Two years ago, Dawn’s father disappeared, leaving behind almost a quarter of a million hidden in a duffle bag, with a dull black automatic pistol lying on top of the money.
My name is Dawn. I’m fifteen years old. I live with my mum and my two dogs, Jesus and Mary. When people ask me about their names, I say that I named them after my favorite band, the Jesus and Mary Chain. That’s true. But it isn’t the only reason—I also did it to piss off our next door neighbors. They had a I ♥ Jesus bumper sticker on their car, but they treated us like dirt. So that was the other reason—to annoy them. And it did. Especially on quiet nights, when I’d let the dogs out for a bit, and then I’d have to whistle and call for them. “Jesus, Mary! Come home! That’s it, Jesus, hurry up!”
So, who am I? I’m average looking. I really don’t care about being in the “in” crowd, and I don’t have any friends. I know kids to say hi to, but I wouldn’t call them friends. I’m a loner, and smarter than most, which pisses off kids sometimes, and I get called names. But I really don’t mind being called a loser, cause I guess that’s what I am. But I’m a “perfectly okay about it” loser. I have my music, I have my dogs. My life is okay.
It’s okay if I don’t look at the two big holes in it. Holes where my mum and dad used to be. My mum’s still here, but she hasn’t really been here since my dad walked out the door and disappeared. She watches TV, and she drinks, morning, noon, and night.
My dad was a great dad, but I don’t think he ever really grew up—all he wanted to do was drink, party, and have fun. Then one day two years ago, he just disappeared.
A week or so later, Mum was cleaning when she found it, a green duffle bag, hidden under the floor in the bedroom. Neither of us had ever seen it before. It was stuffed full of money, neatly packaged and stacked together. A lot of money. And on top of the money, there was a big black automatic pistol.
This booktalk was written by Joni Richards Bodart, university professor, author, consultant, librarian and internationally known booktalker.