Writers (in order): Heisenberg, Martha Ssuna, Furbz, Andy Villa, S.A, Sydney Kellog, Haya A., Sofia M, Jia, Clarisse G, Emily Jewel, Mira Light, Julia Marrinan, Marc Peterson, Kelsey Queen. Editor: Ms. Ja.
“My teacher gave us an assignment and told us to write a story. But I don’t have any ideas, so I thought I could write about you, ’cause you’re very interesting.”
I hadn’t been expecting something like this, but I guess I should’ve, considering we sent Rain to that stupid posh school. Not to mention I wanted her to be the best she could be. “So I’m going to be the main character?” She simply nodded in response. “Oh okay, I better act cool then. Let’s do it.” I put on my sunglasses and tried to look cool as she scribbled down her story in a notebook**.**
I switched on my “main character vibes” playlist and started running. I ran for a full fifteen seconds with music blaring in my ears until I got to the garden that I thought of as our backyard. I thought to myself, If I’m in a story, I may as well show off my place of work. I came to a stop and marveled at what from the outside appeared to be nothing but a garden filled with beautiful plants, but, as I walked further in, the true nature of my work became clearer. The trees gave way to metal and the grass to cold hard tiles. I was standing in the middle of the most profitable heroin production plant in the entire world. What we sold was so pure it had its own classification. If I were to be caught, an entire industry would mourn and even collapse. Good thing I hid it under the name “Trullie’s Plants.”
But I decided to bring Rain here for her story. It’s not like an eight-year-old who still confides in the stuffed animals she brings everywhere has any idea about heroin.
When we reached the heart of the garden, I turned to face Rain. “This is where the magic of Dad’s business happens,” I said as I pushed back the doors to the greenhouse.
“Um, Dad, why do those flowers look kind of different?” she said with a confused look. How could she tell? Rain proceeded to run through the field. This was a safety hazard! I cautiously ran to Rain, and was able to grab her when she was distracted looking at a flower.
“Rain, let’s head inside,” I muttered, hastily guiding her shoulders back through the doorway and into our dusty kitchen. I pulled her along our warping wooden floors, clamping her lanky wrists with quivering dread as I searched the house for a sturdy hideaway. Whipping her frame around the bedroom doorway, I felt her arm soften under my grasp. She shrieked a mellow cry of infant injury, the pain receptors under her porcelain skin activating in terror for the first time. She had slammed her head on a family picture: the two of us in sunglasses, sitting in a single adirondack chair with her head settled on my chest under the chill fall clouds.
Laced in the finest Ikea frame, the photo marked the first time I’d ever felt the need to print an image off my iPhone. I’d gone through the whole effort of driving to the local CVS and speaking to those awful teenage employees to turn on the Kodak machine. Their wide-eyed unfamiliarity made me doubt whether a customer had ever asked to print out a photo, much less actually see their efforts through. Still, I wanted our moment printed in gloss, setting our relationship in solid, tangible form.
“Rain! Oh Jesus, are you okay?” I dropped her arm and held her head to see a small, open gash on her forehead and small shards of glass hiding in her hair.
“It hurts, my forehead hurts,” Rain said, putting her small hand to her forehead to compress and stop the bleeding.
“Okay, hold on, honey, let me find our first-aid kit.” I started panicking because my daughter was hurt, and we had little to no time to hide away from whatever was approaching. I ran to the bathroom to find a towel, a cup of water to clean the wound, and a gauze pad. “Quickly, let’s go to my bedroom,” I said while gently pushing Rain to the room.
By the time I got back with the first-aid kit, Rain was doing ballet on top of the dining table.
“Sweetie, you need to come down,” I spoke.
“But, Daddyyyy, it’s all so rainbowwwy,” she mumbled. That’s when I had my first suspicions.
I got her down and asked her with the brightest smile I could muster, “Rain, did you by any chance touch anything bad while we were in the field?”
“I just smelled that lovely flower Daddy…” Rain muttered, her eyes going hazy, a sudden grin plastered on her face.