Monday, September 1, 2008

Journals Section: January, 2003

Grandparents Over

At this time I was fourteen, Powell was thirteen, and Thomas was seven.

January 1, 2003
It’s been 2003 for less than an hour now. I’ll continue my description of the manor later. Those terrorists weren’t able to ruin anything. If they even had a plan they’ve failed miserably. Although raising our alert system (to Code Red, I believe) certainly caused considerable fear and distress. During the 1999-2000 New Year’s celebrations, there were two million people in Times Square. This year, for the 2002-2003 New Year’s celebrations, there were only 500,000 people in Times Square. At least everything was safe. I am so excited to think of what 2003 might bring. New Year’s always makes me excited, although this year that excitement has been intensified. I am fourteen years old and I will be joining chorus soon, along with trying to maintain excellent grades and working harder not to put so much importance on what others think of me. I think that 2003 will bring many changes. The world will know me. In New York City, parties are coming to their end, in Nashville and the rest of the Central Time Zone 2002 has nearly ended. In Denver and the rest of the Rocky Mountains parties are in full swing, and in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the rest of the American Pacific Coast, the festivities are beginning. All throughout Europe, in Moscow, London, Rome, Berlin, Milan, Paris, Marseilles, Madrid, and St. Petersburg, 2003 came hours ago. Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and parts of Russia have already seen the New Year. What wouldn’t I have done to see the New Year’s celebrations in Moscow? I hope to be in Russia for the 2003-2004 New Year’s celebrations. This has been quite possibly the best New Year’s celebration ever. At home my parents are probably in bed now. They never do anything and when they do they’re both so pretentious that it’s almost physically sickening. The thought of vegetating in my living room on New Year’s Eve was truly tragic to me yesterday. Powell was trying mercilessly to get us home today, and I was becoming very angry with him, but then Mexican Aunt saved the day. I told my father the situation and he sided with Powell, naturally. He does a number of pointless and stupid things and he said, “I think [that] you can come home tomorrow.” This angered me incredibly. My father’s stupidity combined with my brother’s selfishness was overwhelming. However, as I said, Mexican Aunt saved the day by telling my father that my Uncle Mafia had already changed his plans and couldn’t take Powell and I home until New Year’s Day. Bound by his senseless etiquette, he had no choice but to let us stay; he and my mother both had to work (by the way, he’s gotten a job; I’m very proud and it will keep him out of the house longer). Powell was disheartened, which took a bit of the joy out of the victory, but now I’m sure that he’s glad that he stayed. By no stretch of the imagination would sitting at home with Mom and Dad be better than this. I am only sad that I’ll have to leave today. I’ve become accustomed to a certain routine here. Every morning we are awakened by Whining Cousin, Full Moon, and Little Man coming into our room, jumping on the bed, and talking to us about anything and everything. Today Little Man climbed up and laid on top of me. Whining Cousin will often read from her little Bible. We shower in the morning (a luxury which we don’t often have at home), eat breakfast, then play with the children until we have to go on one errand or another with Mexican Aunt. We then eat dinner after Uncle Nosehair gets home and then we play more. The family’s little dog Tini (who for some reason I’ve been calling Titi) follows the whole family around the manor. She is so little and only weighs ten pounds. Little Man is only two and says the cutest things, like “Haiyo [Hello],” and, “You shu uh [You shut up].” All you have to do is tap him, say, “Little Man” to get his attention, and then say, “Hello.” He’ll then respond, “Haiyo.” Also, if you say, “Little Man, you shut up,” he’ll reply, “No, you shu uh.” One day after we’d done it several times, I said once more, “Little Man, you shut up.” He looked down and went, “Okay.” Only he said it like, “O-kay.” Powell and I burst into laughter. I will miss this place intensely until summertime. We went through Uncle Nosehair’s yard yesterday. I hadn’t realized how huge the property was until then. As magnificent as the manor must sound, as grand as it must be portrayed through my descriptions (and I’ll have to finish them later), it is relatively small compared to the rest of the property. From the back door of the manor (well, one of them) the yard extends roughly fifty feet (possibly less) to a river. You wouldn’t even know how far back the property goes; the river would form a perfect border. However, there is a small land bridge that links a larger land mass, enclosed by a small, elbow-high (about) fencing. From the river it extends for six hundred feet at the very least) back. More than a hundred feet at the opposite end of the yard, also starting at the river, another fence extends back. The two meet at a single point, rather than angling and forming a straight line. In the front yard, the borders aren’t so defined, although they extend forward at least four hundred feet from the manor. Then the border goes at an angle to meet the river. The neighbor children, most of whom are poor, generally resent my uncle’s family for their property’s huge size (the largest in the neighborhood) and their comparative wealth. Their money and size have given them a small degree of power as well. My uncle’s property borders a public park for more than six hundred feet, and he is often the one to call the police to the park, and my Mexican Aunt has discussed the possibility of buying the land that the apartments are on. She says that if they bought the land that they would have the apartments demolished. I’m sure that if news of that consideration got out that there would be some type of vandalism in retaliation. Thousands of low-income families live there and the reaction would be fierce. The most recent event in the park has been the fact that someone has been cutting branches off of the pine trees. My uncle notified the authorities yesterday and demanded a police investigation. I really don’t care whether the offenders are caught, although I can understand my uncle’s distress. The party was nice. I probably ate too many tortillas, but this only comes once a year. Midnight approached with stunning swiftness.

