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Topics - Simon Toews

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(OOC: This story will contain material a lot of people may find disturbing. Fair warning.)

The young boy ran and ran and ran, rain pouring down on him in torrents.  He was cold, wet and  it had been days since he’d had a bite to eat.  It was rare that he’d been caught stealing, but Old Man Hester had been on the ball.  The last thing he’d expected was for the portly, old guy to bust out a shotgun.  

Glass had shattered behind him as he let the door slowly close when he ran, the buckshot barely missing the boy.  The kid ran, clinging to whatever edibles he could keep from dropping out the pockets of his hoodie.  He ran until his legs felt like they might give up.   And then he ran some more, a trail of junkfood behind him.

Hester hadn’t a prayer of keeping up with him, not with that big ol’ gut.  The young boy dared a look back, just in case.  His eyes should have been forward.  He slammed into the unseen body of a man in black.  The kid hit the pavement with a harsh grunt, the contraband falling from his pockets.

His eyes traveled up and up and up the tall figure, his face still shrouded in shadow.  A hand reached out for him, sending up every red flag the young man had built in his young life.  He was in survival mode.  Quickly, he swatted the hand away and tried to scramble back, trapping himself in a corner.

“Easy, son.  Easy.”  The man said soothingly.  “I’m not gonna hurt ya.”

Those big hands were held up placatingly, a cigarette burning between two fingers.  It was then that he saw it.  A clerical collar.  His all-black outfit that of a priest.  He had a kindly face, but the boy had seen enough of those in his time to know it didn’t mean he was safe.

“Are you alright, lad?  Are you hurt?”  the priest asked.

The frightened young man just stared through wild, blue eyes, waiting for this man to make a move.  The old man peered from behind glasses, noting the food scattering the ground around the boy.  He couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11, he thought.

“That what you’re runnin’ for?  You steal that?”  he asked, but there wasn’t a hint of judgement in the old man’s voice.  The boy didn’t answer.  He just watched.

“I tell you what.  How about, you come inside.  Get a warm meal in you,  Get out of this rain.”  he suggested.

The kid’s fists tightened into little fists.  “*** you.  I ain’t stupid!  I know you’re just gonna turn me in.”

The old man’s brow furrowed.  “You shouldn’t talk like that.  That kinda bile shouldn’t be coming out a young man’s mouth.”  His lips upturned in a little smile.  “I tell you what.  I’m going to head in.  I have a pot of stew cooking inside.  If you want to come join me?  Please.  You are more than welcome.  If not...well, then you go right on your way.  Sound good?”  

The boy didn’t answer.  The man just stubbed out his cigarette and put it in a receptacle.  “If I don’t see you...good luck, my son.”

With that, the old man went inside.  The boy sat out in the rain a long time, soaked to the bone.  It was getting colder lately.  The past few nights had been spent under cardboard boxes grabbing whatever scraps he could to make a blanket to sleep on.  The father hadn’t been lying...he could smell the stew from out there.  It might have been some bachelor chow junk, but to a starving boy, it smelled like heaven.  

Slowly, he got up off the ground, took one look around for his pursuer, and headed inside.  It was dead quiet, but for the sound of rain upon the roof and a crash of thunder.  He looked around cautiously, the smell of food beckoning him into the kitchen.  Every step seemed to take a lifetime as he slowly made his way in, just waiting for someone to grab him and haul him off to a home.

But it never came.  

When he arrived in that dining area, the priest was pulling out a second bowl for the boy.  He froze in the doorway, quiet as can be.  The old man didn’t even glance back.  “Sink is over there.  You don’t have to, but I recommend you wash up a bit.  Do you like soda?  You’re welcome to whatever’s in the fridge.”

Once again, no response from the boy.  He just cautiously made his way to the fridge.  He’d almost forgotten the taste of anything that wasn’t dirty water or the backwash left in a bottle.  Those sharp, blue eyes taking the bounty before him in like it was the holy grail.  His hands shook as he took an orange soda and cracked the top.  

The boy chugged it vigorously, greedily.  Nothing before and nothing after would ever taste so sweet.  

“Easy now.  You don’t want to go upsettin’ your stomach, lad.”  The priest smiled,, setting a small portion for him on a chair.   The kid didn’t move immediately of course, but eventually the call of cooked food was too tempting.  He started over finally.

“Oop.”  the father said, halting the boy.  He nodded to the sink.  Reluctantly the kid went and washed his hands and face.  The water was warm, clean.  It took every ounce of restraint for him not to put his head under the faucet and just drink.

