MY TROUBLE ITS BEGINNING


My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star. My brother Driver Eighteen Star, and my ghost brother MoJacques Five Star, dead when I myself was only six years old. Still my heart is rain for him, my brother dead of posies little.

My mother and my grands and my great-grands been Sengle pure. Our people be a tarry night sort, and we skinny and long. My brother Driver climb a tree with only hands, because our bones so light, our muscles strong. We flee like a dragonfly over water, we fight like ten guns, and we be bell to see. Other children go deranged and unpredictable for our love.

We Sengles be a wandering sort. We never grown nothing from anything, never had no tato patch nor cornfield. Be thieves, and brave to hunt. A Sengle hungry even when he eat, even when he rich, he still want to grab and rob, he hungry for something he ain't never seen nor thought of. We was so proud, we was ridiculous as wild animals, but we was bell and strong.

In my greats' time, we come up from Chespea Water. Was living peaceful by Two Towns until the neckface murderers come. Then we flee onward to these Massa woods. Here we thieve well. We live as long as Lowells – sometimes twenty years or twenty-one years. Every Sengle have a knife, and we together possess two guns. Driver got a gun that shoot, and Crow Sixteen a broken shotgun, still is good for scaring.

This day my story start, we been out scratching in the evacs. These evacs be house after house that face each other in twin lines. Houses shambledown and rotten; ya, the road between is broken through with pushing weeds. Get fifty houses in a street, and twenty streets in one hour's walking. When these houses all was full, it been more people here than squirrels. Ain't nobody living now.

Loot here be older, but is rich. We find every kind of thing – pharmacies, can food, clothes. Find cigarettes, be old with mushroom taste, but still can smoke. What I love most – can of Beef-a-roni. I eat that cold. I eat Beef-a-roni any way. The person invented Beef-a-roni, that person was a valuable genius.

This raid, it been Jermaine Fourteen, Asha Badmouth Fifteen, and my brother Driver Eighteen, who been Sengle sergeant then. Ya, my favorite little, Keepers Eight, been there on scouting task. We come out with two horses, by own finicky spotten pony Money and Big Smoke who pull a sledge.

Ya, this been a feary day, because we find a sleeper house. Been two sleepers there, they lain together in a bed. One been grown, one eightish size. Both gone with years to stain and bones. Skeletons mix their ribs, their ghosty hair caught in one tangle.

In houses with these dead, we take no loot. It be unlucky wealth. Nor is good taboo to leave the house. Must rid it with clean fire.