One day, God came to Amanda in the form of a doorstop and said, “Amanda? This is God speaking. Your sister Natalie is going to be a rich, very famous opera star. But she can’t be a rich, very famous opera star until you join the National Guard.”
“Natalie!? A rich and famous opera star? You’ve got to be kidding!”
“No,” said God, “I’m not.”
The next day, at breakfast, Natalie said she wanted to take singing lessons.
“I’ll have you know,” said Amanda, “I’m not going to join the National Guard.”
“Who cares?” said Natalie. “I never said you had to join the National Guard. That’s gross.” Picking in her runny scrambled eggs, Natalie absentmindedly began a perforating scale in D sharp harmonic minor. She sang using loud Ha Ha Ha syllables.
HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA.
She started higher, her eyes on her plate.
HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA HAA
Amanda threw down her fork.
“Are you listening to this?” She stared at the heavens.
God spoke from the eggs. “I think you look great in boots.”
Natalie started at the bottom of the Gregorian scale, taking it up in fifths. Amanda left, smiling weakly because she was nauseous.
It went on all day. By mid-afternoon Natalie had singing lessons lined up with Rudolfo, piano lessons with Miss Mary Ellen Darby and acting from a turbaned man who insisted on being called “Lima.”
When Natalie shut herself in the shower where she could get that whole, resonant sound, Amanda noticed the doorstop was looking a little drawn and pale.
Amanda had a discreet smile on when she sat down at breakfast the next morning. Natalie was diddling her finger in the orange juice.
“Natalie, have you ever considered the National Guard?”
“I’ve always loved camouflage,” replied Natalie, and she began strafe-bombing her orange juice with Froot Loops.
Amanda tried some experimental shrieks. She had always wanted to sing in a rock band.