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Written by: Bradley Allen MarkleFormat: Novel excerptWord Count: 6,659July 09, 1998
Some s___ can’t be worked through. It won’t – 
can’t – 
get better with time. The myopic shrink 
with glasses thick as bullet proof glass tells me I should keep a journal. It’ll help me work 
through my depression he says. His name is Dr. Calloway. His right hand is shriveled up, his
twig arm bent at a weird angle. I can’t help but stare at it. I like to imagine he’s part tyrannosaur.
I want to touch his desiccated fingers, fold them, shape them into the talon of a dinosaur. Hesays I should begin each journal
entry by writing three words to describe what I’m feeling, and
then explore whether my mood has improved or changed at all, and then maybe try and write
something positive to think about for the rest of the day. Bulls___. Oh. He also told me he’s
going to read the entries every day and edit them, removing all the bad language and whatnotbecause he has to present the progress of my case to a panel once a week, but, he says, I can stillfeel free to write whatever I want, even cuss words galore. He said that, cuss words galore. Well
d___. I wonder if women find his freakish, contorted hand attractive. I do. It’s like watching
someone make a joke about the brains of your husband stuck to your lime green kitchen wall. I
wasn’t supposed to see that part. I rus
hed back into the house because I had to find a picture of Caylee, any picture, just something to remind me of her. There was a big, fat cop there. His
hands weren’t like Dr. Calloways. His fingers were plump, gluttonous caterpillars clinging to the
r’s mitt of his palm. He poked at what remained of Jim’s skull, somehow glued to the wallwith gray matter. The cop jabbed at it, said hey buddy, what’s on your mind? He guffawed,
turned to his fellow cops, their eyes wide on me. The fat one realized who I was. He looked
down and shuffled his feet like a disciplined school boy. The tip of his finger was red. He wasn’t
wearing any gloves.
I couldn’t stop staring at his hands. Just like I can’t stop myself fromwanting to touch Dr. Calloway’s. I don’t think this journal is working me through anything.
 July 11, 1998Dr. T. Rex says my first journal entry was a good start. He says I should try writing three words
to describe my feelings, though. It’s part of the healing process he says. Ok. Three
words:Numb. Numb. Numb.
Maybe it’s the drugs. Mom gives me enormous light blue pills every day with breakfast. Horse
sized pills. Why are pills always blue or white? Why not magenta or sunshine yellow or black orpolka dotted or s___ brown or lime green? That was our first argument after we bought the
house. I wanted to paint the kitchen lime green. I wanted to because that was the color of my
grandmother’s kitchen. I always loved the way her home smelled,
and how the walls were ahorrible motley of green and red and blue and yellow, and how she had a collection of the mostbizarre, intricately designed ceramic figurines from around the world. I remember I loved all herstatuettes, except one. It was supposed to be of a smiling little black boy kicking a tin can.Something about it scared me. His skin was too black, his features not quite defined. His eyeswere overly white and his mouth was set in what was supposed to be a smile, but it looked like amenacing red gash across his cheeks, the grin just a little too wide. Like someone had tried to cuthis throat but missed. I made her hide it whenever I came to visit. She did. She was kind. She
made the world’s best lasagna.
I wanted to paint the kitchen lime green in honor of her, mygrandmother. Jim refused. He said it was ugly and no one would ever buy the house again if wehad horrible, lime colored walls. He told me the paint should be neutral. I told him he wassleeping on the couch until the wall was painted how I wanted. That was mean. We had justmoved in. We came all the way to Florida by plane. Our furniture was coming by truck andwould be at least another day arriving. I found him the following morning sprawled across thefloor atop a pile of his clothes. When the furniture arrived, he slept on the couch for a full week.One day while he was out looking for work I went to the store and bought a can of paint and aroller. When he came home I greeted him with a ribeye dinner, a glass of champagne, and ahideous, Jello-colored wall. I did a poor job. I got paint on the tile and the running boards. I evenmanaged to get some on the ceiling. There were drips and drops here and there where I had puttoo much on the roller and thick runnels of green cascaded down without me noticing. I think Iwas too terrified to notice. It was the first time I ever stood up to Jim. I was only twenty one, andJim was an imposing figure, tall and stocky. He had a well groomed beard and nice hands. Theywere calloused because he liked to work outside. Jim shook his head in disgust at the wall, butthe following Saturday he went to the store and bought more paint, then came home and fixedmy Jackson Pollock. I think maybe he shot himself in the kitchen on purpose. One last petty actof protest. Probably not.I don
’t actually know what these pills do, the
s my mother feeds me. I’ve never thought toask and, really, I don’t want to know. Some people think it’s better to know. They say once youknow, you can move on. They say you can have closure. They say it’s better than
imagining thethousand possible horrible scenarios that may or may not have happened.
