Many Months Ago
"Dream on, Charmaine." Andrea calmly said before jumping out of the window she entered. She got into her car and sped off down Panther street. She found herself both laughing and crying as she saw Charmaine's dream disappear from the rearview mirror.
The tires of the beater car squealed as she turned the corner and whipped into the apartment complex where she lived. She ran up to her apartment, opened a duffel bag, and started stuffing her most prized possessions.
As she left the apartment, she saw the landlord that she shoved out of the way an hour and a half ago.
"Hey, you. Come here!" he yelled out as he approached. She gave him a certain gesture with her hand before getting into her car.
"The cops are on their way! You're not going to get away with this!" the landlord called out as she arrogantly waved him away.
Andrea let the car carry her the seventy miles to Portland. After ditching the car in a nearby parking lot, she walked to the airport and spent the night until it was time for her flight to take off.
Once she got off the plane in San Francisco, she took a deep breath and embraced the freedom as summoned her first taxi to take her into the city proper. She looked in amazement at the tall buildings as she walked down Market Street. Despite not having all the money that Charmaine had, Andrea knew that she had enough to live a decent life for a while... or so she thought.
Four months passed and Andrea found herself wandering around the same city late one evening. The money she brought with her got her an apartment which she thought would be enough to get her started until she could find work. The only miscalculation she made was the lack of work history. All of Andrea's past had to be left behind because she knew that she would be wanted for what she did to Charmaine's restaurant.
Unable to find adequate and honest work, she found herself leaving her apartment when staring down the barrel of eviction. She walked the streets of San Francisco with five hundred dollars and no hope. She looked around at the now-different landscape. Was she on Market? Was she on Mission? She lost track of the street signs several blocks ago.
Knowing all-too-well that she couldn't make it out here in the Fog City, she decided to take her lumps and go back to Oregon. She found a bus depot and got on the next bus to Portland. After the twenty-three-hour trip, she found herself back in familiar territory. Not wanting to go back to her hometown right away, she went into a small diner and picked up a newspaper.
After a quick phone call and a trip on the transit bus, she found herself behind the wheel of yet another clunker car. Andrea drove and drove until she found herself in the middle of nowhere. A quick check of her phone reassured her that she still got semi-adequate signal. She opened the trunk of her car and pulled out the laptop that she managed to hold on to throughout this entire ordeal. She retrieved a cable and with a couple quick clicks she was on the internet proper.
Back when she was at the diner, she found herself reading several newspapers that went back over the past couple of months to kill time. She saw the news story about two young boys named Elias Conner and Kenton Hayes who were allegedly involved with the attack of poor little William Spears. It didn't take her long to find William across social media and the two found themselves talking in a messenger session.
Over the couple weeks, William found himself having a severe crush on Andrea while she saw a vulnerable young man with a father who was getting paid from a rich woman. While it would have been obvious to go after the man, she decided to wring the boy out for every dime that he had. The day after she revealed her name to him, she suggested that they meet up at a small diner outside of town.
It was on that day that she pulled up to see William standing outside. They greeted each other with a quick hug before going in and getting coffee. Andrea's youthfulness and William's maturity helped bridge the age gap between in conversation. It didn't take long before the two of them realized that they had a common enemy: The Hayes family.
With Andrea's wit and William's bloodthirst for revenge, the two of them started cooking up a plan that would be the end of it all.
Monday, August 4, 2014
"Oh my God!"
"What is that...?"
"OH, IT'S ON MY FOOT!"
"Everybody stay calm! We have procedures!" Charmaine said as her three waitresses found themselves stereotypically standing on chairs.
"Not for this many!" the waitress cried out as three more mice entered the building.
"They're coming from the vents!"
Charmaine looked as five more entered the kitchen.
"What the hell is going on?!" she exclaimed as she started swatting at them with a broom. One mouse went flying like a hockey puck. The rodent covered his footing and scurried underneath the door to the walk-in pantry. Charmaine gave chase and threw open the door. After taking five seconds to access the situation, she screamed at the top of her lungs. One waitress walked over to see and promptly passed out. There had to be every bit of fifty mice chewing up the dry goods.
