It was a bit difficult deciding what to do about snoozing Gary. Becci first had to lift his face from near her pussy. She at last did this by cupping his chin in her hands then pulling his head up. Raising her legs off of Gary’s shoulders and holding them straight in the air while supporting herself with her two arms behind her, Becci released her lock around Gary’s shoulders. His head just fell on the mattress as he continued sleeping on his stomach. Becci carefully removed that pink ribbon of hers from around Gary’s neck before leaving the bed. She walks across the motel room carpet gathering up her discarded clothes then quietly retreats into the bathroom for a private bathing.
How could Gary be lost in a darkness of red and pink mists? There he was though wandering in broken circles through a light crimson fog almost the color of human flesh. He keeps turning his head this way and that way in quick turns, but not finding what he is looking to find.
Behind Gary, out of the fleshy void, a flower is growing. The flower is growing on a long plant winding up, up, and around twisting. The leaves of the long plant are curling into odd, ugly almost evil formations. Gary notices not the plant nor its flower until the evil vine of the plant twirl two of its branches over his shoulders. The branches lock around Gary’s shoulders and head forcing him to turn around and face the plant whose flower is now blooming as a giant, dark pink colored flower. The branches locking Gary’s shoulders choke at his neck making him fall to his knees and worship the enormous pink flower like it is a goddess.
The flower has no stigma, no center to it but boasts a massive hole and over that hole a smaller stem begins to protrude out. The stem is shaded in pale pink. Blood starts to fill the stem while little veins begin popping inside it. The stem changes from a stem to a long, erect penis. This is when Gary begins to scream and jump trying to break the lock the branches of the flower have over him, but he cannot. Let me out! Let me out! Gary is screaming. Not until you lick me! commands the long, erect penis. Fuck you! Fuck you! Gary shouts in full defiance. The branches are able to pull Gary all the way up toward the erect penis. He turns his face from the erect penis, but the penis has disappeared and the branches are no longer locked around his neck and shoulders. He is standing at the mouth of the flower’s massive hole. Gary stands there for a moment wanting to enter the hole until he finally crawls inside the hole. But this is when out of the hole pours an endless stream of white ejaculation that drowns Gary making him die and stick to the pedals of the giant flower.
Nicole and Becci are fighting again. This time, Nicole is using her high heels to hit Becci in the head with them. Becci grabs the heels out of Becci’s hands and strikes her in the face with the heels. Nicole leaves the motel room threatening to return with Scott to help her beat Becci’s ass and Gary’s ass. She points at Gary too before she leaves the motel room. Becci locks the door behind Nicole and slips on Nicole’s black high heels.
Wearing the heels, Becci walks over to the bed, jumps on it, and spreads her legs wide. But she finds all these cum stains on the bed. She knows they are all from Gary. She waves her finger at Gary and says to him: You asshole! Did you leave these cum stains here because I made you wash up that stain? You have to lick up these stains! Yeah, lick them all up!
There is a knock at the door of the motel room. Gary tells Becci not to answer the door. Becci opens the door and in charges Scott and Nicole. They overpower Becci and stab her in the heart with a syringe and kill her with bad heroin.
Gary shook his head. Shook away the image of Becci being stabbed with a syringe out of his subconscious mind that was now his conscious, waking mind. Another terrible dream. Perhaps the most terrible Gary has had since his bad dreams began. The door was closed, appeared to be locked, and no one was knocking on it. All indications that Becci was not in any danger. There was light coming through the curtains of the window showing it was morning. Gary felt okay and felt safe.
He stared at the garbage can under the table near the door. He did while lying on his stomach with his mouth sticking to the mattress. He began to blink his eyes then was opening one eye while closing the other. He did this thing with his eyes while making funny, idle noises with his mouth: “ Bah, bah, bab, bab, bab, baaauuuuuuuuuwwwwwowwwwwowowowowowowowowowow!” before just bursting into laughter and burying his face onto the mattress. He really wasn’t the same now and was too happy about it.
