View Full Version : The Joneses Leave Home 1 of 6 3,000 Adult. Two Teens run from the law.

March 11th, 2020, 05:43 PM
"Sonny, get me that other bottle, honey," Mama orders from the couch. "And a Coke. I'm about out." Mama's drunk again, flat on her ass. She says, an can prove to social services, that her back is bad. Shit, her back's bad from lying on that doc's table while he screws her. That's all what's wrong with it.

Last week, Mama was out back, digging a garden to plant flowers. Her back was okay then. The doc, he don't give a flying fuck since he gets laid for only five minutes of writing a paper. She then shows the welfare an gets her money.

Me an my sister Janie, along with Mama, has to live off that money she gets, buying food an clothes, an school supplies. The state pays our utilities, so I got all the free water I can drink, needing it to drown the baloney an beans in my stomach.

"I found the Coke, Mama, but can't find your vodka," I call back to her.

We live in a small farming town in mid-Ohio, A-hi-a, as we calls it. It's called "Johnson's Roost," named after a black family with money that moved here after the Civil War.

Course they was driven off later by white farmers, but only after they cleared the land an built up a farm. My ancestors quickly moved in to claim the land, only to be both hung for our audacity an thievery an chased off the land itself -- only getting to keep the farmhouse. The house, being essentially worthless since it was half-burned down in the battle, we still own. It's still half-burnt, an that was a 150 years ago. Well, in our favor, it's not as bad inside as it looks from outside. Though the roof leaks in my bedroom, it leaks into a hole in the floor. No big thing.

"It's there somewhere, Sonny," she says about the vodka.

I can hear her moving around, the couch squeaking like a herd'a meeses. "I gotta do everything myself? I work my tush off for you two and get nothing in return."

Mama ain't about to do no manual labor, an ain't, same as the rest of us, got no brains for nothing else. I ain't never had no old man, him being one of a steady stream of guys in the front door an out the back -- in order not to be seen by the next. Each leaves a five-dollar bill on the kitchen counter if Mama is sober enough to insist.

Me an Janie hasn't got half the clothes we need. I got me two pair of pants to her three, an we share four shirts, mix an match. Me being seventeen and her sixteen, they fit good enough. Our shoes is not two the same, not even the same color. We keep an eye on trash cans as we pass, hoping to get some what matches. Socks are saved for social functions, standing stiff in a corner of my room until needed.

Mama pushes past me, banging into the kitchen doorway, slamming into the refrigerator an a causing all those plastic thingies on top to vibrate an threaten to fall. They're to hold leftovers, which we never got any of.

Janie dreams a being an artist when she grows. Fat chance. She can't barely color inside the lines in a coloring book.

Me? I dunno. Maybe to just stay out'a jail as much as I can. We got us three real uncles, all in one jail or another. We still have us two stolen cars behind the house from where Uncle Jim put them. By the time he gets out he's gonna be too old to get underneath to file the serial numbers off, anyhow.

One of them might run, I been thinking, maybe? I spend a lot of time playing with an working on it. It's a nice three-year old 1969 Caddy. Our family ain't never been nothing, ain't nothing now, an ain't never gonna be nothing.

"Jesus Christ, here it is -- empty. What the hell am I going to do, Sunday and out of booze?" Mama complains, shaking an empty bottle.

Maybe stay sober long enough to take a bath? I think, or clean the house?

At school, I'm at the bottom of my class. Me being so big for my age, the seats don't fit me no more neither.

The only thing I'm good for is fighting. I'm always fighting, not for myself much, but to protect my sister. Janie's dumber'n me, if that's possible. Nobody jokes about me when I can hear, but they does to her -- only if I'm not around. An I can't be around all the time.

I'm seventeen now, an still in the sixth grade, but doing better this year. Maybe because it's my third year there? Even a Jones can learn something if it's pounded inta his head for a third time.

Damn, but that shiny green Caddy looks good. For Uncle Jim, an for the fun of it, I keep it clean, making sure mice don't nest on the motor or spiders build webs inside. Since I like to sit in there at night, reading comics with the dome light, I keep the battery going with a charger I lifted at a local Texaco station. Sometimes I sit on the driver side, gripping the wheel and daydream of just’a going. Going right out'a this shithole.

I hear Mama fumbling around in the kitchen. Giving a happy cry, she stumbles back past me, holding a bottle of drain cleaner in one hand, half a quart bottle of Coke in the other. She staggers back to the couch, falling heavily to sprawl out an mix a drink.

"Mama. No!" I cry, grabbing at the cleaner.

"S'okay," she says, grinning, "it's gin. I have it for emergencies."

Mama does that, hides booze all over the house. Still, I stand an watch until she takes a few gulps, to make sure. Besides, we don't need drain cleaner nohow. We ain't got no drains in the old house. Using water out'a a well outside, me an Janie take us semi-monthly baths in a old an rusty horse-trough next to it.

While I'm making a sandwich out'a canned meat Mama got from the state, lousy stuff without even a label -- but free -- Janie comes in the back door. She's been kept after school for stealing or something. I don't blame her, since I do it myself when I can.

