Family is important. Being able to provide what your parents need is even more important. I learned that fact early, the day all my toys were sold to help pay the rent. Mom and Dad had bills to pay, and we all had to pitch in. They didn't think - or care maybe - about little things like toys.
The one thing they paid alot of attention to was the idea of a lemonade stand. Life was constantly handing them lemons, and they spent a great deal of time trying to make lemonade. Like when they decided I should become the next great one-handed piano player. I'd make lots of money in Hollywood, get a recording contract. Dad was right when he said it wouldn't hurt for long. The Methadone and shots of whiskey helped dull everything nicely. I barely remember the feel of my hand on the butcher block, the sound of the knife slamming through wrist bones. And wham - I'm the next musical sensation.
Maybe they should have checked me out first. Checked to see if I could tell one note from another. But how could they have known I was tone deaf?
My younger sister took my spot a few years later. Dolled up like one of those porcelain statues, she was Marilyn Monroe in miniature. She even did a photo shoot with the wind blowing up through a grate, though the publication that bought the pictures wasn't exactly Vanity Fair. It also didn't help that all the contest judges got to know her very intimately - again, thanks to Dad and Mom. Another beauty queen high on meth, another Hollywood suicide. Another spoiled batch of lemonade.
Fast forward a couple decades and here I am, working at the stand once more. The new hand is pretty cool actually, bands of steel taking the place of real fingers. I have to be careful not to squeeze too hard sometimes, since the control software can be glitchy. As long as I keep the crosshairs lined up, the paydays keep coming in. I used to think about the lives I'm ending, but the whiskey helps drown out the faces. Dad is proud of me. The accident that enabled us to file the claim with the insurance gave me this career. Along with my new mechanical eye, of course.
Slow my breathing. Tighten the index finger ever so slightly. The recoil is jarring, but I'm used to it. The head is gone, just a messy stain on the wall and couch. Time to disappear, take the payment to Dad. What can I say? I'm just another grateful lemon, happy to finally be making lemonade.