Skinned Elbows

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Skinned Elbows explores the life of twin boys who are set in a dysfunctional town stricken with poverty and oddball fiasco, as they maneuver themselves around like it is just an average day, crossing paths with drunks, girls, fellow children, prostitutes, and their alcoholic father.

Submitted: December 22, 2011

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Submitted: December 22, 2011

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Skinned Elbows

 

The two boys skipped down the street, their feet bouncing off the hot asphalt that steamed of heat. The hot sun slowly tanned their skin from white as snow to a crispy pink as they merrily raced from one street sign to another. Their faces were meant to be the same, the same height, same hair, everything from one boy was meant to mirror the other. However this was not the case, the boys now only had faint clues of being similar. Tommy, the closest to being normal one, wore large thick glasses held up on a mutilated ear and another that was heavily pierced with various sorts of different types of earrings: ones with hoops, others with stars, ones with bright colors of green, blue, and red, others with small metals the shape the number 66, and one small diamond on the ear lobe. His head held wild and thick hair the color of a banana that was held under the sun for an hour and wore a dirty green T-shirt and faded jeans, tennis shoes that were once white underneath all the brown it held now. He plastered a crooked smile on his face as he surpassed his brother during their race that held up most of their summers. He lifted his head to expose his neck to the world and the wind to blow past it; his breathing mirrored that of a pig as he gasped for breath; his muscles felt heavy and his blood flowed like battery acid.

A few feet behind him was Chupa, who felt twice the pain Tommy felt but still did not want to be left behind, so he continued to trail right behind and never stop. He wore a hockey mask on his face and had on a red parka that had a coat on dirt, dust, sticky plants, and saliva. On his waist he wore camouflage shorts and Chuck Taylor Converse that he stole a few weeks prior from a grumpy owner of a garbage dump where they would play in the stripped down cars that were abandoned on the spot and chase cats with long sticks to make it seem they were wild tribesmen, using leftover red paint to make up for the missing blood they didn’t bring forth. Dried, crusty blood stuck to his knuckles and his legs, as skinny as toothpicks, had on red scratches that made them look like candy canes. The two boys followed the trail of the summer sun far ahead of them with puffed up cheeks and dying laughter in between gasps for air.

Tommy giggled on his victory he was receiving so far as the street post drew nearer and nearer. Loud noises of honking and churning engines loomed over the street the boys raced in from the bridge above them. “C’mon ya fatass!” Tommy yelled behind him as his head tilted slightly to his left to get a small glimpse of his brother behind him, swinging his arms and his crazy legs kicking in front of him. The sound of wheezing pushed through the holes of Chupa’s hockey mask and his foot hit the crack of the sidewalk and his limp body crashed down to the pavement. His mask made a “thunk!” noise from the plastic crashing into the asphalt pavement. This went unnoticed by Tommy, as he continued to press forward until his red skinned skinny hand touched the hot metal of the street post yelling in large white letter WALTON DR. “Yes! I. Am. The. Winner!” he exclaimed. He raised his arms up in the air and hopped from one leg to the other, his large shirt flopping up and down and his earrings made a jingle song in imbalanced rhythm. Gloating over his success, he didn’t bother hearing his brother’s cries behind him.

However, he then opened his eyes and looked around him with a frown marked on his face. His eyes jumped when he saw his wounded brother and began walking back to the small masked figure sitting on the horizon. Without saying a word, Tommy lifted him up, dusted him off, and nodded his head to the side to signal him to follow him. “Are you crying?” Tommy asked. Chupa shook his head. “You liar! Stop being a pussy, you Nancy Boy!” he mocked; mimicking what he heard plenty of times from his father. Chupa hung his head like he wore a necklace of lifting weights and lightly pushed Tommy away. Tommy then slapped the back of Chupa’s head, making his head jolt forward and making him stumble ahead of him and a dirty smile arose on Tommy’s face, his dark eyebrows pointing down menacingly. Chupa stopped walking and looked at his brother through the holes in his mask. “What are you gonna do, huh? Swing and miss again?” Tommy pushed him again. “You freak, c’mon punch me!” he continued. Finally, Chupa held up his fist and swung for Tommy’s head. Without missing a beat, the attack was dodged and retaliated, with Chupa hitting the wall next to them and side being kicked by the shoes of his brother. A “hoof!” sound bounced out of his mask and his hands stopped him from completely falling on the floor again. “That’s what you get for trying something.” Tommy yelled. The smile wore down eventually and a quiet aura came up between them. After a while, Tom spoke. “C’mon, let’s go to the drug store, I’ll buy you the new issue of Bat-man if you don’t tell Mom.” So Chupa collected himself and followed behind his brother.

