Part 1: Pre-Gang (1/7)
New York, Ruuska Residence
A calm wind blows through the streets, summer slowly dying only for autumn to take its place. As the sun lowered, the beauty of the warm colors soon showed. After which, eventually became black as the sun had finally set. It’s not until the night’s darkness is overtaken by the vast city’s lights piercing the empty blackness that follows the sun’s setting. Some town areas are much brighter than others; the downtown New York City area of Time Square is extraordinarily vibrant and colorful. But contrasting that bright color is New York’s suburban areas. Dimmer lighting compared to the clustered area, this is where many middle-class and lower-class families lived.
Sirens blared, flashing lights that mimicked the American flag be it of irony or hypocrisy. Men of pale skin in navy-blue uniforms raise their voices ferociously at younger men that contrast their skin color. The officers pressed their knees against the young men’s backs, stuffing their faces against the road’s concrete. Furious rebuttals from the young men, claiming unfair treatment and a racist prejudice act towards them. Light-blue hues stare from between blinds, a young six-year-old watches in the curiosity of such a loud commotion in such an hour.
“Lucy!” cried out a woman’s voice, a hand reaches out to cover the young girl’s eyes. The other woman’s hand grabs her arm and pulls her back from the window to shield the child’s eyes from such brutality. But it was already too late to protect an innocent’s eyes.
“What are you doing, looking out there, Lucy?” asked the woman before turning her around to make the young girl face her. “It’s not good to be so nosey in other people’s business.” the woman said, brushing Lucy’s hair out of her face.
“Mommy?” spoke up the blonde girl. “Why are the police hurting those boys out there?” she asked, pointing her small fingers towards the window, the American colors bleeding through the cracks of the blinds. Brown eyes stare down at the child then over to the window. The woman didn’t even have to look outside to get what was going on. With the lights, the young men’s protest, and given the area they lived in, the woman could immediately grasp the current situation.
“Well, you see Lucy. People will often treat ea--.” Before the woman could continue her lesson to the young girl, a man’s voice interrupted.
“It’s because those boys were doing something bad, and the police were simply arresting them for making sure we were safe.” Lucy’s Father soon shot a glare over to Lucy’s mother, almost as if to communicate.′ She’s too young for this. “Isn’t that right, Harley?”
A sigh exited from the woman, giving an annoyed look over to the man. She preferred giving straight-forward answers to her child. Still, her husband always chose to sugar-coat everything for Lucy, which would at times annoy her to no end. “That’s right, Toby.” Replied the woman, eyes rolled as she stood back up.
“It’s getting late anyway, Lucy. Go brush your teeth and tell us when you’re ready so we can tuck you in.” The young girl’s light-blue eyes glanced once more back to the window before finally obeying her mother and heading upstairs.
“Just what the hell are you doing, Harley?” asked the man, leaning against the doorway.
“What else am I supposed to tell her?! Those cops out there are beating some young black men purely for their skin color. How the hell am I supposed to sugar-coat the racial tension between Minorities and the Police, Toby?” A sigh exited from the man’s mouth, gesturing his hand to lower her voice.
“Keep it down, honey. I don’t have Lucy to hear you,” replied Toby. “And how are you so sure that those cops didn’t catch them doing some illegal stuff? It’s better to give the officers the benefit of the doubt and--” Toby attempted to explain to his wife but was quickly interrupted.
“And what? Let police brutality be normalized and seen as okay? After that Rodney King situation, I’ve lost most if not all of my respect for police. They have no right to do what they want, based on people and their appearance. Cops are nothing but fucking p--” suddenly, she was interrupted once more.
“Watch your mouth. My brother is one of those ‘fucking pigs,’ that you keep on ragging on.” replied Toby. And before the two could continue their argument, a young girl’s voice broke the conflict.
“Mommy! Daddy! I’m ready!” The two look at one another and nod. Both soon went up to Lucy’s bedroom, where she laid on the bed. Harley was sitting on the side of the bed while Toby stood behind her.
