Mama said we all got the evil inside us. She said it’s our life’s work to get it out. Don’t put your shit on the Lord, she’d say, shit’s on you. She was right about that last part. I don’t know if I believe the first bit anymore. I find some are born sweet, others sour. Hell some are just plain rotten, like my cousin Henri. He’ll dare you to pronounce it the French way. Henri was never right. He started off wrong. Biting his own mama’s breasts, kicking and screaming and scratching at anything and everyone that ever came close to him. Even ones that got too close by accident, but especially the ones that tried to love him.

Henri’s currently serving thirty five years for one count attempted first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree burglary. One Tuesday morning, without rhyme or reason since his Daddy — Uncle Tiny — made out just fine selling his horse farm, Henri went and robbed the Surrey Bank & Trust. Didn’t bother to wear a toboggan or even a damn baseball hat. Then on his getaway joy ride he blew out a tire on I-77 and stabbed the motorist who stopped to help. When they arrested him, Henri confessed without provocation to also robbing the Vanishing Point four years prior after they cut him off one night, something everyone in town already knew he did but had no proof of since he wore a hunting mask that time. Probably would’ve gotten life if the judge hadn’t gone to Clemson with Granddaddy.

So now it’s up to the whole of us to look after his three daughters. We pass them around what’s left of the local family, sharing duties. It’s not what’s best for them but we’ve all got our own to raise too. The younger two are kind and gentle, inquisitive and curious, but his oldest — Aisling — she’ll make you think twice about Original Sin. She may not be fully rotten like Henri, but she’s got the sour in her.