|Tandy Bowen doesn't have to pick between (cloakndagger) wrote in repose,|
@ 2019-10-05 20:56:00
|Entry tags:||*narrative, tandy bowen|
tandy bowen: what trouble looks like
Who: Tandy Bowen
What: What summer --> fall looks like
Warnings: References to narcotics/dealing.
He had got through the summer with enough cash scraped from people on sun-drenched sidewalks who wanted pictures of themselves, or their lover or their father or their sister or their friend that Tandy had preemptively considered himself home free. Baseline cash, the kind that could acquire a tablet and with a tablet and his laptop he could start earning money from commission from people who were starry-eyed over fictional people online. That was the plan, and the plan was bankable judging by size of market and established artists and Tandy had every intention of undercutting other artists to make a killing. He had no sympathy for the artistic community if he could pay his rent by drawing pictures of wizards or vampires for people who didn't believe they were real. He'd even logged the intention to compare anatomy to pornographic images, to ensure a sincere attempt at realism, albeit in two dimensions.
So Tandy had unwound. Mentally unpacked. The closet in the blue bedroom had jeans and shirts neatly hung. His backpack was stowed under the bed, his pencils scattered on the bedside table. He was used to hearing the front door close late at night, or early in the morning and paid no attention to Billy's houseguests who stayed perennially short periods. He had settled, and that was ultimately defenceless. The guy had come for him in the old truck that had dropped a handful of people at the side of plate-glassed houses. Tandy recollected well enough, the smear of fingerprints over maroon paint, the dangling expired air-freshener bobbing from the rear-view.
Tandy was not a violent person. It was anathema. Situations could be fixed with words, or they were unlikely to be fixed. He had grown up in a household that at times violence had leaked into, and he found nothing calculably helpful about fists.
It made for poor ability to self-protect, as Tandy thought with the vagueness of knowing dissociation was taking place, with the man's boot digging starbursts of pain under his ribs. It was explained to him in terms he comprehended, albeit with the blankness of fear glutting on the brain-space Tandy had never let fear into, that debt remained. Whatever it was the girl Tandy had been had done, what she'd seen she had been protected and the debt was overdue.
It made logical degrees of sense that the recompense was criminal. Criminal enterprises bred criminal enterprises and Tandy felt faint, ridiculous relief that it wasn't white collar crime required. He had made enough to pay for present set up with ransomware but he was perturbed at the idea that his life, neatly carved out and separated into segmentations, could blur with her life, criminal enterprise not withstanding. He was faintly relieved and then he was not, and it settled dully, the red glow of a coal that would not subside into ash in the pit of his stomach, the idling of adrenaline like a car left in gear, when it was explained precisely what he was required to do.
The days got shorter. Evening tided earlier and earlier. Tandy stayed out late - for work - and he rose early, because sleep and a guilty conscience were oil and water. He acquired bluish circles and was informed they did not help. Tandy's usefulness derived from the clean, wholesome nature of his appearance. He supposed this was logical. Trust was unconscious, often biased. It was easier when you were blond and blue-eyed, than of non-Caucasian heritage. It was easier if you looked as if you took class at the college in the Capital, rather than resided on the wrong side of the tracks. Tandy knew this. He had worked the nature of trust like a confidence trick for years, in order to keep himself out of the system.
This was just a different system.
It was nine eighteen pm. He wasn't wearing a watch, but he'd looked at his phone five minutes ago and counted the minutes off in seconds. It was comforting. The swing-seat was too small for him, and the chains squeaked when his weight shifted. He had his feet planted, and when chains clacked, it was the seat in the swing next to his. She held out an arm; in low light, Tandy couldn't identify whether there were track marks or there weren't. It was academic, this wasn't a choice, arguably. (Actually, arguably it was a choice, Tandy didn't know which option was theoretically worse). She put a hand into his hoody pocket, the empty one, and he heard the faint, papery sound of crumpled bills. He held out his hand. To an observer, it likely looked familiar. Two near-adults, college-age kids, recollecting childhood. Perhaps sweethearts, but his fingers glanced hers, gripped only for as long as it took for her to take the plastic bag out of his palm.
The chains squeaked. The girl walked away. She didn't look back. It was nine twenty four pm and he had a delivery to the trailer park in precisely sixteen minutes but for now, just for now, Tandy sat on the swings and let observation briefly become fact. A near-adult, college-age kid recollecting childhood.
It felt like an exceptionally long time ago.