Fourth of July, Annual Parade, and Carnival
The Fourth Of July, Annual Parade, and Carnival
Stacy, my father, and I are waiting around the carnival eating cotton candy. Children are running around screaming, laughing, some are even puking from eating too much and going on the wrong rides. I remember my mother once took me to a fair like that one back home. It was my first experience at something like that and I was so excited I peed my pants before we even got there. I must’ve been no older than six or seven. We had to rush to the nearest souvenir shop and buy the ugliest of clothing, but I’ll never forget the amazing time we had. That was the first time I saw who my mother really was, her true colors, not some trollop turning a trick to put dinner on the table. She laughed so much that day, a rarity for her. We ate so much cotton candy that by the end of the day, my teeth were permanently stained red. Every ride was like a new adventure, we’d pretend we were astronauts and mice drinking tea, we were pirates in the middle of stormy waters. That was the only childhood memory I can actually remember of my mother being herself. Everything else was simply a nightmare, a childhood no one should experience.
It was beautiful outside, Stacy and I had matching sun hats, though mine was white while hers was red. I felt like a child again wearing a white multicolored-polkadot dress. Stacy wanted to get spots right in front for the parade and asked if she could find some. Though, before Gaelan could answer, he spotted Deagan and Marshall, whom I found out were the cops from the bureau I had spoken to, my father had told me their names as he was explaining to Christof there were surveillance cameras at the bar that needed to be removed. They were seated on the hood of their car near the action. Gaelan nodded to Stacy without even looking at her and walked toward the feds.
“Lylie?” he said, not skipping a beat. I followed, shoving another piece of cotton candy in my mouth. The men straightened up when they noticed we were walking over, I smiled when I saw Deagan, though I don’t think he recognized me because he didn’t say a word. “Gentleman, lovely day for a parade isn’t it?”
“The fuck you doing Gaelan?” Deagan said and stood.
“Enjoying the Fourth of July celebration, my friends,” Gaelan smiled, then turned to me. “With none other than my family.” I chuckled, then put more cotton candy in my mouth, licking my lips as Deagan looked over at me.
Marshall stepped forward, moving his fingers along his moustache as he did. “Look Gaelan, stay out of our business and we’ll stay out of yours. This means no more drug deals, no more trafficking, no more weapons, enough is enough.” I had no idea what Marshall was talking about. The only things we did were guns and drugs. I would never condone to trafficking women. There was something there my father was keeping from me. God-for-bid, I asked I knew I’d get punished in some way.
“How do you know what I’m even doing? Maybe I’m not doing any of it? Maybe this Gaelan, of whom you speak, is a figment of your imagination.” The cops didn’t like that response too well. Little did I know, they had been following Gaelan for years now, though none of which they were able to connect to him. That was where Evan came into play and would tamper with evidence or delete photographs, videos. We may have resented him for becoming a fed, although we loved him and appreciated everything he did to keep the business safe.
“It’s done, it’s over. We have proof to put you away,” Deagan said, angrily.
My father put my arm in his and smiled, the sound of the parade starting in the background. “It’s only over when the fat lady sings,” he said in a jolly tone, turning to the crowd to join Stacy. I glanced back and noticed Deagan staring right at me, the look that was in his eyes, I’ve had that same look a few times in my life. That look of pure hatred and disgust. I knew that if there weren’t so many witnesses, Deagan would’ve pulled out his gun and pulled the trigger, ending that madness.
“What is he talking about?” I asked Gaelan as he nudged people aside.
“All in good time darling,” he said.
Stacy was sitting by the sidewalk with a huge smile on her face. I sat next to her and Gaelan sat next to me. Gaelan’s phone rang and I saw him look at it then put it back in his pocket.
“I’ll be back sugar,” my father stood and kissed Stacy. I watched as Gaelan crossed the parade to get to the other side dancing with some baton twirlers along the way. An Asian man and a white man awaited him. They walked into an alley, where Gaelan had taken out his gun, and shot the Asian man, without even conversing with him beforehand. I straighten up, trying to see in-between the people and the parade, and watched as the Asian man’s family ran out of the car and towards him. The wife fell to her knees and picked up her husband’s head, holding him to her chest, wailing, and looking at the sky. The little girl stood behind the wife and squeezed her stuffed animal. Words were exchanged between Gaelan and that woman, a second later, he shot her as well, it was solely the little girl he let live as he, and the other man, walked away from them.
