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Houdinii

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Everything posted by Houdinii

  1. From the album: Me

  2. I seen that coming a mile away. Congrats craftingmom!!
  3. My first fling was with a guy I grew up with. I was infatuated and he was confused. My first love was a cute guy at work. He was bullied for being gay, and I hopped up and defended him. Ended up blasting out of the closet just to help.
  4. My favorite story on GA has to be Charlie by Hamen Cheese. I've read hundreds of stories here I am sure, but for some reason this one stuck. It was well written but easy to read. Everyone knows the characters and can identify throughout the entire story.
  5. I came to GA in search of stories that held a plot line containing gay characters, which I rarely found elsewhere. I enjoy putting myself in the character's shoes, and it is hard to do so with mainstream literature, especially on a budget. What I found was a community that cared about the written word as a whole rather than a collection of stories and reviews. In the end I found a community of people that helped me through some of the toughest times in my life as well as fostering a talent I didn't know I had.
  6. I basically grew up less than 10 minutes away, and I really don't think the area was surprised that this happened. There are like 15 cities that meet right in that area, each with a different class, government, and background. It is strange to be able to sit on one side of the line and crime is non-existant, and walk a single city block and there is a recordable murder rate. I cannot speculate on the event itself, as it would be just that, speculation. I do feel heartbroken to see my old stomping grounds being burned to the ground, however. It is an upsetting situation for all parties involved and the U.S. itself.
  7. “So, can you guys at least tell me where we are heading?” I asked impatiently as I sat on the curb. Neither officer even attempted to listen to me, let alone answer the question. Sensing an opportunity, I slowly stood up. “Fuck you, pigs!” I yelled as I ran down the roadway. The second Jimmy ran off, I would comply, but I would create hell up until he disappears. Footsteps were not far behind, but I continued running . I already deduced that these particular men did not like me much after being face planted into the pavement, but I had to make sure Jimmy got the hell out of there. The minute I seen his gaze search towards the city, I fought with everything I had. “Oink, Oink bitches!” I said again as I regained my footing and ran. I kicked cars to create a scene, only making matters worse. The second Jimmy disappeared, I would comply, but I would create hell until he was safe. With the handcuffs digging into my wrists, I was tempted to surrender, but I would rather them chase me than Jimmy. The shouts behind me forced my brain to focus on my balance rather than my panic. Running in cuffs proved to be a challenge as I crossed block after block. Every curb served as a speed bump, and dodging old women on the sidewalk almost proved to be dangerous. When I finally tripped up and bit the pavement, the police were long gone. Ignoring the blood running down my chin, I stood and regained my bearings. With dusk approaching, I barely had a chance to greet the city, let alone find a place to hide out. I could not be caught in a city this size, so I walked along Lincolnwood Boulevard acting as if I owned the city. That wasn’t easy considering the shiny cuffs pinning my hands behind my back. Luckily people in this area didn’t seem to care what was going on around them. “Dude, you running from the popos or somethin’?” came a voice from an alley. “I’m chill, just come here for a sec.” he reassured me. Looking at the guy I immediately thought 'hobo', but even a bum might just help me out in a pinch. Throwing caution to the wind, I walked over to the dirt smeared teen hoping he could get these damn bracelets off my wrists. “Hey bro, you look like you’re in some trouble. Come up to my apartment and hide out for a few, ‘kay?”, he suggested. Without waiting for an answer, he pushed me by the shoulder to a set of metal stairs in the rear of a tall building. “Shit, dude. I don’t know how I’m gonna get you up the ladder to get up the fire escape.” The mystery man stood back and seemed to assess the situation. “Sit on your ass, and we’ll try to pull your hands over your feet and get them in front.” I cried out as my shoulders felt like they were being ripped from their sockets. With a bit of yoga posing and plenty of pain, my hands were finally in front of my belly. I still didn’t understand how I could climb the fifteen foot ladder, even like this. “You’re gonna have to trust me, guy. You start up, and I’ll cradle you going up. If we go in the front, people will see ya. Just don’t be afraid to fall against me going up to the next rung,” he said. Surprisingly, I wasn’t scared to trust the stranger as I took step on the first bar of the ladder. As soon as I began, I felt him enclose my body with his own. As uncomfortable as I should have been, I was unquestioning and calm. Conversation was short as we struggled, but at least I caught a name. “Max, dude. Just call me Max.” After tackling the ladder, the rest of the ascent was no problem. By the time Max stopped and opened a window to what I hoped was his apartment, I was completely winded. They do not make buildings this tall where I am from. Before I even attempted to crawl through the window, I had to catch my breath and sooth the stitch in my side. “You comin’ bro?” Max said, looking around at the few people below us impatiently. Giving in, I dove head first through the window into a bare-walled bedroom. Max seemingly lived as I did back home. I could only pray that did not include his own version of Jack. Hearing voices down the short hallway made me nervous. I could only pray that the people I met would be decent. “Hey, I think my buddy can get these off of ya. Let’s go out to the living room so our resident Houdini can work his magic.” I couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of having a crowd of people see me stuck in cuffs, but I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Walking into the front of the apartment, I was met with at least ten separate sneers, gazes, and frowns as the room fell silent. I couldn’t figure out why until I heard a familiar voice pipe up. “You had to bring this asshole back here after he tried to take my head off only hours ago?” I wanted to run the minute I spotted him, but I was surrounded. “So, dude, are you gonna give me my fucking cash back or what?” ---------- All eyes were on me as I shrank back towards the wall knowing my life was about to end. Apparently I pissed off Karma somehow and it’s biting me in the ass. Never in my life have I had this run of luck, good or bad. "Was it because I tried to kill Jack?", I thought to myself, "Certainly, God cannot be this evil." “Hey, dude… It’s easy. Got my money, or not?” This slightly bruised guy asked me as he stood up cornering me. “I’ll make you a deal. Unlock me, and you can do whatever. Your money is in my damn pocket, but seriously. I’ve had a bad enough day. First you assholes try to go after my friend after my father tried to bust our skulls, and then I get caught with like a ton of fucking coke in the car. I don’t need any more shit; I just need these cuffs off!” I said a little more panicked than I wanted. “Max, this asshole better be legit, or I’m taking it out on you!” the dude said as he yanked something out of a brunettes chick’s hair and came back over to me. “I’m letting you out, but I’m warning you now, if you run from us, something like removing handcuffs is the last of your worries.” I shook while he attempted to thwart the handcuff’s lock. My entire existence was in the hands of a guy that I previously beat down and robbed. Jimmie’s disapproval at my actions makes much more sense now. Shaking my head in disgust, I could only bite my tongue until I was free from my bonds. “There you go, you’re free. Where is my fucking cash?” Without wasting time, my new rival held his hand out expectantly. “Um…. Hold on,” I said as I prayed the cops did not strip me of the cash I stole. Fondling my pockets, I found the wad of cash in my back pocket and said a silent prayer. “Here, it’s all here bro!” Shoving every dollar I had in my pocket at him, I backed off and prepared myself for a fight. “I don’t care, dude. You’re not the first one to throw a fist. Ballsy move taking my cash, though. I did not see that coming and I’ve lived here for years. You might have some use around here Killer.” He thumped my shoulder, and I could only take that as a sign of acceptance in this rag-tag group of people. “So, um, thanks and all. I didn’t catch your name.” Somehow I felt it would be less awkward if I knew ‘Houdini’s’ name. We have history after all. “Omri. Most of my friends call me 'Cowboy' though.” He answered with a smirk. “Don’t be so nervous, though. I will not murder you in your sleep. I figure you are not from around here, so I’ll let it be. Punch me again, though, you are gonna see the bottom of the lake in a hurry. Ya’ feel me?” “Hey, man, no offense, but you were being a prick.” I said. “We rolled into town, and we didn’t know where to go. You idiots stopped us from a meal. I can’t even find the other kid you called a ‘fag.’ I might be able to make it through a homeless Chicago night, but he is screwed.” I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the second half of my party. Jimmy is out there wandering around by himself. I made him think, because his eyes hit the floor and he made his way back over to the couch as Max pushed at my shoulder again, directing me towards the kitchen. He was obviously trying to defuse the situation, but a look of concern clouded his face. “Your friend, he’s still out on the streets? Does he have a phone?” Max asked. “No, neither of us do. The most I have to track him down is a trucker’s phone number that we got along the way. “Don’t worry, dude. You seem smart. The city isn’t nearly as big as you think it is. We can find him” Max reassured me as I realized the repercussions of me and Jimmy’s actions. “Do me a favor, you look like the walking dead. Go in my room and pass out for a while. I’ll talk to the guys and we’ll find your friend if we can, okay?” ------- Wood splintering woke me up, throwing me from my comfy slumber. Looking around the room made it obvious I was still in Max’s bedroom. Hearing the word “Warrant” got my ass moving. Throwing the window up as far as I could, I jumped onto the fire escape and leapt down the metal stairs. Hanging off the top rung of the ladder at the bottom, I let go and ran like hell down the alley. “Stop, kid!” I wasn’t going to obey until I realized everywhere I looked cops pointed their firearms in my direction. Following their direction, I first knelt, and then laid stomach first with my hands behind my head. The checker hat on the man’s head shook as he kicked my ribs. Why add insult to injury? Closing my eyes, I curled into a ball and awaited my fate. The backseat of the cop car was an adventure in itself. Weaving sixty miles an hour through city traffic is never fun, especially when a used condom that lies on the backseat inches ever closer every time the police dude takes a left turn. Who screws in a cop car anyway? It’s bad enough my new personal driver is singing to Lynard Skynard like he is from the south, but the overwhelming smell of vomit and his partner’s slurs made me want to get to the jail as soon as possible.
  8. truffle oil is great with eggs... love it
  9. "Just sayin..." My favorite saying! Slightly passive aggressive but to the point Just sayin...
  10. I personally pick an editor I can accept work from.... Grammar might be mean, or non-existent, but I'd still like to see it. Authors should at least acknowledge, though? I would think editors could say something too, though. In my experience, that is a 50/50, at least a little bit. Editing credit... credit is due. Not asking for credit if I didn't take advice? Well, if you felt wronged, don't dare, but sometimes an editor's work reassures an author's thought... (and was worth credit all along)
  11. The editor says: "no no no! Bad brainz!"

