Preppy the life amp deat.., p.18
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       Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Two, p.18
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         Part #6 of King series by T. M. Frazier
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  we’ve always said we were gonna go out into the world and we weren’t going to wait for anyone to give us anything. We were gonna do what we wanted and take what we wanted. Since day fucking one, man. Me and you on that playground with that fucking notebook. We mapped out our lives in those scribbles. Don’t tell me you don’t fucking remember that and what it meant because I sure as shit do.”

  “I remember,” I muttered, wondering where King was going with all this.

  “You know; I don’t think you fucking do remember.” King stomped his way over to me, stopping only when his knees were pressed against mine, towering above me, glaring down as if he were about to strangle me with his bare hands. His nostrils flared. “You claim to remember. So tell me, what do we do when we want something?”

  “We...we take it,” I said, rubbing my temples and recalling the words the naive kid versions of ourselves wrote down that day.

  “Louder,” King demanded roughly grabbing me by the shoulders and lifting me off my feet.

  “We take it.” I said a little bit louder, pushing his hands off of me only to have him grip me again, harder this time, and step even closer until he was right up in my face and our noses were almost touching.

  “Louder, motherfucker,” King demanded with a growl.

  “We take it!” I yelled, pushing against him only to have him push back against me yet again. He grabbed me by the back of the head and pushed his forehead against mine so he was staring right into my eyes and I had no choice but to stare back.

  “Again! Louder! What do we do when we want something?” King screamed, anger pulsed from the vein in his neck as he talked through his teeth. “Tell. Me. What. We. DO!!!!”

  I hit my boiling point. His fingers dug into the back of my neck as we squared off. “We take it!” I yelled. “We motherfucking take it! ‘Cause it’s ours! It’s all fucking ours to fucking take!”

  “Scream it! Show me you still fucking believe in this! In us!” King said shaking me by the back of the neck and screaming in my face.

  “We fucking take it!” I roared back with everything I had, my teeth clenching together as King held his forehead against mine. “We fucking take all of it!!!!!”

  King clapped me on the back and released me, but he continued to crowd my space, his eyes never leaving mine. “Good. Now tell me what happens when someone stands in the way of us taking what’s ours?” He grabbed the notebook and thrust it against my chest. I closed my hands around it and looked from it to my best friend with new found determination I felt building in my soul.

  “We fucking kill ‘em’,” I huffed feeling more like myself in that moment than I had since before I went into the hole.

  “Damn fucking right we do,” he said with a satisfied smile and another slap to my back. He pulled me in for a one armed hug before pushing me back down into the chair and turning around to pick up his stool. He placed it upright and sat back down, rolling back over to me and again picking up the needle.

  “Now what?” I asked, feeling like he had more to say and wanting to hear it.

  “Now? I’m gonna work on some of those scars of yours and you’re gonna spend some time working on getting you right again. Whatever it takes.”

  “And then?”

  King lit a joint and passed it to me. “And then you tell me.”

  A wicked smile spread across my face. “And then I’m going to get my fucking girl.”

  Bear stormed in with his helmet in hisl hand looking like he’d just driven his bike at break neck speeds. “Sorry to interrupt your little pow-wow,” he turned to me, “but that kid you’ve been looking for, Prep? My boys found him.”

  I was instantly sober. “And?”

  Bear shook his head and blew out a long breath. “And...it’s not good, man.”

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

  PREPPY

  Bear told me that Bo was in the hospital and my fucking heart sank into my gut.

  Twenty minutes later I was staring at the nurse at check-in looked like she’d been on the wrong end of a beating herself. She had purple bruises on her face. One on her chin and the other under her right eye. I could tell she’d tried to cover it up with makeup, but no amount of concealer could cover those angry fuckers, and they were fresh, it would only get worse. “Car accident,” she said when she saw me staring.

  “Didn’t know cars had fists,” I commented.

  She pursed her lips and set down the chart she’d been holding, looking me in the eye for the first time since I’d arrived. She sighed and looked around to make sure no one was listening. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “The boy you’re looking for was brought in a few days ago with a minor concussion and a sprained wrist. He’d been banged up pretty badly and from what I could tell, pretty often. It’s not the first time he’s been in here either. Between you and me I called child services, but when I brought the social worker to his room he was already gone.”

  “You let him go?” I asked through my teeth, stretching my fingers to ease the tension building in my hands.

  “Let him go?” She looked stunned at my question, hugging her clipboard to her chest. “We didn’t lose him, he escaped.”

  “Do you have a home address for him?” I asked leaning over to look at the chart in her hand. “Please, I have to find him.”

