Karen wasn’t much different then ma’am, although Frank wasn’t sure if she knew it or not, Karen wouldn’t be for a long term.
Chapter 4) 212-543-5000
School busses always smelled the same. Just like gymnasiums, always the same specific smell. Hints of pink bubble gum, anxiety worn into the plastic seats. The same noises buzzing through the tubed shaped transport devise. Laugh echoed from obnoxious girls, gossiping about subjects so complete irrelevant in his point of view. It’s like listening to air, so hollow and trendy.
He was bored, his first day hadn’t turned out into a complete disaster. Didn’t mean it went well though. Before joining his new class he had to make a little side trip to the principles. Principle Marshall, a cranky saggy man who smelled like cigars and old books. He must have passed his fifties and his hairline had started to be see-through. In mister Marshall’s office he’d been forced to endure a lecture about the school rules and strict discipline. It was an excellent speech weren’t it he’d had a dozen similar once. And how longer the speeches, how more terrified those principles were to lose control. We have a no drug policy, there will be consequences, attend every class or receive…Yada yada. First unwritten rule, the moment there is a drug policy there are kids dealing. B-I-N-G-O. Consequences were only for the idiot that got caught. And skipping classes, how more the merry.
After his side-trip one of the older students walked him to his first class and told him that if he had any questions he could come to him. Straight A punch-me-now student, ass kisser. No way that he was going to hanging out with those types. Another unwritten rules, if you’re smart and talented exploit it. If you’re not shut your mouth and stay low.
During half of the classes he’d been completely clueless. With absolutely no idea where the teacher was talking about, he’d occupied himself with making little drawings in his notebooks. That was his problem wasn’t it, off-focus at all times. Luckily there had been doctors shoving handfuls of medical terms in his face and eventually shoved some pills down his throat. Didn’t work, the Ritalin. It should work if the doctors had been right, but he didn’t believe he had ADD. He just got lost in feeling stupid all the time and hadn’t taken his medication in a while. Not even in the re-education centre. Sure he swallowed but a finger down your throat and don’t forget to flush the toilet.
But now that he was back at school he was very willing to make a little trip to the pharmacy to get his medication. Because if you were lucky you might sell them for a nice price. If he was lucky he wouldn’t even have to walk himself if he asked the new foster mom nice. Little puppy eyes and he would be back in business. He’d though it through, if she didn’t want to buy him cigarettes that would be fine. She couldn’t possibly keep him from taking his medication that would be cruel. So Ritalin could get him cigarettes and if he contacted the right kind of pothead at his new school he could even be enjoying his old habit in a while. He had an eye for fellow fuck ups so it was just a matter of time until he found the right kind of people.
Staring out of the window his mind already drifted back to the time he spent on the streets. Free, empty but free. And cold most of the time, what in the end nearly got him killed. A cold, one fucking cold brought him back in the world of yellow busses and high school.
A boy jumped next to him, he’d seen him before in one of his classes. Nice, the first one of the sheep to throw a pity-party at the foster fuck. He couldn’t recall giving the impression of being sociable but anyway…
A few questions passed together with pity in a mellow form. How it sucked to be the new kid, that it was hard adapting to new books and classes. And that if he liked he could ‘hang’ with –whatshisname- and his friends during lunch. Nice of course for a total stranger that hardly knew him, sometimes they tried to be nice but they didn’t get that he couldn’t just ‘hang’.
He couldn’t ‘hang’ and be sociable because he had absolutely nothing in common with his classmates. And he didn’t have the desire to blend into a group, it would be only temporarily after all. Sooner or later they would be sick of him or he had to move again.
Eventually the guy left. Frank watched the boy get out of the bus and walk away with a few friends, going home. It used to sting but now he could simply be an anonymous observer and watch a happy kid walk back home. It felt like watching Discovery Channel, observing countries you’d probably never see up close. But you watch it out of interest anyway.
