Murder is a very touchy subject. A double murder is doubly so. It is considered the most sensational of crimes, particularly when paired with other heinous activities. Robbery, arson, and line cutting are among some of its most popular partners.
A murder usually results in death and a swarm of reporters, though occasionally only grievous bodily harm comes out of the whole ordeal, accompanied by a very legal state issued hanging-unless you live Downtown, where all murderers are greeted with a pat on the back and a cup of tea. This reaction is frowned upon in most modern communities. A murderer deserves to be punished, correct?
At the Belue home, Blair, drunk on her newly found status as a radical (she preferred the term radical not because she was radical in any way, but because it distinguished her from the regular feminists and looked rather dashing on her business card) feminist, was writing her autobiography. It detailed her birth in a repressive, patriarchal society, her kidnapping at age nine by a gypsy woman with a pet owl that could hoot its ABCs, how she dropped out of high school at age sixteen due to the piggishness of her male classmates, her impressive mothering skills when it came to her man child brother, her disgust at the sexualization of the modern woman, and ending with her decision to defy repression by dancing seductively with a lampshade over her head.
In short, it was a massive, sensational lie. She hoped to have it finished by the end of the evening.
Due to an unexpected turn of events, she would not finish until the next morning.
Nina wanted nothing more in the world than a grilled cheese sandwich. Questionable cheese product atop stale bread was a delicacy to her desperate mind. She gulped. Suddenly, it dawned upon Nina that she was drooling over a poor man’s feast. This was quickly followed by another more serious revelation. There was no test, no doctor’s appointment, nor a psychic grandmother.
It was the grilled cheese that told her she was truly, unmistakably pregnant. She ran upstairs to throw on her “frumpy mama,” as she liked to call them, maternity clothes, and ran back to finish her sandwich.
She couldn’t hide the bump from Bender anymore. She swore under her breath. He wouldn’t mind, would he? If her reasoning was correct, Bender loved her in some way, and she loved him to a large degree, so a little bit of procreation wouldn’t bother him too much, right?
Nina smiled to herself. Here she was, following through with her plan and falling in love in the process. Life couldn’t be better. She sat down at the table.
Blair stood up and stretched; her mind wandered back to Cassandra’s words. Nina could have murdered someone, she thought, shuddering. The more she thought on it, the more it seemed to be true. She was very elusive, always cleaned up after her messes, and had declined to help Blair deliver her first child.
Nina Caliente was a very suspicious woman indeed.
With Louis’ birth out of the way, Blair could finally return to truth seeking. She intended to do this to the best of her ability. Justice would be served.
“Where’s your usual dress?” asked Blair casually.
Nina swallowed her first bite. “It was getting tight. I think I need to hit the gym sometime soon.”
“You are looking bigger-I’ll give you that.”
“Should I lay off the grilled cheese?” Nina’s eyes widened. Her sandwich dropped six inches to her plate.
“Probably,” said Blair, eying Nina’s growing belly. “We should talk.”
“Let’s go to the roof.”
They walked, quickly and awkwardly, to the house’s roof. Nina deeply regretted her grilled cheese sandwich now, and did not feel sorry about leaving it to rot on the table.
“It’s such a small world,” sighed Nina wistfully. “Look, there’s Downtown!”
“Nina,” Blair snapped, “stop trying to avoid things.”
“What are you talking about?” Nina squeaked, stepping back. “If it’s about me and your brother, fine. We’re seeing each other. No big deal, right?”
“You’re fucking my brother!?”
“I can’t believe this!” screamed Blair. “First you lie to me, then you start taking over my house, and now you’re fucking my brother!?”
“I prefer the term seeing personally-could you say that instead? It sounds much less vulgar. But yes, I’m seeing him personally.”
“So that fat’s the baby.”
“Yes. It’s a baby.”
“So that’s Bender’s spawn blowing you up?”
“Who else’s could it be?” said Nina, laughing nervously.
“Hm..” Blair said slowly, savoring Nina’s cringe. “Oh, I don’t know. Don Lothario’s?”
“I’ve never heard that name in my entire life!” cried Nina, face suddenly animated. “Don Lothario? Who’s that?”
“You remember Don, Nina. You were sleeping with him. He was sleeping with your sister. He was sleeping with Cassandra. He was sleeping with Kaylynn.”
“Yes, that Don. The one whose body got pulled off your bedroom floor last weekend.”
“Oh god,” whispered Nina.
“They found your sister, too.”
“I should’ve,” Nina sputtered, “I should have, I should have..”
