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There's the Door
Susan heard the doorbell ring and she knew that could only be trouble. She hoped more than anything else that is was not her eldest son, Stanley. He’s 18 now and could be put in actual jail this time. She knew it had to be one of her sons and that they had gotten themselves in a mess of trouble. She opened the door with no haste.
“Good morning Officer Bryce,” she said.
She looked to see which of her son’s had been arrested and was somewhat pleased that it was her youngest son, Jordan. Although pleased, she was still upset.
“It’s nice to see you too Sue,” he said.
“What did he do now?” she questioned harshly.
“I think it’s best if he tells you what he’s done and then what he’s being charged with.”
As both his mom and Officer Bryce looked at him with firmness, he had a feeling that his mother would never believe him anyway.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. Officer Bryce here is just on our case as always,” Jordan said lying though his teeth.
“Our?” she questioned.
“You know, me and Stanley. Whenever we get arrested he’s the one that’s there, like he’s following us or something.”
She sighed. Officer Bryce lowered his shades and gripped Jordan’s arm tighter and tighter. Jordan tried to loosen the grip but failed.
“You know that’s not true Sue,” he said with a chuckle, then looked at Jordan. “Even so, you shouldn’t be doing anything that will get you arrested.”
“I know that’s not true,” she said in Officer Bryce’s defense.
She looked at Jordan and grabbed him by his face to get his attention.
“Don’t blame anyone but yourself.”
“Okay mom… just let go of my face.”
She let go and smelled a distinct odor but could not place what it was, but she knew where.
“Is that Stanley’s jacket?”
“Why is that even relevant?”
“Who’s asking the questions here, Jordan?”
He looked at her silently for a moment. He could not figure out what the importance of the jacket was. Then he realized it was the stench of it.
“Uhm… It’s not his, mom.”
She looked at him with disbelief. He had to prove it to her or Stanley might get in trouble too.
“Remember, mom, you bought it for me last month. We were at the mall. It was Sears I think.”
He knew his mom was not good remembering things. Truth was it really was his own jacket but it was almost as important to make his mom believe him.
“Oh yeah,” she said trying to play it off.
She realized that they had gotten off of track and looked at Officer Bryce. The look on his face said what the heck are they talking about.
“Bryce, please just tell me what he was arrested for.”
Crap he thought.
“Okay, I caught him and his little girlfriend down by the lake smoking, but…”
She looked so shocked, that she reacted by slapping Jordan in his face. He looked at her and her hand print on his face was growing even redder. He tried to break free of Officer Bryce’s grasp in order to hit his mother back, but he couldn’t.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” she asked.
“Me? What the hell’s wrong with you mom?” he pause and took a look at Officer Bryce, “Isn’t that, like, assault?”
“Is what like assault? I didn’t see anything,” he chuckled.
Sue took that as a liberty to slap him again, but Officer Bryce pulled him away just in time.
“Whoa, Sue, I need you to calm down. Anyway, I didn’t finish telling you what happened.”
“There’s more,” she said.
“Like I was saying, he was there with his girlfriend, but she was the one holding it. I figured seeing as both were there, that both had to have smoked it.”
“Okay, but was he smoking it?” she stressed.
“Well, when I went over there Jordan ran. I chased after him and a ‘Good Samaritan’ caught him. But what he’s being charged with is assault. After the man grabbed him, he punched the man in the face twice, knocking him down. I caught Jordan before he could run again.”
She looked at him feeling guilty for slapping him, but only for a moment. She wanted to know if he smoked the weed.
“See, mom,” Jordan said.
“According to both of them, his girlfriend, Lily, was the one smoking the weed. I smelled Jordan’s jacket and it smelled of weed but his breath was clean of it.”
Susan still looked shocked but did not feel the need to apologize for slapping Jordan. In her mind, that slap was for the assault. That slap was for hanging out with Lily; and furthermore, dating Lily behind her back.
“Well? Don’t you have something to say, mom?” Jordan asked.
“No! What should I say?” She looked at him and answered before he did. “On second thought, don’t say anything.”
“I’ll tell you what, Sue, I know this is a little unorthodox, but I’ll let him go into your custody; however, this has to be his last time. He is up to his fourth arrest this year; this was one of his more serious ones.”
It would be a little more understanding if it was October or even November, but it was only April.
“Just come down to the station with him to post bail after the hearing tomorrow.”
“Thank you,” she repeated, tugging her son into the house. “I wonder what’ll be his excuse this time.”
She glared at him but he tried not to pay her any mind. He was more interested in what his mom might do now that Officer Bryce was gone. As Bryce left and the door shut, Jordan began to get even more scared.
