Ten: Cassandra in Custody.
Officer, I'm not trying to sound defensive, but we've been THROUGH this. We've been through this for hours and hours on end and I am TIRED and I just want to find a hotel and change my clothes and get some sleep. I haven't SLEPT. I have work in the morning and I HAVEN'T SLEPT, sir. PLEASE. No one has said "discrimination" yet, sir, but I would not shy away from being the-
Fine. Fine. Once more. Sorry. I'm sorry.
And it's CASSANDRA Goth, if you don't mind. Not "Cassie." It is what my woman lover whispers to me under cloak of Mistress Night, and as such, what I prefer.
MY GAY. WOMAN. LOVER.
I generally rise before dawn, as I enjoy leisurely mornings. As I've said before, I was in the house, along with my father, Mortimer, my brother, Alexander, and my fianc?e, Lyric.
Yes. We are to be married. Does that shock you? Shock your mundane, suburban sensibilities? Are you disquieted by my boldness? DISTURBED? Are you itching to repress me? For I AM bold, sir, and brazen. I am a lover of women. I am Sapphic. SAPPHIC. I shout it, sir. And you cannot legislate me away, as much as I'm sure you would-
Fine. Yes. Certainly. We can "move this along." I have sufficiently documented my threatening sexuality in the insurance report, anyway.
In any case, my lover was in the kitchen with my father. She was quitting her job. I'm sure the phone records will prove this.
No, I couldn't tell you why. Really. I don't pry. Obsessive interference with a lover's business is an exclusively masculine trait, as I'm sure you know.
She merely told her manager at the gas station that she had "found better prospects." My woman lover who is female is an old soul, officer, I don't doubt her ingenuity.
Tsk. yes, I suppose you WOULD conjure up such a scenario. No, I don't know how long they'd been up. But they were still up last night, when I went to bed. Alexander was in the sitting room watching television, however. He would know. A very gentle boy. Such a good boy.
We have planned on mothering him together. Does that bother you? Lesbian mothering? Are you outraged?
It is not unusual for my father and Lyric to keep one another's company. My fianc?e is very doting on my father. His age, you know, it makes him cantankerous. Really, the lengths she goes to in order to afford him comfort. It is rather often that I go upstairs, intending to retire for the eve, and I find them together in the bed Lyric and I share during our paradigm-shifting, patriarchy-smashing, non-phallocentric coitus. They were "spooning," one might say.
I didn't disturb them, of course. I couldn't. I never do. My father, he hasn't been the same since my mother's... disappearance. Bad dreams, you know. They've begun to carry over into his waking life, I suspect, as he's begun laughing hysterically at the sight of me. I suspect Alzheimer's.
In any case, Lyric hung up the phone, showered, slipped into her purple negligee, and offered to cook my breakfast. Her thoughtfulness is so reassuring. Nurturing, without being gender-enslaved or auto-misogynistic. Her breakfasts are very progressive.
I remember Alexander screaming something about not letting her cook, PLEASE GOD NO DO NOT LET HER COOK GOD PLEASE CASSANDRA I'M SCARED PLEASE CASSANDRA I PEED SOME, but I thought he might have been talking to the television. He's like that. We're looking into Ritalin.
Imagine my surprise when I emerged from our bathroom after my own shower. I suppose your department and the firefighting company know the rest.
NO, I CAN NOT account for the movements of my fianc?e and father at that time. I was in the kitchen, and Alexander was slamming the cabinet door on his forehead head rhythmically.
He's very delicate.
I suppose the others went outside when they saw the fire. Alexander must have simply... I don't know. Proved difficult to rescue? You know how men can be.
I do not appreciate what you are insinuating. Shall I inform GLAAD of your tone?
I don't know. I suppose they'll be back soon enough, I'm sure. They shan't be rushed, though, as they were chatting most animatedly about their joy over their leaving this very morning. They used very colorful hyperbole. "Forever and ever," "Won't be back until Hell freezes over and I'm whoring for Satan," that sort of thing.
I suppose their disappearance is a tiny bit odd, from an outsider's perspective. Perhaps they've heard of the fire, and they know the house was gutted. "A total loss," as the insurance men say. Perhaps knowing this, they saw no sense in returning, and have gone house-hunting for our small, proud, prejudice-challenging family. I hope we move in right next door to you, sir. Would that bother you? Would that... OFFEND you?
House shopping... That would explain the sudden depletion of our jointly-held account, as well... yes. Yes, I see it now. My father is very well off, you understand. He'll only want the best. House shopping. Of course.
In all truth, I was quite sick of this little duplex. Our happiness is perfect and may exist anywhere, you understand, but... ah. Wonderful. A new house. I can't wait.
You'll let me know when she calls, of course?