Working Title The Family

UNFINISHED Started in 2004

Working Title The Family

Chapter 1

Lazy

Laying back Will dreamed of a time when he would be able to make his own decisions, a time when he was in control of his own destiny. He did not feel any negative emotions towards his parents, they cared for him, fed him, and always made sure he was given as much freedom as possible. He just felt like he was being led along a path, the path of the good and righteous. If it were up to his parents he would never experience hard times, nor would he see the depths of the decaying society he lived in. This was not uncommon, every parent wants the best for their children, but unfortunately this left Will feeling trapped.
As he lay in his room on the verge of slumber he realized that even his room was filled with the past of his birth family. The wooden dresser and desk originally belonged to his dad, now lacking in varnish from the decades of ignoring the use of coasters. The brass handles from the dresser reflected the lamp on the desk; it was also brass and fashioned to look like a reading lamp from the twenties. This was Will’s mother’s addition to the décor of the room. It was the type of lamp that she had always wanted. There were a couple of entertainment centers and a television that had resided in his parent’s room for years.
Will looked at the ceiling with his eyelids drifting towards each other. He turned to get more comfortable and was thankful that his parents had gotten matching waterbeds for each bedroom of the house. As he drifted into sleep he envisioned his room, as it was a year before when his sister lived in it. All her furniture was placed in the same fashion as his, the typical floor plan of their family. His mental image slowly blurred into a dream where he was off to college and his sister was left in the house being prepared for her stable, but joyful future.

The Call

Ten O’clock rolled around and Will’s mother came knocking on his door waking him for the day.
“I know it’s summer, but you need to get up and enjoy the day.” She said as Will groaned trying to avoid the waking sound of his mom.
“Ugh… Ok, ok, I’ll get up.” Will managed to roll off his bed as he spoke. Luckily his bed was on the floor, no pedestal. As Will got to his hands and knees he looked up and smiled at his mother, it wasn’t a fake smile, seeing her short brown hair and ever-joyful face really did lift his spirits.
“Jon called and I have your breakfast on the table, so get up!” His mother said with a cheer in her voice. Will’s eyes perked up when he heard that Jon called. Jon was always awake early in the morning regardless of the fact that he was always up until the latest hours of the night. It was probably his mother who was responsible for that. Will was pretty sure that the small amounts of sleep that Jon received were causing permanent damage. Jon was a perfect picture of a drugy even though he had never touched anything other than cigarettes. He could not focus on anything for more than a few minutes, always had a ridiculous grin on his face, and his eyes wandered like mad. His almost white hair did nothing but make his appearance that much more insane.
Will jumped to his feet and began throwing on his clothes as quickly as possible. He couldn’t wait to talk to Jon, he had cigarettes and Will really wanted one. It wasn’t that he was addicted, but infatuated with the buzz he got from smoking a few. He began smoking about seven months earlier, right around his twelfth birthday. Kids at school constantly asked him why he would start smoking and his reply was always, “I’ll end up doing it eventually I might as well figure out how to inhale now rather than looking like an idiot when I cough my lungs up around a bunch of people.” It made total sense to him and that was all that really mattered.
Will walked into the living room of the house and was happy to see two pop-tarts on the coffee table. All meals in the house were served on the coffee table as it had the best view of the television.
Will plopped down on the floor and scarfed down his breakfast. He didn’t even turn on the TV, as he didn’t want to waste any time that could be used to get over to Jon’s and have a cigarette.
The phone rang as Will finished his second pop-tart. He quickly jumped to his feet to go talk to Jon. He was sure it was Jon on the phone since Jon could never remember calling someone fifteen minutes after he hung up the phone. Will grabbed the portable phone and hit the talk button.
“Hello?” Will said into the phone.
“Dude…” Came Jon’s slow voice over the speaker in Will’s ear.
“You coming over here or am I going over there?”
“Well, uhhhhh, actually I was wondering, if you, ummmmm.” There was a very long pause while Jon searched for the words he needed. “My brother and me are going to Emerald Forest. So we wanted to know if you wanted to come.” Jon finally got the words out of his mouth.
“Hang on.” Will dropped the phone to his side a little bit more excited than he was when he woke up. “MOM! CAN I GO TO EMERALD FOREST?” Will screamed towards the other end of the house. He heard a slight murmur from the direction he yelled and assumed it was a yes. “Cool man, your mom driving?” He said as he put the phone back up to his ear.
“Yea dude. We’ll be there in a few.” Jon replied and immediately hung up. Jon had a problem with saying goodbye on the phone. Many people claimed it was because he was too stupid to remember, but it was just another one of his concentration problems.
Will sprinted to the back of the house flailing his head wildly to each side searching for his mother. He couldn’t wait to go to the park; he hadn’t been to an amusement park in a couple years. His eyes were amazingly wide, making him look psychotic rather than happy. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” Will screamed out again. He realized that his mother had trained herself to ignore the unneeded screams of her kids. His work was useless, without being hurt his mother would never consciously hear his cries.
He ran to his room to put on his shoes. He slid them on and looked in the mirror to see if his ensemble was complete. From head to toe, Will looked different. His long dirty blond hair hung in his face so no features were discernable. His gray shirt hung from his body like he was a coat rack, at five feet ten inches tall and weighing a hundred-twenty pounds most clothes hung from his body rather than being worn. He had green canvas shorts that hung to the middle of his shins, they were about eight inches too big in the waist; it was a mystery of how they stayed up. A wallet in his back pocket was attached to a chain that hung nearly down to his ankles, then curved back up to his belt loop. Dress socks were worn up past the knees, so the leg was not visible at all with the shorts he was wearing. To top off the outfit, Will was wearing black wing loafers made of fake leather that were purchased from a discount shoe store.
As Will turned to go back to the living room to wait for Jon, he practically ran face first into his mother. “Here is forty five dollars, so you can get in, eat, and buy something. Either Sandi or myself will pick you up when the park closes.” Will’s mother said as she held out a wad of bills.
Will quickly snatched the money from his mom. “So either you or Jon’s mom?”
“Yes, I think the park closes at midnight. One of us will be there to pick you up.”
A car horn honked and Will immediately sprinted towards the door. His mother smiled at the idea of her son being completely happy. She was slightly disappointed at the lack of “Bye” or “I love you”, but she realized that he had been so sheltered that he took many things for granted. The idea that he would need to express his feelings for his parents or anyone else close to him seemed almost a waste of time.
Will came running from the door of his house, his stride didn’t even stop when he got into the green SUV. He quickly checked his surroundings; Jon was seated to Will’s left with his typical “I’m happy yet tired” grin on his face. Sandi, Jon’s mother was in the driver seat trying to keep to herself, what she thought of Will flying into her car. On her right was her other son Joe, he was a year younger than Jon and Will; he was also a perfect replica of Jon, if Jon was athletic and not so permanently confused.
Will couldn’t wait to get to Emerald Forest, his mind was racing with the different possibilities of what they could do when they got there. There was so much going through Will’s head that he didn’t even notice that Sandi had the air conditioning set at eighty-five degrees on that Texas summer day. He didn’t notice the wreck they passed on the way to the park. He didn’t notice the horrible station that the radio was programmed to. He did notice Sandi’s pudgy arms, as he always did. It was unavoidable for Will to get by without noticing the worst aspect of a person. It didn’t bother him long, just a quick shiver at the grotesque flab of fat filled skin around her arm and then back to his daydream of what would become of his day at the amusement park.

The park

Will stood in amazement at the size of the rides at The Emerald Forest. Every direction he looked he saw people enjoying their day at this huge amusement park. There were roller coasters that twisted in directions that Will didn’t realize were possible, a gift shop around every corner, countless stage shows, other rides that would rival any carnival, tons of food carts, and people galore. There was no way to direct him on where to go or what to do. He was stuck in awe of the immensity of the park.
“Dude we should go ride the Colossus.” Jon blurted out referring to a new roller coaster at the far end of the park. Joe and Will did not reply they just started wandering toward the coaster which was visible from the entrance, where they were standing. There was no way for them to realize what direction was the correct way to go, since the park twisted and turned so the average person would get lost and be stuck inside the park with no other business to spend their money with.
On the way to the Colossus Will couldn’t stop the horrible smell of old stale hotdogs mixed with the sweat of the average Joe. The scent almost made him sick and matched the stickiness of the sweat that was beginning to cover his body. He felt that there was no escape from the disgusting soaking he was being forced to endure. As he walked down the concrete paths to the ride he bumped into a couple of people who seemed to blot the stickiness onto him. Just as he began to taste the putrid smell they reached the gate to the Colossus.
The sight of the immense structure took his mind off of whatever insignificant thought he was having at the time. The air Will was breathing seemed to vanish, not as if he was hyperventilating, but as if it was too pointless to consider its existence. He was terrified. The roller coaster was so large that he could imagine a skyscraper being overshadowed by it.
Jon and Joe ran up to where the line stopped in sheer excitement for the thrill they were about to receive. Will followed with his head stuck in a position to where he could see the coaster the entire time.
“Dude… This is gonna be so cool, man.” Jon fumbled out of his mouth with his head tilted just enough to see the lift on the first hill of the coaster.
Will replied trying to keep his fears to himself, “Yeah, it’s going to be cool.” He didn’t think that anyone would catch on. Jon never seemed perceptive enough to catch on to the nuances of people’s actions. On the other hand Joe was never paying enough attention to catch on to hints of any emotion, not because he had a short attention span, but because he never really fit into Jon and Will’s group. He was always Jon’s little brother, that guy, Will’s other friend…
Standing in line and slowly inching closer to the loading dock of the Colossus, Will began trying to shift his fear into excitement. He imagined the sensation from the first hill of the coaster and pretended that it was a fun feeling rather than a nauseating one. Since the coaster was wooden he knew that it was not going to be a comfortable ride. The turns on it were going to be rough, he knew there would be no way out of slamming into the steel coaster car.
The frightening daydream that had a grasp on Will’s train of thought had blindly lured him to the loading dock of the coaster. The gate opened and the three of them got on the train. Joe sat behind Will and Jon; as usual he kept himself slightly secluded from their little group. As Jon sat in his seat and tried to keep the lap bar from lowering too close to his lap. Will sitting in the seat next to Jon and let his lap bar fall straight onto his waist. He noticed the couple of inches of space Jon had between his hips and the lap bar by keeping his hands in his lap.
Will cocked his head to the side with one eye opened a little wider than the other. He had one eyebrow up and his mouth partially open. All that he could think was “What the hell purpose does that serve?” but Jon misinterpreted the look.
“It’ll be cool huh?” Jon said with his deep voice and slow pace. After Will didn’t respond he figured he should explain. “It’ll make me fly out of my seat a little bit more, man. It’s gonna rock.”
Will had no words for the stupidity of his friend. He rotated his head the other direction so Jon couldn’t see his face and left the expression. He was too confused by Jon to change the look on his face.
There was a huge sound that almost hurt Will’s ears as the brakes released and the ride had begun.

Meeting #1

Will was enjoying himself quite a bit, at least after he got over his fears of the roller coasters. It took some pain, but he was no longer afraid to ride anything in the park. As he walked with Jon and Joe through The Emerald Forest, Will constantly rubbed his hip where he had repeatedly slammed into the side of the car on the Colossus.
“What are you doing?” Jon said noticing Will nursing his soar.
“Getting a smoke.” Will exclaimed suddenly jumping out of the daze that he was in and feeling he had to come up with an excuse so he didn’t seem so wimpy.
“Yea, dude. Gimme one!” Jon retorted.
“Can I get one too?” Joe said. Will surprised to hear Joe speak, since he hadn’t said anything all day, paused for a moment before he fished the beat up old pack of cigarettes out of his pocket that Jon had asked him to hold onto earlier. He pulled out three cigarettes and handed them out as they stopped to sit on a bench. Then they passed around a lighter and tried their best to look cool.
It was some what of a rush for Will to be seen in public smoking with a couple of other kids, especially when they were all obviously underage. He felt like a rebel, he felt that he was breaking away from the mold his parents created for him.
“Can I bum one of those?” Came a voice from Will’s right.
Will looked up and saw a guy who was about six feet tall and must have weighed over three hundred pounds.
“Sure.” Will said, trying his best to not show the intimidation he felt from this monster at his side. He quickly pulled out his box of cigarettes and fumbled one over to the stranger.
“Thanks man, we are about to go on a smoke run, if you need us to pick you up a pack.” The guy said motioning over to his friends that were on the other side of the walkway.
Will was taken aback by this. They were all quite young, none older than sixteen. “Yea, I could use another pack, but how are you going to get them?” Will questioned
With a smirk on his young looking face the large stranger said, “We play Hey Mister. You just ask every guy that walks into the gas station.”
Will was surprised to hear that it was so easy. Of course he had no clue how long it would take until someone would actually buy the smokes for them. He reached back for his wallet to give some cash to the huge kid, but before he could get it out the stranger started walking off and summoned the three of them to come over to his group of friends. Will, Jon, and Joe all went over and met the group.
There were about fifteen people all dressed in black and denim. Most of them had on concert shirts and bandanas. Typical introductions ensued. Will was not very interested in learning names, but did catch a few. The big guy was called Bulldog; it seemed pretty obvious as to why. The scrawny little kid with the long almost dredded blonde hair was called Dopey, Will thought the name would fit Jon better, but decided against mentioning it. After those two introductions, Will stopped paying attention and just spoke to people through reflex because he saw the most attractive girl he had ever seen, standing behind Bulldog at the end of the procession line. She had short red curly hair that came down to her earlobes. It dangled slightly in her face almost hiding her well-defined cheekbones and pouty lips. Will stared directly into her eyes for a few moments then started to look down her body; she was wearing a skin tight red shirt with a zipper straight up the middle. It accentuated her perfectly round breasts and almost concaved stomach. As he looked down farther he saw she was wearing tight black vinyl pants with black boots. As it was her turn to introduce herself to the three new people of their group, Will noticed that she also had a spiked collar on with a leash that led to Bulldog’s hand.
“I’m Taylor, nice to meet you all.” The beauty said with an adorable smile on her face. She quickly scanned all three of the boys with her grin growing ever so slightly as she looked. Will and Joe both got the idea that she had some sort of plans for most of the guys she met.
All eighteen of them left the park on a mission to go get more cigarettes. While they walked through the parking lot and across the street Will was learning about the members of the group he had just met. He quickly gathered that Bulldog and Taylor were a couple and had been for a while. Taylor was fourteen and Bulldog was sixteen, the difference in age didn’t bother Will. He also learned that Dopey was a drug dealer. He didn’t seem to be the most popular person around, but he was tolerated.
Will was a little uneasy that he was hanging out with a bunch of kids who did drugs. He had never seen drugs before; much less known anyone who tried them. All he could think about was the class he had to take in school about why not to do drugs. He ignored his feelings and continued on with the venture.
There were other bits of information that Will learned on the trek to the gas station, but nothing else really seemed to stick in his mind.
They reached the dingy old gas station which was falling apart and reeked of gasoline. When they got to the side of the building, Bulldog, the oldest and oldest looking, gathered the money from the rest of them and began to ask the patrons of the business if they could buy him a few packs of smokes, since he left his license at home. After about half an hour he was successful and the group had cigarettes to smoke.

Beginnings

After the cigarette run, the group returned to the park, but instead of going back inside the gates they sat down in a circle in the median, in the parking lot. A couple of different conversations went around the circle while all of them smoked and laughed.
Will was amazed at the fun he was having with his new acquaintances. He was enjoying himself in a situation that he had never come across. He was with a group of people who he felt safe with, but at the same time felt like he had complete freedom. There was no one to tell them that they couldn’t go anywhere, do anything, or even say anything. Will felt almost completely satisfied. The only thing that left him wanting anything was Taylor.
Will could not stop thinking about or looking at Taylor. She was constantly looking into Will’s eyes while at the same time grabbing at Bulldog’s crotch, trying to seduce Will quietly, but actually giving the image that she was really easy. Will even got the feeling that she slept around with a lot of people. Which was pretty impressive since he had only kissed a girl at this point in his life. Understanding the little hints that a woman lays out about her sex life was not Will’s forte.
Luckily Bulldog did not pay enough attention to realize what his girlfriend was doing. Dopey and Joe on the other hand, did. They didn’t say anything, but Joe kept giving Will a look that could only be jealousy. Dopey seemed to think that Taylor was eyeballing him rather than Will. Unbeknownst to Will this was common behavior by dopey, he always thought everything revolved around him.
Will shook himself from the stupor he was in. He tried to focus on the conversations that were going around the circle. He quickly tuned into a conversation between Bulldog and another member of the group whose name Will didn’t catch.
“Do you think we should show them the sign?” the unknown member said.
“I’m not sure, dude. We don’t really know them.” Bulldog replied at a volume that Will could barely hear.
“So how’re we gonna know to show ‘em or not?”
“Let’s see if they come back and let Widow decide.” Bulldog began to start another sentence, but noticed Will listening to the conversation. “So you guys got a season pass or what?” He said refocusing his attention to Will.
“No we don’t; why? You come to the park often?” Will shot back without losing a beat.
“Everyday, man. This is what we do.”
“We might just get some.”
“Well you don’t hafta, half the people who hang here don’t have ‘em.”
“How do they get in?” Will realized the moment he stopped talking that he was giving away the image of being extremely sheltered. The last thing he wanted to do was make these people think he was not cool or not tough.
“We sneak them in, dude. We’ll show you how.” With that Bulldog stood and left Will’s conversation.

The Show

Throughout the day people came and went; the group grew and shrank. Will, Jon, and Joe learned of all the most comfortable spots in the park. There was a Wild West area of the park where the group sat on a porch, they were out of everyone’s way and had shade. There was an arcade on the other side of the park where they liked to hangout. The median in the parking lot seemed to be a favorite along with the shore of the pond that was created to give scenery to the parking lot. The coolest place they stopped at, in Will’s mind, was a deck that was built over a small stream. There was a waterfall that cascaded water into the stream and amazingly beautiful green shrubbery. Will had never seen such a gorgeous landscape. He knew that the owners of the park set it up to look like it did, but its location made no sense. The dock was very hard to find. To get there the group had to go down a path that was almost invisible, covered by bushes and trees it looked like an area blocked off to customers, but it wasn’t. It had paved paths and even a water fountain.
While the group was relaxing on the dock, Taylor came up to Dopey and whispered something in his ear. Dopey quickly perked up and told the group to follow him. Dopey led everyone to a booth that had a sign on it saying Tickets.
“What are we doing?” Jon asked one of the members of the group.
The boy replied, “We’re getting concert tickets. They are free for anyone who has a season pass.”
“Oh, well I should get out of the line then.” Jon mumbled with sadness in his voice and his head dropped so he faced the ground.
“No, it’s cool. They only check the first few peoples passes, after that they just assume we all have them.” This came as good news to Jon and turned around to inform Joe and Will what was going on.
The plan went exactly as the group member said, they checked the first three peoples season passes and after that they assumed the other fourteen people had them as well. Will found it funny because he noticed that only the first five people in line actually had the pass.
Without anyone talking about what was going on, the group started migrating towards the back of the park. Joe and Jon seemed quite confused as they were not informed about the move, but Will in contrast wasn’t bothered by the relocation. He was busy being infatuated with Taylor again. He couldn’t help but stare at the perfect body that she had and showed off in the outfit she was wearing. The only thing that bothered Will was the fact that Bulldog occasionally yanked on the leash attached to Taylor’s neck which threw her off balance a bit. At the same time he kind of liked the tugs when they happened as it made her breasts jiggle a little.
Will realized pretty quickly that he was being led to the amphitheatre. He looked down at his ticket and realized they were going to a concert by a band that he had never heard of, The Grave Digger. He looked at the people around him trying to get a clue of who the band was, but he got no hints. He refused to ask anyone since he was afraid of looking like an idiot.
As Will strolled into the amphitheatre he could see why so many people went to concerts. The seating area was fairly large. The crescent shaped area with the seats was already over half full of scary looking biker guys. The stage was huge; it had amazing lights and speakers. Will was in awe of the possibilities of the concert.
There was a lot of waiting around after they got to the amphitheatre. The group had suddenly become extremely large; they took up two rows of the steel blue seating. After a minute or two Will counted thirty-six people in the company with which he was sitting. There were now a lot more really drugged up looking people.
“Hey, man. Who are you?” Six or seven people suddenly asked Will at one time. He felt overwhelmed by attention. It was almost as if he could feel the body heat off each person and it was overcrowding him. He tried to explain who he was and why he was hanging out with them, but before he really got anywhere the show started.
The concert started out strong, it was heavy metal music. The music was loud and quick, so loud that Will could feel the drums in his chest. The lyrics were all about the depression that is life. Will began to really enjoy himself in the crowd of the show when he realized Taylor was staring him down.
“Having fun?” Taylor screamed at Will trying to sound seductive, but it was pointless since Will couldn’t hear over the music. He just smiled and nodded hoping that it would answer her question or show approval of her statement. She gave him a big grin and started playing with her zipper on her shirt. She fondled the tag of the zipper and began unzipping her top the tiniest bit. Bulldog looked over and saw what she was doing. He abruptly walked off dragging her behind him by the leash.
A few other people in the group saw Bulldog leaving and somehow passed the word around that it was time to go. Will and Jon were somewhat disappointed since they only got to see the first few minutes of the concert, but were willing to go along to find out what was going to happen.
When Will got out of the theatre, he saw Bulldog yelling at Taylor with his finger in her face.
“What the fuck did you think you were doing? You are with me and you got no right showin’ yer shit to some new kid.” Bulldog said at the top his lungs, his face turning bright red like the veins in his neck were about to pop. “You wanna show some new guy your tits, you gonna screw him already? Screw you!” Bulldog reached out and unzipped Taylor’s shirt down to her belly button. Her breasts were not visible, but if she moved the wrong way they would just fall out of her top. “There, you wanna fuck some other guy? This will let everyone know what kind of slut you are.”
Taylor fell to her knees with tears streaming down her cheeks trying to cover her top. “Bulldog, I am sorry, I didn’t mean anything. I was just playing with the kid.” She cried to him, but it was to no avail.
“You fucked up, you live with it.”
Will wanted to do something about what was going on, but Dopey stopped him. “This is the way we do things. She had no right to do that, so Bulldog is punishing her for it.” Dopey whispered into Will’s ear so he wouldn’t get involved.
Will was dumbfounded to see this abuse to Taylor and everyone just watching. He didn’t understand why no one would interfere. Suddenly he felt that he was with a company of people who held the wrong values, but he felt that he couldn’t just walk away. He thought that might be an insult to the group and he might not be safe. So, Will just stuck it out and dealt with his fears of the group.

