Friday, April 20, 2018

Bad Kid


            Molly was a teacher in Long Island, New York.  She had been a teacher for a number of years but this was the first year that she wouldn’t be teaching young children.  She was being informed that this year she would teach history to seventh and ninth graders, which she didn’t really enjoy.  When she walked into her ninth grade class one day, she noticed that some of the kids she had taught when they were little kids when she taught earlier years.  At 26, she was still young but that didn’t take away from the experience she had since she started teaching at a young age.  Even though she didn’t want to teach older children, she wasn’t going to complain.  She would just get through this year and see what happened the following years. 

            While Molly was grading papers one day, she came across a student who completely bombed a paper.  Nothing in the incoherent, ungrammatical, rambling resembled anything that could be considered a rational thought.  She had to give it an “F”.  This was inevitable because in all classes there are children that just can’t keep up.  This one, however, she knew because she had taught him previously.  He had really good parents and lived in a good neighborhood.  There were no environmental factors she could notice that made her believe shaped him to be the unmotivated, unruly kid that he was.  To Molly, this simply wasn’t possible.  She believed that all kids were innocent and the bad apples were not to blame, but their parents were.  Even with this preconceived notion, she couldn’t find anything wrong with his parents.  She went to school and handed back the homework and papers.  The failing student, Osama, got back his paper and immediately complained but Molly stood firm as it was obvious that he did not even bother to read the material.  After a short exchange, Osama smiled and walked away seemingly defeated. 

 

            Larry Couchmanos was visiting his cousin in Long Island.  He had forgotten his GPS at home and was a little worried because he has no sense of direction.  His cousin gave him detailed directions on how to get back to his home in Brooklyn and he set out pessimistic that he would be able to follow them.  Although he had little faith that it would go without a hitch, he wasn’t too worried as he liked the sense of adventure.  Predictably he got lost and he ended up driving on side streets trying to get to a main road.  As he turned down a corner he thought he saw silhouettes of some people.  Although he was a little cautious, he didn’t think he’d find many people out here so he had to ask them for directions.  He always carried two knives on him so he held one in his hand just in case these people weren’t friendly. 

 

Molly had clubs she was in charge of after school.  By chaperoning them, she made extra income so she willingly did it as she didn’t have much to do that day and she could always use the extra cash.  The event ended and by the time she cleaned up and left, it was dark out.  Her school was separated from the main roads since they didn’t want little kids to be running into the street when cars were coming.  As she walked to her car, she took out her keys and unlocked her door.  Her car was the only one in the parking lot as everyone else had left.  When she got to her car, she felt something wrap around he neck.  She squirmed until she felt the unmistakable feel of cold steel against her neck. She froze in fear, as she felt an arm wrap around her waist and pull her toward a body a little taller than her.  She felt the warm breath of another person on her ear and heard an all too familiar voice say, “Now, you have two options, either you do exactly what I say and this knife doesn’t cut that cute smooth skin of yours or….you fight, and I tear every piece of clothing from your body and most likely do some cutting with my knife here.”

            Molly tried to conceal the fear from her voice and responded, “Please, you don’t have to do this.”

            “No shit, I want to do this.”

            “We’re at a school, there’s people inside, someone will see you, as of right now, I don’t know who you are, you can leave here and nothing will happen to you.”

            Molly felt the arm lower and the knife press against her neck as he unzipped her jeans.  She continued, “Please don’t.”

            “Fuck you bitch.  Are you going to give me what I want, or am I going to have to force you to?”

            “Please stop.”

            The guy brought his arm up along Molly’s stomach to her breasts over her shirt and groped her front he then brought his arm down her side and grabbed her ass as he thrusted himself toward her.  He then said, “Wise choice, now don’t fucking say another word, just bend your ass over.”

            The guy reached around and unbuttoned Molly’s jeans and leaned his upper body against hers guiding her to bend over.  He used the non-knife wielding hand to nudge her side motioning her to the front of the car.  He bent her over the hood of her car and pulled down on her jeans with one arm as he kept the other firmly around her neck with the knife pressed against the side of her neck.  He fumbled with the panties but got them down enough so that he could have his choice of where to penetrate her.  The guy undid his own pants and pulled his penis out using both hands.  Molly had already frozen up and even though the knife was not on her neck, she still didn’t dare fight him.  All she could hope for now was that it would be over soon.  The knife came back against her neck and she held her breath.  She closed her eyes and waited helplessly for him to complete what he had set out to do. It seemed like it was taking forever as seconds ticked on like minutes.  She heard gurgling noises and wetness on the back of her neck and thought it was just a 14-year-old drooling with excitement about fucking his teacher.

 

            As Larry approached the people, he realized that they looked busy.  There was a certain voyeurism to it, he didn’t make a noise because he didn’t want to disturb them from having sex but he wanted to get close enough so that he was sure that’s what was going on.  If it was, he’d just leave but if not, he’d ask for directions.  As he stalked closer, he saw the knife wrap around.  What happened next was pure instinctual, he hurried behind the guy and used his own knife to slit the knife-wielding man’s throat.  The guy dropped the knife and Larry shoved him to the side and he collapsed clutching his throat.  Larry put his knife back on his waist and rubbed Molly’s bicep saying, “You’re okay” Repeatedly.

 

            If Molly was paying attention she would have realized that the voice she now heard was different.  The guy was rubbing her arm but she couldn’t feel him penetrate.  Suddenly she felt his hands on both her biceps easing her up and thought that maybe he was having second thoughts after all.  Then she saw a guy on the ground rolling and coughing as blood oozed out of his neck soaking his hand.  She instinctively turned around and saw a face she recognized but did not match the voice she heard earlier.  Suddenly, it was setting in.  Although she didn’t know the person she was looking at very well, she recognized him as a friend of a friend that she had played poker with on a number of occasions.  The guy backed up and Molly realized that she wasn’t the only one surprised that they knew each other.  Larry recovered quicker and put out his hands and said, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

            Molly was still shaken up, she couldn’t help herself now that she realized she was not looking at her would-be rapist, she charged in and wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her head in his chest.  Larry hugged her back and stroked her back as Molly seemed to relax.  Molly was relaxing every moment she was in the hug and for that reason didn’t want to let go.  Larry kept reassuring her that she was okay and then started motioning her to his car.  Molly was in no mood to walk so she pulled up on the back of Larry’s neck and wrapped her legs around him and rested her head on his shoulder.  Larry carried her to his car ignoring the blood stains on her shirt from when he slit the would-be rapist throat and blood sprayed onto Molly.  He got Molly in the passenger seat and got in the driver seat.  He started the car and drove off unsure of his next move.  He looked at Molly and felt confused, he started empathizing with her.  He noticed that her jeans were still undone so he said, “Button up your jeans.”

            Molly shook her head as if she was snapping out of a trance and pulled up her panties and jeans and buttoned and zipped them.  Larry assumed that she didn’t really want to talk about what happened so he wanted to try to be as vague as possible since he wanted to know.  He started, “Molly, how are you?”

            “I’ve been better.”

            “Yea, I can understand that, what do you want me to do?  Do you want me to take you home? A female friend’s house?  Don’t feel bad if you’re a little hesitant around me.  I understand, you probably don’t like guys right about now.”