They entranced was evident from the bell sound that air waved throughout the drug store. At the counter was a teenage girl chewing on bubble gum and reading a magazine that had a woman in lingerie. For half a second she looked at the boys entering and then quickly looked back at what she was reading. Chupa ran to the far corner of the place where all the magazines and comics were set. Tommy walked casually behind. “Hey, no running!” the girl yelled. It was medium size place, posters of adverts claiming cheap products that still tasted as if it came from the Heavens were set on the windows and everything that was mediocre in the world seemed to find a home inside to be sold for 5 dollars. Dim florescent lights warmed up the store that already built up heat and stuffy air. Chupa was already staring at the merchandise before the girl had the chance to say something, his eyes widening the size of moons, though no one would be able to know. The titles were all lined up to be picked like apples on a tree: “Spider-man,” “X-Men,” “Watchmen,” the list went on and on before stopping where the magazines began. Not for a second could he stand still, his lanky body moved like lighting when he found titles he idolized for their heroic actions and violence. Tommy wasn’t far behind, he stood there with a smirk and his arms crossed, leaning against an end of an aisle. Chupa’s dark finger trailed the titles; it hopped like it got a dose of sugar and cocaine until it went to an automatic stop on Batman. In the cover, a fine picture of a large man with a mask covering the top halve of his face, muscles bulging and an angry face was slapped on him, in one hand he had a gun looking thing and the other a bleeding clown with a grin.

“Is that the one?” Tommy asked. Chupa nodded and yanked the think papered book from the wooden shelves and grasped it close to his chest as he walked baby steps aside to Tommy. Vivid colors of blues, reds, and purples shined against the florescent lights, the white colored parts making the boys squint as they walked by. The sound sneakers squeaking against the green floors made Tommy sigh and elbow Chupa on his side; nearly the same place where he kicked him earlier. The soft faints of music trailed into their ears and Chupa began to whisper the words along with the vocalist that chanted a million miles away. Tommy, thirsty from his win on the racetrack, snatched a glass soda bottle from the refrigerator. The magazine slapped against the counter and a hard pound came from the bottle hitting the table. The thin papers hit the fingers of the girl whose eyes seemed tired and sleepy, her red hair was tied back and bangs covered her eyebrows. She looked sick and could be mistaken for a ghost if someone didn’t get a good look of her; her dark blouse seemed to only strengthen her ghostly complexion. One of her eyebrows lifted and her body motioned backwards. While she beeped in the comic, she looked at Chupa and spoke,

“I see you kids coming in here every week and I never ask. But why do you wear a hockey mask? It’s too hot for masks.” She asked with a monotone speech.

“He likes hockey.” Tommy replied defensively without missing a beat. He rolled his eyes and slapped the dollars on the counter with one hand and slid the comic back towards himself and handed it to his brother. Chupa once again hugged it and ran off. He waited for his brother outside the store.

“Was just asking.” She muttered, her eyes flowed away from Tommy. She had eyes the color of a frozen lake and a black eye that covered the upper left half of her face.

“Can I ask what happened to your eye?” Tommy uttered in a nasty tone filled with sarcasm and punishment. The girl’s head drooped down to her magazine and didn’t say a word; only a look of sick discomfort came up on her. “Hey.” He muttered. Her head slowly looked up with a frown on her face. Tommy lifted up his left sleeve to reveal a large purple bruise the size of a lemon with large ridges forming an oval on its side. His face was blank and his hair covered his entire forehead; twitching as he blinked and turned around to walk away and join his brother. The girl swallowed and continued to read her magazine as if nothing happened.

