(AUTHOR NOTE: My publisher told me I could post a chapter from the new book. There were 25 chapters to choose from, but I chose this one. Because I wanted to give you a love letter. And it seemed like the most appropriate love letter to give you would be an extremely indirect one that screams, "DO NOT FEEL SCARED—I AM JUST INTERACTING WITH YOU!!")
For the first few years of my life, the only people I knew how to find lived in my house.
A concrete objective never emerged, but the missions became bolder and more frequent. I started bringing things back with me. Richard's things.
And I said:
"Hanging out with Richard."
The spider was supposed to be Richard. I hadn't figured out how many arms and legs people are supposed to have yet, so I just put a whole bunch on there and hoped it was enough. I didn't want him to feel offended because I shortchanged him on legs.
The thing that finally blew my cover was stealing Richard's cat.
Stealing it wasn't the original plan. The opportunity presented itself, I seized it.
And now it is time for a quick fact about cats: cats aren't good secrets, because, under extreme duress, they have the ability to make a sound like:
My parents eventually realized the sound was coming from inside the house and located the source of it.
They confronted me after a strategy meeting about how the fuck to handle this. That's not something the books prepare you for. There's no chapter on what to do if you suspect your child is a predator. There's no Hallmark card for "Sorry we accused you of being a molester; we didn't realize our kid was sneaking into your house and stealing your spoons and animals and watching you while you sleep. We're really, really sorry."
That primal instinct I'd felt in Richard's garage flickered back online a little bit. Looking at the objects, and the freaked out cat, and my parents' confused faces, I realized that yeah, maybe this had been a weird thing to do....
So we all just stood there, feeling weird about ourselves and each other.