    1. JayzinDuanne
    2. wolfwriter
    3. Houdinii

      Houdinii

      Ikr?!? I get kept in line....

       

  12. The editor says: "no no no! Bad brainz!"

  13. The editor says: "no no no! Bad brainz!"

  14. The minute I told someone what Hundin meant in German, I got a "Wow, your always soooo Hundinii!!!"

  15. “Logan…” He was waking up. I would bet his head was pounding. “Jimmy, shhh. It’s all over. We’re on our way, okay? “Wha…what happened? You’re bleeding, Logan! What the hell happened? You didn’t kill him, did you?” I thought his panic would never cease and allow a single word in edgewise. “Jimmy! It’s fine. I just knocked his old ass out. Trust me; he’ll kill himself with a bottle before I do!” I wished I could believe it myself, but Jimmy didn’t need to know that. “Look, bro, we’re on the road, North straight to Chicago. We made it.” Seeing Jimmy smile made me think that we were doing the right thing. “I trust ya, Logan. I don’t want to go back. Just us, right?” I would have rather smashed the glass over Jimmy’s dad’s head. I wasn’t sure how to answer, so I simply winked and smiled while tuning the dial to HOT 104.1, Metro East’s Best Hip Hop and R&B. The Interstate 55 North signs passed in a blur as we gunned it towards the ‘windy city’, and daylight began to disappear faster than the gas in the tank. “I’m pulling off, Jim. You hungry?” Spying the Flying J Truck Stop in the distance, I was ready for a bite to eat. Jimmy must have taken a snooze. With a yawn and stretch, the kid woke up asking for eggs and toast. I couldn’t have agreed more. At least at a truck stop, we could spend the night in the car without worrying about people messing with us. The red from the Flying J logo reflected off the windshield as I pulled to the front of the station. A Jeep tried to cut in front of us, but with a quick foot and an elbow on the horn that refused to honk, I made my way to the front of the line. Pulling up to the pumps and hopping out I thought I’d encounter a ‘normal’ gas pump. Instead, after being met with a machine that talked and begged for the plastic that I didn’t carry, I walked towards the massive store. “Logan!” I saw Jimmy hop out of the car. It didn’t take long for him to make his way over the oil-crossed asphalt. I guess I can’t leave him out there by himself. “Wait!” Out of breath, he called out, halting me. “Logan, I... can we get something to drink?” I stood back and watched, but I couldn’t understand how he could be so happy. “They have Icee’s! You want red or blue?” Before I could even answer, he darted off. The saying ‘A kid in a candy store is cliché,’ but Jimmy bounced around the place without a care in the world. “I need twenty dollars on pump eleven.” The bearded dude just nodded, taking the bill I had in hand. There were no smokes on the counters in a station like this. “Think I could get a pack of Reds?” I had to try it. “Marlboro?” Yes! “Um, yeah, of course.” I didn’t believe my luck until he stuck his hand out waiting for a five-dollar bill. Sure as ever, Jimmy must have smelled the nicotine because he came running. “Cowboy hats! They have hats, and boots too!” Our trip to fill our car up was full of Texas references. Walking into the restaurant next door to the truck stop only proved pint-sized Jimmy belonged somewhere in Texas. “Dude, Logan, they have scorpions in like this plastic glass stuff! You have to get one, it’s so cool!” I was worried about leaving him by himself with so much energy, but I simply smiled as I headed back to the car to fill ‘er up and find a place to park. Starving, I headed back in to scoop up my buddy for a late night feast. “Table for two, boys?” Even late at night these places could still find top-heavy chicks to wait these places. I was amazed, considering we were miles from a city. “Here ya’ll go, drinks are at the fountain, and it’s a buffet, eat up!” Our eyes were huge! Only six bucks a piece for a buffet! “Ha! Logan, we didn’t even need a tie for this place!” Seeing Jimmy try to balance three plates of food was worthy of a video, if only I had the means. Tony used to put up with me when I was like this. “Whatcha’ thinking about, Logan? You got serious all of a sudden.” Explaining the absence of my older brother wasn’t something I wanted to get into, so I shrugged it off. “Nothing much. Just thinking that we should lay low for the night. I’m not sure how bad Jack is, and we don’t need to deal with cops right now. We should try to get a room with the rest of the cash.” Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about Jack’s wellbeing, but I didn’t think I could drive much further without falling asleep at the wheel. The glare from the Motel 6 sign was begging for my attention. “How can we get a room, you’re not even seventeen yet, and I’m only fifteen?” Jimmy’s innocence made me crack a smile before I hopped up and looked for the biggest, meanest trucker in the restaurant. I saw a man in the corner by himself that fit the bill. Six and a half feet tall, built with tattoos covering his arms, and a look that spewed rebellion. “Hey man, can you help my buddy and me out? We need a room at the motel, but we’re too young. See, we are on the run from our abusive ass parents and we are trying to get to Ji… uh, Jason’s aunt’s house in Chicago.” The look on the man’s face told me right away that he didn’t believe a word I said. “I’m not buying that bullshit story you’re sellin’ me, but I’ll still get the room for ya’. Better off in that motel then on the streets. You’re paying upfront though, and I’m making it clear that ‘we’ are only staying one night!” The burly man called for his check before he led us outside. Throwing caution to the wind, and praying that I could trust the man, I handed over the fifty-eight dollars I had left and hopped in the car, cranking the radio to kill time. “Hey kid!” I must have dozed off while we waited for the guy to come back with our keycard. “Here you go, room sixteen. Get out before noon, and don’t screw me over! And hey, here is my phone number. Stay out of trouble, but if it finds ya’, give me a holler.” After shaking hands and many profuse thank you’s, the stranger went back into the restaurant. I made sure his number made its way into my wallet before I woke Jimmy up from his slumber. He looks so tiny and innocent. He doesn’t deserve this. Jimmy even woke up with a smile on his face. How, I’d never know. My nerves were frazzled, and I was spooking easily, but Jimmy was as relaxed as one could be. Wiping his eyes with both fists, he stretched and leaped from the car. “This will be the best bed I’ve ever slept in, bro!” I was actually excited to lay my head on a decent pillow, and wasn’t ashamed to admit it. The beep from the keycard welcomed us to our room. Knowing that a bed was only a mere ten feet away and that the bald-headed trucker dude didn’t rip us off was a relief. Jimmy didn’t waste any time before hopping up and down on the bed. His infectious smile had me laughing, and before I knew it, I was jumping too. “I’m never going home again, Logan.” With our high spirits flowing, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the tears to flow. “I mean, I can’t. Dad has to know I’m gone now, and he’ll be pissed. We’re gonna be alright, right?” “Dude, Jim. Quit stressing. The hard part is over. We don’t ever have to go back now. I told you, it’s you and me now. Might as well buy me a ring ‘cause you’re stuck with me kid!” Flopping back on the bed, we both got comfortable. Sleep still seemed to be elusive for the both of us. “Logan, what happened to your mom? You grabbed that picture at the cemetery.” Just like that, the past came rolling back, choking me up. “Well, um, when I was twelve my mother’s father passed away. The funeral was in St. Louis and we were all getting ready for the service. I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and was sick that day. They couldn’t very well take a nauseous kid to the church, so Mom found a sitter while they made the drive into the city.” Jimmy listened on intently. “Apparently my dad and mom had a fight after the mass. I’m sure my mother was grief stricken, but for whatever reason, my dad stopped the car and ordered her out. My brother Tony got out too. I remember dad coming home pissed, but that’s it. I wasn’t aware of the