Cockroach says

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We’re out of shampooooo!” I sang.

“Ohh not again!” came a grunt.

“C’mon! We’re out of shampoo!

Paulo entered. “We always are. What’s going on?”

“The Great Verity Shampoo Game” wailed Margaret.

“Oh.” and Paulo left.

I looked at Margaret expectantly. She rolled her eyes and grunted, “Oh no! We’re going to have a dirty hair day!“I giggled.

What could you mean? We’re just going to wash them with soap!” I laughed at my traditional daily joke and went back inside the bathroom.

But Paulo was right. We were always out of shampoo. In fact we were always out of everything. All we had in the whole entire family was our elaborate names. (And the house we had currently been given- if you could call it a house- by the Track Commission or something like that.) Mom had given us those names before she died. And she had names us after her favourite famous people.

Margaret not after Margaret Thatcher, but Marguerite Wheatley, the actress who starred with Matt Damon in Invictus. We sometimes do call her Margue.

Paulo after Paul McCartney and even that she jazzed up.

Alexander, my other brother after Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s noble Founding Forefathers.

And me after a character in the only book mom ever held in her hand, Agatha Christie’s Nemesis- Verity. (I have yet to read it and see if I am happy with my name.)

That’s it. That’s all we have. We don’t even have proper bodies to go with our names. I am skinny. Marge is skinny. Paulo is just a teeny meeny notch above skinny so he passes. And Alexander is totally out of the question. He has thin legs, HEAVY arms, a chicken belly and super thin shoulders that make his head seem broader sometimes. He was born with some disease I think.

Yet we are a GRAND family of four.

Margue with her red hair and a hand made for a bat and nothing to do but amazing ability to seem crazily occupied even when she’s staring at the sky.

Paulo with his slightly dusky skin and killer eyes, but never a girl to pull in with them.

Alex with his awkward body just manages to live with us. You’ll see eventually, dear reader, that all there is to Alex is his breaking body.

And me with my irritating jokes, pinching enthusiasm, killer speed if it comes to it and nothing else. But I do have ONE credit to my list. I am more educated than the rest. But it’s not proper.

Like only yesterday I got to know it isn’t ‘had went’ but ‘had gone’ while knowing at the same time what equestrienne means. So, imPROPER. Unbalanced. Flawed? But anyway, that’s how I am yet to read ‘Nemesis’ in case you were wondering.

So, we live in the backstreets of USA. No state really, you see the alleys of one aren’t very different from that of another. Except those of New York. Nothing about New York is similar anywhere outside, ever.

We are cockroaches. The human kind. Not our choice.

I’m not going to tell you a sob story of how my mom left her rich house to marry my dad because they were madly in love but eventually he left her to the shadows and she died a sick decaying hag,  who spent her last breaths regretting the day she tied the bedsheets and escaped down the balcony while her hungry black kids cry and wail around her and try to eat bits off each other.

No sir, I won’t tell you that. Because that’s not what happened. 🙂

My family have lived in the Use Me bins for as long as we can remember. The good that comes out of that is we know all the matters of the trade. It’s like we are the oldest family in the business! There’s some respect to that.

But now I got to stop my narration sir, because the train is here. Your train sir, which you said you had to board. I’ll talk to you some other time. Bon Voyage!






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