When you scrawled things into a datapad, you could always erase the things you didn't like.
"Nothing's changing, Carth. I don't have a husband, I have some weekend flyboy that's here today, gone today."
Once upon a time there was a boy. He'd always been your average boy, but deep down, he knew he was special...
Dustil frowned at the datapad. What happened next? Stories always began with "once upon a time" and they always concluded with "and they lived happily ever after." Stories never consisted of cycles of sending the kid to bed so the adults could "discuss" things.
Discussion never involved screaming or crying. Dustil knew this because he looked up the definition.
"I have a responsibility--"
"You're damn right you do and here you are walking out on it."
"It's a job, Morgana. I go to work, I get paid, we spend it on the mortgage. You have a job, too."
"My job is mother. I get that. The social work's an extra paycheck, but I know what comes first."
Once upon a time there was a boy. He'd always been your average boy, but deep down, he knew he was special. Not just special in the way that sometimes, if he wanted something small like a writing stylus, it would roll over to him without him having to get up. But special, special. He knew that someday, despite the rancor that would show up and ravage the planet for two weeks every few months or so, he'd survive, he'd do something meaningful, he'd change things.
"Who are you out there saving, Carth? What's out there that's more important than me?"
"That's not fair! Now you knew exactly what you were getting into when you married me."
Dustil stretched out a hand and the stylus to the datapad floated into it. It was a weird little tickle whenever things like that happened. He'd tried to show it to his father last time he came home, but his dad just thought it was some game Dustil was playing at. He snorted. Only little kids played stupid imaginary games like that.
What would the boy's name be? Dustil sounded a little too whatever. The boy couldn't be a nobody loser that scrawled things into a datapad because when you scrawled things into a datapad, you could always erase the things you didn't like. He needed a real name, like Lord Doominator, only less evil sounding. Maybe Mr. Awesome or Dr. Pirate. Doctors were rich and everyone knew that pirates were awesome. Pirates always kicked the snot out of the Republic fleet.
"It's not about me! You have a son, now. That's an obligation, a responsibility, a person that--"
"No. Don't you dare drag him into this because you're mad at me."
"Hello? He's in this, Carth, whether you like it or not. That's what I've been trying to get into your skull for the past how many years?"
Mom liked to stay calm and to keep her volume level. She said only morons tried to out-scream someone in an argument, because they didn't have the intelligence to discuss their stance. Usually the way Dustil would tell that he was making her angry was if she started talking really fast. How his father managed so easily to make the volume of her voice lurch upwards into strange little peaks was something of a mystery to him.
Dustil decided that a rancor would be the best choice for a villain, because rancors were ugly. Only instead of your average bone-crushing rancor, his rancors' teeth would leak venom and they'd be skilled enough to fly starships. An unfeeling, instinct-driven monster was horrifying in its own right, but giving that ruthless thing the ability to operate machinery just pushed it to the next level. Dr. Pirate Doominator would definitely have his hands full.
"I'm still here. I'm here right now. You're making it sound like I don't put in any effort whatsoever."
"I just got a note from one of his teachers. For their genealogy project, Dustil wrote an elaborate story about how his father, the great Admiral Carth Onasi died saving orphans during the siege of Sarapin."
"He thinks I'm an Admiral?"
Mom read that? Dustil was fairly positive that it was one of his finest works to date. The good Admiral had to stuff his intestines back into his torso with one hand and fire his blaster with the other. And while he lay, convulsing in a puddle of his own blood and the orphans wept, he had the peace of mind to utter, "Tell my boy he's the man of the house now," with his dying breath. Dustil wondered if maybe he should have included theme music. It would've definitely had to have been something slow and dramatic.
If he had music, he could use it to drown out the sound Mom was making. Sometimes, if he was bored, he would go out of his way to make the girl next door, Renny Gost, cry, because it was funny to see her face scrunch up, but it never felt right to hear his mother do it. The way his insides twisted up made him imagine that must be what it felt like to swallow broken glass.
He didn't so much feel like writing anymore as he felt like hitting something.
"Oh, Mo. Are you...? Don't cry, please don't cry."
"This is insane. I can't just-- something has to change."
"It's only 181 days."
"Six months. That's nothing, we've done that before."
"I miss you."
From his bed, Dustil traced the wood paneling on his wall with his big toe. Rancors were good. When the time came, the boy who was really special after all would cut the rancor's heart out from its chest. The happily ever after would have to follow directly after that.
"We'll talk, I promise. Please don't cry, please don't cry, please don't cry..."