“Should’ve what?” Blair narrowed her eyes. “Buried the bodies?”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
“That’s fucked up,” stated Blair. “How could you have done it? You…you killed people. Two people. Do you have any idea how wrong that is?”
Blair was feeling a bit uncomfortable with herself. She’d never chastised Bender for doing the same. His was a mercy kill, she told herself. It was not the same as the murder of a sister and a lover in cold blood. Bender’s case was completely different. Nina’s was not only a murder-it was a crime.
“You don’t know what happened. I was in the bathroom, washing my hands, using hand soap like a good girl. Don had told me to do that while he got undressed. I was excited,” her voice dropped, “it was to be my first time.”
“I don’t want your life story. You killed them. That’s it. You’re a murderer.”
“Just hear me out!” protested Nina. Blair was silent. Despite herself, she was curious.
Nina continued. “I was scrubbing under my nails when I heard a grunt. I thought it was nothing. He was just having a little trouble with his belt buckle; that was all. Another grunt. More trouble with the buckle, I told myself. Then I heard Dina moan.
Don always used to talk about how he loved to live life vicariously. He was the product of passion, he liked to say, and he would seek that passion wherever he could find it. He transferred that passion to my sister. I transferred mine to my grandfather’s gun.”
“‘Why are you holding that gun?’ he asked me. He was still sweaty.
‘Why are you fucking my sister?’ I replied and fired.”
“How can you even say that?”
“I don’t regret it,” said Nina. “If I could redo that night, I’d still shoot him.”
“What about Dina? Why did you kill your own sister?”
“She ran to the bathroom as Don fell to the ground. I followed her.
She asked me why I just shot her man. I asked her why she’d just slept with mine. Dina told me to fuck off. Said I shouldn’t be touching her things. Said she was the only one bringing in any money-what with selling the jewels Mortimer bought her and all. I told her she didn’t need another man, at least, she didn’t need Don. Don was mine. She said she was going to call the police. I pulled the trigger.
After that, I ran until my legs were about to give out. I found your front door by the time morning hit. The rest, as they say, is history.”
“You can’t get away with this.”
“Blair,” pleaded Nina, “you can’t tell me that if you found Griff sleeping with Bender you wouldn’t do the same.”
Blair didn’t answer.
Blair glared at Nina. Nina shrunk under the intensity of the older woman’s stare. Before she could further plead her case (which felt very necessary to her, for reasons having to do with prison time and hormones), Blair was marching to the door. She knocked-the roof’s door led to the upstairs bathroom-and was greeted by a resounding, “Oh, would you piss off?! I’m in the tub!”
“Damn it, Bender,” muttered Blair. She turned back to Nina. “Well, this is awkward.”
Nina shrugged and went inside. She was exhausted; her bed was calling her.
As Bender carefully scrubbed his knees, he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. His eyes widened. His muscles tensed, and then relaxed. He stood up and threw on his clothes. There were only a few hours left until he could drink some vodka, Bender told himself. He’d get his reward soon enough. He squeezed his eyes shut, and let out a loud scream.
“HOW IS THIS EVEN WORKING!?”
Bender stumbled towards the door, but was smacked upside the head as it was thrown open by Nina, who was followed by Blair and Griff. “Oh my god,” breathed Nina. “I am so sorry! Just stay calm! Push?”
“I don’t even know what to push!”
“Damn! Go to your happy place?”
Bender smiled at her, though in his present state it looked more like a grotesque grimace. Not entirely sure what it meant, Nina smiled back.
“I have a new respect for women,” breathed Bender.
“Now try that in heels,” laughed Blair.
“That’s not fucking funny!” Bender screamed. “Oh fuck, ouch. This hurts like a kick in the dick.”
“Sparkles!” shouted Griff. “That means the baby’s here!”
“Why do men have it so easy?” Blair sighed.
Nina was positively terrified. Not only was she going to have squeeze out a pint sized human, but it was going to hurt as bad as this? She almost regretted her plan.
“By god, she’s the same color as my toothpaste!” Bender cried.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say about a baby,” Blair admonished.
“Jeez, Blair, when’d you get so mean?”
“Since you brushed me off for all of those years while I was lost and confused at home and you were off binge drinking at college.”
“What are you going to name her?” asked Nina.
Bender said the first thing that came to mind. “Vodka.”
Nina laughed. “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” Bender said and handed the baby to her. “Speaking of vodka, I am long overdue for a drink. See you guys later.”
Stunned, his audience remained silent. As Bender poured his first glass in a long nine months, Blair, Griff, and Nina slowly evacuated the room. Blair went to her room, Griff to the nursery, and Nina to the dining room table.