  “You know damn well I can’t tell you that,” she whispered.

  I was about to ask her nicely, beg her until she gave in, but the fluorescent lights overhead caught the yellowing edges of her bruises I thought of something else. “The same thing is happening to him that’s happening to you. I recognize a good ass kicking when I see one. Shit, I’ve started thousands in my life, but I’ve got this crazy idea that I only start fights with someone who deserves it, someone who can fight back.”

  “I can’t...”

  “No, just listen. You see, that little boy? That was me. Years ago in another life I was the one with the concussion and the broken wrist. The one who’d been beaten and starved regularly.”

  “We’ve...we’ve all had problems,” she said, backing up when I stepped into her space. I put my hand beside her head onto the wall and leaned in close.

  “Yes, we all do. And right now my first problem is finding Bo so I can keep him safe. Do you want to know what my second problem is?” I asked.

  She nodded.

  “My second problem is that I’m going to find the person responsible for hurting him.”

  “What are you going to do when you find them?” she asked, sounding both scared and intrigued.

  “That leads me to my third problem. Body disposal.”

  She gasped but didn’t move away.

  “What if I could promise you the same thing?” I whispered.

  “What?” she asked, her eyes going wide.

  I grabbed a post-it tacked to the bulletin board above her head and grabbed her pen out of her hands. “Write down Bo’s address. Underneath it, write the name and address of the cocksucker who did this to you.” I shrugged. “And I’ll dig an extra hole.”

  She grabbed the paper and pen from my hands. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no one hurting me. I told you. I got in a car accident.” She smiled at another nurse walking by and dropped it the second she was gone. “But I’ll give you the address of the boy so you can get the fuck out of here and leave me alone.” She scribbled on the paper and handed it to me. “It’s not so much of an address as it is a location. We don’t have any official address on file for him but one of the other nurse’s said they see him around there from time to time.”

  “Thank you,” I said, turning to leave.

  “Go save that boy,” she called out.

  I waited until I got to the parking lot to check the post-it in my hand. She’d written Bo’s location down all right.

  And more.

  Check the Rainbow Ends Trailer Park for your boy

  Trip Reid

  1720 Alabaster Road Apt 4

  Black hair. Snake
tattoo on his forearm. Mean right hook..

  He’s always home...Thank you.

  ****

  King, Bear and I scoured the trailer park for any sign of Bo, but he couldn’t be found. Some of the neighbors pointed us in the direction of a mound of garbage. We wouldn’t have even known a trailer was underneath if we hadn’t been told. I pushed over a stack of empty cans with my foot and was about to kick in the door when a tall man with bloodshot eyes and a beer in his hand approached us.

  “Word is you’re looking for the kid?” he asked, adjusting the brim of his trucker hat depicting the silhouette of a stripper sliding down a pole.

  “Yeah, we’re looking for him. You Bo’s dad?” King asked, stepping in front of me, and for good reason. I was wound so tight I would have fired first and asked questions later. The funny thing about dead men was that they didn’t talk and we needed this shit bag to tell us where Bo was.

  “Names Buck. I’m the boys step-dad,” he corrected, crossing his arms over his bare chest that was covered in paper clip style prison tats.

  “Fucking figures,” I muttered.

  “What the fuck do you want with him?” Buck asked. “He steal something from you?” He leaned to the side, spitting black tobacco onto the asphalt. He wiped the spittle off his chin with the back of his hand. “I told that boy to quit stealing shit. I guess that woopin’ I gave him last time didn’t teach him any kind of lesson. Looks like he’s got another one comin’.”

  My rage had reached the point of no return and King felt it too because he stepped aside and let me come forward. “The only thing he stole was food. And while I’m sure your cigarette and beer money comes first you could have bothered to feed your fucking kid.”

  “Who the fuck are you to tell me how to discipline my kid? Withholding supper builds character. It’s how my daddy and his daddy before him did it and it’s how I do it.”

  “So the bruises and beatings are all part of it too?” I asked.

  “If the boy won’t answer my questions, he gets punished.”

  “Wait, he can’t speak...so you gave him a concussion? Starved him?”

  “What the fuck?” Bear asked.

  “Can’t speak or won’t?” Buck asked, crushing the empty beer can in his hand and tossing it onto the pile beside the door. “Should have never bothered with the boy or his whore of a mama. Hope wherever he is he don’t come the fuck back or he’s gonna get the tail end of a switch and learn what real punishments all about.” He shook his head. “If you want the little retard so much you can fucking have him.”

  “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” I asked, blocking his way back into the trailer.