            Molly glared at Larry and said, “No, I just don’t like high school boys right now.”

            Larry’s eyes widened as the news hit him.  He didn’t even bother to look at the guy whose throat he slit, it was more of an impulse than anything.  He asked the first question he could think of. “Wait, you knew him?”

            “Yea, his name is Osama, I just failed him.”

            “So he wanted revenge.”

            “Yea, fucked up kid.”

            Larry smiled.  He had gotten into debates with Molly and her teacher friends about whether kids could be bad and she seemed to confirm it.  Though, Larry believed she would just blame the parents so didn’t ask.  He just stuck to his original question, “Where do you want me to take you?”

            “I want to go home”

            “Okay, tell me how to get there.”

She turned to Larry, “I know this is weird and forward.  I appreciate your helping me, but being alone freaks me out right now, and…well…I think I feel safer with you.”

            “Not with a female friend?”

            “No, there are more students that I gave a bad grade to.  I’m probably paranoid right now, but still I’m scared.

            “Okay, but if you change your mind, don’t hesitate to tell me”

            “I won’t”

            Molly directed Larry to her house and they both went inside.  Molly immediately went to the bathroom and turned on the shower.  She then called her two mutual friends of Larry and asked them both if they believed Larry could be trusted.  Both said yes.

            Molly took a long shower as Larry lied down on the coach.  He had fallen asleep by the time Molly got out and Molly woke him up.  She said, “Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not saying that we’re not going to hook up ever, but just tonight, I need you not to.”

            Larry was confused, he was on the coach, and he thought it was clear he didn’t think he was hooking up with her tonight.  Why did he need to be woken up for this?  He said “Okay” then lied back down.

 

Molly shook him and said, “No, you need to sleep in the bed with me.”

            Now Larry understood.  He took off his shoes and let Molly lead him to her bed. Both Larry and Molly lied down on opposite sides of the bed and Larry immediately turned his back to her.  Molly couldn’t explain her urge but she was not going to compromise what she wanted.  It crossed her mind she was teasing Larry or exploiting his feeling bad about what happened to her.  She started tapping on Larry’s arm and Larry turned toward her.  Molly grabbed Larry’s arm and rolled away bringing Larry’s arm around her body and onto her stomach.  Larry followed the lead and pulled Molly into him and slipped his other arm under her neck and used it as an extension of the pillow.  The second he did, he felt Molly’s entire body relax in his arms.  It was the manliest feeling he’s ever had.  They both fell asleep rather quickly.

            Molly woke up before Larry.  She maneuvered her way out of Larry’s arms and went to the kitchen to make breakfast.  As she exited the bed, she was glad to see Larry was still sleeping.  When he awoke, he came into the kitchen and Molly had food ready for him.  Larry was the first to speak and asked, “So, how are you?”

            “Much better, thanks”

            “Glad to hear it.”

            “How are you doing?”

            Larry was surprised by the question and chuckled, “Me? I’m fine”

            Molly had a serious look on her face that Larry couldn’t really explain.  She said, “Really?  You don’t feel bad about what happened last night?”

            “You mean what I had to do?”

            “Yea”

            “No, because like I said, I had to do it, he was trying to hurt you, guys who hurt girls, especially in that way deserve to die.”

            “Even if they’re 14?”

            “This is where you and are going to differ.  You’re a teacher, you believe that kids are innocent and all that bullshit…I don’t.  Now, I don’t really want to remind you how I found you but let’s just say it wasn’t in the best situation and any guy who puts a girl in that situation loses their innocence to me and I will treat them the same regardless of age.”

            “I guess you’re right, I don’t know I just…not even a little?”

            “Molly, it’s hard for me to answer this question.  I mean it’s only been a night, I don’t want to make you relive it.”

            “I promise I’m fine.”

            Larry tried to mutter something but always got choked up so he said, “Look, if you think I’m a monster and some horrible person because I killed a kid then that’s fine, I’ll go.  Like I said before, if you’re uncomfortable around me, I’ll leave, so I will.” Larry said as he got up to go toward the door.

            At that moment, Larry didn’t know what to think.  He began to believe Molly would go to the cops and that means he would be arrested for murder.  Without Molly backing him up, he wasn’t confident he could get off.  Although he was a psychology major, he had no idea the psyche of a girl who almost gets raped.  Molly walked in front of Larry and said, “I didn’t say I wanted you to leave.”

            “In so many words”

            “No, you misunderstood.  I just want to talk about it.  Don’t be shy, the only reason I’m doing so much better last night is because I feel safe with you.  You have no idea how much you helped me last night.”

            “Well you have a weird way of showing gratitude” he blurted out then immediately regretted it.

            Molly lowered her head and walked over to a couch to sit down.  Larry followed shaking his head, wishing he could take it back.  He sat next to Molly and said, “Look, I’m sorry.”

            “No, you’re right.”

            “No, I shouldn’t have said that.”

            “It’s okay, I mean you save me from being raped and I question your motives.”

            “You didn’t question my motives; you just got shocked because I did something you wouldn’t.  You witnessed a horrendous thing, but I feel I’m justified, the point is how you feel about it.”

            Molly turned to him, “I’m glad you did it, I just know what that means.”

            “It doesn’t make you a bad person, you’re biased because you’re the one he was trying to hurt, and it clouds your judgment that’s all.”

            “You’re hitting on what I actually wanted to ask you.”

            “What’s that?”

            “I don’t expect you to feel bad that you killed him.  What I don’t understand is why did you do it for me?”  Larry took a deep breath and Molly continued, “I mean, you and I aren’t that close, I only see you when I’m playing poker with mutual friends of ours.  We never hang out alone; we don’t even have each other’s numbers.  Why would you risk going to jail for murder for me?”

            Larry just nodded his head; he needed to respond to this.  He was wondering the same thing since it happened and a lot of things went through his head but he was unsure if he wanted to tell Molly.  He started, “I was wondering the same thing…it’s not to say I regret it, the cops will find the body.  They’re going to wonder about it.  I don’t know if you’re going to back me up.  If you don’t, I think I’m going to jail, if you do, I think there’s a chance I’ll get off.  All I’m asking is that you tell the truth.  If we were close, I wouldn’t doubt it, but you’re right I don’t know you, I don’t know what you’re going to do.”

            “If it comes to that, I’ll back you up.”

            “Even if people call me a child murderer?  People will try to convince you I’m a monster and you were already thinking that.

            “That’s false”

            Larry rolled his eyes for he didn’t believe her.  He continued, “The truth is, I didn’t really think.  There really wasn’t time to, I just saw a guy forcing himself on a girl, and I acted.  I didn’t even know it was you or that I even recognized the girl.  It was simply damsel in distress.  If I thought about it…well…never mind.”

            “You wouldn’t have done it.” Molly said as she turned to him.

            Larry was kicking himself for he always had a problem with not having a filter between his brain and his mouth.  He tried to think of a way out of it, but all he said was, “I don’t know…” then continued, “It doesn’t matter though, I did, that’s all that happened.  The facts are, you are completely okay physically, and I directly contributed to that.”

            “Yes you did” as Molly wrapped her arms around Larry and kissed him on the mouth.

