The Chasers

The Chasers that’s what they called us, on the streets anyhow. No, we weren’t some band of dog trainers or a band that is used to follow up the real performance; no we “chased” things down people and mugged them. In the coming months though we would find out just how fitting the name was under a totally different meaning, one that we would never have expected. But we weren’t a normal gang of gruffly and bored teens no; there was method to our madness. See it all started the thieving I mean, when Lugg lost his mother to the insanity that ruled her life. See when he was little his father was the one who took care of him, his family was relatively normal and his mother’s troubles were under control, until the day his father died. We were at school that day as usual listing to Mr. Yapp jabber on about how important history was, though his classes were interesting with his charades and his endless rants about how we are affected by history everyday, he never really had much substance to his lessons; a pity since my Granddad and I are real history buffs. When Gretta’s phone rang, Mr. Y immediately stopped his goings on about how the elections of the 1920’s changed the course of politics in the world and how Hoover really didn’t do much for the American public. In the time it took him to cross the room to collect the “illegal” phone Gretta’s face went from its usual stone cold poise to it’s other most common expression, blaring indignation in the form of tear and beet red cheeks. She threw the phone on the ground next to her seat and immediately jumped out of her seat, running into the hall and down the staircase. I glanced at the message just before Mr. Y stooped down to pick it up, on the screen held the worst news I’d ever read on that phone, it was from Lugg’s grandmother, reading, “Leonitus will isn’t feeling well his father fell from the scaffolding today and is in the hospital, we would appreciate it if you and his other friends would stop by to talk to him. He hasn’t said a word since he heard the news this morning.” Mortified I scowled at Mr. Yapp waiting for his response as he looked form me to the screen, and he did the strangest thing I’d ever seen him do; he turned a shade of purple usually reserved for plums and shouted at me, “Well what are you waiting for GO, I will call Mz. Shirley in the office to tell her why your coming. And make sure you’re the one driving Gretel, god knows you’re under control.” I bolted, fast was my thing, I could think fast, talk fast and best of all run fast. Mr. Y knew that from my time on his soccer team. Gracefully I leaped out of my chair leaving my things in there place and galloped out of the room, leaving a flight of stairs at a time be hind me and the room. By the time I got down stairs Mz. Shirley was waiting in the hall with my powder pink pass for leaving and pointing to the door that lead to the parking lot where Gretel’s car was. Her cherry red Crystal was sitting under the same tree she was, both looking the same color. I’m just glad she waited for me; I scooped her up and helped her into the passenger’s seat. She clicked her buckle in and I tossed her the phone out of my coat pocket. As I jammed the key in to the ignition and threw it in gear almost simultaneously, I also said in the calmest voice I could bear, make sure that our parents know where were going and tell Greg where we are. Gretel, forcing herself into her stone state then wiped the tears from her eyes and dutifully went about informing everyone about our where-abouts, and purposes. By the time we got to the hospital Gretel was still trying to explain to her aunt why she needed to tell her mother she wasn’t in school and that she didn’t have the time right now to explain to her where she was, what ever the last message was must have alluded some kind of fanciful content about Gretel’s private life, because she responded with some sharp thumb pounds and then threw the phone to the ground. I wheeled in to the spot marked visitors and threw the car into park, pulling the key out just as fast as I had put it in, pocketing the smooth metal in my coat. By now Gretel had collected herself and in a flurry of nervous and determined motion as she stomped her way to the door I chased her as she bounded toward the door. Catching up with her to find her scolding the receptionist in a plethora of befuddling language, all three that she knew. The man taken aback by the slurry of French, German and English stuttered sorry miss I can’t understand you. I slid Gretel out of my way gently with one hand on her hip saying; sorry she’s a bit out of sorts. I’m Roxanne Meriwether, and she is Gretel Hoppenhaugen, we’re here to see the Knut family, were friends of Lugg’s, I mean Leonitus’s. The man smiled and said, “Here’s your pass, their on the fifth floor, room 232” I ran for the stairs, shouting to Gretel over my shoulder to meet me up their, and that I needed to blow off some steam. She whimpered her response and scuttled toward the elevator, as I ascended the first flight of stair along the wall across the foyer, rounding the corner on the landing as the doors slid shut and she disappeared. The next four flights were probably record breaking, because I beat the elevator and had to wait for Gretel, for as I had our pass and the nurse at the front desk wouldn’t let her past without it. When she finally arrived I practically had to drag her along with me on my search for the correct room finally arriving at a stock still and solace Lugg. Gretel bounded the last few steps to him, flinging her arms around him, finishing a string of senseless jabber before bellowing, sorry. I never really got to know his father but Gretel and Lugg had been inseparable from him and each other since the first grade. Though they weren’t lovers or even going out, they still were the closest thing to a life long friend anyone could ask for. I stood there, rocking on my heels the whole time chin tucked, trying not to watch. I cleared my throat and saying, how is he? Lugg blinked and wiped his eyes saying that they were afraid he wasn’t going to make it and that his mom was not taking it well. I sighed and wondered aloud, what are you going to do? Your Grams can’t take you in with her being in the hospital for her lymphoma constantly and your mom will need more help then you will. In a voice that screamed, I’m an adult he said, I know that’s what the DCF lady said this morning, telling me that my best option was to either find someone to move in with or go with her. I considered a moment, how badly I would be scolded for inviting someone to live in our house without asking first and then decided to offer regardless. Lugg had always been there for Gretel and she was my only real friend in the world. Grudgingly he accepted my invitation and we listened to Greg sing the last song Lugg’s father would ever hear, it shook the room so bad that some of the other patients thought there was an earth-quake. Only the four of us knew the truth, Greg was doing the one last thing for Lugg’s father, guaranteeing him a safe passage. And that at least gave us all a piece of mind for the day.

