Kehshathria Chapter Twenty-Nine
While G went upstairs to clean up and dress, D and MsC went back to the kitchen, I could smell that Popcorn was in the works. I stole a moment to grab a smoke in my car.
My brain was tired, my emotions hurt. Sitting before me was the realisation that George was not my friend, but I somehow I still cared about him. I still counted our times together as the good ole days. But I also realised that those days where stolen by him, or worse. I just didn't know what I was giving away. I somehow let George go. I started making plans for when I was released. I didn't want to be shipped back to my hometown. I didn't want to go back to my father fresh from prison still needing a job, still needing a diploma, still not much removed from messing around with ...'that george guy' .
In fact the more I thought of it the more ashamed I became of going home. And I made a goal this when I am ready. All I want is to write a letter to my parents so they wont worry that I am still screwing up. There was a very nice college about 30 miles away from here that takes boarders, and I'd be able to get my science degree there. I am 19 now, by next year, I could be finished, if I worked twice as hard. And the degree would give me better rank and choice of military job placement.
But then if I haven't much time left to graduation, they might let me sign a student waver to put off my military service. Then I'll go and see about some kind of instructor work so I can go straight onto Science Professor after service. I will be 25. Sure my folks won't see me for another 5 years. But I have lost time to recover. And then George will have five years to get his shit straight. Maybe then I can see him, see who he is. But not right now.
I slowly gather my thoughts in and join George in the living room as 'the snail' rolled opening credits, and 'the girls' where still in the kitchen about to join us. We stood. we knelt, we sat, we watched and George looked intimidated and frustrated, but he was quiet.
See tonight's episode opened upon a salt and pepper haired gentleman, surround by his family at a picnic. Kids running around, a child identified as a cousin marched up to the man tugging along a younger boy identified as the man's son. " Uncle Frank, Josh doesn't believe me. I told him that you did time. You did didn't you?" The boy accused, proud that he won some measure of power. Frank took the boys to sit under a tree. " Bobby, It is not your place to tell secrets. But if you want to know about it. Yes, Josh I did serve time when I was 17. It was a long time ago, in 1949. I am convicted of robbery, and accessory to murder." The boys sat back stunned. Josh started to cry in confused shame. Uncle Frank continued. "Hey now. I didn't kill anyone, but if I was not there, the Old man would have lived.
I had a friend, Ruby. He was a tough guy, I was also tough it was a rough time. Jobs hard to come by, didn't much care about anything important. We where thugs, and one night as we where robbing a random house we where startled by an elderly couple. The woman was frightened and clung to her door frame with the telephone, while the old man took after Ruby with a bat down the hall. I was on the far end of the hall, the old lady was feet from me. I was stunned, I shakily set the stereo down and held my hands out. I wasn't going to rough up an old lady. I started to try to escape anyway and inch toward her, scurrying along the far wall. She let out a whimper, and I said I just want to get out of here. But the small sound from her mouth made the old man hesitate. He had landed a powerful blow to Ruby's right shoulder, and was rearing back to deliver a finishing touch, but he hesitated, and Ruby tackled him against the wall ,wrested the bat from the old man and drove a strike to his chest.
The lady shrieked and ran to her man as we bolted down the stairs and out the door. We made it home, and hide for three days. But the woman remembered my face well. And they came for us. Oh boy," the man laughed as another cousin settled into the shade of the tree.
"Master Peter Gregg, when you are capable of speaking, are the first and last words out of your face. " Announced a raven haired man of 29 years as we where delivered to his front door, which was at the end of a long hall. Ruby sneered and we both where punched in the stomachs and then pounded down to the floor with a blow between our shoulders. " That is the position you will assume until I deem you worthy enough to stand. And trust me boys are are far from worthy.
Welcome to hell. " The man backed up to look over our files. He didn't even know what we where in for yet, and boy neither did we. Ruby kicked in his foot and pushed a lunge tackle at the man, who clotheslined him and picked him up by his throat and chin. "Ruby, is it? You killed that old man, you son of a bitch. I don't think that was very nice. And you are attacking your Reformer. I don't think that is very smart, Ruby. See, you need to remember that I am authorised to use lethal force should I feel threatened. Ruby should I? Feel threatened?" And he tensed his grip, milking the color from Ruby's face. "master peter g'g regg no threat mas-ssssttt ptter Gg....uhg" As the man tossed him down, and told him to get back in place next to me.
And Master Gregg spent the next month running us, drilling us, we hardly got sleep. We paid day in and day out for the life of the old man. One day we where scrubbing the third floor with a bucket and tooth brushes, it was master's chamber. He had us drag sleeping bags up there, said we weren't worthy of bedrooms yet. We heard his summoning bell chime this meant that we had 20 seconds to crawl down to him, or it was 20 lashes and 10 more for each second after.
We thudded simultaneously on our hands and knees at the foot of the front stairs, where Master Gregg had just invited a Girl Scout child into the foyer. Our heads where especially ashamed, palmed planted into the floor. He started speaking.
" As I was telling you Miss, I knew two persons who would be very interested in your story. Would you do them the honer?" The young girl wide eyes took in the sight of us, and stared up into the face of Master Gregg with shock. He smiled at her and stood with his arms crossed and motioned with a hand for her to address us. She became a bit prouder, and adjusted her merit ribbon infested brown sash.
"Our local troop has heard about the devastation of the Jenkins Couple of Fairmount Abbey. A charity chain was started in their local chapter 889 because after the Old man Died of heart attack while fending off two burglars. With him dead, Mrs Jenkins is about to lose the mortgage on her house. And there is no where for her to go and be able to support herself without his income. So the troop decided to do a charity drive to see if we could gather enough in money donations and donations of good saleable items, that we might reach our goal of setting Mrs Jenkins up for life. We estimate that we need at least 60 to 100,000 dollars. The idea went viral and all the troops in the tri-state area that I know of are participating. I am with troop 335 and that is what I am doing now. Going door to door, giving out flyers, and seeking help. The ladies at the axillary are organising raffles and social events to honer the drive if anyone is interested the number is on the flyer." and she nervously curtsied and stepped back, gazing up at Master Gregg.
He winked her her then addressed us. "Isn't that interesting boys? Are either one of you desiring to make donations to this cause?" And it was at the point that I cracked, children, I suddenly felt every emotion I ever knew of guilt for my life. I realised the consequences for my stupidity where more than I could bear and I dropped prostrate on the floor weeping. Ruby wobbled stoically and drew his shoulders tight and flat, grunting ' I thought I was donating already.' Master Gregg sneered at him, muttering 'indeed you are, and that severely.' but the bent himself down and laid his hand on my shoulder softly. "Frank, you are worthy to chose a room and to stand. But first I want you to give this young lady a good donation of anything you see fit in my house. And you might as well fill her cart up and help her carry it down to the axillary, I am going to need some time alone with your friend. You my rise, Frank."
And so I did, and serving time when a whole lot smoother for me than Ruby. And I learned a valuable lesson about the friends you choose, and the friends you keep. "
..... and the television faded to black and we all retired for the night.