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Closure of Broken Chains

by Gregory Fahrenbruck about a year ago in literature
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Little Black Book Challenge

Looking over my small crew of about twenty, they have followed my lead as I began the gang after dropping out of high school a year back. School wasn’t for me as I never learned anything. It was all gibberish to me...there was a time when I loved to learn, but those days have passed.

My momma was a dropout as well, and my daddy. Well he went and got himself killed while on duty. There is nothing there for me at school or with my family. Only my gang, the Kodiak’s makes me feel at home. Directing them all as we do jobs here and there, taking compensation as we please like a small band of pirates.

Sure, Josh was arrested last week because he was carrying the drugs on his person, but he didn’t snitch, we were never called out. I paid him a visit just to make sure there was no trouble. “The words never parted from my lips,” he told me, a discrete way of putting it as the officers where hovering over him. Seeing if he’d let anything slip. Yet, my crew is uneasy.

“Grizzly,” A girl who also dropped out of high school and has been clinging to me as if I were her protector. She comes from an abusive household and has been living here at our condemned factory that we made our home. “The cops have been around here pretty often, a few of us are fearing that Josh may have spoke.”

“Debby is right, I don’t think we can trust him anymore.” My second in command as it where, Eric backs up my girl and I can’t think of anything to ease their mind. I want to tell them I have everything under control, but this is our first member to be arrested since I began the gang. Things always seem to go astray.

“Josh gave me his word,” I tell the lot, “he wouldn’t blow everything we’ve worked for, and just cause the cops are snooping around doesn’t mean we’re going to be caught. We make enough money from escorting the goods that we’re living a good life. True we can’t bail Josh out but it’s was his own fault. As much of a brother as he is to us, we have to leave him be. I will pay him another visit soon.”

One of the Kodiak calls out, “You say that, but going off word alone doesn’t help. You guide all of us so well, but we need you with us, if one of us are on our own, we’re hopeless. Josh is as well.”

“As honored as I am to be seen by all of you in that light,” I gaze about the factory floor, high from atop the cat walk that is above all the broken machinery and the rest of my gang. “the Kodiak’s are like a family, we thrive together and Josh is but a lost soul which after his jail time will return to us. We can’t let one thorn divide us.”

There is a silences as everyone stares up at me, a few lone lamps above us swaying from the drafts making their way through the many holes in this swiss cheese like building. A few of them clap, some cheer and I ask them to all meet up here tomorrow, it’s late now and they should go home, at least those of them that have homes here in this ghetto of dump we live in.

“Debby,” I look down on her, her beautiful brown skin shining from sweat in the humid climate, “You should go to a shelter for the night, it’s not right for you to stay here with me.”

“The beds suck…”

“She’s right, I’ve gone to a few myself.” Eric sometimes stays here as well, “you are the one that should go get some rest, you put up this tough front in front of us, but you’ve hardly slept at all.”

“I can’t just shut my eyes,” I tell them, mulling over everything again, “Josh was one of the first to join as you two were...I don’t like that he’s in there, I don’t like that I thought I would be fine thinking I was able to get away with everything…”

“You need to rest, calm yourself.” Eric says resting a hand on my shoulder, a head taller then I. “I’ll keep Debby safe, why don’t you go home, you still have a home…”

“I don’t want to go back to that...woman.” I yell at them, “She’s drunk, always has been since the day Daddy didn’t come home.”

A loud clank echos around the factory as all of us stop, holding our breaths and ducking below the solid guardrail. “Everyone should have left by now,” Debby whispers, “we’re the only three inside here.”

Eric peeks over the guard rail of the catwalk and taps me on the shoulder, “there is a man here.”

“A man?” I question, standing, and looking down in the dim light at a clocked figure.

“Who are you,” Eric yells at the man.

“You’re not with the police are you,” Debby says looking over as well as if he isn’t hostile to us at all and asking so bluntly.

“Are you some hobo lost, this place isn’t your home, this place belongs to the Kodiak’s.”

“Shut it you two,” I says gaze at the man, I can’t make out anything besides his smile of pearly whites a large grin with anticipation.

“Finally we meet, Curtis.” He says, his voice very rough, probably from smoking a few too many packs.

I’m frozen in place as he says my name, as if he knows me, “Bastard, tell me your name!” I shout back hesitating to budge but he laughs and tossing something up to us, like a pro baseball player it’s with pin point accuracy which Eric is able to catch, not stunned like I am.