I’ve never much liked
I didn’t attend the community vigil afterwards.
I’d rather not know. In my scenarios,
Caylee is alive and happy somewhere.
Every day it’s the same thing. Two eggs over easy,
a glassof orange juice, and one big, fat mournful blue capsule. My mother was never very imaginative.
It’s been… three months? Three months since Jim did the deed and three months I’ve been under 
house arrest with my mother. Three months of two eggs over easy and a horse pill. She never
cooks the eggs right either. She always breaks the yolk. You’d think after three months of 
cooking the exact same
d___ thing she could figure out how to do it. You’d think after threemonths of wallowing in my own shame I’d
figure out how to survive without my mother feedingme, watching me, caring for me like a child
. You’d think 
, though, after only three months I
would still need a shrink. I would still need to talk to someone. Like
Dr. T.Rex. I don’t. But my
other tells
me I should. She says, for starters, it’s the only way to get a prescription for mymedicine. Medicine. It heals the sick. Am I sick? I don’t think so.
July 12, 1998Instructions! So many instructions! Dr. T. Rex keeps telling me how to write my journal. Maybe
he should write the d___ thing. Again he says, why Janie, this entry is a really great one. You’re
doing a good job. If you can, for your next one, try and write about something positive. Maybe athought that made you smile, or a bird outside your window, or even just the smell of somethinggood. Like coffee. As he said this he was gently flexing the talons of his shriveled hand. Ireached out to touch it, but stopped myself halfway. I bet it feels like leather.
Oh, and don’t
forget to write three emotions too. And to take your medication. And to eat your eggs. And tobrush your teeth. And to wash your hands after you s___. And to scrub behind your ears. And totie your shoelaces. And to comb your hair. And to wear clothes. And to say your nightly prayers.And to stop peeling the paint off the wall. And to stop eating it. And to wear your mask. And towater the hydrangeas. And to peel an orange before you bite it. And to clip your toenails. And tohold onto the rail when you climb the stairs. And to tuck your daughter into bed. And to kissyour husband goodnight. And to wear your mask. Three words:Numb. Numb. Numb.
Something positive? The fact that I don’t know.
One of the other mothers
she knows. Knew.There were nine of them. The newspaper called them the
 Newberry Nine
. Nine little childrengone missing from the park. Nine wailing mothers fumbling hysterically after dark. Nine anxiousfathers circling the streets in cars
. Nine sons and daughters strayed too far. I want to say I’m theworst mother the world has ever had the misfortune to beget. I can’t. There were nine of us who
managed to lose our children. All on the same day. Lost.
Like a TV remote. So I’m in
the top
nine. I’m in the running for worst mother of forever. I misplaced my daughter. Maybe if I look  between the couch cushions I’ll find her. A friend of mine once lost her remote for two weeks.
Then one day she discovered she had somehow, in some bewildering act of forgetfulness, left itin her freezer. Maybe I can find Caylee in mine, balled up among the frozen corpses of chickensand butchered cattle. Maybe, by some miracle, she would be cold and hungry, but still okay.These thoughts give me hope. B
ecause I don’t know. The woman who knew? She killed herself 
even before the funeral was held. Her
 boy’s name was James. Just like my husband. He played
with Caylee once or twice and, sitting on the park bench, made allies by virtue of both beingexhausted mothers, I talked to her. She seemed nice. Busy. I remember James was a rascal.Caylee was trying to kiss him on the cheek and he would run from her, screaming at her to getaway. But he always stopped and she always caught up. He patiently waited until she gave him apeck. Then he took off running again, hollering at her to stop. It was strange to see how this littleboy, James, was so very much like my husband. When they found the young rake two weeks

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