One Hundred Thirty Seven

Children and scientists share an outlook on life. If I do this, what will happen? is both the motto of the child at play and the defining refrain of the physical scientist.
The unfamiliar and the strange—these are the domain of all children and scientists.
James Gleick, Genius, The Life and Science of Richard Feynman.

After breakfast, CC is taking Alice for a style and shopping.
CC, ‘We’ll take the NSX if you don’t mind, Commandant. Two hot girls like us might have to outrun obsessed admirers.’
‘Go for it.’
‘And we’ll have lunch out, I know just the place, Italian, we shall be fawned over by the wait staff.’
Fin, ‘Considering the inverse relationship between your legs and skirt, drooled over is more like it.’
‘Whatever, come along Alice N, first to the salon, then shops, then drooling Italians.’
Alice giggles, ‘Is she always like this?’
Nikita, ‘You get used to it, CC ees narcissist girl, beautiful, just ask her, she will tell you. She will tell you even eef you do not ask.’
Alice, ‘She dressed me, then stood in front of her mirror and kissed herself before she put her dress on.’
Zero, ‘CC loves attention, even her own, especially her own.’
CC, ‘I find me fascinating, enough about me, although there’s never enough about me, still, a bit of humility is another of my attractive qualities.’
Fin groans, ‘Get going, we’re choking on baloney.’
They leave, I hear the growl if the NSX, the screaming tires, flooring the Acura is like riding a bullet.
Fin, ‘She dressed with Alice there.’
Zero, ‘I was thinking the same thing.’
‘What?’
‘CC doesn’t wear underwear, Alice must have noticed, but she didn’t say anything.’
‘And Alice?’
Fin, ‘CC bought panties for her, had a pair on today, I noticed when she climbed the barstool. We may be shameless sluts, Alice is a bit young for that.’
Zoe, ‘Zoe is sure we can corrupt her, like Zero and CC corrupted Zoe.’
Zero, ‘Hah, like you fought against it.’
Zoe giggles, ‘Why would she?’
I’m finishing breakfast clean up, only half paying attention. I’ve heard versions of the subject before, the girls will say anything, me in the vicinity means nothing. There’s no such thing as a shy psychopath.
Zoe, ‘Zoe is going to trade, you coming Natasha?’
‘Good, I do not see colors, I like to see if I can guess before you pick one, so far no luck. Then I will look for news on the stock.’
‘Do you find any connection between the trade and the news?’
‘Sometimes, more often the news comes after she makes the trade.’
‘Then check the volume before and after the trade, and after the news.’
‘Thank you Commandant, I did not think of it.’
They go up to Zoe’s room, Morshchiny thumps along behind.
‘Zero, I’m going to check track progress.’
‘And I’m going to bend and stretch, anyone else?’
Nikita, ‘Da, then for sparring.’
Fin, ‘I’ll take a ride with Commandant.’
‘If we aren’t back for lunch, there’s deli stuff in the refrigerator.’
We go off to our respective activities. CC has the NSX, we take the Mercedes.
Fin, ‘Guess I’m not the new kid anymore.’
‘What do you think, I mean you just met her.’
‘She may be hypersexual, I’m no shrink though.’
‘What’d she do?’
‘Nothing to me, she slept with CC, she said Alice went to sleep next to her, not against, next to. At some point during the night she did move, CC said practically on top of. When CC woke up, a little hand had migrated over her puss.’
‘She do anything, other than that?’
‘No, no playing, just there. Then Alice woke up, rolled over and straddled CC, stretched out and wrapped her legs around one of CC’s. She’s still small, and CC is long legged, Alice’s head was on CC’s chest, almost her tummy. She squeezed her legs together a few times. Then she rolled off. CC didn’t ask, Alice didn’t say. Oh, they were both nude, I suppose that was obvious. Nothing else, except she wanted CC to dress her, including panties.’
‘I don’t know enough to label it hypersexual, but I take your point. Considering what she was made to do when I caught up to Perry, on top of a nasty mother and being ignored by foster mom, she may be craving a bit of feminine attention.’