call in the morning telling dad that they were run down by a drunk while they were trying to cross Grand Avenue.” When I thought I was going to cry, I steeled my nerves, and put on a poker face. The last thing I need was for Jimmy to see me crack. I surely didn’t expect the little man to tear up himself. “I had no idea, Logan. That’s, that is seriously messed up. I, uh, I don’t know what to say.” A single arm fell over my shoulder as Jimmy attempted to console me. Just the thought made me smile. “It’s all good, Jimmy. That was a long time ago. I went off the deep end with drugs and caused a lot of trouble. I busted people up and was thrown in juvie plenty of times, but I think I had to get it out of my system. It’s not as if my dad knew how to take care of anyone but himself, then to have a dope fiend for a son. I guess the bottle got him in the end, didn’t it?” My inside joke fell flat as Jimmy remembered how we left Jack. With the awkward silence conveniently filling the room, we both took the opportunity to sleep off the pain of the past. The door caving in wasn’t the scariest part of the police raid. The SWAT team pulled Jimmy out of the room before the assault rifles aimed point-blank at my head. It must have been that trucker that snitched. It didn’t take much insubordination before the assholes face planted me on the motel floor and read me my rights. “Logan, what the hell man? You’re freaking me out!” As far as dreams go, I was sure I was a goner. Wiping the sweat off my brow, I shook off the nightmare and suggested that we find a Regions bank before we hit Chicago. “You’re not planning to rob the place, are you?” Had he not laughed, I would have thought he was serious, not that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but Jimmy has a bit of dough. There was no need for passing notes to the tellers just yet. “Just run into Regions, do your business, and meet me back out here, ‘kay?” Again smiling, he left the car and raced into the bank. The wait wasn’t too horrible. Jimmy came out with fat pockets after only twenty minutes. His excitement in the car was overbearing. “Four thousand! I withdrew four thousand!” I’d been sure he only had a couple grand in the account. “They gave me two thousand for interests or something. I don’t know, is that like stocks or something? They even fingerprinted me!” I needed a good laugh, but felt bad it was at Jimmy’s expense. Poor kid didn’t even know that the bank was paying him for using his money all this time. “Let me see the receipt, I’ll explain it.” I said. “Oh, I didn’t keep it. It just said that I withdrew the money, so I threw it out.” I did my best to explain compound interest without the slip of paper, but I think it fell on deaf ears. “Well, it doesn’t matter, Jim. I’ll make sure and stretch the cash, but you doubled your money! You’re buying breakfast.” “Burritos! Breakfast burritos from McDonalds.” As much as I hate fast food, McD’s should have been quick and easy. Sitting in the long line was fun, though. My pal decided to turn up the cheesy music and do a sing along out of the passenger side window. It was hard to remain serious when Jimmy was singing ‘It’s Raining Men’ for the world to hear. Embarrassed, I decided to roll up the window, but that only made things worse. Jimmy refused to put his head back in the car, causing his head to be stuck in the window. Our shenanigans earned us a smile when we pulled up to the cashier, even though I was mortified. If anything, Jimmy could have taught me a thing or two about spontaneity. Back on the road, I ensured Jimmy locked his cash in the glove box. We were within miles of the windy city, and there was no need to keep all that cash in our pockets. He was quick to oblige. “So what are we gonna do when we get to the city? Can we even get an apartment? We didn’t even talk about this, Logan.” I could admit, we did leave a little hastily, but I was sure that there would be plenty of places to lay our heads. “Honestly, I don’t know dude. We have a little cash. That has to count for something. Let’s just find some street kids, and see where they live. I’m sure we will find somewhere to fit in.” My mind was reeling with possibilities of being stuck on the streets in the middle of a strange place. “Look, you brought four thousand dollars with you. That is months of rent. I will get a job, and we can get a loft or something. Trust me.” I felt guilty when Jimmy didn’t second-guess my request. He even trusted me before the drive north without question. The trip from St. Louis to Chicago should have only taken a little under five hours, but we took the scenic route. In the passenger seat, Jimmy fell asleep again with his head against the window. Every time we hit a bump, his head bounced and banged against the glass, never once stirring him. It was miles of me singing along to the All-American Rejects before Jimmy woke up complaining about my off-key voice. “Dude, if you wanna sing, take a lesson or something. That shit is whack!” His face reminded me of the green poison control stickers I seen underneath the sink from generations ago. I couldn’t help but laugh at his disgust. “Really, man. You could warn someone that you’re killing cats!” I could only wait until he heard me in the shower. My voice was far worse than he just witnessed. “Shit!” The ding of the warning bell forced a second glance at the dash. “Dude, James! We need gas again. Can you, I don’t know, maybe lend me a few bucks?” I thought we could have made it on what we had. “Twenty more cool, or do you want forty?” I didn’t fail to see that he was holding sixty dollars for me to pay the clerk. Pulling into the Casey’s General Station, I swiped the top two bills out of his hand and went inside to prepay. Outside at the pump Jimmy got out to pump the gas himself. I wasn’t about to stop him. Instead, I took the opportunity to use the facilities since it would be the only time before we reach downtown. “Hey Mithter!” A blond kid came running over from the candy aisle. Tony’s resemblance was scary enough to witness, even without the lisp. “Can you pwese get me a chalston chew cwandy? Ith’s up top!” Tony would always ask me to talk for him so he didn’t look ‘stupid’… I grabbed three of the yellow wrapped candies and went to make the transaction. Two dollars later, I was handing the nougats to the little man. “Excuse me, sir! Who the hell do you think you are?” Surprised, I shrank away from the crazy older chick that instantly backed me into a corner. Her soccer mom haircut told me that I seriously messed up. “How dare you give my child candy? Like I look like need a hoodlum to pay his way! Do you think he was going to ride off with you too?” I didn’t even get a chance to respond before she yanked him out of the store. The only consolation was the smile on his face as he gripped his prize. “Bitch!” Yelling could have been avoided, but I couldn’t help but throw my middle finger up at the woman as she drove past in her Prius. “What the hell did I do to her, for Christ’s sake?” Speechless, Jimmy simply opened his door and sat down, not bothering with a question. Seeing his raised eyebrows, he got my single digit too. The horn didn’t fail to honk this time as I punched the middle of the wheel. I couldn’t help but feel a premonition rise from the occasion. “Screw her, Lo! She’s a bitch, so don’t let her mess your mind up. Let’s get a move on. Nothing bad is going to happen from here on out!” Jimmy’s mood was almost contagious, but I didn’t like this feeling. His grin in the mirror calmed me, but I couldn’t help but think he was wrong. Why can’t I shake this doom and gloom feeling? I cranked the dial on the radio to change the subject. It wasn’t lost on me when R.E.M. blared ‘It’s the End of the World as we Know it” through the speakers. Like an omen, a state trooper took our tail on his motorcycle. Coming alongside the car, the helmeted cop waved as he passed. I would have breathed, except the asshole slowed down. He found a place directly behind me, and followed us all the way towards the city. The highway leading into the city didn’t give fair warning when we entered Chicago. After passing Joliet, the skyline opened up bigger than either one of us expected. “Lo! Look, that building is huge! I bet that is like two hundred stories tall!” My guess