The Secret Agent
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