Lazy Again

Will lied in his bed trying to figure out what he experienced that day. The main thing that stuck in his mind was everyone telling him they’d see him tomorrow. He did not plan on returning to the park the following day, but he didn’t know Jon and Joe’s plan. He did not know what to think of the crew. He felt very comfortable with them all day, but he felt betrayed when they let Bulldog turn against Taylor. The real confusion for him arose from everyone’s reaction to the incident. Everyone seemed to watch with severe interest and disgusting excitement as Bulldog humiliated Taylor.
He continued to dwell on the subject replaying the scene in his head. Eventually he decided that it wasn’t as bad as he thought since Taylor even mentioned it to him at the end of the evening.
She walked up to him with a tremendous smile on her face said, “Don’t worry about what happened earlier, it was my fault not yours. Hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow.” As soon as her lips closed from her speech she pulled her still unzipped shirt to the side so Will could see what he was missing.
At the time Will was stunned, he knew his mother was in the car directly behind Taylor and he didn’t want her to know what was going on.
“Will you come back tomorrow? You could meet Widow.” She said as Will walked past her towards his mothers car. He turned and smiled back at her, trying his best not to make her think that he would be back the next day.
Will noticed his ceiling hadn’t changed from that morning, but his view of his boring life had. Regardless of how good or bad the intentions of these people were, Will knew he was happy with the current change and if given the opportunity, he would return to the park soon.
With that he was ready to fall into slumber. Unfortunately as soon as he closed his eyes, Will’s nostrils were filled with the stench of stale hotdogs and the publics sweat. He hadn’t noticed the nauseating odor since they rode their first ride of the day, but at that moment he had to get a shower or he’d be up all night with that smell.































Chapter 2

Meeting #2

Will and Jon finally got to go back to the Forest. They had spent two hours trying to convince their parents to get season passes. At ten o’clock Sandi and Carol, Will’s mom, decided that it would be a good investment.
Carol was taking the boys to the park for the second trip. Will was relieved because he knew his mom didn’t keep her air conditioning as high as Sandi; the car trip wouldn’t be as painful as it would if Sandi drove them again.
Carol and Sandi were both happy to hear the boys had such a good time. Neither one of them wanted the burden of keeping their son’s entertained every time they got bored.
Joe had decided that he was going to wait on the season pass, since he had baseball practice and couldn’t go as often. Jon on the other hand was quite excited to be going back to the Emerald Forest. The day before he was enjoying learning the ins and outs of drug dealing. Like Will, Jon had never tried drugs, but he was more than interested in experimenting with a few things. He went through the entire day talking to Dopey about the ties Dopey had with the Crips. Jon was never one to back down because of a relationship, though Dopey’s association to a dangerous gang did make him a little apprehensive.
The car reached the Emerald Forest and Carol stopped the car in the parking lot to let the kids off. Jon and Will both got out of the car with their goodbyes and promised that they would be out front when Sandi came to pick them up.
After getting out of the car, Will and Jon immediately noticed that Dopey and Taylor were out in the median with a bunch of kids they hadn’t seen before. Without hesitation they went over to the circle of people for a quick conversation before they went to buy their season passes.
“Jon, Will, welcome back.” Dopey called out as he noticed the two approaching the group. Will was very excited to find out that Dopey remembered them, much less their names.
As soon as Taylor heard Dopey’s salutation she jumped to her feet to greet the boys. “Hey.” She said looking into Will’s eyes with her lips slightly parted and her tongue running across her teeth. Will noticed her actions and took it as a desire for something, or someone she hadn’t had yet.
“Nice to see you again.” Will said, as he looked Taylor up and down. He noticed that she was wearing a blue button down shirt that was half way unbuttoned with obviously no bra. “You making sure I can see what you’re teasing me with?”
“No, Bulldog is still punishing me.”
“You’ve been half exposing yourself since last night?”
“Yeah, but it kinda turns me on. It’s not really a punishment.” She slowly licked her lips and glanced down at her breasts with a slow and deep inhalation.
Will chuckled and tried to ignore Taylor as he sat down in the circle of people. He scanned the members of that day’s group and made sure there was no one he recognized except for Dopey and Taylor. It didn’t take long before a couple of people came up to him to introduce themselves.
“Was sup?” Said a kid who was the spitting image of Kurt Cobain. He was skinny, as were most of the people who hung out with the group. He had chin length blond hair that was perfectly shiny with grease. He had a dazed look in his eye that seemed to accentuate the stubble on his face and his pronounced chin.
“Not much. I’m Will” Will said somewhat eager to meet more people.
“I know, I’ve heard about you. And that is Jon, huh?” These words confused Will somewhat; he had no inkling as to why he was being talked about. “I heard that Taylor caused quite the scene, fucking you with her eyes.” Will quickly understood why this guy had heard of him. “I’m Conner.”
“Nice to meet you.” As the words spilled from his lips he noticed another guy standing behind Conner.
“I’m Vampire.” Said the kid behind Conner. Will didn’t like the boy as soon as he laid eyes on him. He didn’t know what it was about him, but he really didn’t like his presence. Vampire was also skinny, but had a look to him like he thought he belonged in the spotlight, even though no one would ever agree with him. His short brown hair set him apart from most of the guys in the group. His face looked more like a male model than an aggressive young boy.
“Yeah. Ok.” Will said noticing another person behind Vampire.
“Will you guys leave him alone? He’s mine.” Taylor said to the rapidly growing procession for Will.
“I gotta go buy my pass.” Will said hurriedly as he left the group to go to the service desk. He had no clue why he was getting the treatment that he was. It made him fairly uncomfortable knowing that a large group of strangers were excited to meet him. He pondered the possibility of the Bulldog/Taylor incident being unprecedented or anticipated, but he couldn’t figure out why he would be held in such high regard for sparking it.
He continued his contemplation of the situation while he got his season pass. He came to no conclusions. He was at a loss for ideas.
After getting his picture taken he asked Jon if he would mind going to the arcade rather than back out to the median. Jon had no objections or clue as to why Will would not want to return to the median. It was lucky for Will that Jon missed clues about how Will seemed uncomfortable with the Taylor/Bulldog situation. If Jon had realized this he would have tried to make Will “face his fears”.
Jon and Will wandered through the park trying to find the arcade they were shown the day before. Eventually they found the porch in the Wild West area, which they were also shown. Will was planning on walking on by when he noticed that Bulldog was sitting there, but Bulldog noticed the two of before they were out of sight and called them over.
“What’s up?” Will said trying to hide his fear.
“Not much, man. Waddup with you?” Bulldog replied with no negative emotions in his voice.
“Are we ok?”
“Of course, man. The entire situation is between me and Taylor. We’re cool.” Almost on cue Taylor and Dopey walked up greeting the three guys. Taylor made sure she held each side of her shirt so she didn’t accidentally flash someone walking by.
“Well, you ready to hear the verdict?” Taylor snidely said to Bulldog.
Bulldog shot back, “Bring it on hoe.”
“What the hell are you two talking about?” Will demanded; he was sick of being confused by the hidden messages in the group’s speech.
Dopey quickly put his arm around Will’s shoulder and pulled him off to the side. “We have a really close friendship. Anytime we have a dispute we rely on the one person who we all respect the most, Widow. He’s on his way up here and he will resolve the situation.” Dopey quietly said trying not to let the others hear.
“Why are you lying to him Dopey?” Taylor screamed.
“I’m not! I’m just fucking leaving a few details out.”
“You shouldn’t fucking lie.”
“Screw you whore!”
Will was starting to get uneasy. He had been hanging out with this group for two days and he had already started two fights. He started to think that he wasted his mother’s money.

The Family

Will was off wandering around with vampire and Conner. He was too uncomfortable with the yelling of Taylor. Jon stayed with the others. It was a little odd for Will to hang out with a couple of people who he didn’t really know. They ended up at the bumper cars. Conner told Will that it was the most fun ride in the park. It didn’t make a lot of sense to Will, the coasters seemed much more interesting than a typical carnival attraction.
“Just follow us and you’ll have a great time.” Vampire said as they were loading into the cars. Will didn’t know exactly what he meant, but he was more than willing to try to keep up with them.
The worker informed everyone to board the cars, put on their safety belts, and to keep their body parts in the vehicle at all times. Will wandered out onto the track and picked a blue car to get into. The track was all made of rubber and each car was a small bubble with a pole out of the back running to the ceiling to get electricity.
Vampire and Conner noticed where Will was sitting and got into cars near him. They all were facing each other forming a small triangle. Both Conner and Vampire leaned back and took their hands off the steering wheel. Will, in a state of confusion, followed suit.
Over the speaker a loud ring was heard and everyone started bumping in their bumper cars, except for the three of them.
“It won’t fucking work!” Conner screamed while he hit the steering wheel and glared at the worker.
“This piece of shit!” Vampire shouted immediately afterward also pounding on the steering wheel and banging his head making his short brown hair bounce just the tiniest bit. Will was really lost at how this was remarkable fun, but continued to not move his car since Vampire and Conner hadn’t either. Before Will knew what was going on the worker had come out to fix their cars, but was quickly knocked down by Conner bumping his car into the man.
“You mother fucker!” The worker mumbled under his breath, but as he began to stand, Vampire bumped him from behind. Will decided that he should join in on the fun and bumped the man as he tried to stand for a third time. The worker took up a little bit of strategy at this point and jumped onto Vampires car rather just stand straight up. Will started to worry that the fun was over, but then Vampire took off in his car with the worker on the hood.
“You want some bitch?” Vampire said as he began racing around the track. Will and Conner both took off the other direction. They quickly weaved in and out of oncoming traffic still not having bumped an actual car. As Vampire came around a corner Will ran head on into Vampire and the worker went flying. The man landed in front of another car, which hit him at full speed practically running the guy over.
Conner looked at the kid driving that car and shouted, “Good hit Mark!”
Will began to get nervous when he realized that a bunch of other people were getting out of their cars and chasing Vampire, Conner, Will, and Mark. Out of fear Will started running the people down; he was relieved that his car was pretty much flat to the ground and he could not actually drive on top of anyone.
“GET OUT AND RUN!” Vampire screamed as he bolted for the exit. Will ripped off his seat belt and jumped out of his car. He headed for the railing with Conner. They got out of the bumper car track and sprinted through the park trying to make sure no security officers were following them. They ended up stopping at the dock where they ran into Bulldog, Jon, Taylor, Dopey, and a couple people Will didn’t recognize.
“Holy shit! That… was… awe…some!” Will said bending over with his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath.
“Yeah, I know.” Conner said also barely able to breath. Will was surprised Conner could even understand what he said.
“But, uhhhh…” Will tried to breath slowly enough to speak. “What about… Mark?” Will finally spit out. Before anyone could say anything Vampire started laughing hysterically. “What’s… so fun…ny?” Will said getting a little annoyed at his respiratory rate.
“I didn’t know that guy.” Conner said with a grin on his face. “I just said that so the mob of people who always form would have someone to pummel.”
“The old bumper car game?” Taylor asked with a hint of jealousy in her voice. Conner just nodded still unable to stop smirking.
“Any way!” Dopey interjected looking somewhat annoyed with Taylor’s continual whining. “Let’s welcome them into the family.”
“Without Widow?” Said Bulldog his eyes opened wide with astonishment.
“We all like them, it’s not like Widow would say no.” Dopey shot back as he started to feel a bit of power. Everyone there agreed with Dopey and had Jon and Will sit on one of the benches on the dock.
“Well, welcome to the family.” Conner said obviously at a loss for words.
“What?” Will fumbled out of his mouth as tried to make sense of the conversation now being directed at him.
“We are all a part of a group of friends that we call the family. There are about fifty of us and have been holding together the, ummmm, institution of the family.” Conner said trying to sound traditional, but just seeming sarcastic.
“Institution?” Will said in disbelief.
Taylor jumped in with her two cents. “Back in the seventies there were these guys who hung out at this amusement park, Jerry and Snail; they called themselves the family. Their number of friends grew and the original members eventually gave the name over to the new pack of kids. Now almost twenty years later we are the family.” Taylor seemed to be very proud of herself as she felt that she explained everything to Will and Jon.
“Cool, a gang.” Jon blurted out quite enthused that he might be a part of a gang.
“NO! We are not a gang! We are just a bunch of friends that look out for each other. We chill, we get fucked up, and we hang at the forest.” Vampire chimed in not wanting to be left out of the discussion.
Will leaned back on the bench and tried to take in everything that they were saying. He didn’t know if he should be happy to be included or be frightened that he might have just been put into a gang. He just stared out at the waterfall as it gave new water to the stream.
Bulldog noticed that Will was somewhat tense. “It’s really not that big of a deal, man. It just means we’d like to chill with you more often. Ya know? You’re welcome here.” Even though Bulldog was not the most debonair guy in world, he still put Will at ease.
“Cool.” Jon said trying to break the eerie feeling that swept over the air. “Did you say fifty people?”
“Give or take.” Dopey said trying to get the conversation moving again.
“Well, lets go out to the median and meet them.” Will said as he stood up and pulled his hair back behind his ears. The rest of them agreed and they left to go give proper introductions.

Widow

Taylor led the group back out to the median in the parking lot where there were another three people. Will did not know if he had met these people yet, since there had been quite a few kids he met without paying any attention.
As they approached the median the three kids stood up to greet their friends and meet Will and Jon.
“You must be Will and Jon.” A short, chubby little girl said with a genuine smile on her face.
“Yes, I’m Will.” Will remarked with honest enthusiasm.
“I’m Troll. They call me that because I like to collect paintings of Trolls.” She said as her arms swung from front to back.
Will just nodded trying to seem convinced. He was pretty sure she was nicknamed that for another reason. She had a very round belly and extremely squished face. All of her features seemed to be surrounded by a circle of padding. Her hair was practically non-existent; it looked like it had thinned down to just a few hairs.
“I’m Liza.” Said the next girl, pushing Troll out of the way.
Before Will could respond to the thin dark skinned beauty, the boy behind her stepped to the side and introduced himself. “Hey. I’m Geoff.” Said the short, stout boy with what looked to be a perm on his long blond hair. He didn’t show any sign of interest in meeting Will, but obviously knew who he was.
Will didn’t respond to Geoff he just joined the rest of group and sat down in a circle. Vampire pulled out his cigarettes, which prompted everyone else to do the same. They all began to smoke. After Geoff lit up his cigarette he turned to a guy who just walked over and sat down who Will didn’t know.
“Do you trust me?” Geoff said with the smallest evil glint in his eyes. Unfortunately the unknown kid didn’t notice.
“Yeah, I guess.” He said in response.
“Close your eyes.” Geoff said. The kid did as he was told. Geoff immediately burned the group member’s hand with his cigarette.
“Fucker!” The kid shouted, pulling his hand back to nurse his sore. Geoff just smiled and left the group to go back into the park.
“We all call him bitch.” Dopey said referring to Geoff. “He’s the biggest dick I know.”
“Everyone tears him down. So, when he gets the chance, he’s a complete asshole to people.” Liza joined the conversation.
“And you’re his girlfriend.” Dopey shot back at Liza.
“I’m with him to get free shit. It’s not like I don’t fuck around with who ever I feel like.” Liza looked quite satisfied with herself as she leaned back on one hand and took a drag of her cigarette with the other.
“I get it. You’re a gold digger.” Dopey shot back not able to hide his smile at his remark.
“Yes, I am. So if you don’t got money and I know YOU don’t. Then you can’t get in here.” Liza stuck her hand down her oversized black jeans and tilted her head back, mouth opened. She took a deep inhalation and then slowly let it out with a low blissful moan.
“Skank.”
“No. I am a tease. Get it right.” As soon as Liza closed her lips from her sentence the entire group broke out in laughter. “So, Will, what’s your family life like?”
Will was taken aback by this. He figured everyone there hated their parents and lived very low class lives while he was the exact opposite. “Leave it to Beaver.” Will said in a matter of fact way.
“Really? Like the sitcom?”
“Yeah.”
“Your family has money?”
“Yeah, we’re middle class.”
“Neat, so is my family. I am no longer the only one who’s not dirt poor.” Her remark accidentally hurt a couple of the group member’s feelings; no one showed it though.
The conversations after that went all over the place, they talked about music, television, politics, drugs… After a couple of hours and about ten cigarettes apiece the conversations stopped and Taylor and Liza jumped up. They both ran towards the entrance of the parking lot.
Will stood up and looked to see what they were chasing down. He didn’t find what he expected. Walking towards the group was a skinny guy. He stood at about five feet tall. He had long blond hair, slicked back giving him a classy look. He had on sunglasses, which seemed perfect for his long thin face. He was wearing black slacks that fit him, a black button down shirt, and black boots that came up to his knees. His outfit was topped off with a long black trench coat. As he walked his coat flowed behind him, giving him the look of mobster with a reason to be going wherever it was he was going.
Will turned back and asked Bulldog who the guy was.
“That is Widow.” Bulldog said unable to look away from Widow.
Will turned back again to see Widow and he had one arm around Liza and the other around Taylor. The three of them walked up to the group.
“Good to see you.” Widow said to the entire group letting go of the girls and stepping between them like a king past his bodygaurds. “I can not stay long. I have business to tend to over at Parnell’s apartment.” As soon as he stopped talking, Taylor looked at him with her hands on her hips and her head tilted. She didn’t say a word, but with the way she was standing, she might as well have said, “What the fuck are you gonna do about this?” Widow removed his sunglasses, looked her up and down, and began to nod his head slowly.
“Well?” Taylor demanded.
“I love to look, but you should cover up.” Widow said trying to reconcile the problem.
“What?” Bulldog accidentally let the question slip; he never purposefully questioned Widow’s logic.
“You’ve had sex with many of the girls in the family. Three days ago she had sex Dopey. What is the big deal about this Will guy? Why are you so upset about this?” Widow asked surprised at Bulldog for talking back.
“We didn’t know this kid! He wasn’t one of us.”
“Well, I have heard that he is now. Thank you very much for waiting for me.” The sarcasm seemed to be lost with most of the group.
Will stood up to stretch his legs; he had been sitting for a couple of hours. Widow looked at him with a strange look on his face and said very sharply and annoyed, “Who are you?”
Will was surprises some one didn’t know who he was. In fact Widow was the only person he expected to know who he was. “I’m Will.” He said with a little hesitation and no enthusiasm.
“You are responsible for me having to come out here and fix Bulldog’s foolish actions. You are famous around here now; you made me show up, but you are new. So, I will not hold anything against you.” Widow finished his diatribe then started to turn away, before his back was to Will, he turned back. “I almost forgot. Nice to meet you.” Widow put out his hand for a handshake.
“You too.” Will said as he grasped Widow’s hand and shook it.
Widow looked to his side and saw Jon. “And you are?”
“I am Jon.”
“It is nice to meet you as well.” Widow shook Jon’s hand also, then he looked to both sides and put his sunglasses back on. “Is there anyone else I can help?” There was complete silence in the group. “Gentlemen, It’s been a pleasure. Ladies I bid you adieu. Bulldog, I need your help at Parnell’s apartment.” Bulldog stood up and he and Widow began walking away.
Will was not happy. He had spent the last twenty-four hours anticipating meeting Widow. He was expecting much more than he got. “What the hell was that?” He said when he thought that Widow was out of earshot.
“That was Widow.” Taylor said, biting her lip and rubbing her thigh.
“I know that. Why did he come here, act like he was ruler, and then leave after about a minute and a half.”
“That is what he does. He is what we all want.” Taylor now seemed completely entranced by the thought of Widow.
“What do you mean?”
“All the girls want in his pants and all the guys want to be him.”
“Why?” Will continued to press Taylor. He was really annoyed with the situation.
“He is mysterious, hot, and almost unattainable.”
“So why do the guys want to be him?” Will now was getting slightly angry, but he didn’t know why.
“Well, he is loaded. He used to be a homeless runaway. He started dealing, now he’s rich.” Taylor seemed to be speaking by reflex at this point, looking up at the sky, smiling, and giggling to herself.
Will pulled out a cigarette and realized it was his last one. “Damn it! I’m out of smokes.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll go get some more.” Conner said as he began to get up. “Lets go make a cigarette run.”
Everyone stood up and began walking towards the gas station. Taylor and Liza were both overly joyful and giggling as they skipped hand in hand. Conner, Vampire, and Dopey followed right behind the girls. Jon and Troll both walked with a hint of boredom in their step. Will trailed the group with some guys he didn’t know. He watched the ground as he walked trying to figure out why he was so upset with Widow. He came to no solutions.