I peed (hee, hee, hee) for the last time in 2002, and I went outside for a few moments to see the world one last time in 2002. Brittany Murphy, a rising star, was in Times Square with the boy from “That 70’s Show,” the one with the long hair, but not the beard. 2003 came quickly.

January 2, 2003
Today is 1/2/3.

January 4, 2003
In Russian, today is: Chitirye, Yanvar, 2003. Chitirye; four, and Yanvar; January. There have been many monumental events going on in our world since when I last wrote two days ago. For one thing, the second human clone was reportedly born in Europe today. I say “reportedly” because the group claiming to have produced the clone also believes that extraterrestrials started the human race through cloning. Atheistic morons. They refuse to give the identities of the babies or their parents for fear that the authorities will take the children away. Or so that’s their claim. Genetic tests are soon to go underway to prove that the babies are indeed clones. This story has naturally received vast international attention. Also, tensions between our country, the United States, and another country, North Korea, are rapidly on the rise. Although this has been going on for more than two days, the situation deteriorates by the day. It all started (as far back as I can go specifically; I don’t know where it all started) in July, 2000, when terrorists entered our country. Then, on September 11, 2001, after more than a year of planning, they hijacked four commercial airliners, all of them large Boeing jets. They crashed two of them, American Airlines Flight 11, and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South Towers of the massive World Trade Center complex in New York City. Less than three hours later, both of the towers, each one one hundred ten stories tall, were gone. They both collapsed downward into New York City. The rubble and debris flew through the city, burying everything in a thick fog of smoke and ash. Things got very bad in New York. People on the top floors of the World Trade Center began jumping out of windows. I’ve seen the videos. The sight of those businessmen and women flying through the sky from so high up that they looked like ants will never leave my mind. You could hear the bodies as they hit the ground. Like breaking glass, that’s what it sounded like. A huge crash. No one who jumped survived. At least, none who jumped from that high. And when the towers came down, well, that changed everything. Everyone in those towers, almost everyone died; the floors just came crashing down on top of each other, and as one fell, all of the debris and smoke and rubble and bodies, many of which were swirling around in the clouds of dust, they all had to go somewhere. So they went out. Into buildings, into people. New York City was turned into a chaotic war zone. Just like in all of the movies, people ran. And they ran everywhere, everywhere they could to get away. There’s another thing that will stay with me forever: New Yorkers fleeing en masse, screaming, running for their lives. For those that couldn’t go quickly enough it all came to an end fairly swiftly: flying debris struck some in the head, killing them instantly, or there was always the suffocation. And then who could forget the falling bodies? From that high up, they killed quite a few firemen on the ground. When I first heard that the towers had collapsed, I couldn’t believe it. They were too big. I thought that it must be an exaggeration. While all of this was happening in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

January 5, 2003
To continue, another airplane was hijacked, United Airlines Flight 93. It, more so than the other three planes, is the one that has been immortalized. It was the only one that missed its target. It was headed for the White House, in Washington, D.C., but the heroic passengers aboard that airplane, those aboard that airplane refused to allow the hijackers to accomplish their brutal goals. Through cell phones and other communications they learned of the attacks in New York, and the Americans rose up against their captors to take control of the plane. Many say that the war started there on that plane, because that is where the first fighting broke out. The plane took off from somewhere near New York City, then flew west all the way to Ohio. It turned around over Ohio and headed southeast for Washington, D.C. After the Americans retook the plane it crashed in a field near or in a small town called Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This town is now famous all throughout our nation, and the passengers onboard are now revered as heroes. Well, four of them at least. Through telephone calls to wives and family members, we know that four men took on the hijackers, however, there have been speculations that more people aided in the fight. Anyway, we soon traced the attacks back to Osama bin Laden and his global terrorist network, al-Qaeda (I’m not entirely sure that I spelled that correctly). He was born in Saudi Arabia but they kicked him out, so he took his vast fortune to Afghanistan. The Taliban government there, which was very unstable and extremely prejudiced against women, helped Osama bin Laden and hid him. We appealed diplomatically to the Taliban for weeks to give him up, but they denied having him. In October, we invaded Afghanistan. Within a year, we had attacked the Taliban so ferociously that their militia government collapsed, and we were able to install an interim government with a democratic president (a man by the name of Karzai) at its head. Our forces are still stationed in Afghanistan. We had international help with this invasion, although it was primarily ourselves and the British who engineered the war. The British are funny. Their leader, Tony Blair, has essentially become the puppet of our President Bush, and thus our President has two groups of armed forces at his disposal: ours and the United Kingdom’s. I find this hilariously funny as at the time of the American Revolution no one ever would have dreamed that this could possibly happen. After our invasion of Afghanistan, we, I mean, our President, made a speech during which he said that the collapse of the Taliban wasn’t the end but only the beginning of the war. He labeled three countries as being an “Axis of Evil,” and they were: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Shortly thereafter we accused Iraq of having chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We told them to allow inspectors “unfettered” access to all sites throughout the country. So, the Iraqis let in United Nations weapons inspectors. When the inspectors couldn’t find anything, President Bush said that we’d probably have to invade anyway, and a lot of people, even within his own administration, began to turn against him, but then