Finally, Gary came to and lifted his head up realizing how quiet everything was in the room. But everything really wasn’t that quiet. Just outside the motel could be heard the intermittent whizzing of passing cars on the freeway. The cars on the freeway sounded so nice to Gary this early in the morning. Not so many of them out there. The pleasant noise of the cars inspired Gary to prop himself up off the bed. He wanted to walk up to the window, pull the curtains back, and look out to see if there was a view to the freeway. Lucky for him he didn’t forget he was in the naked.
So Gary stood there on the carpet. Forgetting to check how close it was to check out time. Forgetting to look for his clothes and put them on. Where had Gary’s mind gone? Then Gary caught notice that the motel room was quiet in a way that disturbed him. Gary came out of his staring spell and looked all around. If the TV happened to be off, if the bathroom door happened to be cracked open with the light inside turned off, and if the quietness in the room felt to be this still, then Becci was not in the room with Gary.
Gary looked in the bathroom. Turned on the light. No Becci. He did find his Eminem shirt, his underwear, shorts, and socks then put them all on his tensing body. As he put his clothes on, Gary’s mind whirled with a sense of confusion so extreme he could not assemble any thoughts. His ideas were just flashes of terror, anger, and panic. The pace of his uncontrollable thinking making his face red.
Once fully clothed, Gary ran out of the motel room fearing it was past check out time. The way the sun was still high in a corner of the sky suggested to him it might not yet be eleven o’clock. He stopped on the cement of the hall realizing he forgot all about the room card and figured maybe Becci left with it. No. That Nicole must have left with it. Shit! Gary looked to see where the rental office was, to his right or to his left. It was down the hall to the right. So, he turned to his left, but that lead to just the end of the hall and the edge of the motel parking lot. There! Right next to Gary was a small hall cutting through the motel itself to the to the other side. He ran through the hall and on the other side the parking lot had no fencing, but bordered a strip of grass and weeds that extended out edging along the freeway. Gary had no idea if he wanted to run to that edging or not then what he wanted to do hit him. I still got to fucking find Becci.
The only way Gary knew how to find Becci would be to start knocking on the doors of every room in the motel. He did not want to do it because all common sense suggested that would be way stupid of him. Still, Gary ran back to the hall outside his room. Shit! Gary didn’t know his own room number. Oh well. He just picked the door of a random room and knocked urgently.
A man without a shirt, a hairy chest, long graying hair and a wiry beard opens the door. Gary can see other men behind the shirtless man. They are drinking bottles of alcohol and smoking marijuana cigarettes. Though feeling nervous even endangered, Gary makes his pitch to the shirtless man.
“Excuse me, is Becci in here?”
“Yeah. Becci’s inside. Come on in.”
“She is?” Gary says while surprised. He steps his way into the smoky, noisy motel room when the shirtless man shoves Gary out of his motel room.
“Get the fuck outta here. We don’t know no bitch named Becci.” then slams the door on Gary’s face. Gary is shaken. He feels like he should have listened to what his feelings were saying, but he is undeterred because behind the shame he now has is a broken heart.
Going to the next room, Gary is answered to by a woman with messy brown hair, pimply red skin, and the most tired red eyes. She opens the door only an inch and speaks to Gary with a slow, sleepy voice.
“Yes. I am trying to find Becci. Is she with you?”
“No.” Tired woman with pimply skin is about to close the door when Gary grabs hold of her doorknob preventing her from shutting door.
“Are you hiding her?” Gary is suddenly being coarse.
“No!” Woman raises her voice and pushes at door.
“I think you’re lying to me.”
“Leave..or..I’ll call the manager.” Woman pushes at door. Gary finally releases doorknob. He does not leave, but shouts through door.
“Becci, if you’re in there. Get out here. It’s Gary and you fucking left me and I’m pissed.” He ruffles his hair. Paces in a circle then leaves for the room next door. Through the door of this room Gary can hear a guitar strumming and the light boyish voice of a singer. Gary has to really pound on the door until the singing and guitar playing stops and he can hear the sound of the door’s lock being turned. The door opens and there before Gary is a young man close to his own age. This guy is almost six feet tall, thin but stocky in the shoulders and torso. His thick, curly hair is black coming down to long sideburns. He wears a black shirt bearing a white album cover for a rock band Gary has never heard of named Roxy Music and faded jeans with holes in it. Most surprising is he greets Gary with no hostility despite how Gary pounded on his door.