Sub Shop

The day progressed and Will relaxed quite a bit. By the time the sun went down he didn’t feel unsettled with Widow anymore. The group realized they were all hungry and walked down the street from the Emerald Forest to a fast food restaurant called the Sub Shop. The restaurant was lined in reds and yellows and specialized in submarine sandwiches.
As the group, now around twenty people, entered the store, the workers began to cringe in irritation. The Family was often in the store and very few people ever bought anything. Vampire and six other guys pooled their money together and bought a cookie. Will bought a ten-inch sandwich and shared it with Taylor and Jon. Dopey bought a small soda and shared it with the rest of the crew since there were free refills. Out of respect for the business, as soon as everyone finished eating they left the store. They didn’t go far though; they decided to congregate in front of the business.
“Can I get a FUCK YOU?” Dopey screamed, letting out some of his energy. Several of the kids in the flock chanted for Dopey and they began to sing obscene songs inadvertently deterring any customers that were thinking about going to the Sub Shop. Taylor grabbed Will’s hand and dragged him over to the side of the building.
“What’s up?” Will asked as soon as they got around the corner.
“I just wanted to talk.” Taylor responded. She took in a deep breath and pondered to herself for a moment. Will was worried, when a female takes you off alone, tells you that she wants to talk, and then takes deep breaths can never mean anything good. “I wanted you to know that I’m not a slut. You don’t think I am do you?”
“Of course not.” Will was lying through his teeth at this point, but he couldn’t let her think that he thought so lowly of her. “Your just flirtatious.”
“Good. I was also kind of worried.” She paused to change subjects. “You seemed pretty pissed at Widow.”
“I was.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know. I think he just caught me off guard and he wasn’t the nicest guy in the world.”
“No, he’s not. Everyone loves him though. If you can’t get along with Widow then you might have some trouble hanging around here.” Will fell silent, he didn’t know if he could tolerate Widow. “I don’t want you to leave. I really like you.”
Will was completely puzzled. He only met this girl the day before, how could she have any feelings for him at this point. “Ok…”
“I don’t know what it is, but I can’t stop thinking about you. I just like being around you. Actually, most of the Family feels the same way. You are majorly popular for a new guy.”
“I don’t get it.”
“I don’t know either.” Taylor gave Will a smile, but he didn’t even seem to notice, he looked right through it. “What’s wrong?”
“Widow said you and Bulldog both sleep around.”
“Oh that. I forgot that you haven’t been here long.” Taylor took another deep breath. She exhaled hard through her mouth letting her cheeks blow up for a second. “Ok, here we go. We have all sat around and talked about what we feel is reality and freedom. What is right and wrong. What holds truth and what is tradition. We feel that we live in reality and stand for freedom and truth.”
“What about right versus wrong?”
“When you think about it, there is no wrong. It is all subjective. Is it wrong to kill? No. It depends on the circumstances. Murder is ok if it is just.”
“Ok, I follow you. Back to freedom and truth.”
“Freedom is everything you want to do unless it hinders another persons freedoms. Some things are ok though. Like cussing is ok.”
“Why? It attacks other’s freedom to not be offended.”
“It is ok because it is unavoidable. There will always be those who cuss. We feel that everyone should do everything they want, but they should always look for the truth of life.”
“That sounds a little vague.”
“It means to understand everything you can about life and the world.”
“How do you do that? All I have seen is a bunch of kids smoking and talking.”
“We do drugs, have sex, earn money, travel sometimes, meet everyone we can, and learn whatever anyone has to teach us. I think I would understand more about the way my body works if I am not sober all the time. If I take some pain killers, I could see the world through a numbed up body.”
“So why have sex with so many people?”
“If I fuck Bulldog I learn what sex is like for him, but if I have sex with other people I can see what sex is like for them, for me, and a little bit into what makes them tick.” Will leaned back and thought about what he just heard. He didn’t know if he agreed, but he felt better about the motivations of the people he recently began to call his friends. “They are gonna go get high in a minute. There’s a bridge behind the Sub Shop that has a little stream under it. No cops ever go there. You wanna go or do you wanna talk some or what?”
“Actually I got to go back to the park, my ride will be here soon.” Will stopped for a second then looked Taylor in the eye with a smirk on his face and very aggressively asked, “What about the kid that got beat down at the bumper cars?” He was proud of himself for finding a flaw in her thinking.
“He didn’t get beat up. The mob always goes after the target, but he explains himself before they get to him. It just scares the kid and slows the chase for us down.” Taylor stood up and grabbed Will’s hand to help him up.
They came back around to the front of the Sub Shop as the rest of the group made catcalls at the two coming out of seclusion.
“Screw you guys, we didn’t do anything.” Taylor said in her typically vicious fashion. She couldn’t help but add, “Give me ‘till the end of the week. I’ll fuck his brains out by then.” Will shook his head slightly and wondered how she thought she wasn’t a slut.
“Hey, Will, we’re gonna go smoke up. Wanna come?” Dopey shouted while he held out a joint.
Will was amazed that Dopey was stupid enough to wave drugs around in public, but didn’t let his shock surface. “No, Jon and I got to catch our ride.” With that Will motioned for Jon and began walking back to the park.




















Chapter 3

Summer is Over

The last day of the summer was full of dread for Will. He spent it at the Emerald Forest as usual, but Will couldn’t think of anything except for school. He was about to go into junior high and he did not know what to expect. Everyone else at the Forest seemed to be looking forward to the school year. Conner claimed that he would attend the first day in a dress. Taylor alluded to the idea that she wanted to sleep with a teacher. Not one in particular, but any teacher. Bulldog was happy that he could drop out in a few months; it was the law in Texas at the time that no one could drop out of school until they were seventeen. Everyone else seemed to think that nothing would change except the Forest would be closed on weekdays.
Will was sitting at the dock with Dale and Stephanie, two more Family members that he had met over the summer. They didn’t really have anything to say, they all just sat in silence, smoking their cigarettes, and thinking about the school year.
“Hello.” Came a recognizable voice from the walkway.
Will looked up to see Widow. He had grown to deal with Widow when he had to. It wasn’t very often since Widow usually came by and asked some one to go with him to Parnell’s apartment. “Hi, Widow.” Will said in a monotone voice.
“I just want to wish everyone a good school year. If you need me, here is my pager number.” Widow handed out business cards with his pager number on them. Will was surprised to see Widow offering help willingly. “Now, I bid you all a fond farewell.”
Will put the card in his pocket and continued to mope.
The three of them eventually decided that they needed to get up and enjoy their last day before the slavery that society called school was back upon them. Dale suggested they go and see one of the musical shows that the park offered. Stephanie and Will were both up for that kind of entertainment as well.

A Different Kind of Two Step

They got to their feet and walked a very short distance to find a theatre. As they looked at the sign that said the next show began in five minutes, they all cringed in disgust noticing the show was a country western review.
“You sure about this?” Will asked Dale and Stephanie as they began to ascend the steps outside the plantation house looking theatre.
Dale looked at Stephanie, then Will and said, “It’s better than nothing.” Will did not agree but was willing to give it a try. The three kids walked into the theatre and found some seats in the very back. They all sat down and waited for the lights to go down.
Stephanie pulled a bag out of her pocket and handed it to Dale. “You don’t do coke, right?” Stephanie said to Will out of courtesy rather than some passive aggressive peer pressure attempt.
“Nope.” Will replied still happy that the Family members offered.
Dale opened the sack, licked his finger and stuck it in the bag. When he pulled it back out his finger was covered in cocaine. He stuck his finger in his mouth licking up the drug as he handed the bag back to Stephanie. She in turn dug her pinky into the container pulling out a small pile of the white powder on her nail. The lights went out as she snorted the coke up her nose, moaned with the pleasure of the burn, and handed the bag back to Dale.
Will decided to give the country music a try and focused back on the stage. He was somewhat entertained as people in cowboy hats walked around and sang old western music. After the first song Will looked over at Dale and Stephanie to see what they thought of the show so far. He quickly realized that they were not paying attention to the show and were entertaining themselves.
Stephanie had removed her black Metallica shirt leaving only her bra covering her top. She had a line of white powder across her chest and Dale’s fat freckly face was rubbing against her small teenaged breasts, sniffing the coke off of them.
Will decided to direct his attention back to the stage where they now had a man in a horse costume singing about tumbleweeds. The slow monotonous bass line in the music could not hold his interest. He tried to only look at the stage, but was somehow drawn to Stephanie and Dale. He looked down at the floor with an attempt to ignore the two next to him, but the first thing he noticed was Stephanie’s bra which was now on the popcorn encrusted ground.
Will gave into the temptation and looked back to his left to see Stephanie’s hand down Dale’s pants. Dale was making some disturbing sounds while he licked cocaine off of Stephanie’s nipples. Turning back to the stage Will noticed that the actors had wandered out into the audience singing while they brought the show to the crowd.
Will looked back at the pseudo couple next to him just in time to see Stephanie snort a huge amount coke off of Dale’s now bare chest. She leaned back so far that her head was hovering just above Will’s lap, her hair dangling against his jeans. She opened her mouth and screamed, “YEEHAW!”
A nearby singing cowboy heard and trotted over to the sound to involve the audience member in the show. When he got there with the spotlight that had been following him he was shocked at what he saw; he stopped singing. The spotlight did not move as the rest of the cast realized what had happened; they also stopped singing, leaving just the recorded background music playing. The crowd in the theatre turned to see what was happening as Stephanie jumped up in her chair with her bra and shirt in one hand and raised her middle finger to the entire theatre with the other.
Will quickly realized that it was time to go and the three of them sprinted out the door. They flew through the park looking for a place to hide. Since Stephanie and Dale were moving too fast to put their tops back on, they had to get out of sight. Will led the pack as they dodged visitors of the park who all seemed to double take after their first glance at the kids.
They hopped a chain-link fence and scampered down a small hill where they were no longer visible. As Stephanie and Dale looked to make sure no one followed them down the grassy slope Will stared at Stephanie’s breasts.
She decided that they had lost any workers that might have been following them and went to put her shirt back on. She noticed Will glaring at her chest and shook her shoulders side to side as she spoke. “Ya turned on?” She tried to sound as seductive as possible. Will realized she knew he was looking and attempted to apologize. She laughed at him and said, “No it’s okay. Here feel them.” She snatched his hand and thrust it towards her small breasts. He felt the soft smooth skin as she fell back laughing hysterically and proceeded to put her shirt on. She tossed her Bra on Will’s head. She continued to laugh. “Have a souvenir, you sexy, sexy, man.” She shook her head to make her hair flail from one side to the other.
The sarcasm was too thick for Will to be flattered instead he was mortified.

The Way You Make Me Feel

Will ended up in the median where he ran into Taylor. She seemed quite happy to see him. They laid on the grass watching the clouds while they talked about their family lives.
Will learned that Taylor was raised by her mother. Her father died when she was very young; she did not remember him. Her mother has always worked two jobs and was able to keep a low income apartment and food on the table. Taylor was somewhat bitter towards her father. She knew that it was not his fault that he was shot in a gang related battle, but she still blamed him for not having the life she dreamed of.
When she was ten she began prostituting herself trying to help her mother make the bills. Her mother was crushed when she caught her pleasuring a man in her room. The man paid Taylor’s mother not to prosecute him; she would not have taken the bribe if not for the situation, seeing as the state would take her daughter away from her. She put Taylor in a lockdown facility until her mother could not afford it anymore. Since then Taylor had resorted to drugs that she got for sexual favors to eliminate her problems.
Taylor and her mother were still scrimping by in their ant infested apartment that had a phone line, but no electricity. She fought with her mom on a normal basis and was bruised daily from the physical altercations. All of this information left Will surprised she was not dead already.
Will tried not to tell Taylor too much about his life since he felt so terrible that he was so much better off. Taylor did not seem to mind, she enjoyed daydreaming about having his life instead of her own.
He became angry with society as he heard the appalling details of her past. Each story she told him made him want to take her away from her life and give her the life that she should have had the chance to experience. He wanted to tell her that drugs were not the answer, that he would help her, and that she should stop sleeping around. Unfortunately he did not have the nerve to speak up, he just laid there and listened to her terrible tales.
She eventually told him that she liked him. She said that he treated her more like a human being than anyone in her life ever had. She cried while she told him these things, but before Will could respond she changed her tune and claimed she was lying to get him to sleep with her.
She stood up and went to the gas station to buy more cigarettes. Will just laid there trying not to imagine her life. He thought about how sweet of a person she was inside and cried for her.

Tit for Tat

Will and Dopey were walking around the park trying to find something to pass the time before the park closed. Will did not dare tell Dopey about his conversation with Taylor; he did not want to break her confidence. Very few members of the Family had shown up that day, since there was school in less than twenty-four hours. They were both already upset since the park closed early on Sundays, when they realized that there was practically no one there; they were really annoyed.
They had gone to the gas station after Will was sure that Taylor was not there and bought a carton of cigarettes each so they would have some for the weekdays. Will had learned to save the money his mother gave him for food and spend it sparingly on cigarettes.
Dopey’s pager started vibrating, making loud noises against his steel studded belt. “Kick ass, Parnell just paged me. That means he’s got some Sid.” Dopey was quite happy to score some drugs anytime the chance arose.
“You going to trip again tonight?” Will asked since he knew Dopey took LSD at least twice that week.
“Sure, it’ll be fun. NO! I’ll save it so I can trip at school tomorrow! That’ll be the bitchenest.” Will rolled his eyes at the thought of Dopey freaking out at school.
“Hey, can you bum me a smoke?” Came a soft and high-pitched voice from behind the boys. They turned around at the same time and saw a short tan girl. She looked to be about sixteen. She was wearing a bikini top and ripped up jeans, a common outfit for the Forest. Her face looked soft yet covered in makeup. She wasn’t extremely attractive, but cute. Will was drawn to the way her hair stood out with the blond highlights over her auburn color. She had a cute smile that put dimples in her cheeks. Neither Dopey nor Will could get too close as she had about two gallons of a floral perfume on.
“What’ll ya give me for it?” Dopey shot back almost as quickly as Will could realize what was going on.
“I don’t know a piece of lint.” She said pulling out her pockets to show she was broke. Will and Dopey took a couple of steps back as the fragrance began to overtake their equilibrium.
“How about a pack what’ll you give me for that?”
“How is a kiss?” She perked up at the sound of a whole pack.
“How ‘bout five packs?”
“We could go behind that taffy store and find out.” She said as she pointed to the small saltwater taffy shop behind the boys. She began to bite her bottom lip to lead Dopey along.
Suddenly Dopey didn’t mind the odor. He nudged Will with his elbow and ran off behind the building.
Will couldn’t stop laughing. He was in disbelief with the idea that Dopey got some action because someone wanted some nicotine.
After four or five minutes Dopey and the girl came out from behind the building. He gave her a hug and his phone number.
“That was quick.” Will said still smiling from the chuckle he got from the situation.
“It was just a quick make out session.” Dopey said looking back to see if the girl was still within earshot. “My god she had nice tits!” He exclaimed as soon as he knew she was gone. “Definitely worth a few packs.”
“My god, now you stink too.” Will replied as he wafted the air in front of his nose.

‘Til next week

The mood of the small group was quite somber as the day came to a close. Will sat in the median as he waited for his ride.
“Hey, can I have a smoke?” Taylor asked as she sat down beside him on the springy green grass.
“No problem, honey pie.” Will replied. He gave her a pet name a few weeks before. She wanted one because she always told other people that she was going to sleep with him. Even though she hadn’t got him in the sack, she liked other people to think she did.
“Thank you, sweet meat.” She said as Will handed her a cigarette. She also gave him a pet name, but it was a bit more obscene.
“I still hate that name.”
“Most men would be proud of that name. Sweet Meat implies a lot about you.” They both chuckled and fell silent for a few moments.
Will couldn’t stop thinking about the horrible things that happened over the summer. His conscious was weighing heavy on his mind with the kid being blamed for the bumper car game, lying to his parents about smoking and his friends doing drugs, he even felt guilty from observing Dopey practically whoring a chick out for smokes. The thing that bothered him most was the fact that he could not help Taylor.
“You look sad. What’s wrong?” Taylor finally asked, not because she was worried, but because she was sick of the silence.
“I am worried that all the fun I had this summer is over. Well, that’s not it. I’m sorry. I just feel bad for all the bad things I’ve done this summer.” Will eventually choked out; he refused to let her know that he was worried about her life situation.
“Don’t feel bad. It’s all right. You did nothing wrong.”
“Like hell I didn’t. I lied to my parents. I hung out with the “wrong crowd”.” Will spat out the words while he used his hands for quotation marks.
“Like I told you before, it’s all subjective. You are experiencing things you need to try and your parents would be worse off knowing than not.”
“Maybe.” Will was still sulking.
“And why are we bad influences?”
“Well, you justify me lying to parents for one.” They both snickered at Will’s remark. “You all do drugs, have sex with multiple partners, actually, you all get in trouble a lot.”
Taylor smirked at Will, thought for a moment, then spoke. “You have to grow up sometime. You can do it later when the consequences for getting caught are at a maximum or you could do it now.”
“You call this being grown up?”
“Yes, I call this growing up. It is time for us all to learn and experience what the world and life have to offer. This is where we decide what type of life we will eventually live.” After her lips closed, Will’s mother pulled up ready to pick him up.
“That’s my mom. Are you going to be back next weekend?”
“I’ll come just to see you.” Taylor said with a slight smile and a tear forming in her eye.
Will didn’t know what it was that made him so sad, but he felt that Taylor’s happiness was currently related to his own. He leaned over and kissed her lips. The kiss didn’t last more than a few seconds, but the soft skin to skin touch gave both of them a lift in spirits that was at that time unrivaled by any other emotion. Will lost all of his worries the moment he felt the warmth of Taylor’s lips on his own. Taylor reached a blissful moment as she felt that Will cared for her in a way that she had been praying for all summer.
With that Will stood to go to his mother’s car. He looked down at her sitting on the grass in the median with the realization of her beauty beyond her visible splendor.
“Can I get your number?” Taylor asked with an immobile grin pasted on her face.
Will had to choke back a tear from the ecstasy he suddenly felt from hearing her voice. “Ask Dopey, Vampire, or even Bitch. They all have it. I don’t have time to find a pen, my mom didn’t want me to come today anyway.” Will felt the urge to express his feelings for Taylor before he left, but it was somewhat frightening for him to say it, so he didn’t. He just walked off and got into his mother’s car.
As Carol drove away from the park, neither Will nor Taylor could break contact with each other's gaze. Eventually Will turned to face the windshield after he felt that Taylor was no longer looking either.
“Did you have fun?” Will’s mother asked as she turned onto the highway.
“It was perfect.” Will replied as he leaned back and began to replay his and Taylor’s first kiss in his mind.



















Chapter 4

Fun with Agony

The week was excruciatingly long for Will. The mix of attending school and being separated from Taylor could only be equaled to hell in his mind. When he thought about what occurred during the week, Will did not think it was bad. The main reason he felt depressed was that he was removed from his infatuation. He always used the word infatuation because using the word love or even lover carried too strongly a principle.
The first class of the first day of school, Will had to attend gym. He hated gym class, but was more than willing to suffer through it to reach the weekend. While wandering through the maze that the city called a school he ran into a kid that was also looking for the gym class. The kid was named Chris Looney.
Looney preferred to be called by his last name because so many kids had the name Chris.
Looney and Will went to the gymnasium after they discovered where it was located. The class began like any other. The coach screamed and shouted about how they were going to learn about the body and exercise during the semester. He described the different sports they would be playing during the class.
Overall Looney and Will were both bored during the introduction lecture. After twenty minutes the coach left the room to let the kids fill out their background sheets. Will was quite confused on why the coach would need his day and night time phone numbers, but lost interest very quickly when he realized that Looney had lit up a cigarette while the coach was out of the gym.
“Can I get a drag off that?” Will asked.
Looney obliged; Will got a quick puff off of the cigarette. This gave Will the same rush that he received the first he smoked at the Emerald Forest.
When the coach came back in the room he interrogated the class on why he smelled smoke. No one would snitch on Looney and Will. They proved a point to the rest of the class, that they were the riskiest kids there.
Later on that day, Will went to science class. It was during this period when he sat next to Josephine. Josephine was abnormally skinny with white hair and a smile that was brighter than the sun. When Will first laid eyes on her he noticed her thin long facial structure, which immediately reminded him of the Forest. She looked like she belonged there with her look of the outcast gone anorexic.
He wrote notes to her throughout class and learned that she is very much like everyone he hung out with during the summer. She was a drugy that liked to sleep around, she even rationalized it in her head. He was happy to be around her because he didn’t feel so homesick, so to speak.
At the end of each day of school, Will talked to Taylor on the phone for countless hours. They had little to say to each other, but they were happy to hear each other’s voices. Throughout the week neither one of them wanted to say “I love you” because they felt that it was too clichéd.
Each day Taylor or Will had a new tidbit of information for the other. One day it was that Taylor had officially broken up with Bulldog to be with Will. The next it was that Will had convinced his parents to let him go to the Emerald Forest on Saturday and Sunday. They continued to reveal a little more information each day.
Day by day Taylor and Will dealt with the constant annoyances of school and immediately afterward they would relax and unwind with the experiences of the other’s day.
Eventually the first week of school came to an end and they agreed to meet at the amusement park first thing Saturday morning.

Thanks to Widow

Will stepped out of his mother’s car and Jon followed quickly behind him. They immediately realized that Taylor and Dopey were sitting in the median waiting for the park to open.
Will felt a rush of relief flow through his body as he saw Taylor; it was nine o’clock in the morning and she was already there. He dashed over to the median and met her in a passionate embrace.
Carol looked at her son in the arms of a young lady and was overjoyed with excitement for him. There was nothing like the joy of a first love. She couldn’t stop grinning as she drove off.
Will and Taylor held each for a couple of minutes thanking God for the end of their tortuous weeks, they went from a loving hug into a passionate kiss that lasted for minutes until they were interrupted by a formal “Hello”.
Will turned to see what the disruption was and noticed that Widow was standing there in nice clothes and his typical trench coat.
“Widow, I didn’t notice you there.” Will said somewhat aggravated by the interruption.
“I have some business I have to attend to and I require your presence.” Widow said in his characteristic proper fashion as he stared at Will.
Will looked into Taylor’s eyes for her permission to blow off Widow. To his dismay she told him to go with Widow, since he rarely asked for attendance by any specific person.
Will reluctantly obliged and gave Taylor a quick kiss goodbye that did not fulfill his needs at the moment.
As Will and Widow walked off away from the park Taylor yelled out, “I’ll see you later tonight. And if I don’t I’ll be here tomorrow.”
Will just blew a kiss to his recent love interest and turned away to join Widow for his “business”.

