Chapter 2: Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment By The Ramones

Okay so yea, I'm not really a compulsive liar, more like I like pretending I'm something I'm not. Being a chamaeleon.

Kinda.

Not all people I meet on benches are as rude as Joe the druggie Bum; some of them are quite cool. We talk for hours about my imaginary lives.

One time I talked to this chick, who I named Josie The Nosy, for like 4 hours, about how I just moved to Chicago from Hawaii. She was really interested about what life in Hawaii was like and I was all too happy to paint her a rosy little picture. She became my fast friend, I could've actually known her if I had chosen to remember her name, but Josie is so much more her type of name than whatever she actually was called.

Besides, after hours of talking I found out she wasn't really interested in Hawaii, but something else entirely, if you know what I mean. Still for a potential pedofile she was very polite and friendly, she had a lot of candy she wanted to get rid of, but I couldn't eat it because I was going to see the dentist the next day.

There something thrilling about reinventing yourself to complete strangers, something so addicting when how they see you is in your hands. People who know you through meeting you places like school or work or through a mutual acquaintance already have a preconceived notion of what you're going to be like.

Okay, so I totally read that out of a book once, but whatever. The point is that at a bus stop you're a group of random strangers united by a similar destination and need for transportation. Of course, every time I mention that to someone they just look at me like I'm more than slightly insane. But I'm okay with it, I don't let their looks bring me down.

I tried to sneak in the door because the moment I walk in my Mom's gonna be all over me like a pirana surround fresh meat, she'll get all flutter-y and her spastic movements will give me a headache. My dangerous encounter with Joe, the raving drug lunatic, has my nerves already shot all over the place and I don't want to deal with her special brand of crazy on top of that.

"Dani? Is that you?" She calls to me from the kitchen.

Curse her, I was just quietly trying to slink by to go do homework like a responsible citizen and here she was going to give me the 5th degree.

Yes I know it's usually the 3rd degree but with my Mom you have to tack on two more degrees because it's so excruciating.

"No," I say, dropping my voice into what I hope is a lovely baritone, "I'm...Hermes your Latin lover, Hayley please, go away with me to my secret getaway in...Germany! Please muchas amorous yo quiero taco bell!"

Unfortunately, she is not fooled, or amused. Maybe she actually has a Latin lover, and maybe, just maybe, his name really is Hermes! She must think I'm onto them! If I play my cards right, I can use this tasty bit of information to my advantage.

At her urging I finally make my way into the kitchen, she's slaving away over the dinner my cruel, stiff, chauvinistic father makes her cook, I almost feel bad for her, but not enough to help her. He's such a jerk, no wonder she seeks comfort in the manly arms of Hermes, I wonder if he drives a Porsche or just a Mustang. I bet he's a Mustang kind of guy.

My mom is a stay at home worker person, I call her that because I have no idea what she actually does. Well I do have an idea, I just don't care. I think she may be a journalist. She definitely has the whole 'freelance journalist' thing going on, always wearing bohemian type dress clothes and having her dark curly hair flying about her head with no control.

It's surprising how much me and Hayley look alike for not being related. We have the same dark curly hair (well not the same because she's just my step-mom, because ya know), although mine in really long and much better looking then hers, and people say we have the same smile. We're both short, but while I look young and beautiful, she just looks old and middle aged, people say my mom looks hot but clearly they don't know what they're talking about.

"Dani," Mom is saying to me, "you've really got to straighten up. You're not going to survive until graduation."

I'm seeing myself in her eyes; she's looking at me like I'm a terrorist or a CEO of a tobacco company i.e. she just looks really angry. This just makes me mad.

"Oh, yeah, Mom, well I know all about you and Hermes, and I've got photos." I don't but she doesn't need to know that, "so lay off of me or I'll tell Dad what's really going on!"

She tries to pretend she has no idea what I'm talking about, but I can see it in her eyes, I've got her backed into a corner.

"Dani, do I even want to know what you're talking about?"

"Oh, don't play dumb, Mom, I know all about your little trysts, you and Hermes aren't that discreet," I say as I get some grapes out of the fridge.

I love grapes, I eat them all the time. Today while I eat them, I pretend that they're eyeballs, not because I enjoy eating eyeballs, but just because I want to feel like a cannibal.

"Dani, don't eat those, I'm making dinner." Mom says as she tries to decide whether or not she's insulted at my comments about Hermes, naturally she must feel very protective of him.

"Quiet, You, or I'll eat your fingers!" I tell her, totally getting into this cannibal role.

I'd enjoy being a cannibal, all of it, except for the eating people part, I wouldn't enjoy that part of cannibalism.

But the savage part sounds quite exciting.

I could be as mad as Max, I assume that the movie Mad Max is about an insane man named Max. I saw a part of it once, Mel Gibson, looking surprisingly decent in tight leather pants, got shot in the knee and then run over by a motorcycle, after that I stopped watching, I don't have the attention span for movies. I wonder if Mel Gibson was Max, because he didn't look that insane.