The priest smiled, watching him as he finished.  The little urchin stepped over and immediately dug in like a hungry dog.  This kid hadn’t had a good meal in a LONG time, he thought.  “Take it easy, son.  Nobody’s gonna take it from you.”

The boy looked feral when his eyes shot up to him, but he softened and slowed down.  

“My name is Father Benjamin Mulcahy.”  He introduced himself.  “This is my home.  You are welcome to stay here as long as you need.   What’s mine is yours.”

Those eyes showed he didn’t believe it.  The kid was a tough nut to crack, Mulcahy thought.

“I know.   It seems to good to be true, right?”  He said with a self deprecating tone.  “It ain’t a 5 star hotel or anything, but...it’s warm.  It’s dry.  It’s got food.  You stick around, help out a bit...and I think you’ll see it’s not too bad.”

God, but he was a quiet one.  The boy still not speaking.  He just shoved in another fork-full of stew.  

“You got a name, my son?”

Again, silence.  Mulcahy nodded slowly.  “I understand.  When you’re ready, you can tell me.”

The priest tucked a napkin onto his lap and started eating.  For a long time it was silent between them.  Just the sounds of forks clanking on bowls and the occasional chewing noise.  This Mulcahy didn’t seem to have any ulterior motives.  If he did, he wasn’t showing it.  He just minded his business and enjoyed his meal.  

“Simon.”

Mulcahy perked, looking up from the bowl.  “What’s that?”

“My name is Simon.”


=====================

November 14th, 2017

It’s funny how quickly things can change.  How what you think you know can be flipped on its head.  Coming home had been blissful...until it wasn’t.  The moment he’d seen her in the arms another man, carried into his car and driving off...something broke.  It didn’t take a genius to figure what most likely happened next.  He knew who she was.  How she was.  

Even if he was wrong that night, he knew it wouldn’t be long until he was right.  So, Simon did what he often did.  He left.  

In the past, he’d have gone to war.  Used his fists to “solve” the problem.  But he just didn’t have that in him.  Simon Toews was tired of fighting.  He left behind a picture and a note with a brief message. “I hope he’s enough.”

Simon found himself with his few earthly possessions, sat behind the wheel of that beat up Charger, unsure of where to go.  All he knew was that returning to that penthouse was absolutely out of the question.  Simon was lost, and the phone currently occupying the bottom of bay ensured he would not be found.

Winter would be there soon, and it would be a bitterly cold one.    A daunting concept when one was without a home.  It wasn’t like he didn’t have friends...he probably could have given Orchid a call...but he knew what would likely happen if he did.  And that wasn’t what he needed right now.  

Almost instinctively, he reached to his pocket for a pack of cigarettes and found it empty.  That was odd.  He was never without a pack on him.  To be honest, the last time he could remember lighting one up was back...back in Noble.

Funny how that podunk little town and that tiny farm could have had such a profound effect on him.  He thought about what Kate and Millie were up to now.  He hoped they had found more peace back home than he had.  

Simon cursed under his breath. It just made him picture what was likely going on at that very second.  He didn’t know the man currently spending an evening with the woman he’d sacrificed so much for.  Frankly, he didn’t want to know.  

Stop it.  Focus on the next step, he reprimanded himself.  Find somewhere to stay.  The more he thought about it, the clearer the option became.  The one person he never would have thought he’d have to depend on.  

With a weary sigh, he turned onto the highway and gunned it to the only place he knew nobody would think to look.

2
Nothing was the same.  Tahlia was off on some vague scam with another man, and while the occasional visit or phone call was great, he was left sitting alone in an apartment that she got from a different �other man�.  The place was a reminder that, despite everything, despite the L word getting dropped, she wasn't entirely his.  Such time only brought images he didn't, couldn't bring himself to face.  

He knew what often happened on cons she ran.  He didn't want to hear the moans, envision the wandering hands.  He didn't want...many things.  What he needed was a distraction.   He needed to clear his head, learn to live without carrying the self destructive hatred that he fueled him for so damn long.

He had vehicles stashed all over the city.  Granted, none of them were really his, per se, but he had a way out.  One call and a promise to Tahlia later, and he was ready to go.  

Sliding into the driver's seat of a black 72 Charger, he felt a bit more comfortable.  This felt familiar.  The engine roared to life, the vehicle seemingly trembling and ready for their journey.  There was no destination, but at the moment, that suited him just fine.  A bit of Whitesnake crackled to clarity through the speakers, bringing a smile to his lips.  