The streets were mainly empty save for two homeless men napping on a street corner and a stray dog limping around looking for garbage to feast on. Darkness was creeping upon the town, gray shadows snatching more and more territory by the hour until the entire area the common resident begrudgingly called home would be engulfed into a deep dark hole. “Hey kids! Got any change for your Uncle Fred?” a hobo called loudly and put his greasy dark hands on each boy’s shoulders. “All I need is quarter! Just one… little quarter. I beg you…. I… I can work for it if you want?” he had a pathetic little smile on his face beneath the black grease smeared on his face and between long messy sideburns the color wet stones near black lakes. Tommy already felt sick and disgusted by such a vile man who didn’t even deserve to be spit on, he thought.

“Get your fucking greasy monkey hands off us, Freak!” Tommy snarled, drops of saliva shooting out of his wide mouth into the bum’s cheeks. The bum looked confused. “Yeah! We know your name! Fred the Freak, they call you! Fred the Freak! Fred the Freak! Still trying to please little boys for money you fucking sloppy freak?!” Tommy chanted.

“You watch your mouth you little shit!” Fred growled, he lunged at Tommy and clenched his arm until it was sore. His eyes were cross-eyed, one looking at Tommy and the other at Chupa, who took a step back behind Tommy. Tommy twitched his hand away and looked at Fred with murderous eyes. “Call me that again, see what happens.” Fred demanded. Tommy looked at him with angry eyes and tilted his head to the side, his face only inches from Fred’s; he snarled his lip and clenched his teeth.

“Fred. The. Freak.” Tommy replied coldly, an expression as blank as paper. With rage boiling inside him, the back of Fred’s hand whipped Tommy’s face like a baseball bat hitting a ball. His glasses fell from his face to Chupa’s feet. The soda bottle also dropped into the pavement but seldom shattered, only making a loud clank and just rolled into the street. Fred kicked Tommy in the stomach and yelled like a madman. “Who are you to say who’s the freak? With that fucked up ear and that even more fucked up brother? Huh?” Another kicked was followed from the question. Fred got on top on Tommy and continued to slap his face with his paddles for hands. The other hobo that was with Fred roared with laughter at the expense of Tommy’s humiliation and choked on the sips he took from his liquor bottle. Tommy lied on the ground, unable to cover his face from the ferocious hits due to arms being pinged to the grown thanks to Fred’s heavy legs, the red hot pain burned on his cheeks but he knew not to cry or show any type of weakness. “You want some more you little piece of crap? Yes? Fine then! If you insist!” Before Fred could continue, the glass bottle smashed to his head; causing shards of tiny glass reminiscent of snow flakes and drops of brown rain to fall to the grown. Fred cried in pain and dropped to his side, shaking and rolling in pain as he grasped his head with his hands. Chupa held what was left of the broken bottle. Tommy jumped to his feet as fast he could and took a few steps back.

Chupa walked quickly to Tommy’s glasses and handed it to him. However, before Tommy would take them, he made a quick and powerful kick to Fred’s face as he was still rolling in pain and covering his head that was getting wet from trickles of blood. Fred’s companion stopped laughing. Chuppas tugged on Tommy’s sleeve and they both bolted away. “I’m going to kill you two little shits! Make that a promise!” Fred yelled before his voice faded off in the wind.

