Kids with a Knife: scene for “my bad side”

An excerpt of a new scene for my bad sidewith Dee and Crystal as kids:

“You have to help me, okay?” Crystal pulled her shirt over her head and twisted her back to me. “You see that?”


“That.” She pulled at the side of her ribs where there was a red smudge, scabbed and raw. “You see it?” mole“Your mole thing?”

“You have to cut it off.”

“Like…cut it?”

She handed me an X-Acto knife from the table. “Cut it off.” X-ACTO-knife“No way. I can’t do that.”

“You have to, Dee. I think’s cancer.”

“You should go to a doctor.”

“I’m not going to a doctor. I’m not.” She pressed the knife into my hand. “You owe me. I saved your life, right? Didn’t I?”

“Crystal, you have to go to a hospital or something.”

“I can’t reach it.” She looked crazy in the light coming from the floor, the shadow of her nose going up on her cheek into her eye. “I need you to do it.”eye-closeup“But I don’t know how.”

“Look.” She grabbed my fist in her hand and twisted it to her back. “You just cut around it. Make a cut down one side and then the other and then cut it from underneath, okay? It should take like a minute.”

I hunched over and stared, frozen. “I can’t.”

Subway Redux: Crystal on the “4”

Crystal reflects on the New York subways (Click on the images below for the video experience): You know when you’re on the subway, and there’s another one there, another train in the tunnel right beside you, another one full of people, the light of the car and all the people and the pillars in between, everyone watching. subway trainYou know, at 33rd on the 4 or 5, and the 6 right there, everyone in that bright car, everyone going with you, going the same way, standing there in the light just like you are for them. Someone looks back. subway lookbackAnd you look the same way to her, and it’s like it will stay forever, those pillars, just standing there, staring back. That’s what New York can be. That’s what it’s supposed to be. (Excerpted from my bad side.)

My Bad Side – The Pitch

The time has almost come to get an agent. The book needs to be pitched…

Crystal and Dee Sinclair started life as a news story.

SACRAMENTO, June16, 1978 Two young girls – one an infant of 14 months – were found alive on Wednesday afternoon, beside their recently deceased mother, Dorothy Keynes, 33. Ms. Keynes was undergoing treatment for depression after the father of the children, Mr. Raymond Sinclair, was killed in alcohol-related single-car traffic accident on Sunday, May 4.

Lillian Murton of Sacramento Social Services made the discovery on a monthly wellness visit. Neighbors along the 7400 block of 21st Avenue expressed outrage that Social Services had not been to the home in the past week.

The elder sibling, 3 years of age, is believed to have fed both herself and her infant sister in the days following their mother’s death. The children are currently being treated for dehydration at U C Davis Children’s Hospital; their names have been withheld. Mrs. James Keynes of Pittsburgh, the mother of the deceased, has filed for adoption of the children.

My Bad Side begins many years on. Crystal, now 27, defiant, knows that her life was borne of tragedy and accepts that with a drink. I’ll tell you what everyone is like. Ever think about torture? Ever think about what that is? People torturing others, I mean, people actually willing to literally torture another person, strap someone down and torture, tear off their fucking fingernails, put wire through their flesh, burn their fucking eyes out, what the fuck else? These people will watch, just watch, another person freak out and scream. And for what? Because they fucking can. Because they can get away with it. That’s who we are. That’s what this is about. We’re fucked. We’re so completely and entirely fucked. (201)

Dee, desired and adored, was too young to remember, and yet the memory persists. She chases after it like a childhood dream, desperate for contact and pushing everyone away.  I had a tightness creeping inside. It wasn’t bad. It was more like almost remembering something, not what I had been told; it was more of a biological thing, molecular. It was spinning in my head. Words wouldn’t go together; the sounds were broken apart. I wanted this. I wanted to move into this, whole, that glacial wall of light, the sex, in and out in one pristine act. It was my promise. (157)

The sisters try to understand each other, but they don’t know how to forgive and feast on their addictions instead.