Influence

Content: Chapter 1

A glass of milk.  That’s all I wanted.  The mess hidden behind the fridge doors stood in my way.  It certainly wasn’t like this yesterday, and my mom was at home all morning, so it  wasn’t from a shopping trip.  The things once on the door were on the shelves, the things on the shelves were on the door, and any items with transient locations inside were in even more nonsensical places.  I got the idea of what was going on, but the near slamming of the door on my fingers before I could reach the hidden-away carton of dairy confirmed it. 

“Don’t. Touch. A thing,” My mother admonished me and swatted at my hand as she held the opposite door in place.

“I’ll put it back-“ I began.

“No, I’ll get it,” she huffed.  “I need to empty it all out again.  It looks precisely just how it should right now, though, don’t you think?”

I supposed it did.  “Yeah,” I replied with a shrug.  “What time are you recording?”

“In 20 minutes, so grab your moo juice and go, buster,” my mom, Ordelia, offered up her last words of warning.  For the next hour, the kitchen would be her domain, but not in the way that a regular mother would be protective over her cutting boards of prepped vegetables and pots rumbling with some loving stew.  It was her recording slot- filming for her channel where she ‘made home,’ in a sense.  An organizer?  A clean freak?  OCD?  Or just maybe just an intuition for all the things that were satisfying for people falling under such categories.  Whatever it was, her views and subscriptions kept up with the rest of the family’s.

“Remind your dad and Cameron know if you run into them,” she said as I silently decanted the white liquid into a glass.

“Remind me of what?” Cameron, my older brother, had sneaked out past us, making a beeline for the pantry.  He noisily began to dig through the bags somewhere in the back corner.

“Video day,” my mom noted, scooting around the clear containers she had bought to do what was likely a complete fridge makeover that day.  Groceries came out of plastic bins and bags from the store, and then straight into slightly nicer ones that would look good stacked and lined up perfectly on camera.  The ocean cried out in sounds suffocated in petroleum byproducts.

“Yeah,” I snarked, leaning into the pantry doorway.  “Don’t mess up anything in there,”

“Oh, the pantry is next week, so feel free to get it nice and messy for me.”

I sighed and let Cameron back out, holding his bag of triangular-shaped and cheese-seasoned chips.  I grabbed my glass of milk and cleared out, dodging the tripods and lights being violently unfolded in our wakes.

Cameron’s room was before mine down the hall, and he entered, never to be heard from again.  Seriously, though- his room was soundproofed with various layers of foam material, and no matter at what time of the day or night he was shouting at his shooting games while broadcasting to the world, there was not a peep to be heard around any corner of our house.  The only way to tell if he was awake was by the faint flashing and endlessly shifting rainbow of lights under the crack of his door.  

Macy’s room was next, and in fact, one could tell if she was awake and active too by the lights under the door.  Hers, though, was a bright, pale light in the shape of a doughnut that she used to illuminate her face while she talked to her phone.  She was out for the day, grabbing her next haul of clothes or jewelry or makeup or perhaps even an overpriced but snapshot worthy dish at some fancy restaurant.  

The final room at our end of the house was mine, lit mostly by daylight and sometimes the ordinary lamp in my corner.  It would have been comparatively plain were it not for the extravagant desk that my father, Chip, had made in his workshop.  His saying, likely since before me and my siblings were born, was that if you were good at something, to not do it for free.  Maybe that changed for him when he realized that there was better money in making online videos about carpentry projects than the carpentry projects themselves, but the saying definitely did stick for us, even myself.

At that aforementioned desk is where I write- fan fiction to be specific.  Okay, imagine your favorite work of fiction, and then imagine your favorite characters from said fiction, and finally imagine them on other adventures, or engaging in romantic relationships, or… well, you get the picture.  That’s the kind of stuff I write and post online, an art that existed long before any of the forms of media my family practices.  Not that I’m bitter, rather that I’m simply used to being the only one having to explain to people what I do.

Everyone uses those ‘new’ platforms now, follows the people who put up their favorite works.  Niche is now mainstream.  Everyone knows what a content creator does these days, or even knows of a person that fits the description.  For me, that’s my whole family.

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