“A notebook,” He says looking at it’s black cover, and I look at it, recognizing the black leather and it’s biding. Worn, but it’s unmistakable.

“How do you have my Daddy’s journal?” I yell at him, bringing a leg up over the railing to leap down to him when Debby grabs me around the waist. I turn my head back to her and she shakes her head. Look back to the concrete of the factory floor below, she is right, if I were to jump I would kill myself, it’s not a long drop, but I would certainly injure myself.

“Come down here Curtis, send your companions away. They don’t need to hear our man to man.”

Reluctantly they part, though I have no idea if they ever left the building, I never heard the doors bang. I have come down from the cat walk and I stare the man in the face, the whites of his eyes watching me intently. He has yet to remove that hood of his, and the smile remains, creepy even.

Rising a finger he points at the book in hand, “Open it, flip to the last page, it’s your salvation if you so choose.”

“What salvation do I need?” I question him as I flip to the last page and a piece of paper falls to the ground. “what is this?” I ask, as I grab the paper from off the ground and opening it, to see a check with my name on it, the zeroes next to the two makes me choke on some spit, “why?” I gasp, looking at the check as if this is some bazaar dream. “Twenty thousand dollars… just for me…”

The guy smiles as he removes his hood and approaches me, it takes me a moment, but I recognize him, he had black hair when I was a kid…it’s gray.

“Names Jakoby, was in the same unit as your old man.”

“Jakoby, what is this, why are you here?” I ask, bewildered beyond belief, “Is this from my daddy?”

“You’re a man, call him your father, or dad at least, your not some piss ant.”

“You have some nerve coming here.” I yell at him with tears in my eyes as I’m at a lost for words.

He approaches me and embraces me in a hug. “sit down, we need to talk about that “salvation” I’m giving you.”

“You sound stupid.”

“I assure you I am not.” He tells me as we lean against one of the machines in the factory, the dust stirring and he coughs, before continuing. “Your father wanted to see what life you could make on your own.”

I look at the man I once knew as a young child, he came over often with my daddy when they had leave. Those were far more pleasant times...my hands holding lightly onto the check as he continue to speak. “We would often talk about our own upbringing. Believe it or not both of us where raised in the same broken family as you now are.”

“He didn’t need to get himself killed.” I argue, but Jakoby scoffs as he rest a hand on my head.

“His sacrifice,” he says with disdain, “wouldn’t go to waste. At least the higher ups thought as much...too much to get into, but I’ve since left the military.”

I want to know what happened, but right now doesn’t feel like the right time to hear that. “So what of you? Why now?”

“Your father saw it as a test, he had good intentions but I think it went way off course.” He gestures toward the home I have made for myself and the gang. “The Kodiak Grizzly, has a ring to it, but you’re not an animal.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your father wanted to see if you could break the curse, the chains which bound him, and his father before him. The broken family. Being in a gang. Your father joined the military as a way out of this type of life.”

“And I failed him…” I say, looking at the ground in my own guilt for letting daddy down.

“Quite the opposite,” Jakoby says with a smile now, “The one thing that your father never thought would happen, has. A dream of his.”

“What kind of dream did he have?”

“That someone, anyone would have come to him before he had joined the military and would have given him a way out of this life...that is what that money is for. I have passing the torch of his dream to his son by giving you a way out.”

I look at the check again then to him as I stand, backing away, “no, why would you help someone like me, I’ve done nothing to deserve this.”

“It’s because of your life thus far. You have had to deal with your mother being drunk. Probably yelling at you and only because she is hurt from your father’s death. A child deserves none of that, and so you are free...free to accept it or not. Risk your life here and possible jail time due to your nimrod of a friend.”

“You heard all that?”

“I use to be in the military, of course I’d pick up some reconnaissance tactics.”

I’m not sure if I ever did stop crying as we talked, but I agreed with him and he agreed to help me find the proper use of the money, to find a stable job, a car, and a place to live. A new beginning which my father thought he got by joining the military. A way out of a life that was crime ridden. I said goodbye only to Debby and Eric, giving them a small share of the money to make due as they wanted. Later I would hear that Jakoby got Josh out of jail and he’s on probation. Meanwhile I’ve gotten all that Jakoby said, and my mom got some closure meeting our father’s old friend. Seems they are getting along, and she started rehab not long ago.


About the author

Gregory Fahrenbruck

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