            Larry wanted to resist but it was hard.  Molly was a good looking girl and although he felt he may be taking advantage of the situation, he went with it and kissed her.  They began making out and Larry stood up and Molly wrapped her legs and arms around him as he carried her to the bedroom.  Larry lied on top of her and kissed her neck repeatedly, he lowered his body and drove his hands under her shirt and pulled it off over her head.  Molly lunged at him and kissed him again as she removed his shirt as well as Larry undid her bra.  He pushed her upper body back a bit and said, “Molly, you don’t owe me this, you don’t have to do this   if you don’t want to then…”

            Molly interrupted him with another kiss. She wrapped her legs around Larry and rolled him onto his back so she was on top.  She started kissing his neck and down his midsection and continued her way down taking off his pants.  She reached back up and pulled off his boxers.  She slid her body up making sure her entire body rubbed against his penis before getting to his head.  She wrapped her arms under his and motioned upwards.  Larry sat up and Molly shoved her breasts into his face as he caressed them with his mouth.  Molly then stood up and waved her waist in front of his face.  Larry grabbed her pajama pants and pulled them down revealing her thong.  He pulled off the pants then brought his hands up her legs and placed them on her butt pulling her groin toward him.  He caressed her butt and then reached around and pulled down the thong leaving her naked.  He pulled her toward him again and licked her clitoris as he maneuvered his tongue around her vagina.  Molly grabbed the back of his head and pulled toward her as she moaned with pleasure.  After she climaxed she pulled back pinned Larry on his back by placing her right leg on his chest and forced him down.  She lowered herself onto him so his penis entered her and leaned forward gyrating up and down as her breasts dangled across Larry’s face.  Larry placed his hands on her ass and pulled himself deeper into her with every thrust.  He tried to turn her but Molly slapped him across the face and said, “I’m on top.”

            Larry smiled and went along with it.  He felt really excited and Molly sat up and thrusted her pelvis back and forth while sitting up Larry sat up and sucked on Molly’s breasts and then moved his lips up to her neck and mouth.  After a little while, Molly shoved Larry back down and continued riding him.  Not long after, Larry yelled as he climaxed but Molly kept going.  Larry started slapping the bed and saying, “You win” repeatedly.  Molly smiled and stopped.  She rolled off him and lied on his bicep with her arm draped over his chest.  Both were panting and Larry said, “Thank you.”

            Molly smiled, ‘No, Thank you”

            Eventually, Molly and Larry got up and got dressed.  They spent the day together and Larry spent another night there before going back to his place as he had work the next day.  The body was found but the cops couldn’t pin it to anyone.  Canvassing the neighborhood found nothing and Larry’s finger prints were not on file so didn’t match anything.  Molly and Larry went back to status quo of only seeing each other for poker games when their mutual friends arranged it.  They did exchange numbers and met up a couple times but it proved awkward.  Larry told his friend about what happened and she praised him for it.  He never really felt bad.  To Molly, having intercourse with Larry had a little bit to do with his saving her, but mostly, she wanted to dominate a guy.  That’s why she insisted on being on top.  In a weird way, she saw him as vulnerable when he wouldn’t condemn her when she questioned him.  She also found it submissive of him that he didn’t try anything the first night.  It was exactly what she needed as it restored her faith in men.  Although she would never forget what happened, she returned to work and was able to get through the day uneventfully.  It was a little hard when she saw how sad the students were of the loss of their classmate but she wasn’t the only teacher that was unsure how to handle the situation and advise the students.  She just had a different reason why it was hard for her. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

It's not the size of the knife


            Larry  was a 27-year-old guy who loved traveling and other cultures.  Because of this, he found himself drawn to people of other nationalities and backgrounds.  Although he had some “White American” friends, for the most part he found it hard to relate to someone that didn’t understand what “Nationalism” was.  Both his parents were Greek and he was proud of his heritage, this is why he had to leave his small, sheltered town of Lakewood, Ohio and went to the melting pot that is New York City.  While attending college there, he met a variety of friends from different background.  One of these friends was named Alyssa, who was born in the Dominican Republic.  Alyssa frequently traveled back to her home country with her family but rarely invited Larry.  That is until 2010, which was eight years after being friends with him.  Larry readily agreed and had a great time with Alyssa and her family.  He was excited that the next year, Alyssa’s sister was to be married and Larry was invited to the wedding, which means he got to go back to the Dominican Republic with the same group plus some more people he knew.

            Larry had been to 26 countries and the one thing that stood out for him about the Dominican Republic was that the men were extremely forward with women.  He wouldn’t say it was the worst he’d seen but it was up there.  While at a party on the beach, the girls had to tie their purses to their wrists because guys would try to snatch it.  The girls took this in stride as just something that happened in the Dominican Republic but Larry felt his masculine instincts kick in and kept an eye on the girls in his group in case a guy got too out of hand, though what that entailed he wasn’t exactly sure.  Nothing fit his description and they returned back to the states without incident the last time, so now that he was going back for the wedding, he saw no reason why it should be any different. 

Larry was traveling with Alyssa and her eldest sister Jasmine.  They boarded the plane and landed in Santa Domingo in the hot June Caribbean sun. From there, they would have to take a taxi to Punta Cana for Jasmine and Alyssa’s sister Lizzle’s wedding.  The cab driver opted to go through the mountains, which although was the more direct route, since there were no railings, it was also the more scary route.  While they turned a corner, the cab driver slammed his breaks as three men stood in the road blocking the path.  The windows on the cab were open due to the intense heat and windows were cheaper than air conditioning.  While they were stopped, a man came out of nowhere and grabbed Alyssa by the arms and dragged her out the window; she tried to resist but the man held a machete to her neck, which stilled her.  Larry acted before he even realized what he was doing; he got out of the car and slid across the hood, the man screamed something in Spanish but Larry was within arms reach.  He grabbed the machete sticking his fingers in between the blade and Alyssa’s neck.  When he exited the car, he had already taken out his spring-assisted blade and snapped the blade out.  He swung his right arm, which wielded the knife and jammed it into the man’s carotid artery.  The man dropped the machete and fell sideways as blood sprayed out of his neck.  Another man came brandishing a machete and swung it at Larry; Larry instinctively put his left arm out and the machete dug into his forearm.  He then swung his knife and buried the blade into the man’s throat just as he did the first.  This time, Larry had the machete in his arm when the man collapsed.  He dropped his knife and used his right arm to take out the machete.  As he did so, he saw another man coming at him swinging a machete.  Larry raised his right arm and blocked the blow with his newly acquired machete.  Seeing as how the man’s neck was open and he had stopped the momentum of his arm, Larry swung the machete across the guy’s neck.  The machete cut deep and with ease through the man’s throat.  Larry anticipated him dropping his machete, so reached out with his left arm and grabbed it as the man let go.  This time the man was dead before he even hit the ground.  Again, a machete wielding Dominican came charging at Larry.  Larry blocked the machete blow with the machete in his left arm and swung the one in his right digging it in from the side of his neck to his Adam’s apple. 

