• The year was 1985, and Polly had just turned four. Two years ago Polly, her father, and her mother were all together, and probably could have been considered a happy family. Things were certainly looking up for them, too. Polly's father, Mike, had just gotten a well paying job in construction, and her mother, Jewel, had received a position at the local hospital as a doctor's assistant. Occupations aside, the couple couldn't have been happier as they had had a daughter, just like they wanted. Everything they envisioned had come true.
    Sadly, nothing lasts forever. Jewel, Polly's mother, caught a virus from one of the patients at the hospital she worked in. After a whole month of being bedridden, it seemed as though the worst part was over. Jewel appeared to be just fine. Little did everyone know, the virus had not passed. The very day she returned to work, it claimed her life. Her body's system failed completely, and she collapsed while going done the stairs, on her way to the nursery to check on the infants. Jewel's body was found by an intern at the bottom of a flight of stairs, right before the door to the nursery, lying there broken and askew.
    To the average individual, joy comes around very rarely in life. It can often be hard to stay optimistic, especially under Polly's circumstances. However, Polly never let negativity come into her life. Always looking at the bright side of things.
    In year 1987, Polly's father remarried. Her name was Barbra. She was a fairly beautiful, middle-aged woman with thick, blonde hair, and who always smelled of ginger. Barbra had two daughters, Jill and Claire. They were twins, and both were equally unattractive. Polly, on the other hand, wasn't ugly at all. In fact, neither one of the twins could hold a candle to her, and for this they despised her. Even Barbra was stricken with jealousy, as Polly was far better looking then both her daughters, and she was only six.
    Barbra would usually turn up her nose, and walk away. That is, unless Mike was around. Then she was the step-mother from some happy-go-lucky fairy-tale. Jill and Claire, however, decided to take a more hands on approach. They started being very cruel to Polly on a constant basis. Since Mike was always working, he was never around to see, or stop any of this. Barbra would a just pretend she didn't notice anything was going on. When Polly finally threatened to go to her father, Barbra stepped in. With a simple manipulating guilt-trip, Polly stayed quiet, and the cruel acts continued.
    Barbra didn't work, and she only married Mike because of how well he was being payed. One can only imagine the angst she felt when she received a phone call from the construction company Mike worked at, stating that there was an accident at the job site, and Mike had been killed. The money wasn't even a concern to Barbra, as her parents were rather wealthy. The only reason she went off on her own, was because her parents wanted to teach her a thing about responsibilities. But, under the current circumstances, they agreed to set up a generous allowance for Barbra in this time of morning. Anything to help with this “ tragic loss “. No, Barbra's only concern was this six-year-old, innocent girl that her, and her daughters both passionately disliked. Nobody even stopped and asked how Polly was doing after her loss. It was like Mike only mattered to Polly. She was devastated after all, but refused to show it.
    Instead of giving Polly to an orphanage, Barbra decided to keep her and make her life horrible. It was like her way of seeking revenge on a dead man, and for years to come, Polly endured an endless chain of verbal, and near physical abuse. Until 1995. It was the year Polly turned fourteen, and in that exact year, her life changed forever.
    Polly, Barbra, Jill, and Claire all lived in Northern California at this time. They lived in a wealthy neighborhood, and the twins attended a very high-class, private school. This was all made possible by Barbra's parents. Kind as they were, they had intended on putting Polly in the same private school, but Barbra told them not to. She told her parents that Polly decided she wanted to go to some lowly public school, and she told Polly that her parents simply didn't want to waste high-class schooling on her.
    It was a tiring life for Polly. She lived like a slave while her crude step-sisters lived in the lap of luxury, to the extent of Barbra's allowance of course. Polly did all the housework. She cooked, cleaned, washed dishes, and did the laundry. A slave life indeed. Polly wasn't even her real name, she was given it by her step-sisters. It came from a bad joke about a bird, as she was always filthy from chores, made in relation to a bird in it's cage usually being dirty.