Frank was one of the last kids to go home, most of the seat deserted and the bus driver threw him an impassioned glare when he took a lot of time to get up and pick up his backpack. Guy was probably in a great need to get home himself, lucky bastard.
He managed to get through dinner and even spend a while downstairs watching TV with the family. CNN, some fancy pricks bickering about the new health care, it didn’t interests him but he doesn’t have anything better to do. The two little girls sat at his right with some Barbie dolls and Danny sat kneeled on the floor playing with some toy car. The dad was softly ranting about those damn liberals and the mom… He didn’t spot the mom in the family picture. Neither does he see Christopher but he couldn’t care less. Guy was probably having a blast with some real life friends, how very nice for him…
Silently Frank got up and excused himself, nobody reacted as he tiptoed out of the living room and into the kitchen. As he figured the mom was doing the dishes while the radio was quietly buzzing up an old country song, not his favorite but at least no Holy Ghost funk.
A little unsteady he gazed around the traditional kitchen. Mocha-glazed maple cabinets matched with the large centered island. Frank kind of liked it, it had something warm and welcoming making him feel a little more relaxed.
“Need any help?” He asked and pointed at the dirty dishes. The mom appeared to be a little surprised of his offer, suspicious even but she smiled a little unsure and handed him a dishcloth.
There was a silence but not an uncomfortable one, music played and Frank focused on the repetitively act. An easy task, he was pretty good with those chores. By now he could cook, do laundry, clean and iron. He wasn’t particularly good with fixing clothes and honestly he thought that was really a girl thing. Somehow his fingers would always twitch, he would drop the needle and his hand-eye coordination sucked if he had to focus on something so small and boring for a while.
The mom asked him about his new school, reminding him to call her Karen and not ma’am. Strange how those orders imprint into your brain, sire ma’am, become natural after a while. Easier than real names, how many of them wanted to leave an impression anyway? None of them where ever for the long term and sire ma’am created distance. A different rank, sire and ma’am, two words to let you know not to mess up and show some respect.
Karen wasn’t much different then ma’am, although Frank wasn’t sure if she knew it or not, Karen wouldn’t be for a long term. Sure now he appeared as a dandy sweetheart, but she would get sick of him. She would get sick of his face and voice, the way he would tried to sneak through the house trying to stay unnoticed. And if she didn’t get sick of that she would get sick of him throwing tantrums and lose control. If it weren’t the tantrums she would get sick of the lies he would tell, the hiding and the nights she would spend beside the phone, waiting for the police to call. She would get sick of him in one way or another, all of them had their excuses. Some true others not so much, it didn’t matter because in the end it would be his word against the ma’am or sire.
“Frank? Frank?” He hadn’t heard her call his name and he’d zoomed out up till she placed her hand on his. He zoomed back in, suddenly very aware that he was standing in a kitchen staring intensely to the kitchen sink. Nausea rose and he flinched back when he became aware of the humble touch.
He broke a plate, it had crashed on the floor and lay there in pieces as a silent witness. He dropped a plate while stepping back, slipped it off with his sleeve. Tiny wet pieces of porcelain lay broken on the kitchen tiles.
Powerless he stared at what he’d done, unable to fix it feeling completely sick inside. “I…I’m sorry, I… I’ll…” Yes what exactly was he trying to stammer out? I’ll pay for that? Stumbling down to collect the broken pieces he silently cursed himself for being so stupid. He should have stayed inside the living room and watched boring TV. Or even better he should have excuse himself right after dinner and flee to his new bedroom. You’re going to pay for that, little chicken-shit!
“I… I’ll pay for it, you can take it out of my budget…” He muttered nearly inaudible, completely focused on collecting the broken pieces. If he would look around the room would probably be spinning by now and keeping your head down is safer, at least you didn’t see it coming.
“Frank?” The mom’s voices sounded very insistent and close. He felt her hand reach for his shoulders and he froze when she touched him. Body heat sinking right through his shirt into his skin, it strangely made him tremble and he jerked his head up.