He never said anything of the sort would happen today, nor did he tell me who that white man was. That day was supposed to be a normal day at the carnival with my family. I thought it was going to be like the day when I was six, full of laughter and fun. All I thought of was wanting to run away, and how a man, who had ruined everything else in my life, even ruined my happiest memory. A little girl now lived without a father and mother because of Gaelan. What was supposed to be a day filled with memories with her and her family, ended in sorrow.
I had found out that the Asian man was Mr. Yokatomi’s brother and he wanted to end the deal with Gaelan because there were too many feds sniffing around, killing his brother was Gaelan’s version of sending Mr. Yokatomi a message, as though he wanted to show him who the real psycho was.
As my father had crossed the flag holders, Stacy was on her feet dancing to the music, I remained seated, teary eyed, ashamed. Gaelan walked over to Stacy and hugged her, then started doing the waltz with her. I stood and made my way through the crowd, when Deagan and Marshall stopped me.
“Where are you going?” Deagan asked me.
“All this commotion has gotten me dizzy, I just need a drink and some shade,” I said and continued my way through the crowd. Deagan grabbed my arm and pulled me toward him.
“You’re not going anywhere missy. I know it was you who came into the office, told us Gaelan was your dad. Why the fuck d’you do that anyway?”
“I thought that maybe you’d lay off him and lay on me instead,” I smiled.
Deagan squeezed my arm, then pulled me even closer. He took off my sunglasses and threw them in the crowd. “I don’t take kindly to jokes little lady.” I looked down at Deagan’s hand gripping my arm, veins popping out.
“Who says I’m joking?” I said as I moved my lips to his ear.
“All right, all right, Deagan. Let her go, she’s not worth it,” Marshall said putting a hand to Deagan’s chest. Deagan slowly loosened his grip and walked off with Marshall toward their car. I watched and made sure they were out of sight before I left the carnival.
I walked over to a pub where I knew Francois, James, and Christof were hanging out. They had brought James to a man’s house where they were to collect money that he owed. Every firework that went off was another bullet shot. The man owed a lousy three thousand dollars and they shot both his knees.
James’ face lit up when I walked into the pub. I sat at the table with them and listened to Christof tell us stories of his life back in Russia. I’ve heard these stories thousands of times, but they never get old.
“This idiot of a man brought me to this bar in a dirty, stinking alley. You see James I was no bigger than five feet at the time, so we walked into the bar and sat a table. No one in the bar looked at us. The music was loud, people were dancing but this woman, this sexy woman, walked up to us and asked what we wanted to drink. The man asked for the finest bottle of vodka. This wonderful woman walked away, her ass moving side to side, just bouncing and waiting for a slapping. You see James, I was only thirteen. Yes, thirteen, I had hormones oozing outta me! But this man did not know this. I had hair on my chest from very young age. Now, sexy lady came back with vodka, I never had vodka before but I decided to try it. I drink, it goes down like razors, now, vodka goes down smooth. The man gave woman money and woman take my hand. My palms were sweaty from nerves. Woman brought me in back and sat me down on red couch. She slowly started moving to the sound of music and this got me excited but I tried to make it look like this happened to me many times. She started to move closer to me, on my knee she sat and kissed my neck. She unbuttoned my pants and move them to floor. Her breasts were so beautiful and bouncy. I thought there: ‘my first time is going to be with this beautiful woman who’s breasts are like mountains waiting to be climbed.’ Then she slowly take off her underwear, showing me her ass, then when she turn, all I see is her dick! A dick!” everyone in the bar started laughing.
“Did you fuck her?” James asked, laughing.
“I ran out of that room so fast, I forgot to pull up my pants and the whole bar saw my dick,” Christof took a shot of vodka then poured me one as he saw me walk toward them. James looked at me and smiled. I was still mad at him from that morning and how he spoke to me, but I couldn’t help but smile back.
“How was the carnival love?” Francois asked.
“It was,” I looked down at my shot. “I’ll leave it at interesting.”
“Stacy must’ve loved it?”
“Yeah like a typical kid in a candy store,” I took the shot. James had gotten up and sat next to me as I said that.
“How’d you get involved with Gaelan and not the Russians?” James asked, taking a gulp of beer.