“What’s good, dude?” says the guy.
“Nothing really. My girl left me--“
“Oh dude.” the guy is slow to listen. “I feel for ya.”
“Have you seen her? She has---“
“No I haven’t. I’ve been cooped up in here writing my music. I’m a musician. What’s your name, dude?”
“Gary.” Gary tells him his name knowing he is walking into a situation.
“My name’s Bryan. You want to come in? Ya got a minute?”
“Just come on in for a second. Tell me all o’ what happened.” The guy Bryan throws his door open for Gary and walks back into his room. Gary stands at the doorway. Looking inside he sees Bryan has a flashy electric guitar and a pile of notes on his bed. Set beside the bed is a small black amplifier. On the carpet near the amplifier is an empty and trashy Styrofoam food container. Bryan walks around the bed and sits down picking up his electric guitar returns to strumming it.
“Gary, come in. What’s wrong?”
Gary decides to walk in as much as he doesn’t want to.
“Shut the door. Sit down. You can take the chair.”
Gary closes the door behind him and pulls the motel chair out and sits backwards facing Bryan.
“So she left you? She broke your heart, did she?”
“Yeah. Right after I ate her pussy.”
“Oh, now that is cold.” Bryan strums on his guitar and develops a set of cords. “You know the best songs are about having your heart broken. Can I use your story?”
Gary shrugs, rolls his eyes from side to side.
“O girl, I ate your peach./I gave you pleasure beyond reach./I let you rub your ass in my face./why did you have to go put me in my place?”
Gary grows a smile, explodes in laughter losing a portion of his pain. He even throws his hands up and claps.
“You like that?” Bryan asks with a bright smile of his own. He turns the set of cords he created into a hook and repeats it, sings some more.
“Where is your clean ass now?/I am all alone and looking for you all over town./Please, please come back./What did I do wrong or not do right?/What was it that made it less than a perfect night?”
Gary nods while thinking. That last lyric makes him think that he may have made some small mistake at some point to drive Becci off. Perhaps when he fell asleep between her legs.
“That didn’t come out as good as I had wanted.” Bryan says. He studies Gary as he thinks. “What? What’s on your mind?”
“I think when I fell asleep between her legs, my girl got mad.”
“Oh dude.” Bryan takes his guitar by the neck, holds it in the air, and then sets it near his pillows. “That is kinda uncool to do that. Yeah you might have freaked her out doing that.”
“Oohhhh!” Gary groans. He had been feeling a kinship with Bryan for a few moments, but there it went. “I didn’t mean to.”
Bryan just starts playing his guitar again jovially singing on about Gary falling asleep while eating Becci out.
“I better go.” Gary said rising from the chair.
Bryan ceased his singing and playing and just laughed as Gary walked to the door. “Keep lookin’ for your girl. I think I seen her down at Room 13.”
Gary slams the door on his way out wishing he had the balls to go over and make Bryan eat his own guitar. Again, Gary hates how he has to live with humiliation and not the satisfaction of having beaten the ass of someone who has crossed him. He dwelled on this hang up walking past two rooms without knocking on the doors. Something diverted his attention. Activity occurring near him in a parked car. Gary turned to his right and saw a man with a ponytailed blonde in a large green car parked facing away from him in the motel lot. Was that Becci in that car with that man?
Gary was again in contact with his yellow side, that petrifying feeling always keeping him from acting on his aggressions. He wanted to walk up to that car, but feared facing the man inside. So he stood there looking at the blonde with the ponytail and then saw her storming out of the passenger side of the car and slamming the door behind her.
“Fuck off, fucking jerk!” the blonde, who wasn’t Becci, screamed to the man inside the car. The man started the car and backed up so he could follow the blonde through the parking lot. He drove around in front of her with his window rolled down screaming obscene-laden ultimatums to her. The blonde just turned around and walked the other way. The man blared his car horn and yelled at the woman not to walk away from him. Then, he backed his car up following her while driving backwards through the motel lot. He sees Gary watching him and points at Gary and flips Gary off. Gary decides it is time he disappeared with or without Becci and this he does by running to the right even passing by the rental office. The door to the rental office opens and the owner, a tall, thin foreign man in his late sixties wearing a loosely buttoned flannel blue shirt, runs out and grabs Gary by the back of his Eminem shirt.