January 9, 2003
Iraq has released a 12,000-page report on their weapons, which the Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix essentially dismissed as a monumental lie. He said that too many things were missing. Some time before that President Bush made a speech about the War on Terror. Well, as it’s become increasingly more likely that we will invade Iraq, North Korea has taken up the thought that they might be next (and they very well may be). They reactivated a major nuclear facility, and, instead of trying to hide what they’re doing like Iraq, they defiantly announced to the world (and primarily to the United States) that the facility had been reopened. President Bush isn’t quite so anxious to invade North Korea, though; North Korea has nukes, Afghanistan didn’t, and Iraq doesn’t. They can’t hit us; their missile technology isn’t sophisticated enough to successfully launch a nuclear missile at the United States, however they are within quite capable reach of South Korea, one of our closest allies and a country that we’ve had thousands of troops stationed in since the nation’s disastrous civil war in the mid 1900’s. The North is communist (although not in the extreme as the USSR was) and the South is democratic. People say that if they bomb South Korea that we’ll invade. And if we invade, communist China may aid North Korea. Could we repel a Chinese invasion or nuclear attack? I hope so. Whatever’s going to happen, peace or war, it’s bound to happen soon. The tension is so thick that you can feel it. And our economy has suffered devastating losses. I’ve heard a lot lately about Ohio, and although I don’t know what’s caused it there, thousands of people have been forced to go to food lines. It’s like another Depression. What’s going to happen to all of us? I’m very frightened. What will happen? Events like these led to two World Wars. Is this another? God protect all of us.

January 10, 2003
They say that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I suppose they’re right, because what happened today was a far cry from the world peace that I prayed for last night. North Korea has withdrawn from a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. All that I know is that this somehow limited the production (and usage) of nuclear weapons. South Korea, alarmed, held an emergency security meeting today. As I mentioned earlier, I mean, yesterday, many people think that North Korea will likely bomb South Korea if anyone. We saw on the news this evening a short segment on a woman whose son is stationed in South Korea and she had already had five brothers stationed there during the conflict of the 1950’s. My father is convinced that all of this will be like another Vietnam, with a draft and everything. He greatly resents the government and says that if there is a draft that we’ll go to Canada so that Powell and I wouldn’t be drafted. He says that he’ll be damned if our government takes his sons. I told him that Canada has stated that if there ever is another Vietnam-like situation that Canada will close its border with the United States to prevent what happened in the 1970’s. He said that then we’d go to Mexico. I laughed and he looked at me and said, “No, I’m serious.” I think that he might mean it. My Government teacher often kids with us in class about how we’re just coming of age to join the army. There’s something that I could never see myself doing. I’m most certainly not physically fit enough to be in the army, and considering my extreme distaste for that type of thing (hence, lack of motivation) I probably wouldn’t make it through training. I would hate to kill someone and I could never deal with the extreme disciplinary structure of the military. I’m the kind of person who needs to be giving orders, not taking them. And I’m not trying to say that to sound conceited: what I mean is that I really enjoy giving out orders and being high in the chain of command (preferably at the very top) and I absolutely hate to be dictated to. I can’t imagine ever actually signing up for that, and that’s why I have great respect for anyone who does. Although I don’t mean those idiotic people with grand fantasies of glorious war battles, I mean the people committed to the defense of our homeland, the United States. And I can’t begin to fathom not going to college. My dreams and goals are so immensely dependent on that that it’s unreal. From my perspective, I feel that if I don’t go to college that my entire life will be ruined, ruined in the sense that all of my illustrious and grandiose dreams and goals would never be accomplished. When I told some people that I know that I want to go to Harvard, he said, “BB, you’re not going to go to Harvard.” Well, I’ll show him, and I’ll show them all. I’ll show all of the people who criticize me, and I will get into Harvard. Well, there aren’t that many people who criticize me, but I’ll show the ones that do. And everyone who has ever made fun of me, and I’ll show myself that I can do it. And I’ll be a successful lawyer, and I might live in Movie State. My hair has been growing for more than eight months now and is about six inches long. I love having long hair. One year ago today, on January 10, 2002, I was absolutely terrified in my Language Arts Class. Mrs. Middle School English Teacher (who would later present me with the Student Choice Award in June of that year, June 6, 2002, actually) was discussing the Bronte books and my knowledge and general love of them. She then made the comment that most girls like the Bronte books, which I believe to have been a not-so-subtle attack for misbehaving in class or something. I still accredit to God the reaction of the students, which was, amazingly enough, nothing. And then I farted, and I mean, loud, and no one did anything. I hated some of my current friends back then. Wow, it sure feels good to be writing with the Latin alphabet again; Cyrillic is far too phonetic for my liking, although when Russian grammatical rules are applied, it’s fairly challenging and fascinating. I love Cyrillic. I can’t believe that it’s been a year ago since that happened! Two years ago today (well, technically, yesterday, since it’s now after midnight)

January 11, 2003
I started Journal I on January 10, 2001. Two years have caused unfathomed changes. For example, in January of 2001 I was a social outcast and doing very unsatisfactorily academically. I had short hair, too. What a thought. We went out to dinner “last” night. Before we left (for dinner), we saw Venezuelan Boy for the first time in a long time. First Twin stopped by, too. Venezuelan Boy is my age, and he is a United States citizen from Venezuela. One thing that really doesn’t appeal to me about Venezuelan Boy (and it probably is tied in with the fact that he’s foreign) is his materialistic ways. I suppose that in Venezuela it wasn’t very nice, because he saw our ATV “yesterday” and asked, “What’s that?” That’s our only ATV left now, too, thanks to the stupid poor people in Hick State who wrecked it. Mom and Dad wouldn’t sue, and for once I wish that my mother had followed suit with her sister, my Aunt Ostentatious; Idiot Cousin’s got wrecked, too, and by the same people. Anyway, dinner was good, although not as good as I’d hoped. “Yesterday” was, all in all, a good day.

