travis narrative Who: Travis and family What: How he starts selling drugs for his stepfather Where: His mom's place in the Capital When: Recent Warnings: Drugs.
things had gotten worse. Not just since the beginning of the summer, but since he'd come back, reawoken as it were, to Repose in the first place. There'd been a grace period of a week, maybe two if he was being generous, when life had felt endurable. Because after the hospital, with all of the doctors still in his head, Travis had been able to convince himself that maybe that other life, that other reality where he'd had a career and a wife and such promise, had been just a fever-dream, a side effect of the coma. In time, his confidence in the doctors with their lack of answers just waned. They didn't have any news for him, any diagnosis, any reason for his "dream", and with nothing to feed the machine, Travis disavowed himself from the doctors and their recovery program. He stopped going to meetings. He stopped giving a shit.
Work dried up. It might have been inevitable because as it turned out, Repose was forever small town, and a small town only ever so rarely needed the use of a junkyard. When he'd taken the job at the junkyard, it'd been with the understanding that his trailer on the property would be free, and he'd make a modest commission off of sales. But with no sales, there was no commission, and the summer was stretching out into something broke and bleak. It reminded him of his childhood, really. Ramen noodle suppers and believing that a lucky break sort of chance at Little Ceasers pizza was living the good life. And on top of all this, Travis had the ghost of a wife in his head and the anti-past creeping up all around him... so maybe it is no surprise that he turned up on his momma's front porch after one grim weekend.
When Travis turned up there he was down, but not entirely desperate. He just wanted to check in, and he didn't shrug away from the offering of a tuna sandwich or can of pop. His momma was in a good mood, buzzed on pills and wine coolers, and because of that, Travis made a mental note to be gone within the hour.
But he should have known better because by the time his cousins showed up, there were beers to share and a diminishing reason to make an early escape. Before he knew it, Travis was actually having a good time. So good a time that he forgot to worry about what was going to happen when Duke, the stepdad with shoulders like death's cavalry, would inevitably come home. So Travis spent the night playing bones with his cousins, smoking weed with his momma, and sharing tuna sandwiches with the pitbulls, Ricky & Lucy.
When Duke finally did come home, with the devil-rumble sound of his Harley pulling up the drive, it was like all of the air got sucked out of the room, and the little party deflated real quick. Mom went and locked herself in the bathroom with a bottle, the cousins dispersed through the back, and Travis was left kicking himself for not having left earlier. It was too late to ditch his lifelong bully, so Travis squared up and faced the music. The music, in this case, was a 6'4 man named Duke, with shoulders like barrels as well as a mean, halfway toothless smile.
Travis had tried to make the man proud off and on, when he wasn't just vowing off of seeing his family altogether. But this time just felt different, and it probably was because Travis was actually here to ask a favor this time. Duke seemed to sense the newness, the man scented at the air like a predator catching a whiff of fresh blood. Then he smiled that old smile and tucked Travis' shoulders, chicken wing tiny by comparison, under his arm while leading him back to the lumpy, flower cushioned couch in the living room.
Duke was in a good mood as he shrugged out of his biker leathers. This was rare, so rare that Travis dared not to disturb the fragility of the moment by making any protests. Travis didn't protest when he was pulled to sit alongside Duke, and he didn't protest when his stepfather began to scratch out lines of pretty powder on the coffee table. "Your mom says you're having a bad time of late..." Duke snorted one line, then another.
Travis felt frozen, and he made a distinct effort to shake loose from his trauma to answer. "Uh, yeah. I thought maybe you got some work at the shop I could do. Or if you need a runner for shipment maybe, something lowkey, you know?" Travis stared with hopeful eyes at the other man, wondering if his plead was working.
His heart fell a little when Duke laughed. "Now Travis," he said. "I ain't never known you as a son, but if you want my good graces, and you want some of my money, you're going to have to commit." Duke pushed a cut straw into Travis' hand, and Travis could only shrug off his cares as he leaned down to take the line of speed with a quick, burning inhale.
He sat back wincing and Duke chuckled. He patted Travis on the back, and Travis thought that this, this was what it felt like to make somebody proud. "A new shipment comes in this week. Looks like you're joining the family business, son." Travis choked a little on his 'yeah,' and Duke just laughed, laughed, laughed.