Explanations

Will entered Parnell’s apartment with Widow and was amazed at the lack of cleanliness. Will’s mother still cleaned his room and it was unheard of to have an entire apartment full of boxes and trash.
“Welcome.” Parnell said as he brushed some old Doritos off his couch for Will to sit.
“So, what’s up?” Will asked Widow, as they got comfortable in Parnell’s living room.
“I have brought you here to explain the circumstances of each of our places within the Family.” Widow began with utter respect for Will. Will was amazed that Widow would treat him as an equal; he always acted like he didn’t like Will’s company. Widow continued with his speech. “Regardless of how we view each other’s actions or personalities, we must now band together. I am the binding influence on the Family. Unfortunately, I must leave. I have been running from the cops for a couple of years now. I do not have much time left before they realize that I have been living in this area.”
Will was very uncomfortable in the situation as he felt Widow was about to ask him to do something very important. “You are telling me a little more than I want to know.”
“You will appreciate it later.” Widow paused to reflect on his past before he continued. “I was like you before hand. I endured the annoyance that was Snake, he ran the Family before me. I still do not like the man. I know you do not like me either, but there is no other way. Everyone in the Family is drawn to you. You must take over.” There was a long awkward moment as Widow waited for a reply from Will.
Will started speaking very quickly, “I’ve only been hanging out here for a few months. Why do you think I can take your place? I know every one has taken an extreme liking to me, but not as much as they like you.” He stopped because he was out of breath. His tirade wasn’t delivered because he wasn’t willing to accept what Widow was saying, but because he had never been trusted with responsibility and he didn’t understand why Widow would pick him.
“You are missing the point. The group has chosen you. You must fulfill the destiny they have selected. But you should not worry. I will prepare you.”
Will missed most of what Widow had to say as he felt the experience was surreal. He didn’t even know what it was that Widow did. All he ever saw was Widow come along and take someone away for the day. What was this leading the group all about?
“You are confused.” Widow proclaimed.
Parnell jumped in the conversation with his adolescent looking face and massive body. “Widow is sort of the God of the Family.”
Will was in shock now. How could he take the place of group’s savior?
“Please understand that I plan on spending much time with you before I go. That is why I have come to you now.” Widow chimed back in.
The conversation went on for hours before Will listened and learned from Widow regardless of how he intended to use the information. Within that day Will discovered that Widow was sort of a gang leader despite the reassurances from Vampire earlier in the year that they were not a gang. The Family was a group of kids who watched out for each other and took care of each other. Widow was responsible for fixing any problems that any member had whether it be an internal or external situation. Widow also had a small drug business that he ran. It gave him a lot of money that Will was quite interested in. But Will was not attracted to drugs. Fortunately for Will, Widow was pretty adamant about keeping his business to himself.
Will was there until almost eleven thirty. Afterwards he went back to the Emerald Forest and met Jon so they could go home. Taylor had already left for the day. Will agreed to meet Widow the following Saturday so they could discuss more of what Widow wanted Will to do for the Family. Regardless of what Will agreed to, he did not plan on running a gang.
After Will went home, he reflected on his day as a ridiculous fairy tale or just a joke that Widow was playing. The idea that the Family had organization or a larger purpose was insane.

Taylor and Will

The following day, Sunday, Will returned to the Forest and was happy to see that Taylor was there and waiting to see him. They spent a long time together talking about what had occurred the day before. Taylor seemed distraught that Will was the one who would control the Family. Her sentences became shorter and less heartfelt.
“What is wrong?” Will asked as the pain in Taylor’s eyes seemed to burn his soul.
“Widow is an asshole. I don’t want you to turn into a fucking asshole too.” Taylor stopped talking because she was almost in tears.
“Why would I change because of some stupid title that I don’t think is important.” Will was no longer thinking about his words, he was speaking directly from his heart to attempt to end his girlfriends suffering.
“You don’t get it.” Taylor said as she stood. “You don’t realize the importance of Widow. You don’t realize what you are being given. You are who everyone else in the Family wants to be.” Taylor started to walk off.
“Where are you going?” Will demanded.
“I have to talk to Widow.”

Admiration

Will was depressed throughout the day. He had spent an entire week without Taylor, now on the day they were going to spend together she left him. Everyone could tell that Will was feeling low. He did not smile the entire day. He walked around looking at the ground and keeping his conversations short.
During the day Will hung out with Liza, Conner, and Dopey. They rode a few rides and walked over every inch of the park. Just before the sun began to set, Will found himself laying out by the pond in the parking lot. His mind didn’t wander; it only contemplated what Taylor, her life, her current distress, and what she was doing at that very moment.
“I dare you to jump into the pond.” Liza said to Dopey. She was well aware of the fact that Dopey was tripping on LSD.
“No way! I… would umm… It has shit in there, man. That’s where all the sewage of the Forest goes, man. It’s… umm… shitty, man.” Dopey slowly said as he eyeballed the pond with a huge goofy grin on his face.
“No it’s not.” Liza tried her hardest to sound sweet and innocent.
“Stop fucking with me, man.” Dopey was now rubbing his head like he had a headache, not that he could feel it if he did.
“Come on.” Liza stopped for a second then changed her tone to a seductive one. “I’ll show you my breasts.” She was increasing her breath rate just a little bit.
“BOOBS!” Dopey forgot what they were talking about for a moment, but then went back to his original argument. “No. The water’s all shitty.”
Will had been hearing everything that was being said and he began to get a little annoyed. He looked up and without a hint of sarcasm in his voice and said “Dopey, jump in the damn pond. Liza, show him your tits.” Immediately after he closed his mouth he laid his head back and continued to think about Taylor.
Dopey and Liza were both shocked at the force behind Will’s statement. Dopey without delay jumped into the pond. He waded back to the shore. As he came out of the water Conner and Liza observed that Dopey’s white shirt was now a dark gray. He had a gooey film all over his body from the slimy water that he had submerged himself in.
“That was the coolest fucking feeling ever, man.” Dopey said while he watched the gunk from the pond string from his hand. “I feel, I feel, I feel like…” he was off in his own world before he could finish his sentence. He waved his arms around like he was trying to flag down an airplane.
Liza took this opportunity to hold up her end of the bargain. She quickly raised her shirt and bra to expose her breasts. Dopey saw her, but he did not register in his mind what had happened.
“Nice tits.” Conner said as Liza put her shirt back down.
“YOU SAW! YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO SEE!” Liza was furious.
“Whated’d’d’did I miss?” Dopey spat out while at the same moment tried to spit the slime off of his lips.
“Her tits, man. They’re fucking sweet.” Conner pretended to rub invisible breasts to make Liza even more offended.
“WHAT THE FUCK!” Liza screamed out to release her tension.
Will was again extraordinarily frustrated. “Shut up!” He said hoping that this argument would cease.
“Fix it then, Will.” Liza said upset that he just wanted it to end with no resolution.
Will had to stop thinking about Taylor to realize that he was suddenly being treated like Widow. Dopey did what he said on cue. Liza also did what he said even though she is far from the typical slut that walks the park with them. He was lost on what to do. Then he realized he should entertain himself. He didn’t watch Dopey jump in the pond, but Conner and Liza seemed to like it. “Conner jump in the pond, you got the benefits without the cost. There are no free riders here.”
Conner muttered a few curse words to himself and then jumped into the pond. When he emerged from the murky water his shirt had not changed colors since it was black to begin with. The detail that Will noticed was the color of Conner’s skin. He was the palest person Will knew, but when he surfaced from the water he resembled someone from the Middle East.
“That was so fucking gross!” Conner screamed.
Will questioned Conner, “Was it worth it?”
“Oh yes. I’ll be thinking about those tits, all… night… long.” Conner couldn’t help but let a smile emerge as he tried to infuriate Liza again.
“Well, you will never see them again.” Liza said. She crossed her arms in front of her chest to hide her already covered breasts.
“We’ll see about that.” Conner turned to Will hoping to get permission to force Liza to flash him again.
Will shook his head side to side from the stupidity of Conner. “You either need to get Widow to bark orders at Liza or jump back into the water.”
“Fuck that.” Conner blurted out showing his true feelings about his short swim.

Week Numero dose

Will had survived another week of school with nightly talks with Taylor. She was still upset about Will succeeding Widow, but she could not go a whole day without hearing his voice. Will almost convinced Looney and Josephine to come to the Forest on the weekend, but they had other plans.
The week held no important events, just school, homework, phone calls, and a couple hundred cigarettes. The only thing that brought any happiness to his week was his passion for the upcoming weekend. He was hoping that he would get to see a lot of Taylor soon, but he knew that was not true.
He was currently sitting in his mother’s car waiting to get to the park. Jon was not with him, he was grounded for the weekend since he had snuck out of the house on Wednesday night. Will couldn’t get Taylor out of his mind. He didn’t even expect her to be at the Forest, but he still could do nothing except lust for her.
The car ride seemed longer than normal; each twist and turn laughed at Will’s anticipation. The music his mother was listening to was causing him to grind his teeth in rhythm. Regardless of the anxiety, that Will felt was going to kill him, they reached the Forest.
Will leapt from his seat and flung the car door open. His escape from the car was unsuccessful since he forgot to unbuckle his safety belt.
“I’ll pick you up at close.” Carol said to her son as she watched him flee from her side.
“K. Thanks.” Will shouted back at the car while in full sprint towards the park gates. Carol drove away still happy for her child, but slightly depressed that her son was growing up and wanted to be away from her.
As Will reached the gate he saw no sign of Taylor. There were a few members of the Family smoking in a circle just inside the park. Will frantically whipped out his season pass and trotted through the turnstile. On the other side he met up with the group, not that he remembered any of their names. He quickly pulled out his smokes and took a seat in the circle.
“Will, good to see you, man.” Said a girl with purple hair that Will did not think he had yet met.
Without acknowledgement of the purple haired girl, Will asked. “Any of you seen Taylor?” Everyone got very quiet by the end of Will’s sentence. This worried Will and his heart began to pound rapidly. “What’s wrong?”
Finally a boy that Will remembered as a close friend of Conner’s spoke up. “Nothing, man. Widow took her to Parnell’s for something. She’ll be back later.”
Will was confused. He thought Widow would be looking for him to go to Parnell’s again today, but it was Taylor instead. The only reason he would be happy to stay at the Forest would be to see Taylor. Unfortunately he would be left to entertain himself at the park.

A Divine Comedy

Will relaxed as the day went on. He still had no chance of seeing his girlfriend, but he was surrounded by people he liked. The evening was just beginning as the sun was setting over the Colossus. As Will lay on the concrete of the pathway on the south side of the park with Conner, Dopey, and Troll, he reflected upon the last few hours. They had spent most of the day discussing the relevance of math versus the relevance of spoken language. They came to no unanimous conclusions, Will and Troll decided that math was the most important tongue while Conner and Dopey claimed spoken language was more important. The discussion was over now and they were just enjoying the sunset as the other patrons of the park strolled around the four kids lying in the path.
“It’s starting to kick in.” Dopey said referring to the LSD he had taken a few hours before hand.
“Hell yeah it is!” Troll exclaimed in response, she could never let someone else have input without hers as well. “You really should’ve bought some, Will. I can already tell that it kicks ass.”
“I have no desire to try drugs right now.” Will responded as if he had not explained himself to them earlier when the dealer was around. Will was relaxed with the understanding the drug dealer displayed when he found out Will was not interested in buying. There was no peer pressure, no “come on you should try it”, not even an “are you sure”. The dealer simply expressed admiration for Will showing self-control and not giving in to his “evil” ways.
The memories of that day’s events washed from his mind and Will refocused on the sunset. The beautiful orange sky seemed to sooth his pain from missing his girlfriend for the day. Every breath he took seemed to help cleanse his mind of any negative feelings. Drifting away into the beautiful painting of the clouds in the sky he almost reached a euphoric state, but his relaxation was broken as a shadowy figure blocked Will’s view.
As Will squinted his eyes to focus on the person who was disturbing his enjoyment of the sky he heard Parnell’s voice, “Widow needs you to come with me.” Parnell had spoke with much more authority than normal, but Will had also never heard Parnell speak with a message from Widow.
“Dude the park closes soon and I have to be out front so my mother can take me home.” Will was careful not to use the words mom or mommy in front of his friends.
“Just tell her your staying the night at a friends house. Have her pick you up here tomorrow.” Will was at a loss for words at this idea as he did not want to spend any more time than he had to hanging out with Widow, but he could not think of an objection.
Will got up and walked down the path towards the payphones. His mind was racing looking for an excuse that didn’t sound uncool. He reached the phones and called his mom and to his dismay she had no problem with him staying at a friends for the night. She made him give her Parnell’s phone number; she was assuming that he lived with parents and was the same age as her son.
After Will hung up the phone he was shoving the cards that everyone had given him with their phone numbers on them back into his wallet as Parnell walked up with a curious look on his face.
“So are you coming or what?” Parnell asked letting every ounce of authority dry out of his voice.
Will responded with an unenthusiastic “Yep.” And they were off to Parnell’s apartment.

Birth

When Will entered the apartment Widow was standing in front of the threshold of the doorway. “I must leave tomorrow. I may be back on some occasions, but I wanted to give you a present before you take the reigns.” Widow had said his short discourse with all the emotion of a parole officer.
Will was confused again, but it was no surprise since Widow’s actions or statements rarely made any sense to Will. He looked straight into Widow’s eyes, raised his hands above his head and said, “Well?” Will didn’t actually expect Widow to present him with a present, but much to Will’s surprise Widow stepped aside revealing Taylor sitting on the bed in the bedroom.
“She understands our situation now, she is no longer upset.” Widow began again while Will ignored the sounds of Widow’s words and focused on the sight of his gorgeous girlfriend sitting just thirty feet away. “My gift to you is as much alone time with Taylor as you desire. The bedroom is yours, no one will bother you.”
Will let his emotions show as a smile burst onto his visage and a tear began to well up in his tear duct. He walked past Widow without as much as a nod and went into the bedroom with Taylor. He instinctively closed the door behind him.
He looked around the room and quickly realized what was happening, he was finally alone with Taylor and had the whole night to spend with her. He looked at her perfect young body clad with her tight green shirt and cut off jean shorts. As she turned her head to look out the window he felt his stomach tingle almost in time with the bouncing of her curly hair. His sheer joy of the situation allowed this tingle to race across his entire body.
“Wow, we are finally alone.” She said breaking the silence and making Will lose his train of thought. “I was so happy when Widow told me what he was going to arrange for us.”
“For once I am actually happy with Widow.” Will replied trying to not seem flustered. “But aren’t you pissed at him giving you away as a present.” Will thought about what he had just said and began feel a new sensation, one of anger. The thought that Widow could return Taylor to her horrid past sparked a side of Will that was previously untapped. “You are my girlfriend and I would never give you away as a present. Who does he think he is?”
Taylor could see that Will was getting worked up and to calm him down she interjected, “That’s just Widow. Look lets not waste this time.”
“So you are okay now? Not worried about me becoming an asshole anymore?”
“It doesn’t matter, I know that what ever happens is unavoidable. You are going to be in charge and that’s all there is to it. I really like you and I hope you will still feel the same about me after Widow’s exit tomorrow”
“Of course I will!” Will felt terrible that Taylor could even imagine him not wanting to be there for her. “It’s just you and me. That is all I want. No sleeping around, no playing stupid games, just you and me.”
Taylor seemed to be getting slightly choked up, but she closed her eyes and nodded her head. “That is what I want too. I love you.”
Will walked away from the door and sat down next to his love. “I love you too.” He spoke from the heart for once not afraid of using the word. He looked her straight in the eyes and leaned in to kiss her. It was such a relief to finally be able to be with her that he instinctually wrapped his arms around her while they shared their passion for one another. It was almost surreal for Will as the passion of their embrace moved him to tears; he felt even more joy than he did when they first kissed.
After a few minutes Taylor pulled her head back to end their momentary passion. She lowered her voice to sound more seductive and said, “You know I’m gonna fuck you tonight.”
Will was taken aback by the blunt statement his soon to be lover had said, but before he could come up with any kind of response she had peeled her skintight shirt from her body. He was in awe of how forward she had suddenly become, but as her hand began rubbing his thigh up the leg of his shorts he felt he was unable to speak.

The morning after

Will awoke the next morning alone in the bedroom, but even the fact that Taylor was not in there with him could not bring him down. He was flying with ecstasy after the amazing night he had of lust and what he thought was love. His stomach was almost in pain from the excitement it had felt all through the night.
He slowly sat up and let the dizziness from recently waking overtake his equilibrium. He couldn’t believe that he was no longer a virgin and that he had acquired the most amazing relationship he could ever imagine. He turned his body so he could get out of the bed and put on his clothes when he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was smiling from ear to ear. He was surprised on how stupid of a grin that was on his face. There was a message written in lipstick on the mirror that said, ‘hope you had fun, that was my best stuff, see ya, Taylor.’ The message seemed to imply that she was gone, but even that could not remove the ridiculously happy expression from Will’s appearance.
Will reached down and grabbed his boxers and shorts. He stood up and got dressed. He realized that the room smelled somewhat like rotten soap, the scent of sex mixed with the funk that was normally in Parnell’s apartment; although the smell was not really pleasing it brought back thoughts of his night and raised his spirits even higher. He realized just like the smell of the Emerald Forest, a moment he loved so much could have a terrible odor. After he was completely clothed he looked at the new stains on the bed, again smelled the aroma of his passion in the room, and realized that he really needed a shower.
Will opened the door to the bedroom and fell to his knees at the sight that was before his eyes. Directly in front of him was Taylor completely nude, bent over the arm of the couch with Widow screwing her from behind. Will suddenly felt only one thing, no tingles, no joy, just hatred. He knew he should be hurting, but he could only kneel there hating and staring at his “friends”. He felt an ominous presence flow through him, stealing his passion. He was left empty; he felt a hole in his entire being. The thing he felt so badly about in Taylor’s life had just become himself. He quickly realized he was just another John she had to screw.
Taylor immediately began crying and shouted through the tears, “I’m so sorry!” But Will just stared, looking through the eyes of hopelessness.
Widow who continued thrusting himself into her body looked at the back of Taylor’s head and said, “Oh please, this was all your idea.”
“Fuck you Widow!” She screamed back as she clawed into the couch feeling intense pleasure as well as outrage all at one time. “I didn’t realize it would be like this.” The emotion of her voice was lost in her physical satisfaction.
Widow paused for a second, then he stepped back giving Taylor’s ass a hard smack. “I’m done, get dressed.” He looked up at Will and added, “Stupid skank.”
Will stood up and walked over to Widow. He stood there towering over the older boy who did not have a shred of clothing on. As he looked into Widow’s eyes he could feel his breath bouncing off of Widow’s face. He stood there wondering if they had told him the truth, was it really Taylor’s idea to have sex right in front of him when she had just said it would only be the two of them the night before. With no sensations in his body Will stared at Widow with more curiosity than any thing else.
Widow looked right back into Will’s eyes and sensing that he wasn’t going to do anything turned to Taylor. “Before you get dressed come here.”
Taylor stopped reaching for her clothes and turned to look at Widow. Her eyes were bright red from her sobbing, which had not ceased. She took a couple of stuttering breaths as she wept. She walked over to the two boys. She tried to rub Will’s arm, but he did not respond.
Widow grabbed her and pulled her towards him. He began to kiss her as he pressed his naked body against hers. As he forced his face against hers he grabbed her hair, pulled her away and said with absolutely no compassion, “Now, get dressed, you stupid slut.” As he pushed her to the ground and spat on her he turned back to Will. “You were too soft to take my place.”
Suddenly will was filled with rage, not because of the debauchery he just witnessed, not because of the betrayal, but because he had to endure these things because Widow felt he was too soft. He clenched his hand into a fist and thrust it directly into Widow’s sternum. As Will’s hand hit Widow’s bones he felt them give way. He heard the cracking of his ribcage.
Widow collapsed to the floor in pain, but as he opened his eyes after hitting the ground he saw Will’s shoe coming directly towards his face. Widow’s instinct to move his head caused Will’s kick to hit his target’s neck instead. Will felt all his anger and feeling leave his body as Widow’s skull bounced against his ankle from the whiplash of the kick.
Will looked down and saw that Widow was still breathing. He looked at him in wonderment of how it must feel. He wondered if it was worth it. He turned his head to look at Taylor who was now cowering in the corner. He looked over her naked body and realized that he did not have the desire to see her any more. Whether it was her idea or not, she still did it. He bent down and picked up her clothes, he slung them over his shoulder and said in a monotone voice, “I do not want to see you ever again.” He turned and opened the door to leave the apartment.
As he stepped outside he heard Parnell rushing to grab his keys. Parnell ran out the door behind Will and screamed back with panic in his voice, “Get the hell out and take Widow with you.”
Will stopped dead in his tracks and looked at Parnell. “Don’t ever say that name again.” Will said these words in a very stern voice. He turned back and began walking towards Parnell’s car when he realized that the smell of sex was about to make sick.



































