Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another bit of OT

This is after Jake's had a run-in with the cops, been beaten, and was released only because he told the judge he was a Danish citizen and the Danish Consulate backed him up. Gregory is the lawyer they sent to handle his case.

So I shook Gregory’s hand and got in the car and went straight to an ER to have myself checked out. I told them I’d fallen while climbing a rock. They verified Sandoval’s diagnosis and gave me a prescription for something a lot better than Advil. I got it filled, swigged one down with a DP, bought a massive pack of gum and took the car for a detailed wash at a nearby full-service joint. As it was cleaned of their filth, I finally checked my phone. Its lens was cracked and the cover was scuffed. All the messages had been erased. Motherfuckers.

I kept myself awake and occupied by checking into the online edition of the local paper, trying to see what’d been reported about Uncle Owen’s trial, but there was nothing...until a week after, when they had a nice page 3 headline about him seeming to have run away from charges of molesting a child. The District Attorney’s line, like he’d written it. Of course.

I logged off and tried to read some weeklies that were piled up in the dinky office. But nothing took my brain off the reality of the situation. My uncle was dead. No way he’d go this long without being in contact with me, not after asking me to come here. No more notes in his perfect handwriting. No pictures on the walls or books of sketches he’d done or even notes on the fridge. His bed was perfectly made, but there was damn near nothing to indicate anyone had ever lived in his home. If he’d left on his own, it was because he knew he wouldn’t be coming back, and wanted nothing to be around that might embarrass him or me when things had to be what to do about his estate.

The thought of him possibly killing himself crusted around me like ice. Because I could understand why he’d want to. I’d considered it after that night in the county jail. Sometimes it just plain gets to be too much, the fighting and the hate and the attitudes of scum who’ve got nothing better to do with their lives than beat up on people they don’t like. And it’s not just the assholes in Wichita; it’s self-professed “Christians” on TV and in politics, pushing to have gays rounded up and killed and treated like the Jews were in Hitler’s Germany, all while saying they were all about love and understanding. Just the crazy, non-stop fucking whipsaw of hypocrisy spit out by most people’d be enough to make you want to the get the hell off this planet.

I’d survived by turning into just as big an asshole as the fuckers trying to fuck with me. Soon as I was in prison, I’d found out who the alpha dog was and aligned myself with him. It cost me, Jesus Christ, it cost me. The things I did. The things he had me do to other guys. Hell, with other guys. I never asked why, not even after I was freed. Morality was a luxury that was way out of my price range.

Until I reconnected with my father, I thought I’d gotten that backbone from Gramma. From my uncle. Maybe even from my mother. None of them put up with shit. But then I’d tangled with Faraz and I could see it all came from him. The willingness to do what you had to do to make your way. Morality was an exercise of a person’s mind, not the human spirit, and that’s why it could easily be adjusted to mean anything anybody wanted it to.

So I could see Uncle Owen getting to where he just didn’t feel like it was worth the fight, anymore. He’d won against Bennett only to find they were changing the rules. And if he’d won that battle, they’d come back again. It wasn’t just the DA’s office or the cops; it was the bank’s rearrangement of how it did business, and that preacher pounding on his door with a message of hate, and the betrayal of past DAs and the general sense that he might have been losing support among his friends in his battles against the encroaching evil.

But why wouldn’t he have come to me? Called me? At least given me a hint? I’d have been here so fast to back him up, like he had me. He’d been the only one besides Gramma who’d stood behind me when I was busted. Without even asking if any of it was true. And he’d sent me money enough to make it while I lived with her and worked on getting my art back. He’d even visited me a couple times, when I was in prison, and sent me books and magazines and newspapers. Having him and Gramma as my support kept me sane enough to rejoin the world once I was free; to banish the animal I was close to becoming.

Now they were both gone. Yeah, I had Tone and Matt, but they were back in Texas and I had no one here to lean on but Dion and I couldn’t do that to him and Kent, not considering all he was going through, right now. Shit, I had to fight myself to keep from pointing the rental car down the 10 and not stopping.

Only I couldn’t do that. Uncle Owen had stuck it out for me, so I couldn’t let him down. I had to find out what happened. And if he had ended it, himself...find out what drove him to that point. And if punishments were due, make sure they were paid. I owed him at least that much.

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