“I’m tired of this Jordan. Every single month it’s you getting in trouble and me having to go downtown and bail you out. And you know not always dealing with the law. And by that I’m talking about school. You’re telling me you don’t know how to behave.”
“Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a lot?” He asked.
“That’s the point. Don’t get in trouble and I wouldn’t need to say that… So, were you smoking weed?”
“The officer said I didn’t.”
“That’s Bryce. Now I’m asking you Jordan and getting the answer from your mouth.”
There was silence in the room and Susan got impatient.
“Huh,” she said. “Even your brother wasn’t a handful like you. It seems that you always have to top him. What? You’re so needy for attention that you’re trying to get arrested more than your brother to prove your point?”
“Shut up and stop comparing me to Stanley. I’m not like him,” Jordan said firmly. “I didn’t smoke anything, and you’ll just have to accept that.”
“You need to watch your mouth,” her tone mimicked his. “I’m not your father; I will put you in your place.”
“I know you’re not dad. You constantly keep reminding me.”
“You’re not going to do anything. It’s just a bunch of talk.”
“Excuse me!” her hand balled up into a fist, “do you know who you’re talking to?” She questioned.
“You heard me.”
She punched him in the face. He stumbled to the ground and she moved closer. He pushed her back and got up. It was silent for a while and Jordan just wished more and more that he was living with his real dad.
“I’m gonna let your father deal with this when he gets home from work.”
Although he feared his mother, his step-father was a monster. He still had bruises on his back from the last time his step-dad hit him for skipping school.
“If by work you mean the local bar, then yes.”
“You better watch it.”
“And he’s not my dad, nor will he ever be. I hate Michael.”
“I’m gonna tell you this one more time, be respectful. To me he is Michael, but to you and your brothers, he’s dad.” She clarified.
“No he’s not my dad. He’s my drunk, abusive, step-father, Michael.”
She slapped him in the face like before and the first hand print became a deeper red. He thought why am I even here. She does not care about me, she never has.
“I hate it here in this hell hole. Living with two abusive parents is gonna be the death of me.”
Her feet started tapping against the floor and he knew she was actually thinking about what he said.
“I have a solution that will benefit everybody… get the hell out of my house. If it’s such a hell hole then feel free to leave.”
“You’re throwing me out!” He hesitated, “you truly are a cold-hearted…”
“Did you hear me, you ungrateful child? I said get out! Go live with that cheating, lying, drunk father of yours. You’re gonna end up being just like him, so go on and get an up close picture.”
“He’s only like that ‘cause he had to live with you. You did that to him. That’s why Michael isn’t far off from where dad is. He drinks now because of you. He didn’t cheat like dad did, ‘cause he beats us instead.”
She was speechless for the first time.
“You know what; I just might just go live with him.”
Jordan headed up the stairs to pack his stuff, but his mother was right behind him. She grabbed him by his arm and turned him around.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“To pack my stuff and get the hell out of here.”
“No. That stuff upstairs is what Michael and I bought for you. If you’re leaving, then leave all the clothes and electronics’ here.”
“They’re mine. So I’m taking them.”
“If you leave, that will be skipping,” she said in haste, “and then they will arrest you for running.”
“You know that I’m not running from them, I’m running from two parents… or rather a parent and a half, that don’t care for me. And you can tell Bryce I said that. Knowing you though, you won’t.”
“If you’re leaving then I will call the cops. I won’t post bail for you. And I won’t help you again.”
“See if I care. I’ll go down to the station and post bail myself. Then I’ll be out of your care.”
He pulled his arm out of her grasp and continued up the stairs.
“Come back here!” she demanded.
She grabbed him tightly around his left arm and tried to pull him back downstairs.
“No I am still your mother and you are still my son.”
Jordan struggled with his mom on the stairs. They pulled back and forth; his mother resisted all of his attempts to break free. But then Jordan pulled his arm forward with all his might and with success, pulled free. His mother on the other hand, lost her balance on stairs and fell backwards. He turned around instantly and watched. He couldn’t do anything to stop it. He saw her hit her head once on the stairs and land at the foot of the stairs. Eyes closed.
“Mom!” He yelled instinctually.
Then he realized that no matter what she’d done to him good or bad, it didn’t matter. The truth was she was still his mother like she said and he still cared. He rushed down stairs and tended to her. He put his hand to her nose and could feel she was still breathing. He was about to pull out his phone when Michael opened the door. He had just returned from ‘work.’
“Damn,” Jordan said.
His step-father was drunk and bitter. His mother lay on the ground unconscious and Jordan was the only one there. Jordan was truly scared for his life.