"I've had it, Sonny," she tells me. "Principal Jackson says he's gonna prosecute, send me to the Juvie Home."

"What you steal?"

"His pants."

"The principals pants? You didn't?"

"Yep. He was in the student shitter in the basement. You know, the little crapper that nobody much uses?"

"That's for boys."

"Uh, huh. Tommy Sanders an me were cuddling in there. Tommy, he just then left. See, Jerky Jackson comes while I'm cleaning myself up an gets in the booth next to mine. I see these pants just sitting there on the floor, a wallet sticking out of one pocket."

"He had them off. Why?"

"How the hell I know why? But they was off."

"An you grabbed them an ran?"

"Yep. I figured he wouldn't chase me without no pants."

"So how did he catch you?"

"You know that new woman janitor, the young blond one?"

"Yeah. Kinda cute."

"I ran into her in the doorway. She was coming in for some fucking reason and grabbed me."

"Oh. Tough shit, uh?"

"Gimme that sandwich, and make me a couple more. I'm getting out of here a'fore the police come. Johnson told Miss. Gigglo to keep me in detention until they came to take me to jail. I only got a few minutes to grab a little money I got stuck away in my room, then ... zoom. See ya around, kid."

"How you get out'a there?"

"Smashed old Giggy in the face with a text and then out the fucking window."

"Screw it, Janie. " I look around at the fucking mess of our lives an make my decision. " I'm with you. Come out back when you're ready."

Taking a minute to throw the open can of meat, loaf of bread, a jar a mustard, one a generic peanut butter, an a few items from the cupboard into a plastic supermarket bag, I run out the back screen door, hearing it slam behind me. I throw the bag into the back a that shiny Cadillac. Opening the hood, I grab a wrench an connect the battery cables.

Hoping it'll start after sitting for six or eight months, I pump the gas a few times an, using a screwdriver already sticking out'a the ignition, grind the starter.

It starts up, idling roughly but settling down to a hum as I wait for Janie. Running away having been a long-time daydream, I already have the car full of juice siphoned out'a all the others.

Coming out, she sees me an runs around to the other side an gets in. Now I'm not a expert driver but have driven a'fore an figure I know most of the rules. Like what speed limit an stop signs are for. And with a stolen car I don't intend to go through no large cities.

"Who's gonna take care‘a Mama?" Janie asks. "And where's my sandwiches? You didn't make any, did you?" She slumps down in the seat. "Get going. We ain't got no time to screw around."

"She'll get by. In the back. Make your own."

So off we go, two kids in a stolen Cadillac, me trying my best to stay on the road an at the speed limit. Janie sits, feet up against the windshield while dipping peanut butter from a quart can with her fingers.


We drive all night, ending up in Backscratch, Illinois about sunup.

"How much you got?" I ask Janie, just now waking with the sun in her eyes, slumped in her seat. The Caddy drives like a dream. "We need gas."

"Don't you have any money?"

"Sure. Pennies an dimes."

"Shit. I got a little over $29, myself."

Finding a gas-station, not one of the chain stations, only a small garage with a pump out front, I stop, get out, an talk to a guy in dirty coveralls.

"Look, buddy," I say, "I ain't got but this," I bring out my change, "but I'll trade you my spare tire for some gas."

"Got a rim on it?"

"Sure it's got a rim, it's a spare."

"Lemme see it."

We go around back a my car, where he inspects the tire closely.

"Ten gal."

"Hey, man. It's brand new, see the little nubs, here?"

"Twelve. That's all. Don't need many, that size. I fix mostly Fords. Old Fords. Sets sell better, ya know?" He gives me a questioning look, one eyebrow lifted.

"What ya mean, 'sets sell better'?"

"Give ya a full tank for the five of 'um," he says, "an give ya four used ones ta ride on?" His eyes narrow, nodding at the screwdriver sticking out'a my ignition. "An I won't tell a cops nothing."

Figuring that's probably a good deal, me an Janie stand back, watching, as that thief changes the almost new tires for a set a bald ones, then fills our tank with low-grade gasoline.

Tires thumping, expensive engine pinging, we go on our way. Not trusting the guy, I find a place to turn away from the main highway, circling around to take back roads around the small town. If he turns us in, I want the cops searching in another direction. I might be dumb, but not a stupe.

"You shouldn't have made that trade, Sonny." Janie won't leave me alone. "Guys like him don't get along with cops. He was only trying to scare you."

"We need your money for food, an should get rid a this car anyway. Where we gonna go now? an what we gonna do when we gets there?"

She shrugs. "Anywhere out of Johnson's Roost, and I don't give a shit. We'll find something."

Janie digs in her bag, coming out with some sorta gun. I don't know a pistol from a revolver, but I know a gun when I see one, an this is a gun. I reach over an grab it out of her hand.

"Gimme." Dropping it on my lap, I reach my free hand over to roll down the window. I'm gonna throw the damned thing out.

