12-08-2011, 08:10 PM
Alicia Rose dug through the clutter of her bedroom closet, searching desperatly for something--anything--to sell to finance her trip to Las Vegas. Most of her CD collection had been sold, and she had no valuable jewelry worth pawning. Her stuffed animal collection, made up of hook-and-crane teddy bears and gift shop souveniers, was practically worthless--not a collectable in the lot. Alicia was about to give up when she laid eyes on a small square object lying on the floor of the closet. She picked it up and saw it was the book her mother had given her on her tenth birthday, Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.
Alicia studied the worn, dog-eared cover of the book. Old books were worth money, and there was a small second-hand bookstore in the small strip mall around the corner that bought and sold books, she recalled. But it had been her mother's book, and she had given it to Alicia with the best of intentions. Did she dare sell a family heirloom just to go to see Criss Angel in Las Vegas?
Yes, she decided without a moment's hesitation, she would. Her mother would never miss it; it had been three years since she had given it to her. She put the book on her vanity dresser and returned to her search. If she was going to Vegas, the sale of one book wasn't going to cover the cost. She was knee deep in clutter when she heard her brother Kyle's voice call out in his usual vulgar manner, "Hey, fartface! Whatcha doin'?"
Alicia ignored him and went on sorting through her clutter. She set aside a school yearbook from fifth grade on the bed and picked up an old Hallowe'en costume from two years ago. She shook it out and began to fold it. Kyle, however, was not to be ignored. "I said whatcha doin', fartface?" he persisted.
Again, Alicia ignored him. "Fartface!" Kyle taunted, imitating flatulence with Bronx cheers. "Fartface!"
No response. Alicia continued to pick up and sort through the contents of her closet, heedless of Kyle's crude behavior. "You live like a pig, fartface!" Kyle sneered. "A fartface pig! Living in a pigsty!"
"You should talk, Kyle," Alicia responded calmly. "Have you seen your room lately?"
Kyle stepped into the room and began throwing clothes and other items in all directions. "Snort! Snort! Fartfaced pig! Snort! Snort!"
Alicia wanted to order him to stop, even to slap him, but long experience had taught her that the best way to deal with her obnoxious little brother was to ignore him. It was just his way of getting attention, that was all. He was just an immature child who didn't know better.
A small teddy bear went sailing across the room and landed squarely on Alicia's head. Alicia flinched a little, but kept her cool. Kyle laughed in triumph over his direct hit and proceeded to pummel Alicia with the other animals on her bed, chanting "Fartface! Fartface!" at the top of his voice. It was annoying to say the least, but Alicia kept calmly going over her things. Just keep ignoring him, she told herself, and he'll go away.
Kyle picked up a pink and white bunny rabbit, a gift from Dad on the last Easter they were together as a family and the one stuffed toy she cherished above all the others. "I got your bunny!" Kyle crowed. "I'm gonna flush him down the toilet!"
"You do," Alicia said quietly, "and you're going to pay for the plumbing bill out of your allowance."
Kyle ran out of the bedroom with the toy bunny and dashed into the bathroom. "I'm going to do it, Alicia!" he threatened. "Bunny rabbit's going down the pipes!"
Alicia would have chased after him in the past, but today she refused to call Kyle's bluff. She reasoned that Kyle wouldn't flush the toy rabbit; the toilet would have overflowed and Mom would have been very upset. Besides, it was just a toy. She had outgrown such childish things, anyway; her affections had turned toward Criss Angel. She was moving on with her life while Kyle remained in a state of arrested development.
Kyle returned to Alicia's bedroom to check on her reaction over the drowning of her favorite toy. To his disappointment, she kept on going through her things. He flung the unflushed bunny onto the floor of the bedroom and stalked away, frustrated. Alicia smiled to herself. She had won this round, at least.
She looked around the room, covered with the debris of the past. Besides the book her mother had given her, there was nothing at all of value. Well, it had given her an excuse to clean out her closet anyway; she never knew she had so much junk.
She found a large plastic shopping bag in the closet and filled them with the clothes she had outgrown as well as the old Hallowe'en costume, all to be given to St. Vincent de Paul's. Her tiny wastebasket was soon stuffed to overflowing with trash, and the few items she chose to keep, like her school yearbook and some photos in a shoebox, went on the upper shelf. As she slid the box onto the shelf, a larger shoebox from FootLocker containing the most precious items she owned caught her eye. It was shoved way into the back of the closet, hidden from view and Kyle's search and destroy missions.
Alicia listened carefully for any signs of Kyle's whereabouts. From the crashing and booming mayhem coming from the living room, she could tell that he was wrapped up in one of his favorite video games and would be occupied for hours. She shut the door and took out the secret, box from its hiding place. Almost reverently, she laid it on the bed and opened it. Inside were the pictures of Criss Angel that she had clipped from magazines, downloaded from the Internet, or purchased by mail order. Below it was The Book, Criss' autobiography, MindFreak, as sacred as the Bible as far as she was concerned. She had wanted it so much when it was first released, but had despaired of ever owning it due to its prohibitive cost and the fact that her mother would have disapproved of her little girl owning such a thing as a book written by a very sexy magician such as Criss Angel. By some miracle of fate, she had found it in a church rummage sale, for only five dollars. The irony of such a find in such an unlikely place never failed to make her smile. She had snatched it up, paid for it quickly, then carried it home with her in a black plastic bag, her mother nor her brother none the wiser.
The video game Kyle was playing boomed on, with Kyle cheering every blast of his weapons and every explosion taking place on the screen. Aside from tormenting his sister, video games were his main if not his only passion in life, the gorier and more destructive, the better. How many of those games did he have, anyway? she wondered. Twenty? Thirty? More? He must have spent a near fortune buying those stupid games, she thought; a waste of money as far as she was concerned.
Fortune? Money? She recalled at the music store where she had sold her CDs that they also bought and sold video DVDs. There had to be a profit somewhere, she figured. Did she dare...?
Well, there were some games he had grown tired of and were collecting dust on the shelf, and Mom always disapproved of his choice of games, so maybe she'd be doing them both a favor. Kyle would never miss them; he was always on the hunt for the newest, latest and goriest games on the market. And she needed money...
Alicia stared at the photo of Criss on the cover of The Book. Would seeing her beloved Angel be worth stealing a few DVDs? Her mother's book would not be missed, but would Kyle notice the loss of a few games? Probably not. Kyle would play a single game obsessively for a week or two, then toss it aside for another one. If he did discover the loss, she could accuse him of misplacing it--he did it all the time with games and other things, like homework. It was an acceptable risk.
Alicia clutched The Book to her breast and closed her eyes. Yes, for her Angel, it would be worth it. Anything to escape this one-horse town and be by his side would be worth it.
Soon, my Angel, soon we will be together. I would rob a bank for you! I would do murder for you! Soon we will be together and we'll be happy--forever and ever and ever!