Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 5 Part 1

Chapter 1 Part 1 Chapter 1 Part 2 Chapter 2 Part 1 Chapter 2 Part 2
Chapter 3 Part 1 Chapter 3 Part 2 Chapter 4 Part 1 Chapter 4 Part 2

Chapter 5

There are people who say violence solves nothing. Those people are dangerously naive.

Our society is based on violence. People pay taxes because if they do not, IRS goons with guns will either come take the taxes by force, or will come and take them away and put them in a cage. Violently seizing murderers at gunpoint and, after a jury agrees, putting them into a cage for their rest of their natural life, keeps them from murdering again. And a rapist who has had his balls cut off... well, it isn't likely that he will rape again.

But anybody who would do the last is more than a little bit crazy.

Take a little girl, a typical upper middle class girl into gymnastics and unicorns and boy bands and all the other stuff that typical upper middle class girls are into.

Then have her watch her mom's body lowered into a grave. Then send her father to jail for a crime he couldn't have committed. Then put her into a foster home where Daddy Dearest likes making little girls hurt when he isn't telling truths that test her sanity. Then send her to the toughest high school in San Jose, East Side High School. What you end up is one sad and scared and angry little girl who might, just might, be more than a little bit crazy.

Now toss in one Jimmy Rodriguez, East Side High School's best running back, who refused to believe that a cute little sophomore didn't want to have sex with the big-time football jock, didn't want anything to do with anybody actually as she walked around holding the hurt inside, who laughs when she tells him that if he raped her she'd cut off his balls...

Then have him rape her.

Would that be enough, do you think?

I don't like going back to that place. If Coach Davis hadn't pushed me into track and any other sport he could shove me into, I don't know if I would have survived. Maybe I would have. Coach Davis always did say that I was the toughest-minded kid he'd ever coached. But those three years between the ages of 14 and 18... the pain is what I remember most. I hurt. And I was more than willing to make someone else hurt too, if they gave me reason.

A few weeks later, Jimmy Rodriguez started his car and sat in it for a minute while it warmed up. Then he passed out. When he came to, he was missing a part of his body, and was looking at a typed note that said simply, "I keep my promises."

Jimmy was ruined, ruined far more than if he'd been sent to prison. Never being able to procreate, all at the hands of a mere girl... it was a humiliation so complete that he dropped out of school and moved to live with relatives in San Diego. The whispers started...

And nobody ever messed with that girl again, in all the years she spent at East Side High. Indeed, only a few people even talked to her, mostly team-mates in the sports that Coach Davis pushed her into playing. Nobody wanted to know what other promises she might make. Except a few people, who were willing to pay her money to help them keep their own promises.

Now Jimmy was back. And I didn't have the slightest damned idea what that meant.

I sat in my car for a while after leaving the coroner's office. Too many memories. But I'm not much into that kind of Oprah bullshit, I'm more of the "get tough, and get even" old school line of thought. Or maybe that's Old Testament. Whatever. So I fired up my trusty steed and headed for the next stop on my little tour.

There's a part of San Jose that juts out to the west like an erect penis, stabbing into the surrounding towns like a Silicon Valley CEO going down on an expensive whore -- whoops, "escort". My next stop was a small cottage behind Valley Fair, in a neighborhood of similar small cottages that had been built in the 1950's and which had run down for a while, but now had gotten gentrified. When you could get rich by selling a property you'd bought for $30,000 for over ten times that price even if it was a run-down trashed-out dump, then poor people be damned, it's time to cash in.

There were still a few lonely holdouts from the old days, though, people who had an emotional attachment to their home, or landlords who were simply waiting for prices to go even higher before cashing out. The house that my map directed me to was one of those. The peeling paint and uneven boards of the front porch nicely complemented the dirt and weeds of the front yard. This was not a house that would ever appear on the front cover of Good Housekeeping, except maybe in a "before" picture. I gingerly walked up to the front door, not trusting the porch boards beneath me but figuring they'd hold a lightweight like me, and banged on it for a while, left hand in my messenger bag cum purse. Nothing. Nobody home, it appeared.

I walked around the house, looking in the windows. Whoever lived here made me look like Martha Stewart, and I'm not exactly a great housekeeper myself. The insides were a mess, trash everywhere, drawers open in the kitchen and bedroom, clothes strewn everywhere. I was at the back door, hands shielding my eyes as I tried to look through it, when someone a whole lot heavier than me slammed me from behind into the door, stuffed a plastic bag over my head, and held me there until I passed out from lack of air.


As promised, quite a bit grimmer than the previous entry, which was funny in a grotesque sort of way. That's version 3 of the expository lump at the beginning (before the 'Oprah bullshit' line). It is far, far better than the previous two versions of that lump. Hell, it almost isn't a lump anymore, though I got in the stuff that I need to make further chapters and the ending work. Made this overly-sentimental penguin weepy-eyed just writing it... or maybe that's the onions in my herringburger, hmm. BTW, you can probably figure out where the interim title came from now!

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