Aiding and Abetting

I didn’t give my parents time to react before I was already out the door.

For a while I have been feeling lost and alone in this tormenting life I live, but nobody seems to notice or care that I’m suffering. It only took my noticing Jason flirting with Shawn to send me into an escapable void of sorrow and hopelessness. Jason and I almost reached our one-year anniversary until I realized he was gay.

Afterward, nothing seemed to go well in every facet of my life: I flunked out of the 12th grade; my best friend Cal killed himself; I was fired at my job at the Dairy Queen, and I became familiar with oxycodone. My one friend, the only one who could truly relieve me of my pain, was a broken Green Day CD. And even that escape was temporary. I needed a distraction.

Tears chap my face as I speed down Pierson Road, the glowing needle of my silver 1995-model Ford Mustang passes 95mph like it was a vat of hot shit. Thoughts of crashing into the stalled pickup in the right lane or those of a police car hidden behind the “Now Leaving Graybach” sign do not cross my mind; all I want to do is get away.

My eyes flick to my rearview mirror, though, when I notice a truck quickly approach my back. Who the hell would be driving 110mph at seven o’clock in the evening, besides me? “Goddamn speeding motherfuckers better not get me pulled over just ‘cause they’re trying to get to a sleazy hotel to fuck some bitch in record time,” I mutter inaudibly against a blaring radio.

Then the fucker clips my bumper, sending yesterday’s cup of coffee into the floorboard.

“Whoa! What the fuck are you doing?” I inquire the dark vehicle in the mirror.

Then a little voice resonates from my back floorboard. “Don’t stop. Please,” it pleads.

Part of me wants to scream in terror that there is a fucking child somewhere in my backseat, but my oxy haze keeps me in the clouds. “Who’s back there?” Could it be George, the young kid next door? The voice was small enough to sound like him. But then again, George is fourteen.

I’m so out of it right now.

After repositioning the mirror, I make out a short body in the back. Using the evanescent light from the street lamps and back lights of cars I’m passing, I see a dirty mess of blond hair and an innocent face. “Just don’t stop. You can’t. I can’t go back there.”

I wipe the last of my tears on my sleeve. “How did you…”

The boy interrupts, “Just don’t let him take me, okay?” With another street lamp, his bruises become clearer; he’s got a black eye and a dark mark across his neck like he’d been strangled.

“You’ve got to give me more than that, kid.”

He whimpers as the truck rams my Mustang once more, forcing me to slow down to a manageable speed. Part of me hopes that it would play out like a movie and the truck would go speeding past me, unable to slow down as quickly as I have. Things are never that simple, though.

Suddenly, a bullet whizzes through my back window, striking the dashboard. An influx of freezing air flows into my car.

I know what I have to do now. “Get in the front, kid! Be careful around the glass,” I say, taking his hand and pulling him into the passenger’s side seat. His figure is perfectly visible now: he’s dressed in a torn green-and-red-striped Abercrombie t-shirt and blue cargo shorts; his muddy cream face is sunken in and his body is gaunt and weak. I imagine that he was a cute boy at one point.

A pair of innocent, blue eyes blinks at me. “You look a lot like my sister; she was pretty, too,” observes the boy, completely unfathomed by the shooting maniac behind us.

I flash him a grin, reach over his skeletal frame, open the passenger door, and push him out onto the street. This satisfied the raging lunatic, and I pick up my speed once again – losing sight of the boy and his captor.

“Fucking oxycodone,” I say, laughing. “You can’t trick me with these ridiculous hallucinations. I know what’s real.”

It’s not until I reach a shoddy motel that I realize that I will need to stop by a mechanic soon to fix the bullet hole in my window. I wouldn’t want the snow to ruin the Mustang’s upholstery.

10 thoughts on “Aiding and Abetting

      1. Also apologizing in advance: I didn’t realize I scheduled 2 sad kid stories on the same day. I try to space them out, but didn’t do it today. 😅


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