WARNING: THIS FANFICTION CONTAINS BRUTAL VIOLENCE AND ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
I was born in Reno, like my brother Elton. Mom gave us up right after I was born, leaving us with Dad. Dad celebrated our birthdays, he took us to amusement parks, he did everything he could to be the best father possible, solely to prove that he could change his ways. He wanted to be there for us, even if it meant working extra hours as a street performer. When his parole officer went missing and turned up dead miles away, all of the good things Elton and I had were torn away from us. Dad cried as he was taken into a police car, screaming.
“You can’t do this to my boys! I never killed her! I never killed her! Please!”
I was 15 when Dad was taken from me and killed in prison by the Russian mob. I slept on the streets with Elton and a few other kids who had been through something similar. We rummaged through dumpsters for breakfast and starved ourselves for the rest of the day. That’s not an exaggeration. For money, we juggled on the streets like Dad, collecting tips from whoever would tip us.
For a while, I got used to the new status quo. Wendy and Nick seemed like good people at heart. Just when I was about to accept my fate, a man tipped 1200 dollars. He wanted us to juggle at his house. We were hesitant, but 300 dollars for each of us was too much to give up.
We arrived at his house, which was much larger than we imagined. Elton was tempted to steal from him, but I talked him out of it. Wendy and Nick were impressed by the art on the wall. Everything seemed like a lot to take in. He showed us to a bedroom where he said his wife was sleeping. There was a woman there, eyes closed, but she wasn’t breathing. She was covered in plastic wrap. When we realized what was going on, the man took a gun out of his pants. His voice was unusually calm and his tone was soft.
“You. The blonde girl. Start juggling.”
Wendy, afraid for her life, began juggling. She dropped one of the balls, and the man shook his head.
“I’m disappointed. Maybe the rest of you can juggle better. The black boys. Juggle.”
Elton and I were equally scared. I took out my bowling pins, Elton grabbed his juggling balls, and we began the performance. Elton performed perfectly while I could only manage to throw the pins at the ceiling. My fear skyrocketed when he pointed a gun at Nick.
“The Mexican. Juggle for me.”
“Sir, I’m from Nicaragua…”
“The Nicaraguan. Juggle for me.”
Nick took out his knives. He got shot in the leg. The man handed him three cucumbers.
“Knives are a bad idea. Juggle for me.”
Crying in pain, Nick dropped the cucumbers. The man, with a wide grin on his face, pointed the gun at Wendy and spoke one word.
A ring came flying through the door. It sliced the man’s arm, making the gun fall to the ground. The gun misfired and shot the man in the foot. What happened right after that made me think that there’s a higher power.
“I’m Chuck Last. I juggle, just like all of you do. I can pay you way more than 300 dollars, and you could have a home. All you have to do is steal.”
We agreed that it couldn’t get any worse.