Things of Beauty, Things of Shame

The little stone house had chinks stuffed with ivy, which Susan kept trimmed, like pubes. The cat liked to rub against these trim thickets, especially with his butt, which had itchy glands. It was a hell of a life, for sure.

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Susan rented the stone cottage from her parents, for a nominal fee. They had also given her a sinecure, which she paid her nominal fee with. Money-laundering, clean and simple - the organized crime of familial love. She had nicknamed the house "Cosa Nostra," but nobody thought it was funny, especially her friends without money.

Most of her boyfriends thought she was corrupt, but none of them cared enough about her to make a big deal of it. Out of desperation, she started fucking her sister's husband, just to feel as if she were capable of having an impact. He cried a lot. The cat slept on top of his feet.

One day she and Paul (the sister's husband) came clean. It was Thanksgiving. Everybody yelled.

She and Paul got married and divorced, quite quickly. She took half his money, without a thought for her nephews and nieces. Her sister didn't have a job and swanned about the house in a sweater robe, weeping and drinking. The oldest son made the school lunches.

Susan took the money and moved to a small house in Spain. The house was made of stone. She got a new cat, but her life seemed the same.