“You!” the rental owner shouts indignantly. “You have my room card.”
“Let go of my shirt!” Gary was sick of being pushed around, he was going to fight this old man. He turned around and punched at the rental owner’s arms to make him let go of his Eminem shirt.
“Muthafucka!” the rental owner swore summoning his own violent side. He threw flying punches at Gary’s head hitting him a few times. Gary felt the hits and they hurt. So he only thought of kicking the old man like he saw Becci kick Scott in the groin. Gary kicked the rental owner in his groin and in his stomach making the old man cry out a series of ‘ows’. The rental owner lost his grip on Gary and Gary just ran with those worn bare feet of his across the motel lot. The rental owner pursued him, but was not fast enough as Gary achieved such an acceleration. The rental owner gave up and screamed out filthy words to Gary who sprinted to the entrance of the parking lot to the outlying main road where, as Becci showed him to, he waited for the soonest break in the traffic and then covered the road.
Gary was on the lot of a gas station looking around at the motel across the street and all the surrounding establishments. He had no registration of where he was. To say Gary was lost was one thing. The fact he didn’t recognize any of the sights around him meant he was beyond being removed from his home. Gary didn’t know which direction lead home and that’s where he was thinking of going now. Now that Becci was out of his life. And the freeway? How could the freeway help him get back to his mother’s house when he had never even seen that freeway before. Without his shoes on, Gary was fearful of entering the gas station to seek some directions in finding Pointer Road or Daly Road. So he just followed the sidewalk to the side of the main road for as far as there was cement on the ground. He figured sooner or later, he would find a landmark he knew.
Gary walked to the first intersection, the crossing road was named Hannan and he saw a sign for the road he was on. It was named Groesbeck. Neither he had ever heard of before. Hannan was a four lane road sided by mainly houses. Groesbeck was this avenue of endless businesses that at some points had islands splitting its four lanes. Gary decide to stay walking on Groesbeck. He took it to the next intersection. In between, Gary past a few fast food restaurants that only made him think of how hungry he was becoming. His stomach was growling and he began to imagine that he might die before he made it home if he ever made it there. Groesbeck next intersected with Palmer Road, another strange road. Gary realized something now: he needed to have a border in mind, a specific road he had to be reaching in order for him to know he was in the right direction. For all he knew now, he was probably just moving further and further away.
The thought of praying entered Gary’s mind. To ask God’s help in this matter. He stopped his walking and then thought: No! No! I, I won’t do that. I have decided the only god is this life, and that’s it. Even though Becci has left him and broken his heart, Gary is holding on to the ‘street Atheism’ she imparted. It is now a part of Gary and more, Gary was not about to just ask God for a favor after having fornicated. But Gary wondered why he even cared about that? That concern was like a small hint of light inside his heart. He meditated to crush even that seed. There is no……fornication. Sex before marriage, outside of marriage happens all the time, all over the world. What I did with Becci is no big deal. It had to happen. I was still a virgin at eighteen. I had to have sex. With that last bit of church influence gone, Gary could breathe easily and resume his walking even if it was without aim. He looked up and happened to be facing to his left. There was a church across the street with a billboard having some message posted on it. Gary made sure he immediately turned away and not make the mistake of his seeing the church to be a sign of any kind.
An hour went by. Gary had walked almost another mile. Still, none of the streets or buildings or restaurants looked familiar. His stomach ached and churned. His feet were swelling and to make matters worse than needed to be, winds were picking up. The winds blew hard against Gary’s face and even became so powerful so as to push Gary back making him stop his moving and start cursing. A tiny object of debris flew into Gary’s eye. That’s it! I’m stopping somewhere. Gary looked to his right and there happened to be a twenty-four hour convenience store. He knew he could not walk in there because he had no shoes. If only I could find some shoes. There was an alley behind the convenience store. Gary walked around to the alley and started looking to see if he might find any discarded shoes.