was fifty, but I never did have a perspective eye. I couldn’t count the floors while I was driving, so I blindly agreed. To say the city is intimidating would be putting it mildly. I was only looking forward to the pizza I’ve heard so much about. “Bro, you said you wanted pizza earlier! What about that place?” Jimmy was quick to find “Gino’s Pizza” spray-painted across the bricks of a small building off the main drag. “Gino sounds like he could cook a good pie!” I’d only heard about deep-dish pizzas, and Gino sounded like he could get the job done, so I began my search for a spot to park. After finding a side street, I attempted to parallel park. “Hey dude, where the hell did you learn to drive?” It appeared as if I had been entertaining an audience as I tried my best to squeeze the car into a space with only inches to spare. “Asshole, I’m talkin’ to you! Are you stupid AND deaf?” The leader of the group of four was testing my nerves. Jimmy tried his best to calm me down, and even grabbed ahold of my hand to keep me from beating on the dash. “Oh, look! The fags are holding hands. Get out of our city, faggots!” I was out the car in a flash. The look of fear on the redheaded ringleader was priceless as I pinned him down on the curb. Five minutes and two black eyes later, I had the guy personally apologizing to Jimmy as I rifled through his pockets. Jackpot, four hundred bucks! The look Jimmy shot me when I pocketed the dudes wallet almost made me feel bad, but I swallowed the emotion. The guy had it coming. “I called the cops, kids! Better break it up!” The man, who I assumed was Gino, made it clear that we were causing too much of a scene. With sirens in the distance, Jimmy and I high tailed it back to our poorly parked ride and headed for the highway in search of a hot meal and shelter. Adrenaline was coursing through our veins as we pulled back on the freeway. Jimmy had dissolved into a fit of giggles, after having survived our first encounter with the cities’ ruffians. I couldn’t blame him, though. I was giddy as well, and didn’t even notice the blood dripping from my knuckles. “Logan, you better slow down! Don’t you see that cop?” I didn’t see the cruiser on the side of the road, and even after slamming on the brakes it was too late. Blueberries and cherries lit up my rearview mirror, as I pulled the car over to the shoulder. “Jimmy, just follow my lead!” I hope Jack didn’t report the car as stolen. That is the only thing I have to worry about. “Good evening, officer.” Smooth, Logan, really? I handed my license over. “I guess I was going a little fast back there?” Sargent Dick didn’t seem to care that I spoke. “You kids should be in school down in Saint Louis. Can you explain how I found you here in Chicago?” I tried not to shake as I spoke to the broad-chested man. “Sorry, sir. We did ditch, but we wanted to see the city. Just one day, I swear!” “Sure, I’ve heard that line before.” The officer’s dimples popped as he smiled and shook his head. Jimmy wouldn’t stop fidgeting in the passenger side seat as I tried to think of an excuse to give to the officer. “We’re okay still, right?” “Step out of the vehicle slowly, Logan.” I complied as he set me down against the guardrail. “Cross your legs, kid. We don’t need you running off.” I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest as he approached Jimmy’s side of the car. It wasn’t long before my partner in crime was sitting cross-legged next to me. “Logan, what’s going on? Do you think that I was listed as missing or something? D’ya think they put an Amber Alert out?” Jimmy was unraveling right before me. As I was trying to calm him down, the officer asked to search the vehicle. “Hell, no! Don’t you need a warrant or possible cause?” I wasn’t actually in need of hiding anything serious, but I couldn’t help but be indignant to this asshole. I didn’t understand why he felt the need to search, but I wasn’t sure how to explain all the cash, or our belongings in the trunk. That would quickly blow our cover. “The words are probable cause, son, and yes. I need probable cause. You just sit there and let me worry about that.” The trooper made his way back to his cruiser, and instantly grabbed the walkie-talkie. Figuring he was calling for back up, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Look, Jimmy. He thinks we are dangerous. It must be my bloody knuckles.” Snickering, I relaxed a little. Jimmy was still tense as hell, though. “After we get through with this mess, we will be sleeping in one of those towers downtown.” My words did little to settle the boy down, so we sat in silence. “Jesus, Logan! How many cops do you think they are gonna send for backup?” I quit counting after the fifth car pulled up. I half expected a helicopter and news vans. “I didn’t realize truancy was this big of a crime!” Yelling at the cops wasn’t smart, but I was beginning to get pissed. These pricks were ruining our evening, peering into the cars windows, and making my ass numb from sitting on the ground for an hour. They even let their stupid dog scratch the shit out of my trunk! “Get that mutt off my car; he’s ruining the paint job!” The cops just laughed as they dragged me to my feet and slapped their handcuffs on. It took a second, but I finally realized just what that dog was doing to Jack’s car. After joining me in the rear of the car, Jimmy was in tears. I knew we were up shit creek now. Our plans flew out the window. “We have a big haul, guys!” A cop was taking a knife to the spare tire held in the trunk. My jaw dropped as they pulled out brick after brick of duct tape wrapped cellophane. Praying to God that it was just weed, my hopes were smashed when a package was slit open, pouring white powder all over the hood of the cruiser. “That, my friends, is cocaine! There has to be quite a few kilos!” Shocked, I had absolutely no idea what to do. I couldn’t run. I could explain that we stole the car and it’s Jack’s dope. “I don’t wanna go to jail, Lo! What the hell are we gonna do?” As if matters needed to be made any worse, I spotted an officer counting money that he could have only pulled from the glove compartment. He didn’t keep the receipt. Jimmy’s words echoed in my head. Oh, I didn’t keep it. It just said that I withdrew the money, so I threw it out. Intent to distribute is a twenty-year sentence. Without a word, I stared at the phone number I collected from the trucker before I slipped it to Jimmy, praying I could remember the number by memory. “James Hoffsteter, I presume?” A burly man in a suit asked. “You seem to be popular today, young man. Your father has been looking for you. He reported you missing last night. Why don’t you come with me and get this all sorted out.” Jimmy shot me a look of pure fear before we were separated. “Whatever you do, Jimmy, just run.” I couldn’t let him be caught up in this mess. I just hoped the big house would be nice to me. “Officer! If I tell you what happened, will I get a plea bargain?”
  16. Starting as a one shot school assignment to describe a main character that is an unlikely likable dude. Will build on it, since I like the guy ;)