Chapter 5

Introspection

As Will and Parnell arrived at the forest, Parnell was very frightened by the lack of talking on the car ride. Will had not said a word since they left the apartment. Parnell was afraid that Will was ready to explode in a psychotic rage, but it did not happen. When the old Honda stopped Will opened the door and got out of the car.
It was only nine o’clock in the morning; the park would not open for another hour. Will walked over to the median and sat down by himself. His mind was moving in fast forward. He relived the events of the last twelve hours over and over. The problem that kept arising in his head was why he acted the way he did. He questioned everything that happened. Why did he freeze up when he saw Taylor and Widow together? Why did he blow up and attack Widow after he was reserved during the actions of their betrayal? Most importantly, why did he feel so hollow while he sat alone in the median questioning himself?
He sat there completely alone, in mind as well as in body, and contemplated his entire life. He pondered how his experiences throughout the last twelve years had shaped his psyche to cause his actions of that morning. He delved into his past, his embarrassing moments, his treasured memories, and the events he never wanted to remember.
He remembered his parents fighting when he was younger. He was waiting to take a shower and there was a dispute over who was supposed to pick up his sister from gymnastics. He could see his parents yelling at one another while he waited for them to leave the bathroom. He remembered being afraid that one of them might accidentally hurt him trying to get him to go to bed later that evening. He was afraid that his parents would split up and not love each other anymore. He was worried about his sister. But it all turned out okay. His parents were still in love. His sister was fine. He was never hurt.
He recalled vomiting in class when he was supposed to sing for the rest of the students. He thought that he would never live it down. He thought it would haunt him forever. But it didn’t. He was embarrassed for a few days, but it all blew over. Eventually he was the only person left who remembered that event.
His past began to take him out of his physical reality. He was reliving his first kiss with Taylor and he felt amazing. His body prickled with excitement. Just as he really got into the moment he saw Widow’s ribs being fractured by his fist. All the emotion drained from him. He was again vacant. Suddenly he was five and filled with fear as he had just fallen off his bike and a car hurtled towards him. As his heart rate sped up to where he could feel the pressure in his throat, but just as quickly as he fell he was at home watching television and feeling void of any real humanity. He had no energy for a second, but then he found himself staring at a group of third grade girls laughing at him for giving a note to a girl that he liked. His face began to burn with humiliation when he immediately found himself sitting on the swings of the playground with his first girlfriend. His face cooled as his mouth twisted into a painful smile; he was ashamed of being with a girl that he was embarrassed to be with, but liked nonetheless.
His visions faded away as he heard his father’s deep and wise voice tell him, “It’ll work out.” This was the most common thing he heard his dad say and he suddenly understood what his father’s words taught. Everything will turn out okay in the end. It does not matter if you dwell on the negative now because you will be happy again, you will be afraid again, and you will hurt again. This almost put Will at complete ease, but just when Will thought he was stable enough to get up he saw himself kicking the throat of evil incarnate, Widow. He stared down at Widow who lay lifeless in his vision. He hated even a fictionally deceased Widow as he wished it was Taylor. His veins seemed to fill with rage. Replaying the event again against his own desires. He realized that looking over towards Taylor calmed him down to the point that he was anesthetized again.
Will shook his head to awaken from his daydream. “Why?” He said aloud to the emptiness that surrounded him and engulfed his being simultaneously. “Why should I try? Sure I will be happy again, but I will be pained again as well. Why should I care about the world?” He looked down at his hands, which were clammy and covered in dirt from the ground. “It isn’t worth it.” He paused. “Is that why my soul is dying? Is that why I am so numb? Can I not handle emotions any more?”
Will heard someone approaching to his left. When he turned he saw Liza and Conner making their way to the park for the day. As he stood up he let one last thought enter his mind, ‘Should I end it all today?’

Risky Behavior

Liza looked at Will in fear, but behind her eyes Will knew there was a yearning as well. She had received a distressed phone call from Taylor just before she left for the Forest that morning. When she saw the distant glare in Will’s eyes and an entire outfit of Taylor’s on his shoulder she knew that something terrible happened. She had the intention to tell Will off for hurting Taylor. She also assumed that Widow would take care of him, but she now had the feeling that Widow was gone; Will seemed too distracted, too distressed, too much like Widow for him not to be in charge.
“Still fifteen minutes until the park opens.” Conner spoke to break the silence. “I got a quarter sack with our names on it.”
Will had so far stayed away from drugs, but on that day some marijuana made sense to him. He looked into Conner’s eyes with a stare that would haunt the boy for years and spoke with a little more ferocity than he intended, “It better fuck me up.”
Conner now fearing for his safety quickly got to his feet and headed for the pond. Since the edge of the pond was on a decline they would be out of direct visibility. With his hands shaking he pulled out the sack of weed and rolled a large joint in a matter of seconds. Since Conner rolled it, he lit it up and took the first drag. Will watched as he inhaled and held the pale gray smoke in his lungs.
Will turned to Liza and watched her follow Connor’s example. The end of her chin shriveled the tiniest bit as she held the smoke in her body almost as if she was on the verge of tears. He wondered if she was scared of him. He wondered if she realized that Taylor would not be coming around anymore. He wondered if she even wanted to be around him.
The joint had finally reached Will; he held it between his thumb and index finger as the others had. He could smell the thick earthy aroma as he brought it to his lips. Looking down on the ember at the end of the joint he inhaled the soft and almost soothing smoke into his body. He passed it back to Conner, but he suddenly was having trouble holding the smoke down. He was having what he could only rationalize as seizures of the lungs. His lungs continuously tried to force the smoke out, but when he refused to let it the breath of smoke shot back into his lungs farther than before.
Needing a breath Will exhaled with amazing force. As soon as he got his first breath of real oxygen the weed had made its way back around. He took another toke and passed it back to Conner. He concentrated on holding it in again, but he could not handle it as long this time. After two more breaths it was his turn again. Will’s train of thought wandered off while he was taking his third lungful of pot and he nearly burned the whole joint down.
Conner saw that Will smoked the joint down to a roach and popped the end of the burning drug into his mouth to not waste any. As Conner was rolling a second doobie for the three of them Will began coughing violently. Conner laughed to himself as he remembered many times when he had taken in too much smoke.
Will thought he was going to die, not that it bothered him. He was coughing so hard that he thought his lungs were compressing completely flat before his next inhalation. Before he knew it another joint was handed to him and he was taking tokes in between his brutal coughs.
Will began to perform the activities of the smoking circle by reflex; his mind was focused on the thick glue-like saliva that was now coating his throat. The world seemed to tilt just a couple of degrees to the side and his vision seemed to be working in a strobe light fashion. He would see the joint reaching his fingers as Liza handed it to him, but his mind would not register another visual frame until the marijuana was against his lips.
After Conner noticed Will’s eyes glossing over he put the bag of weed back into his pocket. He knew that he had succeeded in his mission to get Will high.
Liza and Conner began talking about the acid that was being shipped to the park the following week, but Will could not concentrate on their words. He noticed Taylor’s clothes draped over his shoulder. Seeing his keepsake of her and smelling her scent of baby powder and laundry detergent ever so slightly through the putrid funk of the park, he began to weep.
“What’s wrong?” Liza said as she put her arm around Will.
Will looked through his tears into the eyes of a girl who he had frightened just a few minutes prior. Seeing her compassion for him made him crack a hint of smile. He waited until the tears stopped before he spoke. “I thought I had my greatest desire. I thought she wanted to be with me, but he ruined it. He defiled my perfect moment, my innocence. He somehow convinced her to go back to what she was”
Liza thought for a moment before she spoke. “We were all concerned.” She stopped. Looking at his hunched posture she searched for the words that would not aggravate the situation. “Widow had to leave, but…”
“Do not say his name.”
“You can’t take care of us if you haven’t hardened.” She corrected not wanting to challenge Will.
“I am not going to TAKE CARE of you. I am not your father.”
“It’s a damn good thing too.” As these words spilled from Liza’s pouty lips she let her eyes dance across Will’s entire body.
Will was too distressed to notice Liza’s intoxicated and amorous suggestions. He slowly stood up, stumbling slightly from the tilt of the Earth. He walked away with the intention of sobbing in solitude, but he perked up when he looked out into the somewhat vacant parking lot. He realized that he was not empty inside. His soul that he thought was dying was intact. He smiled to himself. Reveling in the small condolence that he had just received he turned back to Conner and Liza.
Will began to shout with a cheer in his voice, “Can I get a FUCK YOU?”
Conner and Liza gladly began to sing the vulgar song in the hopes that Will would not become so frightening again.

Shipment, Philosophy, and a New Generation

Vampire jogged over to the truck with a small fortune in his pocket. The park had been open for about an hour and Vampire was purchasing the Family’s acid for the day.
The congregation numbered twenty-two people, who were all sitting in the median watching the drug deal to make sure that everything went down okay. They sat there in a circle being suspiciously quiet as Vampire stuffed small zip lock baggy after small zip lock baggy into his pocket.
“Obvious enough?” Vampire screamed as he turned back to the group on his return with the goods.
“Oh, shut up.” Will said not because he was relaxed about going unnoticed, but because Vampire was annoying. Will again dwelled upon the hole in his identity as he waited for Vampire to deliver his LSD. It had been an entire week since he tried marijuana and he was dying to rid himself of the emptiness, which had lingered in his body since he had come down.
Looking around at the congregation he was astounded that he knew a fair number of the people. Conner, Liza, and Vampire were there as usual. He also knew Geoff, Bulldog, and Troll, not that he liked them, but he knew their names. Aside from them he was sitting next to Looney, Josephine, Jon, and Joe. He had convinced Looney and Josephine to accompany them to the park, mostly because of the delivery of the LSD.
Out of the twenty-two people, Vampire had purchased acid for seven of them: Will, Jon, Josephine, Looney, Vampire, Geoff, and Spiffy. Spiffy was a short somewhat thicker girl when compared to most of the Family. Nonetheless she was quite attractive, she had short stringy blond hair, large breasts, and a nose that was stereotypically Jewish.
Will grabbed his one-inch by one-inch zip lock bag and peered into it at the tiny bit of paper inside. The paper was cut into a square that was only a few millimeters wide.
Spiffy spoke up in her gravelly voice, “What is it?”
Vampire responded, “Amber fluff.” Vampire opened his bag and popped the piece of paper in his mouth. “It’s not the best trip in the world, but it’s decent. White blotter is better and of course it’s no grateful dead, but it is worth the five bucks.”
Will followed Vampire’s example and opened the bag, dumping the paper into his hand. Before he had the chance to examine it he threw it into his mouth. It was a little stiff for a piece of paper, but within minutes of it being in his mouth it became soggy and stuck in his teeth.
The group broke up into small subsections as different people wanted to do different things. Will ended up going into the park with Josephine, Looney, Liza, and Troll. They walked through the park with a purpose although none of them knew where they were going or what they were going to do. Eventually they ended up at the porch in the Wild West area. Sitting down against the wall, so they all had a backrest, they each pulled out their cigarettes and began to smoke.
“You three all took it already, right?” Troll said in her most motherly sounding voice as if they were all so intoxicated after five minutes that she must talk down to them.
“Yes. And it isn’t going to kick in for like an hour so you don’t need to talk like I’m an idiot.” Looney shot back with a rather aggressive tone for having just met the girl.
Liza jumped into the conversation to avoid Toll and Looney getting into it, “I’m assuming everyone has heard the latest nails album?” She was hopeful that she could change the subject.
“Oh, yeah it is awesome.” Josephine realized that Liza was referring to the new Nine Inch Nails Rock album called Broken. “I can’t stop listening to the songs that came on that mini c.d.”
Will decided to join in the conversation. “That album really speaks to me. The last song on the big disc explains how I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks.”
“Really?” Liza said with concern knowing what the lyrics to the song he was speaking of were.
“It took you to make me see the light!” Will screamed the lyrics of the song.
Looney and Josephine joined in the sing-a-long. “Smashed up my sanity, smashed up integrity, smashed what I believed in, smashed up what’s left of me.”
As Looney and Josephine continued through the rest of the song Will spoke to Troll and Liza. “I haven’t identified with the rest of the song yet, but I think it is coming. I keep trying to be happy, but it just isn’t working. I thought about killing myself, but that is just too fucking easy, it is too simple. I hate myself for letting these things happen; why would I allow myself to get out so easy.”
“Hold up!” Liza was beginning to get really scared. She knew people who attempted suicide, but they were always quiet about it. She did not know what to say to a friend who was being so open about killing themselves. “First off, have some respect. You know that Troll’s ex recently attempted don’t you?” These words seemed to shake Troll to her core. She was afraid the subject would come up and hearing it did not help.
Will looked back at Liza with death in his eyes, “Fuck him. If he can’t handle this world, fuck him.” He turned his gaze to Troll, “And if you can’t handle him doing these things, well, that’s just too bad, it’s life.” Will looked over at Josephine and Looney who’s nods seemed to affirm their support on the issue. When he opened his mouth again he decided to be a little more tactful. “Look, I hate what Taylor did. I hate the way I have been raised. I hate the whole world for trying to make kids think this shit doesn’t happen. I hate God for allowing it. That is why I have been so down lately, but I have decided that the Family is going about everything all wrong.”
Liza looked at Will with a mixture of disgust and morbid curiosity. She was careful when she spoke to not be too disrespectful. “What do you mean we are going about everything wrong?”
“We are seeking the truths of the world?”
“Yes.” She replied in a sluggish, cautious tone.
“Well we know the truth. We know this world is shit. We know that love is shit. We know that God is shit. We know that no one can fix it. And we know that everything is tolerable if you know what can happen.” Will saw Liza about to open her mouth to rebuttal his statements, but he kept talking knowing what she was going to say. “Just look at the music you listen to. You like it because of the message. You believe what they say. What the fuck do you think Nails has been telling you? Nirvana knows just how bad society is. All of them know it; think about it. The Grave Digger, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, would everyone around here order those Manson tapes from Florida if they didn’t believe what he said?”
“Maybe. I would hate to accept that the world is nothing but a let down.” Liza didn’t want to agree, but he was making sense.
“My problem with what we do is that we scare people. If we truly know that these are the truths of the world then we need to let other people know these things. That is not going to be accomplished by screaming vulgar lyrics at families with little children. We need to be nice and get people to discuss these ideas with us.”
Looney jumped to his feet in excitement. “Hell yeah!” Josephine stood up to join in the support of Will also.
Troll, feeling very unstable due to the thoughts of her ex-boyfriend, stood up as well. She looked at Will and said, “How am I supposed to get past this?”
Will now standing with the rest of them and still looking down towards Liza said, “It is not a matter of getting past it. You need to realize that this experience will help shape who you are tomorrow and that things will happen. If you are hurt by every little thing, then you will be nothing more than a weakling who can’t handle life.”
Liza joined them by standing up and made sure they agreed that they needed to talk to the rest of the Family about this. Liza’s mention of the Family confused Looney and Josephine, but Will reassured them that they would understand everything by the end of the day.

Kick

Will was content with how his pseudo speech went in front of the rest of the Family that was there that day. Looney and Josephine were officially accepted into the group as well. Now Will sat in front of the Sub Shop with the entire congregation for the day blockading the door to the business. He looked around the group and realized that there were only two people who were not completely clad in black. Liza and himself were the only ones who did not look like they were apart of a small gothic army. Each person wore black jeans, a black rock band t-shirt, and had dyed black hair. They now were singing a Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids song, IV-TV; it still held the same messages as the rest of their music, it just wasn’t as vulgar.
Will wondered how Liza didn’t see how the group believed that the world was a junkyard or that God had forsaken it. He didn’t have long to contemplate it though. He quickly realized that the yellows and reds of the Sub Shop were becoming very bright. He felt like his soul was rising just a few inches higher into his body.
“Dude look!” Jon said as he tried to bend his middle finger back far enough to touch his wrist. Three people jumped up to get Jon to stop trying to break his finger.
“You are gonna break your finger, man.” Said one of the unknown Family member’s.
“It’s ok I can’t feel a damn thing.” Jon was quite excited about this.
“I know, but you are tripping right now and in the morning when you come down, you will feel it.” This surprisingly seemed to make sense to Jon.
Will had drifted off to his own thoughts during this little scene as he was amazed that he could not feel anything either. He realized that the world, unlike when he was high, was completely flat. Everything around him seemed to be moving in rhythm and he was at ease.
The group began to rise to their feet and disperse. Will, now lost in his amazement of how interesting people moving was just sat and watched. Eventually Liza reached down to help him up. He followed her arms with his eyes, moving up her body until he reached her face. He jerked as if he was surprised to see a person at the end of the arm. He tilted his head as far as he could to the side and looked at her as if she could tell him the meaning of life.
“Would you get up?” She said realizing that she was now babysitting Will in a very altered state of mind.
Will stood up in an extremely fluid motion, only using his legs. When he reached his full stature he said in a very slow and matter of fact way, “Yes, I will.” Liza was annoyed with Will already and she started to walk back to the bridge behind the Sub Shop so she could at least get high while watching after him. When she turned back to see how far behind Will was she saw him still planted where he had stood up. She screamed back at him to follow her.
As Will tried to walk he started mumbling. “Ths is lk svvvverrrrrcoooooo” He walked towards her with very small steps, he was hunched over and constantly moving his head from side to side to see all the interesting sights of the world through his new eyes.
The walk that normally took a minute or two took almost ten with Will becoming distracted by everything. When they got to their destination Liza saw a Family member who had not yet met Will. Her name was Ravyn and she was asleep under the bridge. Liza told Will to sit down and she went over to wake Ravyn up. Ravyn was homeless but usually did not live under that particular bridge. She was very small; she stood at about four feet eight inches tall; she was fourteen years old and currently covered in dirt.
“Hey, Ravyn.” Liza said as she kneeled over her friend letting her dark brown hair dangle on Ravyn’s face.
“Oh, hey.” Ravyn said as she attempted to wake up. She sat up rubbing her sunken eyes with her filthy hands. She looked around and noticed Will staring at her with an inquisitive look on his face. “Who is that?”
Will looked at her matted black hair and scarred skin over her skull and could swear he knew her. “Hey, how’s it been going?” Will said very slowly to make sure that he was making actual words.
“What?” Ravyn’s head was pounding from the liquor she scored the night before.
“I haven’t seen you in…” Will seemed to trail off and lose interest.
Liza looked at Ravyn trying to ignore Will. “His name is Will, he is,” She looked to make sure Will wasn’t paying attention, “taking Widow’s place in the Family.”
“Holy shit.” Ravyn was taken aback and somewhat upset that she had to learn this news with a hang over. She looked back at Will who was watching his own hand open and close in amazement. “He’s tripping isn’t he?”
“Yes and it’s his first time. So do you wanna get high?” Liza was very hopeful that Ravyn would join her.
“Wait! He is a trip virgin and fixing all the shit of the Family!” She was terrified that some little kid would be controlling the Family.
“So was Widow when he came. It’s not a big deal. So you wanna get high or what?”
“Yeah, it’ll help me get rid of this damn hangover.” As soon as Ravyn closed her mouth Liza pulled out an ounce of weed and began to roll a joint.

It Won’t Open

The night was drawing to a close and the only Family members left were Jon, Joe, Will, Liza, and Ravyn. They were sitting in a pathway in the amusement park. They had snuck Ravyn in the same way they had scammed the tickets from the park when they had to show their re-entry black light stamps at the gate.
Will and Jon had spent the entire day experiencing the world through the lens of LSD and were now able to speak actual words without much thought. Ravyn was very pleased, as she had gotten a pack of smokes from Will; he had been feeling quite generous while he was tripping.
“I want a cookie.” Will said in the voice of what sounded like a four year old.
“There is a stand right, over, there.” Jon replied in a way that made the words sound like they did not belong together while staring at the food cart just a few feet away.
“COOKIE!” Will screamed as he stood to walk over to the cart.
Ravyn jumped to her feet to stop Will, “You need to get your money out and know what you are going to say, so they don’t think you’re on anything.”
“Okay.” Will pulled his wallet out of his pocket and held it with both hands. He stared blankly at the leather billfold trying to figure out how there was money in it. After a couple of minutes he had the money out and was walking in baby steps towards the cart repeating his order of one cookie to himself.
When he reached the cart he jumped noticing Jon walked up next to him. “Dude… You scared me.” Will was still using his childish voice. He looked at the girl who was manning the cart. He thought he recognized her, but since every other time he had recognized someone that day, he didn’t really know them, he decided not to say anything. He thought the girl looked hideous, he could only focus on her pimples, as they seemed to make her entire face look oily. He did not notice her beautiful facial structure or her perfectly shaped breasts; he could only see the few pimples, the only flaw on the girl.
“I want… one cookie.” As Will stopped speaking he saw that the cookies were in the shapes of different things, dinosaurs, pinwheels, and trees. “Dinosaur. I want one dinosaur.” He said with his mouth open and slowly leaning towards the dinosaur cookie.
Jon scared will again when he began to talk. “I want a dinosaur too.”
“Okay.” The young girl behind the cart knew something was going on with the two boys, but handed Will and Jon their cookies.
Now Will was holding his wallet, eleven dollars in ones, and a cookie all with both hands. He reached it all out to the girl and looked at her to see if she knew what to do. She took six dollars from his hands and said in a very innocent tone, “There you go.”
“Thank you.” Jon said this time startling Will so badly he dropped everything onto the cart. Will put the money into the wallet, the wallet in his pocket and grabbed his cookie.
As Will and Jon began to walk away they realized that the cookies were wrapped in cellophane. They pulled at the tight plastic breaking the cookie inside into multiple pieces.
Will looked at Jon with concern, “I can’t get it open.”
Jon looked back in horror, “I know. I can not do it either.”
Will began to breath a little faster in frustration. But then he realized that the girl at the cart should know how to open them. They took their many baby steps to get back to the cart. Will looked at the girl and as professional as he could sound with his four year old voice said, “I can’t get it open.”
The girl giggled and reached out for the cookies. They handed them to her and she pulled the plastic apart with her fingers. Before she handed them back their food she asked what they were on.
Will leaned in very close to her and said in a whisper, “We’re on ACID.” Then he put his finger to his lips and made a very loud shooshing sound. “No one is supposed to know.”
“Okay then.” The girl said. “Just be careful.”
Turning back around Will took a bite of his cookie. He could feel the entire process of eating: chewing the food into mush, gathering the glob of chewed food to the back of his mouth, swallowing it, and it slowly gliding all the way down his throat, becoming more pudding like as it went.
This sensation did not appeal to Will so he threw his cookie on the dirty concrete path.

