Well, what can I say? I’m Tyler, I’m fifteen and I love playing the guitar! I’m into video games and girls. Never kissed a girl yet – don’t tell anyone! Nor a guy – don’t get me wrong! I guess Sarah in 6th grade doesn’t count… and it wasn’t a real French kiss! Anyways…
I live in Bayou Oaks Trailer Park just behind Fairview’s famous “Jurassic Park”. Or “the tourist trap”. Your choice. It seems we’re living on a paleolonto- … Whatever!
A dog ran home with an incredibly big bone a couple of years ago, and it was from a totally new species of dinosaur. So ta-daah! And, from then on, the place was overrun by archaeologists and promotors…
Problem is, the fossil came from Appaloosa Plains Museum of Natural History… and the Bayou isn’t exactly a tourist friendly place. So to try to pay his debts, the owner sold off the land and then shot himself. End of story. I guess the shame of stealing from a museum got too much for him…
But I kinda like that glooming silhouette of a dinosaur, it’s pretty cool!
There are three big trailers on the lot. One is empty since the guy who lived there got busted for drug dealing, Mom and I share one, and Daisy O’Brien lives in the other.
Her dad’s a cop in Bridgeport but she ran away when she was my age… Or maybe she was a little older – seventeen or so… Prego Daze ended up here in the Bayou with her kid, Dick. Gosh, poor kid. I can just imagine how school will suck with a name like that…
Daze’s fun, she’s kinda like a big sister to me, and she’s a console pro. She can be a real pain though, especially when she bags on me, calling me “Newbie” in front of my friends because she kicked my ass at “Black Ops” once!
She’s a terrible cook- everything she touches is either raw or overcooked! Like her specialty; charcoal hot dogs…
She sets the BBQ on fire every now and then. Good thing is I handle the fire extinguisher like a pro’, and the whole “hero” thing feels good. I might even become a firefighter! After I’m done with high school, of course…
Clumsy Daisy is as good with flowers as she’s lethal with food. I’m sure she could even make eggs grow if she only tried! She planted some salted snack sun flower seeds in the shadows behind her trailer, and now they’re threatening to overgrow it – she can’t even see outside anymore…
Oh, and this is my mom! Her name’s Fatma, and she’s Egyptian and not a real redhead. She keeps dying her hair with henna, and sometimes the palms of her hands too. It’s some kind of tradition where she grew up.
She’s an excellent cook. She worked for ages at Hogan’s Burgers – the burger joint next to our high school – until it was sold off and transformed to a karaoke place. Just look at her turning those burgers. When I was a kid I just loved to watch her throw them up in the air, turning them super-fast! I guess I still do…
‘Best cheese burgers in town! I could kill for another one, Mrs. Ben Hale!’
Ha ha ha… Jayler’s granddad’s our town’s Vito Corleone… The Godfather, you know? His family is loaded, but he spends a lot of time at my place, just hanging with me and Darryl. Mustn’t forget Tess, she’ll kill me if I do. She’s the mayor’s daughter, and she’s hanging with us because Jayler’s always here and well… she probably gets a kick out of being somewhere she’s not supposed to be.
My friends like my mother. Not only because of the cheese burgers, but also because of her stories about Egypt. I’d love to go there one day – as a tourist! Or maybe go tomb raiding with Jayler. Wow! The problem is, my mom’s here illegally. So if we leave the country, we won’t be able to come back. And even if mom’s dreaming of returning to Egypt and live there, I’m NOT! No way…
A part from her magic cheeseburgers, my mom’s an ordinary mom – doing the laundry, cleaning and nagging. She also works the night shift at one of the bars in Downtown Falls Harbor. She never talks about her job, she says it won’t last forever. Meanwhile it’s been more than a year now. I know she keeps money in the cookie jar, to start up a restaurant of her own…
She has a new boyfriend, Dave. He’s an a**hole, but mom seems to like having a man around again – so he’s more or less moved in – and now he’s acting like he was my dad!
“Do dis, do dat…” And I think he hit mom when I was at school the other day. She said she fell but I don’t believe her… I mean, what kind of a lame excuse is that? But Dave’s working for Don Moroni, Jayler’s granddad and that makes him “untouchable”.
I’ve started pumping iron after school and I’ll throw him out myself when I’m ripped enough. Meanwhile I use psychological warfare. As we only have one bathroom (yeah, it’s a trailer, hellooo), I squat it just to make him rage… I f***in’ hate him.
Talkin’ ‘bout scum; say hi to Art Johnson, the trailer park’s “manager”. Managing the trailer park is such hard work. Just look at him, sitting in that armchair, drinking beer and bitching about all the things he should do… tomorrow!