 

When Alyssa was dragged from the car, she decided to fight until she felt steel against her neck.  She was scared stiff and her heart started beating fast.  Her mind raced at all the possibilities that could happen to her and none of them were good.  Before she knew it though, Larry was in front of her staring in her eyes.  She couldn’t see what was going on but she felt wetness on the back of her neck and cringed.  Even though she was out of danger, she couldn’t move.  Larry had stepped in front of her and she noticed in the corner of her eye that he had just stabbed another person.  She started shaking in fear but she was able to move and situated herself behind Larry using him as a shield.  She wanted to go back to the car but she was too scared.  Before she knew it, Larry was turning back to her and said, “Why are you still here? The question came as a shock and Alyssa didn’t know how to respond.  Larry continued, “Get back in the car” and that snapped her out of her trance and she walked back to the car.

Larry leaned over to one of the men he killed and wiped the blood off his machetes on the guys clothing.  He then tucked the machetes into each side of his belt and picked up the knife he had dropped.  He clipped it back to his waist and got back in the car.  He said to the driver, “Vamanos” (Let’s go).

The driver began driving.  Larry removed his shirt and wrapped it around his arm and asked Alyssa to tie it.  As the shirt filled with blood, Alyssa realized that Larry had been injured in the fight.  She immediately tied it in place and Jasmine, who was in the front seat, said, “Raise your arm Larry.”

Jasmine had studied medicine in the Caribbean and was a certified doctor.  She still hadn’t become licensed in the U.S. but she was still qualified.  Despite receiving her education there, she didn’t trust the hospitals in the Dominican Republic.  They arrived at the resort and Jasmine told Alyssa to check in and told Larry to come with her to the beach.  Alyssa paid the cab driver and removed the bags from the car.  Larry had only brought a backpack and both Alyssa and Jasmine’s suitcases were on wheels.  Alyssa took Larry’s blades and put them in a bag.  Although Jasmine and Alyssa believed men should carry women’s bags, this time, Alyssa would make an exception.  She put Larry’s backpack on her back and took her and Jasmine’s suitcase handles in each hand and dragged it toward the hotel to check in.

Jasmine led Larry to the beach applying pressure on the wound.  She knew the salt water would help clean the wound but she knew it would only be a start.  Jasmine told Larry to go into the sea and drop himself under the water making sure to get the wound wet.   He walked into the water and sunk himself to try to keep his arm elevated as much as possible but still in the water as well as his head out of water.  Jasmine didn’t follow and stood on the shore watching him.  Larry seemed strong enough to support himself but he had lost a lot of blood.  She knew she had to sew up the wound but she didn’t want to leave Larry alone.  All she could do now was wait. 

 

Alyssa checked into the room, dropped off the bags and ran toward the beach to check on her friend. She quickly found Jasmine and ran up to her.  Jasmine said, “Alright, you need to find Steven (their future brother-in-law) and get some rubbing alcohol, the strongest liquor you can find, a needle and thread.  The rubbing alcohol is the only thing that’s optional.”

Alyssa hurried to get the items.  She thought it would be hard to find a needle and thread in the resort but after what just happened, going out of the resort didn’t seem like an option.  She found Steven, who was with Lizzle, and told him what happened.  Steven said they would go with her out of town to find a needle and thread.  He had already bought a bunch of Johnnie Walker from duty free so figured they’d use that.  He also had rented a car, so they asked the hotel where to find the items and they obliged.  They drove out, got the items and found Jasmine where they had left her.  Larry was still in the water soaking the wound.  Larry was easy to find as many people had strayed away from him scared off by the blood.  A couple swimmers were worried the blood would attract sharks but Larry was an experienced swimmer and knew that sharks were only attracted to fish blood not human blood despite what movies tell us.  When they returned back, Jasmine signaled for Larry to come in.  He did as he was told keeping his arm above his head and pressing his shirt against it.  The wound was really deep but he tried to remain calm.  The only thing that kept his nerves in check is that he was okay with dying for one of his best friends and as far as he could tell, that was the worst case scenario. 

Jasmine, Alyssa, Steven, Lizzle and Larry went back to Larry and Alyssa’s room and Jasmine took a deep breath before saying, “Alright, Larry lay on the ground in the bathroom.  Steven and Lizzle I need you to hold his body down, Alyssa I need you to hold his arm and I’ll sew him up.”

 Larry walked to the bathroom and lied face down with his arm extended.  Jasmine took some string and tied it tight along Larry’s bicep suppressing the brachial artery, which is the main artery in the arm.  Alyssa put her hands on Larry’s arms and pushed down.  Jasmine said, “No, this is going to hurt really really bad, you need to literally sit on his arm.”

Larry cried out, “Hold on”

He grabbed the Johnnie Walker bottle and took a big gulp of it before handing it back to Steven and nodding while he lied back down.  Everyone smiled but they all agreed it was a good idea.  Alyssa dropped both knees onto Larry’s arm and pushed against the wall to apply as much pressure as possible on his arm. Steven put one knee on Larry’s back and the other on his right arm while his arms pushed against his shoulders. Lizzle wrapped her legs around Larry’s legs and leaned against his hamstrings using her full weight to hold them down.  Larry grabbed a hold of a pipe leading to the bathroom.  There was no possible way he could have been more restrained and felt that it was a bit much as his threshold of pain was pretty high.  Jasmine poured the rubbing alcohol directly on the wound.  Larry’s head was turned away so he couldn’t see what was happening but his restrainers saw no struggle.  Some of them were confused but Jasmine explained that the wound was too deep that it shattered the nerve endings so he didn’t feel it, which is why he needed to be sewn shut.  She said, “Alright Larry, you’re about to find out why doctors use Novocain before stitching up someone.  She took out a match and lit it putting the needle through the fire.  She threaded the needle and drove it through Larry’s skin on one side of the wound then brought to the other pulling it tight.  As the healthy skin was pulled toward each other, Larry cringed but that just caused his restrainers to push harder, he couldn’t move and suddenly he was glad it was over the top.  Jasmine didn’t hesitate; she kept sewing arguing that the quicker she got it over with, the less amount of time Larry had to suffer.  Larry grimaced with each pull and Jasmine asked him if he wanted a break before continuing.  Larry just said he wanted another swig from the Johnnie Walker, to which they obliged before assuming the position again.  Jasmine continued and each pull saw Larry try to resist less and less until she was finished.  She tied the knot and said, “All done.”

Everyone got off Larry and he got up shaking his arm.  They undid the thread and he stared at Jasmine’s sewing job.  He had an untrained eye, but it looked good to him.  Jasmine said, “Now, don’t pick up anything and try to use your left arm as little as possible.  I don’t think either one of us wants to go through this again.”

“Can I swim?”

“Yea, you should be fine but the second you get back to the States, go to the hospital and get properly stitched up.”

“Alright thanks”

Larry, in classic guy fashion, spent the day showing off the scar.  He couldn’t wait to tell people he got it in a machete fight.  Alyssa was still a little shaken up about what had happened on the ride over there.  It helped her to see Larry make light of it and actually brag about it, but all she kept thinking was what would have happened if Larry wasn’t there or if he didn’t react as quickly.  The other “what if” that went through her head is what if Larry lost?  What if he had been killed?”

Night approached and Alyssa and Larry were alone in their room.  They had planned this before the trip and knew nothing romantic would be involved.  She finally wanted to talk to Larry about what happened hoping it would make her feel better.  She started, “How’s your arm?”

“It’s fine, I barely feel it now.”

“That was pretty intense what happened.”

