and hands on fire and quit calling Mr. Martinez a sycophantic - if colorful - stupid, old motherfucker.

-I think I was in a state of shock when you two last saw me acting incredibly insane and all. I mean, first your mom’s off getting shit notarized and then I have to stick, uh, install two lava lamps over at old man Martinez’s... But, I swear we’ll call your mom tomorrow and see what kind of progress she’s making... on the documents. And then we’ll call the termite inspectors and have the house condemned. I’ll move away while you’re at school, and everything’ll be find, uh, fine. In the meantime, there’s a “Dracula” marathon on, and I’m going over to the Harker’s to enjoy it.

Margaret looked at Charlie. The slack-jawed boy was slack-jawed once again, but this time Margaret was right there with him. She was slack-jawed and hyperventilating. It was a good thing Mr. Martinez wasn’t around because the narrator can’t seem to remember why he had him around in the first place.

“This is horribly suspect. My proper dad is probably talking out of the side of his pistolero”, Margaret thought.

But this didn’t stop her from acting. She was going to acting classes even if both of her parents were getting shit notarized. The terror and anguish she had felt at seeing her dad’s naked ass started rising up in her.

-¿Will you just chill on the thoughts, for Christ’s sake -Dr. Berger told his daughter. He could see that she was a heretic. Hell, she probably doesn’t believe that when God closes one door, there’s a less drafty heaven waiting, with naked women wearing shoulder holsters, walking purple poodles-. I can hear every think you thing. ¿¡Do you hear me, Margaret?! Every - FUCKING - think. And you’ve been thinging bad words. Oh, I can’t wait for the horrible ass-kicking you’re gonna get from Jesus.

Margaret listened and then slowly closed the door on his naked ass.

“¿Are you trying to advertise insanity, or just get fitted for your new man-purse?”, Margaret thought at her father.


      -- on to chapter 16   or   back to the Bathroom --