    Believe it or not, this is where our story begins. One place Polly always wanted to go was, Las Vegas. She remembered when her father was alive, he used to talk about his younger years in Vegas, and of how much fun he used to have. He made it sound like one of those towns you hear about in fairy-tales, the magic towns where any fantasy could come true. What Polly failed to realize, was that this was true about Las Vegas, but in ways she could never fathom. Naïve, and shut off from the world, Polly thought that life was filled with mostly good-natured people, with little pain. She wouldn't understand the foul, horrid manner of reality, if you spoon-fed to her. It would seem that going to Vegas would be a mistake better left unmade, in Polly's case.
    Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, Barbra would not allow a trip to Las Vegas for Polly. Although, a vacation in Las Vegas sounded exciting, so Barbra decided they would go, without Polly of course. Polly pleaded and begged to allowed to accompany them on the trip, but Barbra simply said no every time. Finally, after so much begging, Barbra caved slightly. She devised a way to make Polly miss out on the trip because of her own doing. “ Polly, if you can go to the market and complete all the grocery shopping, and return home within the next half-hour, you may go. “ Barbra smirked as she knew the task was near impossible to fulfill in the allotted time. It took fifteen minutes to walk to the market from their house, and counting the time it takes to get the shopping done and return home, it would take about an hour. Filled with joy, Polly rushed off to to the market.
    In the midst of her excitement, the likelihood she could get the shopping done in thirty minutes took a while to register. When it did, she had to think for a moment. Reaching an epiphany, Polly simply smiled.
    What dear, old Barbra didn't know, was that there was rival market that opened near their home. Polly hadn't yet gone to it because the longer walk meant more time away from her dreaded household. Her step-mother didn't know of this market's existence because Polly did all the chores, and shopping, so Barbra hardly ever left the house.
    Needless to say, Polly finished the shopping and was almost home with twelve minutes to spare. When she arrived, Barbra greeted her with a flustered and irritated disposition. She snorted and turned up her nose, but true to her word, she instructed Polly to go wash up and pack her things. This, of course, was much to the dismay of Jill and Claire. They departed the very next day.
    Barbra, Jill, and Claire all flew first class, while Polly flew coach. It was a relatively short trip, so they arrived at the Vegas airport in no time at all. Jill and Claire, already expressing how they didn't at all like Tweety, as they sometimes called her, accompanying them on this vacation, cried and complained nearly the whole time. However, Barbra stayed calm. She had plan to rid them all of the burden that is Polly, forever. Before regrouping, as they flew separate classes, Barbra informed her two daughters of this plan. Simultaneously they all donned a devious smile. Oblivious to the negative overtones of foul play, Polly approached her “ family “, feeling only joy. She was so happy and excited , she didn't even notice the smirks that could make an undertaker grimace. Not that she would have noticed anyway. As a way of dealing with circumstance, Polly always used a “ here, but not really here “ mentality. Being oblivious helped her cope.
    The plan was to rent a room at a Hotel, go out on the strip, and leave without Polly. Simple as that. By now they were in faze two of the plan, all together walking the strip. All Barbra and the twins needed was some way to leave there little tag-along behind. They were all going over ideas in their heads. Suddenly Jill spotted a street performer doing magic and entertaining a large group of people. She darted off and disappeared into the cluster of people surrounding the magician. Claire and Barbra went with the flow of things. Claire saw a gift shop heavy with bystanders, and without hesitation she ran into the midst of it. Barbra searched around, and finding nothing to occupy her, she merely faded into a large wave of people that were passing by. This all happened so quickly, Polly was left there stunned and alone. It's funny how you can be alone while surrounded by bustling alcoholics, and tourists. Polly tried to find any one of them, but there were too many people. There must have been some sort of big event going on this evening.