‘You’re right, perhaps hyper isn’t the best description, and little girls can be affectionate, certainly manipulative. I was, I would be now except I have no idea why I would waste the time with a family that gives me everything, what’s to manipulate?’
‘Some people do it just to do it. We must be a different class of psycho, we have no feeling for people outside our tribe, but we do for each other. Zero figured out that the Shadows can’t trap our minds because of what we are, psychopaths can’t easily manipulate other psychopaths. If they try, bad things happen.’
Fin smiles, ‘There are advantages to being crazy.’
I laugh, ‘I’ve noticed.’
The track is halfway, he did the dirt track first so the inevitable dust wouldn’t land on fresh concrete. Fin gathered a few stares from the workers, can hardly blame them, I stared at her lean legs during the drive, stretchy shorts will do that.
She’s walking between the dirt track and the halfway finished concrete one, Ned the contractor says, ‘Your daughter?’
‘Yep.’
‘Pretty girl, the crew doesn’t mean to be offensive, but guys are guys.’
‘Not to worry, she gets that everywhere, she’s a teen, attention is mother’s milk as they say.’
‘At least you’re chill about it.’
‘At the risk of sounding like a movie cliché, she can rip a heart out and eat it, then she gets serious.’
‘Where’d she learn that?’
‘Her four sisters. Their idea of fun is to throw me and each other around the sparring mat, it gets intense.’
‘You can’t be over thirty, four kids?’
‘Twins are mine from a prior, the mom was a mistake, the twins are amazing. The others are adopted, well, one is a ward.’
‘How do you deal with five girls?’
‘Believe it or not, they self regulate, not a moment’s trouble, no arguments, no sneak, no tears, they stay way too busy for that crap. I provide food and shelter, pay for their stuff, I don’t recall ever telling them they have to do this or that.’
‘You should be a reality show.’
‘They would never do it, we are private people, almost invisible.’
‘Doing well in school?’
‘No school, we aren’t religious, that’s not it. They learn far more than school, which thinks every kid of age X should learn Y. You might as well say all high school freshmen should be five four and weigh one ten. Or that every kid on the team is a starter. I like the girls too much to torture them with school, public or private.’
‘What about college? I don’t mean to pry, just talking.’
‘It’s good, no college either. I have more resources than they can spend, so going wouldn’t be for a job. They simply don’t care about socialization, don’t need to fit-in, they have each other. If one came to me and said she wanted to go to Harvard, I’d pay for it and she’d go, they never bring it up.’
‘Can I turn my teen over to you? She’s at the hate parents stage.’
‘Smile, give her a hug, ignore drama, not that I’m any child shrink.’
‘My wife thinks they should be pals.’
‘Did she want to be pals with her mom at sixteen?’
He laughs, ‘I met her when we were sixteen, we should have been in reform school, or whatever they call it these days.’
‘Remind her. She hovers because she knows what she was like, doesn’t seem fair to assume the girl is the same as mom at that age.’
He nods, ‘I will.’
‘The job looks good, the banks always seem like the side of a mountain close up.’
‘This for you, or the girls, or both?’
‘Them mostly.’
‘What are they going to drive?’
‘My NSX, also going to buy and Audi R8, maybe a Bugatti.’
‘Those cars top out at around two hundred miles an hour, zero to sixty under three seconds. They gonna drive those?’
‘They just got back from Bondurant, ate the track up.’
‘Oh. That explains that.’

One Hundred Thirty Eight

how close we all are
to being
nothing
most of the time
and
for some of us
nothing
all of the
time.
Charles Bukowski, Slouching Towards Nirvana

The range is only thirty or so miles from the house, it takes an hour to get there, the property isn’t on any main thoroughfare. When we get home it’s almost one.
Zero, ‘I made finger sandwiches, there’s a stack in the refrigerator for you, roast beef and chipotle chicken.’
Fin, ‘The track’s looking good, the dirt track is finished, but we need to wait until the race track is completed before we break it in.’
‘Workers give you the eye?’
‘Men are men, but if we all go before they’re finished, they’ll never finish.’
‘CC called, they’re at Lorenza’s Italian Bistro, then one more shop. Alice got her ears pierced.’
‘She’ll be adorable, and if I know CC, there’s a little light makeup too.’
