Author's Note: This is an odd piece. It's a companion to "Tarleton" and "Topography," written along the same lines but focusing on a different, less-explored component of the dynamic. Namely, Scarlett's sister Sioban.

In the comics, Sioban appears as a vain, self-absorbed bitch who tries to turn off Scarlett's life support—mainly because Scarlett is the one with legal ownership of the family house in Atlanta. Now frankly, there isn't much to her besides her interactions with Scarlett, so I decided to try and expand on her motivations and viewpoint. At the same time, we get a glimpse of what she thinks about Snake and Scarlett, and (hopefully) a tiny glimmer of humanity.

Because of Sioban's personality, and the nature of the first-person-narrative, this a weirdly spotty and unfocused piece; it's less a story than stream-of-consciousness. Mea culpa. I hope you enjoy it, though.

Rating: T

Disclaimer: G.I. Joe and all associated characters and concepts are property of Hasbro Inc, and I derive no profit from this. Please accept this in the spirit with which it is offered—as a work of respect and love, not an attempt to claim ownership or earn money from this intellectual property.


Trash

by Totenkinder Madchen


Oh, please. It's not fair. It was never fair.

The O'Hara house in Atlanta has always been the gathering place for our whole dang family, and it has been since way before Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind and caused generations of our family a lifetime of "hey, you've got red hair and you're an O'Hara, right? I'm gonna call you Scarlett!" (And they'd laugh, like they thought they were being funny.) Daddy had the dojo, and Sean and Scott and Shana would always be out there with the students, practicing and making spectacles of themselves, but it was still the family house. It was the O'Hara house.

I was the eldest, and without Momma around, it was my job to make the family look good. Let no one say I didn't take care of myself or my appearance: I always knew what I had, and I wanted to make the best of it. For our family, whatever Shana might do. That girl's never been right in the head . . .

She was like that even as a kid, getting in fights and making a mess. She lost three of her baby teeth when an older boy socked her in the jaw for calling him a trashy word. Did she learn that word from me? Absolutely not. But Shana was always into that kind of mess, jumping to use her fists when she should have realized she was making us look ridiculous.

That was in the early sixties, with marches on Washington and Klan rallies and that horrible day when President Kennedy was shot. Uncertain times for a girl to be acting like she was some hillbilly. And she was an O'Hara—old blood, some of the oldest in Georgia! We can trace our ancestors back to settlers in 1673! (An Irish lord, and not a tenant farmer, no matter what the genealogy says.) We had to show that we were class, and we couldn't do that with Shana acting like that. It was expected that Sean and Scott would get in fights—boys that age are always idiots, can't help that—but Shana? Shana was always a thorn in my side. I wish Daddy could have seen that.

In a way, it was almost a relief when she joined the Army. She'd gone to school, all right, but all it did was make her more opinionated and brassy. I looked forward to the day when she realized that she couldn't just beat on those Army men like she could our brothers. Maybe then she'd have to try and act with a little class, like me, and learn how to behave like an actual woman.

She didn't. She got better at hiding it, but when she came home for holidays, I could see the signs. Shana could pretend to have class, but there were bruises on her arms, and sometimes even sunburn and scars. Daddy and our brothers fawned over her, though. I could never believe that: didn't they realize that acting out like that is never a good idea? It made us look like we couldn't control ourselves, it made us look like we were . . . we were . . . trash.

But you lie down with dogs, I suppose you get up with fleas. She started bringing home Army friends of hers sometimes—a big Alabama redneck, once, who didn't know how to behave in civilized company and carried even more guns than my brothers! But the worst—the very worst—was that awful freak she picked up somewhere.

If I'm lucky, that thing is never going to be my brother-in-law. Now my friend Mandy Lee, she was horrified that her sister was marrying a Yankee, and that's bad enough. But is that abnormality of a man a Yankee? How should I know? He can't talk! He doesn't have a face! He hides in the shadows and wears a mask and can't be touched for fear he'll snap and break your arm!

Shana never understood. Sean and Scott and Daddy certainly never understood. Things have changed so much in the past few years. People have landed on the moon, the president was murdered, that King man was murdered, the Russians have the bomb! Nobody knows what's going to happen, or if there will even be an America when we wake up tomorrow morning. In this kind of world, we can't lose face. Our great-grandmothers met the Union soldiers on the porch with the kind of poise that showed that they were class, that no matter what those soldiers did, they would never be as good as the lady whose house they were burning.

O'Haras need to show the world that we are class, and that they are crass. My sister? Is not class. She's friends with grunts, and she wants to marry a circus freak.

A few years ago, Daddy had a heart attack. For a few awful hours, we were sure he was going to die. He called us to take out his will and make sure that everything was in order before he passed on.

And you know what? You know what that will told us?

He left. The house. To Shana.

The family house in Atlanta, the one that great-grandmother had stood in front of when the soldiers and carpetbaggers arrived. The house was deeded over to her, to the one who never cared about the O'Hara name and went running all over the world shooting people like she was some kind of crazy woman.

I think I . . . well, I know what I think. I think it's not fair. My husband and I (I mentioned him, didn't I? Well, it's not important) deserve to inherit that house when Daddy dies. I've done more for this family's reputation than Shana ever has. I was voted Corn Harvest Queen, and Peach Festival Queen, and even Miss Atlanta! Shana was just the little nobody who kicked people. I couldn't believe it.

Daddy recovered. My nerves didn't.

So not so long ago, when Shana finally got herself shot like I always knew she would, can I really be blamed for trying to save our family's face?

She was going to be a vegetable! I just . . . I couldn't imagine that.

I can't imagine lying in a bed, forever. Just dreaming. Maybe not even dreaming. Just there, not doing anything, not alive, a wasting doorstop of a person that grows old and ugly and dies without ever even being alive again. Nothing but a note on the family tree and a brief visit to the vegetable crisper every Christmas. Better that she die, quickly and painlessly, instead of wasting away and becoming something that the rest of the world could gossip about and hold against the O'Haras. "They didn't raise her right," they'd be saying. "No wonder she got shot, running around like a piece of trash."

O'Haras are not trash. O'Haras will never be trash. I'm the one who's looking out for our family's reputation. Why can't Daddy and Shana understand that?

And why did that awful freak of hers look at me like that when I tried to have her unplugged?

He was sitting there by her bedside, all the time. He wouldn't understand. I tried to talk to him, once or twice, about family and reputation and why some things needed to be done, but he didn't listen. When I said it would be better for my sister to go quickly, he just . . . looked at me. Looked at me like I was a bug. Like I was a bug! I told him that if he had a sister, he would know what I meant, I thought he would hit me!

He didn't. It was a near thing. He just sat there, head bowed, holding my sister's hand like it was the most important thing in the world.

I'm the one who's trying to do what's best for us.

I'm sure I'm right.

Why doesn't anyone realize that?