Friday, March 28, 2008

Powder Burn Flash # 73 - Clair Dickson

FAMILY RESEMBLANCE
A Bo Fexler Short Story

She put her head in her hands and sobbed. "You lied to me!" she wailed to the table.

"Yeah. Sure." I wanted a cigarette, but the little cafeteria nestled into the front corner of the retail giant prohibited most vices. "Explain that to me, if you would?"

"You said you'd find my real father!"

"I said I would investigate your claim that your father is not your biological father."

She shook her head and lifted it to give me an angry, childish glare. She was barely eighteen, with a body that would be great for nubile porn, but a tendency to act like prepubescent. She was, in spite of her appearance, still a child. I don't remember being that young or juvenile. "He's NOT!" she growled at me through a clenched jaw.

"You wanna keep paying me, I'll keep talking to people. I already talked to your aunts, your mother's friends from high school, other folks who went to school with her, a long-lost boyfriend, a former best friend, college roommates. No one has any reason to even think that your mother slept with anyone but your father after senior prom. I also talked to a lab that, for a nice, hefty fee, will do a paternity test. I also have a current address for your father."

"I know where he lives!"

"Ah. Wasn't sure about that. I read those letters your mother wrote, and talked to your father about them--"

"He's NOT my father!"

A few people were staring. I was tempted to write up a sign indicating that I was a private investigator. For all this drama, maybe I could drum up some business. But I kept my fingers woven together, my expression impassive. "Your father told me what the secret was that your mother was referring to. It was that she had cheated on her Algebra final. Remember she had all As. Because of the pregnancy, she'd been kind of freaked out and cheated on the final. She got away with it, but it weighed on her conscience."

"No. That's a lie."

"Do you want to do a paternity test?"

She glared at me, tears running down her face like they were fleeing the intensity of her emotion. "Why don't you believe me!"

"I believe that you think you're father's not really your father."

"I don't look anything like him!"

"Great. I'm a genetic freak myself! I don't look anything like either of my parents, who are dark haired. My father has hazel eyes. I am a collection of all the recessive traits in my family."

"Maybe you're not really their kid, you ever think of that?"

"Is this because your father left your mother? You don't want to be related to this man?"

"I'm not related to him!"

"Then let's do a paternity test. Shit, I'll pay."

Her lower lip was trembling. She lowered her head and her dark hair swung forward, hiding her face from me.

"What's the problem?"

"I-- I don't like needles."

"Cotton swab in the mouth. No needle."

"My mother told me when she was dying that family is more than shared blood. She meant something by that!"

"That's the trigger, isn't it? That's the catalyst that sent you hunting for your 'real' father. Did it ever occur to you that you made the wrong hasty conclusion?"

"What are you talking about?" She snuffled and ran the back of her hand across her nose. And I would probably shake that hand when I left.

"Your mother and her friend Abby both got pregnant on prom night. Not entirely uncommon, in my experience. I found Abby and she doesn't have a child. She told me that she lost the baby at birth. But I looked it up. There's no record of her birthing a still born. In fact, there's no record of her having a baby at all."

"So what?" She'd lost interest like a cat asked to fetch.

"So. I went back to talk to her. She admitted that she gave the baby up for adoption. It's not uncommon for a new birth certificate to be drawn up, thus hiding the evidence. Then she explained that your father talked her and your mother into a three some on prom night. Abby got pregnant. She knew who the father was. Your father. She didn't want the baby, and a scheme was hatched. Your mother and Abby carried out this ruse, making your father think that your mother was the one carrying his child, from their prom night romp. They kept your father out of the delivery room. Your mother adopted the baby-- you. And Abby told everyone that she lost her baby in childbirth. Not entirely a lie."

"Why-- why wouldn't my mother tell me this?"

"Well, according to Abby, your mother rather liked the threesome."

"Oh. She was pretty… straight-laced," she said with a small smile.

"No. You misunderstand. She liked having sex with another woman. That is why your father left. Because your mother told him she was a lesbian and therefore their marriage was a sham. He only admitted it in a fit of anger after I badgered the shit out of him. He's not real fond of homosexuality."

"My mother-- a dyke?" Her face contorted.

"Well, see-- you are your father's daughter!"

I didn't shake her hand as I stood up and strode out, long black sweater duster fluttering after me.

THE END

BIO: Clair writes Bo Fexler short stories when she's not teaching alternative high school. More than thirty other Bo Fexler stories have darkened doorways with their presence. Short stories certainly have more of that instant gratification Clair needs some days after teaching her darling students. Or trying to teach them. Keep up with Bo at http://www.bofexler.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

r2 said...

Bo's back! I've missed her. Very entertaining.
I love the handshake lines. Great flash.

Clair Dickson said...

I think Bo was hibernating this winter. Glad you enjoyed, r2.

sandra seamans said...

Nice one, Clair!!

Patricia J. Hale said...

Great Bo.