Around 1:30p.m.
You know, it’s just occurred to me that I never finished describing my Uncle Nosehair’s manor. I’ll do it this summer. We actually get to see our cousins Annoyingly Perfect and Innocent this year! Although, it might not be in July. You see, although Annoyingly Perfect is only a Junior in high school, she has succeeded in maintaining academic excellence, and so she has applied to take a month’s worth of courses at the University of Country Music State. That would be wonderful for her, and I hope that she makes it. It would mean missing the Independence Day party, but we would still be able to see each other. Uncle Nosehair and Mexican Aunt are wonderfully nice, but it got quite boring after a while, and with Annoyingly Perfect and Innocent there, that won’t happen. We’ve all missed each other dreadfully, although I don’t think that Powell has craved the reunification as much as the rest of us. We’ve been through a lot together, like the July 4th incident of 1996, which left us separated for four years until 2000. Our reunion at the manor in July of 2000 was rather awkward at first in the presence of our parents, but after my father left and we were alone, things just clicked. Aunt Smugly Superior’s appearance was a bit disturbing at first; she has a muscle disease that made her lose all control over the left side of her face. I’ve heard that when she first got it that it was a lot worse, although I’m not exactly sure when this happened. All I know about it is that her acting and singing careers (she sang classical opera) were ruined instantaneously, crashing down almost as swiftly as the muscular spasms that wreaked havoc over her once-beautiful face. She does have a lot of control now, more than the doctors thought that she’d ever gain back. She can smile almost evenly now. It’s not a topic of discussion that often comes up in our family. I remember that Powell once mocked her about it (although not in front of her), and my biological mother Anne, my Aunt Heroin, and my cousin Pothead were so angered that [Pothead] nearly physically assaulted Powell. He must have a great love for Aunt Smugly Superior (my mother says that Aunt Smugly Superior raised her when their parents always had to work, something that they shouldn’t have had to do) but he doesn’t seem to like her children, particularly Annoyingly Perfect. Annoyingly Perfect is Pothead’s opposite. Pothead is in jail now, and he is a drug addict. His mother is poor, and they live deplorably. Aunt Heroin, living with my grandmother, is trying to pull her life together, an effort for which I commend her. Meanwhile, beside my Aunt Insane Woman, who has many millions (and she really doesn’t count because she isolates herself from the rest of the family) and lives in an exclusive neighborhood in Some Western City, Aunt Smugly Superior has the wealthiest family of our branch. Her house was recently added onto, a master suite and a two-level garage: a $120,000.00 move. I detected just a trace of contemptuousness in my Mexican Aunt’s tone as she told a visitor about the family’s recent buy, saying, “That’s nothing for them.” I must say, though, that even that is comparatively bourgeois with one of the other branches of our family. My great-great-uncle, my great-grandfather’s brother, through incredibly wise and calculated decisions, brought his own family through the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Depression with their immense fortune intact. However, there was some instability; my great-grandfather’s loss of $10,000,000.00 left an enormous power vacuum and caused severe damage, threatening the collapse of our Dynasty of wealth. Before my grandmother’s uncle could act to help, my great-grandfather had lost upward of ten estates that had been in our family for centuries. There must have been a shock, a huge shock throughout our family and the high societies of the United States. However, the shock was not total. Other members of the family had warned my great-grandfather, and the loss of the estates and the millions of dollars gone prompted an immense anger through the rest of the family, an anger so great that they refused to help him. My grandmother stopped going to fine hotels in Independence City, Largest City, and Revolutionary City. She stopped buying all of the clothing bought by the elite, the equivalent of today’s Gucci, Armani, and Versace. And so, our branch’s wealth unraveled. Great-Grand Pa’s brother stopped associating with his brother’s family, which had sunk into wretched poverty. And what about my great-grandmother Danish Woman? Well, she was furious, too. She also came from a family of ostentatious amounts of wealth and privilege. I still don’t know what became of her family. Grand Ma once told me that her mother never got used to being poor, having grown up surrounded by wealth. My own biological mother grew up poor as a result. Meanwhile, the wealth of a thousand years of privilege continued to flow to the other branches of the family, and many of my second cousins have lived many a childhood of luxury. Hopefully, one day, I can break the recent tradition of complete failure in that family, and, unlike my ancestor, I shall make wise investment and financial decisions, so that that type of thing won’t happen again. I definitely want my children to grow up in a household where money is never an issue.