“Yea, but we’re okay, so that’s all that matters.  I got out of it with just a scar on my arm, which I’m actually kind of happy with.”

“Yea, chicks dig scars right?”

Larry smiled, “Exactly.”

“It’s just that, when he had that machete to my throat…well…I didn’t know what would happen.”

Although Larry noticed her nervous tone, he tried to combat it with lightheartedness but that wasn’t working so he switched to a more sympathetic tone.  “Ross, I know it’s easier said than done, but the what ifs don’t matter, bottom line is, we’re all safe.”

“Yea I know it’s just that…I’m scared.”

“Don’t be, you’re in the resort now, it’s safe here.”

“Yea, I guess you’re right.”

The talk helped Alyssa and she felt better but she still wasn’t completely over it but there was nothing else to say.  They started talking about trivial things when Alyssa felt the need to revisit the situation so she said, “I mean, do you feel bad?”

“About what?”

“You know, what you had to do?”

“Killing four men?”

Alyssa knew Larry to be a blunt person but his bluntness seemed to answer her question but she said, “Yea” anyway.

Larry took a deep breath, which at first signaled to Alyssa that he wasn’t as okay with it as he led on at first.  She was about to find out why he was uncomfortable.  He said, “Honestly, that’s the weirdest thing.  I really don’t at all.  I keep waiting for it to settle in and hit me but I just feel nothing.  Is that fucked up?”

“I don’t even know.  It was a fucked up situation”

“Alright fuck it, I’ll be honest, you’re one of my best friends, so I’ll just tell you the truth.  When he dragged you out of the car, it’s not like I thought ‘oh I need to protect you’ it was more of a reflex.  I was moving without thinking.  The first time I had a thought after he grabbed you was when I stuck my knife into his throat.  And you want to know what I felt?  It felt good, it felt right, it felt like I wanted to do it again.  Like it was some fix.  Like when you’re craving something and then you get it.  That’s why with the other three people, I looked at it as an opportunity to do it again.  All I saw was their throats and the second I got a clear path from a blade I was holding to the neck, I did it.  It’s not that I didn’t hesitate, I was anticipating it, I couldn’t wait to do it.  Each killing strike felt just as good as the first.  Like, I always knew I would want to die for one of my best friends, but dying just didn’t seem like an option to me.  Those mother fuckers deserved to die for even insinuating they wanted to hurt you.  Now, here I am, I got in a machete fight with four people, and all I got is a couple minor cuts on my fingers and needed stitches on my arm.  That’s not bad for my first time.  Now, here I am with you being forced to relive what happened.  And I still feel good about it, I look at you and the fact that there isn’t a scratch on your body and it feels right.  It feels so good that I contributed to that.  You’re focused on the what if’s, I’m focused on what happened, those machetes were sharp, and there isn’t a scratch on you.  That’s what I look at, and that makes it worth it.  I have no doubt that those men meant you harm, and for that, they deserve to die, that simple.”

“But from my point of view, you almost died defending me.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I’m glad you did it, It’s just I would have been really sad if you didn’t make it.”

            “Well no shit, I’m a close friend.  When close friends die it sucks, unfortunately I know, I’ve had it happen.  But, I didn’t.  And even if I did, I would have wanted to.  This is an important point so listen to me because the cliché thing to hear when someone close dies is, ‘the deceased wouldn’t want you to cry, he or she would want you to live your life.’ Well let me tell you that is 100% true.  I would love to die for a friend, that’s a really good way to go out, but they got to earn it.  Those pieces of shit didn’t earn it.  I hope it never happens again, but if it does, the second that they no longer have you in custody, run like hell, leave me there.  If I lose, I want you to be safe, otherwise, I died for nothing.  In this situation, if I lost, you were still outside the car, they could have grabbed you and I died for nothing.  That would have sucked, but guess what, that didn’t happen.  So if there is ever a next time, run like hell.  Also, I didn’t even get close to dying for you.  I mean there are no major arteries in the forearm, there is no way I would have bled to death in less I was trying to and even then it would take days.”

            Alyssa hugged Larry and squeezed him tight resting her head on his chest.  Larry hugged back.  Alyssa knew that she could never do what he wanted, she never could just leave him.  Looking back, she reasoned she could have gotten back in the car, rolled up the windows and locked the door and just watched the fight but there was no way she would have let that cab driver leave him there.  She let go of her embrace and said, “I love you.”

            “I love you too.”

            Alyssa shook her head and said, “I don’t know how I could ever repay you for this.  I mean, you probably saved my life.”

            “One, you have no idea what they wanted you for and speculation is just stupid because there’s no way to know for sure.  Maybe they just wanted money.  There isn’t any reason to repay me because seeing you safe is enough but…” he said with a smile.

            Alyssa’s eyes widened, she really wasn’t expecting him to ask for something but she didn’t see how she could refuse now.  She said, “What?” with a suspicious smile.

            “You need to never give me any more shit about carrying two knives with me wherever I go.”

            Alyssa rolled her eyes, “Done.”

            The rest of the weekend went by uneventfully.  They had a good time at the wedding and returned back to the States and back to their routine of life.  Larry got properly stitched up once he got back and after two weeks, he got the stitches out and his arm healed with a visible scar, which he loved to tell anyone who would listen how he got it.  Alyssa and he remained really close friends throughout their lives. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Liquid Courage


 

                Janilsa was a Dominican girl.  Technically she was half-Peruvian and half-Dominican since her dad was from Peru and her mom from the Dominican Republic.  While she was growing up, she felt obligated to help out her family.  This is why she would volunteer at her parent’s flower shop in East New York.  Although by all outward appearances this seemed normal, it got extreme when you got to look at the extent she went through it.  Like many Hispanic children, when her or her brother misbehaved they got physically reprimanded.  Although these disciplinary tactics were never overdone, she felt the need to try to convince her parents to not hit her brother…who would do nothing to help his own cause because he’d laugh and ask for more when he was hit.  He also threatened to call child services, which just intensified the punishment but he didn’t mind.  Janilsa, on the other hand, begged them to stop to no avail.  As they grew older, Janilsa idolized her father.  To her, her father was always right and she listened to him without argument.  In her family, if it wasn’t her pleasure to please her father it would be her pain.  Soon college came and she was excited because she would be living in the dorms at New York University (NYU), which was near her Long Island home.  With college, however, came drinking and drug use.  She still maintained good marks in school, but quickly she took on a party life as well and realized that she was a pretty mean drunk.  It was odd to her and all her friends how this sweet, warm-hearted, always-willing-to-help smart girl would turn into this physically aggressive, self-punishing monster while drunk.  A time it reached a fever pitch was at her dorm with three friends.  Two of which were female and one was male.  The girls were playing pool at her dorm and the male friend, Larry was waiting to see who won to see who he would be playing.  They had gone out previously and Janilsa was extremely drunk.  She started screaming and punching walls and windows.  Larry restrained her and she threw punches at him but he was quick enough to block.  She started screaming that she wanted to play and the girls decided to give in to her.  They gave her a pool stick.  At first, it seemed okay, she was aiming fine but then she picked up the stick and threw it at one of the girls.  She then took a pool ball and threw it at the other.  Larry got back up and provoked her again.  The flurry of punches came directed at his face but he was able to thwart all of them with his arm until she got tired.  Her little bouts with Larry would continue in this manner until they finally went back to her room so she could go to sleep. 

