Xavier wasn’t sure how to approach his father. He had never done anything like this before, but he was sure that his father would approve. But would he help? Xavier felt his plan was a good one, but if his father helped him, this plan could be a great one. His only question was how to approach his father who would be home soon.
“Xavier?” a voice surprised him. It was The Nanny with Hump-Pug on a leash. The Nanny was watching Hump-Pug for Bartholomew.
“What do you want?” sneered Xavier as he looked in disgust at the dog.
“Xavier, why such a harsh voice? I just wanted to know what you are up to today.”
“Nothing, nothing at all,” he said trying to sound more casual.
“Good, I was wanting some help with…”
“I’m busy,” interrupted Xavier.
“I thought you just said you were doing ‘nothing,’” said The Nanny.
“Did I? I meant I’m doing… something,” said Xavier.
“You are? What are you doing then?” asked The Nanny patiently.
“Eh… nothing. Nothing that concerns you. What are you doing?” Xavier retaliated.
The Nanny looked at him suspiciously. “I am going to look for Geraldine. Care to help me?”
Xavier, whose sister had been missing for five months, was startled to hear her name for the second time in two days. “The police haven’t found her and my father’s people haven’t found her. What do you think you can do?”
“I know her better than them. I know she’s out there. She’s out there right now getting the life that she needs, the life she deserves. You wouldn’t even recognize her, but when she comes back you are going to be surprised. She is going to be beautiful and at peace and have a happy ever-after life.”
Xavier’s face folded-up in disbelief at The Nanny’s words. “What the hell are you talking about?! Have you gone looney?!”
“Now, Xavier, you should trust me more instead of only trusting yourself – and trusting Khua to beat people up for you. I know that you want to be happy and at peace, too. You let this need for excitement get in your way. Hurting people and planning their destruction might be exciting, on some level, but it’s not going to make your life better. You can break this addiction you have. It only draws you away from people, away from yourself. Please Xavier, come help me find your sister, your own flesh and blood.”
Xavier had known The Nanny for quite a long time. He found her curious in the way she would suddenly say things that went right to his soul. It seemed to Xavier that The Nanny would spend a lot of time with Geraldine and barely pay attention to him, Khua and Mo. Then, out of the blue, she would say something to them that proved him wrong. She had been paying attention to them – so much attention that her words would penetrate their violent and addictive world. This was one of those times.
He should help find his sister. After all, she is family. He stared at the family crest above the fireplace mantel. Because his world is full of violence, he assumed his sister was dead – probably killed by some psycho. But what if she was alive? Shouldn’t he be looking for her? For a brief moment Xavier felt how lonely Geraldine must feel if she was still alive. Destroying Bartholomew’s garden didn’t seem that important right now.
“Xavier?” The Nanny looked pleadingly at him.
A loud door slam was heard in a distant part of the house. Gerald’s strides could be heard coming down the hall as he approached the room.
“Xavier, The Nanny,” said Gerald without saying anything else.
“Hello, Gerald,” said The Nanny.
“Hi, Gerald,” said Xavier with an odd look on his face.
“Xavier. Do you want something?” asked Gerald.
“Uh… I was going to… uh.”
“What an exciting day!” bellowed Gerald, not waiting for Xavier to finish. “I finally bought out Old Man Tompkins. He has been holding out on me for years. I finally got him at twenty-five percent less than I was willing to pay. Ah, what a day!”
Gerald looked so happy – happier than Xavier had seen him in a long time.
“Were you going to say something?” Gerald asked Xavier.
“Uh… I was going to… uh.”
“Guess what?” interrupted Gerald. “It was such a good deal I went out and bought myself a car. A red XT Turbo with flames painted on it. Awesome, huh? So I won’t be needing my MG roadster. Here.” Gerald tossed the roadster keys to Xavier.
The MG roadster was Xavier’s favorite car that his father owned. It was sleek and fun and could go more than one hundred and sixty miles an hour. He once watched his father bury the needle on some back roads up north. The wind whipped through his hair, the trees passed by so fast – it was very exciting! And now it was his. Xavier sprang up to go for his first drive in his new car.
“Xavier?” asked The Nanny.
Xavier stopped mid-spring and felt an odd weight around his heart. His sister. What could he do? She hadn’t been found for months. It was hopeless. Looking for her and not finding her, which was exactly what was going to happen, sounded boring to Xavier. Driving his new car did not.
“Uh, I’m really busy with something right now. Can I help you later?” asked Xavier.
“Later is too late,” said The Nanny knowing that Xavier had to help now or forever be lost.
“Not later like too late later, I mean in about an hour.”
“This time one minute is too late, Xavier,” replied The Nanny with a very serious look on her face.
“What the fuck are you two talking about?” interrupted Gerald. “Xavier, go take your roadster for a ride. And don’t destroy it in the first month or you won’t get another car for at least a year.”
Xavier turned and left the room, The Nanny’s eyes following him the whole way. She then turned toward Gerald.
“Do you understand what you are doing to your children?”
Gerald looked puzzled by the question.
“Do you know why you weren’t supposed to have children? Do you know why, except for a brief moment in time, you have never been able to conceive with a woman? It is because of this, this way that you treat your children. You corrupt them, you addict them, and you let them think that nothing they do is wrong. That nothing is ever wrong. You can destroy people’s lives, steal their work and boil everything down to the profit margin, but you will never see anything you do as wrong. You are a corruptor and a destroyer, and that is all. You have no vision, no love and no hope. You have absolutely nothing of real value in your life except these children and this is what you do to them; you discard them, you corrupt them and you destroy them.”
“I gave him a car. What’s your problem?” asked Gerald.
“My problem is no longer your problem. Gerald, I will tell you this once and only once. You are going to die in three years. One of your sons will die this week. He will die because you are willing to run after foolishness. You will never experience joy again for there will be so much sadness in your life. You will lose everything. Your children will be at war with each other. Your daughter will return and she will not call you family. She will run from you and marry your enemy. Your enemy will eventually sit where you are and prosper one hundred times more than you.”
“Geraldine is going to marry Old Man Tompkins?” asked Gerald incredulously.
“The saddest part of it all,” continued The Nanny, “is that I have just told you your future and you are too dumb to understand a word that I said. You are too selfish, too self-possessed, to put what I have said into its true context. You could change the future but you have absolutely no imagination and therefore can’t do anything but live in the moment, like a mollusk. Even though you and your type cause most of the problems in the world, you are the ones to be most pitied, because you are nothing more than a bunch of neurons, ligaments and bone without a soul.”
“You’re fired,” said Gerald.
“Whatever,” replied The Nanny as she walked out the door, Hump-Pug trailing behind.
Three hours later, after running out of gas, Xavier returned home and talked with his father about destroying Bartholomew’s garden. His father liked the idea and added some twists and improvements to it. They both became excited about their plan. Somewhere deep in his soul, Gerald felt an all-consuming fire start to be honed and focused. He knew something exciting was coming his way and he was preparing for it. Old Man Tompkins wasn’t enough. Gerald needed to see someone squirm and beg for mercy. This is what he lived for, this was the rush that satisfied. And he was happy because this time he didn’t have to do it alone.________________________________________
Written by Mark Granlund
Illustrations by Meghan Murphy