Around 10:15p.m.
Grand Ma and Grand Pa Normal Family came over today. Shortly after their arrival we left for Thomas’s basketball game. Although it was a team of five- to eight-year-olds (perhaps some a little bit older and younger, too), the game was incredibly exciting. Thomas was one of the better players on the team. There was one boy (who Powell and I referred to as Mr. La La, Fruity McFruitcake, among other names) who skipped and threw his arms about in the air for the duration of the game. He was so interested in his private little ballet that when someone gave him the ball he shot at his own team’s basket. Thankfully, he missed. He then proceeded to grab the leggings of his shorts, pull them outward, and do a curtsey. Powell was nearly doubled over in hysterics. We were yelling out, “Go, Thomas!” in our rustic voices. Well, anyway, it got to the point where there were fourteen seconds left on the clock, and we had the ball. We shot, missed, got it back, and it got passed to Thomas. He could’ve made the shot, he had the opportunity, but it was awfully crowded down there and Thomas isn’t incredibly tall. He missed. They lost by a point. We went home and Grand Ma and Mom went grocery shopping. We stayed home for the remainder of the day. I had to work on my book report, which consumed far too much time; I can’t wait until I’ve turned it in. Grand Ma wants to read War and Peace, the genius and inspiring novel by Leo Tolstoy. I am currently reading Tolstoy’s other great work, Anna Karenina, which, despite a rather boring beginning, is becoming vastly entertaining. As I gave an account of War and Peace, so I shall give one of Anna Karenina. Prince Oblonsky is fighting with his wife Dolly, because she has discovered that he was having an affair with their children’s French governess. Meanwhile, Oblonsky’s rustic country friend Levin has come to Moscow to propose marriage to Kitty Shcherbatsky, which he has yet to do, although he came quite close at the ice rink. I got gum in my hair today. The gum was everywhere, throughout the front of my bangs. Quite naturally, I was a bit upset by this point, although my behavior wouldn’t have led one to believe so. I calmly left the bathroom, taking care that no one should see me, and I walked swiftly up the stairs. I went into the bathroom, shut and locked the door, turned on the water, and got out a comb, some shampoo, and some conditioner. I applied the shampoo and some of the gum began to come off, but with it it ripped out many long pieces of hair, which I watched fall into the sink in their legions. I ran the comb through my shampoo-gum-infused hair, ripping out still more strands. I got shampoo bubbles over the sink, but I didn’t care. I wanted that gum out. I rinsed the shampoo and applied the conditioner. I slowly worked the rest of the gum out, and besides the fact my scalp hurt a bit where the hair had been so vigorously pulled and a little red spot (which is now gone), there was no indication that any hair was gone, no physical indication at all. I was, to make an understatement, relieved.

January 15, 2003
I’m sorry for my rather sporadic and extemporaneous writing of late, but I’ve been working on a massive book report on War and Peace for English. War and Peace is my all-time favorite book, and the report came out to fifty pages. Mom actually yelled at me for that, saying that I wasn’t the only student in the class and that when she did a book report on The Grapes of Wrath that she managed to keep it down to ten pages at the most. Although, War and Peace is a much more complex book than The Grapes of Wrath, and The Grapes of Wrath wasn’t accredited as the most significant literary feat of all time. Anyway, the report is due tomorrow, and it’s too long for Mom to print out and so I’m going to have to give the disk to Ms. Young English Teacher. Although then she’d have to print it out and use up her ink at home and I certainly don’t want that. I’ll ask the media specialists if I could use the media’s computers. They have a general rule about not doing that, however they are inclined to make occasional exceptions. Ms. Young English Teacher is going to Gambling City, Desert State, this weekend. That’s why she would have had to print it out: she told me that she’d use the five hours that she has on the plane to read my rather long book report.

January 19, 2003
We went to Washington, D.C. today. That is, Grand Ma, Aunt Crazy, Cool Cousin, and I went. Being able to enjoy Cool Cousin’s company again has been a delight. She’s my second cousin, and, in addition to being incredibly modern, liberal, Democrat, Left Wing, and cool, she is also highly intelligent. Yesterday, after school, Grand Ma and Grand Pa picked me up. We rode to their house but first we were all so hungry that we stopped at a sub shop. Grand Pa and I dropped Grand Ma off at the quaint little store to order our things while we went to Blockbuster. We got “Signs,” a new movie about an alien invasion of Earth. In the movie, crop circles began to appear all over the world. Then alien spacecraft begin appearing over Mexico City, Beijing, Honk Kong, Tokyo, and other major cities. In the end, the humans win and drive the alien invaders out. We pondered over whether anything like that could ever actually take place and what it would be like if it did. Then we all went to bed. Oh, by the way, prior to watching the movie (which was good but not as good as I thought it would be) we devoured our subs ravenously (they were delicious). Grand Ma also got me some soup, which was excellent. I’ll write more later.

