I used to eat Buggers by Christine Swiderski

I used to eat buggers

 

Funny how somethings are universal. Some will not admit that they ate buggers and other bazaar things as a kid. Just let a parent ask that same kid to eat their vegetables and they go into immediate rebellion.

I gave my parents fits. For some reason, I would not just go along with any of their demands. My quest was to be my own person. Show them they did not know what they were talking about. I shake my head in this season of my life. My daughter of 10 going on 30 is a precocious, intelligent girl. How does a parent guide such a gift without breaking her spirit. I doubt seriously I could break her spirit she is too much like me. Yet I want her to be safe and still have independence. The internet is one place that scares the crap out of me.

Recently Vanessa started to hang out with a group of kids. Some are goth others are biker imposters. When they come into my home the one rule they vehemently dislike, ‘No closed door rule!’ I hear the language I use when driving. Don’t get me wrong, I truly understand their protest. The problem I have is when I am in the room they seem to be normal rebellious I hate adults, pubescent teenagers. In private when they don’t think I am listening the mantra seems truculent, volatile. I want to say something to Vanessa, yet I do not want her to be pushed into thinking they are right about me.

One Saturday Vanessa asked to go to a party at one of her friend's

 house. This friend I suspect is the leader of this pack of malcontents. Her name is Cheryl. Bruce, Luke, Brenda round out the outcast gaggle.

I asked Vanessa the usual questions: “Are there going to be any adults at the party. No alcohol or drugs.”

Her answer while rolling her eyes was “Yes Cheryl’s older brother Stan will be there and her uncle Clarence will be there. Uncle Clarence is visiting from Utah.”

I reluctantly said yes giving Vanessa a curfew of 11:30. That is a half an hour later than her normal curfew. I wanted her not to suspect that I and her dad will be there at 10 to check on things. She was so glad I trusted her she hugged me.

John and dropped Vanessa off at 6:30. We took this opportunity to have some adult time. First, we went to our favorite restaurant. Nowhere on the menu could you find anything fried. Entrees are braised, Broasted or grilled. We finished eating and was paying our bill when my cell phone rang. It was Vanessa. She said she left the party and was at the corner store waiting to be picked up. I asked her why. She said she was bored with all the complaining everyone was doing about what’s wrong with the world.

I told John what she had said he laughed “Well maybe this was just a phase she got bored with. I wonder what will come next.”

Vanessa was waiting outside the store, we pulled along side where she was standing. While she slid onto the seat I asked: “Is that the same outfit you were wearing when you left the house?”

Vanessa answered: “Yes mom why do you ask?”

I shrugged and said: “I Don’t know maybe I was thinking about the outfit you wore yesterday.”

As we turned onto our street we heard multiple sirens passing just behind us. John looked over at me and said: “Wonder what is so important that 2 police departments are responding?”

Shaking my head I said: “I can’t imagine we live in such a quiet part of town.”

Vanessa hadn’t eaten, I fixed her a sandwich and heated up the leftover soup. She seemed perky and chatty. We talked about her friends which she now described as “Those relationships have been laid to rest.”

As I was cleaning up the kitchen there was a knock at the door. I heard John say: “Yes sir come on in. How can I help?”

 

A male voice said: “Sir do you have a daughter named Vanessa?”

John answered: “Yes sir, she is upstairs.”

I walked into the living room to find John was talking to a man in a suit. He introduced himself as Detective Scarborough.

The Detective then asked: “Has Vanessa been home all night.”

John described in detail how our evening went. All the while the detective listened intently jotting down something in a small notebook.

The detective asked if he could speak with Vanessa. I asked why and added; “Do we need an attorney?”

The detective said: “I don’t believe so mam. There have been multiple homicides at the home where your daughter was seen entering and exiting this evening. We just need to know if she had seen anything out of the ordinary.”

John had gone upstairs to ask Vanessa to come down and speak to the police officer.

The detective asked Vanessa “When you arrived what was everyone doing.”

Vanessa described in detail where everyone was, what the plan was for the party, and why she left early.

John said: “Good God Vanessa I am so glad you decided to leave early.”

I stood there staring at my daughter saying a quiet prayer and “She is only 10.”

The detective asked a question that I had running through my head: “Vanessa have you ever fired a gun before.”

John spoke up: “What the hell are you asking my 10-year-old daughter? Are you suggesting she had anything to do with this horrible event?”

The detective said: “Sir it is routine we ask these sort of questions, no matter the age.”

There was a tap at the door, a police officer in uniform came in. He had a Ziploc bag with a bloody garment in it. He handed it to the detective.

The detective showed Vanessa the contents and asked her “Have you ever seen this sweater before?”

Vanessa shook her head yes and said “ My friend Cheryl borrowed it the other day. She was supposed to return it after she washed it.”

The detective shook his head. There was a knot in my stomach. That was the sweater Vanessa wore to the party. The detective said: “The only reason I am asking is there is GSR on it. Whoever was wearing it this evening fired a gun. The blood is still wet which means , the blood is fresh.”

John looked at me, as he shook his head in disbelief he said: “She is only 10.”

I guess we need an attorney.