“Well, I was with the Russians back home. I loved it there, so beautiful. But I let my dick get better of me and I fucked the bosses wife. Now, Ivan, he always cheat on her, was rude to her, didn’t give two shits for her. She came to me and asked to talk. We shared bottle of vodka, and next thing I know, my dick was inside her. Ivan wanted to kill me, but we did deal with Gaelan a long time ago and I went to ask for his help. Gaelan really liked me and said I was good gunman. He paid off Ivan to leave me alone and that I’d never step foot in Russia again. Gaelan brought me here and I’m forever in his debts. My brother Alexi didn’t have to come, but he was scared of Ivan and what he’d do. That man was scary but respectful. So, I stay here in Brooklyn, not as beautiful as Russia but home is where the heart and the vodka is,” Christof said and took a shot. He went on to talk about some chick he brought home last night. I tried listening, but my mind was lost. I couldn’t help but see the little girl in my head. Her crying, her silent screams. How I hated Gaelan for everything he’s done. All the lives he has ruined. How all of these people drinking worshipped and worked for that man, listened to his every word, succumbed to his every whim.
I was staring at the empty shot glass placed in front of me, sitting in a pool of vodka and beer.
“Lylie, sweetheart, drink until that smile comes back!” Christof poured me another shot and I threw it back. The warm rush of vodka moving it’s way down my throat.
“That’s all for now. I have a job tonight,” I said and turned the shot glass upside down.
“Job? Why wasn’t I aware of a job?” Francois asked.
“It’s just for me,” I lied. I wanted to find that little girl. I knew it was wrong of me to want to do something about helping her, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. I wanted to know why Gaelan did that.
I got up from my seat and walked over to the washroom with my bag in hand. I did my business and walked over to the sink to wash my hands. I looked up at myself in the mirror. A face filled with regret and fear.
The door opened slightly and James’ head popped into the washroom. I turned off the tap and looked at him through the mirror.
“This is the ladies room you realize this right?”
James stood behind me and put his lips to my shoulder. “And I see the most beautiful lady in it.”
I smiled and blushed. He placed his hands on my hips, then started kissing my neck. I tried to stop him, but I couldn’t. He moved one of his hands slowly down my dress until he touched my leg and slid his finger tips higher and higher, the rush of excitement getting the best of me. I knew that we should be talking about how rude and indecent he was toward me that morning and if we were going to ever work out. Although, all I wanted was to scream and let out the rage inside of me from the event that day; instead, he turned my head to kiss him. Without a moments notice, he spun me around and pulled me close to him. His gentle touch was no longer, James ripped off my undergarments and had his way with me. That was not how I imaged our conversation would take place. I imaged we would speak over dinner, a cup of coffee, or even cuddling on his sofa. That raw animal magnetism that James was showing made me forget why I was mad at him in the first place. He swooned me, touched me, gave it to me like no other man has ever done. That rough and passionate desire.
A silent grunt as his lips touched mine, our breaths became one. Our gazes were held for a moment and reality came crashing back. I wondered whether to tell him or not what happened today. Then again, I wondered if I should risk everything and let him in. Hoping he wouldn’t just be another cigarette burning it’s way into ashes. I decided to just kiss him. His lips were amazing. He was addictive like a drug and I wanted more.
“Um, I think we should get out of here,” I said, slightly out of breath. James nodded and pulled his pants up. I turned to face the mirror and fixed my lipstick. James reached down behind me and picked up my undergarments, which were ripped and torn in half.
“It’s all right,” I said and chuckled. James kissed me and we walked out of the washroom, I in front of him, to find Christof, Andy, and Francois singing along to an Irish drinking song and taking shots. The bar tender paid no mind to the mess because of who we were.
“Lylie come join us,” Francois yelled.
“James drink up you motherfucker!” Christof yelled. I couldn’t help but laugh at these fools.
“We’re heading out now anyway,” I said and grabbed my hat and gloves.
Christof walked up to me and kissed my forehead. He walked over to James as I hugged Francois and Andy goodbye. “Now James, you take care of this woman or I’ll chop your balls off.”