2

After a rousing joust verbal joust with my father and the cooing of my mother and a few innuendos on the nature of his stay, Lugg finally was aloud to rest in our guest room for the night; though I would probably not sleep all night. My parents were logs when sleep was concerned, they greedily logged every hour in and took it in fully. I on the other hand can’t even find peace on the most boring of days I sleep, so any slumberous respite is void after a tumultuous day like today. It didn’t help that Lugg’s bad dreams were becoming the nightmares of the night shift for the convenience store down on the corner, lights flickering, and horns blaring all night long, adding to the troubled customers who ventured there in these hours. I sat up knees to my bare chest with the upper sheet separating the rest of my exposed body from the crisp night air, thinking about the day we all met and just how weird it was. Gretel with her wavy auburn hair was flowing in the gentle breeze of the beach air, Greg appearing out of no where, over our shoulders. Lugg silently fiddling with whatever electronic Gretel had to have this week. The class trip was the first time I had met any of them, they went to the middle school on the other side of town and this was supposed to be our introduction to each other before high school so that we all shared something in common with each other before the next year’s classes. The introductions were normal their expression, giving nothing away. Not even the strange topics of far out dreams and wild fantasies set me off, no I could tell that they had something more, that they had almost purposely found me to befriend me. It wasn’t until after Greg read his poetry in front of our home room did Gretel’s comment clicked, “We’re all a bit ‘different’ from other people, let’s just say we know when ‘Ziengiet’ is in our lives.” Only after consulting a search engine did I find that “Ziengiet” meant, the proper or perfect place in time; and was used in the work of German folk stories and legends. Greg spoke of “… the streaming colors, all amongst each other in a swirling, dancing pattern; cloaking all things in a shining light of their own color, each aura emanating in its natural and purposeful Ziengiet.” I think it was a metaphor for how souls all function together at a higher level in harmony, but is was Greg’s voice that really brought the harmony to the piece, it resonating through my body and filling my ears in a warm ringing sensation. They were talking about what the Chinese call Chi, or life power, they all had some kind of natural connection to their life power and had learned how to direct it for their benefit. When I asked Gretel about it later the next day she told me that she could convince anyone to do, what ever she wanted and never took no for an answer, further more she never got it as an answer either. My head spinning, I finally fell asleep, feeling much like the days when I met Lugg, Greg and Gretel, and when I heard Greg’s poem. Feeling like I got the mental wind knocked out of me I collapsed and fell into a strange dream.

