Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gen 6: Chapter One

My first glimpse of my new home. It's pretty, I guess. I was bought some new clothes before me and Sandra, that's my social worker, boarded the plane. Living in Lucky Palms, I never needed snow gear but now I am so glad to have it. I stood just on the edge of the lawn, watching Sandra talk to the MacDuffs. She gestured toward me...

We all stood there, like some weird silent film, no one knowing what to do next. Then Mrs. MacDuff puffed out her cheeks and waddled (for she was really big) to where I stood rooted. In my mind, I remembered my mother. How beautiful and elegant she always seemed to be. A pang chokes me so I can only glare to keep the hurt from showing. 

Joanie: This must be so confusing for you, ya poor soul. But no matter, I am sure you will fit right in. You can call me Joanie and this here is my husband, Flint. We are both real glad you're here.
She stood there, rubbing her belly and smiling at me like I should be kissing her feet in gratitude. I didn't ask for any of this to happen, Lady! I just want to go back home and wake up, to let all this just be a bad dream.

I guess Mr MacDuff didn't like the way I was just staring at his wife, so he ambled up and stuck his hand out to me.
Flint: So Lucien, how are you liking the snow? 
Ignoring his hand, I looked back at Sandra who was hauling out my one pitiful suitcase. With a shrug for Flint, I walked over to pick up my luggage.
Sandra: Just TRY to be nice, Lucien. This is the last foster available to you. After this, it's a group home and I can promise you, that's not what you want.

After saying her goodbyes, Sandra got into her rental and left, heading back to Lucky Palms. By now, Joanie was back inside, leaving me with Flint. I followed him into the house and loudly dropped my case right inside the door. Pursing his lips, Flint jerked his thumb towards the stairs.
Flint: This way.
We headed up three flights of stairs, passing numerous other kids on the way. Finally, we stopped on the top floor: the attic.
Flint: We uh, are waiting for your monthly check to come through before we get some furniture. As you already saw, we have several kids of our own to provide for so money is tight. So there will be no asking for money, you can't use our things unless you ask, abide by curfew laws, and stay away from our daughters. I think that's about it as far as rules. Oh, and you can see to your own meals. 

Turns out, the MacDuffs were struggling financially and had only taken me in for the extra money I would bring them. It's a common enough practice or so I've heard. Including Clyde, the new baby, they had five kids: Jules and Joe, the oldest boys who were twins; Faith, their oldest (and prettiest) daughter; and Felicity, their obnoxious younger daughter.

I continued to ask for the most basic of furniture but it always seemed to "not be in the budget" that month. After a while, I just stopped asking. I started scooping up change and sneaking a few dollars here and there to get by. Joe was the only cool one out of the whole bunch. His family picked on him for being normal, whatever that meant. But we talked about games and school and crap really. And even though I had some fantastic wet dreams about Faith, but she was such a loser that I spent all my time making fun of her.
Then one day I picked up a can of spray paint ... and my heart broke free! When I was spraying, I felt like I was able to really share my feelings with the world. The sizzle of fear from the chance of being caught only added to the allure. I wonder what it would be like to paint something and everyone would know it was your work? Real street cred! 


It didn't take long before the loose change and the few stolen dollars disappeared. I guess dumpster diving is going to extremes but it wasn't a bad option. I was able to find a pretty sweet easel, even if it was a little rusted. Getting paints and canvases was another story. I started an account at the local consignment shop where they sold my paintings (and what I could scrounge and wash from the dumpster).

I did OK in High School, keeping a "B" average. Unlike Ms Goody-Goody, Faith who sat in the front and always knew the right answer! I did study but always alone where I wouldn't get caught. Who wants to be know as a nerd, anyway?

It didn't take long for me to break one of Flint's "rules". Where I usually studied, there sat a huge old book with an odd cauldron of sorts next to it. The book was called "The Study of Alchemy" and was filled with recipes for elixirs. It would become my other hobby ... when I wasn't dumpster diving or tagging walls. It seemed to focus on obscure plants and mushrooms. I would have to break curfew to find what I needed.