“I’m sorry I broke the place Karen.”
She eyed at him worried and a little disturbed, at least that was how much he could read from her. He hadn’t figured her out yet, not completely and he didn’t know how well she could play a poker face.
“Frank, it’s just a plate. Don’t worry we have more than enough of those.” Squeezing his shoulder lightly she smiled. “Maybe you should go to bed Frank, you look a little pale.”
Okay, so clearly she was going to drop it. Nervously he tensed and wrung his lips into an apologetic smile. “Yeah I guess, first day at school I guess.”
“I bet.” She answered back. “Dishes are nearly done anyway, go get a good night rest Frank. Owh-“ Something must have popped up in her head because she swung back around. “-Have you given Gerard a call yet, he asked specifically that you should give him a call.”
His brain started spinning and swallowing a lump in his throat he shook his head. “No I haven’t yet.” He nodded at the phone. “Can I maybe take it upstairs, its a little noise because of the TV and stuff.”
“Sure no problem.” She handed him the phone. “First press a zero then the number, when you’re done please place the phone back on the appliance, we’ve lost at least a dozen phones in the last few years.”
He politely chuckled, said a quick thank you and tried his best to calmly climb the stairs and not make a run for it as his gut feeling told him to do. Feeling how his mouth turned dry and his stomach objected he didn’t go into his bedroom but into the bathroom, luckily it was close.
After emptying his entire stomach in less than three hurls he flushed and trembling sat down on the edge of the toilet. ‘Lock the door Frank, do it now’, he thought. Motionless he got up and turned the knob to occupy. ‘Open the window Frank’, turning around he opened the window and inhaled the cold calming air. Drained from energy he eventually hovered into the bathtub. Indian-styled he let both hands slid through his hair and for a while he stared at the phone. Numbers from zero to nine, slowly they started to spin and fade a little bit until he felt completely alone inside the cold bath tub.
He used to sit into similar ones, could stay inside the cold marble for hours. With his arms wrapped around his knees, lying on his side and just stare at the soothing white while trying to empty his head. It was always cold inside the tube but that didn’t matter, if you squeezed your eyes shut and used a little pretend it felt like you where being hold. Safety and security all given by an oval-shaped tube and a little fantasy. Child fantasy, but it still helped him to calm down, set his mind back into the right order.
He had a little card in his pocket, a somewhat business card from his social worker. They were always happy to supply you with their phone number and information. Formality, so you could always call them if things got too rough. In the ten years he spent in foster care he’d barely ever used their card. Sure, if he needed a ride, or if he needed to go places. But never for problems, not for real problems. And he wasn’t going to call his new social worker, named Gerard A. Way.
212-543-5000, that was the number he was going to call. 212-543-5000, that was a phone number he’d imprinted deeply into his brain. 212-543-5000.
Slow and delicately he pressed the numbers and bit on his thumbnail while he waited.
“New York State Psychiatric institution, Abby speaking how may I help you?” A cheery woman voice sounded on the other side, there were background noises from doctors and someone’s frantic giggling.
“Hi, I’m calling for… I’m Frank, Franklin Iero. I’m calling for Linda Iero.” He stuttered uncomfortable trying to ignore all the background buzz.
“Linda… Linda… Do you have a moment?” Before he could answer the woman putted him on hold. For about five minutes Frank listened to some horrible tune before he got the woman back on the line. “I’m sorry Franklin, she can’t get on the phone right now. Can I take a message?”
A message? He ignored the impulse of throwing the phone against the tiled wall, hard. Did that cunt seriously thought his mom would take her serious if she informed her that her son had called? She must be new, an intern maybe. Or some ignorant college student who thought a part-time job in a fucking nuthouse would be a ‘great’ way to make a buck and watch crazy monkeys in the zoo. And after she graduated she could throw an esculent résumé around bragging about her earlier jobs, because you must be fucking brilliant to work in a nuthouse. Of course you had to be smart and tough to stand working with the mentally ill. ‘Well bitch try to live with it, see if you still love your dandy job so much,’ Frank thought venomous.