    Polly spent the next hour walking the strip, searching for any sign of her step-mother, or step-sisters. Barbra, Jill, and Claire had already made it back to the Hotel, they weren't staying. They all gathered their things went to check out, so that they may check into another Hotel, lowering the odds Polly would find them. While they did this, Polly had just given up hope in her search. She decided to go back to the Hotel, but she was so taken by the crowds, and lights that she hadn't payed any attention to Hotel they checked into. Polly took the first road off the strip and realized she made a wrong turn. Now she really was lost. Unable to handle it, she went and say down at the edge of a nearby alley, and began to cry.
    She cried, and cried for fifteen solid minute. Suddenly she was interrupted by a voice. It was cool, and heartwarming, which was strange because it belonged to a seemingly young homeless man. “ Why so down? “ Polly looked up at him with teary eyes, “ My step-mother, and her daughters left me here all alone. They've never liked me, but if I don't find them then I be left here. “ The bum sat down on the ground opposite Polly. “ You really want to go with people who hate you enough to leave you all on your own? “ Polly hung her head. “ I don't have any choice. “ This man, he chuckled and leaned back on his hands. “ You always have a choice. If you ask me, I think if they left you behind, you're better off without them. Here... take this. “ He pulled a thick white pill out of his pocket, and offered it to Polly. She took it and brought it to her lips. “ What will it do to me? “ The bum smiled. “ It'll help put things in perspective for you. Only til midnight, though. “ Polly hesitated, but only for a moment. She then took the pill in her mouth, closed her eyes, and swallowed it down. “ Will it really help? “ By the time she asked this there was nobody around to answer. As soon as she opened her eyes, the bum was gone.
    Polly started towards the strip again, and all felt normal. She was beginning to think that she had just dreamt the man in the alley up. She also wondered if she had really taken a pill. It felt real enough. Polly continued to wonder until she reached the strip again. Her stomach let out a gurgling sound, when all of the sudden, ZANG! All the lights and colors began to intensify and blend. People stopped looking like people, and more like caricatures. Jack-o-lanterns danced around the caricatures, and swirled into the light. Polly felt dizzy, tired, and full of energy all at the same time. A Polar bear rode a tricycle around a tree at which the Easter Bunny hung dead from. What exactly was Polly experiencing? As bizarre as it may sound, she was getting a glimpse of the world, and what it really consists of. You see, perception is often reality. It's all in how you look at things.
    The pill Polly took has a different effects on different people. For Polly, it acts as a hallucinogen, showing her the humor of her surroundings in a deranged manner. This is to bring her away from her black-and-white view on life, and show her the true colors of living. If you're in to that sort of thing.
    To Polly this a twisted array of everything laughable, right, wrong and just about everything in between. To everyone else, it's wandering fourteen-year-old girl with dilated pupils, whose drooling, and asking people for their opinion on the colors. But, the literal take on the scene isn't what is important. What is important is the lesson to be learned. By simply opening your mind, and looking at something in a different way, you may develop better comprehension of life. To help see the bigger picture; to find happiness.
    After four hours, Polly came to. Midnight, just as the man said. Polly was breathing heavily as she lay, propped up against a wall. She didn't quite recognize her surroundings. She was on a street somewhere, still in Vegas. There were less people out on streets, but it still seemed alive. Polly began to recap the past four hours. The bum was right, whatever she took helped, in a really strange way. She no longer cared about going home, or her cruel step-mother and, or the twins. She was on her own now, and she was gonna make the best of it. Polly picked her self up and started walking. She wasn't walking anywhere in particular because she didn't know where she was going, and didn't care where she would end up.
    From then on, she became a drifter. She would walk as far as she could, and hitchhike the rest of the way, from state to state, and city to city. Off to live a happy life with her one true love, her prince charming, freedom.
    Barbra, Claire, and Jill all died in a plane crash shortly after leaving Las Vegas. Their bodies were never recovered. Eventually Polly came up missing, but she was never located by the authorities because she was always on the move, and she never used her real name. Instead she kept Polly. Those who knew her long since forgot about her. If you seen her you wouldn't know it because she never stays in the same place for too long.
    By now she could anywhere in the world. From an optimistic slave girl, to compassionate, and adventurous woman. It's often amusing how things work out.