Living Short in Bel AIr

I hated it when people thought small people couldn’t do anything. Just because I was short, skinny, and flat all over, it didn’t mean I had no muscle. Hey, 100lbs wasn’t all skin and bones.

He smirked at my threat, and sucked on his finger before he popped another chocolate in his mouth. He thought this was funny. Aw hell no. This wasn’t funny. This was war.

I made a Sparta war call and tackled the boy on my bed, pinning him down. His eyes widened at me---the crazy chocolate lady---as my face was burning with fiery. I snatched my Minnie Mouse pillow and started whiping it at his face, nailing the Satan in the cheek.

“Take!”
BAM!
“That!”
BAM!
“You!”
BAM!
“Mutha!”
BAM!
“F*cking!”
BAM!
“Chocolate!”
BAM!
“Stealing!”
BAM!
“Wh*re!”

The sound of a whistle came barrelling into my room, but that didn’t stop me. I continued to nail the bastard as the voice of Ruby was heard first. Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

“Okay, who’s being raped?!”

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1. ChapteЯ 1: Bacon. Period.

ChapteЯ 1: Bacon. Period.

Running around with only a robe and half of her hair in curlers, my Latina mother looked like the Grinch. Her tanned face was masked with seaweed wrap, and I watched in amusement as she frantically ran around.

"Ly-a!"

I bit off my nail. "What?!"

"Where's Ruby?"

"How am I supposed to know?"

"I'm here!"

Turning to see my mother's tiny assistant, the petite and sassy black woman walked in, dressed in a classy white suit. Taking one look at my frantic mother, she rolled her eyes and spun back around. "I'll get the vodka."

Just when I thought I could enjoy my Saturday T.V. time in my big sweater and mug of bacon, my mother proved surprisingly more entertaining.

"How could they?!" My mom moaned, finally collapsing on our living room couch.

I took a mouthful of crispy bacon, letting the crumbs fall onto my sweatpants. "How could they what?"

"They replaced me! Me! That's like--like replacing Oprah!"

"I thought Oprah was dead?"

My mother dropped her jaw, and I quickly stuffed another piece of meat to shut up. "Honey! Oprah was the one who inspired my talk show! I've watched that lady rock the world since I was a teen! We could have been sisters!"

"Really?" I wrinkled my nose. "Doesn't that make you old?"

She narrowed her gaze at me. "What are you trying to say, daughter?" she snapped, reminding me who wore the pants in the house.

"Well, you've gotten married four times--"

"All men I loved. Especially the first one; your father."

"Of course..." After my dad had died; my mother and I had gotten over the grief with humour, the thing we did to pass through the rough times. Cringing to see my mother's mask crack, I continued, "But Ruby did tell me you were a head-turner in high school." At least, I thought she did.

"Thanks. . . I think?"

"Not that you aren't now," I quickly amended, and then shrugged slightly. "You know, for an old dude."

"Good one, Ly-a," Ruby grinned, strutting in with two martini glasses.

"What?" I frowned for a second, and blurted in a rush, "I mean, not old. . .old."

"Bacon in the mouth, dear," Ruby suggested and I obeyed, sinking into the cushion. "So listen, Mia. I got some news---"

"I got news!" My mother snatched the glass, and gulped it down. Shoving it back to Ruby's hands, she rubbed her temple in frustration. "They replaced me."

Ruby and I exchanged worried looks. "Could you elaborate more?"

She slammed her fist down, her mask cracking through her cheeks. "They're trading me off of my talk show for some---some---some young, hip, blonde tart!"

I swallowed another strip of bacon. "You mean Britney Spears?"

Ruby frowned, and slapped me upside the head. "Not that plastic tart," she scoffed, and I laughed.

"This isn't funny! Talking With Virgins isn't mine anymore! My agent said I have only one last show to broadcast until they kick the boot! It's today! They want me to introduce the blonde bimbo in front of all my viewers! It's like they want me to suffer!"

I offered my mug of bacon, but she declined. "I've been Miss Virgin---"

"I thought that was Madonna?"

She shot me an obnoxious glare, and flicked me off. "Ly-a, I started Talking With Virgins when I was seventeen! Your age! Now they're just dumping me---"

"You've had plenty of good runs, Mia," soothed Ruby, but I knew she was holding back a humorous comment.

My mother slowly nodded. "I guess. . . sure. I interviewed even Oprah herself. I've interviewed six presidents---four of them hitting on me. I've gotten awards, nominees, medals, photo shoots." She heavily sighed, and snatched a strip of bacon from my hand. "I need a stress reliever. I need a man."

My eyes widened and I took the bacon back in alarm. "Nu-uh! No more men! You've gotten married more times than Kim Kardashian has gotten boob-lifts!"

Ruby poured a martini glass and handed it to my mother.

"Ruby, tell my daughter she's wrong."

"I ain't in this!" she cried, raising her hands in the air.

"Ugh! Mom! Everything is fine now! You, Ruby and I! Can we just end it there?"

The black woman snapped her fingers. "Why don't you marry a gay guy? That was fun."

I slapped Ruby, "I thought you were on my side?!"

"Naw. It's more fun watching your mom being a screw-up."

"I'm right here you know!"

"We know," the two of us sang, rolling our eyes.

Ruby suddenly slapped her knee, making me jump. "I can't believe I almost forgot to tell you my news!"

"Does it include food?" I asked.

"No."

"Then I'm out." Getting up, Ruby slammed me down on the couch.

"Not so fast. It's about your mother and---"

"I think I hear the door," I lied, but Ruby pushed me back, kissing her teeth.