I also found some interesting things to do with herbs. I started by adding them into my food. Or, when no one was looking, sprinkling some into the pitcher of tea Joanie kept in the fridge. My personal favorite was the bumbleleaf although I could see a future use of the cinnamon.

After being chained to the attic for breaking the curfew law the third time, I decided to take action. Using the computer at the library, I looked up town ordinances about staging gatherings and what was allowed and what wasn't. I printed up some flyers that weren't half bad (but damn, they cost a pretty penny to make!) and handed them out around town.

I painted some signs, had some help getting banners and a podium, and just waited. It didn't take long for a few people to start rambling over out of curiosity. I took the stand...
Lucien: People look at me and automatically dismiss me because of my age. They think I couldn't possibly say anything worth hearing. But today, you will listen.
The whole thing lasted only two hours but I was able to get over one hundred signatures for my petition to extend curfew. I had a bunch of people pat my back and tell me I did a good job. Despite being shot down at the Town Hall meeting, it had been a wonderful day for me.

My actions must have spread because a few days later, a Llama showed up at my house! Turns out he was advertising for Sim State University.
Llama Guy: We are always looking for movers and shakers to attend our college. You can extend your influence and create greater awareness for your cause using the social network that our university brings. 
I laughed at first. Me, go to college? Not likely. The MacDuffs barely tolerated me, no way were they going to help me get into college.

But help came from an unlikely source: the brainiac-loser, Faith. She found some odd and often unused scholarships that I could apply for. She even talked to the guidance counselor about my situation. He started to pull me into his office every week to get updates on my grades, to help me fill out FASFA forms, and to encourage me to join an after school activity.

Track and art club seemed to fit me best. I didn't win any races but running allowed me to brood while keeping my body active, kind of like meditating. Art club was a breeze, though. I picked up many new techniques and was even allowed to take a few canvases home. I hate that I sold all my early work, but things weren't looking so glum any more. I began dreaming of getting out of that dank, smelly attic!

My street art began to take on a more unique look with the use of more colors and the little things that just spoke to me. My signature was evolving. I started placing a tip jar out when I would paint. No one really used it, but I didn't paint for the money ... I painted to free my soul.


As the school year started to wind down, my thoughts circled around to Faith. She had done so much to help me, I sort of felt obligated to her. Neither one of us had attended prom. Me, because I thought it was lame and Faith, because -well- no one wanted to take her. So I made an offer to bring her to the spring festival. Who knew it would make her so happy?

It was awkward, to say the least. All those couples around us, holding hands and cuddling. I heard Faith sigh when we passed one of those barfingly-cute couples kissing on the sidewalk. I thought about that as we collected eggs and played horseshoes. I decided to give her what she wanted. I asked her to dance then led her over by the bathrooms and laid one on her!

She quickly pushed me away and used the back of her hand to wipe her mouth.
Faith: What the hell are you doing, kissing me like that?
I was so confused.
Lucien: I thought that's what you wanted. 
Faith: Yea, if you were my BOYfriend! I know you asked me here out of pity, isn't that what you told Joe? I don't want my first kiss to be from some jerk that calls me a loser behind my back.
Damn it, why did I open my big, fat mouth to Joe?

Lucien: I'm sorry, I'm not that perfect guy. Chances are, you will never find that guy. You should be grateful, you twerp! Watcher knows, no one else is ever going to want to date you.
She gasped and stepped back. Perhaps I had gone a little far but it hurt deep inside me, to have her reject me like that. She turned and ran off, to home, I guess. I hung around the festival a little while longer ... spray painting the "F" word on any available surface.

The rest of my senior year passed without much changing. I brooded in my attic with only Joe popping up occasionally to chat. He was 22 now, a college graduate with a new job. He had a crush on one of the lab techs at his work and we would stay up talking about how he imagined having sex with her in his office. He was a cool guy and the only one that remembered when my birthday was. He threw a porn mag at me as he was about to leave for work.
Joe: To keep you company that first year of college.
That was my birthday in a nutshell. I was finally 18!

Graduation was a boring affair. Joanie and Flint made a big deal out of having to pay the rental fee for my robes, never mind that Faith had to have them too. I was so over being thought of as extra baggage, though. I was officially an adult!

Read more about Lucien's teen years: HERE