Nursery rhymes + Petty Crimes
Maria was awakened by an elbow being slowly ground into her eye socket. The needle of pain stabbed into the center of her brain, and as her world came into focus, she could barely see a midst the dancing splotches of blue and green from her one eye. The neighbor's fence still reflected the orange of streetlights, but the stars had all faded and the sky was a shade lighter than navy blue.
"Damn it Mary, get back on your side of the bed!" She shoved the child away from her, which only continued rolling her up and pulled the last scrap of blankets off of Maria. Rubbing sleep from her eyes Mary said, "Maria you cursed!"
"And you attacked me in your sleep, you're not possessed by the devil are you? Maybe we should get Joseph and Leah in here to exorcise you?"
Mary shook her head fearfully. "I won't tell."
Maria pulled the covers back over herself. Mary was looking at her, a question clearly ripening behind her big blue eyes. "What?" she said.
"Why don't you call them Mom and Dad?"
Mary was so innocent, she'd never been passed around to different foster homes, she'd just been scooped up by Joseph and Leah as a baby. Maria was ten when they brought her home. She remembered Mary screaming for years. Literally she would scream bloody murder if she was ever set down, or awakened suddenly. Leah worked too much to hold Mary all the time, and Joseph never touched the girls, so Mary was Maria's baby.
Maria shrugged, curled up next to Mary and held her in her arms like she used to when she was three. Mary's heart was beating at a rate unconducive to sleeping; if Maria didn't calm her down Mary was going to keep her awake until breakfast. Maria quietly sang a lullaby into her ear. "Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."
. Maria thought.
"If that mockingbird won't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring..."
Fake marriage license.
"If that diamond ring turns brass, Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass..."
"If that looking glass gets broke, Mama's gonna buy you a Billy goat..."
hacker used for intimidation or blackmail.
"If that Billy goat don't pull...
Mama's not gonna get paid.
"...Mama's gonna buy you a cart and bull." Mary was sound asleep, and in her twitching she had elbowed Maria's ribs.
Later that morning, around the breakfast table crowded with four boys; one older, and three younger; three girls, Mary, Maria, and their older sister Josephine; Joseph and Leah, Joseph reminded the older kids that there was no technology allowed in the kitchen, and asked them to all hold hands for the morning prayer. Sometime during The Lord's Prayer Josephine's phone beeped with series of texts, and the boys all tried their darndest not to snicker. After the prayer was over Josephine asked to be excused. Her request was denied by Joseph, yet somehow she managed to read the text without anyone noticing.
"Maria," Josephine whispered, "It's one of your friends from Sunday school."
"Tell her to stop texting me."
"What'd she say?"
"Tell her to stop."
"It'll stop when I get my own phone. What did--"
"Forget it." Josephine went back to cutting her eggo with the edge of her fork.
"Leeeeaaah?" Maria began in the tone reserved exclusively for tattling. Josephine shot her a glare, then she felt a phone land in her lap.
While also pulling four hot waffles from the toaster and doling them out, Leah rolled her eyes and said, "Yes Maria?"
"Why do Josephine and Thomas get to have phones?"
Leah sighed, "We've already talked about this. You can have a phone in one more year when you turn sixteen."
Maria dropped her eyes as if crestfallen, but quickly read the text off the phone in her lap.
Madonna2000: We should hang out soon.
Maria typed back:
"Lol! K. C U,"
and tossed the phone back to Josephine, who called her a snitch under her breath.
R3dHors3 saw her as soon as Maria entered the Trader Joes where he worked. They exchanged a glance, and she went out back to wait. Ten minutes later he came out holding an iphone with a moon and an anarchy 'A' symbol on the case.
"Hey Ryan, thanks for being discreet."
He got defensive, "Hey you said to text your sister if you ever got an emergency text." He handed the phone to her.
"I wasn't being sarcastic. I appreciate your discretion. And, you know, the whole keeping my phone here thing."
"No problem. I don't understand how you can... do what you do without a phone on you."
"When do I not have a phone one me? You think you're my only phone? You sir, are my weekend phone."
Ryan looked uncomfortable, "While I was using your phone to text your sister I saw one of your texts." Maria glared at him in a way that made him want to die. "I couldn't help it, it popped up while I was writing. It only caught my eye because I received the same one. It was from Gabriel inviting you to the rave."
"Right. You haven't seen it yet. Friday night there's a rave at the abandoned mill on the south end."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because he sent you a second text right after, that didn't make any sense."
Maria flicked through her phone and found the message:
Gabriel: Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon. Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooodnight...
that?" Ryan asked.
"Nothing. We just text each other nursery rhymes."
"I heard he wasn't interested in you when he found out you were fifteen."
Her phone buzzed with a text from
The Queen of Hearts She made some tarts. All on a summer's day. Th...
Ryan read it over her shoulder. "Bullshit, you're the only fifteen year old I know who pays in bit coin. What the fuck was that text?"
"You ever heard of the story of The Old Woman and her Pig?"
"Yeah, sure." He lied.
"I'm the cow. You want something, you come to me and I make it happen."
"Why not a fairy godmother?"
Maria gave him a look, "Do I look like some kind of fairy to you? If I call myself a fairy people will be expecting me to do magic. As a cow, the only thing anyone can expect is milk."
"What did Gabriel just ask for?"
"So you looking to buy some information now? Is it worth three months of taking care of my phone?" Ryan nodded, hungry to be let in on the secret. "It's angina medicine."
"Now you want to use me like Google?" He was tempted to say yes, but knew what a month was worth to her and knew that he could get something better for his time.
"No. You going to Gabriel's rave?"
"How is it that your parents--"
"--won't let you have electronics, but they'll let you go out on a Friday night?"
"I have proxy parents on retainer. They're the "parents" of my "friend Sarah", who are also "hyper religious". The first time they called, was to ask if Sarah could sleep over at our house. They interviewed Joseph about his moral beliefs for ten minutes just to make sure that he and Leah were safe parents."
"So who'd you end up paying to have a sleep over with you?"
"No one. It turned out that Sarah got grounded for watching
on their netflix account."
"You just told me more information about yourself than you
me to know about Gabriel. You should be a little smarter."
"You didn't ask about Gabriel, you asked about the code. And I'm telling you about myself so you'll believe it when I say I could have you killed." She pointed her point at him. She was smiling but Ryan honestly couldn't tell if she was joking or dead serious.
"I gotta get back inside."
"K. See you Friday."
After Maria left, Ryan pulled out his own phone, looked up angina, and found out it was a heart condition treated by inhaling amyl nitrite.
Is that what the "goodnight red baloon" shit was about?
Next he looked up the Old Woman and her Pig. It was a nursery rhyme about a
n old woman was sweeping her house and found a crooked sixpence.
He skipped ahead, found out she went to the market to buy a pig, but when she tried to take him home the stubborn pig refused to climb over the stile. The Old woman then goes on a long search for help, but no one will help her until she gets to a cow, gives it some hay, and it gives her milk.
As soon as the cat had lapped up the milk, the cat began to kill the rat; the rat began to gnaw the rope; the rope began to hang the butcher; the butcher began to kill the ox; the ox began to drink the water; the water began to quench the fire; the fire began to burn the stick; the stick began to beat the dog; the dog began to bite the pig; the little pig in a fright jumped over the stile; and so the old woman got home that night.
After reading it Ryan thought,
No one's happy except the old woman and the cow.
A Note from the Author: Sorry folks, ran out of time on this one. Post some comments about what I should do next week: Second half, or something new?