Calliope Njo: Big Plans

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Big Plans

Calliope Njo

Summer was here at last. No more masks and no more school. I wished I could get rid of Christine. No luck there though. Father would never bail me out of jail if I killed her, so yeah, I got stuck with her.

Dear Mother always told me that the bond between sisters must remain forever sacred. I would’ve been perfect with only me, but no, they wanted another child. I hated them for that decision. There was never a need for her.

I locked my door. Nothing was going to get between me and going to our private island. Great-Grandfather bought it as a gift for Great-Grandmother. A sort of getaway place during the holidays. There was always the option of flying somewhere but it was always our island.

Christine banged on the door. I ignored it and packed for the summer. There was nothing more appealing than spending time on our island. Enough of school. Enough of that stupid plague, pandemic thing. It was perfect studying at home. I locked myself in my room and did the work I was supposed to. Of course after that, I vid chatted with everyone.

The school board thought it would be best to have summer school. Of course, it was a nay vote. Who would agree to that? Summer was for fun and excitement while traveling and shopping.

Father went to Vietnam to negotiate a deal with a big company over there. Mother went to Manhattan to visit her sister. It seemed my precious cousin got sick with something. So it was only me. Christine didn’t count.

I woke up the morning of my big plans. Go there and invite everyone who was anyone to party all night long. No parents meant we could do whatever we wanted.

I grabbed my bag and opened my door. That turned out to be a big mistake. I wanted to swing my suitcase and knock her down so hard. That was when I heard Father in my head. Gee, thanks, dear ol’ Father.

“You know. You need to decompress. Let go of all of your stress. Then maybe you wouldn’t be so hostile. Studies have shown—”

I didn’t knock her down, only a slight nudge. OK, it was hard enough for her head to clunk on the floor. Big deal. There were plans to fulfill.

I pulled my suitcase after me and got in my car. A quick trip to our dock to get on our boat. I smiled when I turned the engine on. Paradise, here I come.

One hour and forty-five minutes later, I arrived. Took care of the boat and got my stuff before leaving, after that, only a matter of a brief hike up the hill. There was nothing as beautiful as the sight before me.

Two-story thirteen-hundred-square-foot house with white siding. If no one could picture the size, I always thought it was the perfect little house for the setting. Of course, nobody needed to know that.

While everyone was busy doing their own thing, I came here to prepare to party. I didn’t miss a thing. Built-in speakers so didn’t need a DJ.

Food of all kinds and I knew how to grill so that wasn’t a biggie. The drinks took skill to get, after all, nobody realized who I was so that took some doing. The guest bungalow was clean and prepared. I sent everyone an electronic invitation complete with instructions. With the party the very next day, there was time to relax and get some sun.

A little sunscreen, didn’t need the wrinkles or that sunburn, and my pink g-string and I made it out to the beach. If it weren’t for those damn birds who wanted nothing else than looking for food, then things would’ve been ultra perfect. As it was, things were eh.

When the air turned cool, I got up and went back to the house. A good long hot shower was what it took. Being all by my—

“Brielle, are you here? That wasn’t very nice. You know, I could have brain damage. You’re my older sister. You’re supposed to take care of me and nurture me when Mother isn’t around.” She stood in my doorway.

She didn’t die after all. Pity. Needed to try harder next time around. “You know, Christine. You are nothing but a waste of space. You take up too much precious air for my liking.” I stood in front of her and watched her eyes bulge open. “I could very easily do you in. So why haven’t I? The answer to that is simple.” I put my hand around her neck and felt the urge to squeeze. “You serve a purpose.” That and I’m too much of a coward to do anything. I lowered my hand. “So right now, you have one of two choices. You don’t choose, I’ll make the choice for you.” She ran away.

I shook my head. She thought she could reason with me so she could have fun along with me. Never going to happen.

She returned. I looked behind me. “Still haven’t learned.”

“Why is it you try so hard to be mean? How come? You’re not mean. I’ve seen you with your friends. To have friends you can’t be. It’s just not possible. Yet, you threaten me with everything. I don’t understand. That’s why I told you, you need to decompress. Sort of clear your thoughts and relax.”

“It won’t take anything for me to strangle you to death.”

“Of course it would. You would lose everything. If you really intended for me to die, you would have done it a long time ago. So let’s go have something to eat, then we can sit down and talk.”

“Christine, it was never my intention for you to be here. I don’t care if you live or die. I really don’t.” I came towards her but she didn’t move. She thought I lied. “You don’t leave…”

“And then what? Besides that, I know your secret. Things just come to you without any work involved. It could be from animals or people. It doesn’t matter. I know because I have the same thing as you. I accepted it. How come you can’t?”

Things got freaky from that point. Nobody was supposed to know. I didn’t even know but she did. How could that be? “I’m not some freak out of one of those side shows they used to have. I am the one who everybody looks to for fashion sense. Guys wait to find out if I’m available.”

