Re: The Pariah (updated 1/31)
“Now then,” Mrs. Brown’s voice cut through the swirl of thoughts inside Yukari’s head, snapping her back to reality. A hand on her shoulder turned her back around to face the woman standing over her. “Since you can’t be … dishes … breaking them, tomorrow we will try again with some new … for you to do. Understand?”
Despite the phrases and words she didn’t recognize, Yukari did get the basic idea; there was more work for her to do tomorrow, and more shame for failing at her task tonight. “Yes Missers Brown. Sank you for give Yukari new work for make you happy again.”
She looked up at the woman’s face, searching for some sort of approval, but found nothing but confusion. “Yes, well,” Mrs. Brown responded, “Go get your night clothes on and wait for me in Tommy’s bedroom.”
Yukari was a bit stunned, given the early hour, but being sent to bed early was better than being put out of the house, so she bowed quickly and said, “Yes Missers Brown,” before scampering up the stairs. She went into Tommy’s room and fished her pajamas out of her suitcase, then started toward the bathroom across the hall. Much to her surprise, the door was closed and the light was on, so she retreated back to the bedroom and sat on the floor, listening for the door to open. And sat. And sat.
A long while later, she heard footfalls on the stairs. Mrs. Brown appeared in the doorway, looking irritated. “I told you to put your night clothes on! Why … you done it?”
“Very sorry, Missers Brown, someone in bassroom, so Yukari wait,” she offered.
“The bathroom is empty, Yukari! Look …!” Mrs. Brown angrily pointed out into the hall. Yukari stood up and walked over to the doorway. Much to her surprise, the door was open and the light was off. “Now GO!”
Yukari wasted no time in scrambling into the bathroom. She hurriedly stripped and put her pajamas on, completely forgetting her evening ritual of brushing her teeth and using the toilet in her panic. She rushed back out with her clothes under her arm and stood in front of the imposing woman. “Yukari finish,” she said quietly.
Mrs. Brown pointed to a strange looking sleep mat on the floor. It was unlike anything Yukari had ever seen; it was puffy, and had a zipper on it. Part of it was open like a pouch. “This is where you sleep,” Mrs. Brown said flatly.
Yukari shrugged and laid down on top of the mat. The woman scowled at her. “What is WRONG with you?! It’s a sleeping bag! You get IN it and sleep!” A strong hand pushed her off the mat and pulled the flap open. “IN HERE!” She pointed to the pouch-like part.
“Very sorry, Missers Brown!” Yukari cried, trembling, as she inserted herself into this strange “sleeping bag” contraption.
“Now go to sleep! If I … you out of there, you will be a very unhappy little girl, understand?!”
“Yes Missers Brown,” Yukari replied meekly. The light switch was flipped off and Mrs. Brown’s angry face disappeared behind the closing door, though there was still plenty of light from the window, as the sun was still setting outside. She lay silently, staring at the ceiling, trying to get some sort of grip on the whirlwind of events that had just unfolded before her. Her thoughts wandered to her mother, and tears welled in her eyes, tears that she refused to let anyone else see. A few short days ago, she was a happy, carefree kid in Tokyo, with friends that cared about her, a mother that loved her, and her own room in a beautiful little apartment. Now it seemed she was completely alone in a strange world, and everything she did went horribly wrong and made everyone around her angry.
She closed her eyes and remembered her mother’s soft voice whenever she had trouble sleeping, weaving the beauty of an endless green meadow through her imagination, filled with wild flowers, and her lying peacefully under a blue sky in that meadow, watching wisps of clouds drift by overhead. A babbling stream tickled her bare feet with its warmth, while two butterflies danced in a lazy circle around her head. She barely noticed as the water began to creep up her bare legs, reaching slowly up to her knees, until she realized her little school uniform was getting damp…
After pouring herself a glass of wine, Janet returned to the living room to see Tommy curled up in Mark’s lap on the couch, the two of them watching some sort of cartoon on TV. The tenderness of the moment touched her deeply, and she bit back bitter tears. It didn’t have to be like this, you bastard. We could have been happy, even after you fucked up with that slant-eyed little whore. All you had to do was own it. I could have loved you again, if you hadn’t been too fucking proud to tell me that you fucked up, that you were sorry for doing it.
She shook her head silently and sat down, seeing her son’s eyes grow heavy in his father’s embrace. The boy was due for a bath tonight, but she chose to wait, opting to watch the last light of dusk fade into twilight out the window.
“I need to get some sleep myself,” Mark said quietly. “I’m going in at five tomorrow. I trust you’ll have someone out on Monday to give an estimate on the addition we’re going to need?”
“Of course,” she said flatly. “Come on, Tommy, let’s get you in the tub and into bed.”
“It’s Saturday, Mom,” he said sleepily, “I’m not tired yet.”
“Go on, buddy,” Mark said, patting him on the back. “Daddy’s going to bed too. Long day of work tomorrow.”
“Okay,” the boy replied, sliding off his father’s lap and stumbling toward her waiting hand.
