A bit of writing I did to a prompt for a fundraiser. I needed a place online to host it, and figured this was about as good as any.
It’s All About Mindset
Sometimes, you know, it’s all about mindset. You see things you don’t want to see. Things you never even want to know about. You do things you shouldn’t. Eddy don’t talk about none of it. A whiny kid like me… well I didn’t have much choice. You can block it out for a while. But over time it gets harder.
I remember when the voices started. They were in the walls. They said, “Don’t be afraid, we’ll watch over you, we’ll take you away from all this. Don’t listen to her screams and cussing, she don’t know no better. Don’t sit there waiting for the beating again. Tune her out like Eddy does. It’s all in the mind…”
I didn’t believe them! I’d rock on my bed with a dirty old blanket over my face for hours, covering my ears with my hands, praying she’d stop. Hell, she never stopped! She’d just get madder and madder with every skipped day of school, ripped pair of jeans, pilfered cigarettes, roach clips and half empty bottles of booze found tucked inside Eddy’s backpack that was supposed to be filled with books and papers. She’d go after him with whatever she had in her hands, sometimes a big spoon or curtain rod, and whack him good and silly. Until she couldn’t lift her arm anymore, it ached so much from swinging stuff at Eddy. He’d be down on his knees, covered with bruises, but he never gave her the benefit of seeing him cry. Not even once. Eddy wasn’t no little whiny kid like me. He was never a little kid, Eddy. I think he was born tough.
I don’t think I ever seen Eddy flinch. He’d just take it, like he took everything, with sort of an attitude that life sucks and that’s just the way it is. You should have seen the hazing the guys at school give him every time he opened his mouth! Eddy, he’s got like a problem with stuttering, and he don’t fit in, you know? So he started acting tough and silent-like, figuring that would help. Oh, it helped some. He got in trouble, but nothing too serious, until she took us in.
Aunt Ethel bragged to everyone she could get state money for raisin’ her sister’s brats, the one that was Lorna’s and the one that was her bum of a boyfriend’s kid. Eddy didn’t like her, but with Ma strung out most of the time, on the street lookin’ for a john or a fix, it didn’t sound so bad to me. Food and a warm place to sleep, and Ethel gets money for it. What every abandoned kid wants and needs. Eddy didn’t like it there though and he gave her grief every chance he got. They went at it daily.
I seen the gun first, it was in his backpack. I went in there to cop some smokes, it’s a bad habit but you gotta have somethin’ to look forward to. I didn’t think much of it; guys I knew had guns sometimes. He wouldn’t use it. Not Eddy.
It was shiny and black and his hand was white and shaking when he pulled it out. He just wanted to scare her, waving it around and stuff. I swear that trigger was filed; it went off so damn fast! The first shot went wild. The second one went deep.
Ethel dropped like a rock, her mouth wide open. She fell forward, trying to stop him. Her hands went right to that big red hole. Her eyes didn’t look right, they kind of rolled back and she made a funny noise like you strangled a cat. She was cryin’, and that made me want to laugh, but I couldn’t because I was choking on something. I felt weak. There was a lot of blood.
Eddy pulled that trigger, honest! Not me, I was too scared. The funeral was nice but I was glad when it was over. The voices said, “Rest in peace Eddy.” Why did they tell me that?
It’s sunny and quiet here, and no one bothers me, so I guess they was right after all. It’s all about mindset.