‘Probably, CC likes doing Zoe’s, now she has two girls to paint and paper.’
It’s near three when CC and Alice zoom in, Morshchiny does her sniff check, her friends haven’t be duplicated by aliens, she turns and lumbers off to her bed.
Alice, ‘Look at all my stuff! That was fun, the best part was watching everyone watch us, I mean mostly CC. I felt like a movie star’s kid.’
‘Love your little diamonds, and the hairstyle is awesome.’
‘It’s a sleek bob with bangs, I didn’t want it long anymore, and I got highlights.’
‘So I see, you sparkle, let’s see the clothes.’
‘Not too much, skinny jeans, a short denim skirt, a couple of pullover dresses, platforms, sneakers for running, and three pairs of shorts. I have enough t-shirts.
Oh, we went to MAC, got eyeliner, black, one end is a liquid brush, the other a pencil. Shadow is called Flame Boyant with twelve shades, and lip gloss, Pretty Peppa and Nymphette.’
‘Your eyes look cool, which gloss are you wearing?’
‘Nymphette.’
Zero, ‘How was lunch?’
‘Great, we had anti-something, I got ravioli with goat cheese, CC had spinach and mushroom stuffed…what was it CC?
‘Cannelloni, and antipasto.’
‘Yeah, that.’
Zoe, ‘Tea time, Zoe has green in this one, black in the other. Today sweets, Godiva dark and Godiva with almonds. You like chocolate Alice?’
‘Yes, can I have a piece of each?’
‘Very nice of you to ask, but you live here, you don’t need permission for anything unless it is to use something that belongs to someone else. The tablets and laptops belong to everyone, you need not ask to use those. We need to get you a phone and a GPS tag.’
‘What’s that?’
‘All of us carry a GPS device when we’re out. Ours are on a necklace or a bracelet, or you can hook it to a belt or stick it in your pocket. If there’s a problem, we can find each other’s location. Like if hormonally charged teenage boys carry CC off, we’ll know where she is and can think over whether or not we want to rescue her.’
Alice giggles, ‘I always want to find her.’
CC stick her tongue out at Zoe, ‘See freckles, the child knows what, and who, is important.’
Alice, ‘Why does Zoe call herself Zoe?’
CC, ‘She is experimenting with speaking of herself in the third person, she, not me.’
‘But why?’
Zoe, ‘It is like stepping outside Zoe’s self and looking at her not as me, but as her.’
Alice, ‘Alice will take Zoe’s word for it,’ she giggles.
Zoe, ‘Zoe used to be the Fairy Princess, now it’s you Alice N.’
Nikita, ‘CC ees follow around Zoe like Morshchiny, except also dress her, wash hair, clean room, paint toes.’
CC, ‘I’m Zoe’s service animal.’
Zoe grins, ‘Now you have two mistresses, Legs.’
‘There is no task to which I am not up,’ she kisses Zoe’s cheeks, then Alice’s and nibbles her neck, Alice giggling, then a few tears.
‘Did you bite the child, Draculette?’
‘Certainly not.’
Alice swipes a napkin over her eyes, ‘I…,’ sniffle, ‘I don’t know how to say…’
Nikita, ‘You do not haf anyway to say, we know.’
Alice smiles, a smiling child is better than a hot fudge sundae.
CC kisses little tears, ‘Happy crying is the only crying allowed, Mouse. Have another piece of chocolate, you weigh, like, three pounds.’
‘You said skinny girls grow up beautiful.’
‘I was a gloriously skinny waif, and just look,’ she stands and circles slowly, ‘perfect everything.’
Alice, ‘All of you are beautiful, even Commandant, in a man way.’
CC, ‘As you will be, but remember, it isn’t just about being beautiful.’
Dead silence.
‘Well, it is really. I wanted to be generous to the less attractive, a ray of hope, a crumb to the starving for attention, poor babies, no amount of Botox or retinol can fix Plain Jane, much less the Ugly Betty.’
Zero, ‘That’s the CC we know and love.’
‘You picked us.’
‘And I neither had nor have the slightest inclination to be surrounded by anything other than the exquisite, why would I wallow in weeds when I can live among orchids?’