Alone

Will lay in his bed still feeling the effects of the acid. Josephine had told him before she left that it was good LSD, but not very visual. She thought they should try a different kind so Will could get the full effect. He was not concerned with much at this point. He laid there feeling his comedown and wishing that it would he could stay inebriated.
He was unable to sleep while he was still tripping; he was forced to exist and ponder his life. He could feel his own self, as he defined it, drifting away. His soul was leaving to hide from the darkness that his mind was capable of. He thought about Taylor telling him she loved him, he thought about his parents sheltering him from even the thought of this kind of depression, and he thought about his failing grades at school.
As his stomach seemed to open up and let in all the evil around him; he told himself to deal with it. He closed his eyes looking into his own personality and questioned why he cared. He wanted to know why he wanted happiness. He knew it would be gone again any way. The thought of being happy again made his stomach twist in excitement, but he told himself that he would never have that again. He intended to live life for the sole purpose of experiencing everything. He had felt happiness and he did not need it any more.

An After School Program

Will walked with Josephine down the street towards the public park near their school. They had just got out of school and only had one more day of school until they could return to the Emerald Forest for the Halloween weekend. Will looked at his feet as he walked listening to the crunching of sticks that he stepped on with his new cleats from the discount shoe store.
Josephine was walking with such purpose that she didn’t even notice the cars passing her as she made her way towards the park. She was relieved to be going to the park since she had not smoked weed in almost two weeks.
“What kind did you get?” Will asked as they entered onto the park’s property.
“Oh… The weed? It’s creeper.” She responded, she was caught off guard and had almost forgotten that Will was with her.
“Cool. So why haven’t you been smoking up recently?”
“My mom keeps threatening to drug test me. So, I have been laying off of it for a while, but after today, fuck it.”
“What was so bad about today?”
“You didn’t hear?” Josephine stopped mid-stride and looked at Will.
Will’s face began to burn with fear. He had never seen Josephine so serious. “What?”
“Jon got his ass kicked last night.” She paused biting her bottom lip looking for the words that would not reduce her to tears. “He’s pretty beat up. His brother said if they hadn’t got him to the hospital so quickly, he would’ve died from blood loss.”
Will was staggered by the news. He was a little hurt that no one had told him. He had been Jon’s friend for years and Josephine knew before he did. “We’ll have to smoke some for Jon too then.” His words sounded like he considered Jon to be dead, but Josephine got the point.
They reached a cluster of trees that Will had been using to do drugs after school. They went far enough in so no one could see them and Josephine started to roll a joint, but Will stopped her. “Let’s make this a little more special.”
Josephine was confused, “What do you mean?” She was afraid he was trying to seduce her.
Will reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bag of white powder. “Let’s make it Primo.”
Josephine caught on that the bag was full of cocaine and he wanted to add it to the weed to make what everyone called Primo. She nodded and before she licked the joint closed she held it out for Will to sprinkle coke on it. Afterwards she quickly licked the rolling paper making the joint final.
“Can I take the first hit?” Will inquired realizing that Josephine was more interested in the cocaine that Will had already put back in his pocket. “You want a snort?”
“PLEASE.” A huge smile came across Josephine’s face as she reached out for the bag. She dug her fingernail into the soft light powder and pulled out a small stack of cocaine on her nail. Will gazed at her as she inhaled the dust into her nose and almost fell backwards at the ever too familiar burning as the coke went to the top of her throat. Will had already grabbed the joint and was lighting it up when he noticed just how attractive Josephine was. He inhaled a large amount of pot smoke as he squinted his eyes imagining her topless.
Josephine reached out for the joint so she could get a hit on it. Will could do nothing but wonder what she would be like in the sack. He gazed intently as she sucked down nearly half of the joint before she handed it back to him. Taking another monstrous toke he was entranced by the possibilities of a sexual encounter with Josephine. He didn’t want to talk, he didn’t want any emotional attachment, he just wanted her.
“I’ll roll another. It is supposed to be really good creeper so it might really hit you hard.” Josephine said as she opened her baggy eyes again. “Can we throw some more blow on this one.”
Will shook his daze and responded, “Sure, have at it.” When he handed her the bag of coke she took another quick snort.
“This is damn good shit.”
“I wouldn’t know, I have only used it to make Primo.” Will responded truthfully since he hadn’t wanted to try the coke by itself.
“Whatever you say.” She sprinkled some more cocaine on the second joint and lit it up.
After the second drag on the joint, the high hit Will with an immediate inebriation. He almost fell over from his seat on the ground. “Shit. That hit hard.”
“That’s why they call it creeper. It creeps up on you.” She said with a small giggle that continued for a couple of minutes.
Will immediately responded with, “They should really call it hit you like a ton of bricks.”
After they finished smoking their third joint Will ate the roach that was left of the weed and laid down on the ground. He was taking deep breaths and enjoying his stupor when he finally processed what Josephine had said about Jon. “Who the hell jumped Jon?” He said shooting to an upright position.
“Joe said that some high school football players got him when he they were walking home.”
“Why? Where were they?” Will was suddenly furious at the possibility of some random high school jocks attacking his friend.
“They had snuck out to go see Ravyn. On their way back Jon flipped off a car that acted like it was going to run him over. It stopped, these guys got out and beat the hell out of him.” Josephine had to close her eyes to concentrate hard enough to remember everything Joe had told her.
“Ravyn? I thought she was living like twenty miles north of here, over by the Forest.”
“No, she’s squatting at a vacant house on the other side of the highway.”
“So, he flipped off a car and they beat his ass?” Will was staring straight at the ground not registering what he was seeing. His mind was searching for vengeance.
“Yep.”
“Fuck them. They can’t do that. Let’s go.” Will was already standing by the time he announced they were leaving. Josephine at once grabbed the weed and coke, shoved them in her pocket and jumped up to follow Will. She had no idea what Will was about to do and she thought it felt unreal that her thirteen year old friend was about to do something to a bunch of high school football player, but she was too high to question him.
When they reached the gas station Will made a call on the payphone to Bulldog.
Still breathing heavy and livid from the story he shouted into the phone, “Bulldog, we got a problem. Jon got jumped. I don’t know who they are, but…” Will stopped as Bulldog responded on the other end of the line. Will bounced his head back forth until he couldn’t wait any longer for Bulldog to finish talking. “Look, go to the hospital and find Jon. Find out who the fuck did this and then get Dopey to cut a deal with the crips. I will not stand for this.” Will didn’t even wait for a response, he just hung up the phone.
Josephine was in awe of what she just saw; she knew Will had to do these sort of things every so often, but she never expected to see it. She allowed a small smirk to creep onto her face. When Will turned back around after staring at the phone on the stand she grabbed him by the back of his head and pulled him in to kiss her.
Will jumped back and pulled away in shock.
“What’s wrong?” Josephine asked afraid that he was disgusted by the idea of her kissing him.
“Sorry you caught me off guard.” He replied moving back towards her and wrapping his arms around her.
“That’s okay. It was just a hell of a turn on seeing you take charge like that.” She leaned in and kissed him again.


























Chapter 6

Blast from the Past

Will was relieved to finally return to the Forest, but shortly after he arrived he ran into Taylor standing in the median. She looked terrible. She had a black eye, her hair knotted, and her body was shaking the tiniest bit. It was a vision of a walking corpse in Will’s eyes.
Seeing Taylor caused Will’s internal organs to tense. He had not expected to see her, but he knew that if he was going to accept what had happened between them he would need to see what she was doing there.
Without a hint of emotion Will said, “What happened?”
“My mom got kicked out of the apartment.” She said looking at her feet from the discomfort of the situation.
“No, your eye.”
“I got in a fight with her. She said I spent too much money.” She paused as she wiped a tear from her eye. “I told her that if she would let me work the streets we would have had enough money. And… We… I knocked a couple of her teeth out and she gave me this.” Taylor did not want to talk about this. She brushed her crusty hair out of her face with a trembling hand.
“I think you need some help.” Will started. “I will get Parnell to get you some money.”
Taylor started shaking her head frantically from side to side. “No. No. I don’t need money. My dealer left town and I really need some skitz. I haven’t had any in like two days.”
Will was disgusted that Taylor would show up looking that bad and ask him for speed. “That’s what you want from me?” He clenched his teeth and looked her in the eyes. “You are going to screw me over, fuck with my head, try to kill me emotionally, and then show up and ask for some fucking skitz! Fuck you! You are nothing but a stupid whore who has no respect for anyone else.” His voice kept increasing in volume as he drew extra attention to them.
“Look, I am sorry, but I didn’t think you wanted to hear it.” Taylor fell to her knees sobbing into her hands. She looked up at Will through the tears and pleaded with him. “Please. I just need one little fix. I will do anything for you. I will apologize. I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. I love you.” As she spoke Will’s fury intensified knowing that she did not mean anything she was saying. He did not say a word; he just let her continue. “I will kiss your feet. I will spend the rest of my life with you. Just give me a little, maybe a couple of grams. Please. Anything! I will get you money. I will fuck your brains out, Please!”
Will could not take anymore of her addiction driven cries. “You are pathetic.” His voice overpowered any noise in the area.
Will walked away from the median and into the park leaving Taylor crying on her knees. As Will stepped off the curb he heard a man approach her and offer her a gram for fellatio, but he just did not care.

The Family

After entering the park Will did not want to do anything other than find some drugs. To his dismay there was a huge group of people dressed in black waiting to greet him. He was unsure of the number of people in the group, but it was the largest gathering of the Family he had ever seen. He walked quickly hoping they would not notice him, but it was to no avail.
“Will!” Stephanie screamed as she emerged from the congregation. “You gotta come see who’s here!”
Although Will did not want to converse with anyone, Stephanie had peaked his curiosity. “Okay, but I need something and I need it fast.”
Stephanie grabbed Will’s hand and pulled him into the sea of black. He was bumping into a lot of people as he was led to the center of the gathering. When they stopped Will looked up and saw a guy who looked much older than any one he had hung out with since he first joined the Family.
The man was very tall and lanky. He seemed to be losing his black hair, but still wore it long. He had scars all up his arms and was the only person Will noticed that was not wearing black. He had khaki slacks on and a white button down shirt. The man smiled as he rubbed his stubbly chin. “So you are the new head?”
Will knew the man meant he was in charge of the Family, but didn’t know why he cared. “Yep.” Will said; his voice did nothing to mask his annoyance.
“I am Snake.”
Will remembered the name Snake, but was unsure where he had heard it. “Why do I know that name?” Will seemed to be talking to no one.
“I am the predecessor of you predecessor.”
Suddenly Will recalled Widow talking of the boy named Snake who handed the reigns of the Family to him. He peered up at Snake looking for the qualities that made Widow dislike him.
“I think we should have a stroll and talk about the Family.” Snake let a sinister smile emerge upon his face.
“Not until I get some trip or weed or x or something. I need to get fucked up quick.”
“I got you covered.” Snake said as he walked through the crowd. He looked almost like a holy man as the crowd parted for him to walk.

To the Future

They walked together through the park without speaking. Will had trouble keeping up with Snake. The man seemed to squeeze in between people walking with the greatest of ease, leaving Will scrambling around slow walking patrons of the park. They reached their destination, the arcade. Will had hung out at the arcade a few times before, but it seemed to be the least popular location for the family. As they walked in the door, Snake reached up and grabbed a sign that was hanging from the wall. He pulled the sign down and put it under his arm. Snake waved to the workers that were in the building and continued to walk to the back of the arcade. When they reached the back corner Snake walked behind an arcade machine and opened a door that Will had never noticed before. They entered the room and Snake pulled a string hanging from the light fixture to illuminate the room.
Will looked around this room that he did not know existed. It was a basic storage closet. It was four feet wide and fifteen feet long. He noticed some brooms and a chair in the small dusty room. Snake motioned for him to sit in the chair. As he sat he noticed a sign in the corner of the room the same size as the one Snake had under his arm.
Snake pulled out a glass pipe and a small bag of whitish blue rocks. “First thing’s first.” He handed Will the pipe and bag.
Will did not know how to use a glass pipe and wanted to know what this new mysterious man was giving him. “What is it?”
“Speed. I have some trip for you also, but the speed will get you off until the acid kicks in.”
Will was slightly uneasy using the drug that he just saw wreak havoc on Taylor, but he was desperate for a release. “I’ve only snorted it.”
“Oh.” Snake was surprised Will did not know how to use the speed pipe. “Drop a rock in the bowl and light your lighter below it. Vapors will release for you to breath in.”
Will was pleased for Snake to inform him on how to use the pipe without treating him like the child he truly was. Will dropped a large rock into the bubble shaped bowl and pulled out his lighter. Within seconds of inhalation he could feel his heartbeat jumping, his whole body became alert, and his vision seemed to become clear.
Snake reached out to finish off the rock Will started. As soon as he finished he put the pipe and bag back into his pocket and pulled out two hits of acid, each wrapped in foil. He tossed one to Will. “That’s grateful dead. Recipe straight out of the sixties.”
Will was surprised, but excited; he unwrapped the crusted paper and put it in his mouth. Snake followed suit then sat on his knees to explain why he had brought will here. “I brought you here to show you the sign.” He pulled the sign out from under his arms and held it out for Will to see. The sign was a small wooden sign that had the words ‘The Family’ carved into it. “This is the sign of the family. The park has let us keep this at the arcade since the family was created. On the back all of the heads of the family have carved their name into it. The sign comes down on Halloween weekend and back up the first day the park reopens in February.” He put the sign down, got to his feet and grabbed the other sign.
“You brought me out here for that?” Will thought the situation was hysterical. This big important member of the family pulls him aside to tell him to put a sign up in a few months.
“No, I really came out here to give you that acid. I wanted to show you the room and the sign also.” Snake paused and looked at Will in a strange way. “Normally I hang out all day on Halloween weekend, just to annoy Widow.” Will cringed at the name, but decided not to mention it. Snake continued speaking without notice of Will’s reaction to his words. “Since he’s gone, I have nothing else to do. I really don’t want to hang out with a bunch of little kids, so have fun, it’s all yours.” Snake opened the door and left.
Will got up from the chair and walked out the door after him. He quickly made his way back to the front of the park hopping around still energized from the meth amphetamine. He reached the front where the gigantic group was still mulling around. He stood there feeling very awake and excited, but still full of hate. He didn’t understand why the drug had not elevated his mood.

Tripping with Stephanie

Will was standing in line for the log flume ride with Stephanie. The acid had kicked and he was having trouble moving forward when the rest of the line did. Stephanie was also tripping; she had bought a hit off of Snake before Will had arrived at the park that day. Regardless of how many family members were at the park, Will had only seen a handful after leaving the front.
“We… are… up.” Stephanie stuttered as she patted Will on the butt. He looked up and saw that they were supposed to board the boat shaped to look like a log.
They sat down straddling the bench in the center of the vehicle. After they were seated, the boat began to float down the flume of water. Stephanie who was in front of Will turned around so she was facing him. She ran her hands up his arms and looked into his eyes. “You been having fun?” She said sounding like a robot.
“Yes.” Will said and then scratched his head looking something to say. “I think I was mean to Taylor today.”
Stephanie looked into the water the log was floating down and then spoke in a cheerful voice, “No. She was mean. She is getting… what she deserved.” She smiled at Will as she lost her train of thought in his eyes.
Will looked back at Stephanie and was surprised to see how pretty she was. Everyone else he had looked at while tripping looked disgusting, but Stephanie looked like a model. He noticed her adolescent figure, but thought that her young face made her pleasing to the eyes.
The boat rapidly shifted positions as it began to go up a lift. The sudden change in the direction of gravity caused Will to lean back and Stephanie to fall forward. Her face landed in his lap and Will let out a shocked and loud, “Hello.”
The employee of the park, who was sitting to the side of the lift to make sure no one stood up while on the ride, saw this and screamed out, “You get you some!” He had thought she was pleasuring him on the ride.
Stephanie sat up laughing and realizing what the employee had thought as they reached the top of the lift. The log tilted the other way as it slid down the large slide crashing back into the water at the bottom. Will and Stephanie laughed uproariously as they were splashed from the water. They arrived at the end of the track and got out of the log.
As they walked through the exit of the ride Will was taking his normal baby steps. Stephanie told him it looked suspicious and he should walk normal. Will obliged by walking in larger flatfooted steps.
“Wow, this is hard.” Will laughed as he took one stride at a time.
“I think it is less, sus… suspiss… suspish… us.” Stephanie replied as she walked like Will.
“You know what? Walking is a feat.” Will stopped his movements and laughed. “Get it? Feat.” Will said with great enthusiasm as he pointed to his foot.
Stephanie sat down exactly where she was standing. Looking up at Will with perfect innocence in her eyes she sighed. “Can we talk?”
Will lifted both of his feet from the earth and fell into a sitting position. “That is going to hurt tomorrow.” He said realizing how hard he hit the ground. “Let’s talk… You cuuuuuuutie.”
“I like you.” She leaned over as far as she could when she said this. She looked at his crotch, licked her lips, and raised her middle finger. After she noticed he saw her giving him the finger she said in her most straight voice, “And I mean that. I know you wouldn’t, but I would love to.” After her sexual advance seemed to go over Will’s head she decided to be a little more direct. “I want you to,” as her inebriation began to take over again she became even more blunt, “touch my boob again.” She leaned too far and fell over as she started laughing at the top of her lungs from her tactless advance.
Will suddenly noticed that they were sitting in the middle of a footpath with people looking at them funny as they walked around. “You are funny.” Will said as he got back to his feet.
“Where are you going?” Stephanie looked up at Will with her brow furrowed and bottom lip stuck out.
“We need to get out of the path.”
“Okay!” Stephanie said as she crawled across the vomit stained ground to a bench. Will joined her and she tried to compose herself for a serious speech. “I like you and you are cool and I think we would be good together and you are hot and I am hot and we are both tripping and I want to date you and I want to do it with you and and and and and and and and…” She continued saying the word as she thought it sounded funny.
“I don’t… have sex with… unless it’s my… I have never… sleeping around is…” Will could not think of how to express his attitudes towards monogamy. He tried to form the words in his head, but Stephanie threw her arms in the air and Will saw too many arms. He stared at Stephanie with bug eyes still seeing eight arms of different colors. The arms slowly faded and Will looked at his hand. He quickly closed his fingers and still saw his fingers coming out of his closed fist. The protruding fingers were a blinking purple color while his fist was still the color of his flesh.
“Are you playing with tracers?” Stephanie asked as she watched Will open and close his hand again.
“Yes. Those are tracers.” He said definitively.
“So you want a girlfriend not a fuck buddy.” Stephanie slowly rolled out of her mouth, somehow knowing what Will had meant through his ramblings.
Will did not notice the partial telepathy on Stephanie’s part. He looked at her and said with an increasing pitch, “That’s right!”
“I understand.” Stephanie was temporarily saddened. “I just think you are cute and I would like to think that you might be interested in me.”
“No.” Will turned off the bench so he was down on one knee in front of her. “I just want to get to know you. You are so pretty and cool, but I was really hurt bad by Taylor and… and… and and and and and and and and and…” Will was now lost in the word.
“You are so sweet.” Stephanie now was in tears she was so happy by Will’s words.
They both stood up and hugged for a while. They walked together towards the dock to see if they could find some more family members.

Coupling

Later in the day ten members of the Family had congregated in the median. Will, Stephanie, Dale, and Geoff were laying down looking at the sky. They discussed the true nature of man. Stephanie and Will claimed that man was inherently good. They thought that each person was born with a pure heart. They claimed that society was responsible for the filth of man’s actions.
Geoff and Dale thought they were wrong. They said that man is born evil. They claimed that if man was born into a perfect society he would still have the dark thoughts of death and jealousy in the back of his mind. They claimed that it was natural to want to have sex, steal, and gloat.
After an hour they ran out of ideas to input into the conversation. Geoff and Dale left out of boredom. To Will’s surprise everyone else who had congregated in the median was gone as well. Will sat up pulling out his cigarettes. As he lit up Stephanie did the same. He looked at her smiling face and felt his pain from Taylor leaving his body.
Will looked at her smoking and couldn’t help, but to express what he was feeling. “You are so insightful.”
Stephanie blushed and ignored the green and red aura that she was seeing around Will. “Thank you.” She said as she watched the misty colors disperse from around her friend.
“We should date, matey.” Will was now speaking like a pirate. “Aargh, I think you are quite cute.” He forgot why he felt the urge to speak like a pirate and focused on the last two words of his sentence. “Quite cute quite cute quite cute quite cute…”
Stephanie put her hands on the ground dropping her cigarette and got to her feet leaving her in a squatting position. “REALLY?” She had excitement in her voice.
“Yes, I think we would be good toge…” Will couldn’t finish his sentence; Stephanie had leapt onto him and ensued kissing him. Will had dropped his cigarette also, but he was pleased as to why.
Liza and Geoff walked onto the median and began whistling at the two rolling on the grass making out. Geoff sat down and Liza followed, sitting between his legs and leaning against his body.
“Having fun?” Liza questioned Will with a trace of jealousy in her voice.
Stephanie rolled off Will and screamed, “We’re going out!”
Everyone cringed at the sheer volume of her words. Geoff and Liza congratulated the new couple as they pulled out their cigarettes. Will and Stephanie, both too intoxicated to remember smoking, pulled out their smokes as well.
Liza began talking trying to change the subject of Stephanie and Will. “Will, I have been looking for you. Dopey told me to tell you, Jon has been avenged.” She raised her fist as she spoke to show emphasis. “What the hell does that mean?”
Will did not want to let Liza know that he was using the Crips for his dirty work so he had to make up an excuse. “Ummmm… I don’t know.” He could not think of one.
“Whatever.” Liza was annoyed for a couple of reasons now. “So you two fucked yet?” Liza said hoping to make one of the two uncomfortable.
“No.” Stephanie said blushing from embarrassment.
“Well Dopey is looking for you, Stephanie, he says you’re just the piece of ass he wants.” Liza was about to express her desire for Will when Stephanie interrupted.
“No we are being all monogamous like.”
Will smiled and pulled Stephanie towards him for another kiss.