�Here I go again.�

3
Life on the Other Side / Eye For An Eye (18+ Violence, language)
« on: May 26, 2017, 01:57:04 PM »
2006
Simon?s eyes popped open to the sounds of cartoons playing on the TV.  His entire body hurt from the night previous.  Cameron Cotter, local crimelord and low-life with delusions of grandeur sent him out to collect, and the skinny little junkie resisted.  Aggressively.  Cotter was piece of ****, but he paid well...and Simon?s skill set was...somewhat limited.
 
Besides...even blood money meant that he could take care of the little brown-haired girl sitting in front of the TV.  Cici was the product of a one-night stand with a stripper.  One day, he woke to find her bassinet sitting at his front door with a note that said ?she?s yours.?  Gods knew what the hell had happened to her, and frankly, Simon didn?t care.  The woman abandoned their child.
 
He was amazed at how quickly he settled into fatherhood.  For an orphaned thug from Westend, he was doing alright.  Even tried to go straight for a while.  Work a regular job, be a regular dad.  But eventually, the life called to him and he was right back in the thick of it.  Beating money out of lowlives, serving as a driver, muscle, and earner for Mr. Cotter.  It wasn?t an honest living, but it was a living.
 
Simon stepped out of his room, clad in a white tank top and grey pajama pants, walking up to the six year old and settled in beside her.  ?Whatcha watchin? baby girl??  He asked, leaning over and kissing the top of her head.  The girl?s hair was just a rat?s nest from sleep.
 
?Spongebob.?  She said, that gapped smile on her little face.  She was so proud to be getting some of her ?big girl teeth? as she called them.  One of those battered hands of his ruffled the girl?s hair.
 
?Lookit you, kid.  You?re a mess.?  He said with a chuckle.
 
Cici patted her hair down self-consciously.  ?Well, you?re supposedta brush it!?  She said defiantly.
 
?Oh-hoho, am I??  Simon laughed.  ?Well, yessum, Miss Cici??
 
He reached over to the end table, grabbing the brush as she climbed into his lap.  Whether Cici understood what her daddy did for a living was up in the air.  He did everything he could to keep the two lives separate.  She never asked about the bruises or the scabby knuckles.  It was just something that was always there.  There were times after a particularly rough job where he struggled to even look the little one in those pretty blue eyes.  If there was any good in him, she brought it out.
 
As he was working the knots out of her hair, his phone rang on the coffee table.  His eyes turned to it, wide and alert as they always did when the job interrupted his other life.  He leaned down and kissed the top of her head.  ?Daddy?ll be right back.?

?Hurry up!?  He said insistently.  ?My hair?s a MESS.?
 
Simon laughed.  ?Of course.  Wouldn?t want you to look a fool in front a? Squidward.?  He said, standing and picking up the phone.  He slipped back into his room and closed the door to a crack.  The phone was pressed to his ear as he answered.  ?Toews.?
 
?Simon!  Mate.?  Cotter?s voice came through.  That gruff, cockney voice always sent a chill through his body.
 
?Mr. Cotter.?  Simon responded, very calm and professional.  ?What can I do for you??

?Listen, bruv, I?m gonna need ya t?day, yeah??  Cotter said.
 
?Absolutely.  What?re we talkin?? Simon peered out, making sure Cici was still glued to the TV.
 
?Nuffin? too rough...in theory.?  he snickered.  ?My pain in the ass wife needs a driver going into Star?s End.  Thought you?d be up for a bit a? quick green, yeah??
 
Lyla Cotter.  Tall, leggy and gut wrenchingly gorgeous.  Too beautiful for a pug-faced lug like Cameron.  He?d met her only briefly and even then, she?d barely looked up from her phone.  It was no secret that the woman liked to party...and flirt.  He?d known men who responded a little too readily to her advances and ended up decorating the bottom of the river.
 
?How long??  Simon asked, trying to figure out how long he?d need to recruit his neighbor, Ellen to look after the kid.  Ellen was in her 60?s, a widow, but she adored Cici, despite her father?s less than stellar reputation.  
 
??Til she tells ya, mate.?  Cotter responded, a little edge to his voice.  ?Frankly, I want the bitch outta my hair.?
 
Simon bit his tongue, almost responding with a crack at the balding mobster?s quickly retreating hairline.  ?Yessir.?  he said, instead.
 
?Pick ?er up at the house at 1, yeah?  We?ll get you all set up.?  
 
?One o?clock.?  Simon affirmed.  
 
?See ya then, mate.?  And the line went dead.

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