“Yeah right! Fat chance for such filth! Just wait until the trash is taken out.” Tommy yelled back. All they heard was menacing, insane screams before Fred and the other bum became old news and disappeared. Tommy’s cheeks were the color of fire and his eyes puffed up, though not one tear dropped from his face and he avoided being seen from his brother. “Don’t tell anyone about that, you hear? We could get our ass’ beaten worst than when we tried to make those fireworks that one time. Seriously, don’t tell no one… Nice hit by the way.” Tommy giggled. Chupa reached out his hand towards his brother’s cheek but was slapped away in a swift motion and Tommy shook his head then nodded to the side. Chupa threw the glass remains over the fence nearby and joined his brother behind as they continued their sore walk to the place they called home, without a smile or hint of excitement. Between the barbershop and a candy store was a back alley where most of the kids would hang out, other than the abandoned vacant lot and the park next to the forest where older kids would get high or have sex. But now the back alley was mostly empty minus a few kids who lived a few blocks away playing handball with a tennis ball. The boys glanced at the small group of two boys and a girl who had on pigtails and a faded pink blouse too big for her tiny body. The boys both had on T-shirts with the sleeves cut off and homemade jean shorts, one wearing a bandana to make his spiky blonde hair shoot up to stab the sky and the other’s head was mostly naked, other than a thin strip of geld pink hair, he was as hairless as the day he was born. Tommy and Chupa walked swiftly pass the other children laughing and playing like their lives depended on winning, hitting the tennis ball with all their might and making grunts after each slap. Tommy looked at them in envy from the aggressive fun they were having and wanted to join them gain another victory and humiliate them on how he was stronger and faster, maybe even woo the girl who bounced a rubber ball up and down with a smile on her face. But he couldn’t. He had to go home quickly to have dinner and to avoid all the drunks, stalkers, and creepers that roamed at night.

After several turns on countless dark empty streets, the boys only had a short walk to go until they found the rusty fence covered in a green plastic sheet and crawl through the hole near the ground and jump to their back door. As they walked, Chupa opened his comic book and glued the pages so close to his face, it looked like it was part of his mask and Tommy had to grab the pocket of his jacket to steer him away from lamp posts and cracks he could eat the ground from, much to his chagrin. Across the street on another corner stood a young man wearing clothes 5 sizes too big for him and a beanie, leaning against the lamp post with a face that made look like he was trying to be menacing but ended up just looking uncomfortable and stupid, Tommy snickered at the idiot. Next to him was an older looking lady who had on dry hair and a shiny silver dress and heavy makeup that made her look like a parrot exploded on her face, at least to Tommy.

He nudged at Chupa, making him jump and shoot his face at his brother. He nodded his head sideways towards the two across from them and chuckled. “Her face looks like Bozo’s!” He said softly. Chupa’s mask twitched, he was smiling. They also laughed at the “gangsta” next to her, trying to appear like he was a black rapper the boys would see on Mtv, but was just as much as a redneck as the boys that lived on the other side of the trailer parks from the twins, who would be seen holding rifles and chewing tobacco. “God, I think I heard the guy say ‘Yo’!” they both laughed with delight as they mocked him. Right when they turned around their street’s corner, a car drove by the man in baggy clothing and stopped with a screeching halt. The noise banged on each boys ears and made Chupa turn away from his comic book and spin around. He saw the man the in the baggy clothes hunch down and talk to whoever was in the car. The man in the baggy clothes looked back at the Parrot Face Lady and nodded his head. He flicked his hand to the person in the car and reached out his hand for a handshake. Afterwards, Parrot Face Lady climbed in the car and it drove off the left of Chupa. “Chupa, what are you doing? Let’s go! Dad’ll kill us if we don’t get home soon!” Tommy barked from ahead, not realizing Chupa stopped on his tracks to observe the two strangers behind them. Chupa began to walk backwards and once again glued his mask to the pictures in his book.

The streets were completely silent now and covered in a dark blue tint. The shadows had overrun the streets and it was complete night time now, but the warm summer air did not go back to its home, it over welcomed its visit and continued to loom the streets to bother and bore. The boys made clicking noises with their cheeks and deeply sighed from the sores and blisters they were hit with from every step, their shields their shoes once were collapsed from every split rubber strand and torn plastic fiber, creating little windows of exposed feet to the world like parts of a newborn before completely escaping the womb. As the dust of the wind blew by, Tommy’s hair flew backwards and dust piled on his glasses, forcing him to adjust his lenses time and time again, he just hoped he didn’t carry them anymore, glasses the size of bricks on his head made him feel odd, like he had a mask on too behind the thick glass. Without them he would look handsome, he thought, every time he would look into a reflection he saw a weird looking frog/human hybrid with eyes of large marbles and hair of muddy straw. His ear was the worst to look at, possessing the color of gray and maroon, looking like charred burnt hot dog meat clumped together in a mushy mess, he cringed at the sight of it every morning. But at least he couldn’t feel it anymore, he remembered. He looked back at the pain he felt when he first got it and the weeks it was bandaged. He hated it and he hated how it kept reminding him of everything about him, it mocked him every morning and every night, in his dreams and when he was awake, when he looked at glass, water, when someone stopped staring at his brother to stare at his ear, every single time his annoying hand curled its fingers around it and tugged to his painful relief.