“Lucy, sweetie. Remember, we’re waking up early tomorrow so we can say goodbye to your Uncle at the airport!”
“Where is Uncle going?” Lucy asked.
“Uncle is going to California to work for the police there,” answered Toby. The wide-eyed girl smiled at the thought of her Uncle traveling.
“Wooow!! Does Uncle get to go to California?! I wanna go! I wanna go!” Looking at each other, her parents chuckled.
“Too bad, cupcake. You start first grade in two days, remember?” A pout across the girl’s face, folding her arms over her chest.
“No fair! Uncle gets to see California, and I have to go to school! Hmpm!” Toby moved closer to the young girl and ruffled his fingers through the young girl’s light-blonde hair.
“Now now, Lucy. You’re too young to be going there on your own. Besides, this is your first time going to an actual school, and not pre-school. You have a lot to learn. Maybe when you’re older, you can go wherever you want.” replied Harley.
“And how about for tonight, you can travel to dreamland?” added Toby.
Both leaned down to the small girl and peppered her face with kisses. “Goodnight, sweetie. Sweet dreams.” Harley said, her and Toby walking out of the room and closing the door. Rays from the street lights and the police lights: American colors broke through her window’s blinds. The colors were slowly fading away as the orange glow from the streetlight took over.
“Goodnight.” Yawned Lucy, turning over on her right side and shifting around to get comfy. However, she didn’t close her eyes. She stared blankly at the blackness in her room. Thinking about what she just witnessed earlier. Why was that cop hurting someone like that? And with how long the girl was watching, he didn’t seem to be doing any wrong. Just walking around the neighborhood.
“Why did he hurt that boy, Teddy?” she whispered to the teddy bear that she was hugging.
“...Cops are good guys, right? Good guys don’t hurt other people, right? I don’t know, Teddy. I don’t get it....” A yawn, eyelids lowering.
“I heard mommy and daddy talk when I was brushing my teeth. I don’t get what they’re talking about.” cuddling closer to the plush bear.
“...Pigs...? Pigs are cute. Why would mommy call them...pigs...?” and before the girl could catch on, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
A sigh exited from Harley’s mouth outside of the door before shooting a glare over to Toby’s direction. “We’re not done, Toby. I’m sick of tired of you always sugar-coating things for her. She’s going to grow eventually; how do you expect her to be strong and independent if she’s not aware of the many social problems around her?”
Toby shook his head before making his way down the stairs onto the main floor. “Because I worry for her, sweetie,” he said, soon turning right to enter the living room. He didn’t want to bother Lucy’s rest with their arguing outside of her room.
“In this day and age, it’s impossible to avoid those problems. Some children are unfortunate enough to suffer from racism right away. I don’t want Lucy to worry about any of that for as long as she can. Because...eventually. She’ll have to see just how ugly this world is.” Toby explained before sitting onto the couch.
“Sounds like to me you’re advocating for this racism. Remaining ignorant of it all, teaching Lucy to ignore it and -- “Harley replied, before getting cut off.
“Harley, please. I know you’re trying to make it seem like I hold anything against others with different ethnicities. I want the exact opposite of Lucy. I want her to be loving and accepting of everyone. Learning about the hatred and prejudice in this world at such a young age...will only occupy her mind with that negativity. Please, understand me.” replied Toby, bringing his fingers up to his temples, rubbing them.
“...Fine, Whatever. I can at least agree with you on that aspect. I only want the best for Lucy.
... I’m sorry, dear. Being pregnant and all can set off my hormones. You’ve dealt with it before. Just hold out for another seven months, yeah?” Harley said before sitting up next to Toby, planting a kiss on his cheek.
“It’s alright, sweetie. I’ll see what I can do.” jested Toby before wrapping his arm around his wife.
“All I want is the best for our family,” Toby said, pulling her closer and closing his eyes.