January 21, 2003
The next day we woke and lazed about until Aunt Crazy came, then it was a rush to get ready. We left the house around two o’clock, after I played Civilization II for a little bit. It is a computer game that my mother bought me for Christmas, without (due to her lack of computer knowledge) having known that both of our computers were far too slow and lacked the hard drive to support the game. Well, after that, we went to Aunt Crazy’s house. It was nearly three o’clock at that time. I spent a considerable amount of time in the bathroom assuring that my hair was fixed; I had been told that the theater that we would be going to was of station and I wanted to dress and look proper for the occasion. When we first got to Washington, D.C., we drove on a bridge above a rather bad section, but we could still see the Capitol, standing bold and magnificent amidst the many other buildings in Washington, D.C. We made our way into the main part of Washington, D.C., and all of the buildings are quite striking. They all must be no more than thirteen stories tall, and so, due to the low-rise fashion of the city, they all seem to be incredibly close together. And almost all of them are white. It was very striking. We went into a parking garage, where a valet took our car. We then walked into the Willard Hotel, which Cool Cousin says is the finest in Washington, D.C. We walked through their lobby and I was amazed. Oh, and before that, Cool Cousin, at my incessant pleas, drove past the Capitol. She later described, in my presence, the occasion to her father, and she described me as having been “happy as a lark.” And I suppose that I was. Anyway, as I was saying, the Willard was absolutely fantastic. Their lobby was elaborate, ostentatious, over-the-top, and so help me I loved it. The entire place screamed of wealth, privilege, and prestige. I can remember, as a child, going to the high-rise hotels in Seaside City, staying in the suites, getting room service, and doing all sorts of things. We once even stayed in a room that was two stories, two stories inside of one suite. We were a far cry from wealthy, but we certainly lived well, despite our extremely modest home in Dirty Town, Native State, where I died every day for years. I don’t know exactly what brought it on, but we stopped traveling so. Seaside City was too expensive. Motels, most of them two stories tall at most, were what we did. In that way, I suppose that we were much luckier than Thomas; he was born into our decline, or, rather, his birth and the financial strain of it, caused our financial decline. Now, my father says that we can afford places like that; we just don’t stay in them. He feels that it isn’t wise, well, I believe that he may feel this. Anyway, after leaving the hotel, we caught a taxi cab to the restaurant. Cool Cousin got a bit upset, though, because she said that the food wasn’t exceptional but only average.

January 23, 2003
Cool Cousin is so funny. I had the yellowfin tuna, very rare, sushi style. It was excessively delicious, although the seaweed salad that accompanied it was positively revolting. Everyone said that I had the best dinner. The desserts were excellent. I had some type of apple pie, and it was absolutely sumptuous. I didn’thave time to finish eating it, though, because we had to rush to the Warner Theater, lest we should be late for the play. We hailed yet another taxi (oh, and here’s an interesting fact: an underground passageway links the White House to the Pentagon. “In case of an emergency,” our first taxicab driver said. Cool Cousin immediately and unconditionally trusted this polite Ethiopian and later confided to me that taxicab drivers often knew a lot about the city) to the theater. We emerged from the taxi amidst crowds of people waiting in line in the sub-zero temperatures to get in. Cool Cousin walked up illustriously to the door and went right in. As we had reserved tickets ahead of time, there was no need for us to have to wait. We were shown into an intricately decorated lobby. I suppose I should say that although the Warner Theater wasn’t nearly equal to the size of the Ford on Broadway, and although the Ford Theater had featured a décor of massive hanging chandeliers and magnificent artworks on the ceiling and walls, the Warner Theater was still comparable.

January 24, 2003
The very interior of the theater, not the lobby but the room housing the stage, was beautiful. Unlike in the Ford, we were sitting quite close to the stage, in Row O. The tickets cost $60.00 per seat. I, had I been an adult, would have paid it for what came next. This theatrical production certainly wasn’t the traditional (California) type. There was a row of stools lining the stage, with one on each end elevated two feet or so above the rest. The actors sat in these seats, not once moving around the stage during the entire play. There were two very famous actors there, or, I suppose that I should say, one very famous actor and one very famous actress. Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy. Mia Farrow I’d heard of, but never this Brian Dennehy, although now I’m told that he’s quite famous. At the very beginning I turned to Cool Cousin to criticize the woman speaking; she sounded fake and forced. Quite bluntly, I turned to Cool Cousin and said in a quiet voice, “She sucks.” Cool Cousin laughed and told me not to say such a thing. However, just moments later the woman spoke again, and without a spoken word Cool Cousin and I turned to give each other a look of amused disapproval. She then became captivated in the play, though, as did I. At one point I noticed that one particular actor, a heavy elderly man sitting next to the rather untalented woman, was incredibly good. He seemed to outshine the entire cast, and I told Cool Cousin that I thought so. She said to me, “That’s Brian Dennehy.” I didn’t recognize the name save for a principal I’d had years ago. Well, he’s (not my principal) actually a very famous actor, and he played in “Romeo and Juliet,” a movie that I saw. I suppose that this just makes me an excellent judge; well, that’s me. The play, like a good book, was thoroughly engrossing. When it was over, Chad Lowe (the brother of a celebrity) told us about some things. The play was about people who waited on death row for years only to have critical evidence later prove their innocence. This man, this Chad Lowe, told us that he wanted us to know that the System had not corrected these errors, but that outside organizations, organizations like Amnesty International, did the research and were able to free these innocents. Almost the entire script is actual testimonies and interviews. This is the play that the governor of Illinois saw before making his landmark decision recently to exonerate all death row inmates. The only problem with this was that the governor said he was doing it because the system was too flawed. So they all had to be let off of death row. Including one man who it is said is known to be guilty. Grand Ma told Cool Cousin, myself, and Aunt Crazy of the brutal slayings. This man entered the home of a pregnant woman, cut open her stomach and stole from her uterus her unborn baby. He murdered both the child and its mother. He then proceeded to murder one of her already-born children. He left. The dead woman’s seven-year-old boy, mistaking (fatally) that the murderer had gone, ran outside and was caught by the man who had slain his mother. He was tortured for four days and then murdered. I told Cool Cousin that I would like to see for this man a public beating with baseball bats. Cool Cousin said that this would never happen, and I told her that although I knew that it was still a nice thought. Then the play ended and we left the theater.

