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Authors: T. B. Markinson


BOOK: Marionette
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A novel by

T. B. Markinson


Published by T. B. Markinson
Copyright © T. B. Markinson, 2013
Edited by Karin Cox
e-book formatting by
Guido Henkel
This ebook is copyrighted and licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any forms or by any means without the prior permission of the copyright owner. The moral rights of the author have been asserted.
This book is A work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Chapter One

The plan was simple. There were only three steps. Three! And I still fucked up.

Step one: write letter.

Step two: draw bath.

Step three: razor.

I’m not sure how I screwed it all up. What kind of idiot can’t follow three simple steps? Maybe there should have been four steps. The fourth would have included time, would have made sure I had enough time for step three to work. I didn’t allow enough time. To be honest, I didn’t know how long it would take. I still don’t. But I learned that it isn’t instantaneous.

A gun would have been instantaneous. Jesus! Why didn’t I think of that first? That’s why men succeed more: they use guns.

I’d had enough time to cut both of my wrists. I thought the razor might hurt, but I don’t remember any pain. I remember yelling. I wasn’t screaming; Jessica was. She wasn’t yelling at me, or maybe she was. I wasn’t listening. People say that’s one of my biggest problems: I don’t pay attention. In my defense, she wasn’t making much sense, so I didn’t bother listening. In her defense, if I came home to that, I don’t know if I would have been polite and coherent either.

Imagine coming home to find your girlfriend in your bathtub with slit wrists. And I don’t even live with her. I have a key to her apartment, but I don’t pay the rent or the bills. How rude of me. I didn’t account for the untidiness either. It wasn’t fair to assume Jess would want to clean up that kind of mess. She did, though. Jess wanted to destroy all of the evidence that I had tried to off myself. I think she did it more for her own peace of mind.

I couldn’t implement my plan in my own home. What am I saying? I
implement my plan. I


I can add that to my list of accomplishments. It’s a growing list. Accomplishment isn’t the right word per se, but if all you have are failures to your name, I find it’s best to think of them as accomplishments. Probably not the best attitude, but I haven’t been in a fabulous frame of mind lately.

People keep telling me I’m too hard on myself. What the fuck do they know? No one knows, not even Jess.

I wouldn’t say I’m having a
Bell Jar
moment. Plath was going crazy; I’m not.

Jessica flipped the shit out on me. Who could blame her? I think she feels like a failure too, since she’s been trying to help me, and she loves me. Why she does is beyond all comprehension. Sure, sometimes I can be funny. But most of the time, I’m serious. The rest, I’m sad—‌trapped in my past, reliving the same events over and over in my head.

I know people say they have emotional baggage. Do they know what they’re talking about? I have baggage. I’m not bragging about it. I’m just stating the simple truth. I’m an effed-up individual who dwells on the past and tries to numb myself constantly. I don’t use drugs, although I’ll drink. I just numb myself by disappearing when I’m with people.

Jessica thinks I need to stop my destructive behavior. Sure, sure. I’ll just plant my feet firmly on the ground and stop. If only it were that easy. If it were, then I’d do it. At least I
I would do it.

I don’t mean to knock Jessica. I love her. God, I love her. But I don’t know how to explain to her…‌how to tell her that I’m broken. Beyond repair. There’s not enough glue to put me back together.

Maybe the issue is me. I know that seems obvious. I slit my wrists, after all. No one made me. I did it. But hear me out. Millions of people have difficult lives, yet they still function. Again, I swear this isn’t a
Bell Jar
moment. I’m not bonkers. Confused: yes. Scared: check. Angry: most definitely. I spend most of my time annoyed with people. Why do they have to be so fucking stupid?

I like to study history. The history of the little guy. Don’t get me wrong, kings, queens, explorers and shit, they’re all cool, but I like to see how the little guys make it. How do they survive hardship? Like Elie Wiesel—‌he survived the Holocaust for Christ’s sake, and then he wrote a book about it. I read that book a lot. If he could survive that, why can’t I survive my past? Why do I always go back? I didn’t live in Auschwitz. My home life sucked. Sucked big time. My parents are horrible people. They do not like me, not one bit. But my home isn’t Auschwitz, and my parents are not Nazis. Why can’t I be a survivor, be like Elie?

It isn’t like I always go back to a particular incident. I’m not a time traveler. (This isn’t a
scenario either. I’m not Billy Pilgrim.) I just check out. I don’t know where I go, but I’m gone. I’ll stop talking—‌that’s another way to become invisible. I might nod my head, act like I’m listening. I’m not. Most people, though, don’t really care whether anyone else is listening. Many people don’t even notice. They just want to talk. They just want to
as if someone is listening. How many people really care what others think? Not many, from my experience. That’s one of the hardest things to live with, feeling alone. Even when I’m with others I feel alone. Even more so. I don’t think many people can relate to me. I know I can’t relate to them. I feel like I’m on the outside, looking in.

Disappearing all of the time has perpetuated this feeling of being alone. Logically, I should stop disappearing. But my brain doesn’t think logically. I’m not sure how it thinks, but I don’t feel logical.