But he knew there was something worst that his screwed up ear or glasses. It always stood by him and overshadowed him and he had to live with it and lead it. Walking around him like an extra piece of baggage and nothing more, he knew it would be stuck with him forever, with it around Tommy would never have a normal life and he tried not care. A normal life is for boring people. Settlers. People who give up or want to. It would make his life a deformed freak show of stares and backdoor conversations of concerns and laughter. It was the reason he didn’t have any other friends, even if he pushed almost everyone away. It was his twin brother. The masked figure always behind him like Tommy was his knight in shining armor, shielding him from everything else. As they walked Tommy poked one of the holes in Chupa’s mask with is pinky finger, making him flinch away and take a few steps away before gradually leaning back to where he was.

After what seemed to be a lifetime, they finally arrived at the fence covered in the green sheet and exposed of a hole near the ground. “Your first. Go.” Tommy expanded the sides of the hole to make it larger for Chupa, who’s chubbier exterior made it him struggle going through, making him squirm like a mouse rubbing himself in between the walls. From Chupa’s rubbing, the fence jingled sweet songs of trailer park trash and dirt trodden occupiers, losing rhythm and starting over again each wiggle of Chupa’s crawl. After one last kick of his right shoe, Tommy shot right through with ease, dusting himself off and walking tall to his house’s backdoor. Turning to doorknob, a small squeak hit Tommy’s ears and he clenched his teeth with breathed in, making a sucking noise like the tool at a dentist office. Orange light glowed from inside and created an outline of the door and a beam from a center window that created an orange box shape on Tommy’s chest. They walked in the living room, a large television sat in front of them showcasing a grainy video of men in striped clothing and neat hats hitting small white balls with a wooden bat and waving at the boys with large, mocking smiles. Standing on a green and fuzzy rug, the boys looked around to see the old man snoring louder than a donkey with a beer bottle dumped on the floor below his hand and a cigarette still burning in his mouth. Tommy moved onto the kitchen connected to the living room and walked quickly back and forth of the shelves holding their next meal.

Chupa stayed behind in the living room looking at the television, the comic still clutched to his hand. Faded pictures hung on the wall of the family: group shots they took at the mall when the boys were 6, a picture taken outside of their father holding a spatula on one hand and a beer on the other, sporting a mullet and a NASCAR t-shirt. Chupa looked at the picture and tilted his head with ideas and memories. It was before their father grew overweight and a beard and lost his most of his hair and hygiene, so it seemed like a whole different person, someone who was happy. Next to that picture was one that showed their mother, whose hair was thick and feathered, her face sporting make up and a smile she seldom wore nowadays. On a small coffee table to the side of the couch their father was napping on was a picture of the boys taken years ago, which also looked like two different people. It was before Tommy had on his earrings or glasses and before Chupa adopted the hockey mask as his new face and earned his nickname. The boys in the picture were paler and mirrored each other completely, even wearing the same red shirts that operated as rags to clean with now. One boy smiled, the other had on a serious face on and looked away from the camera. The table was white to match to beige colored walls and besides the picture, had a covering with a moss-colored vase holding yellow flowers standing tall on top. The fan on the ceiling ran in circles erratically and sent shivers on Chupa’s skin. A grunt then came from the sleeping old man on the couch. He slowly rose up and rubbed his hands against his saggy face.

