If I said I killed him, would that make everything easier? Would you edge up on your seat to hear about the murder? Would you bite your nails during the investigation and gasp at the arrest? Really?
You almost make me feel bad that I didn't kill him. I've never killed anyone. I've hardly ever hit anybody. I didn't go to jail. Worse, I worked there.

It was two weeks after I found out Nad was knocked up when I got the job. Forgive me, but I think there will be a large incomplete if I just skipped those fourteen days all together. I don't remember the events. Nor do I remember the words my sister and I spoke to each other those next few days. And to be brutally truthful, I don't know if there were any words.

You see, there was a broken wall between us now. Nadine's barricade of perfect attendance and punctuality was shattered by illegitimacy. And I was free.

My sister's flow of perfection was tainted. She couldn't look down on me as one of those relatives who stays too long and mooches off of her. I was free from her condescension. Can you understand that? Can you understand what it's like to have the epitome of everything that is good in the universe since you were three fall and you can at last be the screw up that you are knowing that there's always going to be this one thing that's always, always and forever worse?!

She couldn't tell me what to do. I could screw her rules. I smoked two packs a day. I didn't turn off my lights. I drank, I stayed out late, I ate in every room of the house except the kitchen, I was free! I wasn't a failure anymore because hey, at least I wasn't pregnant. And she knew it, too.

So you see? Do you see now why there weren't any words? How could there be? How could I talk, how could I look at my sister knowing she knew I derived such passionate satisfaction from her greatest demise?

Now, the thing that started the back draft to my life is when I went to talk to Jack.

After digging around on my own because god help me if I were to ask my sister, I found out that Dear Old Jack was in construction for the city, typical. So, when I read in the paper that the old Hollanday building was having an extension put on I figured, what the hell?

"I'm looking for Jack Port?!" I yelled to some Butch over the sound of a bull dozer. I saw his mouth move and he pointed over to the exit doors of the actual building they were to work off of. There was a man bending over a makeshift table hovering over laid plans. With a deep breath, I like to think I stalked though I think I actually stumbled over to him.


"Yeah?!" He looked up at me and I stared straight into those cloudy blue eyes and I wanted to will myself to punch him. He had dirt on both cheeks and a bit of sweat forming on his brow. His eyes were a bit agitated from the dirt flying around and he had a little bit of a stubble, intentional or not I'm not sure.

And I wanted to hate him. Believe me that I did. But his voice was that of a normal guy. He looked like a tired, working guy. I somehow expected him to be some big burly man with a mustache that spits a lot. I expected him to look some what like Butch back there but he didn't. He looked like a normal, working, man.

I had heard "I see it in your eyes" before and I always hated it. I don't see anything in anyone's eyes. I see pupils looking at me oddly because they don't know why I'm staring at them. But it was here, this was the first time I saw anything in anybody's eyes. It was regret, it was self hate, it was sleeplessness, it was restlessness, it was remorse. It was everything I didn't want to see. It was everything that could evoke sympathy.

"Yeah?" I realized I was staring and the bull dozer had stopped so I was just left "gazing into his eyes" sort to speak, while he was wondering who the hell I was. I felt that heat rise in my cheeks and burn. If you ask me, embarrassment is the worse feeling in the world, and I wish it would die. But I had no reason to be embarrassed. He dumped my sister. He dumped my pregnant sister. The heat in my face suddenly transformed from embarrassment to anger. Yes, red hot anger is what I needed right now. This is what I came here to feel. And I wanted to smile because I was going to say it. I was going to drop the bomb on him. I was friggin' Truman.

"I'm Rochelle Beck." And his face fell and he took in a bit of a breath. I told myself that was what I wanted. I wanted the anger and I wanted him to fear and to shame...I would forget about how hopeless he looked.

"Oh." It was softer. He looked down and it seemed like he didn't know what to do with himself. I suppose he didn't. And I suppose I wanted that, too. "Do you want to talk and get some coffee?"

That was something I wasn't ready for and it caught me off guard. I felt like I should have been appalled that he would think that I, I would ever lower myself to sitting down at a table not two feet away and actually converse with him? No. I was there to scream and to yell or even stamp my feet but I was not, not there to sit down and have an actual conversation with this guy! But then...

"Why not?" It was all I could say.

Two hours later I walked into the purple house with Gingerbread siding. I walked up to my room. I walked past Nadine's closed door, and I walked to my room. I was not emotionally prepared to handle this.