“Nobody said you were from a freak show. I’m not a freak show. I’m only saying I know what you’re going through. I told Mother and Father about it. Father smiled at me and ruffled my hair. Mother kissed my forehead and told me I needed to go to the salon. You might get a different reaction.”

Oh, I wish those birds would go away. This was never their property. “Why would I announce to everyone what happens to me? You know how embarrassing that would be? I refuse to become society’s laughing stock.”

“Brielle, you are the most stubborn girl. You know that? How would you be the laughing stock if nobody knows about it? Hello. And you call me an empty-headed bird brain.” She straightened her arms and smirked.

“I would if I told Mother. Wouldn’t I? She would tell Marjorie, and from there, everybody in the neighborhood would know.”

“Like I said. And you call me an empty-headed bird brain. You counteract that by telling everybody Marjorie’s daughter didn’t make it into Fashion University. She flunked the entrance exam by a hemline.” She shook her head. “Just calm down and relax. The party or get together or whatever it is you’re planning may be a good idea. You can spend the rest of the time relaxing. Find yourself. You’ve got the entire summer. Well, from now until about mid-August anyway.”

“There was no way you would find out. I only told one person and that one person would never speak.”

“Do I need to make a list of who Michelle told?”

“You’re guessing.” I reached to slam the door in her face but she reached out and held it.

“She’s not exactly trustworthy. That’s how everybody knew of your secret crush. I even knew about it.” She put her hands on her waist. “Let’s get back to the subject at hand. OK? So it’s getting late. Get some sleep. We’ll continue tomorrow.” She reached out and closed the door.

Maybe if I bribe a judge he could let me off without prison time.

“You wouldn’t really want to do that.” She said that loud enough for me to hear it through the door.

I sat on my bed. My perfect weekend. Shot to hell. God, I hated life. Maybe all I needed was a good night’s sleep before the weekend-long party.

Nine o’clock was not a time to sleep. It was a time to talk and have fun. That was the reason I couldn’t fall asleep at all. It was a good thing I had the foresight not to let anyone arrive until noon.

Sure enough, my people didn’t arrive until twelve-thirty. I got the food going, Michelle poured the drinks, and everybody partied. Christine stayed inside to read. Why would anybody read if school was not in session?

A hint of disbelief lingered about Michelle, so I came up with a way to test her. David was there as somebody’s guest. Not mine, because I had no interest in him because he was short without any muscles. His only interest was computers.

I grabbed Michelle’s hand and pulled her over by the grill. “Do you see David over there?”

“You mean Mr. Nobody over there. Yeah. So?”

I smiled. “He may be a Mr. Nobody, but there’s something about him. Something I can’t explain.” The lengths I had to go through to prove something. Bleck.

She spit out her drink. “You like him? Tell me you’re using him for test purposes and I can walk away happy.”

I shook my head. “By the time school starts, I would have been with him and made his blood boil so hard.”

She gasped.

“Don’t say anything. This is between you and me for now.”

“Of course not. Ew.” She walked away.

If Christine was right, the entire party should know by the end of the night or at least him.

With food served, and everybody buzzed, I started guiding people to the guest house. Sleeping bags had been put out for everybody to sleep on. I walked away taking note of Michelle and David.

At about noon the next day, I walked outside to start picking up. Heaven forbid the birds should find it distasteful. A few of them found some leftovers to eat.

A few squirrels joined them in the feast. I shooed all the animals away before picking up everything.

“I was wondering if you were ever going to get out here,” Christine said.

I turned my head around. She was concerned. Not that I believed it.

With a garbage bag in my hand, all of the used cups, half-eaten food, and various other stuff got picked up. Christine tugged on the bag with thoughts of getting the trash. I scrunched my eyes together.

“You get the furniture. I get the trash and other stuff.” She smiled. “In the end, you’ll be the one hurting. Ha.”

Too tired to think anything about it, I took her suggestion and picked up everything else.

A few hours later, people started vacating the guest house, leaving to go home. David smiled at me. Then he made this weird face with his eyes scrunched together and pursed lips.

He walked towards me. “Hi. Uh. I’m David. You know that already. Uh. So…”

“Hi, David. Are you leaving?”

“Yeah. Uh. In a bit. Uhm. What I wanted to ask was if you wanted to go to the Comp Cafe this weekend?”

Did Michelle tell him? “Why would you be asking that? We have absolutely zero in common. You’re all of what? Five-four? Don’t play sports?”

“Yeah but, I thought you were supposed to like me. I was going to teach you some programming.”

“Maybe another time. Like when the Earth turns into a feather.” I walked away to find out if Michelle left yet or not.

She wasn’t there. All of the rooms were empty, which meant she left with someone while I wasn’t looking. That didn’t matter. I’ll have my revenge when I get back, and I won’t forget.

I stood in the middle of the living room with the knowledge that things changed. For the worse or the better I had no idea. I stood there because it was what I did. Thinking about everything that was said and done.

What I wanted was to change and go down to the beach. What I needed to do was to clean. I wanted to come here. I needed to take responsibility for it. Mid-August couldn’t get here soon enough.

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