Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beyond the Valley of the Kings 1.1

The hand reached out from the place on the couch that it had been perched only to sweep lazily at air. On the backswing the hand made contact with a bottle that topples over and hits the floor. The noise, empty as the bottle then rolls under an adjacent chair. The large man unfolds himself from the sofa swinging his legs out from under him and the hand along with the other now rest upon his knees. Were the man not alone in this shabby apartment the smell of old liquor and foul unclean body would overpower anyone else.

One eye opens while the other one trails behind and this monster of a man, starts tasting the inside of his mouth to the unpleasant reaction of the half of his face that seems to be moving. He spies the bottle that still appears to have vodka or gin or some other clear liquor in it, but it doesn’t really matter to him. He’s been drinking for well over a week at this point, since he had determined that it wasn’t worth it to leave his apartment anymore. His mother had been checking in on him but appears to have given up herself as the disheveled living room of this once showplace of a North Attleboro apartment has become. He was content to just die here at this point.

He doesn’t even appear to have a job anymore either, but nobody from the team has contacted him to tell him, it has been all over the news. He heard about the release on his way home from Walpole after he was able to post bail and get out of that prison. A prison mind you that criminals like Whitey Bulger could be found in, not someone who less than a month ago was considered the real MVP of the big game. No this is where he lay drinking himself to death, devoid of his best friend since he was five years old, living just four blocks over from where he is laying, drinking and wishing to die. The cobwebs in his eyes are nothing compared to the cobwebs in his brain.

How quickly the people turn on you too. Imagine that you are riding through downtown Boston on Duck Boats while the entire world looks upon you in adoration, children screaming your name, women desperately trying to get their phone numbers into your hand, the entire city calling you a hero. Within a week you are sitting in a jail cell and nobody believes that you are innocent of a crime that is completely unconscionable. Even your family doesn’t believe you, the friends from the neighborhood spit on you, and you are one of the most famous people in the state. It’s hard to hide from the people whether you are famous or infamous, but when everyone stares at you out their windows?

Tears start as they have every day now since he got the news. Different reasons and the same reasons but this time it is the sadness of a man who has run out of alcohol, the will to live and the ability to go out and get more. The bottle launches into the wall and shatters into hundreds of pieces, most of which flew back onto the sullen mass of muscle who had thrown the bottle to begin with. He falls back into the sofa, no intent to clean glass from himself of the ability to care if it cut him. His eyes moved about the room looking for something to eat, but it appears he has run out of food as well.

He manages to lift himself from the place he has been for the last eleven hours, and makes a slight yelp as his bare feet, aided by his two hundred and eighty pounds of weight, step down hard on the broken glass strewn out across the floor. He makes no effort all the same to avoid any of the glass or remove the already implanted glass as he continues to walk across the room to where his cell phone sits on the table. Dead battery of course, and he places it back down on the table, but still doesn’t bother to charge the phone. No what he actually needs is the resolve to just to get himself to the door, and muster up the courage to go outside regardless of what people think about it. He never seemed to care what people thought before now, it’s just the growing rage that fills him because nobody cares about his side, well if he had a side. He just didn’t do it and they should give him the benefit of the doubt. Well maybe they should.

Much less concerned about his stench than he should be he finds a pair of dirty socks under the chair that he plopped down in. He did of course remove the glass from the bottoms of his feet even if he seemed less than concerned with the bleeding and whatever disease he could probably acquire from the nasty socks that he is placing on his feet. Shoes are a different story at this point as there appears to be none within his field of vision. This will require more walking in the disaster zone of his own making, but further away from the broken glass at least. A pair of work boots reveals themselves from the floor of the closet, and he plops down on the floor to put them on.

He wrestles himself to an upright position, and then into a standing position. The pounding in his head won’t quit, the memories in his head won’t relent. His slow walk to the door is still a show of fear. His fear of the known, the fear of the obvious, the fear of his own reactions, but he needs to get to the package store and make it all go away again. He needs to forget the anger, the pain, and even the joy that he had. He is no longer Josh Ferland local hero, he is Josh Ferland assumed rapist and murderer. The tears well up in his eyes again as he reaches for the handle to the door, grasp it and remember the worst part of it all.

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