“Ugh… Hey kids. What the hell did you wake me up for?” He sighed. “Where’d you little shits run to today?” He said quietly with a tone as dry as the summer night. Chupa shrugged and took a step back. Tommy didn’t notice his father awoke and was cooking up something in a bowl, his back to his brother and father. He grabbed the beer from the floor and wiped the spilt beer from the floor with his bare foot. He was a little taller than Chupa and only had one boxers and a white tank top over his hair gut and chest. “Answer me when I talk to you. You really go to stop this whole ‘barely talking’ charade. It’s really starting to piss me off.” He uttered almost every word like he spread them with a butter knife while drunk or when trying to intimidate. “Come here… Come here.” He waved his hand towards himself. Chupa walked slowly towards his father with hesitation. He palmed his hand on the back of Chupa’s head and wore a dumb smile on his worn out face, his lazy eye drooped even further and made him look like he was sleep walking. “Little Chupacabra.” He wheezed as he laughed. He grabbed to stubby end of Chupa’s hood and threw it off to show his bright blonde hair, the color of the sun on the naked eye, a large scar cutting off a portion of it from his left side. “Your hair was always better than your brothers, who looks like a faggot now with it all long.” He whispered. Chupa stood still without a hint of movement. He then slapped the back of his head and pushed him aside.

“Hey Tommy! Watcha makin’?” He yelled. Tommy shot backwards and sighed deeply with disappointment over his father’s awakening to interrupt their night. 

“Macaroni, Tim.” He replied, keeping his eyes focused intensely on the pan while he stirred the pasta in slow circles. Tim looked ready to say something but just breathed heavily and rolled his eyes, scratching his stomach with his poorly managed fingernails. He looked over his son’s shoulder to take a preview of the meal he intended to take part in, licking his lips and raising dark eyebrows. He stumbled drunkenly around the cramped kitchen, swinging his arms around his side and bumping into the counter.

“Where’s your mother?” He asked, looking out the window over the sink dressed in dirty dishes.

“Hell if I know. We were at the library.” Tommy replied with drops of irony to make up a river.

“Oh shut up you little shit. You’re never any help! All you… All you fucking do is bitch to me for no goddamn reason. No wonder Chupacabra shuts up most of the time, you gained all of his mouth!” He began to raise his voice enough for the neighbors to gain a peek on what was happening like a late-night soap opera.

“Oh ‘haha’ Tim! I wonder how many times you used that one. Go take another beer and I’ll give you some of MY dinner when it’s ready. And he’s got a name, ya know! You shouldn’t be calling him that! You’re his damn father for god’s sake.”

“Oh! So you’re telling me how to parent my own damn kid? Learn some fucking respect you little piece of crap. It’s the hormones, huh, son? Is that it?” he then began slurring his words.

“Oh totally! I’ll give respect when you earn it and stop being a pathetic failure!” Tommy matched his tone. By the end of that statement, Tim heard enough. With rage boiling inside him like he was a volcano, Tim raised his hand like a hungry bear and smacked Tommy’s face with all his might after a moment of hesitation. From the fierce swing, Tommy fell to his side. Tim began to kick his stomach and yell profanity at him, spit foaming and shooting from his mouth.

“You still gonna be a little shit? Or this making you reconsider?” Another kick hit Tommy’s stomach. Chupa stood there watching it all but did not move a muscle. Coughs echoed in the small house into every room like an airborne virus. “You need to keep your mouth shut most of the time, because its gonna get your ass handed to you by everyone man enough to stand up to your crap. And they’ll do this! And this!” Another kick then a punch to Tommy’s face followed. A little blood popped from Tommy’s mouth as he coughed in agony, his face red like a cherry and his eyes puffed up and weak. Then blood dripped from Tim’s nose.

