I grew up in a suburban part of New York where there are Irish and then there is everyone else. I'm half Irish on my dad's side and all Irish attitude. My mom was born in New York, but is Swedish by bloodline. I am the only miracle they ever got. However, the Fitzgeralds have been our next-door-neighbors since before I was born, and their house has always been filled to capacity.
The Fitzgerald house and my house are like night and day. My house was a fairly humdrum place to live until my father was killed in the line of duty when I was six years old. He was a cop. After that, our house was anything but average. If I wanted anything resembling normal, I went next door. I became an adopted Fitzgerald by way of love.
My name is Greta Reilly, although I am better known in The Neighborhood as "Gigi." I was named after Greta Garbo, but back in kindergarten some pipsqueak named Kenny Ross started playing around with my name, Greta Garbo's name, her initials, and it somehow morphed into Gigi. He started chanting "Gigi" repeatedly in a sing-song voice. I got so mad that I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden Kenny was on the ground with blood spurting out his nose, and my fist was on fire. My parents got a phone call, and I got a spanking from my dad that I will never forget. Anyway, the name stuck and Kenny still avoids me.
My best friend is Franny Fitzgerald. She is one year older than I am and has paved the way by doing everything first. She claims it is her red hair that is responsible for all of the scrapes she finds herself in. She says that if she were blonde, like me, she would live a much calmer life, and trouble wouldn't find her nearly so often. >>Most of the above can be worked into the end of the prologue -- whatever parts of this that don't get mentioned along the way. The most important bit is Kenny, so that you've got a nice repetition of events when she punches Bambi. IMO, your prologue starts with the next paragraph.<<
When we were kids, Saturday mornings were garage sale days. We got there early because all the good stuff was gone by 7:30 a.m. On this particular Saturday, I was seven years old. Mrs. Patterson's house was our first stop. We had chosen it for two reasons: the merchandise and the gossip were known to be in abundance. Mr. Patterson up and left Mrs. Patterson about a month ago and tongues were wagging. Even though it was extremely early when we pulled up, old Mrs. Kretsky was already here and pawing through the goods. Mrs. Fitzgerald's eyes opened round as quarters when she saw the contents on the lawn. There was so much there that we all gasped. >>there: where? garage sales in a central location? Mrs. F: add one sentence about who she is and why she's taking Gigi shopping.<<
Franny said, "Do you think there is anything left in the house?" >>My best friend Franny asked<<
Mrs. Fitzgerald didn't answer, but she couldn't get out of the car fast enough. We bounded out after her. It appeared that the house had vomited up the sum of its contents all over the yard. I had never seen so much furniture outside of a home. It was fascinating. I didn't have any money, but I still liked to look and touch. It was when I picked up the ivy trimmed teacup that my entire life changed forever - and I can't say it was for the better. >>these big words don't really fit in with Gigi's usual voice, which is more casual.<<
I saw Mr. Patterson drink from that teacup, clutch his throat
The cup slipped from my hands, I started screaming, and I tripped and fell into a wheelbarrow that was parked on the grass and marked with a "For Sale" sticker. Then it happened again...
Mrs. Patterson was wheeling Mr. Patterson in the wheelbarrow across the backyard to the garage. She took a shovel, dug a grave, put his body in it, and parked her Oldsmobile right on top. Her car, right this minute, was sitting on top of Mr. Patterson. Worse, I
That's how it began. I told Franny and her mom what I saw and felt when I touched the teacup and wheelbarrow (panic and satisfaction, respectively). Mrs. Fitzgerald called in the tip on Mr. Patterson anonymously, just to see how accurate my "vision" was. The next day the headline in the local newspaper read, 'WIFE BURIES HUSBAND UNDER CAR." After that, Mrs. Fitzgerald swore me to secrecy. I've never even told my mom I get visions.
Over the years, I've had more visions and they always take me by surprise like an unwanted guest. I have spent my life avoiding objects that might have an emotional blueprint connected to them. It has created friction between me and my grandma, who wants me to take over the family antique business, and has cost me friends, boyfriends, and jobs. Franny calls it a gift, but she isn't afraid to touch.
After college I ran through jobs like most women go through panty hose. My current job: Brown and Bell, which is a small PR firm about ten miles outside of The Neighborhood, in Rockdale. I've lasted almost six months, which is the longest I have worked anywhere. Most important, when I reach my six month employment goal I will finally move out of my mother's house and into an apartment of my own. >>is this the official name of her hometown? it's a development, I guess? gated community?<<
I looked up and Roger Brown was standing over my desk. My boss. "Gigi, can I see you in my office please?"
"Of course," I replied.
We crossed through the desks and cubes until we got to his office. I followed him in and he closed the door. He settled into his chair, cleared his throat, while his eyes darted around the room, not quite knowing where to settle. Mine focused on the floor at the foot of his desk. Something sparkly caught my eye when the sun bounced off of it. It was a cufflink. Diamond. I picked it up. I was swamped with feelings of desperation and lust. The vision unfolded revealing Bambi half naked and Roger tearing off his clothes in an effort to catch up. When he dropped the cufflink, the vision cleared like fog when the sun rises. >>much better, this explains a lot more<<
"....understand that Bambi is more qualified for the promotion," my boss summed up.
"Excuse me? You and Bambi get naked and I lose out on a promotion. I don't see where that makes her more 'qualified.' At least not for this job," I snapped.
His eyes opened wide and then narrowed to slits. "Do you have any proof to back up your accusation?"
Proof? Have any of my visions ever been wrong? No. Never. But, I cannot prove them by any standard methods, either.
He relaxed back into his chair and looked at me like he had never seen me before. He knew that I knew, but he didn't know how. I watched his brain mentally calculate the risk.
"Let me guess," I said. "I'm fired."
"You're fired," he echoed.
"Right. I'll just pack up my stuff."
"Good idea. I will give you twenty minutes to exit the building."
At my desk Bambi was waiting to share her victory.
"I imagine Mr. Brown just told you the good news," she chirped.
"Yes, he did," I chirped back. "You are one lucky girl." If she wanted that promotion badly enough that she was willing to do that for it, she could have it.
"Are you going to congratulate me?" she asked.
"You bet. Congratulations, Bambi." I grabbed my picture of the Fitzgerald family portrait from last Christmas and tossed it in the box with my I Love New York mug. "Bye." I flicked her a wave. >>good edits, here<<
"You're leaving?" A look of incredulity crossed her face. "You quit because of this? You can't stand to lose, can you?" The smugness was infuriating. It was Kenny all over again. I could almost hear his singsong voice. I don't remember anything after that. The next thing I knew Bambi was holding her nose, my fist was on fire, and I had this sinking feeling that this was going to end a lot worse for me than a spanking from my father.
>>Better, IMO. How many times does the punch people out before she learns to manage conflict differently? :) <<