Yes, Gary knew what he was doing was far-fetched, funny, and to say the least, stupid, but he needed to go in the store or some place and his feet probably had blisters. He lifted one foot up and checked and sure enough, there were a few small white blisters on his heel. Shit! Gary moved his head left to right like a radar disc. He saw an empty pack of cigarettes, an empty fruit punch bottle, a pen, a receipt, a wheel from some toy car, a very small plastic bag probably used to supply drugs in, and a used condom. That made him think of Becci and his feelings for her swelled back up and now he was feeling like all shit again on top of his sore feet. The harsh winds returned. He was really far from home and he was ready to scream out the loudest cry he could ever give. What?
There. In a crack near the left edge of the alley a pink girl’s shoe was stuck inside. Gary fell to his knees laughing at the dumb luck. He had to stop to let all the laughter out before he could get up and prick the flattened pink shoe out of the crack. It was not easy. The shoe was really stuck where it was. By prying his fingers deep, deep through and under the shoe Gary was able to remove the shoe from the crack though the effort did sting his fingers and dirty his nails. Next, Gary had to unflatten the shoe and that took pulling the flat shoe out carefully so as to not tear it. It was a rubber made shoe, but still Gary could have pulled it apart. He tries the shoe on and it is a tight fit, the shoe is a size too small for Gary. His foot blisters he can really feel on the soles.
Now with one tight pink shoe, Gary decides to limp his way through the alley in search of his opposite shoe. Walking on the shoed foot, Gary lifts his other leg up and hops about looking way silly. A car pulls into the alley and drives slowly down. Gary wishes the driver had not decided to drive down the alley. He sees the big laughing smile on the driver’s face as the driver approaches. Gary decides it is best for him to just stop hopping, close his eyes, and wait for the driver to pass. But the driver rolls down his window and throws something big and hard at Gary as he drives by him. Gary feels the big, hard object hit him in the chest and knock some of the wind out of him. Again, Gary has been affronted and has not the learned experience or fearlessness to chase the driver and yell expletives at him. But when Gary looks to see what the driver threw at him, Gary finds it to be a single large black tennis shoe.
Gary found the black shoe to be a loose fit, but fuck it he needed another shoe so he put it on. Walking awkwardly into the AnyStop convenience store, Gary drew stares from Gerardo, the dark-haired, dark tanned clerk and Zachary, the sixtiesh owner of a carpet cleaning company wearing a blue work cap and uniform, who were just chatting after an exchange.
“I’d seen them winds blow the shingles off the house just down—“ Zachary began telling Gerardo when Gary entered the store and he caught sight of Gary’s odd choice in shoes.
“Uhm.” Gary opened with Gerardo. “Is it alright if I just stay in here until the winds outside die down? I’m really far, far from my mom’s house and I have to walk there.”
“No.” Gerardo answered with a fluid shake of his head. “You can’t loiter.”
“You’re walking?” Zachary asked out of concern.
Zachary blinked thinking about what he could possibly do for Gary.
“And what crossroads are you trying to get to?”
“Pointer and Pardo.”
“Pointer Road? I know where that is. That’s waaaaayyyy far west of here. What are you doing way over here?”
“Well, it’s a really, really long story.” Gary said with his eyes bulging. Zachary examined Gary, could tell he was a poor victim of circumstance.
“I can give you a ride if you’d like?” Zachary offered in his kindest of voices.
Reluctance mired in a ‘stranger danger’ sense was holding Gary back from accepting.
“It’s okay, man. I’m one of the good guys.” Zachary said.
“Yeah.” Gerardo said to Gary. “He a great guy.”
“When did you eat last?” Zachary asked Gary.
“Not since Saturday.”
“Since Saturday? Come on. Let’s get you a nice lunch.” He turns to Gerardo. “I’d have bought him something here, but—--“
“It’s okay.” Gerardo laughs.
When Zachary mentioned buying him lunch, Gary gained trust in him. Trust and admiration. He followed Zachary out through the doors of the AnyStop to a long black van with the slogan LYON’S CARPET CLEANING painted in large white on red letters.
“Door should be unlocked.” Zachary informed getting his van keys out. Gary pulled the passenger door open and saw that the interior of the van was near spotlessly clean and organized. Around the seat there were no food wrappers or dirt or odd papers. This impressed upon Gary that Zachary really was no dangerous stranger, but one who spent his idle time taking care of what he owned. When Zachary started his van though, it did sound a bit rough possibly from excessive driving. He put on his seat belt and nodded to Gary to do the same.