“Are you sorry?” Tim roared like a wild animal protecting his turf. Tommy then looked into his eyes and spit blood on his leg, his yellow teeth mixing with the blood to make a grotesque smile to his father’s eyes. His eyes grew tense and Tim added another punch to Tommy’s chest. Then another to his face. Then another. And another. And another. Chupa stood hunched a couple of feet away, watching everything from a distance so he wouldn’t get involved. “Learn some fucking manners and this wont happen.” Tim said to his bleeding son. Tommy soon fell halfway into unconsciousness, his eyes rolled back, almost completely closed; his mouth hanging open for the blood to pour out. Tim panted heavily from the workout of his discipline and beads of sweat poured from his bald forehead. He walked to the refrigerator and pick out another ice cold beer and took a swig from it and breathing much more calmly. 

Tim studied him for a second and then decided picked him up in his arms, having trouble to completely take a hold of him due to his drunken habit to stumble over and shake. He ran his hand through his mostly naked head, got on his knees and lifted up, his leg cracking from the workout. He grunted and walked with Tommy in his arms to their bedroom. Chupa followed behind. They walked to the boys’ room, almost completely covered in posters of bands and drawings they illustrated, showing scratchy black ink images of cartoon characters and disturbing maskmen. In the middle of the room lied a queen size bed with colorful blankets on top with illustrations of adorable bears and furry balloons knitted on them. Tim stumbled in and put Tommy gently on the bed. He walked out past Chupa without looking at him and returned with a towel. Putting the towel below Tommy’s mouth, he got ready to speak. “Wake up and check on him every once and a while, make sure he doesn’t choke” he said. He wiped the blood from his knuckles on the towel and sat at the foot of the bed. “You still want to eat?” He asked to Chupa. Chupa nodded his head. “Ok, come on. But we should save some for your mother. But not your brother, he’s under punishment, understand? Maybe once he learns to control that mouth of his, I wouldn’t be forced to shove my fist in it instead of his foot.” He smiled a little as if he was joking. 

Chupa nodded and they walked out to the kitchen after a moment of hesitation. Tim sat on the large wooden chair on one end of the plastic white table, kicking the wrappers and papers on the floor to slide it back and comfort himself to his proper position. Two stacked plates in hand, Chupa poured the noodles and gooey cheese onto them, trying their hardest to stay on the pan and not become the Tim the Dragon’s next victims, Chupa nothing more but his accomplice. Tim’s scruffy chin lied on his bear-like hands as his eyelids hung like ceiling lamps and he mumbled long sentences only he could hear, occasionally looking at Chupacabra before shooting back down slower than a snail. Chupa slid the bowl across the table until hitting a complete stop on Tim’s crusty face, making him jerk back and sigh in slight pain and raise a questionable eyebrow at Chupa before devouring his meal like a starving monkey. Wiping his mouth with his paws, Tim looked at his son with curiosity. “You’re gonna have to take your mask off to eat, son. You can’t pour that shit into your mask… and besides I wanna see your angelic face” he glared his yellow teeth smugly and tilted his head to make his eyes dig underneath the mask. “Come on, kid. There’s nothing to be ashamed of! How else do you eat? Take it off.” He suggested.

“I don’t want to.” Chupa replied. His voice was odd, like he hadn’t drunk a drop in years and numb because of it.

“Finally! You talk! Damn, son you hate opening your mouth, huh?” He laughed, slapping the table harshly. “You know, when I was kid, the other kids would make fun of me for having a braces for 2 whole years. I would walk to and from the school you kids would go and there was a group of little shits led by a fat ginger named, uh, Alex, ya know with an ugly unibrow, which I though was a caterpillar taking a nap on his eyebrows, and he was followed by 3 other kids who looked like heroin addicts and garbage diggers, ya know. And they would always call me “Traintrack” and “Braceface,” and I would always say things like ‘you’re so fat instead of walking, you roll’ or ‘why don’t you fag bastards go have an orgy behind the gym again?’” he chuckled again, “stuff like that and then run like hell, ‘cause they’ll kick my ass... But the important thing is I wasn’t ashamed of my braces, I smiled every time I could! And look at me now. Wanna know what happened to Fat Alex? He died. Of a heard attack just last year!” he laughed. “And now his family’s fighting for his mass fortune from his business or something in Los Angeles… somewhere like that… Point is don’t be afraid of your looks. Because Fat Alex is fat and dead, and I still have my full health and youth!” He took another long chug from his beer. “So take off your mask.” He quickly said.