"It's mine," she says, grabbing it back an jamming it down between her legs, closing them tight, hands in her crotch. She knows I won't reach down there. "I got it from a boy. He stole it from an uncle and was afraid his daddy would find it. It's mine."

"What you give him in return?"

"What the fuck you think? Now drop the subject."

"You ever shoot the thing?"

"Shit, no. And have the neighbors call the cops?"

"Those bastards is always doing that."


We drive a while, watching cows on the wayside, them watching us an chewing grass.

"What ya gonna do with it?" I ask, meaning the gun.

"Dunno. Maybe either sell it or rob a bank? What you wanna do with it?"

"Pawn shop, maybe?"

"Selling it would mean more money," she says, taking the thing out, turning it around an around in her hands an polishing it by rubbing it on the cushion between us. "Ain't got no bullets in it anyway."

"Don't make no difference. Pawn shops don't ask nothing, like where you got it. You wanna sell it, you gotta find someone what wants it, an has money."

"I heard on television that guys in bars buy guns. This reporter went into some city bars and bought dozens. It was on tv." She laughs. "Maybe we can be on television."

"We're too young to go into bars," I tell her.

"You can. You're big enough to pass. Bigger than most guys your age, anyway."

We come to a good-sized town an I look around for someplace to sell or pawn the gun. I'm not scared a the things but don't particularly wanna be driving around in a stolen car with a stolen gun.

A little ways off the main street, we find us a small shopping center containing a check-cashing business, a supermarket, an what I'm looking for -- the traditional three-ball sign of a pawn shop.

"Park around back, Sonny. Remember, this is a stolen car. Maybe we can go in through the back-door?"

Makes sense to me. Don't want nobody else seeing that screwdriver sticking out'a the ignition.

I get a little mixed up as to doors, like which is which. There's a whole line of them in the back, none marked.

Janie walks close behind me, holding the gun half-hidden in her hand. Hoping it's the right one, I shove like hell on this heavy metal door. We go in, seeing a counter with a couple customers ahead of us. Damn, but we're on the wrong side of the counter, the clerk having her back toward us.

"Damn it to hell." I stumble over a pile'a bags on the floor by the door, almost falling on my ass. I hear Janie laughing an see the customers grinning.

Janie goes around me, toward the front. Looking up, I see the clerk isn't grinning like the customers. Her face is white like, an she raises her hands.

"Take it," the clerk says in a loud shaky voice. "Take it and get out. Please. Don't shoot. I don't wanna die."

Take what? I think, looking round. Then I see the clerk glancing down at my feet, an look down, myself. There's four cloth-bags there, that I stumbled over.

As I watch, I hear Janie saying, "Get those bags and start the car, Sonny," she tells me in a loud whisper. "Don't stop to think, and hurry the hell up."

As I grab them heavy bastards an back up through the door, I see Janie pointing the gun at the people inside. Damn, I think, she robbing them guys. I stop in my tracks, not knowing what the hell to do. "Don't stop to think," she's told me, which sounds like good advice.

Loaded down, I stagger back to the car, throw the bags in the backseat an start the engine. Janie comes close behind, to climb in an slam her door. She points the gun out her window an says, "Bang. Bang," as we drive away, soon out of town an riding over those familiar country roads.

"What the hell you do that for?" I yell at her. "Now we're in for it."

"Shit, Sonny. They never saw us before, or the Caddy when we left. They don't know which way we went or where we're going. How they gonna catch us?"

I still don't like it. I'm not particularly honest, but robbing pawn shops scares me. Now we got a stolen car, stolen gun, an stolen money, just like Bonny an Clyde.

Next: The kids settle in a large town and try to go straight.
End of section One of Six.


March 11th, 2020, 07:18 PM
Hi there HVYSMKR - this my first time across here on the Dark Side (across from Poetry, that is), and am I surprised. Very pleasantly.

Now I have no idea about Ohio accents, but this piece of writing has hooked me up and swept me along on the start of the kids’ roller coaster ride. The accent is consistent and the writing as a whole reads extremely smoothly. I was surprised to find no bumps. The background unfolds little by little as the main action proceeds without being forced. The ‘showing, not telling’ is woven in really skilfully.

Yes, I want to know what happens next.

You’re going to have six chapters? One thing is bugging me a little - we’ve picked up a very stoic picture of the kids’ and Mama, stoic and extraordinarily sympathetic to their situation. You have built in small references here and there which fill in on local economics and means of survival. I’m wondering whether with the reticence both of the kids show, are you going to be able to bore down really deeply and explicitly - or is it in fact better to drop these quiet little remarks now and then which start expanding inside my head until I realise the quite horrible truths behind them.

Great job.

March 11th, 2020, 07:42 PM
Thanks for replying, Tirralirra.

Not "chapters" but sections.

Although with the best intentions, the kids have a lot against them. Mostly background, stealing being normal for them, and inexperience. They'll run into bad characters, and the law is after them.

I doubt if I'll get around to posting it all here. If interested, I can IM the rest to you.

March 11th, 2020, 08:14 PM
HVSMKR - thanks for that, and yes indeed, would like to see the rest.