Fourscore and seven days ago,
Typical. I don’t even know where to start talking about all this crazy crap that’s happened to me over the last few months. I can’t just keep this all bottled up inside. If I don’t get it off my chest somehow, I’m gonna go totally nuts! But there’s no one to tell; Mom and Dad would never believe me, same for my friends, and it’s not like I could show them to prove it because it doesn’t even work if I try to show someone. Brad probably would believe me, but that would just make things worse. Can’t go to the police or newspapers or anything like that with no evidence. And did I seriously just use that expression? See? This is how screwed up I am after all that’s happened.
So I guess all I have to talk to about this is… myself. They say that’s a sign you’re going crazy. Maybe it’s true, but I hope not. That would be just what I need. 🙁
I don’t even know how I ended up mixed up in any of this. I mean, I know what happened, but… why me? I’m not even remotely the sort of person that stuff like this happens to. I’m not the last survivor of an alien world, and I’ve never even met an alien. (I think. It’s hard to be sure of anything anymore!) I didn’t get bitten by a radioactive Ancient Greek legend. The closest I’ve ever been to a serious lab accident involved nothing more dramatic than second-degree burns, and I wasn’t even the one who got burned! Both my parents are still alive, and still happily married. (A little too happily sometimes, ugh! And they have, like, zero soundproofing for their room!) We’re well enough off, especially in this economy, but we’re certainly not billionaires, or even millionaires.
I’m not a witch, a wizard or a sorceress. I’m not a spy, a soldier or a detective or… anything, really. I like creating stuff, but I’m not much of an inventor, supergenius or otherwise. Ralph says I’m a Gygite, but I’m not even sure that’s right anymore!
Really, I’m just Lisa… except not anymore. Well then, let’s start there. Back when I was just Lisa, and my biggest worry was how I’d do on Señor Feo’s next Spanish test.
* * *
I slept in that morning. I guess that’s to be expected. One of the most important days in my entire life (not that I knew it then, but still!) and I slept in and was nearly late to school. Dad was off to work of course. (He always leaves all early to try and beat I-5 traffic, and never quite manages to. I keep telling him if he really wants to beat the commute to Boeing, he oughtta get one of those little private planes. It would totally work; that’s what Holly’s dad does when the weather isn’t too bad. But he just laughs and says yeah, someday when I’m rich.) Brad was off to class, and Kelly had already left without even seeing if I needed a ride, so there I was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to take the world’s fastest shower and get dressed and make sure my hair wasn’t a horrible huge mess, and make sure I had all my books and my homework and my phone and makeup and my earrings (if the morning was gonna start out like this, I definitely needed the big ones to help me calm down and get my head on straight!) and I had no ride to school. It was starting to look like I would need to take the school bus, when suddenly Brad pulled in and jogged up to the door, leaving the motor running. He must have forgotten something.
“Lisa, what are you still doing home?” he asked, looking all worried. “You need a ride?”
I hugged him. “I can’t believe I overslept! My alarm didn’t even go off or anything!”
“You don’t have an alarm, Lis.”
“Because I don’t need one! It’s like I have an alarm in my head. I never sleep in!”
He rubbed my head and mussed up my hair, making me squirm away from him. “You sure?”
“You brat!” I ran off to the bathroom to make sure it wasn’t messed up too badly while he grabbed the book he was looking for.
I headed out with him and got in the car, trying not to let my distaste show. As bad as The Deathtrap was, it’s still better than pulling up to school in a big yellow Loser Cruiser. He saw it anyway. “Come on, Lis, my car’s not that bad.”
It really was, but I wasn’t about to have that same argument with him again. It’s this ancient green Corolla that rolled off the line in Japan (or wherever they actually make Japanese cars anymore) back when I was still a baby. There’s this big crack running across the windshield that he says he’ll get fixed someday and then never does. Neither of the front doors will open from the inside (you have to roll down the window, with a stupid window rolling crank thing because this is a freaking ancient car, and reach out to pull the door handle) and the turn signal has a “sweet spot” that you have to hit just right to actually make it flash. Brad just laughs and says that as long as the brakes, the gas, and the wheel work fine, it’s as safe as any other car.
Even so, he’s really about the best big brother I could ask for. You’ll never meet a nicer, more empathetic guy… except when he goes off on one of his paranoid rants about politics and heaven-only-knows-what-all. He didn’t used to be like that, but last year this guy he knew up and vanished. He didn’t know him all that well, but they were in a few classes together at UW, and one day he was just gone. No note, no signs of violence or abduction or even him just wanting a change… nothing. His parents tried everything, they even had the cops try and track his cellphone and the LoJack in his car, but the guy was gone without a trace.
Brad kinda freaked out about all this. I guess that’s the downside of having lots of empathy; this hit him really hard. He was all “it’s like Dan just fell off the planet completely. He was some sort of computer whiz; he must have hacked into the wrong place and the government made him disappear, because no one else could pull that off.” Then, just a few weeks later, all that Ed Snowden stuff started hitting the news, and that was all the proof Brad needed.
So yeah, my big brother is a really great guy, despite being a paranoid conspiracy nut, refusing to get his busted deathtrap of a car fixed, and liking country music. He of course had KMPS cranked way up in the car, and of course it’s his car so I had to endure it. It was playing something where some guy who sounded like you’d see his picture at the top of the article if you pulled up the Wikipedia page for “obnoxiously cute teen heartthrob” was trying his very best to sound all encouraging and comforting, reassuring nobodies like me that I’m “not invisible.” Well duh, Mr. Obnoxiously Cute-Voiced Singer Guy. That’s the problem. I’m all too visible, and your cutesy little song doesn’t say what to do about that.
The song ended, mercifully, and it was moving on to something even dumber, some woman singing about how modern technology makes our lives worse somehow, when we pulled up. I opened the door (I’d made sure to sit in the back so I could actually get out like a normal person) and hopped out. “Thanks!”
“Anytime, Lis,” Brad said, then he drove off.
My friend Julie was just walking up when I got out. “You catch a ride with your brother?” she asked. “Rawr! He’s cute!”
She’s full of it. Not that he’s not good-looking (I guess he sort of is, but hey, he’s my brother,) but there’s no way she would ever actually make a play for him and we both know it. She gets paralyzingly shy about stuff like that. “He’s single too, you know,” I grinned at her. “You oughtta totally ask him out!”
She blushed and looked down. Julie gets all flustered way too easily, her face going as red as her hair. “You’re so mean to me, Lisa,” she pouted. Then something went bzzzzzt, and she pulled out her phone and looked at it. Swipe, slide, tap tap tap tappity tap tap. Then she looked up. “Yes, mom, I did remember all my homework,” she groaned, rolling her eyes at me. “Parents!”
I shrugged. Mine aren’t too bad, I guess. Does that make me weird, that I think that? But no, the biggest ordeal in my life lay in the building I was about to enter, not the one I’d just left. “Hey, you got the time?”
“Time to pull out your own phone and check.” I smacked her shoulder and she laughed, tilting the screen so I could see.
Almost time for first period. We had Mr. Dent together. “You ready for the test in Feo’s class?”
Julie bit her lip as she started walking. “About as ready as I’m gonna get, I guess.”
Which is about the way I felt about the whole day. So we walked up to the doors together and headed inside, to face the gauntlet.