The Bootlegger's Daughter

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Forgive Me

Just like every November it seems, this one started out with terrible weather. It was rainy and cold for the first few days. I spent all the time I could inside. I didn’t even go to the speakeasy, only to school. Which I did have to miss on the first because I had another hangover. I’m sure no one missed me at school except maybe Ada, but we already covered how I was just a terrible person and dare I say “friend.”

I also must admit that in my last paragraph I hid the truth from you. I apologise for that. It wasn’t the weather’s fault for me not going to the speakeasy. My father banned me from going to the speakeasy except for when we meet him there in the mornings. I hadn’t seen Sam since Halloween. On the very enjoyable car ride home Father talked about firing him. I hardly ever argue with my father, but I did then. My memory of that night was hazy, but it got five times worse after my little song. All I know is that I yelled that Father couldn’t fire Sam. I believe I said that it wouldn’t be safe. Father must have realized that too because I told Sam all about the plan with the McKays. Not that I told him my secret; only Timothy and David knew that.

In between those few days I was still avoiding my idiot brother. I was mad at him but as the days passed the anger started to melt. It felt more awkward between us than anything else. I had always cared for my brother greatly. He was like my son in a way. I don’t know. That may be a bit dramatic. After that one day there was a huge gaping hole in our relationship and I felt guilty about it. I knew I shouldn’t. David was going behind our backs and he was being careless about it. That was not my fault. But part of me felt that it was. I would tell myself that I should have watched him more closely and not pretended like I knew what was going through his head.

There was something else that was eating at me though, besides the guilt. I realized on my morning walk to school that Friday that I was afraid. I was not scared of David. His threat meant nothing to me. If he laid a finger on me with the knife he stole from me I would kill him. David is somewhat lanky and I knew that I could overpower him. I was afraid of what he could do. His words were more dangerous than his body or weapons. If he had a lot of supporters then a rebellion in the family could happen. Nobody could win a war on two fronts. That’s what killed Germany in the Great War and that would be what killed our family if that was to happen. And that was why I was afraid. I would also like to say that I am no expert on the Great War and that might not be what actually killed Germany, but I do still like my analogy.

I hope you do not mind that I don’t explain my whole morning to you in detail like I normally do to some extent. My job was to go meet Ruthie at night and bond with her as always. Frankly I still didn’t (and I don’t now) know why that girl fell for me so quickly. It was ridiculous. Maybe we had a natural connection or maybe she believed in love at first sight. It was just so odd. But I was going to meet her that day.

When I was at the speakeasy Father barely talked to me. He just said “Lucy, it is a Friday, so you will be meeting that McKay girl as usual.” I would say that Father is a man of few words, but it was just because he was still mad at me. One could say that I make bad decisions when I’m drunk, like kissing boys who are five years my senior.

Father not really talking to me put me in a bad mood, so when I got to school that day I slumped into my seat and sat with my arms crossed. Ada looked over at me probably wondering what the problem was now, but I ignored her.

When class actually started I paid no attention to Miss Hayes and her lesions. Instead I drew in the corner of one of my textbooks with a pencil. I drew a version of a desert scene that I saw in an issue of National Geographic. I thought that it looked alright. There were also drawings of me cutting out David’s tongue. I suppose that was a bit mean, but I was scared of what he might do with it. By the time lunch came around the cover page of the book and the corners of the publisher’s page was filled with little doodles of nature and me and David.

At lunch I sat on the steps and watched everyone, like always. The yard was in chaos, which wasn’t anything new. I swear that if you feed a lot of candy to a bunch of toddlers then it would be the same level of chaos as the school yard. I don’t know what it is with the boys in my school that make them chase around each other like they’re eight year olds. One would think that teenagers could behave themselves more.

Everyone was so distracted. There was too much to focus on. Lillian was yelling at Robert for doing something dumb, but while she was talking one of his friends would walk up behind her and pulled her bobbed hair. Then she would yell and turn around but the boy would run before she could get him and the circle would repeat. Sometimes I think that there is no hope for my generation if this is how we’re behaving during our free time.

A girl in our class named Helen came up to us and talked to Ada. Before then I never realized that Ada had other friends. Thinking on it now I truly am realizing just how bad of a person I was. I still don’t consider us friends, but am I really that oblivious? I do not know what country she is from and I did not even realize that she had other friends. This story was supposed to make me feel better, to help me work past a very, very bad day. But that’s not happening. All that is happening is me feeling worse.

