Categories > Movies > Breakfast Club > Renegade

At the Starting Line

by TWBasketCase 0 reviews

John Bender: The man, the myth, the legend. The life of a criminal is not a glorious one, and sometimes we would do just about anything to turn back the hands of time. AU

Category: Breakfast Club - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama - Warnings: [?] [V] - Published: 2007-01-27 - Updated: 2007-01-28 - 3036 words

Bodies had fallen and blood had been spilled in Shermer already. Ronnie Sinclair had been the unfortunate victim of a cocaine deal gone bad and I couldn't help but worry that my brother would suffer the same fate.

By the time the news of Ronnie's death had been discovered, it was too late and the deal was done. We couldn't pull out on Mad Dog; no one pulled out on Mad Dog unless for good reason - which was always on his terms.

The war had started, and our army had risen. We - the creatures of the night - were being let loose on Shermer, IL with an all new agenda.

But first, we had to find our general.

... ... ...
Saturday November 2, 1985
... ... ...

"Fuck, they have a lot of nerve taking off for the whole god damn night!" Ricky yelled, as they let the screen door of the Bender home slam behind them. Edward Bender, who was seated at the kitchen table with his newspaper, glared at his son's friend.

"Watch your fuckin' mouth in my house, Delmore." He turned back to his paper and huffed. "And don't slam my fucking door."

Ricky rolled his eyes at the heavyset man. "Yes, sir."

"Good, now go do your bitching downstairs before I throw you all out." Edward Bender was not a nice man. The times that he and his sons got along were a rarity while they were a little - but not much - more frequent with his wife and daughter.

Edward was a Vietnam veteran who never really got over his hardships over seas. He had been drafted in 1970; his oldest son was 5, John was 3, and his wife was six months pregnant with Janice. Life before the war had been a lot different for the Bender family; Edward had a good job, a high school education, and a lot of love for his family. He and John's mother, Shirley, had gotten pregnant when they were just sixteen, and married soon after. They had their lives 'planned' out - a plan which included a cute little house, a picket fence, and a cute little dog to play with their baby. Shirley dropped out of high school to prepare for the baby, while Edward continued his studies and got a job at an automotive factory. Things looked up for them for a few years.

Three months after James came along, Shirley got pregnant with John. The young couple struggled with James; he was born with water in his lungs and often had bouts of breathing difficulties. They spent money on things to help, but they didn't eliminate the problem. Soon Edward was working until past one in the morning, and still went to school. Most of the time he didn't get to see his family, but he worked hard because he loved them.

Three years later, at the end of 1969, Shirley became pregnant with Janice. At that time, the mortgage was well on its way to being paid off, they added a black Labrador dog to their family, and James had started kindergarten. The family was happy and finally on their way to success. Edward had graduated high school the previous year, and landed a full time job at the factory with a raise.

Then Edward got drafted. Shirley was devastated; she cried at night, clutching her husband, telling him that she couldn't raise the three children by herself. He knew that he had a duty as an American citizen to go and fight for his country, so he did not outwardly complain to his wife. Whether or not Edward truly wanted to got to the war was still a mystery to John, but he was not about to go ahead and ask him about it. All he knew was that his father came home three years later an entirely changed man.

Janice didn't know who the man was, and it took her a long time to get adjusted to having a stranger in the house. John couldn't remember all of the important details about his father before he left (he knew only what his brother told him), so adjustment was difficult for John as well. Most of all, James had a hard time dealing with it. His father used to be a fun and happy man that loved to teach him how to fish, play football, and fix cars. James had been very close and affectionate with his father before he left, so when the eight year old boy met his father again, he completely expected to pick up where they had left off.

It just wasn't meant to be.

When Ed got back he had some health problems. He had suffered from some sort of traumatic leg injury - John figured it was from some sort of explosive device - and was unable to walk well without a cane. He had been discharged from the army, and no longer had any sort of medical benefits to assist him in paying for his medications. Until 1985, John still watched his father walking around in pain. Once again, the old man didn't like to talk about it, so John knew nothing about the extent of those injuries.

What he did know was that the old man had nightmares, and they were long, frequent, and loud. He would wake up in the middle of the night screaming, and would throw a temper tantrum on anyone who came near him afterwards. John figured that it was the nightmares and the flashbacks that pushed him into drinking; the guy just couldn't function otherwise. There was so many times that he thought it would be easy to blame the entire demise of their family on alcohol, but at the same time, his father was worse for wear when he didn't have it. There were also times that John wondered if the old man still thought that he was in 'Nam. He would mumble incoherently and redirect orders that made little sense to the rest of his family.