Sunday AKA the Following Day

Will awoke from his slumber with a sore back. He was getting used to the fatigue of his body after a full day of intoxication. He felt like his heart had been reborn. He did not remember everything from the previous day, although he thought he did, but he was very happy about his new girlfriend. He began to wonder if his beliefs about the world and god were incorrect.
He rolled over feeling a little sick from the swishing of his waterbed and looked at the clock. The red digital lights told him that it was noon. He was relieved that his parents had not awakened him for the day. He sat up and reached for his phone and realized that he could still see tracers as he focused on the clear purple hand dissolving before his eyes. He shook his head to center his thoughts and began to dial the phone.
He pressed the buttons to call Stephanie singing the song he made up the night before to memorize the number. He put the receiver to his ear waiting to hear from his new girl.
“Hello?” Came the cute little voice of Stephanie through the speaker in the phone.
“Hey cutie.” Will said.
“Hi, so I am assuming you remember.”
“That we are together? Yes.”
“Good! I was so afraid that you wouldn’t remember. I was sitting here waiting for your call. God I am so happy. Mmmmmmwuh.” She made a kissing sound into the phone.
“You are so cute. How do you feel?”
“Sore as shit. What else would you expect?”
“I know. I feel terrible also.”
“I was wondering if you wanted to go to the bowling alley today?”
Will was surprised she did not want to go to the Emerald Forest. “Why the alley not the Forest?”
“I just wanted to spend some time alone.”
“Okay, lets go bowling.” Will was excited to hear that she wanted to spend time with just him. They finished their conversation and said their goodbyes.
After Will got off the phone he got out of his bed and wandered into the kitchen. He found a note from his parents telling him they went to church and lunch. The note explained that they thought he was up late and should rest on the last day of his weekend. He smiled at his fortune and began to make himself some cereal. When he sat down in front of the television he closed his eyes and prayed to God for his life to continue on the wonderful path that it just got on.

To the Alley We Go

Will sat in the car with his father waiting to arrive at the bowling alley. His father, James, drove the small family sedan through the city. His short black hair bounced around from the wind that blew in from the cracked window as he smoked.
“So who is this Stephanie you are meeting?” James asked just wanting to learn about his son’s life.
“A friend.” Will did not like telling his parents what was going on in his life so he lied.
“Is she cute?”
“Dad!” Will whined as he his dad pressed for more information.
“Well, I will pick you up at ten. You have school tomorrow so that is as late as you can stay.”
“Can I get a few bucks?” Will knew that his dad was going to give him money, but he wanted to know how much.
They turned into the parking lot as James reached into his back pocket retrieving his wallet. He tossed his wallet to Will. “Take out fifty dollars. That should pay for a few rounds of bowling and you can take your,” James coughed to put emphasis on his next word. “friend… out to eat. There is a good Mexican restaurant just down the street.”
Will was amazed that his father was giving him so much money. He knew that his dad would be more lenient on Will leaving the place where he was dropped off than his mother would, but did not expect so much money. “Wow, thanks.” Will was elated with his dad’s generosity.
“Ten o’clock. Here. Have fun.” James said as the car stopped and Will opened the door.
Will got out and walked up to meet Stephanie who was waiting outside the building between two large columns that held up the bowling alleys sign. James looked at his son meeting his girlfriend and smiled as he remembered his youth. He laughed to himself assuming that Will was doing the same things that he had when he was his age.

Bowling?

Will and Stephanie decided not to bowl, but to talk instead. They spent most of the day outside the alley since the management would not let them smoke in the building due to their age.
Will had told Stephanie how much money his father gave him and to her suggestion he called Dopey from the payphone in search of drugs. Stephanie recommended that they buy some Quaaludes. Dopey let Will know that he could get some Quaaludes to him in twenty minutes for thirty dollars. Will agreed and hung up the phone.
They walked to the gas station down the block to pick up some more cigarettes while they waited for Dopey to bring them their drugs. Finding someone to buy their smokes was a fairly quick endeavor and they were back at the bowling alley just minutes before Dopey arrived.
Dopey handed Will two small pills. They were white and had a Q imprinted on each one. Will gave Dopey his money and went back inside the building.
Will and Stephanie took their pills and sat around talking about what they wanted to do over the upcoming thanksgiving holidays. Will knew that he was going to have to go to two thanksgiving dinners, one at each of his grandparent’s houses. Stephanie on the other hand claimed that she was hoping that her dad would take her to IHOP.
Will was saddened by the fact that going out to eat at an inexpensive restaurant was her idea of a good holiday. He asked her if she wanted to come with him, but she felt she could not leave her dad alone.
They continued to discuss their wishes for the next month when an extreme relaxation crept up on Will. His muscles relaxed and he felt no tension in his body. As Stephanie continued to speak he became lost in her motions. He couldn’t focus on her words, but he was in heaven watching the fluid movements of her mouth.
“I suddenly feel really good.” Stephanie said as she let her arms fall to her sides. She looked around at the seventies décor of the bowling alley. The antique vending machines seemed out of place to her. “Don’t you think that the vending machine looks funny here?”
Will did not notice that she had asked a question, but looked at the vending machine because she was staring at it with her head almost on her shoulder. “That looks weird.” Will said in a soothing voice inadvertently answering her question. He turned his head and noticed all the cigarette butts on the carpet from the low class clientele of the establishment.
A loud scream came from one of the lanes on the other side of the room as someone had just bowled their sixth strike in a row. Will began to talk again barely moving his lips, “Too loud. Lets go outside.” His vocal pace was extremely sluggish as he began to get to his feet.
“Okay.” Stephanie said and she pushed herself up from her chair.
The two made their way outside as the effects of the drug really kicked in. Everything they looked at seemed to hold their attention. They were interested in anything that moved and most things that did not. Their actions were lethargic and slackened as they swayed their way to the front of the building.
Will pulled out his new pack of cigarettes and attempted to pack them. Every time he hit the pack on his hand he dropped the smokes. He got tired of bending over to pick up the cigarettes and decided that the tobacco was firm enough in its tube. He offered one to Stephanie who gladly accepted. They stood in front of the bowling alley with lit cigarettes for twenty minutes when they realized that their smokes burned out and they each had only taken a couple of drags.
“Whoops. I forgot to smoke.” Stephanie said as she tried to laugh at herself, but was too relaxed. “You know what? I have some coke in my pocket, but I don’t think I can snort it right now.”
Will looked at her with a stupid smile on his face. “That’s okay, I don’t do coke.”
“Why not? It’s just as fun as everything else.”
“I don’t know, but I don’t do coke or shoot up.”
“Don’t shoot up.” Stephanie thought about this for a minute. “That’s a good idea, it leaves those ugly track marks.”
Will stumbled over to where he was standing directly in front of Stephanie, he bent down and began kissing her. As their tongues danced with each other their relaxation intensified.
“Shit.” Stephanie mumbled almost losing her balance. “Come here!” She reached down and grabbed Will by his waistband and pulled him over to the side of the building. She fell to her hands and knees as she crawled under a bush to reach a spot that was not visible. Will followed getting his clothes covered in grass stains. She slowed her speech in an attempt to be sexy, but instead became almost nonsensical. “We’re all alone.”
Will had to strain to string together the sounds that Stephanie was making. He shortly grasped what she was trying to say. “So what do you want to do with me?”
“That kiss was so good; I thought something a little more might be even better.” As she was finishing her time consuming sentence, she reached down and unzipped his pants while licking her lips. She pulled his pants and his boxer shorts off as she lowered her head into his crotch.
As they performed acts that shame some adults they each reached a new point of ecstasy. Although each more personal deed was initially performed for pure pleasure they also felt a new connection towards each other.
After they had each reached their respective climax they laid in their shadow covered hiding spot naked and holding each other in perfect happiness.
“You are definitely the best I’ve ever had.” Stephanie still reeling from the bliss she had achieved moments before.
“Really? How many guys have you made love to?” Will asked, he was always curious to ask someone from the Family that question.
“Just you.” Stephanie paused, “Lover.” She smiled and licked his chest in which she had been snuggling her face against.
“You are so cute. But that’s not what I meant. How many people have you had sex with?”
She was annoyed that her little attempt to avoid the question was thwarted, but being as happy as she was she did not mind answering. “You would make twelve.”
Will panicked looking for a change of subject before he had to tell her he had only slept with two people. “How old are you?” He was relieved that he did not know her age and hopefully dodged having her ask him his original question.
“You don’t know how old I am? I don’t know how old you are.” Stephanie scooted in closer to Will to get more body heat as the air was turning colder as the night crept up. “I am fourteen. How old are you?”
“Thirteen.” Will was happy she did not ask about his previous sex life.
“A younger man. Who would’ve thunk it.” She said she began to shiver from a cold breeze across her still naked body.










Chapter 7

Enter Daisy

Will was still on his natural high from his sexual encounter with Stephanie the day before at the bowling alley. He walked into the cafeteria with his head held high and his spirits soaring. Jon was out of the hospital, but not back at school. Josephine was sick and did not come to school. Looney was suspended for getting into a fight with a popular kid who called him poor white trash.
Will looked around the large room filled with kids eating their lunches under the bright florescent lights. He felt a little out of place with all of his friends not at school leaving him with no one to converse with. He contemplated spending his lunch money on food, since he still had some of the money his father gave him from the day before. For once he could eat lunch and still have money for drugs and cigarettes for the rest of the week.
He got in line and watched the old cafeteria workers spoon mounds of discolored slop onto the Styrofoam trays. He ordered a piece of pizza and some peas. His choice was either pizza or meatloaf and the meat did not look sanitary. He picked up a chocolate milk at the end of the line as he paid for his meal.
When he stepped back into the seating area he scanned the long tables for a place to sit. Most of the round stools were taken and Will could not find anywhere that he could be alone. He spotted a table that had one person seated at the very end. Will figured sitting with one stranger was better than sitting with ten so he sat across the table from the lone boy.
The kid had wildly curly blond hair. His face was slightly pudgy, but his body was thin. The fact that he had an earring and was in junior high made Will think he might be fun to talk to.
“Mind if I sit here?” Will asked a minute or two after he started eating.
The boy looked up and said, “No, that’s fine.” He turned back to his lump of meatloaf and poked at it with his fork.
“How long you had that earring?” Will was trying to make conversation.
“A few months. I told my mom that I wanted one back when I was eight. She said if I still wanted it when I turned twelve she would pay for me to get it.”
“That’s cool.”
“She didn’t think so, but I was like ‘you said I could get one’ and she was like ‘well, I guess’” The boy’s imitation of his mother was hilarious to Will. He raised his voice a couple of octaves and pursed his lips as he talked.
“My parents would never let me get one.”
“Sucks.”
“My name is Will. You new or something?”
“Yep. Just moved from the other side of the highway. It put me in this school’s territory instead of my old school’s.” The boy said with utter disdain for his situation. “Oh my names Keith, but I go by Daisy.”
Will was surprised to hear that his new acquaintance went by a female name. He looked at him with both eyes squinted.
“Do you know who Marilyn Manson is?”
Will was shocked again. He thought no one, but his friends from the Forest knew of the obscure band from Florida. “Like the guitarist in the band?” Will said referring to the Guitarist of Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, Daisy Berkowitz.
“Yea. I think he’s cool and my friends from my other school always called me that.”
The two boys sat and chatted about various things until the bell rang to go back to class. Will took such a liking to Daisy that he invited him to come to the Emerald Forest that weekend. Daisy could not go, but he said he would be there the following weekend.

Answers

When Will got home on Monday he immediately called Stephanie, but he got no answer. He tried multiple times that night. She never picked up the phone.
Will went to school on Tuesday and talked to Daisy as none of his friends were there again. After he got home he spent the night again trying to get a hold of Stephanie, but it was no use, she was not home.
Wednesday and Thursday were exactly the same. Will’s excitement for his meeting with Stephanie on Sunday was dissolving. He began to worry about his new love, he felt rather frustrated that he could not speak to her.
Friday came and Will was pleased to see Josephine and Jon both back in class. He introduced them to Daisy when lunchtime came around. They all got along well, but Will had the feeling Daisy was just putting up with his friends because he was lonely.
When Will got home he called Stephanie, but he got a recording saying the line was disconnected. He began to panic as he wondered if she was okay. He called Liza wondering if she had heard anything, but she had no clue as to why the phone line would be shut off.
Will spent hours trying to find someone who knew what was going on. Finally he got a hold of Dopey who had just left the police station after being charged with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana. Dopey told Will that he saw Stephanie’s father, Mark, at the police station. He was waiting to see his parole officer.
Dopey asked Mark how things were when Mark accused Dopey of corrupting his daughter. He said that he caught Stephanie snorting cocaine in her room after she returned from her date on Sunday. He had put her in a rehabilitation hospital.
Will questioned Dopey as to what hospital she was in. Dopey informed Will that it was Cooper Street Hospital, but if any of them went there the restraining order her father had on them all would get them arrested.

The Worst Day Ever

Will was torn apart. He was going to the Forest with Jon at noon, but he could not stop thinking about Stephanie since he heard about her situation the day before. He cried throughout the night for her predicament, but he still felt terrible.
He had spent much of the morning talking to police over the phone trying to figure a way around the restraining order. He eventually came to the conclusion he would call the hospital and say it was her uncle.
“May I please speak with Stephanie Liger.” Will said in his most grown up voice as the receptionist answered the phone. “This is her uncle.” To Will’s surprise his plan worked and the employee went to let Stephanie know she had an approved phone call.
Eventually Stephanie’s voice echoed over the speaker and into Will’s ear, “Hello?”
Will was elated to hear her voice. “It’s me, this was the only way I could get them to let you on the phone.”
“Oh.” She seemed unhappy to hear from him. “I am actually glad you called. I wanted to tell you something. This is my sixth day in here and I have learned something. I have a problem. I need you to understand that.”
Will was confused when he heard her say this. He thought she knew she was a druggie, but he also thought she wanted to be. He wanted to be one.
“I know I’m not at this step yet, but…” She paused trying to build up the nerve to speak again. “I am sorry if I hurt you. And I am sorry I can not see you again.” She waited to hear if he would reply, but he did not. He just hung up the phone.
Will sat in his room staring at the phone on its cradle. He was angry, he was hurt, and he was confused. He closed his eyes and tried to speak to God. ‘Why?’ He said in his mind. ‘Why did you take her from me? I know that many of the kids in the Family have gone to Cooper Street Hospital. None of them gave in. None of them gave up their dream of being a junkie. Why her? Why do you do this to me?’ Will had nothing else to say he just sat there and silently screamed at himself for giving in to happiness the previous weekend.
He sat there for hours, he eventually became slightly less depressed as he realized that he was going to be at the amusement park soon. It was five ‘til noon and Jon had not called. Will got up and got ready anyway. After he had made sure his ensemble showed no skin other than his head and arms, the phone rang.
Jon told him that they were leaving the house and would be there in less than two minutes. Will hung up the phone and told his parents he was leaving. He stuffed his cigarettes in his pocket as he walked out the door to wait for Jon’s mom to pick him up.
Sandi arrived and he entered the SUV preparing for a terrible ride to his sanctuary. Jon looked well, he had gained a few pounds from being in bed for a week, but other than that he looked the same. The ride was not as bad as Will had imagined, but when the car slowed to let the boys out Will noticed six family members standing in the median looking very somber. As he opened the door he saw a seventh member curled into a ball on the ground crying. After he and Jon were on the sidewalk and Sandi had left he could hear a couple of people in his group of friends moaning in terror.

The Worst Day Ever Continues

Will walked towards the solemn group. Seeing the sight of his friends falling apart emotionally frightened him. As he walked his balance slowly gave way. The surreal moment convinced his equilibrium that the world was rotating on end, throwing him to the paved parking lot. On his hands and knees in the middle of the lot he could not feel the new cuts that falling had caused. He regained his composure and got to his feet.
Will studied the group. The girl on the ground was Liza, her thin tanned body was curled over as if she was praying to Mecca. He saw Geoff, Conner and Dale standing with their heads looking at the grass. Before he could tell whom the other three people were he heard a familiar voice.
“No one say a word!” The voice echoed across the parking lot without the typical cockiness it usually had. One of the members turned around and began walking towards Will. Jon continued on past the boy in the trench coat they all knew as Widow.
Will did not want to see Widow, but due to his heart wrenching discussion with Stephanie this morning, he had no more hatred to convey upon the boy. Widow quickly marched over to Will and grabbed his arm to lead him to the pond. Before Will could say a word Widow began to speak. “Come here. Have a whiff of this, it will soften the blow.” Widow handed a damp white cloth to Will.
“What is going on?” Will demanded taking the cloth from Widow.
“I’ll tell you in a second, but first sniff that.”
“What is it?”
“It’s ether.” Widow said as they reached the edge of the pond. Widow sat down and looked into the water obviously pondering something very deeply.
Will put the rag to his nose and tried to inhale. It felt like he was trying to breath ammonia. His lungs immediately rejected the fumes. He shook his head and tried again. This time he took a breath as quickly as he could. He felt slightly light headed and took another whiff. He dropped the rag as his nose and mouth burned. He felt good, he forgot what was going on, but he felt good. He looked over and saw Widow and he remembered something was wrong. It did not matter to him, but he knew what was happening again.
Widow looked at Will. “Taylor is dead.” The words put Will in a state of shock. He felt like someone had shot him in the chest. “She killed herself Wednesday morning.” Will was now in tears and holding the rag up to his face, only breathing in the ether fumes. Widow grabbed the cloth out of his hand and screamed at him. “Stop! You’ll put yourself into a coma.”
“Do you think I care?” Will could barely say the words. His head swam with the power of the ether. His vision quickly went dark, he could only see sparkling purples and blacks. He felt the world crashing down around him as he pictured Taylor’s dead body. When his vision returned he felt as if an evil shroud had covered his mind and heart, he felt no compassion for the world, he had no love for life, and he felt nothing but hatred for God. He realized that he was no longer crying. Turning to Widow words spilled out of Will’s mouth, “How did she do it?”
Widow was surprised to see Will composed so quickly. “She slit her wrist.”
“I assume she did it correctly then.” Will tried to make himself cry, but his body refused.
“Yes. She cut elbow to thumb with a paper cutter.” Widow began to feel the pain of his old friends passing take its toll on his mind. “Are you okay? You seem to be taking this quite well.”
“There is no need for mourning. She got out of this fucked up world. She must have really liked herself.” Will said these last words knowing that Widow would not understand.
“How can you say that?” Widow was forcing back tears of pain as well as one’s of anger at Will’s nonchalant attitude towards the situation.
Will stood up looking down at Widow. “If she hated herself she would not let herself die. What kind of punishment is dying? I think I am scum, I let my universe take advantage of me, but I can’t kill myself. I don’t deserve that kind of easy out.” Will turned and walked back to the median where more of his friends were devastated.
Will reached the median and pulled Geoff aside. “I understand everyone is torn up over this, but I need you to do something.”
Geoff was still shaken from the news, but was happy to do something to get his mind off Taylor. “What do you need?”
“We need a lot of drugs. We need to get everyone in a state that they can deal with this.” Will realized that he sounded like a terrible person saying this, but he did not care. He reveled in the idea that he might be doing something that God did not want.
Geoff agreed and went off looking for a payphone. Will pulled out his cigarettes and sat down on the curb to have a smoke.

