Alyssa Dunphey was a bitch.
Everyone knew this and it was a widely accepted fact at Prestonwood Baptist Church. New members of the church were warned, “That little one? With the dark hair? She’s a bitch, so don’t worry about it if she smites you, it’s not you, it’s her.”
Mrs. Dunphey realized this about her daughter when she as 4 years old. They were at a birthday party for one of the girls in her play group. The little girl was opening presents and received a bright pink pony with shiny silver and purple hair. Alyssa locked eyes with the pony, entranced. When told the pony was for Mara, the birthday girl, Alyssa narrowed her eyes, just briefly, then lifted her tiny chin and silently gulped. Shortly thereafter, while the cake was being distributed, Mrs. Dunphey found her daughter at the present table cutting the mane and tail off the small pink horse. Alyssa pursed her lips and shrugged her right shoulder when Mrs. Dunphey took the scissors away and admonished her child.
But it wasn’t just incidents like that in which Mrs. Dunphey realized her daughter’s true nature. It wasn’t just the “You’re fat” or “Your face looks funny” or “You have big breasts” comments that Alyssa frequently doled out. It was the thread of self-serving malfeasance that lingered in her young, narrowed eyes which Mrs. Dunphey found astonishing.
As Alyssa grew up, she slowly began to realize the nature of her own bitchiness. It was like a twitch couldn’t control. Unlike when she was 4, people began to be less forgiving of her lewd, if honest, comments. They were no longer funny, and a planet away from charming, coming from an 8 year old. So Alyssa took it upon herself to prune this nameless persona.
When she was 9 she was first told what she was.
Jimmy gave her the word. He was 12, and on that particular day at Prestonwood Baptist Church, the Sunday School classes were lumped together due to low attendance, pooling the 9 through 12 year old pupils into the same classroom. Jimmy took an immediate liking to Jessica, another girl Alyssa’s year with short strawberry-blonde hair. Alyssa thought hair that color was unnatural and intolerable. She also thought Jimmy’s freckles were unnatural in quantity and equally intolerable. Both people in question made Alyssa narrow her eyes whenever they spoke.
“Who can tell me what a parable is?” The long nose teacher asked in her high voice.
Jimmy stared at Jessica as she answered, “It’s a story that teaches a lesson.” The teacher smiled at her, “Well said, Jessica.” The girl bobbed her tomato head and smiled back. Alyssa narrowed her eyes.
After the lesson ended, all of the pupils gathered in the dining hall for donut holes before their attendance was required at the morning service. Jimmy leaned toward Jessica in line and stuttered as he asked her something about the bracelet she was wearing. Alyssa narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips as Jessica smile back at him.
When it was her turn at the breakfast table, Alyssa carefully filled her cup of orange juice and made her way to the table were Jimmy sat. The boys at the table gave her an odd fleeting glance, surprised she had decided to sit next to them, then turned back to their conversations. Alyssa picked up her orange juice as if to take a sip, then delicately tipped it over, so that the contents landed perfectly in Jimmy’s lap. Jimmy threw a small fit of course, and so Alyssa took her cue and found somewhere else to sit. It was at that moment Jessica came back from the bathroom, and Alyssa made sure to fill her in on the commotion, Jimmy wet his pants.
“You’re a bitch.” Jimmy’s words rolled across the room and landed comfortably on Alyssa. Yes, she thought, that’s what I am.
It was then that she really started working at it, perfecting her bitchiness. She’d spend 45 minutes in the bathroom mirror just looking at herself in the mirror, adjusting her eyes and lips until she attained the perfect bitch face.
Mrs. Dunphey was ever ashamed of being responsible for the girl know as “the little bitch” among the worshippers at Prestonwood Baptist Church. But Alyssa was born that way, and if God gave her a bitch for a daughter, well, Mrs. Dunphey planned to love her little bitch of a child all the same.