“Derek? Hon? Whatcha doin’ sweety?”
He clenched his teeth and thought about ignoring her but she was on at least her third rum and coke and would not be denied.
“Just talking to some friends mom.”
“We got to do some talkin’ too son.”
Great, he thought, we’re moving on again. What had it been, two months now? Yeah, it was time to go. Dwayne might well be closing in on them and she hadn’t had a man since they’d arrived in this little town in the middle of nowhere.
At fifteen this life of running and hiding was the only one he’d known for the last ten years. His mother was a stone alcoholic who went from one fucked up relationship to another. That in and of itself wasn’t the worst of it. The worst was Dwayne, a violent sociopath she had hooked up with when he was four.
She had finally gotten sober enough one day to take him and as much stuff as she could pack in the car and hightail it out of the dilapidated shithole they had called home. They had been running ever since with occasional five or six month hiatuses with cashed-up men of varying degrees of bad character who assured her they would protect her. It only lasted until the intersection of too familiar sex and her neurotic head games and tantrums was reached. Meanwhile Dwayne was never far behind.
As she began singing along to the music he closed his notebook and decided it was a good time to go for a walk in the cool evening air.
“Where you goin’ sweety?”
“I need some air mom.”
He let the screen door slam though he knew she wouldn’t notice and headed down the broken footpath to the road. He stopped and closed his eyes, breathing in the aroma of star jasmine and listening to the crickets playing their castanets. It was the little things that made life bearable.
Back inside Lorraine got up and made another rum and coke. She wasn’t looking forward to telling Derek they had to move again so soon but she’s gotten a call from a friend she trusted. Dwayne had gotten early release from County and was asking around. It wouldn’t take him long to find them if they didn’t leave soon.
She decided it could wait until the next day if he didn’t come back soon and as Sweet Home Alabama cranked up she kicked off her slippers and began dancing. Fuck the dumb shit, she thought. No reason not to party.
Derek walked along the street kicking a stone ahead of him as he went until he reached Main Street. He turned west and observed the fine citizens of Blomley perched on steps and holding up street signs and lampposts. Many held cans of Budweiser or pint bottles of cheap wine wrapped up in paper bags. Most paid him no mind as he passed, though the occasional drunken redneck would call something stupid out to him to try to get his attention. He kept walking.
He stood outside the pool hall for a while and watched the hustlers ply their trade. As the moon rode higher in the sky he decided he’d better head back. If they were leaving he’d need to pack up his stuff and he hated having to do that on not enough sleep.
Part 2 Tomorrow