She scooped him up and carried him up the steps, rubbing his back softly. They entered the bathroom and she started the water and added some soap bubbles before helping the still-groggy child out of his clothes. She hoisted him into the bathtub, where he began to perk up a bit. “I’ll go get your pajamas,” she said, turning off the faucet. “Try not to splash everywhere while I’m gone, okay?”
She got up and headed toward his bedroom, closing the bathroom door behind her. As she entered the room, lit only by Tommy’s night light, Yukari sat bolt upright in the sleeping bag. So much for not waking her, she thought. Even in this light, however, the child’s face betrayed something other than disrupted sleep, and Janet scowled as she flipped the light on.
“Very sorry, Missers Brown,” the child said, visibly trembling, “Go bassroom prease?”
“Tommy is taking his bath,” she replied, “so you’ll have to wait. Stand up.”
Yukari’s face fell, and Janet knew what had happened. “I said stand up, Yukari,” she snapped. The little girl slowly worked her way out of the sleeping bag, blushing bright red, feebly trying to cover the wet spot in the crotch of her pajamas.
“Take those wet clothes off right now, and don’t MOVE until I get back.” This had gone far enough, and Janet was determined to end it. She stormed out into the hall and opened the linen closet next to the bathroom. She reached up to the top shelf and grabbed a bag. The disposable sleep pants used to be Tommy’s, but there was nothing about this little girl that indicated she wouldn’t fit them. There were still four or five pair in the bag, enough for Janet to figure out whether more drastic measures needed to be taken on Monday.
She marched back into the bedroom and sized up the now half-naked pre-tween, eyes downcast, her pajamas and panties in a pile next to her on the floor. She reached into the bag and handed the girl a pair of the blue underwear and said, “Put these on.”
The girl looked up, and her eyes widened as she nervously took the underwear from her, clumsily shuffling them up her skinny little legs. Janet reached down and grabbed the soiled clothing, then squatted down to look the girl in the eyes. The child clearly had a kindergartner’s grasp of English, not to mention the motor skills and bladder control, so it was time to start speaking to and treating her likewise.
“This is DIRTY,” Janet said slowly, shaking the wet clothes in front of Yukari. “In this house, we throw DIRTY things in the GARBAGE.” She walked over and threw the clothes emphatically into Tommy’s wastebasket. “If you keep going pee-pee in your panties, Mrs. Brown will throw them ALL away, and you’ll have to wear LITTLE girl pants ALL the time.” She poked at the garment around Yukari’s waist to hammer home the point. “Is that what you want?”
“No Missers Brown,” the girl replied, trembling, her eyes wide as saucers.
“Then you need to go potty in the bathroom like a BIG girl, not pee your panties like a baby! Understand?”
Yukari nodded fiercely. “Use your BIG girl words,” Janet chided.
“Y…yes Missers Brown,” she stammered back.
“That’s better. Now you stand over there,” she pointed toward the corner next to Tommy’s closet, “and wait for Tommy to be done his bath so you can go potty like a big girl.”
“Yes Missers Brown,” the girl sheepishly replied, walking slowly over to the corner, rustling softly with each tenuous step. Janet watched her for a moment, seeing her knees buckle and her hands drop in front of her thighs. She started back toward the bathroom, knowing she’d have to hurry her son up if the kid was going to make it. Twelve years old and doing the potty dance like a preschooler, she thought to herself. I doubt that handful of pull-ups are going to make it to Monday.
Vicky’s eyes opened wide as she listened down the hallway to her mother’s tirade. Mom was throwing the kid’s panties away? With a promise to make her wear pull-ups all the time if she ran out? It would be effortless to make that happen in a hurry; some of the old tricks she played on Tommy when he was younger and more prone to peeing his pants would come in handy here, especially since Mom seemed fixated on sending the kid to bed even earlier than Tommy!
A few minutes of boredom listening to Mom get Tommy out of the tub and into his pajamas was quickly followed by more muffled scolding; apparently the kid had pissed in her pull-up while she was waiting for the bathroom. More begging by the girl, more snapping by Mom, who even threatened to put her in diapers again! Vicky had to cover her head with the pillow at that one. The kid was being stripped down to nothing, and she hadn’t had to lift a finger. In a way, it almost seemed unfair that she didn’t get to come back and tell the little brat “I told you I’d get you!”
After Mom had put Tommy and Yukari to bed, however, is when things got really interesting. Voices began to rise from Mom’s bedroom this time. Dad was complaining about “humiliating the poor kid,” and “she just got here, give her a break,” while Mom was firing back with “I won’t have that little shit destroying my furniture,” and “I don’t have time to wash mountains of piss-stained clothes.” Dad countered with “Then I don’t see how you’ll have time to change wet diapers!” and Mom fell silent for a bit.
That got Vicky’s gears grinding. The possibilities suddenly opened right up. She turned her light off and lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling and grinning ear to ear. This little runt was going to wish she’d stayed in Japan before this was over. Should’ve just done the goddamned dishes, you little shit. Now you’re going to regret ever meeting me…