"Dani are you even listening to me?!" Mom is screeching at me.

I feel like telling her to shut her yap, but that will just exacerbate things.

"Yes, I'm listening, you insult me by implying that I would ignore you." Just leave me alone, please and thank you, let me go back to eating eyeballs.

"All right then, all I'm saying is please, could you start showing at least a little concern towards school? The only class you're passing is Pre-Calculus, and me and your father are concerned that you'll never go anywhere in life."

Oooooh, that's why she's being so whiny about everything; it's report card day, of course; I have all F's and one B. The B is just to spit in school's face, to show them that I could pass if I wanted to, I just don't. It was part of this plan I had of bringing around academic reform, but unfortunately, I can't remember the part of my plan that comes after I fail six classes. I'll have to think on this.

Oh, yeah, my Mom's still talking.

"—do you want that?" she said finishing up a speech that I totally missed.

I try to deduce from her tone of voice whether the correct answer is supposed to be a yes'm or a no'm but it's no use.

"Mom, chill, if worst comes to worst I'll just ask Hermes to give me a job supplying Joe the bum with drugs from Hermes' Mexican speed ring."

She just looks at me like I'm insane. Now I don't let those kind of looks get me down, but why does everyone always look at me like that? I'm not the crazy one here. I swear. Hermes is way worse than me.

My dad chooses this moment to arrive home from work. Perfect timing. He's some sort of business man, at some company. Total blahness if you ask me. I feel that this is not a good time to bring up Hermes and instead decided to berate my dad on his poor husbanding.

"Oh, look what the cat dragged in," I say as he enters the room.

I wink at Mom to let her know that I'm on her side. She plays innocent, the poor spineless thing.

"Hello, to you too Dani, your mother says that your report card—"

I have to cut him off before he finishes that thought.

"I don't think that's the real issue here, Dad!" I practically yell.

"What?" He shoots a confused look at Mom.

"Don't look at me, and by the way don't even get her started on Hermes, whoever that is." Mom says as she rolls her eyes.

Oh! Very clever of her, to bring him up and pretend not to know him.

"The real issue here is your chauvinistic ways, Oh Father! I've had it with your oppression of my mother!" I jabbed a finger at him to prove my point.

"Okay, I'm not sure what you're talking about, but about your grades—"

"Don't try and change the subject on me, mister I'm-a-big-bad-manly-man!"

"—they had better come up young lady—"

"Oh, sure pick on the fact that I'm a 'girl'."

"—and you're grounded until they do." He finished like he totally had not been talking over me.

Drats, I only had three more days of the dull oppression left.

"That's not fair! I was only trying to bring about academic reform!" I declared, but of course, they ignored me.

Jerks.

"So, we've been invited to dinner at the VP's house this weekend." Jerkface #1 said.

"Oh, that's great, Honey!" Jerkfacette said, fawning all over him in a disgusting fashion.

"That's it! I've held my tongue as long as I could, but Dad there's something you should know, Mom's got a Latin lover named Hermes and he's involved with a Mexican speed ring."

Jerkface #1 just looks at me and then goes back to talking to Jerkfacette.

"Yeah, I want to make a good impression on him, then maybe he'll be convinced to let me handle the Michelson case. He wants our families to get to know each other."

This is the point of the conversation where they both pause and look at me as if they've just said something terribly significant. I wonder if they want me to reply. Well, too bad for them, because I wasn't listening to them in the first place and in the third place I'm not speaking with such shady characters as they. A verbally abusive, chauvinistic oppressor and the secret mistress of the kingpin of a Mexican speed ring.

"I'm sorry, did someone say something? Because all I heard was the wind blowing Dixie across the moors." And with that parting zinger I sweep from the room, no doubt leaving them defeated in my wake.

I go to my room where I put on some AC/DC to help me concentrate, and then I do my homework.

I'm not gonna lie, I have all my homework done; it's in neat stacks on my desk, six stacks all around four inches high. I should probably bring those in tomorrow and give them to my teachers and beg them not to fail me just because my brilliant plan to bring about academic reform failed miserably.

They were just going to have to accept that we are dealing with a flawed system and it will never ever get better.

I had to switch the CD because AC/DC was becoming annoying. That's my problem, I can't ever stick with something long enough to truly enjoy it on anything but a shallow level. I think that's why I connect so well with complete strangers, but my own parents refuse to hear the words coming out of my mouth.

I felt bad for myself and my complete lack of a attention span, but then I realized that feeling bad was a horrible feeling and got bored with it.

The only music I can listen to all the way through is System Of A Down, it's like they're speaking to my very soul.

I meant to put in Down or System Of A, but then I got distracted by the shininess of the CD (I love shiny things) and decided to go down to dinner because I was also very hungry.

I hope my Mom cooked with my cannibalism in mind.