Why Don't You Do Right? (open)

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Why Don't You Do Right? (open)

Post  Chance Ramirez on Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:08 am

He had been on "room arrest." At least, that’s what the other kids in the group home called it. It was something like house arrest. Instead of being confined to the "luxurious" confines of Hell’s House for Children, Chance was stuck in his room. To the other inmates, it was a fate worse than death. There was nothing to do in the rooms. No television, no radio, no visitors. Nothing. There was nothing to do but sleep, read and stare at your roommate. The workers in the group home called it "reflective confinement." It was supposed to give the kids a chance to think about whatever it was that got them into trouble. To Chance it was torture; he hated his roommate, Peter. Or "Pissy Pedro" as Chance liked to call him. He was a chronic bed wetter. Nobody should have to get used to the smell of urine. He also knew it was the only thing the home workers and Dr. Pallandino could think to do with him, until they heard back from that place….High-something-or-other…that they were trying to ship him off to. When in doubt...put 'em out. So it was no surprise when the good Dr. Pallandino came to see him. At first, Chance thought that his application had been denied and the shrink was coming to let him out, but the look on the man’s face told him otherwise.

"Chance, we have to talk. There's going to be some changes made and I think that it's only fair that I tell you myself."

The curly haired boy laughed, "Let me guess, Doc....I passed my too-screwed-up-to-fix-kid exam and I'm being shipped off...yes?"

"Think of it as an opportunity. This place is different than Heller's House. It’s different than any of the places that you've been to. Highgrove will the beginning of something good for you. You'll see."

"Doc, that's a load of mierda and you know it."


Dr. Pallandino knew that Chance was right. The boy could see it in the man’s eyes. He didn’t expect the orphaned trouble-maker to get better. It was the look and the bit of conversation that Chance had heard the day before the Highgrove representative came to interview him. "That kid is screwed. He'll either turn up dead or in prison. Maybe both. God knows it's in his DNA." The words stung. There must have been a grain of truth to them, after all. Why else would the doctor, who claimed to want to help him, have said it? Why else would they be shipping him off to the middle of fucking nowhere? Last stop for losers...putting me out to pasture...Highgrove home for the hopeless.

Before he left the children’s home, he used the last bit of his money to bribe his roommate into acquiring a little "going away present." The home had its own resident dealer. He was the nicest kid you could meet, but his prices were high. Too high sometimes. But seeing as how he had no clue when and where his next high would come from, Chance coughed up the money. The little plastic bag wasn’t worth what he’d paid for it, but the lovely white powder inside of it definitely was. Unfortunately there had been no time to savor or stash it. So he did what any self respecting person would do; he took it all at once. If the bag was any bigger, he’d have been wary of taking that much at once. But the tiny, over priced, bag was just enough to take the edge off. It was just enough to get him through the good luck wishes and the cheap, hand made farewell card presentation. It got him through the incredibly boring trip to the middle of nowhere. He rambled, mostly in Spanish, to the man transporting him. He didn’t catch the man’s name, but he was sure that it was something boring and forgettable. By the time that he was delivered to the massive castle-like facility, his high was edging towards extinction. He stared silently as his meager belongings were searched and his mp3 player was confiscated. Pendejos

It was only after he was escorted to his dorm and left one did Chance let himself to acknowledge the very “not-too-badness” of his surroundings. Highgrove was not what the curly-haired boy was expecting. It was huge. And yet, there were places that were off limits. Why have all of this space and not use it all? It didn’t matter. He was set on exploring the various corners and hallways of his new home. Despite his curiosity about the place, he still didn’t want to be there. He hoped that, if he was lucky, he could some how find a way out and back to civilization. If he was lucky. After tossing his bags onto his bed, he headed out of the room. As he passed through the doorway, he suddenly hoped that the guy who slept above him wasn’t a bed-wetter. Strolling through the hallways, Chance wondered what sort of trouble he’d be able to get himself into in a place like this. Aside from being freakishly large, it was still just a group home. A last stop group home for the extremely fucked up...but still the same. He’d have to learn the lay of the land, the groups, the cliques, the local nut jobs and the resident sluts. “Conoce tu enemigo.”

