Synopsis: Jason “Jay” Todd finds himself in a situation not of his own making. He finds himself having to pay for his mother’s addiction. During the ordeal Jason considers hate and love when it comes to his parents. Despite the pain and the insanity of trying to help his mother break her addiction Jason holds on to the fact that his love for his mother will always win out over the hate he feels for her at time. However, love does not always prevent loss.
Have you ever had one of those moments, not a regular a moment, not one when the world spins and spins and spins like it normally does. No, that’s not the moment I am referring to. I referring to one of those moments when the world slows down and everything seems to be running in slow motion. Definitely not a running across the fields slow motion moments. There are no fields in the East End, at least not in my part of town unless you count the fields of concrete covered in shattered and broken glass. There are no clear pools of water that people gather around.
There’s the river, but everyone can see the river and if you can stand the mild stench its something. The most we can hope for is the pools of oil and antifreeze that you do your best to avoid less you want to stain your shoes. There’s the occasional clusters of chunky vomit, but no that’s what people come to the East End to write home about. It’s the crimson pools of copper goodness that gathers in all different ways. Typically it finds its way from an open wound from a body, but there are those rare days when someone can find themselves covered it in in a spray the result of a deal gone wrong or right. Depends on if your on the right end or business end of the gun. Them again given the fact that this is Gotham guns might not even be involved.
There’s a movie called the Purge that talks about free for all crime for one night, but honestly before someone dreamed that up there was the East End even more there was Crime Alley, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I was supposed to be focusing on a moment. A moment where it all slows down and you ask yourself how this happened? How did I get here?
Not really. I know how I got here. I know what happened. My mom happened. God, I love here, but I hate her to. Is it horrible for sons to hate their mothers? Oh let’s get one thing clear I hate my father too so the hate is pretty evenly spread.
Now I will admit it, hate is a strong word and when I attended church I was told that I should strive never to hate someone, but to understand them. People also believed that it was bad luck to kill a man or woman of the cloth. Tell that to the chalk outlines in from of the to the pastor at Triple E , East End Episcopalian. Not that I’m Episcopalian. You take the word where you can get it. At least that’s what my mom’s friend said.
However, back to the point at hand. Hate. Yes. I hate my mother. Yes, I hate my father, but let’s get it straight it’s not constant hate. It’s not hate for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in between. It comes and goes in waves. Right now, I’m riding a wave hate right to the shore.
Let’s face it parents and children have complicated relationships. I’m not alone. I just happened to be focusing all the hate and rage at my mom. It’ll pass, probably after I pick myself off the ground literally.
“Is he humming,” someone asks. Yes, I am. I’m humming Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes. Why? Because why not. The soundtrack of my life happens to be songs of the 80s courtesy of my mother. That’s not something I hate her for, because there were some kick ass tunes from the 80s, but right now I kind of feel like the song is pretty fitting.
Also, I should be honest with myself I hate the situation more than my mom. I keep telling myself that I should leave, that I shouldn’t look back. Not until she’s ready to put us first instead of the pills. The pills are killing her instead of helping her. Once upon a time they were, but now. Now they’ve become here life.
That’s what I hate. The obsession. The blind need and the inability to break it. I hate the weakness its created. Something that was supposed to help has turned her into a bit of a monster yet one that’s left the woman that introduced me to Eurythmics, Blondie, Kim Carnes, The Fixx, Benatar, Heart, Bon Jovi, Boy George, and so many others, haunted.
That’s what I hate.
I feel like crap, but that’s because someone’s been using my gut for target practice, but it’s my own fault (not really), but I should have been on the look out for Johnny and his crew.
“Told your mom that the pills weren’t free, Jay. Stealing isn’t tolerated. Sadly, I couldn’t find he,r so you’ll have to do. Question is does she get a warning or does she get a message. You know. Hood style.”
That’s what they told me before they dragged me into the alley. I didn’t notice much about the people across the street. I was too focused on my surrounding attempting to figure out how I was going to get out this one. They really didn’t need to drag me into the alley, we could totally do this on the street. In the street, in the alley it didn’t make a difference. Blood would spill, bones would be broken.
It was going to be a hell of a night. I can already imagine what happened. She went to see Johnny, had nothing to offer him, nothing of monetary value, so junkies do what junkies do. Whatever it was, he probably gave her at best one or two pills. She must have taken more.
His fault for letting her in. He knew what he was getting. When someone needs their fix, they’re going to do whatever they can to satisfy it.
Not that it mattered. She was no where to be found so of course they get the next thing better. Shake me down for my lunch money that I don’t have. I get free lunches cause that’s how I roll. These days I’m doing what I can to make it from one day to the next. Right now, I’m trying to see a way out. If it was one on one I would be out of this, but it’s a little more than that. Must have heard about the last time.
Bernie got a broken nose. Bran got a broken arm. He got physical. I got physical back, but no such luck. I could struggle, put up a fight, but that would encourage them to guarantee my cooperation and I rather be conscious as long as I can. Sure, I don’t look like much and my father always said I was a little too thin. I have the waist of a twelve-year-old girl. He used those exact words.
See hate. It comes naturally, flowing from him to me, but thinking about him right this second probably wasn’t the best thing to do. Not because it’s not right to think or talk ill of the dead. More like wasted energy. Better to focus on what’s about to happen next.
”Excuse me is everything okay here?”
What the whiskey tango foxtrot just happened? It was a voice that I was not familiar with. Of the six of them that were here to beat the price of the pills out of me, two glanced up to see if there was anyone above us. Seriously from all the stories I’ve heard that’s never how that piece of business goes down. Also, I don’t have that kind of luck either.
Johnny ever the class act answered with a nice profanity laden response. Basically, telling whoever to mind their business. If they knew what was good for them. Let’s face it, thugs rarely deviate from the script. It’s in the thug handbook.
That’s how it started, and truthfully that was enough to turn most would be good Samaritans around. Whatever courage they gather dissipated especially when there were more than one individuals involved.
George the largest of the group decided to move on the silent command that was given heading towards the mouth of the alley, the source of the voice, to investigate. He disappeared into the darkness, but what came after were not the yells and screams of whoever it was instead it was George. There were grunts and I was pretty sure I heard a yell. It might been a scream followed by.
“He tried to tear my throat out! What kind of freak…” It was as far as he got before the hulking man came crashing back into the light.
That was enough to cause the others to tense up. The two that were holding me relaxed their grip as everyone went on the defensive. Of course, it also meant that guns were coming out. I could either stay down or I could take the opening.
Someone raised their gun and out of the darkness came a knife that hit him right in the shoulder. The gun went off, but that was in response to the knife strike. This was headed down hill fast. Time to take that opening.
I wriggled away and the moment I got free I took the opportunity to extricate myself from the situation, because shots were fired in the direction of where the knife came. One of Johnny’s crew tried to stop me from leaving, but it only resulted in me flipping him over my shoulder and twisted his arm.
You learn things. You learn what to do and what not to do. It was just all instinct at the moment, but I didn’t linger. I started to run towards the wall doing a bit of tic-tac-toe move to vault up reached the ladder of fire escape. Pulling myself up I made my way up and looked back for only a moment. The shots stopped, they were listening for anything, but I saw something move out of the darkness and for the briefest of seconds I saw the person look up towards me, but then towards Johnny and the others.
I didn’t. I continued up the fire escape, so I could go up and over and put some distance between me and them. I don’t know what was going to happen didn’t care at the moment. There are some things I’m better not knowing. The entire time Betty Davis Eyes continued to play through my head. My own personal streaming service as I crossed the roof to the other side of the building.