He lives in a little log cabin, with a huge cellar. I’m sure it must cover most of the trailer park… I’ve seen it, but there’s nothing down there except gloomy space. Creepy…
Off he goes… I suppose it’s time to go and hassle Daze.
Art and Daze are having what mom calls a “love affair”. Basically he’s screwing her. In more ways than one.
And how they fight! You can hear them yelling all the time…
Mostly they argue because of Dick. I guess you’ve already come to the obvious conclusion that Dick’s not Art’s son? Well, he can’t stand the sight of him. I guess he hates kids in general… So Daisy cries a lot…
I promise – if he touches the kid I’ll smash his f***in’ face in!
When he’s got nothing better to do – aka most of the time – he’s watching TV. Zapping… zapping… until he reaches the sports channel, which is n° 347 on the list…
I can’t forgive Art for f****n introducing his best buddy Dave to mom. So when Dave’s not hanging out in our trailer, you’ll find him at Daisy’s with Art, drinking beer and watching a game.
TDB… I should have known they were here. I’m outta here… ‘Oh, I thought you were watching the game at Merlott’s tonight?’
‘Just shut up, will you…’
‘Yeah… Be quiet, son. We’re just watching the news first…’
I’m NOT your goddamned son!
Daze puts Dick to bed, he’s a sweet kid – when he’s sleeping! Like most kids are, I guess… With Art and Dave gone, she can finally settle down and watch her favorite series. ‘Wanna join me? I’ll make some popcorn, huh? With lots of butter!’
‘Thanks, but no thanks!’ Daze is great, but her taste in films are just like her cooking – disastrous!
So the two morons are off… Merlott’s is quite far away, and the road is dangerous at night. But drunk driving is one of the things Art excels at. Along with talking with his mouth full and farting.
Welcome to Merlott’s. “The” place to be in the Bayou… There’s not much of a choice, as it’s the one and only bar… If you don’t want to cross the bridge and party in the City of course.
Dave usually comes here to shoot pool – and have a beer or two…
Art’s only here for the beer. And Molly’s boobs! Molly’s not the only one loaded tonight. Juan Darer’s probably had one beer to many, and is going bonkers… making a fool of himself as usual.
Let’s see who’s got the biggest… Uh-oh…
Let’s cut a long story short. Art and Juan took it outside, as usual.
And as usual, it ended in “come-and join-us-we’re-having-a-blast-out-here-in the-dark-kicking-ass”. Nothing to lift the spirits like a good old brawl.
‘C’mon, I’m buying!’
The drive home is longer, much longer, and slower…
The Bayou has a lot of nice fishing spots.
Ideal for smashed Art and his buddy Lucky Perkins, curing their hangovers with a fishing rod in one hand and a beer in the other!
Art also sells cars and stuff. Whatever he can get his hands on.
‘There’s a V8 under that hood, son. The babes will fight for a ride…’
Daisy and Mom are whispering on the porch. Mom is worried I’ll throw away all my economies.
‘That car’s a piece. Why don’t you tell him!?!’
‘Just look at him, Daisy. He won’t listen anyway… He’s been pining for that car since Art brought it here last fall…’
‘Only five grand! That’s chump change for a car like this.’
‘I don’t know… I don’t have that kinda money.’
‘Well… I want cash. Just so you now it. I won’t give you no credit, son. It’s cash now or the car goes to someone else.’
‘But the door is stuck!’
‘Yeah, but it’s only the painting. I’ll fix it for you, for an extra 50 bucks. And free access to my tools…’
Of course I bought it… I got totally ripped off, but what the Hell! Now I’ll have something to do until the summer holidays, getting it in shape. Tess immediately called her BFF to tell her about my “new” wheels.
‘Yeah, it’s wicked – all turquoise and white…’
If I don’t hook up with a babe this summer, I never will…
We have a group, IDC. There’s Darryl on the drums, Tess on the keyboard, and I’m the lead guitarist. We’re looking for a singer.
‘A hot babe to draw in the crowds would do just fine’, says Jayler.