Out of instinct, Charmaine took the broom and started swatting at the miniature beasts. They quickly scattered out into the kitchen. The two conscious waitresses started shrieking even louder. The one that passed out woke up only to be greeted by two mice on her stomach. That waitress screamed "FORGET THIS!" before throwing her apron down and running out of the service door. The floodgates were opened and there was nothing that Charmaine could do except watch in absolute horror as the mice started making their way into the (thankfully empty) dining room.
Three Hours Later
"So, you're closing the restaurant?!" Kenton asked as Charmaine locked the front door.
"Yes, baby. It's better to do this myself than to have the county do it for me."
"What... are we going to do for money?" Kenton asked with absolute fear in his voice. Charmaine put a comforting hand on her son's head and replied "Don't worry. This is just until we can get exterminators out here. It shouldn't take more than a week. We'll be fine."
"But still, that's a week that you're not going to make any money!" Cameron said. Charmaine sighed in agreement.
"The best thing that we can do at this point is try to keep the public from finding out about this." Charmaine said as Kenton nodded.
"I won't breathe a word of this. I promise."
The three saw a couple mice cross the alley where the service door was and simultaneously wondered how this could happen and how in the world was the public going to keep from seeing this.
When the trio arrived back at Kenton's house, Olivia and Mia were already there to meet them and already knew (through text messages) what was going on. Immediately they ran to their former elementary school secretary and gave her a little group hug.
"We heard about what happened. That sucks."
"I hope you kick those mice's butts!"
Despite the blatant disregard to her request to keep the situation under wraps, Charmaine smiled and wrapped her arms around the two girls. "Thank you so much, girls. I really needed to hear that."
Cameron's phone went off and he looked down at it before sighing. "It's time for me to go."
"Kenton said that you were going to be staying at your dad's for a couple days."
"Yep. He's taking my brother to Seattle to see a specialist for his head."
"Well, have fun! Kenton tells me your dad lives in a rough neighborhood, so if you need anything please don't hesitate to call us."
Cameron nodded before giving them a quick wave.
"Bye, Cameron!" Mia shouted out. He turned back around and gave another wave and a smile.
An hour later, Cameron began packing up his bag for the three-day-long excursion. Being home alone, he was startled by the slam of the front door. Curious, he opened the door and peek down the hallway into the living room. He groaned a bit when he saw that the "intruder" was his older brother.
"What are you doing here?" Cameron said, almost growling.
"Relax. I'm just here to get some stuff out of my old room to take with me to Seattle."
Although it had been over two years since the divorce, there just wasn't enough room in his tiny house and it was on his mother's good graces that William was able to store some of his belongings in his old bedroom.
"Well, hurry up." Cameron muttered. This was the first time in a long time that William had been able to go this long without insulting or abusing his little brother. This wasn't a moment to lower shields and Cameron knew that.
William walked to his old room, dug through his closet, and pulled out an old sleeping bag.
"What are you doing with that?" Cameron cautiously asked.
"I'm taking my lady along; she'll take the bed while I'll take the floor."
Cameron could only blink and say "What?"
"Yeah, I got the girl of my dreams. That said, I'm off. See you!"
"Bye." Cameron said as he closed the door behind him. About a minute passed before he could hear talking. He peeked out of the front window to see William talking on his phone to "the girl of his dreams".
"So, the plan worked?" Cameron heard William say into the phone. After a minute later, William said "Wonderful! Did you use all one hundred mice?"
No, surely that couldn't be. Cameron pressed his ear against the door even harder.
"She's closed?! Excellent!"
Cameron, stunned, backed away from the door. It was one thing to abuse him, but to mess with his friends was too far. He walked to his bedroom and slammed the door. Feeling the juice from the door's slam, he opened the closet door and slammed it shut several times. Anger flowing, he picked up a pillow and slammed it against the foot of his bed until it released the inner stuffing.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Four days later, Kenton, Olivia, Mia and Charmaine were sitting at Kenton's house watching television one morning. It was weird having the "old lady" around, but it was something that they were accepting (if it was only for that week).
