Venom Spreads

Your children’s behavior depends on a good upbringing

– R. Hilton

I wish my life had the capacity to surprise me. It doesn’t. Picture that which will subtract what little happiness I still possess, and you may be assured it will happen.

My sister, Horta is the one bright spot remaining in my life, the one person who will be by my side no matter what, and in whom I may rely. To be fair, that remains true, but I fear it will soon come to an end. My son and her daughter have begun an unholy rivalry that must inevitably end with her expulsion. And my sister, I am sure, will not forgive me that.

Kree and Skrull are in there somewhere. Let's just say you're not seeing them at their best.
Kree and Skrull are in there somewhere. Let’s just say you’re not seeing them at their best.

I wish it could be otherwise. I fear that Horta will leave with Skrull, even should I wait to pull the trigger until she is an adult.

Let me back up a bit to fill you in.

My so-called wife has been on a tear to “improve our social standing.” That seems to mean throwing parties every night and for any occasion she can imagine. For one of her wonderful soirees, we wound up dressing up in costume. She and Horta were both dressed as maids, but Horta had to wear a hot dog mask for some reason. She was still less ridiculous than me, in a full hot dog costume. I suspect the whole thing was an attempt to embarrass the two of us.

You can tell who chose the costumes. Peyton's a sexy maid, Horta's a maid with a hot dog on her head.
You can tell who chose the costumes. Peyton’s a sexy maid, Horta’s a maid with a hot dog on her head.

Among the few fringe benefits of her new obsession was the opportunity to throw elaborate parties for Skrull and Kree as they grew into teenagers. We threw a party for Skrull in the local park, and for a very brief moment I was happy, seeing my twin so proud and full of joy for her daughter.

Skrull has her birthday party in the park, courtesy of Peyton.
Skrull has her birthday party in the park, courtesy of Peyton.

Shortly after we had another party for my son, Kree. His party was at the local nightclub, which I didn’t think was entirely appropriate but neither did I wish to argue the point. I do not know for sure that the parties were the source of their later friction, but I fear Kree thought, rightly, that his party was thrown for the benefit of adults rather than him. Should that be the case, I fear he has placed the blame on the wrong shoulders. I also fear it is too late to play the part of the wise father, he’d only ignore me.

Kree's birthday at a night club is also courtesy of his mother, Peyton.
Kree’s birthday at a night club is also courtesy of his mother, Peyton.

Shall I brag instead about how well my painting career is going? No. You’d see right through that. I retreat into my study to write and paint rather than face the train wreck that is my family.

I thought the two of them got along well enough as children, but as teenagers they cannot seem to share a room. The arguments started as petty, but they kept going whenever they were together. It should have been easier for them to avoid each other, so I suspect they sought each other out to engage in conflict. A more cynical man might call it training for marriage.

Kree picks on Skrull. She's more than willing to return it later.
Kree picks on Skrull. She’s more than willing to return it later.

Silver lining? Well, a small one. A tiny, small, almost consumed ray of sunshine just barely peeking through the thunderclouds.

My brother, Gorn, has become a part of our lives again. He’s often wondered by to fish, but it seems that bug has also bitten Skrull. After her fights with Kree she escapes to the lakes to battle against the fish, and has developed a close friendship with her uncle. In turn, that has led him to become closer to the rest of us. Of course, I fully expect him to turn against us when I must choose between my niece and my son. He will not accept that there’s only one choice I can make.

Skrull and her Uncle Gorn bond while fishing.
Skrull and her Uncle Gorn bond while fishing.

And then I’ll be left with children I barely know and a wife I can barely take. She uses her parties to push me further. I think she hopes to provoke me, so she can run to a lawyer – or worse. Her “work” is far from legitimate and she knows some very bad people. Instead I take the damage and retreat again. My fame as a writer and painter has far eclipsed my grandparents, and all it has taken is a life of misery.

This is hiding it? Flirting in an alley between the bathrooms? No, she wants to get caught.
This is hiding it? Flirting in an alley between the bathrooms? No, she wants to get caught.

If you wish to hear my advice, it is this. That is a terrible trade. If you have the opportunity, do not take it.

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