Turning a corner, just a bit too sharply, Chance felt his body collide with something that he could only briefly guess to be the body of another human being. The collision caught him off guard and he felt his heart just inside of his chest. The feeling sparked embers of anger. His first instinct was to lash out in his native tongue. “Oye! Cuidado, pendejo!”
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Re: Why Don't You Do Right? (open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:00 am

Elias had ceased to give a shit about anything external; he had turned in on himself in a cannibalistic way. His brother hadn't written back to him, so that either meant that they hadn't sent the letter or Diego had run away from home again. That would make the seventh or eighth time this year. Every time the police officers brought him back to Carmela's door, disheveled and grinning like it had been the most fun he'd ever had, Elias wished he had as much nerve as his brother. He wished he didn't have a stutter and a mind bogged down with guilt and black depression; he wished he could run away from home and live on the streets and drink out of unlabeled bottled in paper bags and do other things he imagined runaways did. Diego had offered to take Elias with him, but he had refused; that life wasn't for him. How could he make a life for himself on the street if he couldn't even make himself get out of bed in the morning? At least Diego usually brought back some weed to share with his younger brother, if only a little. Elias wasn't really a fan of the stuff -- he really preferred razor blades as a coping method -- but he generally did what Diego told him to, and it wasn't like it wasn't fun.

Aside from his somewhat foreseen abandonment by his brother, Elias was growing increasingly agitated about being stuck in this hellhole in the middle of nowhere. He'd rather be is Leeds with his prissy neighbors and bitchy stepmother and delinquent brother and nosy school than here. He had thought that it was just another institution, but it wasn't. There was something severely off about Highgrove, and he didn't want to find out any more about it. He either wanted to go home and spent another two years sleeping all day and failing school or die. And there was no conceivable way to make either of those things happen, no conceivable method of escape. Elias felt that every action he'd ever taken had been a command from someone else, and it was driving him crazy. Why couldn't he live his own life, make his own decisions, go through a day without wanting to off himself? His life was a series of commands and corresponding actions, his actions always following the commands, always one foot in front of the other, a rabbit, a mouse, a scared child. Bravery had been edited out of him, bravery had made him the biggest mistake of his life, had given him this stutter and this gripping, crippling guilt. It all made his head hurt. He just wanted to go to sleep.

Elias knew he had been en route to somewhere, but halfway there he had lost motivation to actually reach his destination and stopped, sidetracked, in the middle of the hallway. He looked at the floor, making a face, passing a had through his hair in a somewhat nervous gesture. He had to get out of here. There was really no question about it. Just then, someone slammed into the back of him and commenced cursing at him in Spanish. Elias hadn't heard Spanish since the day he'd been shipped off to this place, and there was something so familiar and comforting about it that he hardly cared that someone had nearly plowed him over. It brought to mind Carmela at her worst, screaming and cursing in her native tongue about how she should have stayed in Spain, insisting that both Diego and Elias were more trouble than they were worth. Even that vision seemed homey at this point. Staggering forward a few steps, he turned and retorted,

"M-mira por dónde v-v-vas caminas, b-bastardo." The kid had a lot of curly hair and, Elias could already surmise, a bad attitude. He half wanted to hug him and half wanted to punch him. On one hand, he spoke Spanish, he was some scant connection to home, on the other, he seemed right unpleasant to have to deal with. Elias just hoped that the kid wasn't feeling violent today.
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Re: Why Don't You Do Right? (open)

Post  Chance Ramirez on Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:34 am

“Kill or be killed, mijo. That’s the law of the jungle. That’s the law every-fucking-where. The big ones pick on the small ones. The strong conquer the weak. Entiendes?”

The man looked down at the small boy squirming underneath the weight of his booted foot. Ignoring the tears welling up in the boy’s eyes, he waited for an answer.

“N-no…no…puedo….no puedo respirar….por favor.”

Struggling in vain, the curly haired boy tried to push his father’s boot off of his chest, but the man could not be moved. Beyond the pain and the demanding voice above him, the boy could just barely hear a softer voice begging for his release from the floor. He turned his head toward the sound hoping to catch a glimpse of its owner and perhaps a brief moment of peace that her face would bring, but the tears blurred his vision. There was no escape from El Jefe.


Chance’s first instinct was to punch the other kid in the face. He could feel his left hand slowly curling into a fist as the thought crossed his mind. Every ass backwards instinct in his brain told him to just hit the guy and be done with it. Get them before I get you, mijo. His father’s slurred teachings in regards to fighting echoed faintly. And why shouldn’t he give the little maricon a face full of fist? Stupid kid was just standing in the middle of the hallway like some fucking retard or something. He deserves it. The more he thought about it the more it seemed like a good idea. It might even make him feel a little bit better. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’d done something like that. Fighting came natural to him. He had to fight his entire life; even if he did lose most of the time. El Jefe taught him to fight; taught him how to take a punch, and a kick…to the face, the chest, the cajones. If there was one thing that Chance could do it was take a beating. He could take a good beating and keep on kicking. It wasn’t a lesson that he would have liked to learn but there was no helping that. El Jefe made sure of that. But he also learned that sometimes you have to dish out the beating before it came to you. Just fucking hit the kid. It what El Jefe would do.