Bag of Tricks

Geoff brought the drugs back, but informed Will that the Family was in debt to a drug dealer at this point. Will was not worried, he would figure out a way to get the money. He was interested as to what exactly Geoff had bought as he handed him a paper bag nearly full of substances.
Will took the bag and walked through the parking lot and across the street. There was a large drainage pipe that he went to stand in where he was not detectable from the road. He opened the bag and found a wide assortment of drugs. He saw a ten strip of acid, a couple of bags of different colored powders, some weed, a few pills, and what looked to be small cluster of yellowish white crystals.
He was unsure of what all was in the bag, but he knew that there should be something for everyone. He felt no need to delve into the bag of substances immediately so he walked back to the park. When he reached the median Liza and Geoff were the only people left. He asked Geoff how much the bag cost and was astounded at the answer. Geoff had let the Family fall into a thousand dollar debt.
Will was beginning to get worried about the situation. He figured he would be able to raise the money, but he did not imagine that he would need more than a couple hundred dollars. He recognized that he was now in the big leagues. He had been doing drugs for a few months at this point and thought he knew what was going on, but this was the moment he knew that there was a lot more to the underworld than he thought.
Will looked at Liza. She was still crying, but had got to her feet now. “I think you need to relax. Take something from the bag and try to let Taylor’s passing absorb into you. Let it help you grow.” Will handed her the bag.
Liza opened the bag and pulled out a small blue pill. It had a Mercedes logo on it. “Thank you.” She said as she sniffed her nosed. “This X should help me somewhat.” She sat down and swallowed the pill dry.
Will took the bag back and offered the same to Geoff, but he said he was fine. Will turned away from the couple and began walking towards the Sub Shop. On his way he smoked another cigarette while he questioned the purpose of his offer to Liza. He knew that taking drugs was not what he should be doing to help people get over a friends death. He decided that she thought it was a good idea and that was all that mattered.
He reached the Sub Shop and found no members of the Family. He wandered past the building and under the bridge where they sometimes got high. As he walked down the slope to the get under the overpass he heard someone talking. He was not sure who it was, but he heard a lot of talk about religion.
“How can I believe in God when he would do something like this.” Came the voice of a girl who had obviously been crying.
“You must understand his plan.” Said Widow as Will came into view. He scanned the area to see who it was that Widow was talking to. He saw one of the Family members he could not remember. She had long purple hair that hung like shredded yarn across her twelve year old face. She was slightly larger than most of the girls in the Family and was sitting with her knees in her chest rocking back and forth.
Will spoke up not liking what Widow was saying. “Don’t lie to her Widow.”
Widow looked up and saw Will. He was baffled as to how Will heard any of the conversation. “What do you mean?”
“Please you can’t know that God exists. I would rather believe that when I die it is all in my control. It’s either my desire or my stupidity that kills me. I will not fall dead just because your man in the sky says it is time. If God doesn’t exist then isn’t all of this that much more bearable? ” Will mentally pushed Widow to challenge him in debate. The girl looked out at Will wanting to hear more.
Widow shot back, “No, because that means we have no purpose.”
“You want so badly to have purpose that you put your faith in a magical creator. You can’t accept the idea that there is nothing out there? Why would God let this kind of shit happen?”
“He is there and we are all apart of his plan. Taylor died to set forth a series of events that must occur.”
“Why?” Will looked over to the purple haired girl. “Why does that specific series of events have to occur?”
“We must learn something while we are in this life!”
“For what? God is a fairy tale.”
“Why else would we exist if not to learn and experience the world?”
“How about to create our own destiny. How about to fuck and do drugs. How about because it’s all a big fucking coincidence, we are here because we are.” Will was feeling a slight amount of power. “Tell me how you can live in a world that is run by a God who doesn’t care for people? A God who takes innocent lives and lets their friends and family suffer. How can you love God after he took Taylor from us?”
“She is in a better place now.”
“ But you said she had to learn. She was dealt a shit life, she was beaten, she used sex to avoid conflict, and she was used constantly. You should know; you used her. How can that be fair? Why must she learn from that when there are people who are born into a rich family and never have pain in their life? Tell me how your God allows this?”
“You are wrong.”
“I am not claiming I am right. I am just saying that your idea of a power that creates life to let it learn things that are already truths or falsities in the universe is asinine. It’s coincidence! There ain’t shit. Why waste your life working for a God that doesn’t exist. Live for your own damn self. I want to believe that Taylor had enough so she got out. I want to believe that if I have enough I can get out. I want to believe that it is all up to me not God.” As Will closed his mouth the girl stood up and ran to Will. She gave him a long hug and thanked him for showing her that Taylor had achieved her own desires. She held him still crying for the fact that she would never see her again, but was happy that Taylor got what she wanted.
As she walked away Will held her arm. He leaned over and kissed her, then he offered her anything she wanted out of the bag. She took a couple snorts of cocaine and left to go back to the park.
“I can not believe you have no faith in God.” Widow looked at Will in awe.
“I didn’t say I believed any of that. It was what she needed to hear. Now she will be okay.”
Widow was infuriated by Will’s attempt disprove his religion. He wanted to tear into Will, but decided against it. “You are evil.”
“Believe what you want. I am here to help people. I want everyone to be back to normal as quickly as possible.” Will was tired of discussing religion. “We have another problem.”
Widow was not in the mood to hear about Will’s problem, but quickly realized that it was not just Will who was in trouble.
“The Family owes a dealer a thousand dollars.”
Widow began to walk towards the Sub Shop. “I can fix it, but you got to help.”

Inheriting the Business

Widow called Parnell and had him pick up Will and him. They went back to Parnell’s apartment. The moment Will walked into the small two bedroom apartment he flashed back to the moment when he saw Taylor and Widow having sex on the couch. He did not feel any pain or anger. He looked at Widow. “I must thank you.”
Widow did not know what Will was talking about. “Why?”
“If you had not stripped my core of all life, I would not be able to do the things that I now can do. I could not have saved that girl today from months of hating God. I could not have punished those assholes for injuring Jon.”
Will would have continued, but Widow interrupted, “You know those assholes are still in the hospital.”
“So? They deserved it.”
“You set the fucking Crips loose on them. I think you are going too far.” Widow shook his head.
“I am doing what I think needs to be done.” Will was standing tall and not feeling a bit of remorse.
Widow sat down on the couch worried about what was to happen to his friends with Will leading them around blindly. “Just don’t put anyone in danger.”
Will and Widow discussed the financial situation of the Family. Widow reluctantly told Will that he was having Parnell make acid for his drug business. He decided that Will could take over the sales in the area since he would not be able to return for a long time. Having come back because of Taylor’s death had put him in a very risky situation.
Will learned the ins and outs of drug dealing. He learned how to make LSD, crystal meth, and crack. He was told where to buy the more expensive drugs and how to find the exotic ones.
Will was not excited to become a drug dealer, but thought it necessary to pay off the debt Geoff created. He did not stay any longer than he had to, but before he left he got the lowdown on what substances he had in his bag. He found out that he had coke, speed, and PCP in powder forms. He had ecstasy, Quaaludes, pain killers, and ruphies in pills. He obviously had weed and acid, but the crystals were DMT.
Upon leaving the apartment he became very interested in the DMT. Widow said that it was similar to LSD, but quite a bit stronger.
Parnell drove Will back to the Forest. On the way they discussed how they were going to sell the acid that he was making in his second bathtub.

These Colors are Crazy

Will returned to the Forest and pulled Jon aside to try the DMT with him. It was a little after noon and they were both mentally drained from the events of the day. Jon did not seem to be too reactive of Taylor’s death, but he was pained inside.
Will and Jon walked to the sewage drain that Will had been to earlier in the day and pulled out the crystals. They realized that it had to be smoked in a speed pipe, but they did not have one with them. They searched the ground and found an empty soda can. They dented in the can and put the crystals on top. They emptied out the bag of drugs and rolled it up like a large straw.
They took turns burning the can from underneath and inhaling the minty vapors through the makeshift tube. After a couple of drags Will felt it hit. His body was still sober, but his vision was blurring with colors that seemed to bleed out of everything he saw.
Will stopped taking hits on the DMT as he watched the green grass glow so bright that the blue of the sky had to twist together with it creating an aqua color covering the Earth and heavens. His mind was being treated to the same intense intoxication. As he watched his skin ripple like a pond disturbed by a rock, he questioned why he was doing the things he was doing.
He wondered if he had crushed an innocent girl’s faith in God while his stayed true. He pictured her being drug into hell by demons who were masked as her friends. He watched the terror of her clawing to pull herself out of the pit. He saw her with his mind, he felt her with his now blackened heart, and he heard her cries as if she was truly in front of him. His eyes suddenly became covered by a red veil allowing his thoughts to become his sole source of sight.
He listened intently to her screams as he saw her fingernails rip from her hands as she clawed at the rocky pit. At the bottom of the pit was himself. He was staring up at the girl as she fought to end her descent. He smiled sweetly as she finally came to the ground in which he stood upon. Her body was dripping with dark red blood from the many lacerations she had received on the way down. The apparition of Will reached out with his middle finger and touched the girl’s forehead. She immediately stopped screaming and watched as all wounds slithered across her skin to form to healed holes in the palms of her hands. She smiled with joy as Will watched himself tear her soul out of her body and rip it into pieces.
Will returned to his body realizing that he was actually standing in the sewage drain. He leaned down to fill the bag back up with the random drugs letting his head swim in the beautiful ocean that is DMT.
Jon, who took less of the DMT watched Will clean up and was astounded that he snapped out of his twenty minute standing blackout. He joined Will in taking tiny steps on their way back to the park.

One Turn Deserves Another

Will was still tripping. He had decided that he was done with happiness. He figured out that pain was worse when a person begins happy. He did not want to avoid being hurt, but he knew that it was not worth being happy if he was to be destroyed again.
He walked through the park in search of Family members. He left the bag of intoxicants with Ravyn. She was not coming into the park and he felt it was a good idea to not try to and sneak them in.
He had checked the dock, the porch, and the arcade, but he had not found anyone. It was not until he decided to relocate his search to outside the park when he noticed someone. Walking down the path as he neared the front gate was the purple haired girl. Will turned and walked over to her.
“Hey, cutie.” Will said trying to get her attention.
“Hi. What are you doing?” The girl was still disturbed from the news of Taylor’s death earlier in the day.
“Looking for you.” Will lied wanting to play with the girl.
“For me? Why?”
“I can’t stop thinking about you. You are so cute and smart.” Will was throwing anything out that he could think of.
The girl’s face blushed a deep shade of red causing a terribly unfashionable clash with her purple hair. “Thank you. Why do you think I’m smart?” She was now fishing for compliments.
“Most people wouldn’t understand what I was talking about earlier. It seems to be over every ones head.” Will thought he had blown it, but to his amazement the little pudgy girl was happy.
The two of them spent the next few hours together. Will spent most of this time doing what ever the girl wanted. He kept telling her she was pretty and he was infatuated with her. He told a couple of people that she was the most amazing person he had ever met when she was in earshot of his conversations.
All of Will’s hard work paid off. By five o’clock that evening he was with the purple haired girl under the bridge behind the Sub Shop. He convinced her to sleep with him. He told her that he would always be there for her. He told her that she was perfect and that he would do anything for her. To seal the deal, after they were both nude and she had already gone down on him, he asked her if it was moving too fast. This show of concern for her mental well being caused her to want him more than anything else in her life.
After they were finished Will immediately got dressed, kissed the girl, and told her that he would be back in an hour or two. He claimed he had some business to attend to. In reality he had spent the end of his short DMT high trying to get her in the sack. He had no interest in her; he just wanted to find out what it felt like to be on the other end of screwing with someone’s head. He wanted to tear the girl apart. He wanted to destroy what she believed in. He wanted to shred every last bit of her. His subconscious wanted her to do the same to him. Deep down he wanted to be torn apart. He wanted to be told that he was fake. He wanted to think that he should give happiness another try.

Undercover Schmuck

Will was determined to spend some time away from the unexperienced purple haired girl. He went to the pond where he ran into Troll, Ravyn, and Geoff. When he greeted them he found out the bag of tricks had been finished off. A thousand dollars in entertainment was used in five or six hours. He was slightly perturbed by the greedy use of the Family.
The four of them laid down looking at the sky, all wishing they had made better use of the drugs. Looking out at the emptiness that engulfed their planet they were disturbed by a man sitting down next to them. Will looked over and saw a man who must have been in his forties. He had a blond mustache that was very misplaced. He wore tight black jeans and a black Dishwalla shirt.
Ravyn leaned in close to Will and whispered into his ear. “He’s a cop. He tried to arrest me a few years ago.” Will tensed up from the comment.
“You guys looking to score some good weed?” The man said as Will realized Ravyn was right; he must be an undercover cop.
Ravyn spoke out before anyone else could. “Hell yeah! What you got?” Ravyn was playing a game that made Will uncomfortable.
The man pulled out a large bag of marijuana and dangled it in front of the kids. “Jamaican Redhair. Real shit too.” The man pulled out some papers to give the four children a taste.
“Free sample huh?” Ravyn asked as her smile began to grow. “You gonna join us?” She put a large emphasis on the word join. Geoff and Troll both sat up when they heard Ravyn say that.
“No.” The man coughed. “I only sell, don’t smoke the shit.” He was obviously uncomfortable by the question, but Geoff and Troll understood exactly what the situation was at this point. “Here’s your free joint, just let me know how much you want.” The man said as he handed the joint to Ravyn.
To Will’s surprise all the Family members present shared in the joint. He did not understand why they would do drugs right in front of a cop. But since his friends felt safe he decided they knew what they were doing and he joined in; he was very excited as he received an intense yet soothing high from the high quality product.
After the joint was burned out and all four of them were stoned the man asked, “So how much do you want?”
Ravyn piped up first. “I need a nickel sack. How much is it?” She almost started laughing out loud knowing what the man was going to say.
“How ever much you think is fair.” He replied trying to keep his annoyed tone to a minimum.
“I got a dollar.” She replied handing the man an old waded up dollar bill.
Geoff, Troll, Will followed suit. They each purchased five one-hundredths of an ounce from the man for a dollar. They were all appreciative of their fortune. The high class weed should have cost them each at least ten dollars. They made sure to mention that they have many friends who would be interested if he came back in a week.
As soon as the man left Will questioned the whole activity. The other three quickly explained that the man was an undercover police officer, but he would not blow his cover for selling nickel sacks. Purchase of a nickel sack was a misdemeanor in the state of Texas at the time. The problem with busting minors with petty misdemeanor crimes was that once the street kids knew who the cop was, he could not go undercover in that area again.
Will was quite pleased and also very high. He made sure that no matter what he was feeling, it was not happiness. He knew that he could not afford to allow himself that pleasure again. He laid on the edge of the pond feeling the blood flow through his body when Troll laid down with her head on his shoulder. He would normally be uncomfortable with this due to the unattractiveness and annoyance that was Troll, but that day he felt at ease with her using him as a pillow.
He continued to look into the sky when Ravyn crawled over next to him. She looked him in the eyes and licked his lips. Will was interested in what she wanted and proceeded to watch her raise his shirt to allow herself access to his stomach and chest. She slowly began nibbling at his flesh and giggled each time she pinched a tiny bit of skin.
Troll was upset that Ravyn had stolen her idea and turned into will’s face kissing him. Will was stunned, but feeling good from the high he went with it. Ravyn laughed out loud and began rubbing the outside of Will’s thighs while she moved up to his nipples for her mouth to play.
Troll got upset and left when Will let out powerful moan from hard bite on his nipple, pulling away from Troll’s kiss. As Troll stomped off towards the park Ravyn slid up to where she was next to Will and kissed him passionately. She pulled her tongue out his mouth scraping across his teeth and upper lip. She moved her hand to his crotch and as she rubbed his body she asked, “You ready to fuck me?”
Will was enjoying the moment, but was tired and very intoxicated. He replied to her question as he sat up. “I came twice already today, but if you want we can go see if I can get you off.”
Ravyn was pleased with his response and got to her feet. She grabbed his hand and led him to a spot in the parking lot that was hidden from the casual passerby. She took off her jeans and panties; she told Will to have his way with her.
They committed their sins of the flesh on the hot and sticky asphalt of the parking lot. She let out some loud screams to attract attention, but stayed unobserved as she enjoyed her gift from Will.
When they returned to the pond Geoff was talking to the purple haired girl. She saw Will walking towards her and she rose to her feet to greet him with a huge embrace.
Ravyn saw the girl with joy in her eyes and wanted to damage her. She hated people who have not felt real pain. She wanted everyone to suffer as she had suffered over the course of her lifetime. She grabbed Will’s hand and stuck his finger in her mouth. She sucked his middle finger in the most sexual way possible. The purple haired girl squinted one eye at the strange sight.
Ravyn did not see the pain in the girl’s face that she had hoped. “God! I think I’ll have you do that to me everyday.” Ravyn said as she grabbed Will’s crotch and glared at the chubby girl.
The girl took a hard swallow and looked at Will in terror. “What? What about us?” She pleaded to Will for answers.
Will looked her body up and down. “You were a good fuck, but” He paused as he smelled Ravyn’s sweaty hair. “I don’t even know your goddamn name.”




































Chapter 8

A New Life

Will spent much of the next week thinking about the tubby purple haired girl. He wanted her to rip him down. He wanted her to destroy his belief system. Instead the girl crumbled into the fetal position when Will had spoke. Ravyn reveled in the girl’s misery and continued to fondle and kiss Will while she gasped for breath from the pain.
Will let the vision dance through his mind the whole time because he was interested in the girl’s response. He wanted to know why she did not retaliate. The fact that she just crouched down and watched her nightmare come true amazed him. He never felt bad for what he did; he enjoyed her pain a little. It was this realization that caused him to believe his conscious was dead.
Much of the following week was filled with drug deals. He had picked up four sheets of acid from Parnell on Sunday before he left the park. He had spent much of his time looking for people to buy. He asked people at school and called Family members trying to find customers. He was somewhat successful since he sold over two sheets. He was relieved since that made him enough money to pay off the dealer that the Family owed money to.
He constantly felt like he was missing something in his life. He imagined his chest as a hollow shell that had no purpose. He was used to the feeling. It was similar to what he had been feeling since he saw Widow and Taylor together. He was somehow comforted by the sensations now.
Will had been in great pain all week. His body ached at all times; he was vomiting on a daily basis. He took one of the hits of acid on Monday night to make the physical pain go away. Tripping throughout the night kept him up. It worked, he felt nothing physically, but as soon as it wore off the following day his body rejected being alive again. He suffered through pain, but Daisy and Joesphine were very concerned with his condition. He kept telling them it was not a big deal.
Wednesday Will took another hit of acid trying to avoid pain. He took the small square of paper immediately after school. He did not sleep again which in the long run hurt his body more, but he did not mind. By the time he was at school on Thurday he was barely staying awake. Josephine felt she should help him, but he refused to let her influence his thoughts.
After school he got high with Jon. He felt better. Jon and Will sought out some pain killers to help Will. They were unsuccessful in their hunt, but it did not matter, on Friday they would return to the Forest and Will was planning on ingesting more LSD.
Josephine and Daisy were not the only ones who were concerned with Will’s physical state. His parents had mentioned to him that they thought he should eat more. Will was worried they figured out he was not using his lunch money for lunch. He only ate in the evening when his family had dinner. He did not eat breakfast as he felt too bad. He refused to use his lunch money. He was losing weight. The bones in his arms began to become more prominent as did his cheek bones. His eyes were sunken into his skull looking deeper than they were from the bags under his eyes.
By Friday he was down to one sheet of acid and figured he could unload it at the Emerald Forest. Daisy had decided to come along and meet the crew that his three school companions kept talking about.

It was a Deal

Will had little time to worry about conversing at the park on Friday. He was concerned with finishing his drug deals. Daisy was introduced to the family members that were nearby when he and Will arrived at the park. Luckily for Will, Daisy hit it off with Spiffy and there was no need for Will to act as a host for his friends first time with the family.
Daisy and Spiffy spent most of the evening getting to know each other. Regardless of most of the Family member’s deep understanding of the sexual world, Daisy was content with a passionate kiss from Spiffy. It was a moment that he would remember as his first flirtation with passion.
Will on the other hand had been selling five dollar hits of LSD to random people he met throughout the night. It was a long and arduous task until he met a young man by the name of Stanley. Stanley was a dealer of sorts himself. He had money from multiple people that he claimed he could hook up for the night. Stanley had heard from a friend that there was a kid at the Forest who had a good stash that he was unloading.
Stanley approached Will with his makeshift bodyguard, Dopey, and inquired about the product, “So I hear that you have some good shit.”
Will was quick to see another sale. “I got some real quality stuff that I would be happy to get off my hands for a decent price.”
“I need a sheet.”
“Well the going price is typically five bills.”
“You know damn well I can’t profit off that, that is single hit price!” Stanley was annoyed with the inexperienced child. If he wasn’t in such a desperate situation he would have walked away right then.
“Tell you what.” Will fell back into his salesman role. “I got a sheet and two ten strips left. I will sell you all of it for five hundred.” Stanley was not quick to accept; Will fearing that Dopey would try to impose a physical threat, decided to explain the benefits of the offer to the man. “That settles what you need and leaves a good hundred to make for yourself.”
Stanley looked at Dopey knowing that he could destroy the boy if he wanted and realized that he could be in a good position to create his own personal supplier. “That could be a good idea, but not for just one transaction. If you can get more and get me that kind of price on a normal basis, I may just be inclined to accept.”
Will suddenly realized that if he actually had control of the drug business, he may have himself an easy profit every week with this guy. “I don’t think I can sell in such a small quantity on a regular basis. I need you to commit to two sheets every week. Seven double oh’s every week. That should be worth my time and enough profit for your effort.”
Stanley agreed and left some contact information with Will to set up his permanent supply. Will walked away from the sale with a relief that he had cut out some of his own work until he no longer had to control the business.

As the planet turns

Will tried to enjoy Saturday with no responsibilities. He wondered throughout the park wanting to be alone, but he ran into people everywhere he went. Dopey was at the arcade, Troll over by the pond, Conner at the subshop, and countless others in every corner of Will’s sanctuary.
Eventually he gave in and sat down next to Spiffy near the log flume ride. Spiffy was sad to learn that Daisy had not come to the park today. She was quite infatuated with him from the day before.
“Why didn’t he make a move on me?” Spiffy was sincerely confused.
Will tried to keep his pain from affecting his conversation, “He hasn’t really…” Will trailed off.
“He’s a virgin?!” Spiffy was flabbergasted.
“Yep.” Will was excited that he did not have to explain. Spiffy tried to speak again, but Will had to interject. “I know you want to learn about your new fuck and everything, but I gotta have something. Do you got anything I can have?”
Spiffy was taken aback from Will’s sudden change of subject as well as his request, but she quickly pulled out some speed. “Sure, I only got a couple of grams, but you’re welcome to it.”
“Thank God!” Will dumped the tiny bag of powder straight into his mouth. He didn’t want to take the time to snort it, he wanted relief and he wanted it immediately.
“You think he will be back again?” Spiffy assumed she could resume her conversation now.
“I’ll make it happen… Just as a thanks for the skitz.” Will stood up and walked away.

Recruits

Later in the evening the Family had gathered in the median. Will was now high, he had purchased some weed from Dopey. He was glad to see that Dopey had already taken the seeds and stems out for and did not charge him an outrageous price.
Conner and Liza were discussing school, Dopey and Spiffy were playing a game that ended in both of them having their hands burnt, and Will was lying by himself smoking a cigarette.
An unknown girl sat down next to Will. She looked at him inquisitively and asked for a cigarette. Will obliged and continued to look straight up into the sky. He