                As the year progressed, it became a common occurrence for Janilsa to get violently drunk.  Also common was that Larry encouraged her to attack him when she felt the urge.  His reasoning was that if she punched walls and other things, she would get hurt.  If she attacked someone else she could hurt them.  By attacking him, nobody would get hurt because he was confident, and had proven, that he was quick enough to block the blows.  Still though, it became a topic and people wondered what would happen if she had a violent episode and Larry wasn’t around.  The first year at NYU ended, and she went to the Dominican Republic (DR) with her family for vacation.  Predictably, she got extremely drunk and the violent urges started coming back.  This time she turned it against her father and berated him thinking that she didn’t know him and he was trying to kidnap her.  Her family tried telling her that it was her father but she was adamant that she didn’t recognize him.  After this incident, her father banned her from dorming at NYU and she would have to commute from their home in Long Island for the rest of her time there.  When Janilsa sobered up, she never questioned the punishment.  She felt extremely guilty for what she did in DR and said as much.  She believed her father that it was the right decision as she proved she could not be alone.  The added benefit to this was that her brother was starting college and she would be able to help him get through since college was never his first priority.  Unlike most siblings, she didn’t help him with his homework by explaining things to him, instead she just wrote his papers and did his homework for him.  Although her friends criticized her for this, she would merely say that if she didn’t, he wouldn’t pass so someone had to do it.  If her brother didn’t pass college, she would put the blame on herself not him so she did her work and her brother’s throughout her time in college.  The drinking and, by extension, the violent drunken episodes continued.  She didn’t mind living at home because her parents let her come back whenever she wanted and they or her brother would pick her up on the train.

                Two years removed from college, Janilsa finally had enough of her violent drinking outbursts and gave up drinking.  It was motivated by becoming best friends with a Muslim girl named Luna who never drank.  She found it quite easy to give it up and was praised by all for it.  Everyone that is, except Larry.  Larry and she had become really close friends and he was a guest in her home many times.  Although he couldn’t point to an incident or specific reason, he had a feeling that Janilsa’s home life wasn’t as picture perfect as it seemed to be.  There was something odd about the way she talked about her father.  Such reverence was a little over the top and not to be seen with children.  There’s a difference between respecting ones father and idolizing him and elevating him to God status.  He kept his mouth shut though.  When Janilsa gave up drinking, he was very vocal about why it was a bad idea.  To Larry, she was just following the lead of the Muslim girl.  Prior to the Muslim girl, she had the Graciellae sheep-like following of her best friend who had since moved to Florida.  The previous one was a little less obvious, only that Janilsa waited to lose her virginity after her friend did.  That was the only connection Larry saw but again, the evidence was lacking, he just had a feeling he was right and these gut instincts were normally spot on.  As he became more vocal about what he feels about her father, he realized Janilsa’s other friends agreed with him.  Obviously though, nobody would dare tell Janilsa. 

He was in favor of her drinking in that he was against her not drinking because her friend didn’t.  The other thing was, Larry had grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a city he hated.  He noticed that when drinking in New York or other places, he was calm, normally just spoke other languages but really just wanted to go home and go to sleep.  While drinking in Cleveland, however, he became a violent, loud, obnoxious and belligerent drunk.  He would pick fights at bars even lying simply to anger the crowd.  He had also done this in LA, another city he didn’t enjoy being in.  He finally saw the pattern…he was a belligerent drunk when he drank in an environment or city he didn’t feel comfortable.  While drunk, he’d lash out.  His sober self criticized him and made him feel guilty for all the times he had violated one of his rules of his strict moral code.  He justified it in that if he forgives himself then he’s more likely to do it again, so he carried the guilt like a burden on his shoulder.  His drunk self felt no guilt and if he wasn’t comfortable, he wasn’t going to mold or mend with the surroundings, he’d attack.  He had gotten Janilsa to admit that she also carries around this guilt.  And he supposed that her belligerent drunk episodes were similar to his, except he left the uncomfortable place and Janilsa continued to live in it. 

Janilsa had done very well for herself after graduating.  She immediately got a job at Lehman Brothers and then Barclays when Lehman collapsed.  She had invested well in the stock market and had bought apartments that she rented out.  Couple that with not having to pay rent, she was doing very well financially.  All of her friends had moved out of their parents’ house and were living on their own but she refused.  Two year prior, right around the time she quit drinking, her parents announced they were getting divorced.  Her mom had found a man in DR and spent six months of the year with him and six months in New York with her husband.  Her mom had scheduled her to meet with a psychologist to air her feelings but that didn’t do much.  Janilsa was firmly on her father’s side, I mean who wouldn’t be?  Larry gave lip service to this but deep down he couldn’t believe that he was innocent in all this. Especially after her brother moved out and got a place with his girlfriend.  Now it was just Janilsa and her father in the house alone for six months of the year.  Now Janilsa would definitely never move out because her father would be all alone and that would make her way too guilty.  She was all he had, she couldn’t leave, she had to be the obedient faithful daughter.

Of all her friends from the beginning of school, Larry had been the most consistent.  That’s not to say he was the closest but he was the longest close friend.  Since he was a guest of her house on so many occasions, he got to know not only Janilsa’s immediate family but many of her cousins and even some cousins’ spouses.  Janilsa wasn’t too happy that Larry would hit on most of her cousins but nothing ever came of it and he was open to being cock blocked by her.  He complained about it but never seriously. He observed and observed and Janilsa was very different around her father.  She was less confident, less assertive, less happy.  It pained him that he couldn’t do anything or say anything.  Then he found out that her brother was getting married in DR.  Larry didn’t hesitate he had to go to the wedding.  As it turned out though, he had four similar invitations. His year was looking at two weddings in the Dominican Republic, one in Portland, Oregon and one in Baltimore.  Four weddings in places he didn’t call home.  Add that that he planned a trip to Europe and Japan, and financing these trips became a major concern.  Of all the trips, Janilsa’s brother’s wedding was the last chronologically.  He intimated to Janilsa that he may not be able to go and she said she didn’t mind.  It also was a problem that none of his and Janilsa’s mutual friends were going so rooming would be more expensive.  To Larry though, he couldn’t justify not going to Janilsa’s brother’s wedding when he was going to his friend’s sister’s wedding.  He was much closer with Janilsa’s family than she was with her other friend’s family and her brother always helped him out when he called for car trouble since he knew a lot about cars.  He decided he’d just suck it up and go. 

