The Boy in the Bin

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Raphael opened the front door to go out to check the mail and faced the smiling countenance of his cousin. Johnny dressed in shabby jeans, a shabby jean jacket with silver studs for the buttons and a set of wrap-around sunglasses. His hair spiked straight up and the back of his jacket displayed embroidery with the words ‘Bad Ass’. Raphael laughed as he took in the view of his cousin he hadn’t seen in over two years.

“Hey Dickhead,” he laughed, “what are you doing here?”

“I got the word you came back from Tryon,” Johnny replied, “and I figured you might need a friend. You pissed off the old gang.”

“How did I do nthat?” Raphael inquired.

“The story is that you ratted on Sammy and Mitch.” Johnny continued. “They got busted robbing a another jewelry store and Sammy’s old man needed to bail him out again. Sammy is pissed and I haven’t seen Mitch.

“That’s bullshit,” Raphael argued. “The only thing I mentioned was about nthem being the leaders of the ngang I ran with. How the hell would I know of nwhat they did? I lived 200 miles away.”

“I don’t know man,” Johnny cautioned, “but that’s the story. The gang wants nothing to do with you now. They asked me where you lived and I told them I couldn’t remember.”

Raphael got pissed. The gang members were like brothers. They all stuck together when they went out to rampage. It’s true he never participated in any ‘serious’ crimes like they sometimes got into. He concentrated on mainly knocking out street lamps and putting graffiti on walls; oh, and a few fires.

“I need to talk to nthem,” he commented. “Are they still nmeeting at Penn Station?”

“I guess,” Johnny advised, “they got a few new members now from what I’m told.”

“Anyone I might recognize nfrom school?” Raphael asked.

“Some little puke named Lenny,” Johnny relayed. “Liquid Len they call him because he likes to drink. Did you ever hear of him?”

“Nah,” Raphael nodded no. “Is he Sammy’s new nbest friend?”

“Yeah,” he agreed, “they’re tight. I guess he’s from Sammy’s old neighborhood.”

“Johnny,” Raphael declared, “I don’t mind getting nblamed for something I did, but nthis is bull. I don’t care nwhat Sammy and Mitch think, I didn’t rat on nthem.”

“Well man,” Johnny sighed, “you’re going to face a tough time. Lenny is Mitch’s brother.”

“And I’m supposed to be afraid of nhim?”

“Lenny is crazy Raphael,” Johnny warned. “He steals cars, sneaks into clubs and feels up girls. And he carries a switchblade like Sammy used to.”

“Well I’m pissed off now,” Raphael moaned. “I go away for awhile and everything ngoes to hell. What am I supposed to ndo for fun now? I wanted to go out and ntag a few buildings tonight.”

“You can still tag buildings,” Johnny answered, “you’ve just got to be cool. Forget about Lenny and the gang and after a while, they might invite you back in.”

“So what are nyou doing now?” Raphael questioned.

“I only came over to say Hi and warn you,” Johnny reported. “Don’t go looking for trouble because Lenny is a super asshole. The rest of the gang doesn’t like him but they are all a bunch of little girls and nobody will confront him. When he gets drinking, you can never guess what he will do.”

“How is it that Sammy is nstill out?” Raphael questioned. “He’s been busted twice that I know of.”

“His Daddy has got a lot of bucks,” Johnny answered. “Paper in the right hands does wonders.”

“Well,” Raphael concluded, “I’m not going to nhide but I’ll avoid them for a while. Do me a favor and nput a good word in for me though.”

“Don’t worry cuz,” Johnny offered, “I’ll try to smooth things over. I gotta go now. I’ve got a date with my shrink.”

“A shrink?”

“Yeah,” Johnny said as he walked away, “my mother is a bigger dork than yours is.”

Johnny took off down the alley and headed for the main avenue. Raphael noticed a black Subaru parked about two blocks up the alley, but he gave no mind to its presence. He closed the door and went back to his room. The thought he got expelled from his gang weighed heavy on his mind. He hated losing his friends; at least those who used to be. How could they throw him away?

He decided he would let things rest for a while and approach the members later to explain things. Being bored stiff, he and wanted to go out, but after Johnny’s visit, he didn’t dare. His mind drifted back and forth, as he tried to formulate plan of action.

His stomach grumbled, so he went into the kitchen and fixed himself a turkey sandwich. He always thought better on a full stomach. He looked out the window to check if the Subaru was still parked there, but it disappeared. He never spotted the car in his neighborhood before. Only three cars sat parked in the alley and they all belonged to neighbors.

Since his mother went shopping, Raphael snoopped around the house. He wasn’t looking for anything in particular; simply something to spark his interest. He started in the living room by going through all the drawers in the china cabinet.

He found a lot of old photographs not meaning anything to him. They appeared to have been taken a long time ago. Some were of him as a baby and others of his Dad and Mom together. Both his parents smiled in the photos, unlike current times. He hardly ever saw his mother smile anymore. And he wondered why.

He found an envelope of legal papers and investigated. Most papers dealt with Raphael’s arrest for shoplifting or some other charge. He read through each and every one of them and he smiled to himself thinking what a pain in the ass he had become.

He went in his mother’s room and opened those drawers too. He found a bunch of underwear; Panties, Bras and Stockings in one drawer and Boxer Shorts, Socks and T-Shirts in the other. He assumed his mother hadn’t cleaned out the drawers after Raul passed away. At the bottom of the drawer, he found a box of condoms about half full. Raphael laughed out loud.

I guess Mom must get a little these days, he thought.

He spent another hour snooping around. In a small room off the kitchen, he found all his father’s tools and focused immediately on cans of spray paint. Now here was something he may use; perhaps later tonight.

He shook the can and pushed the spray button to make sure everything worked. The can sputtered at first but then a steady mist of black glossy paint came out of the nozzle. In another box of stuff, he found a Bic lighter. Raphael didn’t smoke cigarettes, but he figured he’d find a use for the lighter .

Soon, he got bored with this adventure and went back to his room and read a few comic books. He slipped the can of paint into his jacket pocket and flopped down on the bed. He loved his comics and was pissed because his mother threw away most of his collection when he got sent up to Tryon. The only two left in his collection was a tattered copy of ‘Justice League of America’ and a somewhat newer copy of ‘The Amazing Spiderman’.

He lay there looking at the frames of action, imagining how fantastic having super powers would be. He wouldn’t be walking everywhere to leave his mark. He would fly in, spray his graffiti message and fly out. That would really be cool. He wouldn’t fear anyone and the cops could never catch him. He’d pretty much do whatever he wanted; when he wanted. He rolled over and closed his eyes to get a clearer picture of his fantasy.

Eventually, he dropped off to sleep.

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