Alice, ‘What does that mean, Zero picked us?’
Fin, ‘I had to adjust to that too, little one. None of us are here by accident or coincidence. Don’t dwell on it, things will be made clear soon enough.’
Alice is curious, quite naturally. She’s also found herself in a universe diametrically opposed to her former young life. Even at six, or perhaps because she’s six, she lets it drop, as if too many questions would make it all disappear.
Zoe, ‘Everyone go away, Zoe needs to clear and clean, dinner is…’ she waves her hand in the direction of the board, it says bleu cheese sirloin burgers on toasted brioche buns with grilled mushrooms and onion, baked potatoes, sour cream, butter, shallots. Almond poppy seed cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Bon Appétit!
Alice, ‘Wow, I’m ready.’
‘Dinner is at seven thirty, not a moment before. Eating dinner while the sun is out is for Philistines, Republicans, and old people, in most cases all three are the same people, like an Unholy Trinity.’
Alice, ‘Won’t we be old someday?’
CC, ‘Wait and see, Mouse. What did Fin say?’
She thinks, then, ‘Things will be made clear soon enough.’
‘Let’s go up and give you a bath, shower, we don’t bath, why anyone wants to sit in a tub of soapy filth is beyond me, some people are simply disgusting. Let me rephrase, most people are disgusting.’
They go upstairs, Zoe jumpstarts the potatoes by microwave until they are warm, not completely cooked, then coats with olive oil, garlic powder and paprika, wrap in foil to finish in the oven later. 
Nikita, ‘Sister says ees time for killing, we do not haf conflict resolution, and nothing that looks like Shadow activity. Zero will find us sex pervert to terminate.’
Natasha isn’t downstairs, which means she’s talking to Nikita telepathically. The twins have to kill someone regularly, every two or three months minimum. If they don’t have a project, like a conflict resolution or a Shadow, the urge builds. If we didn’t give them an alternative, they would just murder randomly. They aren’t serial killers in the common sense, don’t have a ‘type’ or a ritual, no behavioral profile, it doesn’t make them happy or sad, call it a compulsion.
Zero, ‘I have a list, I’ll text it to her, you can pick a target.’
As noted previously, Nikita and Natasha are identicals and more, or maybe it’s less. One mind, two bodies, their ‘you’ is singular and plural.
Natasha comes down a few minutes later, ‘We can go south a couple hundred miles, this one is a woman, unusual but not unheard of.’
Zero, ‘Statistics say about 4% of sex offenders are women, I think there are lots of unreported events, particularly incest, mother son, mother daughter, or a young relative niece, cousin, or the neighbor’s kid. As we’ve discussed before, sending a woman to prison for having sex with a fifteen year old boy is ridiculous. Our only interest is rape of a child, ten or under. Physical abuse at any age will get the abuser dead if we find out about it.’
‘This one was arrested for rape and torture of a toddler.’
‘I recall she made her two older children watch, a six and eight year old. Her own kids turned her in, indirectly, they told a teacher. What they described to the teacher, then to police conformed to the injuries on the child, a little boy believed to be autistic.’
Natasha, ‘Right, broken fingers, all ten, crushed toes with a hammer, held a cigarette lighter under his nose until the flesh melted. She’s out on bail, got one of those ankle monitors, can’t leave the house for any reason. The other kids are in the care of the state.’
‘Remember the agreement.’
Nikita, ‘Da, we will not torture woman, only keel.’
‘In this case, I’m not sure I’d object if you decide to give her grief first.’
Fin, ‘What makes people do that crap?’
‘It’s usually blamed on the abuser’s abuse, like daddy played with my pussy so now I’m going to torture my own kid. I think it’s baloney, thousands of children are abused, they don’t grow up and torture their own children. This is an example of pure evil, rabid dog mean. I saw the mugshot, she’s fat, ugly, stringy hair, blotchy skin, takes her self-hatred out on a child.’ 
‘How’s she even get pregnant?’
‘Come on, Fin. Some men will fuck a walrus. In this case, one did, maybe more than one, the report didn’t mention a husband or boyfriend.’
‘Fuck a walrus? I need a vodka.’