Larry managed to get through the year of weddings and trips and his passport had many more stamps for it.  He finally reached his trip; Janilsa’s brother’s wedding.  He flew in and checked himself into the hotel.  While at the reception, he was walking around and saw Janilsa with her dad.  Nobody else may have paid this any mind but Larry had a sick fascination with seeing if he was right.  He stared after them and followed them not having a plan with what he’d say if they noticed.  Her dad put his arms around her and she leaned into him.  Larry saw nothing out of the ordinary about this, part of him told him to just turn back and stop stalking them but he continued on.  He had to be crazy, I mean Janilsa wouldn’t put up with this anymore if it continued.  She wasn’t 18 anymore, she was 27 years old, if there was any truth to her dad abusing her, she’d be out of there.  Still though, he saw everything as a sign, the fact that she not only became best friends but sort of converted to her friend’s Muslim culture.  Muslims denigrate woman and the daughter’s devotion is to the father until he finds a worthy suitor for her.  There were holes in his theory but he couldn’t be convinced he was wrong.  While on the beach, he saw her dad’s arm drop and graze over her butt.  If you weren’t looking, you may not see it but Larry was looking intently.  The other thing that bothered him was that Janilsa had no reaction.  He was a poker player and studied non-verbal communication skills. Janilsa’s walk didn’t waver, her muscles didn’t tense, she was completely natural, which Larry took to mean that this was a common occurrence.  He decided that discretion was the better part of valor and he just went back to the reception hall to decide what he was going to do now that he received his confirmation.  He couldn’t confront anyone because nobody would be on his side.  So, he did what he always did when he realized he was too chicken to do anything about it…he drank.

A little while later, Janilsa came back with her dad.  Larry knew her dad’s English wasn’t too good and neither was his Spanish so he hadn’t talked with her father much but he knew who he was.  Her father and Janilsa walked up to him and Janilsa asked, “You having fun?”

“Yes”

“You look upset.”

Larry was looking at her father while he was speaking and her father stared right back.  Janilsa began to feel uneasy and finally Larry broke the silence and said in Spanish, “Yo era en la playa y si toques a ella con eso de nuevo, nosotros tenemos una problema grande.”

Larry was sitting when they first came over but now he was standing facing her father.  It was Janilsa, however that responded.  She screamed, “You can’t talk to my father that way” and started flailing her arms trying to punch him.  Just like their time in college, Larry was quick enough to block and her father calmly said, “Tienes suerte ella trata de doler a tu, porque si seria yo, tu estuvieras en la piso”

“no digas, haces algo”

Janilsa’s father shook his head and then swung his right arm at Larry’s face.  Larry ducked under it, delivered two shots to his kidneys before ducking again as her father came back around with a defensive backhand.  Larry then shot up and drove his palm into his solar plexus and Janilsa’s father dropped to a knee.  By this time Janilsa’s family started coming at them.  Larry said, “De Nuevo, si toques esta mujer tan como tu toques en la playa, voy a matarte.”

Janilsa grabbed Larry by the arm and pulled him toward the door.  Larry followed; he knew that he was in trouble.  Doing the right thing was always a hard road but he noticed that none of her other family members did anything.  They all stood around looking sad and unsure how to act.  If her father was innocent, he thought someone would attack him but maybe it was coming soon or maybe they expected Janilsa to handle it because he was her friend.  Janilsa grabbed Larry by the shirt and shoved him against a palm tree.  She said a little too calmly for Larry’s liking, “Do you have any idea what you just did?”

“I think you know more than I do but I don’t think I was wrong.”

“Do you ever?”

“Rarely”

“Well let me enlighten you, number one, I was rooming with my parents”

“Okay”

“Can’t do that anymore could I?”

“Only if I was right, if I’m wrong you could go in there apologize for me, be embarrassed, blame the alcohol and they would just hate me.  If I’m wrong, it doesn’t reflect on them at all.  Yes, I know your cousins and stuff but I doubt their opinion of your father will change because I hit him.  So, I really don’t see any reason why you couldn’t unless he deserved it.”

Larry saw Janilsa wind up but since her palm was open, he did nothing and accepted the slap across the face.  His head snapped back and he gave her an accusatory look as if to say she just proved his point.  She said, “You just don’t get it do you? Things aren’t as simple as you were right or you were wrong.  I will never admit you were right, you understand me? Never.”

“I think you just did.”

Janilsa slapped him again.  She noticed that her cousins and family were coming out to watch them talk.  Janilsa never liked airing her dirty laundry and knew Larry was very accustomed to public debates even though the crowd was almost always against him.  She said, “Give me your room key, I’m rooming with you tonight.  Find an excuse to leave and meet me there in like 10 minutes.  Take out your wallet in the bushes so nobody sees you.  Larry did as he was told and slipped Janilsa the room key and put the wallet back in his pocket. 

Larry went back inside.  Janilsa left at a quick walk and said to her family, “Yo quiero a estar en sola”

Larry walked back to the party as a social pariah.  Nobody wanted to talk to him from Janilsa’s family, which meant everyone he knew there.  After a little while, the bride came up to him and he was preparing to hear it.  He had met her on several occasions and for the most part got along with her but he had a feeling she wasn’t going to be as nice this time.  She sat next to him and said, “You really pissed people off.”

“I’m sorry I did this at your wedding.”

“I don’t care Larry, it was a quick thing, yea people are talking about it hushed but the music is still playing and people are still dancing and having a good time.  You didn’t ruin anything.  All you really did was make everyone here hate you.”

Larry smiled at the bluntness.  He turned to her and said, “So, why did you come here?”

“You look like you needed a friend…yours left the party.”

“Well I appreciate that.”

The bride smiled and got up and walked away.  Larry went to the bar and asked for a shot of rum.  The Caribbean was known for their rum for good reason.  He looked at his watch and realized it had been 10 minutes; one of the longest 10 minutes of his life.  He took the shot and then left the party to go to his room.  He knocked on the door and Janilsa answered.  She said, “So, how did it go?”

“Everyone hates me, except Graciella, she’s still nice.”

“Did anyone say anything to you?”

“Nope”

“Did you feel uncomfortable?”

“Extremely”

“Good, now we need to talk logistics”

“I’m so confused what the hell is going on.  The slapping I understood, everything else, not so much.”

“Good”

Larry nodded his head as if to say fine, I get no sympathy.  Janilsa said, “Well, I can no longer live with my father, which means I have to move out.  It’s your fault, so I have to move in with you.”

“Why can’t you move in with Luna? She moved to the city, you’re over there enough anyway?”  Larry knew that when she had to stay out late in the city, rather than take a train back to Long Island she would stay at Luna’s apartment on the west side.

“Because it’s not her fault I can’t live with my father.  She shouldn’t be imposed upon because you fucked shit up.”

“Tell me what I fucked up?”

“Now it’s in the open.  My dad’s going to blame me for telling you even though I didn’t.  Do you know what would happen to me if I stayed there?  It would get worse?”

“So I was right?”

“You don’t listen very good do you?  I already addressed that.”

“Right.”

Janilsa took a deep breath and sat down on the bed before continuing, “You don’t understand what he’s gone though.”

Larry felt the rage come to him now, he saw what was happening, “No, you’re not going to do this.”

“You just don’t understand”

“No, you don’t understand Janilsa, he’s a grown adult.  He can take care of himself, he doesn’t need you to take care of him.  You can take care of him when he’s old and decrepit and can barely walk, not now.  You’re throwing away your life to cater to his problems and that’s fucking wrong.”

“It’s none of your business”

“Now you fucking sound like Vonnie.  You’re wrong about that too, this is my business and I don’t give a rat’s ass anymore, I’m not holding back.  You’re probably not going to talk to me again anyway.  But you’re one of my best friends, which means I’m emotionally involved with what happens to you and it fucking kills me to see you continue to denigrate yourself and prolong yourself in a toxic environment.  You’re right, you do need to move out.  You’re right that it’s my fault.  The answer is not to go back to what you were doing because I was weirded out about us living together.  Don’t feel guilty because you point out that I need to take responsibility for my actions.  I know that Janilsa.”