He also had a hard time just being around other people, especially when he went out in public. When the troops had gotten back from the war, they were spit on by the American citizens; called baby killers, they were thrown in jail, exiled from towns and families. Edward would go ballistic at times when people didn't treat him with respect. He would say that he did only what the American government wanted him to do - the same government that was democratically voted in - and the citizens of the U.S. were indebted to him. He was very bitter to say the least.

With the combination of the alcohol, the bitterness, the feeling of being a stranger in his own home, and the flashbacks, Edward Bender was just a time bomb waiting to go off. The perfect family that he had left behind when he got drafted was torn apart by poverty, mood swings, and abuse. Edward had gone out of control, and eventually Shirley had lost hope in him and the rest of her life. Her children rebelled and acted out, and that only sent both parents into fits of rage and despair.

After awhile, they didn't seem like a family at all.

The boys did what they could to stand by each other. Janice was younger than them, and they felt an obligation to her. James had known the father that they used to have, and he had been bitter when Edward couldn't step up and be the father to the three of them that he knew. What made James even bitterer was the fact that his mother slowly followed in his father's footsteps of self destruction, basically leaving the children to fend for themselves. John knew damn well that if it wasn't for the fact that his older brother had stuck around for Janice and him, he would have definitely been shot right down the gutter.

He watched his father intently as Ricky and Roger descended the stairs to the basement. He was drinking a beer while he ate a plate of scrambled eggs and read the paper. Even while doing things he enjoyed doing, he still had a scowl on his fat face.

"What the hell are you looking at, boy? You want this beer bottle over your head?" He raised his voice in an instant.

John swallowed and shook his head. "No."

"Then get the fuck out of my face, I don't even want to look at your ugly mug." Edward spit a few chunks of egg at him while he spoke to his son; he didn't even care what mess he made.

John didn't make any smart ass retorts and only made his way down the stairs to meet his friends; it was something that he was used to. He didn't get warm hellos and civilized conversation with his old man.

He wasn't sure that he even wanted it anyways.

He opened the door to the basement, and quietly closed it behind him, and made his way down the stairway to join his friends. The basement was where they usually hung out together; it had two old couches - brown with fleece covers, an old coffee table where they did their product counts, a few strings of Christmas lights for some off lighting and entertainment, a group of guitar and bass amps, and some musical instruments.

Although they hung around the basement most, it wasn't the boys' bedrooms. John and James each had their own bedrooms in the upper level of the house; there were three small rooms and a master bedroom on the upper floor. Each of the children did get their own rooms, while their mother and father shared the master. Even though the bedrooms were there and available, most of the time their parents slept in the living room, Janice slept at her friends' houses, and James would crash in the basement. John was the only one that used his private space on a regular basis.

"You gonna take this, man?" Ricky asked, holding a toke in while he spoke. John accepted the lit joint from the blue haired boy and took a long drag.

"Where the fuck could they have gone?" Roger wondered out loud. He hadn't said much since the boys had left the club looking for the older boys, so his soft voice caught John off guard.

"I'm sure they're alright, Lux," Ricky offered with a smile. "No one in their right mind would mess with our boys."

John snorted at that. "Yeah? How about guys that offer hits on runner boys who don't get their damn jobs done right? What about that, Rick?"

"Look Johnny," He raked a hand through his disheveled hair and sighed. "Jimmy is good with his head, and Jakey is good with his fists. They'll be back with a whole wad of cash and a pile of blow, and we'll be rollin' in it, bro. Just you wait and see."

"Those guys had guns," Roger reminded him. "What if they were high? People do bad things when they are high on hard drugs."

Ricky rolled his eyes. "Cocaine ain't all that bad, Lux. I think it's a lot like weed."

Roger didn't look convinced. "Except that it's worth way more money, is way more addictive, and made in chemical laboratories. Yeah, it's a lot like weed." He rolled his eyes at the older boy and stubbed the rest of the roach in the ashtray.
Ricky's smile never faltered, however. "Dude, a blow addiction is just as psychological as a grass one. There is absolutely no physical addiction involved!"

"But it still fucks you up more," Roger argued.

"That's true and all, but it ain't nothing like meth or dust. You ain't got nothin' to worry about, Rog." Ricky liked his drugs and would argue any valid point he could to make them okay. Bender was always caught somewhere in the middle with their arguments.

"You say that now, but I know something shitty is gonna happen, boys." Roger shook his head at the older boy and stared at John for a response. Roger hated hard drugs and when people abused what they used. Roger was probably the smartest kid that he hung out with.