They both sat looking at each other for a while without moving. Chupa played with his food, making a clean little road in the middle in between the clumpy macaroni and cheese. “Can I eat in the bathroom?” He asked.

“No. Weirdos do that. You will eat here. And you will take off your mask. And you will bring me a beer. Do that first.” And Chupa did what he was ordered, handing the wet cold green glass bottle from the fridge to the giant hands of his father, who pressed it against his thick lips, the moisture sticking to the hair on his upper lip. After what seemed to be several minutes of non-stop drinking, he slammed it down on the table next to his old one and looked around. “One more thing.”

“What?”

“Come over here.” Chupa walked to his father with slow, steady steps, making his sneakers squeek against the floor. As soon as he got close enough, Tim threw his hand upwards to Chupa’s face, making a hard smack hit the plastic of his face and fly off in the air only to crash back down to Earth. Chupa stumbled back to the sink behind him and caught himself from sliding off. The humid wind from the nearby window hit his naked face, stored with shivers and sweat. Instead of lips, there were just parts of mutilated skin covering certain areas of his mouth, but teeth were still mostly in plain view to shine. He had large and deep scars on his cheeks and foreheads, leaving a hole on the side of his face he would like to stick his tongue out, the eyelid on his left eye hung a little lower than his right eye, and his skin was discolored, turning into a pale yellow/brown. Bright blonde hair rested on his head, covering the top of his forehead. He panted heavily, his chest beating like a drum.

“My God… Would you look at that?” Tim’s eyes grew wide and dark, beating up and down as he breathed deeply. His hands clasped Chupa’s face from each side and his thumbs rubbed his cheeks. “I’ll tell you what son, this is something to see. Something indeed.” He continued, his eyes going up and down like they were painting Chupa’s face. Chupa stood still and tried to breath calmly and not make any quick movements, rather just standing as still as possible and wait this examination over. Tim took another swig of his bottle and continued to look around his son’s head. His hands ran through Chupa’s hair like logs through water, making his blonde hair look wild from the constant dives of Tim’s fingers. “Open your mouth.” Tim said. And Chupa did what he was told. Sticking his thumb through the cheek hole, Tim watched as his finger wiggled inside Chupa’s mouth and chuckled.

“Does it ever hurt?” He asked while unplugging Chupa’s cheek.

“No. Just sorta numb. Feels funny when I touch it or other things do.”

“Like now?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh well. Hold on, this is the first time I’ve seen it in months. Looks better than before I think… Why wear a mask when you have such a fantastic face?” He smiled.

“Tommy says they’ll think I’m a freak and throw rocks at us again.”

“Fuck them and your brother. This fucking rat hole of a town has worst things than your fucked up face.”

“What if I meet another Alex?”

“You’ll get a brick and smash it to his pretty little face until he looks like you. Then the score is even.” His words slurred ever more than before his numerous bottles and one of his eyes were closed and his mouth barely moved.

“I might get in trouble!” Chupa replied.

“And Alex gets to eat a brick, you just have to think whether its worth seeing a fat son of a dirty whore get a mouth full of brick and to see his teeth pop out like popcorn and…” he began stumbling and shaking, “ his head crack like a me- like a mel- like a mel-…” he grunted and fell to his knees then slowly positioned himself on the floor. The chair near him went down with him like it was attached to him and covered him like a blanket. Saliva already poured out of his mouth and a mixture of barn sounds came out as he slept loudly.

“I hit Fred the Freak today with a bottle when he kept hitting Tommy. Should I do it like that?” Chupa asked his father, who by now was in a whole different world. He leaned down and grabbed his mask from the floor and looked at it for a minute, inside and out. “Was that the right thing to do, dad?” He stared at his mask then at his father, hoping for at least a meaningful grunt, but he heard nothing but snores. He then placed the mask on the table, ate his dinner, and waited for his mother to come home, donning the mask once more when he saw the truck’s lights shine through the window


© Copyright 2017 Allen Wood. All rights reserved.

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