  17. The sound of the door slamming was ominous to say the least. Why did that asshole feel the need to go booze it up all day, and take it out on me when his cash runs out? He could have bought his only child a pair of shoes, but instead he had me sitting there, shaking like a leaf and wondering if I’d be recognizable after the beating. To think I still call him ‘Dad’. I really should keep a bat under the bed. I doubt I could do much damage with the just the bare hangers in the closet. Hell, I can’t even hide in there since he tore the door off last time. Lucky for me he didn’t listen when I told him to ditch the kitchen’s landline for a cell. When it rang, I dove out the window. It didn’t take long for the tears to flow as I ran past the other trailers full of people that could have cared less about the abuse that takes place just yards away, day after day. A smoke would’ve been nice right then, but my Marlboros were back at the house. ‘Maybe Gas N’ Grab will have a cig display at the register. It shouldn’t be too hard to rip off if that blond chick is working. The clueless broad will never see me coming,’ I thought. Peering into the windows of the mini-mart from a distance, I made sure that the place was empty of other customers. Seeing that it was, I wiped my eyes on my tattered shirt and made my plan. I only have one shot at this; better make it good. The lights over the gas pump were almost blinding after running there in the dark. The blond chick frowned and put her magazine down as she saw me coming. It’s a typical reaction to seeing a teen at midnight approaching the store, I suppose, especially me for some reason. It could be the clothes. I get ‘the look’ even in my Sunday’s best. As I pulled the door open, I heard the ding-dong of the door’s chime needlessly announcing my presence to blondie. “What can I getcha, Logan?” she asked. My hands were shaking as I asked for one of the lighters behind her. As soon as she turned around my hands shot up and made the grab. I stuffed three packs down my pants before her attention returned to me. “That’ll be a dollar twenty-three.” She said while punching the numbers into the machine, as she took my cash. With the ‘transaction’ complete, I mumbled a “thank you,” and hit the pavement. I knew that the police were constantly lurking around the small town this time of night, so I had to find shelter to avoid yet another curfew violation, especially since I had just pulled a theft on the gas station. I decided to cross through the park to the cemetery and enjoy the quiet night. The place became a safe-haven of sorts when I need a place to hide out. It is quickly becoming a very familiar place. As I walked between headstones through the neatly clipped grass, I fished out the loot of my heist, and prayed that I nabbed a good brand. “Virginia Slims… shoot me now!” I thought to myself. I risked juvie to get my nicotine fix and I ended up grabbing chick cigarettes. Sure, they smoke, but yuck. They taste like perfume, and you’d have to smoke three of them at the same time to get the same effect. After breaking the cellophane seal, and tearing off the foil, I lit up and inhaled deeply, finally. Behind the mausoleums in the rear of Mt. Evergreen Cemetery is my home away from home. The small brick building must have been a grounds keeper’s tool shed, but it was long since abandoned. At the entrance of the shack is an old wooden door that never has been a challenge jimmying open. Trapped heat from the late spring days escaped the doorway as a single bulb barely lit the room when I popped the door and flicked the switch. Making my way to the shelves that line the wall, I checked and made sure that my knapsack was still where I left it. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to keep something safe, it had to stay out of his reach; otherwise, it would be just another tool to torture me. As I sat in the corner, I pulled out all of my worldly possessions out of the bag realizing that they didn’t amount to much. After spotting the familiar brown wood of a picture frame, I pulled it out, reminiscing. A happy family of four smiled back at me as the inevitable tears began to fall for the second time tonight. I can still remember how hard it was to pose for that picture without laughing at my brother Tony. As the older brother, it was up to him to set a good example, but as always, he decided to be a clown. My mother was scolding Tony while barely holding back a smirk of her own. Even Dad was smiling, which wasn’t so rare in those days. Deciding not to dwell in the past, I scooped up my sketchpad and started on my latest project. The skulls jump off the page as the dark shadows continue to develop. Some might call this kind of art macabre, but something about the blackness calls to me. I can barely remember a time which life was associated with colors. Besides, I can only be the worst kind of person and kids from broken homes never amount to much, or so they say. Before too long, the heat inside the small building became overwhelming forcing me to the outside air. If only there was a way to steal a fan from somewhere to ventilate the place, I would be able to sleep in here. I could probably rip off a ceiling fan from the hardware store, but Bill, the owner, is one of the few people that don’t feel like kicking me when I’m down. You can’t step on the people that are good to you. Instead, I’ll just prop my head against the marble and let the sunrise be my alarm. After zipping up my bag, I settled in and bid Mary Godwinson (1812 – 1901) a good night. “Hey kid!” The voice brought me out of my slumber. Blinking and staring through the sun, I found the intruder. “Are you alright? You’re soaking wet. Have you been here all night?” “Um, fine. I’m fine. What time is it?” I ask, hoping I hadn’t overslept. Drenched in dew I pushed myself off the ground. “It’s only five in the morning, but the sun is up. You’re not in trouble, eh?” The stranger actually seemed to care, but I just couldn’t take his kindness that early in the damn morning. “I’m good, just locked out last night. I have to go.” I had a stab of guilt lying to the guy. He seemed nice enough, but the last thing I need is people looking after me, though. Good Samaritans mean big problems for me if they catch wind of the jackass at home. With a nod, I am gone, back through the park. Risking another smoke in public, I lit up before I walked in the door of the trailer. I needed the calm. It’s not as if his snores are going to hurt or maim, but it’s still salt in the wound. Chapter Break “Egg Nog Brandy, old man?” Seeing my pops on the couch ate at my insides. The bottle was almost empty; the off-white liquid left only a reminder. “I bet if I wake you up right now you’ll cower like a bitch!” Words are easy when falling on deaf ears. Covering Jack up was a chore. ‘He’s so gross, seriously. Who wears tighty-whities anymore?’ The image refused to leave my mind. The emaciated man is withering to nothing only for a little of what he calls fun. Stacks of bills littered the kitchen table, many which screamed ‘Last Notice’ and ‘Past Due’ in menacing red letters. That would explain why it’s so damn hot in here. “Of course you didn’t pay ‘em! How else would you get your shit?!” It would be so easy to pick that bottle up and crack him upside his head as he’s done to me so many times. Instead, I headed off to the bedroom to pull on a new set of dirty clothes, and got ready to face the day. There weren’t many students at the tiny township high school. How many times I’ve thought, ‘I wish I could disappear,’ but there was no way to be a wallflower in a class of forty. Today was no exception. My shadow Jimmy came bounding over, to ask for a cigarette, no doubt. “Hey Logan!” His enthusiasm was sickening. “What’s up, Jimmy? Need a smoke?” I might as well save a bit of the little freshman’s dignity. After all, he is about the closest thing I have to a friend in this God forsaken place. “Thanks! You’re a life saver, man. Hey, wanna skip and, I dunno, go out to the lake or something?” I didn’t know what was worse; attending the boring ass classes that I could easily pass in my sleep, or listening to ‘Mr. Happy’ for the next eight hours. What the hell, you only live once. It’s not like my father is going to ground me or something. “Sure, Jimmy. Swimming sounds good. I didn’t want to hear about polynomials today anyway.” The smaller boy’s nose wrinkled at the math term, making it obvious that he was clueless. He had never said anything about his home, but I imagine that his situation is about on par with my own. The lake Jimmy referred to was really more like a swamp or a lagoon. Covered in algae, it was kind of gross to swim in, but that never stopped us before. If you swim to the middle, the water is clean, but either way you go about it, you’re covered in green when you pull yourself out. As I yanked off my shirt, I thought about what I might be ‘missing’ in class right about now. I’d probably be the butt-end of another joke, by Frankie most likely. ‘I hate that dude,’ I thought with disgust. There is a special place in Hell for people who pick on someone for being in a bad situation. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something that made my blood run cold. The sight of the wounds crossing Jimmy’s back caused me to spin him around to face me. Seeing him cower as if I was ready to smack him around struck a chord, and I knew exactly what his home life was like. “Jimmy, your pops do that to you?” His first reaction was to look at his feet, but I knew better. My dad smacks me around, but I know I could crush him if I wanted to. But Jimmy? “It’s not right, Jim. Is it your dad, or your dumbass brothers? Look at me!” I was beginning to feel exasperated. I just wanted to know! I didn’t know what I could do about it, but I couldn’t allow it to happen again. “Let’s just swim, Logan, okay? You can’t do anything about it, anyways, you know?” I couldn’t help but think ‘Yeah, he doesn’t know me very well, obviously.’ With tears in his eyes, Jimmy feigned a smile and dove into the murky waters. I looked down at my own skin, and realized how screwed up the situation was. If anything, my bruises were worse, and I had given Jimmy hell. ‘I have seriously got to do something about this, but what? It’s not like I can kill them BOTH in their sleep, although… No, can’t kill ‘em both.’ I could not tame the violence that was swirling in my mind. I probably stood naked on the edge of the pond for ten minutes before I felt a wad of nastiness smack me across the face, followed by a laugh that only a hyena could pull off. “At least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor,” I say to no one in particular. Spending the day with Jimmy was surprisingly enjoyable. It wasn’t the first time we had dared to brave the waters of ‘Lost Lake’ together, but it was the first time I looked at Jimmy as a cohort in the bullshit we both found ourselves caught up in. I have to hand it to him, though. I turn into a depressed mess, yet I have never seen Jimmy in a bad mood. I saw a glimmer of darkness when I was giving him the inquisition, and it shook me to the core. An odd sense of possessiveness took hold, and I just wanted him to be safe. “Hey Jimmy, you think you can stick with me for a few days, ya know, so you don’t have to go home?” As if my own home was any better, but I’d smack the snot off of dear old Dad if he went after him. As I treaded water, I felt a little guilty putting him on the spot. “I... I… don’t know if I should. If I don’t do my chores…” He started to tremble, again surprising me. It wasn’t until he sobbed that I realized the smiles and the happiness I have always seen was a front for a far worse demon. Wasting no time, I pulled the boy over and gave him an awkward embrace that he seemed to need so desperately. True to his form, Jimmy’s tears dried up and he went back to flinging seaweed at me as if the sudden onslaught of emotions never happened. Tired and feeling unable to hold myself above water much longer, I swam to the water’s edge. The sun was damn hot; it must have been high noon. Perching on a rock, I watch Jimmy as he swims and splashes in his own little world. I’ve done many shitty things to deserve what I got, but that kid hasn’t. With an evil smirk and unshaking tenacity, I vowed, ‘It ends today!’ Chapter Break “Hey Logan, if I stayed with you, would we still go to school? You know I wouldn’t be able to avoid Todd. He is my brother and will tell my dad where I am.” The matter-of-fact manner in which he spoke was unnerving. You would think he was talking about what he was going to have for lunch, not about running away from an abusive household, hopefully never to return. “I don’t know yet, dude. I still have to figure things out on my end.” The more I sat there and thought about it, the crazier it seemed. I couldn’t so much as feed myself, let alone take on another mouth to feed. The sun was pounding down on us as we sat on the rocks surrounding the lakes. I made up my mind about what was going to happen when evening rolled around, but I was scared shitless, and the simple act of making small talk was barely calming me down. Once I had made up my mind, I was ready to get it done and over with. While it was planned in my head, I was still skeptical if we could pull it off. ‘If I take Jack’s booze money when I put him in his place tonight, I might get a couple weeks’ worth of groceries. Then he’ll go out and try to score some dope to sell to buy his drinks, and I’ll hit him up again for his cash. It’ll be perfect!’ As if he sensed my nervousness, Jimmy broke my train of thought to throw in his own ideas. “I have almost two thousand dollars, you know. Remember how my Grandpa Al had that racehorse?” I didn’t, but I still nodded. “He left Buttercup to me when he died, and since we don’t have a place for a horse, it was sold. I never spent any of the money. My mom put it in the bank before she ran out on us.” “Seriously, Jim? Holy shit! Okay, that changes things a bit.” That could get us a great start up north in Chicago or something. I’d still have to take care of Jack tonight so I could get his car, but two grand? “Here’s what we are going to do. School’s going to let out soon. You come home with me and we’ll chill at my place for a while. When Jack gets home, hop out the window. I’ll get some cash off him, and we can go to a place I know. If we get split up, meet me at the park.” As I am running this past him, he became more aware and wide-eyed about what I planned. When I came to the part about what I planned to do with the eggnog brandy bottle, he didn’t even flinch. It was slightly eerie discussing how we were going to rid ourselves of our problems. The resolve, however, took all the pressure off, leaving only instinct behind. On a normal day, it would have taken a half hour to walk home from the lake. Today, it took what felt like five minutes. With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I was ready. The excitement was short-lived and dead in the water as soon as we walked through the front door. “Jesus, Logan, we’ll die if we have to wait in here!” I had forgotten all about the power being out. “Shit. If we leave, we’ll miss him. I have to stay ‘cause we need the car.” I doubted whether that was the real reason or not, but it sounded good. I grabbed the bottle for emphasis, as if demonstrating what I wanted to do was going to make him want to stay. “Logan, get real. Are you planning to kill him? If you don’t he’ll call the cops, and we would be caught for sure. Let’s just catch the Greyhound. If we can wait until tomorrow, I’ll get the money out of the bank and we can ditch town!” His logic made sense, but I was still reluctant. I wouldn’t be missed around here and it hurt to know that. I wanted to leave my mark. “I suppose your right, lil’ dude. Let me grab some clothes and we can go.” Leaving Jimmy in the living room, I went to the back of the singlewide. I then gathered what was left of my belongings, and stuffed them into an old pillowcase. I must have been in my own little world; I didn’t even hear what was going on in the next room until it was almost too late. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?” I heard dishes hitting the floor and knew in an instant that Jimmy was in trouble. The sight in the kitchen turned my stomach upside-down as I watched Jack pick up my friend and throw him through the laundry room door, splitting the wood straight down the middle. I had seen enough. I noticed my weapon was luckily still in my hand, and I approached the man that had made my life a living hell. The hollow sound the bottle made only made me smile as he turned around to see what caused his pain. “You little fu…” He never finished that sentence. The brandy bottle caught him in the temple a second time, and he fell unconscious in an instant. Shards of glass flew, and the bottleneck sliced into my hand. Replacing the guilt that I hadn’t expected was panic as I looked at Jimmy’s twisted form on the floor. Even out like a light, he still had that crooked grin slapped on his face. Without giving it a second thought, I dug into Jack’s pockets, grabbing the keys to his car and a hundred and eight dollars. “Damn, Jimmy! For five foot two, you weigh a ton!” He was still breathing, and I hoped he was okay as I carried him down the driveway to the piece of crap Oldsmobile. Maneuvering him into the passenger side wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t in the position to be picky. We had to get the hell out of there. Chapter Break “Logan…” He was waking up. I would bet his head was pounding. “Jimmy, shhh. It’s all over. We’re on our way, okay? (TBC)
  18. Things are better... Spring break in two weeks :D Ready to go back to St. Louis for a bit.