‘Open a red something, I’d like a glass.’

One Hundred Thirty Nine

Why should a liberated one necessarily follow conventions? The moment he becomes predictable, he cannot be free. 
Nisargadatta, I Am That

Where does the time go? It isn’t like we have jobs. It was over a month ago when the twins took a ride south and saved the state the money to prosecute and imprison the sadistic bitch. A few articles wandered off to the emptiness of the so-called rule of law and vigilantism. Lots of comments wanting to have a parade for the killer, some even said the woman, found with a hole in her forehead and another in her neck, should have been tortured like she tortured her child.
I complimented the twins’ restraint.
The track is finished, the contractor said to give it a month to fully settle and solidify, we’re halfway through the month, girls will be zipping around soon enough. The dirt track, however, has been put to use a half dozen times. We have two bikes, a cage added to the rear of the RV accommodates both, no lifting bikes or even a ramp, the cage powers up and down, just roll the bikes in, secure, raise the cage and go. The RV lets them have a place to snack, coffee, hang out while others are on the track. The gun range is a quarter mile north, and the target direction is north.
Zoe bikes like she drives, one speed, flat out. CC has the girls almost impervious to injury. Helmets of course, elbow and knee pads, leather lace-up boots that reach mid-calf, and gloves. They want to have fun, not demonstrate stupidity by riding without reasonable protection.
We’re at the range today. We all watched while two of the girls took on the course,
They’re learning jumps in little increments, starting with a few inches of air, and working up. Zoe the exception went sailing on her first run a month ago, and almost nailed it. After touching down fine, she lost her concentration, the front wheel twisted too sharply, Zoe flying but without the bike. As she was taught, when she hit the dirt, she didn’t resist, just rolled. A couple of bruises, nothing broken. She got back on, went for it again with a bit less speed, landed clean and rode on. In the subsequent four or five trips, they’ve all gotten air, a few mistakes, the protection worked aside from a couple of scrapes. Like I said, they aren’t competing, they are happy to do what they can handle
 Natasha asks Alice if she would like to try shooting, gets an instant yes. I walk over with them, watch while Natasha explains the weapon. In this case a subcompact Glock.
Makes Alice repeat her admonition to always check to see if there is a bullet in the chamber and to never point the gun at anyone.
Alice repeats, then asks, ‘What if I need to shoot someone?’
Natasha, ‘Then you shoot them.’
‘So don’t play by pointing the gun, even if I know it isn’t loaded, don’t point it a anyone unless I need to kill them.’
She’ll go over what to do and not do until Alice has demonstrated she’s absorbed the message. She’s a kid, kids forget or get distracted, frequently impulsive.
Natasha shows Alice the standard two handed grip, goggles on, ear plugs in, she starts to help hold the gun, then pulls back a step. Alice fires, the target is five yards out, she still hits it high.
Five left in the Glock, Alice carefully aims, mindful to keep a firm grip, this one low, the next slightly left, four and five are close enough to bullseye, Alice turns and beams.
Natasha, ‘Where is the gun?’
‘In my hand.’
‘Pointed at?’
Alice looks down, ‘My foot, not good huh?’
‘It is your foot, not mine, maybe you will like walking with a cane.’
Alice points it right, to the ground.
‘Right, now, go to the bench, lay the gun on it and we will talk about loading the magazine. Later on, at home, you will earn to take apart, clean and put together. If you want to shoot, you must learn how to take care of your gun.’
Alice, ‘CC would do it for me.’
‘CC knows when to say no, even to you. You want another try?’
‘Sure.’
‘Here is how you eject the magazine, it clicks, slides down. And put this one in, it is already filled as you can see.’
Alice slides it in, hears the snap, they walk back to the range. We do most of our kills from less than fifteen feet, a five yard target may seem too simple, but she’s six, halfway to seven. The objective for now is to get her used to handling the weapon, taking aim, squeeze the trigger, control the gun. In a year, she’ll be wanting to learn the sniper rifle.
She burns through six more, all the shots hit the target, good enough.
Alice, ‘You do one Natasha.’
Natasha takes the gun, clicks out the empty, clicks in a full and moves left to the twenty five yard target.