"Wasn't Cameron supposed to be back two days ago?" Mia asked during a commercial break. She didn't know why that popped into her head; it was almost like it was intuition. Kenton thought about it and nodded.
"Maybe he's joined William's side." Olivia said as she crossed her arms.
"Not cool." Kenton replied as he glared at her.
"I'll try calling his phone." Kenton said as he got out his phone and went to the entry on the list. Three rings and it went to voice mail.
"Try calling his house?"
"I don't know his home number."
"Why don't you try looking it up in the phone book?"
"He wouldn't be in the phone book; however, his mom would be. But we don't know her name."
"It's Shirley." Charmaine chimed in. She had a tough time remembering his family, but she had spoken to his mother too many times in the past. There was no way that she was going to forget his mother's name.
"Found it!" Mia said as she slid the book over to Kenton. Kenton nodded and dialed the number.
"Hello, is Cameron there?"
Mia, Charmaine, and Olivia looked at one-another as they could hear a semi-snooty woman on the other side of the line.
"Oh... I see… well, thanks anyways." Kenton said before hanging up the phone with a look of disbelief.
"What's wrong, baby?" Charmaine asked.
"His mom said that he never came home from his dad's. Something about he wanted to stay so he could 'bond with his brother' or something."
Mia and Olivia looked at one another with wide eyes.
"I knew it…" Olivia said quietly.
"That can't be right… he was so… passionate when talking about the stuff that William was doing to him…"
"…Baby give me that number. I have an idea…" Charmaine said as she got out her phone. Kenton nodded and handed her the phone book. Charmaine looked at the number and tapped it into her phone and let it ring on speakerphone.
"Ah, yes, is this Shirley Elder?"
"That is correct. To whom am I speaking?"
"This is Mrs. Hayes with the school district. We're updating our files with the Middle School and the High School and we were wondering if you could tell us if William Spears is still living at the residence on… Caribou street?"
Charmaine's face scowled as the woman on the other side of the phone line started cackling before answering "Goodness, no. He's living with his father on Muscox."
"Oh? And do you have the address on file for that?"
"Not with me, no. I have his number if you want to bug him with this. I’m remarkably busy."
"That would be lovely, thanks."
Charmaine barely had the number scribbled when the woman hung up on her.
"What a pleasant lady!" Charmaine sarcastically said as she prepared to call the second number.
"Yeah, Spears. Whatcha need?"
"Ah, yes, this is Mrs. Hayes with the school district. We're starting a policy that requires both parents to sign a transcript for entry into the Middle School and we noticed that we don't have a signature on file for you."
"Ah, hell. Now? Lady, I'm two-hundred miles away in Seattle at a Radon Convention! Can I send Cameron up there to sign it for me?"
"Uh… no, we can't allow that."
"How about my other son? He's fourteen! Can he take guardianship for the little shit? He's watching him this week."
Kenton's eyes widened with absolute fear at that statement.
"No… how about you just take care of it when you get back." Charmaine said before hanging up the phone.
"Mom… we need to do something… ANYTHING!"
"Like what? We don't even know where he lives outside of Muscox street!"
"…Muscox is the street on the far end of town with the trailers on it, right?"
"I think that there's a couple houses down by the tracks."
"…That's it! Cameron said that his father lives in a house! We'll go door-to-door if we must! Just until we know that he's all right."
Mia and Olivia looked at each other and nodded. The three of them turned around and started for the door.
"Wait!" Charmaine cried out. The three stopped and looked at her.
"I'll go with Kenton. If William's as bad as you say he is, you girls should stay back!"
"That's sexist! Besides, we ran away from him last time and look where it got us!"
"Actually, I think Mom's right on this one."
"Kenton, you can't be serious." Olivia said as she was surprisingly raring for a fight. Sensing her determination, Kenton said, "Please. Just stay back, for me. I'm worried enough about Cameron. You two will just make me worry more."
After a second of thought, Olivia nodded and gave him a quick hug.
"You stay safe, okay?"
Kenton nodded and replied "You know I will. The first sign of trouble and we'll have the cops right there."