    1. Kiltie69

      Kiltie69

      Good to see things are well. Take care mate. :)

    2. Houdinii

      Houdinii

      Kiltie! Jeez, I've missed ya bro! I gotta find my new skype details to pass along so we can catch up(I can only log in on one computer, a slow one and skype won't reset my password, lol)

    3. Ashi

      Ashi

      Have fun. Home sick eh?

  19. Just asked the bf for a plutonic relationship... :/

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. asamvav111

      asamvav111

      um... call me blond but what is a plutonic relationship? Google told me pluton is a crystalline rock formation.

    3. Houdinii

      Houdinii

      Shiny on the outside and rocky on the inside, I guess :P You people suck, lol. Bad thing is I'm taking Geology this semester...

    4. asamvav111

      asamvav111

      :) Hope you are better now!
  20. That is too cool! Would be even better if he made it pro, and the fact he was dating a dude was simply a footnote or an afterthought...
  21. Watching Henry take Jack with him off the cliff with Tony flying right behind seemed to short circuit my brain somehow. My mind screamed at me to move, but my feet would not budge. I was aware that Jeff was shaking me and I could see his mouth moving but I had no idea what he was saying. The words were like pure mush inside my head, so Jeff gave up and took off down the cliff. I on the other hand finally got a move on, first checking on Casey, who seemed unaware of what just happened. Seeing that he was basically okay outside of the temporary insanity he must be going through, I walked to the edge of the cliff and seen all three of the fallen boys floating face down in the lake. Remembering how I had to show-off and jump from this very spot when I first arrived at this camp, I judged the leap and dove into the chilly waters below. The first person I came across happened to be Jack himself. I was half-tempted to leave his ass to drown, but I could not allow myself to stoop to that level. I was only about five feet from the cliff wall so I dragged him over and set him on the rocks. I was able to reach Tony next, but as it turned out, he was already treading water trying to get to Henry. I could tell Tony’s wounds were bad, but at least he was afloat which made him in better condition than the third victim of the day. When I was finally able to pull Henry ashore, he was not breathing and I could not feel his heart beating. Not knowing what to do, I started to press on his ribcage repeatedly and breathing into his mouth praying to God above that I was doing the CPR right. Behind me, I could hear Tony cry for his fallen boyfriend. Apparently, while I was doing chest compressions on Henry, Tony finally made it to dry land and could see what I was dealing with. I still could not feel a pulse and Henry was turning so cold. Hearing a helicopter in the distance, I was able to calm down just a little knowing that the professionals were on the way. Once the paramedics and rescue squad pushed me aside, I finally began to feel the gravity of the situation. From where I was standing, I could see that two of the three boys very well could be dead and the third, Tony, was on shaky ground himself. Now that I was no longer focused so much on Henry, I finally noticed the amount of blood that was coming from Tony’s midsection. The EMTs carefully cut his shirt open and exposed a gaping knife wound deep into Tony’s gut. Willing the bile that rose up in my throat back down, I turned away from the scene and ran into the woods until I no longer could stand. Sometime later, after I heard two ambulances and the helicopter disappear, I stopped hiding from the gruesome events and made my way back to the cabin hoping to lie down for a spell. The adrenaline has completely worn off and my body is spent. Walking up to the camp site I can see numerous police vehicles and countless number of investigators that are surly going to want to talk to all of us that are still here. I do not see any of the other campers, but I do see Mark surrounded by suits giving his account of what he knows. Mary is standing there as well, but she looks like a basket case with tears streaming down her face. At least Eric, Blake, and Ricky were able to calm her down a bit since they were able to avoid the situation. All afternoon in the sun for the brothers made them completely oblivious to what had transpired. My heart dropped when I noticed a black station wagon pulling away with the words ‘coroner’ written in white on the side. One of our comrades was not so lucky today. I was feeling overwhelmed so I snuck into my cabin and slipped into my bed without detection. With the image of the coroner’s vehicle pulling away, I curled up in a ball and cried myself to sleep. _=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_= “Babe! Nate! Wake Up, please!” Based on the exasperation in his voice, Jeff must have been trying to wake me for some time now. Hearing his voice put everything I witnessed today into perspective. I could have lost the person I loved today. Had we not gone to church undoubtedly we would have been in Jack’s sights along with the others. “Nate! Get up! The cops want to ask you what you saw. We have no idea what to do. Mark went with the officers and Mary had a nervous breakdown. Brandon had to go to the hospital, we have no clue what happened to Henry, Tony, or even Jack for that matter.” Jeff continued to speak but I lost what he was saying as the realization hit me that I watched a kid die today. I even helped cause the death of a teen today. Had I not tried to distract Jack, Henry might not have bum rushed him and none of this would have happened. Pushing that image out of my head, I acknowledged Jeff. I did not really say anything, but I scooped him up in a hug. I am sure he knows exactly how I feel. Stepping outside the cabin, I noticed that the grounds were still teeming with investigators. Why they needed thirty men to interview seven kids and a couple of adults is beyond me. The lead detective stuck out like a sore thumb. He had the same attitude that you would find on a cheesy television crime drama. I could tell that we would not get along much. As he approached me, a group of fellow officers followed him like puppies. The very first question out of this man’s mouth was “Do you know why Henry decided to push Tony and Jack off the top of a cliff?” Immediately this asshole left a bad taste in my mouth. Henry did not push Tony, and that is a fact. From my view point it looked like Henry tried to jump in front of a bullet for Tony. I did not get a chance to throw that in the detective’s face, however. Before I had a chance to piss the man off, Sherriff Whitmore himself hopped out of a car and told me to keep my mouth sealed. The look of surprise on Sgt. Hardass’s face was priceless as his boss walked over to us and took over the situation. He announced to everyone within earshot