Since she showed Alice a two hand grip, that’s what she uses, six shots in six seconds. The target is black, so even from twenty five we can see holes, in this case one big hole that was the center.
Alice applauds, ‘Wow, when will I get that good?’
‘Depends on how many times we get out here. With the racetrack, it will be more often, you shoot while the others race. You will be centering at twenty five soon enough. One final thing, we always pick up the empty cartridges. Do not leave a mess.’
Then we are treated to a jaw drop.
Alice points to an empty shell, it floats up and lands on the bench. Then the others, one by one. 
She turns and grins, ‘Didn’t know I could do that, did you?’
‘You kept it secret for a reason.’
‘I wasn’t about to let my idiot mother or the slob foster fatty know. I did think about flipping a kitchen knife into mommy’s chest.’
‘We can have a bit of fun later. Don’t do anything until dinner, then maybe lift a fork or a plate. See who figures it out. Fin has been working on telekinesis, but her progress has been slow.’
We move to the tracks, it’s past noon, they had protein bars and Coke Zero for lunch.
‘More riding?’
Zoe, ‘Not for me, everyone has run the course several times, except Natasha.’
Natasha, ‘I am ready for home. Alice did well, we will return in a week and give her more practice.’
CC asks, ‘You liked it then, firing the gun?’
‘It’s great, I have a lot of shooting to do to get as good as Natasha, but I didn’t drop the gun, or point it at anyone, except my own foot. Natasha corrected my mistake.’
‘Okay girls, let’s get the bikes in the rack and go home, has Morshchiny had a break?’
Zoe, ‘Yeah, she’s good, had a water bowl and turkey jerky sticks.’
Ride home is quiet, riding a dirt bike over hills and jumps is tiring. The girls are still at the stage where they have to concentrate, in a few months, thinking won’t be required, just doing.
We make it by two thirty, I deal with the bikes, get them over to a hose with a spray nozzle, blast off the dirt. At least it’s not mud, just dirt and dust.
Inside girls are in bathrooms showering. I head to mine for the same thing.
As I finish rinsing, Alice comes in, a bath towel floats off the rack and into my hands.
‘That’s good Alice, how did the ability come about?’
I’m drying, Alice is glancing at the man part, I can’t read her mind but it appears to be only curiosity. Considering what the creep made her do, it’s surprising she’s so nonchalant, or perhaps not, she’s seen one before and was made to do more than look.
‘I don’t know, one day, I was maybe four, I recall wanting a book, little kid picture book and the thing came floating over and plopped in my lap. The I tried it with other things, all I had to do was look at it, a pencil, crayons, book, if I wanted it, it came to me.’
She laughs, ‘I scared myself, thought about ghosts, but nothing ever happened I didn’t want to happen.’
‘And you didn’t trust anyone enough to demonstrate.’
‘I didn’t trust anyone at all.’
She comes over and takes my towel, reaches over and takes my cock in her hand, 
looks up at me and grins, ‘bigger than the perv you rescued me from,’ she lets it drop, turns and takes my towel to the laundry.
Zero comes in, ‘I was in your head, you weren’t shocked or even surprised.’
‘She’s a curious kid, why freak over a bit of nudity?’
‘Not around here, besides, old enough to ask, old enough to answer,’ she’s only wearing a t-shirt that barely covers, she steps to me and takes the rising erection in her hand.
‘Come to bed, I want to enjoy what Alice was so curious about.’
T-shirt off and nothing is covered, she’s so silky satin. Oral, then missionary and slow, Zero goes off, her face a vision of exquisite sensuality.
‘Now.’
I shift, straddle her chest, her tongue does a dance on the shaft, then the volcano erupts, lava flows where she wants it, first volley in her mouth, second over her nose and cheeks.
‘Geez Commandant, your sperm factory working overtime? That was wonderful,’ she swipes the excess jizz down into her mouth, ‘yum, and a light coat left on my face.’
‘You inspire, and excite, your spontaneity is part, something wonderful because it’s unexpected,’ I lean over and gently kiss the soft slit.
She giggles, ‘Kiss again, and again, lick me to another orgasm, Stud.’