Janilsa knew that Larry rarely talked about his emotions.  Both of them had shut off that part of themselves so to hear him talk about being emotionally involved was very foreign to her.  She continued, “Well you know my mom…”

“I don’t give a shit.  That’s his problem, he chose the wrong person to marry.  Or, your mom just did what was best for her the way you need to do what’s best for you.  Understand that you can’t help people if you’re not secure with yourself.  Being selfless is bad if you lose yourself to do it.  I don’t think I’m the only one that suspects this.  In fact, I know I’m not, I’m pretty sure your mom knows what’s going on, so maybe that’s what drove her away.”

Janilsa stared at him, “You’re really walking on thin ice.”

“Yea, what else is new?”

“You know what, I don’t have to listen to this shit anymore.  This was a mistake, forget what I said, I’m staying with my parents” Janilsa stormed toward the door and opened it but Larry slammed the door shut and blocked her path.  Janilsa continued, “Get out of my way.”

“I’m not finished”

“Yes you are.”

“Whether you want to admit it or not, you and I are very similar.  We both carry guilt from breaking what we think is right.  But the difference between you and me is I let my guilt out.  I write to let all the pent up frustration and shit out, you carry it like a fucking anvil.  You do nothing to shed it off.  The difference is I don’t put on a façade, I know who I am.”

“Me too.”

“No you don’t.  you’re a fucking sell out.  You told me yourself that I need to learn to talk the corporate talk.  Conform to society you told me.  That’s called selling out, selling yourself to get ahead.  It’s fine to do that in the work world, but you’ve taken it outside of work and tried to incorporate it in your life and that will kill you.  Deep down, you know you’re the bandana wearing, big hoop earring, ghetto clothes, ebonics speaking bad ass chic that I love.  But you don’t let her out, you’re too scared to be you.  She’s there and she will kill you if you don’t let her out and keep trying to hold her back.”

“You’re wrong.  That was a long time ago.”

“Really?” Larry grabbed Janilsa by the arm and started pulling her toward the bathroom.  He had no idea what came over him and if Janilsa had seriously tried resisting, he probably would have stopped but she really wasn’t making much of an effort.  Larry dragged her to the bathroom and turned her to face the mirror and said, “Tell her that.”

Janilsa laughed, “What are you doing?”

“I want you to tell her” pointing to the mirror, “that she’s dead.  Tell her that girl is gone, tell her that this fine clothes, smooth talking, straight edge no drugs, no alcohol chic is the real you and that ebonics speaking, ghetto girl is dead.”

Larry felt Janilsa begin to shake.  He didn’t really anticipate this to work.  In fact, he might have let her leave if she did, but Janilsa stared into the mirror and became speechless.  She lowered her head and fought back tears.  Larry softened his tone and said, “Janilsa it’s not your responsibility to save your family.”

“I know.”

“Joel is married, he’s made it, he’s got a house, bought a liquor store, he doesn’t need you to put him through life anymore.”

“I know”

“Your dad can take care of himself.”

“I’m all he’s got”

“It’s not your responsibility.  You’re in no position to help him.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do, when will it end Janilsa?  What needs to happen for him not to need you anymore?” Janilsa started shaking her head.  Larry continued, “It’s not your responsibility to get your parents through their divorce.”

“Please stop.”

“This isn’t your fight, it’s between them”

“Stop”

“Janilsa, Joel is moving on with his life.  He’s doing what’s best for him, don’t you think you should do the Graciellae?  You’re dad can’t use you to feel better about himself.  That’s wrong.  He’s taking advantage of you.”

Janilsa faced him with tears in her eyes.  She didn’t want to hear this, “You don’t know anything about my father.”

“Maybe, but I know that a father should never do what he’s doing to you.  I know that a child should never be extremely scared of her father.  Yes, you can be afraid that he’ll punish you when you do something bad, but if he causes it, or if you get unnecessarily punished, that’s on him, not you.  Stop killing yourself.”

“You’re really a heartless asshole.”

“Normally I’d agree, but not right now.  Because I could easily just stand by and let you kill yourself but it bothers me because you’re one of my closest friends.”

“I can’t believe this is coming from you…so many people know.  Nobody did anything.  Nobody cared.”

“Wrong, this is just not an easy conversation to have.”

“I know what you’re saying, but my dad needs me.”

“For how long?”

Janilsa didn’t answer.  Larry asked again and she snapped back, “You’re a fucking hypocrite you know that?” as tears started coming back but this time Janilsa didn’t have her head down, she was on the attack.

“How so?”

“Let’s say that we live together.  Then what?  I’m living with you to try to get my life back.  You want to live alone yet you’re living with me to help me.  How is that any fucking different.? You’re just like my father.”

“I won’t put up with it forever.” Janilsa had no counter to this.  She saw the difference, Larry’s help came with an expiration date.  Larry continued, “And if you show that you are becoming dependant on me rather than trying to better yourself.  If you give up trying to find yourself, as your father has, I won’t help anymore.  You’re dad doesn’t want to feel better, he wants you to never leave him.  I have a different goal”

Janilsa dropped to her knees.  Larry came over and placed his arm over her shoulder and pulled her toward him.  She turned to him and wrapped her arms around him and buried her head in his shoulder sobbing.  Larry helped her up but she continued sobbing.  Larry smiled and said, “Janilsa, you’ve been releasing your emotions on me for eight years, you don’t have to hold back.  Let it out.”

Janilsa chuckled, then all her feelings from the night started coming back and she squeezed harder and cried hysterically.  She had never let herself cry like that in front of a guy before but she let go. Larry said, “Come on, we’re in DR, the sun can dry anything you got tomorrow.”

Janilsa smiled.  She cried a little while longer then pulled back and took a deep breath.  She composed herself and said, “So, we got to find a place.  When’s your lease up?”

“My landlord is good about me breaking the lease but I need to give him 90 day notice.”

“I think I can live with Luna for three months but I’ll probably be crashing with you just to take the pressure off her.”

“Whenever you want really, but you need to know that I don’t make as much as you so when we find a place, you got to keep that in mind.”

“I’ll pick the place, you just pay me what you can afford.  I’ll take it out of therapy costs.”

“I hope you feel like this tomorrow.”

“One way to find out, but when we return to the states, you need to go to my house and get my stuff.  You know, the whole taking responsibility for your actions thing.”

                Larry smiled, facing her father was not going to be easy. “Yea, okay.”

                Janilsa ordered a cot and spent the rest of the weekend in Larry’s room.  Her dad kept away because he felt she would come back to him; especially when the weekend was over and she would have to come back home.

               

                When they returned to the States, Larry went over to Janilsa’s house with boxes and a truck.  Janilsa went with him but she wasn’t alone.  All her cousins and their spouses came too.  Janilsa had sent her dad warning because she felt she owed him that much.  He heeded it and made sure not to be at the house when they came.  With quick efficiency they moved everything that wasn’t essential into storage and Janilsa did what she said she’d do.  Luna took her in but she spent a lot of time at Larry’s as well.  She got back into drinking socially and keeping everything in moderation.  As the calendar turned to the new year her and Larry got a place in the city together.  She had never been happier.