Jayler is our manager. He isn’t that interested in music but up till now he’s got us a couple of gigs at school, for prom and such. And at Merlott’s! But they backed out when our singer left* so we’re kinda stuck, just rehearsing all over again and again. I think I’ve got a pic of us just before the gig at Merlott’s somewhere… Ah. Here it is! Look:
There’s Loki to the left, but he’s only on the picture because of Taïga… Then there’s Tess Ashcroft – keyboards, Jayler Moroni – our manager, Darryl Donald on the drums, me – leadguitar. Well, the only guitar now our singer, Taïga – who’s kneeling in the front – has left. She both sang and played the guitar. She had a go at the keyboards too, but Tess went berserk when she heard about it, so she just stuck to the acoustic guitar after that…
I miss her, our singer… Taïga had such an extraordinary voice. Lana Del Rey meets Chrissie Hynde. Pretenders you know? Just long legs and dark hair and those green eyes… so prettyful! All the guy’s had the hot’s for her, especially Loki. And I’m sure Jayler was pining for her too. And she didn’t even notice. She was ate up about some guy in Bigwood Falls…
Gosh! Where’s that? Never even heard of it…
We usually rehearse at Jayler’s granddad’s abandoned hideaway. No neighbors, just raccoons to disturb out here!
It’s nice to have a place to ourselves, nobody knows we’re hanging here. Usually we rehearse first, then we make a fire and roast marshmallows or whatever we have brought with us. Tess is the only girl I know who can barbecue a whole pack of sausages – at the same time! And eat them!
They’re my homies, my crew… for good and for bad. But I’m ashamed we didn’t stand up for Taïga, so what kind of crew are we really? It’s been almost six months since she left. I still feel bad about it, she took the fall for all of us. Tess had to think of her dad, Mr. Mayor supreme, Darryl about the social workers, and me… I was too worried about immigration kicking mom out of the country to be able to think of anything else. And Jayler? He’s a Moroni and being a Moroni he should better not get the police involved.
So we all had our reasons, but I’m ashamed anyway. I can understand she didn’t want to talk to us when she was home last Christmas…* She’ll soon be back from that youth ranch, though… We should do something in her honor… To show everyone that it wasn’t her…
‘C’mon, let’s do something…’
‘Well, our hw!’
‘Now you’re losing it! Homework?’
‘Yeah, don’t you remember what the art teacher told us to do? “Create something for the world to remember”!’
Jayler and Tess look at each other. ‘Got it! Let’s go!’
‘We need to go racking soon, there’s hardly any cannons left!’
‘There’s enough for tonight. Let’s do this!’
Fairview Heights High, home of the Fairview Werewolves – and also tonight’s target.
I hate school, so I don’t even feel guilty! Or maybe a little… but the fun and the excitement outweighs the guilt.
‘Dude, look! They’ve finished the overhaul of the Karaoké joint…’
‘Ha ha ha! Let’s tag it! – Tess! Jayler! Any cannons left?’
Top Tunes Karaoke where the losers howl away their Saturday nights… Lame…
‘Ready guys! Throw up!’
‘Yeah! Hit it!’
‘Yo, Ty, gimme a one-liner!’
‘This one’s for your momma, Ty!’
‘Yeah… This one’s for my mom…’
Jayler can’t keep his hands off Tess for long. Or is it Tess who can’t keep her hands off Jayler? Whatever. She’s been working hard on it… But I wonder if Tess knows he’s got tags on the whole cheer-leading squad. Or that he tried to dump her for Taïga last Christmas? Don’t think she does, or she wouldn’t be all over him like that…
Whatever. Not my business…
Crap! The cops! Better buck before they get here.
‘I didn’t even finish my piece!’
‘We could do it tomorrow… no worries.’
‘Where the f**k is Jayler?’
‘Over here guys! I guess being on the team has some advantages – like sprinting faster than you nerds!’
‘Don’t call me nerd!’ Calvin picks a sprint and taps the back of Jayler’s head. ‘Loser!’
‘Hey guys, it’s past midnight!’
‘It’s cool Daze.’
Doing my homework is such a bitch and Jayler is no help, even though he’s a senior and should at least remember the basics. But he doesn’t need no good grades, he already got enough cash to go to b school. Guess its BYU for me… But there’s still a couple years left, who knows… miracles happen!
Jayler and Tess. I’m like the fifth wheel here… She doesn’t seem to mind Jayler sleeping around. again… Or she prefers to ignore it.
Do all girls react like that? Jayler always treat them like nothing, and they’re all over him anyway… Bah… I could never be like him anyhow… I should text Taïga, she’ll soon be back and maybe she’s forgotten all about that guy what’s his name again, Dylan? Derek? Whatever…
Summer holidays are starting in a couple of weeks. I’ll take her for a ride in my new car… If I can rev’ up the dang engine…
Part II – End of Chapter 15
Shark Racket (Jayler Moroni), Dudley Racket, Juan Darer, Twinbrooks
Calvin Riffin (Darryl Donald), Appaloosa Plains
Jules Wheeler, Midnight Hollow
Lucky Perkins, Riverview
All of them actually living in Twin Towns…