I hear and obey, take my sweet time on her sweet thing until I sense her building. Kick up the pace, shiver, shake, I think she may have levitated.

One Hundred Forty

People see their bad traits as more universal than they are, giving themselves the out that they’re not the only ones, but see their good traits as unique to themselves.
People see their own bad behavior as a justifiable reaction to some external provocation, they see others bad behavior as a characteristic of that person’s personality. 
Daphne Sylk

Zero, ‘Cripes Commandant, I love being lesbian and I am so glad I tried you on.’
‘Me too, Sylph, me too.’
She sits up, Alice comes in carrying two glasses, my vodka rocks and glass of red for Zero, ‘Zoe says it’s happy hour, looks like you two got happy early.’
‘Happy about what?’
‘You had sex, I know what sex is, there’s this new thing called the internet, people get up to all sorts of…things.’
‘You hooked on porn already, you’re six.’
‘Six and a half, idiot mom’s boyfriends looked at porn all the time. I never went searching for it.’
‘What did you think about it?’
‘The girls are pretty, some of the men too, like Commandant, bare everywhere with muscles. Is it some sort of secret I shouldn’t know about?’
‘Not for us. Sex is both intimate and fun.’
Alice, ‘I think about it sometimes, touch myself, it gives me shivers.’
Zero, ‘Me too, honey, me too.’
‘I’m helping Zoe with dinner, we’re doing rotini and meatballs, I browned the meatballs, now they’re simmering in the sauce, smells really good,’ she gives Zero a once over, grins, turns and goes out.
Zero, ‘That was interesting.’
‘You think she knows about the girls?’
‘CC told her because she asked, like she said, she’s seen porn, some of it lesbian I’m sure. I see no point in making a thing out of it, let her ask questions and explore, she’s going to do it anyway. Nobody here is going to take advantage, we’re young girls, we like young girls, but six isn’t on anyone’s sex radar. We’ll get her a toy, actually CC has a silver bullet she doesn’t use, it’s small, just for vibing the sensitive purposes. I’ll mention it to her.’
We’ve been refreshing and dressing during the discussion, I’m in my habitual slacks and shirt, Zero came in with a t-shirt, she pulls it on.
‘That’s a hot one, just barely covering the bare.’
Zero, ‘I like how it draws eyes to me, CC isn’t the only girl who likes being on display. Do my socks.’
I slip up the knee highs, take the opportunity to let my hands run up firm thighs.
Zero, ‘Nice touch, we best get out of here or we’ll never leave.’
‘I can work with that.’
She grins, we exit the bedroom, which open to the kitchen and living area. The rest of the tribe is pow-wow’d around the dining table.
CC, ‘We were beginning to wonder if you were going to keep Commandant all night.’
‘The thought occurred, but he needed sustenance.’
‘Sit next to me, I want to ogle the hem of that tiny t-shirt.’
‘My pleasure.’
CC rests a hand at the top of Zero’s thigh, ‘And mine.’
Nikita, ‘CC ees most sexy girl, you and Fin will join sisters later.’
Fin, ‘Ooohhh, count me all the way in.’
CC, ‘I can do that, and other things.’
Zoe is washing something, ‘Alice, ignore them, our minds must be on higher matters.’
Alice, ‘Lower matters are more fun, feeling before thinking.’
‘Stir the meatballs.’
Alice giggles.
We’re up to our elbows in Italian, tomato sauce with fresh mushrooms, fat cue-ball size meatballs, rotini, ciabatta slices with clarified butter and garlic. Zoe makes garlic bread by rubbing a fresh half clove over the bread after it’s toasted, magical taste.
‘Alice has learned to flip on the trampoline, back flip, still working on front.’
‘Why is it harder to do a front?’
‘It must be because at the top of the back flip, you can see where you’re landing. A front flip calls for knowing where you are in the air, you can’t see the landing until the last second.’
Zero, ‘I looked it up, appears to be two opinions, one says the front is easier, the other says the back is easier. I’m like Alice, I found the back simple, the front more difficult.’
Alice, ‘Natasha and Nikita are amazing, they do it exactly the same, then one goes front and the other back, but they get the same height and land at the same time.’