They are on the road toward Gary’s home and stop at a fast food restaurant of Gary’s choosing. Zachary is careful to have Gary pick a reasonable order of food; a cheeseburger, some French fried, and a Coke. After letting Gary eat, Zachary extends to him a second favor.
“Is there anyone you need to call?”
Gary is taken by surprise at how nice Zachary is being. He thinks as to who he would want to call. The only number he knows is his home phone number, but the idea of calling there gives Gary too much trepidation. Gary cannot think of another number and Zachary is looking at him waiting for him to answer. Then, Gary thinks of someone who he would want to call.
“Here.” Zachary hands Gary his cell phone. Gary slows himself and carefully receives the phone. The thought of the person he is calling gives him enough comfort to act rationally. Gary dials out and listens to the ringing.
“Please, please pick up.” Gary shouted.
The other line answered.
“Hello.” it was a deep, older man’s voice.
“Who is this?”
“It’s me, dad.”
“Gary? Where the hell are you?”
“I’m, I’m in a van.”
“Who’s van? Who are you with?”
“It’s okay. He owns a carpet cleaning company. He’s driving me home.”
“Where are you right now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell him Groesbeck Avenue.” Zachary calmly interjected.
“Groesbeck Avenue.” Gary told Glenn.
“Going north toward Pointer.” Zachary added.
“Going north toward Pointer.” Gary repeated. He began to cry and breathe heavily.
“What’s wrong, Gary?”
“I don’t know, Dad.”
“Gary, it’s okay.”
Zachary put his hand gently on Gary’s shoulder. Gary began to shake and cry from nervous exhaustion.
“Let me talk with the guy who is with you?”
Gary quickly handed the phone to Zachary who nodding understood what he had to do. He received the phone.
“Is this Gary’s dad?”
“It is. Can I ask you your name?”
“I’m Zachary. I found him at a store up here on Groesbeck. He had no shoes and walked in wearing two different shoes I think he found somewhere.”
“Do you know anything about what happened to him over the past day?”
“No, we haven’t talked yet though he told me he had not eaten since Saturday.”
All this concern for him was making Gary cry more and louder. Zachary pulled into the driveway of a strip mall. Glenn could hear him crying.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“I think a lot of emotion he’s been storing up is just coming out now. Plus he’s just probably scared to come home.”
“Do you have a speaker phone?”
“Can you put me on so he can hear me talk?”
Zachary presses the Speaker button and points the phone at Gary.
“It’ll be alright Gary just try to slow your breathing down.”
Gary listened and took some deep breathes.
“Gary, it’s me. Can you hear me?”
“I can hear you, dad.”
“Everything’s gonna be alright. I’m gonna take the day off from work and come pick you up, okay?”
Gary couldn’t talk yet. He was still crying hard.
Glenn continued talking to Gary by way of Zachary’s speaker. Zachary waited until Glenn was able to calm Gary down then asked Glenn where he wanted to meet as a place to drop Gary off at. They decided on meeting at a strip mall near Monica’s house. After that is resolved, Gary calms himself and is able to produce a smile. He turns to Zachary and shows him his smile.
“You doin’ better?”
“Yeah. I’ll be real happy to see my dad.”
“Can I ask you something else?” .
“You want to work?”
“My last guy quit on me. I’ve been cleaning all these accounts myself. I was thinking that maybe that whatever it is you went through, you could get past it by having a job with me.”
“Is the work hard?”
“It is.” Zachary looked at Gary with ‘no bullshit’ eyes.
“Give it a try. You’d help me and I’d be helping you.”
“Would I start today?”
“No, no. You can start after you’ve settled. I think you’ll need a few days. I’d say a week.”
The rest of the ride was quiet and comfortable. Gary looked out his window at the other cars on the road and the businesses on the side. Many of the landmarks he had never before seen. He thought of how he possibly could have walked all this way.
Monica slept at best five hours last night. She got up a number of times during the night to see if Gary had come home. This morning she did not shower and was mainly puttering around the house not doing her work either. She left a message on her voice mail that she would not be receiving calls this day. When she felt like crying, Monica did it in Gary’s room needing to feel some connection to her lost son. Prayer was something she lacked the power to do.
