People tended to disappoint her and criticism was her gift. She’d run my Dad off by the time I was three, how I used to wish he had taken me with him. He moved to Phoenix and married Lana, my stepbrothers had no idea how easy they had it. Life with the Grammarian was almost all I knew, I’d only get to visit my Dad a couple of times a year. When I first got there, they used to laugh at me because I was so quiet. I had learned to keep quiet rather than be yelled at for using the wrong words at an early age. I’m still pretty quiet, that’s why I write. By the time I was able to relax and talk it was time to go home, the Grammarian waiting for me at the airport looking all inconvenienced and annoyed.

There had been an accident when she was a kid, she was playing in a barn loft with her brother, Stanley, who fell into a combine. The details are sketchy, but he was killed and the Grammarian was going to make everything perfect in her life after that, there would be no more accidents.

Well, except for me. She was “not ready” for a baby when I came along and my existence was another reminder that she couldn’t control everything.

She married again when I was ten, her school’s assistant principal. He was married and they had been meeting during school hours at the local Motel 6. There was quite a scandal when the news broke, mostly because the news broke when his wife stormed into the principal’s office with pictures. He married the Grammarian to save his job and reputation. Another accident. Assistant principals are in charge of school discipline and I was often in trouble at home now; I’d have to squat in a corner if I didn’t answer him or get yelled at by the Grammarian if I did.

I didn’t speak at his funeral. There had been a hunting accident. He went on a fishing trip and a hunter shot him. They never found the hunter. They did find a married second grade teacher on top of him. Must have been a double barreled shotgun. I guess the hunter tracked a bear right up to the Motel 6 window and squeezed the triggers.

3 times.



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