‘They can also talk to each other without speaking, telepathy, mind to mind.’
‘Really?’
‘Yes, and they can see and hear what the other sees or hears, anywhere, over any distance.’
‘And Zero can read Commandant’s mind, but he can’t read hers.’
‘Can she read everybody’s?’
Zero, ‘Nope, just Commandant.’
Alice, ‘I need a little salt.’
The shaker is on the other side of the table, Fin reaches for it, before she grabs it, the thing rises from the table and floats over to Alice.
Fin, ‘What the…? You do that Alice?’
‘Uh huh.’
‘Cripes, I’ve been working on telekinesis for a year, I can barely get a pencil to roll.’
CC, ‘When did you learn?’
She retells the story, she didn’t learn, the ability was just there, and that she kept it a secret because she didn’t trust the people she was with.
‘That was smart, they would have seen you as a money machine.’
‘Well, I was four, I didn’t think of that, I thought it would scare them and I’d only get more punishment.’
‘Even better. The less you tell people, the less crap you have to listen to.’
‘I got that lesson early, it was easier to be invisible.’
CC kisses her cheek, ‘I’m glad you aren’t invisible now, I love kissing you,’ she covers little face, then her neck, gives Alice the giggles.
Dinner winds down, Zoe and Alice clear, except now the plates and utensils float to the sink.
Fin, ‘Damn, I don’t suppose you can transmit the skill right into my head.’
Alice, ‘I can try, but I don’t know what to transmit, I don’t know why I can do it at all.’
‘Prodigies are annoying.’
Zero, ‘All of us have some untapped skill, finding it isn’t as simple as Alice’s experience, that it was just there.’
Fin, ‘So my experience in no results is a message?’
‘Could be telling you your skill lies elsewhere. Like CC’s sniper skills, she didn’t know she had the temperament and touch until she tried the rifle. In her case, she also did a fair amount of practice.’
‘And I had Commandant’s help for the basics.’
Fin, ‘Ah, I’ve overlooked something, I did well at Bondurant, and I have no fear of speed, I feel what the car can do.’
‘Zoe has no fear of speed.’
‘Zoe is crazy.’
Zoe giggles, her back to us, rinsing dishes from Alice’s airborne delivery.
Zero, ‘We’re all crazy, we can do what others can’t because we’re insane, at least by society’s standards. We don’t see through the common social eye, undistracted by appearances.’
‘You mean how other people see us?’
‘Yes, we don’t care, which removes limitation.’
Alice, ‘What does that mean?’
‘Everything is filtered by your brain, what you are conditioned to see, or think, colors what is actual. It can’t be helped, the brain is efficient, it makes approximations based on what it has experienced. If the information coming in isn’t relevant the brain filters it, if it didn’t we would be overwhelmed by millions of bits of data we don’t need to function. That’s good, but it is also limitation. It’s why people can listen to the same political babble, but hear different messages.’
CC, ‘Ah, so that’s why there’s so much confusion, argument and hostility.’
‘Exactly, and they make it worse by labeling themselves, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, Jew, white, black, Asian. They’ve been conditioned to think this is right and that isn’t. No amount of logic can overcome those biases because your brain believes what it’s been told.’
Alice, ‘So why not tell our brain something else?’
‘You have discovered the secret. The something else never occurs to most people, because of…’
‘Conditioning.’
‘And what’s the first step in de-conditioning?’
Alice, ‘I don’t know.’
‘You’ve got it.’
Alice scrunches her lips, ‘Got what?’
‘Admitting you don’t know and acknowledging you’re conditioning. People believe they know and they think they came to this knowledge with an open mind. Nothing could be further from the truth.’
‘Why don’t they do it then? Realize there is a different, what’s the word? A different way of looking?’
‘A different perspective.’
‘Yes, that.’
‘Because they believe what they think. When contradictory information is presented, even provable data, they come up with reasons it doesn’t apply. Instead of realizing they don’t know, they dig in deeper. There are people who think the Earth is flat. No amount of satellite photos, no physical measurements, nothing changes their minds.’
‘Seems rather stupid.’
‘Stupid is the default setting of most people, they are childish, superstitious and convinced they know.’

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