Michael Brown

The Paradise Wars and Clark Ransom Thrillers

Retro Teens, Two

The nature of epiphanies is that before they happen you’re one way, after another.

Sharon only knew that once she had decided to go to the party, for the first time, it became easy to stand her ground against her parents.Mom in Paris

She wasn’t petulant or rebellious. She always said,  “Mother, I’d be glad to help.  You know, I always help, but after we’re done I want to spend the evening in my room.”

She would help, but now there were limits. . . “I don’t care if I miss The Bachelorette.  I think it’s the stupidest show on TV.  Who would ever get married like that?”

“But Sharon, it’s romantic.  Don’t you think? Just a little?  Lucky girl: getting to choose from all those handsome young men.”

“Mom, it’s prostitution.”

“Young lady, you will not talk like that in this house . . .”

She smiled, helped out with dinner or the accounts or dishes or whatever, and then went to her room.

As the night of the party approached and Sharon sat in her room, her parents grew more agitated.  Sharon no longer sat with them in front of the TV to comment on a program, to react to her mother’s gossip about a less than perfect neighbor, or to join in on the general bad state of the world. Father and mother had long ago lost the art of talking to one another without the mediation of their daughter. So they sat, the TV draining their will, until they didn’t even bother to change the channel.

Sharon knew nothing of their new malaise  or that she was the cause of life draining from them, so she continued to read, to write in her diary, to sketch out the newest hot car she would one day design in Detroit, or to simply lay back on her bed and fantasize what going to the party on Saturday would be like.

The center of her fantasy was her auto shop partner, Sean. She had spent the last two weeks devouring the Twilight Saga. At night she dreamt she was Bella giving birth to her half-human, half-vampire child, but instead of Robert Pattinson glittering with diamonds in the half-light, Sean became her demon lover.  Each morning she woke in the clutch of a more intense orgasm than the morning previous.

What if it was more than a dream? And as she toyed with the idea that perhaps she carried an incubus’ child, she became more alienated from her parents and from everyone at school, except for Sean, who began to estrange himself from her as she went from perky independency to needy in a matter of days.

Now remember, Sharon was a smart girl, a very smart girl, probably Madrugada High’s next valedictorian. She gave no credence to vampires and such. That would be ridiculous.  Yet, she just seemed unable to get enough of the stories about them. The classics of American and British literature that had filled her bedroom shelves began to be crowded out by both of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, the Sookie Stackhouse series, which spawned HBO’s True Blood,  which she was could only watch at her friend Charlotte’s house, and of course Twilight and its sequels.

For Sharon, romance used to be the stuff of novels.  She had inherited from her parents the good sense to see marriage as a matter of smart choices after college, common interests, security, and yes there needed to be some chemistry but the decision itself should not be based on  hormone-driven nonsense.

This girl who had thought the romance of a crooner’s June moon silly, now gazed out the window of her room into the moonlight as the drapes suddenly fluttered and she thought she could feel her ethereal lover enter.

Before Sharon’s epiphany, she was one way, after another.

When she walked downstairs in black,

her Mom, said, “You’re wearing that? To a party?”

Sharon smiled, her lips a glossy black, framing fangs.  She said, “See you later.”

The car honked.  It was Jake. As Sean had pulled away from her, she realized that bad boy Jake Rathburn was more intriguing, more of a match.  “My ride’s here. Got to go.”

Her Dad straightened up. “Sharon, I think I want you to ask the young man inside. I’d like to size him up.”

“Gee Dad, I don’t think so.  Jake would scare the shit out of you.  Now you two, try to have some fun.  There’s always that big  bed of yours to play in you know.”

She laughed and left Mom and Dad, paling beneath the pale moon, their blood draining away their last chance to change.

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