3

You know that song that ends the movie “Meet Joe Black”, the medley between “Over the Rainbow” and “ What a Wonderful Life” well, my brain certainly does, because that’s the music that I woke up to, running incessantly through my head. Fitting considering that I had another one of those weird dreams about the massive buildings that seemed to belong in the hall Alice entered after falling through the mirror. Shaking off the strange feeling and jumping out of bed (not remembering that Lugg was here now) I strode off into the bathroom for my 5am Saturday shower. Both the parents were off at work and wouldn’t be home until late as usual, so I could go about my morning completely exposed. Unfortunately my noisy, breakfast routine woke our unknowing guest. I was unconcerned, he was bugging out. Unlike most people my age I was comfortable with my body, a childhood in the doctor’s office kind of wore off the whole novelty of the idea. That didn’t keep Lugg from stammering and rubbing his eyes, as he stood their in disbelief I turned to offer him some corn flakes. When he finally came about, the only thing he could say was, “You are what most would call ‘endowed’, wow, even Gretel would be jealous.” I shrugged, passing him the bowl and saying, “What, you’ve never seen what a girl looks like?” Slightly embarrassed because I was friends with Gretel and Lugg was her Pseudo-Lover I grabbed the blanket on the arm of the couch and wrapped it about myself like a shawl. The first five minutes of our cold cereal went quietly, and then I asked, “Have you ever dreamed about any crazy buildings?” “What do you mean”, he said, without raising his eyes from his spoon, obviously straining not to look up again. “I mean ones where the halls are big enough to drive four cars beside each other and the people are all running around with books and papers like in a college/hospital.” He glanced up cautiously, seeing that I was partially covered he attempted to look me in the eye, saying, “Ahh… Yea the halls are carved with ornate little sculptures and the people are running about laughing all willy-nilly; speaking every language known to humanity, and all at the same time? The furniture seems to float and everyone glides at an almost luxurious pace as they go about their business.” I respond, “ Exactly, then you wake up with the most sentimental songs running through your head, wondering if there is any meaning to all of this madness.” “By the way”, I added, “Don’t be embarrassed about my nude strutting, every one has a body, not every one is comfortable with theirs, and that’s their own problem.” He mumbles something about how his body would embarrass me, I pretend not to hear the compliment and smirk into my cornflakes. My mind then jumps back to the song I awoke with and I begin to wonder if all these things were in some way related, the poetry Greg wrights, the edifice of wonder in our dreams, Gretel’s unforgettable statement that she gave so little concern to. What did they have to do with each other, and why did my brain keep jumping to these things the day after Lugg’s father’s death. For the next few weeks every night ended the same way and every morning the same. Though Lugg eventually got used to my morning escapades, he always wore at least his shorts, guess my speech about being comfortable with your own body only went so far, even though Gretel said it was fine with her. I don’t think Lugg knows that my thing is for Gretel not him, but Gretel knows, I told her. She’s cool with it but declined regardless. Besides it’s fun to mess with Lugg and my parents with it, because they seem to be clueless, even though I’m just one step short of yelling it off the top of the school. Between the leather jacket that says taste the rainbow (thank you Skittles for your support) and lack of proper gym equipment my team mates keep complaining about, you’d think someone would get a clue. Well not my problem, it just makes life more interesting. Like they say, it only doubles your chances on a Saturday night.
end of part one.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Babycakes56 said...
Jul. 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Great thoughts but you have run-on sentences in a lot of places, nd awkward and confussing ones,
 
Thinker replied...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Thank you for you comment
 
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