Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Conflict (a blog story) 2

     As the boys navigated their teenage years Derrick became more and more unpredictable. By high school he had begun using drugs and drinking, sometimes with his mother, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. His penchant for violence cost him much more than he made. People avoided him. His wanton vandalism kept him in the constant gaze of school administrators and police. Judy always rushed to his defense and to the psychologist he was ordered to see he was honest when he claimed to have no idea why he did the things he did.
     Derrick took to crime before the age of ten, breaking into houses to see what was inside. Eventually, he began to loot these houses for drugs, money, alcohol, and anything of value. Jonah’s job was to watch for trouble, but it was not a partnership. Jonah was just used to doing what was asked of him. Judy knew what her son was up to and did not care so long as she got her cut. Derrick would display his bounty on the kitchen table and he and Judy would divide the proceeds.
     He began to notice girls early on. His temperament though was unpredictable and kindness would often turn to cruelty. He didn’t care how they cried because he knew there would always be someone else and there always was. A mother could have taught him the proper way to treat women, but Judy was as enamored of Derrick as the little girls he toyed with.
     Judy had become desperate in the face of her approaching middle age. No longer able to rely on her looks to secure the things she needed from men, she clung tighter and tighter to the sorry few foolish enough to stay. Eventually, they too would run and this made her lean even heavier on Derrick as her sole confidant. When she couldn’t dance, she waited tables, and when she lost that she looked for the easy dollar. Derrick was her protégé and partner.
     Jonah in turn had become more steady and self-reliant. He no longer needed to watch Judy and Derrick act out their pantomime of madness. He was content with himself. He could focus, which in many ways made up for his deficiencies. He did well in the school’s remedial programs. He was never late, always polite, and always gave his best effort. He was not outgoing, but he had friends.

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