that he himself would be conducting the interviews of the camp goers. The lead detective tried to put up a fight, asking whether the Sherriff could honestly be impartial to the situation, but Whitmore did not even respond to the man’s cries. I was seriously relieved that I did not have to re-tell what occurred today to that asshole of a cop. I could tell the others felt the same as we took a seat around the now extinguished campfire. Casey’s eyes were still swollen and bloodshot from all the tears that fell, but he looked a heck of a lot more composed than earlier. The other boys in the group did not look nearly as bad as Casey, Jeff, or me, but then again, they did not have to see our friends fall from that height. We all sat in silence until Sherriff Whitmore came over and joined us, ready to hear exactly what happened. Casey was still shaking as he gathered himself to begin his account of what happened on top the cliff this afternoon. Getting Casey to talk on a normal day was a chore in itself but anyone could see it was going to take some coaxing on a day like today. It did not sound like there was much to it, however. Jack surprised the four boys on the cliff, and ranted like a lunatic about the bible, the sinners, and everything in between. After he lunged a little too close to Casey, Brandon stepped in and received a knife to the chest. Seeing Casey giving his account makes me shutter. I can only think how Jeff would react if circumstances were reversed. I must have really been out of it. Never once did I notice a drop of blood coming from Brandon, otherwise I would have probably played the hero, and went off the cliff myself. Hell, I thought maybe he only was knocked around the head a little bit. Now knowing that he too could become a statistic by daybreak only furthered this feeling that skipping church could have made all of this just disappear. _=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_= I did not even bother to wait my turn to talk to the investigators before I hopped up and headed for the tree lines once again. I was stupid for believing things could change. Like me meeting Jeff was going to open my world up to leaving these slums and staying out of trouble. Look at what happens when we try. All of us, well minus one, took the initiative and gave it our all and we still are up shit creek. I know one of us is dead, and even if it was Jack, it still does not make it any better. Where is the God that I was trying to find this afternoon? Father Tim and Brett both promised if we just hung in there, shit would get better, yet here we are dealing with backwoods psychos, and even more asshole cops. Hearing footsteps in the leaves, I tried to duck down and hide thinking that Jeff was looking for me. It wasn’t until I heard someone calling me a ‘cheeky lil asshole’ that I realized that Ricky tracked my ass down. “Ya’ can’t go running off like that right now, Nate! Your poor Jeffy is ready to go off the deep end thinking that your gonna go jump off a cliff or something. Look, it’s not gonna do any us a lick of good to have a fifth one of us in the hospital or worse. What’s your deal, anyway? You didn’t cause any of this. That Jack had a screw loose if you ask me!” Ricky never was one to hold back. In fact, as long back as I can remember he’s given it to me straight. I suppose the worst I could do in this situation is lie about it. What good would that do anyway? “Ricky, this entire place is just fucked up. I don’t belong here anymore than Jack did. I come from the streets, not from the woods. There’s a reason I don’t camp, or fucking do music, or even go to church. It doesn’t change a damn thing. The only thing that happened is I met Jeff. A good guy that I can never keep, because no matter how ‘good’ I am, life stays the same. Shit happens… doesn’t matter where I am. There’s no use dragging Jeff down too. Who am I kidding? I’m destined for this life, and he accidently popped into it.” It took Ricky a good thirty seconds to look up from his feet to rebuke what I had said. I have never once seen him speechless, but this time he just stood and shook his head. Little did I know that he was going to call me an idiot, and yank me back to camp by the arm to meet a version of Jeff I would not have been able to recognize on the street? Hell, a version of Jeff that decides that the first thing he should do is smack me upside my chops. “You know what? Fuck you, Nathaniel. There is no reason you should leave me here to worry about you when Tony, Henry, and Brandon are in the hospital. You are selfish! Do you know that? Do you even think of me when you go running off like that? Do you even know how lucky we are? Screw you and your pity party. I’ll be in the cabin when you’re done!” I doubt I will ever understand his logic of ‘lucky’. The only luck I ever seem to have is bad luck. Selfish? Yeah, I can see that I am selfish. Realistically, could it ever work between Jeff and I? Here we are in the middle of a crisis and I am melting down. I have never been like that before. Damn, I used to be able to rise to a situation like this, now I am acting weak and running away. Joining Jeff in the cabin is a no-brainer, but tomorrow scares the hell out of me. _=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_= Stirring awake early in the morning, I realize the day must have taken its toll out on all of us. Last thing I remember is Jeff finally giving me a deserving attitude, and I woke up in his arms as if nothing ever happened. I know better than that, though. He just gave me a chance to make it up. Birds are chirping, and everything outside of the cabin seems welcoming, making my decision to take a walk easy. It took only moments after stepping off the stoop that I seen Mark may have had the same idea. If I had to judge, I would say he looked even worse than I did. That alone answered most of my questions for the day before. Maybe I am selfish, and how can I say bad follows me because I am just ‘street’. Here is Mark, the quintessential ‘good guy’ and this shit is happening to him too. Seeing the look of defeat in Mark’s eyes hurt the worst. He gave up everything to help ten kids at a time, and this is what he got in return. I badly want to tell him not to give up, that he still has most of us that are depending on him, but I cannot really muster up anything but a head nod. It did not take me long to see the object of Mark’s dismay, however. At some point this morning, he must have driven into town because he is holding the local paper. Without thinking, and risking the older man’s wrath, I snatched up the town daily. The front-page headline will never be forgotten: “One dead, and two in the I.C.U. after juvenile rehab center attack. Murder charges against youth offender are expected.” That could only mean one thing, if Jack is facing charges and survived, then….
  22. Happy Birthday Stud ;)

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