and a worse sister, but I'm okay with that.
I would try to explain my family, but I've learned that they're pretty much inexplicable. Just take my word for it that these are real people.
Pop retired a few years ago. From what, I'm not sure, because his job was so highly classified that he still supposedly can't talk about it. When he and his Nazi rocket scientist friends (Yes, actual German military rocket scientists whisked out of Europe at the end of WWII) used to hang out though, I heard the words "ordinance" and "payload" a lot, so I'm fairly sure he worked with things that went BOOM in a big way. Which may or may not explain my fascination with setting things on fire and blowing them up.
After he retired, Pop worked through a few interesting manias such as stalking Steven Spielberg via proxy, digging a wine cellar under his house in a reenactment of the movie The Great Escape, and reinventing laserscanners. Then he decided to become a writer. He is brilliant- in a mad scientist kind of way- but he's also a total ADD spacecadet with zero patience. So in the last year, while I've been proud to get five short stories into print anthologies and another five on Clean Sheets and ERWA, he's published twelve novels. Full. Length. Novels. Twelve of them. (Okay, you can quibble that they're actually 200 page sermons thinly disguised as fiction, but still...)
He's self-published. Big surprise there. Like most truly wretched writers, he's convinced that traditional publishers are somehow threatened by his talent. He spends hours on the phone with me lamenting that he'll never earn enough on his books to pay his publishing costs. Interesting conversations, considering that he has no idea that I write. Not that he pays any attention to anything I say, but I try hard not to betray my limited knowledge of the publishing world when we talk. I did suggest that perhaps he wanted to spend a few bucks on a copy editor the next time. A gentle nudge. Just a hint. Unfortunately, he decided that what I said was that I volunteered for the job. (Pop is under the delusion that no one musters out of his Army. If I go visit their house, he pounds on my bedroom door at 7AM sharp Saturday morning and hands me a list of my chores for the day.)
I started getting manuscripts in the mail. About one every three weeks. Because I have nothing better to do with my time than to read his stuff. (Unless I'm helping him to track down Steven Spielberg. Something I have yet to understand. Why was I the chosen one? What famous director stalking skills have I ever exhibited?)
I tried. I did. (Editing. Not stalking. Mr. Spielberg is safe from me wherever he is, and I DO NOT want to know where that might be.) I put on my editor's cap, cleared my schedule and my desk, and went to work for Pop. I got as far as the second page on one of his stories, but only because I love him. Otherwise, he lost me in the first sentence. What to do? I dumped the entire collection of manuscripts into a box and mailed them to my sister. I reminded Pop that he paid for her English Lit degree at an Ivy League School, so he might as well reap the rewards now. (Thank goodness that in a fit of parental wrath, he made me pay my own way through college. I own my diploma free and clear. Whew!)
I am a bad, bad, bad daughter. And my sister may never talk to me again. I've decided I'm okay with that. Because my only other choice was to light those manuscripts on fire and make them go BOOM!