John only shrugged his shoulders at the argument. "You just do what you need to do to get by, and you don't make dumb mistakes." He licked the edge of the rolling paper and tightly rolled the next joint into place. His lungs didn't need the chain smoking, but his head definitely did. "I don't give a shit what they are picking up right now, just as long that asshole lets them come home."

Ricky's famous grin spread across his features. "I'm telling you boys, you two are lookin' way too far into this."

Roger and John could only watch each other and not say a word; both silently hoping what Ricky said was truth. Their older friend never steered them the wrong way before, and they only hoped that he wouldn't now.

... ... ...

Sunday November 3, 1985
... ... ...

"Johnny, are you awake?" John stirred from his sleep and looked up into the brown eyes of his younger sister. She had a small smile on her face, and she held up a brown paper bag. "I brought you home some breakfast."

John sat up and looked around, realizing that he had fallen asleep in the basement rather than his bed. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked at Janice. "Did you see James?"

She looked at him quizzically. "Where?"

"Upstairs," John replied opening up the bag to reveal two bagels, some muffins, and some donuts. There were also two hot coffees sitting on the coffee table. "Did you see him when you came in?"

"No, I was hoping I would find him down here, but I found you instead." She unwrapped her own bagel and began to pick at it. John perked an eyebrow at her.

"Well it's nice to know that you didn't plan to serve my food first." She threw a playful grin at him and laughed.

"Now why would I do that, Johnny? You're too much of a trouble maker!" She laughed at him and continued to eat. Janice was a good kid. She wasn't much into alcohol, and she didn't do any drugs at all. She did go to school everyday, and she had a lot of friends around their side of town. He found that a lot of the girls that she brought around looked up to her, and tried to follow in her lead. She was a social butterfly and loved to have fun.

She also had a very keen sense of style. She loved denim in all of its glory, and owned denim skirts, shorts, pants, vests, and jackets. She wore all sorts of different colored sneakers, bracelets, and leg warmers. Her favorite attire was cut off denim shorts with black leggings underneath, a big leather belt on her waist, and a cropped top. Jewelry was another accessory that she had tons of; large hoop earrings in her double pierced ears, three watches on her left wrist, jelly bracelets, and big chunky hair clips. She often wore her dyed blonde hair in high ponytails on the side of her head, with her hair crimped. Her outside style was just as wild and unique as her personality was.

But Janice was a Bender and that was to be expected.

"Where is James anyways? I thought he had the weekend off of work?" Janice asked innocently. John bit his lip, knowing that the shorter girl would definitely not like his answer.

"I don't know where he is. I haven't seen him since yesterday." John took a large bite of his bagel and placed it back down on the wrapping on the table.

"What do you mean? I thought you guys were going to a concert together." Her tiny, chiseled eyebrows pointed inwards; the look made John want to crawl into a hole and die.

"We did," John began. "But he left early and I haven't seen him since. He had some guy to talk to, okay? Now just drop it."

She dropped her food into her own wrapping and stared at him. "I'm not going to just drop it, John! He had to talk some drug mumbo jumbo with some scary person, didn't he?"

John rolled his eyes but looked at her sincerely. "Yeah he had to talk to some 'scary guy', but he's fine, I promise."

She pushed her food away from her; obviously she had lost her appetite. "God I wish you guys would quit doing that. Don't you realize you pay those big, fat scary guys to kill you?! It's so stupid."

John sighed and leaned back against the couch. "Look, I know that it sounds bad, but James has a plan."

She regarded him skeptically. "A plan?"

"Yeah," John told her. "A real good one. He's never done anything stupid before, and he ain't gonna do it now. You have to trust him."

She stared at John as though he were retarded. "Stupid? Are you talking like the time he got in trouble for breaking into the concession stand at the park when he got the munchies, or are you talking about the time when he got in trouble for pulling a TV down the sidewalk on a skateboard?"

John laughed loud at the memory, which earned him a smack from his sister. "Oh come on, that was not stupid, that was hilarious!" He kept laughing until a small hint of a smile formed on her face.

"He's such a dork." She joined in with him after a few moments and the two siblings just laughed at their older brother's many mishaps. It made John feel better that he could laugh with his sister and not have to worry about his older brother. Although neither of them regularly admitted it, they both looked up to him and loved him dearly.

So John could only hope that his big brother would come home safe to them; that way, they could continue on with their plans and get a place of their own. Far away from drunken danger and broken hearts.

It could be just the three of them.
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