What had possessed me to come here, anyway? I guess I wanted a "change of scenery." Is a change of scenery worth this? Too late now, I suppose. Jack had told me-Jack had told me things I didn't want to listen to. Things like Nad didn't really know who the father was. Jack wasn't sure he was the father and no, he didn't want to be with a woman who was carrying a kid that wasn't his. Especially if the father of said baby was really an irresponsible dick like "Edward" but yes, he was certainly ready to be there if it was his child. And I believed him when he told me but I couldn't believe the possibility that my sister was wrong. I couldn't believe she was so imperfect as to not know.

I was so morbidly relieved before because I guess it was this one huge mistake. It was a straight down, ninety degree angle fall that just somehow disclaimed all my other muck ups and rose me to the top again. But to hear that my sister had made other mistakes, other moderate mistakes just makes her too human. She cannot be human. It is too hard to treat a human so poorly. To think that the whole time I loved to love to hate her for her invincible happiness and her perfection and she just...wasn't, then I don't understand. That just makes me feel foolish. I guess it's true what they say, you can have too much of a good thing.

The Tennessee State Penitentiary opened in 1831. Most of the prisoners were in for larceny. In 1831, maybe theft was the only crime anyone ever had the chance to pull off. Those guys obviously didn't, but whatever.

I freakin' love driving. It's the essence of all escape. Two sticks and wheel control a large mass of metal and grease. It's not heaven, but it's how to get there. My car is me. I make it a mess because I'm a mess. I make it stop when I stop. But best of all, I make it go fast when I want to fly.

Thus, I am currently speeding down an abandoned highway at two 'o clock in the morning. I'm not checking the speedometer. I'm not caring about the speedometer. I care about flooring it. I care about the blur of highway passing by. I care about getting away.

And I am getting away. For the moment the world is euphoric and I am at peace. Actually, the world isn't euphoric. It isn't even there. I'm above it. I'm looking down to see the Golden Gates. Fuck Peter. I am above the world. Damn that red Pontiac for bringing me down...

"License revoked..."
"Driving classes at..."
"Lucky he lived..."
"Numerous offenses...!"

Have you ever had six hundred and fifty-two voices screaming at you all at once? Technically, neither have I but I have a pretty good idea what it feels like. I'm sitting here in court listening to this judge who's name I can't pronounce. God, this must be what it feels like to be dying.

"Miss Beck!" I jump.

"Yes, your Honor?"

"Are you listening to me?" Geez, he's peeved.

"Yes, of course." No, I wasn't. Judge What's-His-Name takes off his glasses(it's never good when judges take off their glasse) and leans over his gavel towards me.

"Miss Beck, do you realize the seriousness of your actions?" Do I realize the seriousness of my actions? Yes, I realize the seriousness of a car crash, Judge I'm-Going-To-Ask-The-Most-Obvious-Questions-In-The-World. I realize the seriousness of slamming into somebody at sixty-two miles per hour. I realize the seriousness of a twenty-eight year old man on his way home from work in a red Pontiac getting crushed by a '96 Ford. Yes, I realize that man almost died. And yes, I realize that I would be facing murder charges if he did.

"Yes, sir." I say as solemnly as I can. Do I realize the seriousness of my actions?! I realize it as well as my sister realized it when she came storming through the hospital doors screaming at me and when she started ranting as I was declared well enough to proceed to the police station. I realized the seriousness of my friggin' actions when my only sister's first words to me in two weeks were screaming at me for being so stupid, and how I should have grown out of this dumb, rebellious, teenaged habit by now. And do I realize what this is going to mean on top of all my other speeding tickets?! On top of all my other unpaid speeding tickets?!

And yes, I realized the seriousness of my utter stupidity when I walked into that hospital room and saw a good-looking kid with a broken arm, a bloody bandage on his forehead and numerous scrapes, swells and bruises.

Judge McCoghklin slid his glasses back on his nose without ever breaking eye contact with me. He looked over what I'm sure was my less-than-perfect file on his desk before leaning back in his chair.

"You have quite the antsy foot there, Miss Beck. I suggest learning to control it whenever near a gas petal." The bailiff bowed his head in a pitiful effort to conceal a chuckle. The stenographer smiled without looking up, and for the brief moment it happened, I hated both of them.

"I am revoking your license, Miss Beck. And for the duration of the next six months the court is ordering you to attend the fine Driving Instruction course supplied at Brentwood Driver Training. However," he took a dramatically timed pause to sit back up in his chair to give my file another once over," -I am also sentencing you to warden duty at the Tennessee State Penitentiary for the period of sixty days. May it's impression on you keep you from committing any more offenses because to be quite frank with you, Miss Beck," another pause, "you can't afford it." With the slam of the gavel the court began to empty.

I was the last to leave.

Thus brings me to my predicament. My fabulous freakin' predicament. I didn't think I could take much more. But whether or not I could take it or not, I was in for more. So much more.