Matt Moore circled the basement furnace. It was a slow, but tense, nervous pacing. The seventeen-year-old was constantly wringing his hands or waving them in disgust or desperation, thinking, planning, and contemplating his need. His arms, legs and jaws were as tense and yearning for a chemical fix worse than an empty belly for food. He owed money. There was no more credit. He suspected his mother was on to him since twenty dollars disappeared from her purse.
The hurt in her eyes suspecting him was more than he could bear. He never thought the little blue pills would bring him to this point. They owned him, controlled him, and drove him.
“God,” he prayed, “Just one more fix. I’ll quit. I can’t make it through the morning.”
Matt, for that matter, never expected to make it through the night.
He was told drugs are not a problem, so long as no one gets hurt. What a crock!
Last week, someone hit Mark Douglas and made off with three dollars. Every one said it had to be an outsider passing through. No one around here would have taken a club and nearly crush the poor kid’s head in like that. To top it off, the stranger left him for dead.
“Thank God he survived,” Matt conveyed to the Douglases, “Matt’s a good friend.” He was concerned, shocked, scared that anyone their age would have met up with such tragedy; attempted murder.
Hell, it was the tire iron from Mark’s family car. The stupid kid left the trunk ajar.
Matt intended to just knock him out. He has seen Mark come to town with as much as twenty dollars some days; enough to pacify his dealer with, he hoped. “Three lousy bucks!”
There was a dollar in Mark’s wallet. The rest was in change pressed inside his pockets.
Matt whacked him a second time when Mark began to moan. That was when the blood began to flow from the back of his head. It was difficult to work the coins from the kid’s tight jean pockets. The kid started to moan again. Matt deliberated if he should to club him a third time.
The moaning stopped and he laid still, eyes closed, facing away from Matt. Blood matted Mark’s long hair in back. He worked six other quarters and however many dimes, nickels and pennies making up another two dollars. He gathered the kid’s hands to tie them behind his back with line from Mark’s fishing pole, but did not see a knife to cut the line. He pulled the unconscious seventeen-year-old by the feet into the underbrush at the river’s edge instead. He left the last quarter indenting the other front pocket. He made a quick inspection of the car trunk for rope and a blindfold and something to gag the kid with so he could search the car for money and values and not fret about Mark waking up. There was nothing like that, so Matt ran off.
The rich little punk should have had more money, Matt argued with himself. That Mark developed a speech impediment and walked a little funny afterwards was of no consequence to Matt. His one pupil was larger than the other two days after since. That was creepy. Either the kid will...