“Hello? Are you still there…?” The woman sounded a bit worried.
“-Yes.” He paused and sighed deep. “Just tell her that I love her and that I miss her. Tell her Franklin called and that I’m safe. I don’t think she’ll believe any of it, but please at least tell her I called.”
“Will do, anything else sire?”
“No, that’s it. Thanks.” He added cheerless and hung up. 212-543-5000, he’d carved those numbers into wood from school desks and closets wrote it down on paper and used it as a little mantra before falling asleep. 212-543-5000 was the last concrete connected he had to get in touch with his mother. It was the only thing he could always take with him, a phone number that sometimes allowed him to talk to his mom.
It sucked to be a foster fuck, you’re always alone. There is no guaranty on a future, nothing is solid. And the worst part was that nobody ever took the time to listen, hear you out, pay attention to what you had to say and what you would want in life. Because nobody gave a fuck about an overly used old milk cow that slowly started to reached the age of eighteen. And nobody cared much in those years before. You’re just a name and a number and easy cash.
Cold and feeling numb, empty inside he got out of the tube craving for a cigarette. With only two left he scooped down on the window frame, feeling shivers ran over his back from the wind. He was lucky the bathroom was just like his bedroom on the backside of the house, so unless there was a perve staring at him through the bushes he was perfectly safe. Unless he fell all the way down and cracked his head on the pavement, that would suck because he still had two cigarettes left.
Completely numb and dead tired he inhaled, tasting the toxic flavor of nicotine. His lungs filled with smoke, leaving some tart and ashes along the way. He watched the orange light eat away his cigarette, whipping the ashes off the window frame. When only a butt was left he slowly let the last bit of smoke drifted out of his mouth, making little circles.
Frank sat up, shoved his right foot up the window frame and pulled his sock a little down. Routinely he bit on the inside of his cheeks and pressed the cigarette out on his ankle. Pain jabbed through his flesh, leaving an unnoticeable scare as he whipped off the ash and pulled his sock back up.
It didn’t hurt though, sure the pain was stingy and nagging but it didn’t hurt. There was a difference between pain and actually being hurt. Pain ached and could burn, sometimes sharp and overwhelming. But you’d get through it, at least he always got through it. Just bite your tongue, lower your head and squeeze your eyes shut. Eventually it would get less. Scars would develop, bruises would fade and bones eventually heal. But the moment that process started, the pain would disappear and leave a whole lot of hurt. Inside it would still hurt.
His first few childhood memories existed from feeling utterly scared and abandoned. Terrified for her to come home and to leave again. She was all he’d had and eventually he’d lost her too. And she had been the main source of pain, so when she left and her marks slowly faded away all he felt was hurt inside.
‘No place like home.’ He thought pained and sarcastically as he washed his face and brushed his teeth like nothing had happened. After all hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil had been his basic rules.
Hope I haven’t made you leave with these moody troubled thoughts. First things first, I want to think everyone who’s leaving fantastic comments. I need a little cheer to make me writing, get my engine started so to speak. I mean it, you’re amazing for spending some time to write down a review that actually makes me want to write more and more.
Other than that, I think I should say this before people leave all disappointed. If you’re looking for boy meets boy, falls in love and they have graphic hard core smut, I’m sorry. Although I love slash in a way it could be unhealthy, I’m not a good writer with the subject. I’ve written a lot of stories and not many of them involve sex. Or they do, just not smut and graphic. I don’t write that stuff, because in the first place, I CAN’T. I seriously get all giggly when my characters drop their pants. Second, I don’t care much about a boy meets boy and has sex. I’m into angst and thoughts and see through the point of view from the character how fuck up his/her life is and how they deal with their troubles. That’s where I care about and what I want to write, so just know that before I’ll disappoint you:P