But anyway, because Ada was talking with Helen I got up and walked away without anyone noticing. I walked into the school yard and through all of the chaos that was happening around me. Even dumb Lillian didn’t notice me, no one did. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Walking through the yard felt almost surreal. I truly was alone in a crowd. Frankly that’s how I feel almost every day. Maybe that is just because I live in a big city. But I digress; it felt weird because people should have seen and heard me. I shouldn’t have been alone. I shouldn’t have been able to walk up to the spot where David and John were eating their lunch while sharing urgent whispers with each other. Someone should have stopped me.

Both David and John had their backs to me. Their speech was rushed. It was like they were in an argument or maybe trying to think something through quickly. I don’t know what they were saying because I didn’t care to listen. I didn’t walk over there to eavesdrop.

Neither of them noticed me standing right behind them. It was almost like I was invisible. Maybe they just don’t have good senses. All I know is that if David stood that close to me I would be able to feel him.

I lifted my hands up and I was about to touch David’s head when I looked up and two things happened. The first was across the street when I saw a black cat. Flashbacks of Carl telling me that black cats are bad luck and I should avoid them. I never really believed him because I always somewhat liked cats. But then the second thing happened. I got a feeling inside me, just like the one I got outside the McKays’ house the first time I went there with Ruthie. Something bad was going to happen. But I tried to push it out of my mind.

I looked down at David again, but was surprised to find him staring back at me. I also noticed John’s eyes. I wondered how long they had been there, watching me. And how long they had known that I was standing behind them.

“Lucy…” David started. I gave him a puzzled look, as if I didn’t understand what he said. “What… what are you doing?” David spoke in an anxious or frightened tone. He was scared of me. But the funny thing was that I heard his words quite clearly, but I didn’t make sense of them. It was as if David was speaking in French or some other language that I didn’t understand (which is any language besides English).

Then I looked at David again. I mean I really looked at him. He was scared. For a second I saw the boy that I thought I knew. I saw a little kid who might be scared of a monster in his closet. Then I looked down at my hands and saw that they were grabbing his throat. I have no memory of doing so. They moved on their own. I swear that on my life and honor!

John was scared too. I know this because I gave him one quick cursory glance. It was like he was glued to the ground. Perhaps he was paralised. Oh who am I kidding? I have no idea what John was doing. I had no idea what I was doing.

Before I tell you what I did next, please forgive me. I am about to do something that no one should ever do to someone that you love, or anyone for that matter. I wasn’t in my right mind. I don’t even know what mind I was in. But I need you to know that I am sorry. I hate, no despise the idea of you thinking badly of me and thinking that I’m cold blooded and heartless. I am not. I am just a teenage girl who made a lot of mistakes.

I pushed my weight on his neck. I wasn’t trying to strangle him, just trying to knock him to the ground. My plan worked and David fell on his back. I heard his head thunk on the ground, but he was still moving so I knew he was still alive, thankfully.

“Lucy…” David could hardly make words. Again, I was not trying to strangle him, but I was pressing too hard against his throat. I sat down on his chest, pinning him to the ground. Then I removed my hands from his neck and put one on his mouth to stop him from yelling.

With my spare hand I rummaged through his pockets. Something told me that he had my knife on him as if it was a spoil of war. I was right, of course. It was in his vest pocket right next to his pocket watch. The handle of the knife had my name on it which I did one day years ago when I was bored.

I held the knife up to David’s face and whispered in his ear. “A week or so ago you threatened me with this knife. My own knife! You said that you would cut out my tongue if I told Father about your little plan. Well, you will never be able to do that again.”

I took my hand off his mouth and tried to push out his tongue by pressing in his cheeks. David was really scared. He started to cry and a part inside me died. I think it was the remains of my heart and soul. No sister should even make her brother cry by hurting him the way I was about to.

I put the knife up to his mouth and was about to cut him when I got yanked off of my brother. But with the last of my will I managed to cut across David’s face. I cut him from the corner of his mouth, all the way across his upper lip, then up to the apple of his cheek. He started to bleed instantly.

When I got picked up completely off of David I started to kick whoever was holding me. It was a man but I couldn’t recognize who from just the bottoms of his pants and his shoes. As I thrashed about I dropped my knife that had David’s blood now all over it. Then time slowed down. I looked at my knife that laid on the school yard. I could just barely see “Lucy S” written on it. I saw David sitting up, holding his hand to his face, trying to stop the blood. John was by his side asking a million questions that I couldn’t hear. The sound of my blood pumping was too loud.

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