January 26, 2003
As we were leaving there were people with little bowls of candy. We were only supposed to take one each. So I took one, walked forward a little more, and then took another one from another person. Aunt Crazy, however, took quite a few. We walked the several blocks back to the Willard, where I was able to rapidly traverse the stairs leading down to the garage in epiphanies of delight.

January 28, 2003
The valet went to retrieve our car, bidding us wait once again in the luxurious room through which we had first entered the Willard. There were some candies in a bowl. Aunt Crazy was ravenous and swift. She seized about eight of them and hastily shoved them into my hands. She told me to put them in my pockets. Quickly, I did, laughing all the while. As we drove back to Aunt Crazy’s from Washington, D.C., Cool Cousin spoke with me of a man that she is acquainted with who works with deciding who gets certain grants for some gifted school. Cool Cousin told him about me and he and a great many other people were very interested in me. This prospect excites me. Although, I must admit, I would find leaving my friends very difficult. However, I am still young and now is the time to prepare for the future. I have the time after that to enjoy, and I can honestly say now that I live for the future, except on rare occasions. I am constantly thinking of college and the future. One thing that I will never accept for myself or my family is a middle class existence. Our neighbors, the Neighbor Family, purchased for their daughter this Christmas a $3,000.00 laptop computer. This astounded me, and when I told my mother, she looked at me and said, “Oh, well.” Those two words masked a practical soliloquy of American middle class rhetoric about either being able or not [being] willing to finance such a gift. Our class’s mentality of always looking for the best bargain, of obsessively hunting for the best price. Our entire society would just collapse and die off in a place like France, where stores are only allowed to have sales twice a year! Can you believe that! If the government tried to do that here, people would cry socialism. It is a bit too socialist. We Americans certainly are very lucky. Anyway, this society of tightwads has inspired me to pursue great amounts of wealth through my education. And being educated at such a facility as Cool Cousin proposed would greatly increase the chances of my success.

