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“The characters’ distinct voices bring them to life, especially Sabrina: 'I feel Scattered inside. It’s not a new feeling. No, rather a familiar one. It is the feeling that alternates with Broken.' ... Rough and gritty with a sweet side, this is a convincing portrayal of a love-hate relationship with family.”

--Kirkus Reviews (kirkusreviews.com)


Chapter 1

I didn’t recognize the two men standing before me. They were big. Not just bigger than me, because even Dopey and Sneezy can almost manage that. No, they were immense. In body and voice. One was white, but just barely. From the look of it, Fun in the Sun (or one of its less popular competitors) had seen a lot of this boy.

Behind Tan-Man stood his partner, who was black, but not very. Kinda brown, black and white...a really pretty cappuccino color. He looked the younger of the two. They both wore the blue uniform. Wore it well. And they both had a utility belt that would make Batman want. Both also possessed badges. Unfortunately.

A wave of dizziness had sent me to the couch moments earlier, though the leather fabric served only to seal my bare legs—cold and clammy as they were, which seemed to stick anew every time I shifted. Best to stay put.

No doubt, it had been a bad night all around. And not just because of the police presence. You’d think. But no. I could feel my hands still shaking. I couldn’t make ‘em stop, despite numerous attempts. I finally looked down at ‘em, gave ‘em the evil eye and sat on ‘em. That’ll show ‘em.

I didn’t want to talk. To anyone. To do so would only serve to put us right back where we started with me thrashing about, throwing anything—glassware, chairs, my fists and torso—to the floor and lo and behold, moments later, these fine gentlemen appear at my door—probably courtesy of nasty old Mr. Wickfield in 4B...well, he’ll get his.

Yes, it was 3 a.m. I got that. But people—and when I say people, I mean my people, my clan, my family—did not care what time the call came—as long as it wreaked havoc when it did. And this time it hit its mark. Dead center. I imagine a bull’s-eye on my forehead, a sharp dart protruding from it.

I turn my attention back and notice Dick for the first time. He is standing next to the cops. He looks like a kid, with his short legs and long shorts. Only his white hair gives him away. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without him right now. From an ‘across-the-hall-neighbor’ to one of my closest friends, Dick was my all-around go-to guy for all things troublesome, which as it so happens is all things related, even remotely, to my family.

Dick is busy explaining to them how “It won’t happen again. It was just a shock. She just got the call.”

The call. I want to go back. Before the call. I can make this better, I will try harder, I will not let this happen, if you just let me go back before the call! Please, please, please.

The tears start coming again full-force and I take a deep breath and try to suck them back in. Ever try that? Sucking tears back in? Not fun. And pretty fruitless as you may have guessed. Once they’re out, there is no goin’ back.

The boys in blue look at me then, a confused look on their face—apparently they’ve never seen a grown woman try to suck tears back in—and nod as if they’ve seen it a hundred times. Yeah, right. They then nod to Dick and he leads them to the door. Evidently, nodding is a big part of their training.

I get up, follow at a distance and don’t hit the door until they are already through it and it has shut behind them.

“Thanks.” The word is a whisper. I have no desire to speak louder. And my throat hurts anyway from all the screaming and shouting...cussing and well yeah, more cussing. That’s what I do. Often. I cuss.

“You need anything?” It’s Dick looking to heal me.

“I need to go back.”