I feel…‌well, I don’t know how I feel. Confused. Scared. Angry. Alone. But now that I think about it, I’m not sure that’s true. At times, I’m sure I feel all of those emotions. Other times, I don’t feel. Not at all. I don’t get it. I wish I could, but I don’t.

Explanations—‌that’s what I seek. I’ve always been one who wonders who, what, and why, which is just another reason I love to study history. Every history test has those “who am I?” questions, and I nail them every time. In fact, I’m a brilliant student. I don’t mean to brag. I’m just stating the facts. School and I get along. I have a photographic memory; some think that’s cheating, but I can’t change it. It’s nice if you want good grades.

But when it comes to asking those questions about myself. Who am I? What am I? I can’t really answer them. They seem fairly obvious, right? I’m me. I’m a girl. And I’m not one who wants to be a boy, even if I’m in love with a girl. I think people who think that are idiots. Usually, though, they don’t see that. I wish idiots would recognize that they’re idiots. Life would be so much easier if others said, “Don’t bother with me, I’m an idiot.”

Let’s start again, at the beginning. I slit my wrists. My girlfriend came home. She went ape-shit. I got stitches in both arms. I felt a little like Frankenstein—‌the monster I mean, even if that’s not really correct. Everyone thinks the monster’s name is Frankenstein, so I’m not about to correct them and tell them it was the doctor’s name. My point is that I was patched back together and told to be normal, to be human. Victor Frankenstein, the scientist, didn’t try to teach the monster, but at least Jess is trying to teach me how to be normal. How to be human.

I shouldn’t scar too much. Oh, there are visible marks that make me self-conscious, but I didn’t cut deep enough, which leads some to think I did it for attention. You know what I have to say to that: Fuck off!

I didn’t have enough time. It wasn’t to get attention. I hate needy people; I’m not one of them. Jess has a doctor friend so I didn’t have to go to the hospital for stitches. We both know what would have happened if my parents had found out.

My parents—‌what can I say about them. Dad is rich, successful, and many people like and respect him. I’m not sure why, because he’s a sonofabitch. Mom, well she might be a lunatic—‌I mean legit crazy. Not born that way, made that way. My twin sister, Abbie, she disappears in different ways. I’m not sure who has the healthier way of disappearing. We aren’t close. I wouldn’t say we’re rivals. We just don’t get along. It’s like we aren’t sisters at all. We’re not identical, and since birth we’ve been moving in different directions. In the fall, she’s heading out east for school. I’ll be three hours away from home, a little over two hours from Jess.

I don’t get along with any of my family. I don’t really care to. They aren’t nice people. I’m not saying that I’m nice. In fact, I bug the shit out of myself most days, but I hope I’m not like them. Especially my mom. I hope I’m nothing like her. My father is a controlling asshole. But Mom—‌she’s in a class of her own. Evil. She’s evil.

Yes, it’s normal for teenagers not to like their parents. To think they don’t understand, don’t care, and just want to ruin their children’s lives. I’ve seen all the John Hughes movies. I would kill to have parents who are just clueless. Mine aren’t clueless—‌well, maybe about one thing. They don’t know I’m gay. They might suspect it, but it’s never been confirmed. If they find out, I’ll be sent away. Not to a happy place. I’m talking about institutions where they chain you to walls and shock the shit out of you. And not just by what they say. Literally, they shock the shit out of you. Zap! Sometimes people die mysteriously in these joints. Trust me, I know. Don’t believe me, ask Alex. Oh wait, she’s dead. You can’t.

They cannot find out! I don’t want to go away—‌not to that place. They have wanted to do that for a long, long time.

In fact, maybe cutting my wrists wasn’t really the beginning at all. Maybe it just leads to the beginning. Did I forget to tell you that I’m seventeen? I always forget my age. I feel so old. I was born in 1974. It’s 1992. Ninety-two minus seventy-four makes eighteen. Now you think I’m a liar. But my birthday is late in the year, which is why that’s a little confusing. I’ve always been the baby in my class. Yet, I was always the tallest girl in my class, too. It never made sense to me. I think I was right at the cutoff for waiting another year to start kindergarten. My mom didn’t like having me around, so she sent me early. If she had waited, I would have been one of the oldest kids in class; probably still the tallest, though.

I’m a giant compared to my mom. I’m almost six feet. She’s barely five. How? Ask Mendel.

Later in the year, I’ll be eighteen—‌an adult.

But I’ve been an adult since I was born. I made a deal with Jess that I would begin therapy when I started college. Like that’s going to help. I can’t blame Jess. She doesn’t know why I did it. I can’t tell anyone. And no one would believe me either.

* * *

Now that I’m getting ready to “officially” become an adult by graduating high school, Jessica thinks I should get my act together. That’s the nice way of saying, “You’re effed in the head, pull it together, Paige.”

Paige. Paige Alexander, that’s my name. I usually don’t tell people my last name, though. My dad is well known throughout the West. We live in Colorado, but if you travel through that region, you’ll find most know his name.

BOOK: Marionette
10.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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