"Damn you teenagers. Have the attention span of zero," she mumbled. I innocently smiled. Clearing her throat, I sat up straighter, realizing it was serious. "I got a message from my doctor."

Nervously chewing on my lip, I tightly griped the mug. A few days ago, Ruby had an anxiety attack in the kitchen and my mom and I thought she was a goner. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and I was so glad she came home healthy. "They said I had to lay off some work, and not to do much for the next while. I needed someone to split the work and to help chase you," she pointed to my mother with an evil eye, "around. And taking care---"

My mom abruptly sat up, a look of guilt washed over. Those two had been best friends since high school, and they certainly acted like sisters. "Ruby, wait! I'm so sorry again about the whole thing! Like I told you, I didn't mean to hand you so much work. I felt so bad---"

"I could help," I interjected, even surprising myself. I was quite a lazy person, but Ruby was like an aunt to me.

"Thanks Ly-a, but I already got help. It's---"

"It's who?" Mia intruded.

"Shut up!" Ruby snapped. "And pat down your hair. You look like a damn cock-a-doodle."

I snorted, and bit down on my sleeve as my mother scowled, smoothing down her head.

"As I was saying, it's---"

Ding-dong-ding!

"I got it!" I shouted, although everyone was in the same room. Ruby continued to chat with my mother as I left, and I quickly hustled down the long hallway.

Scratching my back side, I opened the door. "Hey! How may I help you?"

Mary, our sweet elderly neighbour smiled, her snowy hair tied back into a tight bun. She wore tiny flowered clips and a hummingbird pin on her vintage cardigan, still managing to look well-aged.

"Hello, Ly-a, dear! How are you?"

"I'm fine, you?"

"Oh, just lovely," she gushed, and I looked down to see a small basset hound in her frail hands.

Flattening down my shirt, I tried not to feel self-conscience as I compared myself to the rich old lady. But come on. She was wearing diamonds! And besides, we lived in Bel Air, California! Everyone was rich and well poised here. Mansions lined up down the quiet, lush green lawns, and my mom being a 24/7 diva and celebrity didn't have much time to teach me any manners. I learned the ropes around here by myself since I was born. That also meant I didn't set any rules for myself either. Like going outside; dressed as a homeless bum, and opening the door while scratching my ass.

Yeah, I never really had any restrictions for myself. I was more of the go-with-the-flow type.

Directing my concern to something else, I quickly questioned, "Since when did you get a dog, Miss M?"

"This cute thing?" She rubbed its tiny nose, and scratched behind the floppy ear. "This is actually for you."

"Me?" My eyes widened. "I don't think I could keep such---such---a, uh." The tiny legs wiggled in the old lady's hands and it looked funny with his round belly, "A creature. Besides, there isn't an occasion."

"But there is! It's Giving Day!"

I studied the woman's peachy face. "Isn't that Thanksgiving day?"

Her lips turned into a pout, and a wrinkle creased on her forehead. "Stop being such a smart-ass." I was a little taken aback by her crude language, but her pout cracked back into a sweet old lady smile. "Now take 'em."

"Oh!" The dog was shoved to my chest, not that it would hurt since I was flat as a surfboard, and it squirmed. "Er, thanks, Mrs. M. I think."

"No need for thanking! It's not like it's Thanksgiving day," she winked.

"Riiiiight." I slowly nodded, but knew better as she skipped off, a little too happy I might add. The little hag even did a leprechaun kick as she frolicked back to her lawn, the naked Cupid sputtering water out of her stone fountain. "Weird." I closed the door behind me, and checked to see if foam was coming out of the hound's mouth. "What kind of trouble are you?" I asked him---I checked under his stubby legs. Yup. Definitely a dude.

Walking over to the living room, he followed, his ears dragging along the tiled floor.

"This is just what I asked for! Are you sure you're not pulling my leg, Ruby?" squealed my mom.

I made my way back to the couch, the dog only a few feet away. The giddy ladies squealed again, high-fiving each other with excitement.

Leaning over to my mom, I gave a sceptical look. "Why are you so happy? Did you do something slutty?"

"No, I'm not that excited." She bounced on the velvet couch like she was having a sugar rush. "You won't believe what Ruby---"

The beloved hound barked and my mom screamed, her seaweed mask cracking below her nose. "You brought a dog home?!"

Busted.

"Oh! I think I hear someone calling! Coming!" Snatching the mug of bacon, I made a beeline for the stairs, the little dog hot on my feet.

Exhaling a large sigh, I stopped once I reached the top of the steps, holding the railing for support. "I really wished I had lain off the bacon," I puffed. Taking a strip of meat into my mouth, I walked right into my room.

Closing the door behind me, I set down the bacon mug on my dresser and scratched my butt. The dog barked and jumped in place causing me to turn around. My heart jumped out of my chest and I screamed.

Sitting on my bed was a tall boy, dark auburn strands falling around his square jaw, eyes not brown or green, but more of a hazel, darting to mine. The zebra patterned sheets were shifted so there was complete access to under my bed, some junk already taken out. My gaze followed to the open box of chocolates that rested on his lap; the ribbon and lid on the floor.

I stopped screaming and watched in horrible fascination as he popped a cute little chocolate heart in his mouth. One, two, but three chews later, he swallowed and licked his lips at me. "Delicious."

Chocolates. He's eating my chocolates. My secret stash of chocolates!

He was messing with my food! My secret stash of food!

And no one messes with my food.

"Strange boy, you're about to get a serious ass whoop'in."

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