The Secret Agent

The Word–SOCK

When Mom’s at work, Scott does what he wants.  It’s just him and me, and he’s three years older.  One of the things he likes to do is sock me in the shoulder.  He socks me in the shoulder in the same place, day after day. He doesn’t have to really hit me hard anymore, it always hurts from being hit all the time. I tell Mom, I call her at work and tell her Scott’s beating me up, but all  she says is, “Oh, he wouldn’t do a thing like that.”

I hate her and I hate Scott, I even hate my dad who can be in the same room when Scott’s socking me, and Mom screams at me for yelling.  He just sits there in his ugly lounge chair watching The Game on TV.  I hate sports.  I hate Dad and Mom and Scott and sports and TV.  I hate anyone who can just sit there when someone’s getting beat up and watch TV like nothing’s happening.  I especially hate anyone who leaves a kid alone with her maniac brother and can actually, really say, when you call her crying,  “Oh, he wouldn’t do that.”

Like I’m crazy, like I’m making the whole thing up.

I hate my teachers, like Miss Dickson the math teacher, who makes me cry in class every day. I’m always freaked out at school. I just cannot remember how many feet in a fathom. How many sheets in a ream of paper? How many feet in a furlong?  How many pecks in a bushel?  She asks so fast, picking people at random so you can’t be prepared and WHAT THE FUCK DO I CARE? Life is hell and I hate Miss Dickson. She makes me cry, and then the other kids laugh and imitate me, sobbing.

I hate the other kids, Marlene and Jennifer and Cassie, who make fun of me,  they do mean stuff like bashing the bottom of my bag of popcorn so it flies up into my face. I even hate Gigi, who is my best friend but likes Marlene better, so if Marlene’s around, Gigi is mean to me too.

Sometimes I just cry for no reason at all.

I’m only in the seventh grade. I have five more years before this is over. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

Sometimes I imagine I’m a secret agent, a spy on a mission from an alien planet, and I have a spy camera in my head, and I’m sending all this information back to my alien leader.  This is what life on earth is really like.   Then I don’t mind it all as much.  I think, okay, bring it on, because someone is watching this.  Like the cops on Cops.  They aliens are stunned. They cannot believe what a jerk Miss Dickson is. Their hearts hurt when they see me run out of class crying.  They wince when Scott hits me in the shoulder one more time.  They’re outraged when Mom gets mad at me for calling her at work, for making up shit about my brother.  They can’t believe what a shitty deal life here is like.

I’m not really me.  I’m just here on assignment. Recording all this.  It’s not really me.

Except when Scott socks me in the shoulder again.  Then it’s really, really hard to remember.

Part  of a semi-weekly series of short short stories based on a writing exercise, The Word.  “Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the Word at least once.”

Next week’s word is: BAND

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4 Responses to “The Secret Agent”

