Janey always likes babysitting for the Groveland family because their home is so nice. The house she grew up in had always been lacking something. Never enough food. Never enough clean laundry. Never enough warmth (and you can take that a number of ways) to fill the sparsely furnished Northern California home she stayed in with her mom, dad, and younger brother. She makes a point to think of what took place in that house as "staying" rather than "living" because none of them were doing much of that.
When her little brother, Stevie, died of that mysterious crib death that babies die from all the time, Janey moved into her own efficiency apartment in Southern California the very next day and hasn't spoken to her mom, or her dad since. She heard that her dad had suffered a series of heart attacks and was taking it easy somewhere in Florida, well into his second marriage, and she has no clue where her mom is. Sucking dicks in hell for all she cares. Janey thinks about how her friend from high school, Laura, filled her in on the high drama of Stevie's funeral service, and how her mom didn't even go. Picture not even going to your baby's funeral. Janey pulls some Burt's Bees lip goo from her bag as she can feel herself getting worked up, and when she gets worked up her lips turn dry and gummy. Applying the stuff to her lips she thinks about her mom for a little too long, cursing her memory. She never loved that baby. She never loved Stevie. He's lucky to have died.
Shaking her hair back and forth, as though erasing these terrible thoughts like you'd erase a crudely drawn picture from an Etch A Sketch, Janey goes upstairs to check on Ronnie and Amanda, the Groveland's twins, who look like two fleece covered mounds in their double-wide shared crib. She surveys their cutely decorated room, closing the blinds, turning on their starry night nightlight, and then spots a drop of something on the floor under their crib and wipes it up with a Kleenex retrieved from her pocket. It was allergy season and she, and almost everyone else she knew had runny eyes and boogers for days. Feeling as though she'd done her due diligence she went back downstairs to get comfy on the couch. Phillip and Deena Groveland wouldn't be back from their dinner and drinks date night for several hours, which Janey will happily occupy by watching a couple movies, and making something to eat. Every time she babysits she always makes sure to leave some yummy leftovers for them. Deena always compliments her on her cooking, which makes Janey feel appreciated. Well, even more than appreciated, it makes her feel seen. Like she's in the world affecting things. Touching things in ways that effect other people.
Janey starts off with a scary movie, Silence of the Lambs, a classic. She laughs thinking about the actress who plays Catherine Martin and how she probably steers clear of Bath & Body Works because it leaves people wide open to make "put the lotion in the basket" jokes. To balance out the scary movie she puts on The Help. She hadn't seen this one yet but she loved the book, and Viola Davis is always good, no matter what she's in. She's curious to see how they'll do the part about the one lady making her bitchy boss a pie with poop in it. The scene ends up surpassing her expectations.
Now hungry (not even killers and poop pie could curb that) she gets to work in the kitchen, searching the cabinets for ingredients (the Grovelands didn't mind) and pulling a Tupperware she'd pre-prepared from the fridge. Inspired by The Help, she decides to make a couple pot pies. Janey enjoys cooking and finds that it comes easy to her. She's especially good at always finding a way to mix in ingredients that you wouldn't normally think would work together. She eats almost all of the first pot pie, and as she's placing the second on a cooling rack she hears the garage door open, indicating that she's no longer alone. She wipes a few stray crumbs off the kitchen counter, bags up her Tupperware and partially eaten pot pie, and waits by the entryway, to greet Phillip and Deena as they come in.
Deena, the first one through the door, sniffs the air as she removes her light scarf. "Oh my! What is that delightful smell, Janey? Did you make one of your masterpieces again?"
Janey, gathering her purse and putting it over her shoulder, knowing that they'll want their house to themselves now, smiles and nods. "You'll have to let me know how you like it. I was inspired by this movie I watched tonight called The Help and made you a pot pie."
"Oh! I can't wait to try it," Deena says. "What did you put in it?"
"Well, it's certainly not poop," Janey says. She takes the envelope (always two crips $50 dollar bills) from Phillip and notices Deena's puzzled expression. She must not have seen that movie.
They say their goodbyes and Janey walks down the drive towards her bicycle, still leaning up against a bush lining their yard. No need to lock it in that neighborhood. She positions herself on the seat, puts one foot on a pedal, and then waits for the screams.
Can you believe it took them that long to check on those babies? She thinks to herself as she pedals like hell down the street.
As she pulls up to the Greyhound station to buy a ticket for whatever is leaving next she thinks about the Grovelands, and whether or not they'll watch when the police poke around in that pie. Hers was so good.
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