“You look great tonight,” said Bender, smiling.
“Where’s the vodka?” asked Nina nervously.
“The kid or the drink?”
He patted his stomach.
“You, sir, are a legend.”
“Damn right I am!”
She couldn’t hold it in any longer. “Bender, I’m pregnant.”
“It’s mine, right?” asked Bender. “Not your abusive ex guy or whatever?”
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” she wondered aloud. “Yes, it’s yours.”
“Hey,” Bender grinned. He was not very good at comforting, but he’d try his best tonight. “I’m okay as long as it’s mine and it’s a human.”
“Oh,” she said weakly. “Cool.”
Bender stood up and draped his arms over her shoulders, laying his pale hands on her large belly. He closed his eyes, humming softly. He hoped this was comforting. Unfortunately, she found it to be a bit weird, but accepted his action as a result of good intentions. “I’ve got something else to tell you,” she said softly.
The next morning, Blair finished her autobiography, titled Feminism: A Love Story. It went on to sell millions of copies and top the bestsellers list, not because it was well written, but because it was just ridiculous enough that the average reader would be fascinated enough to keep turning the pages, and just tragic enough that the critics would be sensitive in their reviews. Blair considered it to be a smashing success.
With her fame secured, it was time to move her mind to more important issues. There was a murderer in her house. Carrying her brother’s baby or not, Blair could not allow her to roam free.
Years later, the press would find it odd that she had turned in a woman for a crime of passion while allowing her brother to go free after drowning people who made him. This exposure would cause a massive drop in book sales, many scathing reviews, and the occasional flaming bag of poop in her mailbox. Blair, however, was not a seer, and so she continued to the telephone.
“Hello,” she said, “this is Blair Belue, radical feminist and author of the new book Feminism: A Love Story. You’ve e-mailed me about interviews before, correct?”
“Of course!” buzzed the voice on the phone. “Does tomorrow morning work?”
Blair grinned. “Perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
She hung up. Bender was going to kill her, she knew, but he’d thank her for the service later. She had to pack her bags-and fast. Blair ran to the stairs, but crashed into a very suspicious Nina in the process.
“Who were you talking to?” asked Nina. She was aware of how her pajamas made her look much less threatening, but hoped her cold voice made up for her lacking visuals.
“Just my sister, Berkley.”
A lie, thought Nina. She’s a goddamn lie. Blair, however, didn’t feel a hint of remorse. How could she? She was lying to the queen of liars, thought Blair. It was only fair.
As Nina and Bender slept that night, Blair, Griff, and Louis got into a cab to anywhere, suitcases piled on their fearful laps.
They left Pleasantview to live in a place much less pleasant, according to its tourist brochure, which Griff gripped tightly to his chest. Veronaville was home to all sorts of nasty supernatural beings with wibbly wobbly conceptions of reality and century long, bloody family feuds over nothing in particular. Griff only hoped he could be free of the hypocrisies, the lies, that were the building blocks of Pleasantview’s residents. It was contagious, he knew. If they weren’t leaving to escape Bender’s wrath, it was to protect his son from the town’s silent disease.
For it was not, as the billboards liked to say, always pleasant in Pleasantville.
As Nina was fixing her morning bowl of cereal and wondering if Bender would come home for lunch, there was a melodic ring of the doorbell. She left her bowl on the counter and her spoon in the drawer, and went to answer it.
Nina walked outside to the blinding light of cameras flashing and the score of fast talking, half listening reporters. In the beat of a shutter, her freedom was lost.
Nina squinted. Dizzy, reckless dizzy, she swayed from side to side. Never before had she considered suicide, but at the moment, it seemed a viable option.
“Mrs. Belue! Your book is a disgrace!” said man with the bodacious afro. “I can’t believe your filthy muthafucking lies!”
“Ma’am,” the reporter with the stylish head wear began, “excuse me for saying this, but you look nothing like the photo of you and the lampshade. For one, you’re of a completely different skintone. For two, you are dressed like a heavily pregnant soccer mom. For three, you’re a carrot top. Would you like to explain yourself?”
“Let me explain for her,” said the blonde. Slightly terrified but giddy on knowledge, she continued, “This isn’t Blair Belue. I know this woman. I was at the scene of the crime. I reported the deaths. I saw those godawful family portraits. This, my friends, is Nina Caliente. It’s Donald Lothario’s baby, I presume?”
“Wait!” protested Nina. “I can explain!”
“Shut it,” growled the afro man.