January 29, 2003
I had to stop writing last night. Powell, Thomas, and I were wrestling in Powell’s room and Powell punched me lightly in the stomach. I had had fajitas earlier. Fajitas with guacamole, which I’m probably not spelling correctly and which I’d rather not think about. I think that that horrid green substance is what made me so sick. Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit. After that, Powell and Thomas were made to go to bed early for something that they’d done earlier that day. I went downstairs and got two red apples. As I did in 2002, I turned on the small light, which casts a tannish glow over the kitchen. I turned the other kitchen lights out and began slicing the apples. Last year I had green apples. The occasion? President Bush’s State of the Union address. My parents criticized the formal and traditional announcement of, “Mr. Speaker, I give you, the President of the United States!” My father said, “Unbelievable.” My mother said, “It’s all politics, hon.” I thought that it was a wonderful tradition. As President Bush walked down the aisle and shook hands and hugged and lightly kissed the women’s cheeks, my mother said of the men, “Why don’t you just kiss, you bunch of fags?” Considering that my mother is very educated and also a professional sales representative, I thought that this was very funny. President Bush started with a domestic tone, and I thought that he had some marvelous ideas. For example, he wants to decrease taxes, he wants to start new mentor programs, he wants to provide money for a hydro-powered car. Hydrogen and oxygen could power cars. It’s an incredible thought. We would never again be dependent on Middle Eastern oil, and the wealth of those nations would decrease significantly. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and many other nations would lose a considerable amount of power. Then President Bush began talking about international and foreign business and issues. He wants to help prevent, well, contain and extinguish AIDS in Africa and the United States. Then, after several other thing, President Bush moved on to what was on everyone’s minds: Iraq. He presented some compelling evidence of some very frightening weapons that Iraq possesses. He told us that the Iraqi government tortures its own citizens and that Saddam Hussein has promised to kill all defectors and their families. I am now convinced that we should invade swiftly and immediately. President Bush has implied that an invasion will soon be forthcoming. That has also been made obvious due to the immense military buildup of military forces in the Persian Gulf. No mention of the draft. I stayed up to watch the Democratic rebuttal, delivered by the governor of Washington state. I had consumed two apples during the address, and by the end of the Democratic rebuttal I was feeling quite sick. I went up to my room immediately following the end of the rebuttal. I tossed my things off the bed, and, feeling positively horrible, I climbed into bed. I woke at two o’clock in the morning and knew that I would vomit. I also knew that I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom. I seized my trashcan and vomited massively into it. My heaves and the sounds of sickness that I made woke my mother, and she came into my room. She took me into the bathroom and washed my trashcan out and I rinsed with some mouthwash. Then I went to bed. My stomach felt as if a giant rock was inside of it weighing it down and it felt as if it might burst from within me and onto the bed. I drifted through a troubled semi-conscious state, half dreaming, half awake, never entirely one or the other. I “dreamt” of the Middle East, and that one country wanted to invade another country to marry that country’s princess. I thought that this was what was making me sick. I awoke around three o’clock and vomited again. I vomited on my favorite sweatshirt, on the floor, on my pillows, and on one of my blankets (the blanket thing actually happened the first time). The blanket was put in the wash, the pillows and shirt in the washroom. I hastily covered my floor with a towel. I slept for four hours, until roughly seven o’clock. I woke to see Mom cleaning my floor. I woke, well, got out of bed, and checked the television news. Beautiful County schools got a two-hour delay. Powell and Thomas thought that there was only a ninety-minute delay, and so they left the house around nine-thirty a.m. I was alone. I went upstairs to take my washed blanket out of the dryer and put the wet clothes from the washing machine into the dryer because Mom had told me to do so. I hastily made my bed. However, before I had finished putting the clothes into the dryer Powell and Thomas had come home. They had found out that we had a two-hour delay. So they stayed home for a few minutes and then they left. I walked into the kitchen, having thought of my biological mother Anne that morning. The telephone rang. It was her. She told me that after she spoke with me on Christmas that Idiot Man’s company seized their truck, an action which, as they’ve been living in this truck, left them homeless. She wept as she told me of their strife. She told me that no one in Idiot Man’s family would take them in, so a Midianite family gave them shelter for a night. Soon after, my Uncle Mafia allowed them to stay at his house. This situation is so pathetic. Now, they’re going with a different truck company. Anne, well, my biological mother, confided to me that she no longer wanted a marriage to Idiot Man and that she was tired of living in a truck. Not only is it boring, it has been taking a physical toll on her. She told me that my Uncle Nosehair had suggested to her that she pursue employment with the private investigator in Anne’s Town. She says that she’s good at breaking four-digit codes. She said that she could go to college with grants because her father, although born to American parents, was born a citizen of Panama in Cristobal. And, she says, she has enough real Spanish blood to get the grants anyway. She said that she could be making around $45,000.00 a year. She said that she will start sending us money. She said that she would send $50.00 here and $100.00 there. It’s a nice thought, but I really doubt that it will ever materialize. The conversation ended with my mother yelling frantically for Uncle Mafia to wait because she wanted a ride to the store. So typical. My mother Marie, who in every way except giving birth to me has been my actual mother, called my mother Anne “a lowlife” when she later learned of the telephone call. After I spoke with Anne on the telephone I went upstairs and got a towel. I locked myself in the bathroom with the telephone in case anyone called. I didn’t want anyone to worry, and I wanted a means of communication. I turned on the shower to a hot temperature. I didn’t bring any clean clothes, but left my pajamas on the floor beside the bathtub. I didn’t want to be clean; I just wanted a hot, relaxing shower. I pressed down the plug and I let the tub fill up. It filled within a few inches of its rim. I was in there for quite along while. I sat Indian-style in the tub as water filled it up around me. I looked at the metallic faucet that showed my reflection and I let the water drench over me, causing my hair to fall forward into my face. I felt enormously relaxed. The telephone rang in the middle of my shower, and I quickly turned off the water. I jumped out of the shower and picked up the telephone. My hair was dripping wet and heavy with retained moisture. It was Mom. We spoke briefly and then we both hung up. The telephone no longer made beeping noises when I pressed the buttons, and so I had to dry off the telephone. Then I got back into the shower. I washed my hair. I turned on the cold water because I was feeling sick again. I went downstairs and watched the television news. All of the news stations were talking about President Bush’s State of the Union address last night. They were talking about foreign reaction and I was watching a brief at the Pentagon when all of a sudden the picture flashed to Growing State, where a plastics factory had exploded. The fire was immense. The building itself, seen from an aerial view, looked comparatively small to the resulting smoke and flames. The huge pillar of smoke flowed through the air, at least fifty stories high, and absolutely enormous. A local school in the vicinity of the explosion, only half a mile away, was evacuated. The explosion was so powerful that windows in the school shattered. The students were evacuated to the local high school, which, at only two miles away from the explosion but opposite the direction from the asphyxiating cloud of smoke, had gone into lockdown. Initial reports stated that a plane had crashed into the building, and I thought, well, wouldn’t President Bush capitalize on this? Had that been the case, our invasion of Iraq would be commencing with much more rapidity than it is now. The FAA, however, said that reports of a crashed plane were false. That would’ve given President Bush perfect license to invade, and it would have left no room for Democratic criticism. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’ll invade Iraq, and soon.

January 30, 2003
By all accounts, what happened this afternoon and still affected us this evening should have sufficed to make today a horrible day. But, somehow, it didn’t. Not completely. I arrived back at school today for the second day of the third quarter, with four new classes. Isn’t that funny? I just realized that. I just want to say now that I will probably have to continue this entry tomorrow. Anyway, I walked into the school building and went straight to my homeroom (I usually wouldn’t do this as we have first period first). When no one was there, I went into the Media Center, turned in one book, and renewed two. Then, when the bell for first mod rang, I went back to homeroom. I conferred with my homeroom teacher, Mrs. 9th Grade Homeroom Teacher, and she gave me my schedule.

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