Getting ready for his job at the sporting goods store, Gabe could hear his mother crying from the bathroom. Problem was he was getting tired of her crying and worrying. He wanted to just keep on styling his hair, then remembered how Lauren was mad at him last night and left the bathroom to tend to Monica.
“Mom.” Gabe gently opened the door to Gary’s room.
Monica just looked at Gabe. She was lying down on Gary’s bed.
“You need to stop spending time in here. It’s unhealthy.”
Monica weakly raised her hand. Gabe stepped over to take it and helped her up off of the bed.
“Get some more rest. I’ll make you some more tea.”
Gabe’s cell phone rang from within the bathroom. Gabe decided he should ignore the call. His mother was more important.
“Come on.” Gabe walked with Monica out of Gary’s room and through the hall to the living room where he set her down on the couch and pulled a blanket over her. He sat beside her and rubbed her hair and looked into her tearful eyes. Now it ached Gabe to see his mother once so strong to be so in pieces. He saw in her eyes a lost little child in need of immediate gratification. Having seen enough of Monica’s pain, Gabe stood up to go make her tea. His cell phone rang again from within the bathroom.
“I wonder who that is?” Gabe quickly turned around and ran to the bathroom. Monica sits up from the couch anxious and curious as to who is calling. She holds her hand out again as if she wants Gabe to give her his phone.
“Gabriel, it’s Dad. Gary called me.”
“He did? He’s okay?”
“He’s okay. Well he had a bit of an emotional spell when talking to me, but he’s okay. I’m on my way to pick him up right now.”
“Dad. That is such great news.”
“How is your mom?”
“She’s been a wreck.”
Monica walked into the bathroom and tried to take the phone from Gabe. He turned around to see her and pulled the phone away.
“Here she is now.”
“Let me talk to her.”
Gabe takes Monica’s hand and is about to seat her on the closed toiled seat when she resists him.
“Stop it!” Monica protests.
“Stop what?” Gabe asks pretending not to know.
“Stop babying me.”
“Gabe, leave her alone.” Glenn shouts through Gabe’s phone.
“Fine.” Gabe swings open the bathroom door and leaves. Monica watches him while answering the phone.
“You found Gary?”
“I did. I am on my way to pick him up right now.”
“Oh thank God.”
“Where did Gabe go?”
“I think he is leaving to go to work.”
“Damn him. I wanted him to come with me. Has he been a problem for you?”
“I’m sorry, Monica. You sound better right now.”
“Thank you. Knowing Gary is safe and alive is all I needed. I have been worried sick.”
“Well just take it easy. I’ll bring him to you. He’s with this man named Zachary. He’s a good guy. I’ve talked to him. He owns a carpet cleaning business and wants to give Gary a job assisting him.”
“Oh really? That’s good news. But do you know anything about where Gary has been for the past twenty four hours?”
“Not yet. But I’ll ask him after I meet with him.”
“Okay. Thanks Glenn.”
“Give me about maybe an hour or two. I hear Gary lost his shoes too. So we’re gonna stop and buy him some shoes so it’ll be a little while, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll be fine.”
“I’m glad to know.”
Monica hung up the phone and would have returned the phone to Gabe, but Gabe left the house to go to his job. A few minutes later, Lauren called Gabe’s phone. Monica answered and talked with Lauren telling her the good news that Glenn is meeting with Gary. But when she told Lauren how Gabe has been treating her and had left in a bad mood, Lauren expressed her disappointment with Gabe. She also offered to drive over and visit Monica and Monica accepted. The two women have a late breakfast together. Lauren listens to Monica tell her about Gabe as he grew up from a seven pound baby to a strong little boy who exceeded early at football. Monica even showed Lauren early pictures of Gabe from when he was seven, eight, and ten years old. These stories and pictures really touched Lauren and helped her to think of Gabe differently other than with the contempt she had been holding for the past night. Lauren asked Monica if she had any of Gabe’s trophies and Monica had to lead Lauren on a tour of the basement where she and Lauren were having to search through many drawers until they finally found Gabe’s football trophy and one of his old jerseys. Monica happily gave the jersey over to Lauren and Lauren held the jersey close to her heart.