  Buck looked over my shoulder to the crowd of neighbors that had gathered around to watch the commotion. Buck sneered, tobacco covered his yellow teeth.

  “What are you gonna do? Call the fucking pigs? IF they even bother to arrest me I’ll do thirty days at most and be out fucking his mama again before football season starts.” Buck laughed.

  “He must be new in town,” King said from somewhere behind me.

  “’Real new. ‘Cause we don’t call cops,” Bear added, pushing his gun into my hand. As soon as I touched the cold metal I knew it wasn’t his gun after all. It was mine. “We didn’t get rid of all of your shit,” Bear said to me.

  “What? You gonna shoot me in front of all these people? You gonna kill me in the middle of the fucking day with a bunch of witnesses standing around who could send you to jail?” Buck rolled his eyes.

  “He really must be new in town,” Bear joked.

  I raised the gun and aimed it at Buck’s chest.

  “Why do you keep saying that!” Buck screamed backing up and raising his hands in the air. He looked over my shoulder to the crowd where not one person was making a move to protect him.

  “Because,” I said, cocking the gun. “None of them are going to call the fucking cops.”

  “Oh yeah?” Buck challenged “And why the fuck is that?”

  I pulled the trigger twice, sending Buck’s bleeding body rolling into a heap of his own garbage.

  “Because, unlike you, they know who we fucking are.”

  I may not have found Bo, but I did find someone else. An old friend of mine I didn’t even know I missed.

  And his name was Revenge.

  “Reunited and it feels so goooooood,” I sang out the open truck window as we flew over the causeway. I breathed in the salty air and it wasn’t enough. I opened my mouth so I could taste it on my tongue. Bear pulled me inside by my shirt. “Fuck, that was better than any therapy,” I said after planting my ass back on the seat. “What a fucking rush!”

  “Yeah, Prep, if it put you in this good of a mood we should find someone else to kill,” Bear said.

  I pulled the note from my pocket and smiled. “Done.”

  “‘Bout time you started feeling better,” King said, turning onto the dirt road under the bridge.

  “No!” I exclaimed, turning toward them and gesturing with my hands as I spoke, one of which was still holding the gun. MY gun. “I don’t just feel better; I feel...” I looked up at my two best friends who were eagerly awaiting for me to tell them something the shit eating grins on their faces told me they already knew.

  “ALIVE. I feel fucking ALIVE.”

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

  Five Months Later

  DRE

  I pulled the covers up to my chin but was still unable to shake the chill that had seeped into my bones. Every single degree the temperature dropped made me miss Logan’s Beach even more than I already did.

  When I realized the chill was coming from my bedroom window that I didn’t remember leaving open I wrapped my blanket around my shoulders and padded over to shut it, sleepily bumping into my desk in the process.

  “You look like an adorable fucking eskimo,” a deep voice said from out of nowhere. I turned around and jumped back, bracing my hands on the window sill as the door slowly creaked closed. A face I never thought I’d see again stepped out from the shadows. He smiled and his eyes gleamed.

  “What?” I asked. “Why are you here?”

  “Why wouldn’t I be here?” he asked like it was an absurd question, and I wasn’t sure if he was telling me that was the reason he was there or just stating a fact.

  “Because it’s been five months and I haven’t heard a damn thing from you,” I said, trying to catch my breath. Preppy walked around the room slowly picking up frames and trophies from my youth and running his hands over my ribbon for winning first place in the eighth grade science fair. “You scared the shit out of me you know.”

  “How’s your dad?”

  “He’s fine now. It was minor heart attack. He just has to watch what he eats and his stress levels. He was lucky he noticed the signs as early as he did and Edna called for help,” I said.

  “That’s good. What did you make to win this?” Preppy asked. He held up the ribbon.

  I mashed my lips together. “A portable printing press.”

  “For books and shit?” He set the ribbon back down.

  I shook my head and wrapped the blanket around me tighter. I shivered, but this time the cold had nothing to do with it. “A money press.”

  Preppy smiled and I saw pride gleam in his eyes. “You made a counterfeit money printing press in the eighth grade...and you won?”

  I shrugged. “Wasn’t that hard. Second place was one of those volcanoes that dripped tomato soup from the top.” Preppy was quiet as he approached the bed where he stood on one side and I stood on the other.

  “Why are you here?” I asked.

  “The divorce papers,” Preppy said.

  My heart sank. “So you came here to deliver them in person?”

  Preppy reached into his back pocket and pulled out a manilla envelope. “Something like that,” he said, opening it and spilling paper confetti onto my bed between us. “More like bring them back.”

 
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