It was that thought that made the boy’s hand freeze in mid-ascent. Launching his fist at this unknown kid just because he was in a stupid place in the hallway would be the actions of a bully. And if El Jefe was nothing else, he was a god forsaken bully. And the last thing that Chance wanted was to be like his father. However, if he ever took the time to think about it, it was unavoidable. Juan Diego Ramirez had left his mark on his son and the curly haired orphan knew that he’d be fighting for the rest of his life to get rid of it. As he lowered his hand back down to his side, he took a second look at the stuttering kid. Who fucking spoke Spanish at me! Curious eyes sized the kid up. He looked a little wimpy but could probably hold his own in a fight. Maybe. An easy grin slipped on his face and he took a step backwards and looked at the kid again.

“Must be a real genius to stand in the middle of the hallway, like that, amigo.” He shook his head. “Lucky for you, Spanish saves lives. It would suck to punch the only hermano I might have in this dump in the face…you know?”

Pushing the urge to fight out of his mind, Chance kept his tone light and easy going. He was going to need allies in this new place. Everyone needed allies. It didn’t matter if they became friends or not, but it was good to have someone to watch your back. And the fact that this kid spoke Spanish gave him some serious cred in Chance’s mind. Now he hoped that he didn’t just run into the local crazy Spanish speaking king of the nut-jobs.

“So, what do they call you?”
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Re: Why Don't You Do Right? (open)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:42 pm

Elias knew what someone winding up to swing at you looked like; if he didn't, he probably would have been dead by this point in his life. He wasn't sure at what moment the kid decided not to punch him in the face, but he was glad that he did. It had been a long time since Elias had fought anyone, and he wasn't even sure he even had the will to really fight back anymore. It seemed kind of pointless; it wasn't like he was ever going to win anyway. He knew that, if engaged, he would probably hit back; it was kind of hammered into him, learned by rote. But there would be nothing in it. No anger, no satisfaction. Just blind violence. He also knew that Diego would throw the first punch in this situation...his brother needed little to no provocation to beat the hell out of anything that walked. But Elias had directed his anger inward; most of his scars were his own doing as opposed to the handiwork of others. The ones that belonged to his father or Diego were, for the most part, fading. Some were from as far back as eight, nine, ten, and they were sinking back into his skin, turning softer colors, whites, browns, getting lighter year by year. The new ones, the angry reddish ones, were all him. Elias managed a small smile for the other kid and replied quietly,

"Yeah, s-sorry. I w-was...thinking." He ran his hands through his hair a few times and shrugged. "It w-was d-dumb." He grimaced for a moment at his own absent mindedness before continuing, "I know w-what you m-mean, compañero. I-I'm Elias. Y-you?" Elias had never had many friends, had never had any friends, actually. He hadn't been interested in socializing for a long time; he had been afraid to talk to anyone, afraid that his father would find out that he had said something wrong and punish him. After a while, talking to people had become a chore instead of a pleasure, too challenging to bother with. When coupled with the stutter, he was left looking downright antisocial. It was usually just easier to hang out with Diego in the intervals between his truant escapades; most of the time his brother could guess what he was going to say before he said it anyway. Then he didn't have to deal with that uncomfortable moment after he talked when he could tell someone was trying not to laugh at him. In fact, this kid kind of reminded him of Diego. It wasn't that he looked like him...it was his more mannerisms, well, what he had observed of them so far.

Making friends was not on Elias' list of top ten things to do, but what the hell? It never hurt to have someone on your side, especially someone who apparently would hit first and ask questions later. He needed someone to fill that 'protective older brother' space, because even as a child trapped in an abusive home, he'd at least had that. Now he was pretty much alone all the time. Even for someone like Elias, wary of anyone and everyone, that was damn depressing. He hadn't realized how much he'd miss the companionship of his brother and stepmother; all the other times he'd been sent away, it had been like a miniature holiday to a claustrophobic white room. This was like being tossed into a cage full of equally mental, drugged teenagers and asked to function as per usual for a period of up to two years. Perhaps it was time to give making more acquaintanceships a second thought.
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