"I wonder how much high school counselors make."
And here we go. Five minutes into dinner… a record. No dinner with my family is complete without an irritatingly drawn-out 'discussion' about future careers and college. Not according to my dad, anyway. I wish I didn't have to call him that.
I shrug noncommittally.
"Not as much as teachers," my mom quips. Dammit. Her too?!
"Well, of course high school teachers have stable jobs. You know, you could come back here to the Silicon Valley, get a job as an teacher, and marry an engineer. A stable life," he says, annoyingly casually.
In my head my hand grips a wooden-handled knife tightly. Holy fuck, I don't want to be a fucking high school teacher! Why the fuck would I ever want to go back to that purgatory?
I plaster a toothy grin on my face. "Let's not get too ahead ourselves here," I laugh, and the sound is so fake I wonder how the idiots buy it every fucking day. "I need to get into college first. We can plan marriages later." If I'm lucky you won't be here by then.
Of course, they don't laugh like they're supposed to. But this isn't a perfect world. It's a world of shitheads and dunces. My dad frowns, and I wish I could cut away that mouth. A tomato knife, maybe. That split end of the knife could be fun. I imagine using it to pick away the ragged edges of skin.
"…how you expect to make a living on $40,000 a year in New York City," my dad is saying when I return from my thoughts. Holy motherfucking shit, he never shuts up! "You need to be more practical."
"Sure," I deadpan.
"Don't give me that attitude," he snaps. I imagine whipping out a frozen food saw, watching the muted lamp light glint off the metal, and driving it into his chest, twisting it. The notches on the edge of the blade would dig a fantastic circle. Amused, I think of the bushido code of the Japanese samurais. What was their form of honorable suicide called? They would drive a sword into their stomachs and try to carve a complete circle… What was the name?
I must have smiled absently while lost in my fantasy because my dad glares at me and says in what he thinks is a threatening voice (ha), "Don't you laugh at me, young lady! I've had enough of your antics!" 'Young lady'? Where the fuck does he get off? And 'antics'? Is this guy for real?
"How's your physics preparation going?" My mom smiles kindly as if she thinks she's rescuing me or something. Yeah, as if. This is just going to fan the flames.
"Yes, what is the point of taking that? You've already taken Literature, U.S. History, and math 2. You're just going to get a low score and then that will ruin your applications," goes the man's extremely grating voice. A simple slicer knife would probably sever four out of five fingers cleanly. That would be fun. Doing it on a cutting board and being able to sweep off the dismembered digits dramatically–even better.
"I already told you, they want to see a well-rounded student." I try to think calming thoughts so I don't lose my shit. Think of the fingers, think of the fingers...
"Who?" my dad scoffs.
"The colleges," I barely refrain from raising my voice. Holy shit, what a fucking imbecile.
My dad does that annoying tsk thing, like he knows everything. Right. Okay then, you useless lump. "You already took math."
Duh, genius. "Yeah, but I don't have a science," I say slowly, because clearly speaking to him is like speaking to a severely backwards three-year old.
"Okay, fine. So what have you done so far?"
"I took a diagnostic already. I wrote that in the plan I e-mailed you, along with all the reasons I'm taking the test," I say, bored.
"Did you record a score?"
"I wanted to see which subjects I forgot first. I'll take another one where I'll calculate an actual score." Jesus, someone gut me already!
"But what was the score?" Fuck, as if it wasn't clear enough! I imagine filleting the big dumb brute. Although, I would need a fucking giant fillet knife for that. Why can't I recall the samurai suicide method?!
"I practically just said, I used the first diag for review." If looks could kill… agh, wishful thinking.
"You need to make a plan," my mom says severely. Are you serious?! As punishment for her 'contribution' to the 'discussion', I imagine using a tourné to shred the spider veins in her lower legs into lovely, skinny ribbons. What a fucking party this is turning out to be.
"No one take you seriously if you don't make a plan. Including us," my dad snipes. Yeah, do I look like I care?
It takes me a moment to see that they're staring at me in stupid disbelief, and I realize I just said that out loud. Fuck.
"You better start helping yourself, young lady," ugh, again?! "No one is going to help you if you can't help yourself."
"You can do the physics subject test, but only if you can devote five to six hours a day to studying. You have basically six weeks to prepare," my mom dictates. Okay, let's dig a little deeper with that tourné… maybe swap it for a fucking meat cleaver.
"You have the time, God knows what you do in your room," my dad grumbles. Wow, are you fucking serious? I imagine using a flimsy oyster knife to saw at his throat, repeatedly. One stroke wouldn't be enough. It would probably take about twelve, back and forth, to make a satisfying purchase.
"Well?!" They both glare at me.
I envision the bloodstained scene–my mom, bleeding out from her legs, all vital arteries there snipped away, and my dad, mutilated beyond recognition, mouth hacked off, chest carved open, fingers severed, bones removed from his body–and my heart rate goes down. Works like a fucking charm every fucking time.
I smile sweetly, so sugary I can feel the bile rising in my throat. "I'll have an updated plan by the end of the week, along with the second diagnostic test results." I excuse myself from the table.
Seppuku! That's what it's called!
*inspired by The Dust of 100 Dogs