“He’ll pop a cap in your ass,” said Hat Man pleasantly.
The blonde pushed past her and sprinted to the phone, despite being confident that Nina couldn’t waddle at half her walking speed. She searched the house top and bottom before finding the telephone, which she had somehow overlooked in her mad quest to finish her story.
“I FOUND NINA CALIENTE!” she squealed. She could feel the praise, the cameras, and the marriage proposals already. The Girl Who Found The Murderer-she couldn’t wait for her new title. Soon, she’d be more than just a lowly Pleasantview reporter. She’d be working in Sim City soon enough.
“What’s the address? We’ll have someone over in a minute.”
“4220 Pleasant Way.”
The other line hung up. Within minutes, the police had arrived, dashing madly upon the scene.
“I’ve waited too long for this,” purred the cop. She was not, as a matter of fact, terribly excited to be putting an end to the Lothario-Caliente murder-rather, she was antsy to finally make her first arrest. While moral crimes ran rampant in the Pleasantview streets, real law breaking was oddly low. The police department spent their days playing poker and smoking smuggled cigars, which all got very monotonous after twenty years. They needed a good old fashioned murder to break the spell.
As the policewoman pulled a rusty pair of handcuffs (she hoped Nina didn’t cut her hand on them-the lawsuit would be dreadful) from her pocket, the pregnant, distraught murderess began to babble. “Please, you can’t send me to prison! I’ve got a baby inside of me! You’d never send a pregnant woman away, would you? You’re a woman with morals. Please don’t take me, please?”
She fell silent; the policewoman grinned and opened her mouth for a witty one liner. It never made it past the tip of her tongue.
Suddenly, Nina began to scream.
The whole ordeal had proved very stressful for the baby, who had gotten fed up with her mother’s poor handling of the situation, and had decided that she would very well like to come outside and have an open discussion about the sorry business at hand.
Unfortunately, she had also completely spoiled her mother’s plan.
“I swear to David Bowie’s penis!” howled Nina. “I can’t do this!”
“Well, you’re going to,” grinned the cop, “and then you’re going to go straight to questioning.”
“Are you fucking serious!?”
“Yes. I’m just going to wait over here until you’ve finished, alright? I am so excited about this!”
“Yes, the baby. Just kidding. I couldn’t care less about your Lothario love child. I just can’t get over how excited I am to take you to the station! I hope they’ve cleaned out the cobwebs in time.”
Nina groaned. She was never going to do this again, she decided. She was going to push out the baby, and then never have another one for the rest of her life. Another scream.
With one final push, Pandora was thrown into the world. Nina’s eyes shown, and she was smiling so hard her face ached. “Look,” she said to the cop, “this is my daughter, Pandora.”
“Right, well, that’s all fine and dandy and all, but if you don’t put her inside and get into these handcuffs, I’m going to have to shoot you. Woo!”
All joy vanished. Exhausted, Nina couldn’t even climb the stairs to put Pandora in her crib. She would have to settle with the floor. Hard surfaces built character, Nina’s mother had always told her. Nina only hoped her mother was right.
“I’ll miss you, Bender,” she whispered, “and Panda, too.”
A note was left on Bender’s front door. He discovered it after a long, stressful day of reading case reports. It read:
To the Belue family: Nina Caliente has been taken in for questioning about the murders of Donald Lothario and Dina Caliente.
If convicted, she will be given the death penalty, provided the chair hasn’t rotted away in the basement.
Her child has been left inside of the home-the state is assured that there is a caretaker living on the lot by the name of Bender Belue.
Have a great day! Cheers. 🙂
“Bloody apathetic police!” cried Bender. He tore the note from the door, stamped it into the grass, and began to sob. Inside, his daughters began to wail with him.
Loneliness is consuming. Loneliness is overshadowing.
Alone again, Bender padded to the kitchen and fixed himself a drink, hands shaking. He would find her again, he told himself.
All could not be lost.
The National – “Daughters of the Soho Riot”
A/N: Wooo. It’s my birthday. 😀 I just want to thank everyone for being here and reading this-you’re seriously some of the best people I know. I hope you all have amazing days. (:
Anywho, this is the second to last chapter of generation two, and probably the most emotional for me to write. I feel like crying right now, and probably will in a little bit. But off to watch The Virgin Suicides! The book was great, so I’m hoping the movie lives up to it.
“OH GAWD YOU ACTUALLY TOOK A PICTURE OF US!? WAIT, I’VE GOT SOMETHING IN MY FUR!”
No, Monk, that’s just Louis.