In the twenty-three years of living, Amanda could only count six full days where her parents went without arguing. In those six consecutive (yes, consecutive) days, her father suffered laryngitis. Dahlia, her mother, did everything possible to restore her husband’s brooding coarse voice. How she loved fighting! Had Dahlia been born male, she either would have pursued boxing or studied criminal law (not that a female couldn’t become a boxer or a criminal lawyer. Just a little bit of insight into the strange mind of Dahlia Jenkins). Instead, she became a florist. Most of Dahlia’s arguments with her husband revolved around money that had gone or was planning to go into her business. Richard argued, “Enough is enough, Dahlia! How much fucking money you want to put into this damned business? Each year your business profits. Each fucking year I have to delay putting a new deck in the backyard.”
Richard, a simple construction foreman, had a point. The Jenkins deck emitted a croaking sound anytime someone stood three feet from it. In that state, one expected to fall right through while standing directly upon it. This deck was where Richard would take his daily cigarette, one hour after dinner. It would settle his mood. Give him enough juice to argue the rest of the night with Dahlia about one thing or another. Then once the kids were snoring away, Dahlia and Richard would go at it, pouring love juice upon one another. It was as if their arguing was nothing more than a mask for their sweet tenderness underneath. Richard would have to take his smokes leaning against his car. Sometimes he’d take a stroll to the neighborhood park where jocks wrestled one another, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer briefs. “Faggots,” Richard would moan but for one reason or another, even after the deck was repaired, would return to these wrestling boxer-brief wearing jocks.
The day Jim disappeared with a bag of dirty clothes, Richard and Dahlia returned home saying nothing to one another. Amanda feared the glass shards had killed them. Instead it mesmerized them. The two sat on the floor like toddlers, picking up the glass, then released it back onto the carpet. “Wild how gravity works, Richard.”
“Tell me about it, Dahlia.”
“What da…ya both stoned or what?”
The two proceeded as if their plump daughter wasn’t there. Amanda thundered up the stairs cursing her “stupid, idiotic parents. Who da hell do dey tink dey are?” Once inside her unkempt bedroom, she ripped off the oversized shirt covering her tan frame. Standing before the mirror, Amanda dreamed of a skinnier body, one that would overwhelm Zack Blueman.
“Oh Zack Blueman,” Amanda hissed while caressing her smooth hips. “Take me away from dis wee-ahd place.”
As if God him or herself was hiding in Amanda’s closet, a motorcycle pulled up in the driveway. The tremors from the vehicle shook the whole house, knocking a framed print of Michael Jackson off the wall in Amanda’s room. Approaching the fallen picture, Amanda could see through the window, some muscular being removing a black helmet, lightning bolts on the side. Once the cyclist’s face was revealed, Amanda let out a high-pitched shriek.