James chuckled and took my hand to walk out. Instantaneously, they started singing and banging their glasses on the bar again. James and I walked out into the beautiful summer evening, the sun was giving the sky a beautiful orange, pink, and purple glow. All the families walking around were dressed in anything red, white, and blue. So patriotic. A family was picking up their things from the side of the road, the parade must have just passed through. Their son had fallen asleep in the carriage, the smudge of what once was an American flag on his cheek, met the side of the carriage. They seemed so happy to have done such simple task. Just like that day with my mother. I still dreamt that one day that family would be me. I would be the one picking up juice boxes and knapsacks and kissing my husband as people around sing the national anthem. That I would push the stroller of my child in hopes that even though he was asleep, the experience would always be a fond memory.
“Where are you?” James asked.
“You seem like you’re not here? So, where are you?”
“Nowhere,” I said. “Shall we walk along the water? Watch some of the fireworks before we head home.”
“Anything for you, my love.”
We did not talk as we walked, I was too preoccupied with the confusion of what had happened earlier in the day and how I was in a moment of pure bliss and happiness, with fear and rage just hiding below it. I knew that I should not let that moment be ruined by my troubles and problems that were going on, but I couldn’t help thinking of that family I saw and how happy they were. How a little girl lost her family while another was celebrating their happiness on the same day. I couldn’t stop seeing myself in that little girl either. How alone she must’ve felt, how taken aback at the reality of how cruel mankind truly was. A tear rolled down my cheek. I knew in that moment that Gaelan had to go, someone who had some form of morals needed to take over his throne.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” James asked and wiped away the tear.
“It’s nothing, I’ll be fine. Just a lot on my mind today.”
“Lylie, you know you can tell me anything right?” James said and kissed my hands. “I hope it isn’t anything to do with what I said?”
Before I could get anything out, fireworks ignited around us, lighting up the sky. James smiled at me, kissing me as more fireworks exploded their colors in the night sky. I looked up at them and couldn’t help but to laugh a little.
“Such a wonderful yet tragic day, ending in total peaceful happiness,” I said and kissed James again.
“Will you tell me what happened today?” James put his arm around me as we continued to walk along the water toward the place I called home. I told him everything. All that happened on that day, everything that I have ever done. I never truly opened up about my past before, but then was a good a time as any. I told him about my mother, about her death, about Gaelan and how me forced me to lure James in. However, I did tell James that even though it was Gaelan that forced me to stay with him and watch him, it was I who fell for him and wanted to stay.
“Um, I really don’t know what to say Lylie. That’s definitely a lot to take in.”
“Then don’t say anything,” the fireworks slowly died down to nothing but ashes.
We walked up the drive to the front steps of Gaelan’s home. We were greeted by the butler who took my hat and gloves. James followed me up the steps to my room, his eyes examining every inch I took, every move I made. My father and Stacy had not arrived home yet, my guess was they had went to the pub to join Francois and the guys.
I walked into my room and unzipped the dress, letting it fall to my feet as I stepped over it to close the curtains. I turned to see James leaning against the door frame staring at me. Taking off my shoes, I slowly walked towards the bed where I sat, naked and exposed, meeting his gaze. Part of me expected him to turn around and leave after everything I just told him, and the other part of me expected him to step into my room, close the door and walk over to me, kissing me as we lie on the bed together.
James left the door open but walked over to me. He stood in front of me and ran his fingers through my hair, grabbing at bunch of them, and pulling me up toward him. He turned me and threw me on the bed. Grabbing my hips, he pulled me up to my knees kissing my back and bitting me. I could hear his pants unbuckle and in seconds I felt him inside me. James was thrusting as hard as he could forcing me to fall onto my stomach. Though he did not stop. His hands were gripping my wrists, his heaving breathing by my ear. He gave a few more thrusts, harder and harder until he grunted once more and relaxed on top of me.
“I’m sorry,” He said and rested his lips on my shoulder.
I did not saying anything. I moved out from under him and wrapped myself in my house coat. I could see something in James’ face, something he was hiding from me. How I desperately wanted to ask, but knew that if nothing was wrong I’d seem as though there were more secrets that he did not know about. So, I just got back into bed and lay next to him, watching his breathing slow and his manhood shrink.
We lay there for hours talking about what our lives would be if we just ran and never looked back. I knew that even if we tried to run, we wouldn’t make it passed the driveway. James asked me once more if I could quit working for Gaelan. I did not answer him and caressed his face. Before I could even come up with an answer, we slowly drifted off, my head on his chest listening to the sound of his heart beating.