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Chapter 1:

It feels good to feel good. The excitement of that first hit, the light of my bic, the cool steel of the needle pressing firmly to my vein, only heightens the already overwhelming sense of adrenaline rushing through me. This is an everyday event for me. Consciousness is a temporary state in which I steadily slip in and out of as the minutes creep by, turning into hours. Now, as the morning breaks and my eyes shutter from the blaring light of a new disappointing day, I relive the feeling I have come to know and accept as I slip into sobriety. My body becomes numb. My toes crack as I stand from the floorboards where I passed out the night before. I step over the strangers who, just the previous evening, were nothing but dark outlined figures stepping in and out of my own conscience. Making my way to the kitchen, I try to eat, but food turns to ash in my mouth. I give up and escort myself from the room. I proceed down the hall, slowly regaining my memories of the night before. The figures start to become faces, and faces become names. Names I know are lies, faces I know are deceiving.

As I make my way into the hall, I start to remember the events of the night before. I had been drinking since about noon that day, sneaking Kettle One vodka in a water bottle as I glided through the school day. As the afternoon wore on, my vision and motor skills wore off, and I eventually made my way to the locker room where I made new friends with the shower floor. As I stared drunkenly into space, footsteps rang through the hallway, getting louder as they approached my hiding space. I tried to look sober, but I wasn’t kidding anyone. As I rehearsed my alibi for why I was slumped over in a half inch of water in the corner of a piss stained locker room shower, I heard the familiar choppy English of my anti-hero.

“Oliver! I shoulda have known your drunken ass would find its way to a men’s room shower, you faggot!” said Frankie

Now Frankie’s real name was Mauricio, but no one dared called him that. See, Frankie was your stereotypical Guido. Not like those pussy jersey shore kids. No, I’m talking the Ray Liota, Tony Soprano kind of Guido. You know, the kind that if you called him by his Christian name, he’d give you a short left hook for your troubles. Frankie was 5’6 and a solid 210lbs. He wasn’t fat pursier, but he definitely wasn’t Lou Farigno. He grew up like me, south side of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston Mass. We both grew up fairly poor, with broken homes and even more broken families. With my father, a welder with a temper about as short as his crew cut, and my mother, a special needs school teacher, and Frankie‘s pothead dad, we were fucked from the beginning. Frankie was born in Greece to his mother, a baker, and an Italian soldier. When Frankie was 6 they immigrated to Rhode Island, and eventually made their way to Boston, where he was put in my mothers class due to short staffing at the school, and because he didn't’t speak English. When he was 8, his mother became ill, and died a year later. His father had to pick up an extra job to pay the bills, so my mother took it upon herself to take him home after school until his father was off work, or done wallowing in his self pity at the local pub. Our house became a second home to him, and we became like brothers. We bonded over our abusive fathers, love of old mob movies, and most of all, fighting.

“Alright my man,” said Frankie. “ Get your ass up. Since your already toasted lets get outta here and hit up Spencers. I heard he’s got some bud that will give you fucking tourettes!”

I slowly pull myself to my feet using Frankie as a crutch, and we make our way out of the locker room just as the bell rings signaling the end of class. As we wade through the sea of jocks, emos, freaks and geeks, I cant help but feel I’m being followed. And as drunk as I am, my instincts have yet to fail me. Just as I'm about to take another drink from my water bottle turned flask, I am able to see the slightest break of the crowd to my right and the fist the size of a grapefruit targeted for my temple. My reflexes are hindered by the alcohol and it lands flush, knocking me to the tile where the world spins even more quickly now. I am able to get to my feet just as a soccer punt whips past where my head was just hanging. As I regain my balance and vision, my attackers identity reveals itself. Marcus Hazlet, the schools most renown, and violent pot dealer. And he is gunning for me, the schools biggest burnout. “You owe me $120 bucks you fucking little stoner!” he yells as he throws another sloppy rocket of a punch. Instinct kicks in and I slip to my left and slice my right elbow across his eyebrow. He drops forward to his knees, stunned, and now with a pool of blood slowly starting to soak his jeans.I make my way back to reality, and I start to think of my father. The way he would surprise me with those same sized fists, the same derogatory remarks,and I see red. I walk to his limp body, grab his hair, and proceed to slam his face against the cool tile of the hallway floor. Seconds that feel like eternity pass before Frankie pulls me by my now blood-soaked flannel, prying me from the vulgar carcass of my attacker. I look down as he gasps for breath, pink pockets of air escaping his lips as he chokes. The area is swarmed now by the teaching staff. Everyone is yelling or crying as I'm overtaken by a mob of staff officials. The yelling becomes deafening, but everything is muffled to me. All that I hear is my own thoughts, wondering why I’m not praying for my life, cause I fucking should be.

Submitted: August 01, 2012

© Copyright 2023 Kenny Moore. All rights reserved.


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