  1. CRAZY LARRY
    I didn’t know what he was doing with that sock up against his face. It was a black sock and his skin looked blueish white in contrast. Karen jerked my arm, “it’s lighter fluid man, he’s huffing it!” “Okay whatever man, how was I supposed to know?” She pulled my arm away because I was reaching for it. She thought I was gonna take a hit. Most of us were checking out everything from Weed to LSD and occasionally angel, dust. Of course booze was always a standard. But lighter fluid, that was just kind of out there ya know? Crazy Larry, was from the other side of the tracks. He was a Vato. Like I mean he was a white guy with long blonde hair and blue eyes, but he always wore a Pendleton and a beanie which covered most of his forehead and gave him a sinister, pirate cholo look which I found kind of amusing and also kind of dumb. He was older than most of us by about ten years and man, he would just stand there, and waver in front of the brick wall leaning forward only to light a cigarette or take another hit off his sock. Once in a while he would throw his head back and mumble a few indiscernible words or phrases with his quasi cholo accent and then go back to burying his face inside the sock. No joke, he just hung out and huffed that thing day after day , as if he was doing something as casual as eating a hamburger. If there was nobody else around and I was skateboarding around the park, I knew I wouldn’t get by without talking with him for a couple of minutes, just to keep him quiet really.
    It was cool hanging out with most of the kids who lived in our neighborhood. I liked the way we all mixed together in Venice and on the Westside., surfers, and low-riders, even crips or bloods came around and smoked out with us once in a while. Their girls didn’t like us hanging around their men too much, I’ll admit that.
    I liked the tiny, little apartments and Hacienda style duplexes in that part of the neighborhood. They had a real cozy feel to them. Besides that, their parents didn’t ask so many questions like mine did. Some of them didn’t speak English very well Like Mrs. Alvarado, she was always so nice to us. She always had a warm bowl of potato soup with this salty tomato, broth cooking on the stove. It always smelled so good and I was always so hungry. My parents were never home and when they were, it felt like a dungeon where they tortured you with silence. People rarely spoke, and everyone was mad about something. Mrs. A was different; she was kind, asked how I was, and called me mija. She always gave me something to eat and for that matter whoever else was around, no questions asked. She just fed you. She used to make a special tea for us sometimes from a mint plant growing right on the side of her tiny cottage. You could even drink at Mrs. A’s house openly so that was totally chill. Things like weed though, you had to do out back in the shed. Man I loved that place. The back shed had an old couch a bunch of us could fit on and a big dark blanket we could hide under on cold nights when we were out back getting high.
    I’ll never forget the night we were all packed inside the house to party for Daisy’s quinceanera although I wish I could. Daisy looked so beautiful. She was always such a good girl. Not like the rest of us. She was Ralphs little sister and everyone watched out for her. She even had a scholarship to go to college. She was so smart.
    I couldn’t believe it, Crazy Larry showed up wearing this lumpy black coat looking as proud as ever. I didn’t see his sock, so I guess he was on his best behavior for Mrs. A. He was too old to be at the party I thought, who invited him? He must have been hungry. He and some other guys wandered into the kitchen. There really weren’t many places to wander being that this was a one bedroom cottage. Larry reached into his bloated coat pocket and pulled out a can of whip cream. He said,” Now, this is for the birthday girl.” Daisy looked a little confused. She was really sweet and pretty innocent, but she was cool you know? You could talk to her about anything. Her mom was pretty strict with her though. She was a single mother after her Daisy’s father, Popeye got sent up for robbing a liquor store. So Mrs. A kept a close watch over her.
    Daisy was still standing at looking at the can of whip cream and back to the small crowd of friends who started to form an ominous circle around her like she was dinner or something. Now Daisy’s eyes darted back and forth and the crowd closed in tighter still.
    Larry said, whip its man! Do a whip it Daisy! You just put your mouth over this and inhale right when I say go. Daisy looked scared but everyone was watching her. Even her best friend Cici said, “Oh go ahead Daiz. I’ve done it before. You just get a quick rush and that’s it. It’s really fun!” It’s not like using drugs or anything , it’s really a blast, you’re going to love it. Daisy looked worn down and surrendered to the crowd with a reluctant smile and nod of approval.
    One, two three okay, go. Daisy inhaled deeply on the spout. She stood there for a moment looking stunned. “Hey Daiz, did you get it?” “She’s dazed alright, hahaha.” Suddenly, without warning, Daisy’s eyes rolled back in her head and she fell to the floor, limp as she could be.
    Everyone started screaming, and panicking and yelling for someone to call 911. Crazy Larry grabbed her from underneath her shoulders to try to stand her up and walk her, but she just slid back down like overcooked spaghetti.
    911 said to check her pulse but no one could find it. Then they said to press on her chest and pump, to breathe air into her mouth. Mrs. A came bursting through the kitchen door and screamed , “Daisy, oh my god, Daisy, somebody call an ambulance.” She yelled still louder as if her cries might awaken her beloved angel.
    Daisy lie there limp as can be.

  2. Ms. Fitch- I am so happy to see you are still doing this writing exercise on your blog! I met you last year at the LA Times book Festival [ you signed my journal 🙂 ] where you told me about your blogging adventures but… I was not much for blogging. I was still encased in my first experience writing a book and I don’t think I was ready to grow much as a writer. Now, of course, I am getting frustrated about editing my book. How am I supposed to know what to change about my writing!? I have three jobs so taking classes or attending writing conferences is too much right now and its difficult to grow without any input.

    Since I can’t seem to get actual feedback about my writing I decided to read authors that are amazing with hopes of picking up a few patterns. Thats when I thought of White Oleander and of course our conversation about your blog. I had my duh moment and decided to start a blog to help myself grow as a writer. I am going to choose one picture a week to create a story about (go pinterest ) and hopefully I will see some things about my style that I never noticed within my book. So, thank you for your input on developing my writing… even though it took me almost a year to utilize! :-X

  3. THIS IS A GREAT PIECE. WAS THIS WRITER A FLY ON MY WALL WHEN I WAS GROWING UP?

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