This story was created for kicks. And for my sister, since she accepted it and the boys. I appologize for the implied curse words. . . I wasn't going to just write them out, but leaving out the implications seemed to portray a less-realistic reality.


I sat on the shag carpet, back pressed to the wall with the window. The drapes stood sentinel to my right, craning olive-brown heads over my shoulder, seam eyes reading the book in my hand.

My own eyes were turned towards the curtain, but yearned for something through it, past it.

Beyond the glass that I dared not expose, angry voices flitted like wasps. A man's voice, like the pits of Hell, the other man's voice a booming cannon.

The landlord and the drunk, that I was ashamed to call my father.

The dialogue to the scene became thus:

"You still owe me from last month, Paul!"

"I said you'll--," bleeping, "get your money!"

"No I won't! It'll turn into last Christmas-- Remember, Paul? You're wife freaking left you and your son, and I had pity on you, compassion--"

"I don't need your charity!"

"Well, what about your son? Huh? Think about him, Paul!"

It continued, the voice of Satan condemning me, and the other voice pleading for me with the wrong motives, and it felt like a perverse Heaven and very accurate Hell were contending for my very soul.

I stiffened at the brew beyond the trailer wall. The book in my hands lay open and useless—Its knowledge could not save me, its pages could not feed me.

At long last, the parting words were given: a, blank, 'you', good-day sir, and the landlord departed with a slam of his Cadillac door and a roar of the engine. The other voice tore through the side of the trailer, through the door, and, once inside, squinted down and over at me, who still sat by the wall.

"Heard all that, did you?"

"Uhn," I assented, which could either answer as a yes or no.

"What'cha readin', Man? Is that my book?" My father took a thundering step towards me.

"You wouldn't read it even if it was your book," I hid half of my face behind the cover of Fahrenheit 451, "And it's Mannie, not Man."

"You- I'll call you a pile of--," use your imagination here, "--if I want to, you hear?"

"Yes."

"What?"

"Yes, sir."

He snarled his pleasure, then, "Shouldn't you be out doing something with your life?"

It is both charming and pitiful to say that I, Mannie, actually pondered this statement as I looked upon the clock on the far wall.

Five o'clock.

I sighed.

"Yeah," clambering to my booted feet, I slid the novel into the side pocket on my pants, where the walkman and guitar picks already were.

Brushing past my father's threats not to come back too early, and to come back with a pocketful of cash, I swung open the five-ounce door and stepped out into the fading afternoon.

I knew I should consider myself lucky, or at least somewhat fortunate, for I was never one for luck. Bad luck trailed after me like a meowing, hungry black cat.

My father would be out and up late, drinking, cursing, losing money, and maybe gaining a few kisses, to lay and ferment in the ridges of his face. I, therefore, had full permission to not come back until the early hours of the following day. I could do my job, make band practice, and maybe spend the night on the floor of one of my friend's bedrooms.

Liberated, I turned smoky eyes to the horizon and strode towards it and the road, bike in tow.

It was a horrid contraption. A rusting old relic, now painted black, basket rusted tight in front, makeshift bat wings jutting from the back of the seat, and out—Useless, really, but an addition that I would never regret making. Towering above my head on the right side was a wire turret that supported the black umbrella at its farthest tip—To keep off the sun and the heat.

I couldn't suppress a grin, looking upon that duct-tape-bound monster. It represented my soul, or, rather, my spirit—Free, avant garde, bursting at the stitches to fly, to be.

The road flew beneath me, rushing, rushing like a reel of bad dreams, of Halloween nights, each revolution of the wheels taking me closer to the cake shop.