The Chair (Part 2)

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Follow Jack to see why he turned out the way he did.

Funny how people expected him to perish out on his own, yet Jack seemed to take flight and soar once out from underneath the shackles of his mother. Soar, depending on your definition of what makes someone soar. Jack had been preparing long before leaving the house of the woman who gave him birth. During what should have been his sophomore year, Jack walked the streets looking for open doors or windows of patsies that worked 9 to 5. He learned what to look for and how to tell those homes that were safe to rob. The hard part was finding how to unload the items he lifted. For months, he stored everything in the back of his garage. He learned, through a close shave that neither holding on to the goods nor storing them on his own premises was smart. His father paid the price.

This one memory is the only time that Jack could smile at a memory of his childhood home. He also learned that perhaps, just perhaps, his father cared about him. His father had been out of the joint for about three weeks during this particular time. It coincided with a period in which Jack had started to increase his risks by breaking into homes on his own street. He had forgotten the old adage about dogs not doing their business where they lay. Rumors started going about that Ronald, Jack’s father, was behind the rash of robberies.

Since Ron was out on parole, the police didn’t need a warrant. They had the freedom to check out his house whenever they felt that want or need. With the whispers getting louder, his parole office and two officers knocked on his door. They searched the house and, with his consent, went to the garage. There they found items from many homes. Ronald begged innocence, but the cuffs were soon around his wrists behind his back. Jack came down the stairs to see an all too familiar sight. This time, he knew that his father’s words of “I don’t know where those things came from” were true. Jack smirked. His father looked in time to see the smile, and he nodded to his son. Ronald knew that it had been his son. With that, he looked at the cops and softly said, “Crap. Fine. Take me away.”

Two days later another knock came on the door. Jack, having just rolled out of bed at noon, slumped down the stairs still in boxers and t-shirt. He opened the door to find two men standing blocking the entire opening. Before Jack could even ask what they wanted each had him by an arm and out the door he went. They slammed him on to the side of a car. The door handle hitting a sensitive area. Jack started to protest only to have his words shoved back in by a fist to the face. The other man threw his fist into Jack’s stomach as they moved him off the car. He dropped to his bare knees, the pebbles on the road digging into the skin. The first man delivered his fist into Jack’s kidney. Jack tried to roll into a ball. As his head started to drop, one of the men grabbed the tail of his t-shirt and pulled it up over his head. Jack still on his knees, head dropped and covered felt the men pull him back and shove him into the side of the car. He could now feel blood starting to trickle down of his crown.

Just before picking him off his knees, the man on his left delivered a foot right into his backside. He then felt lighter than air as the two men lifted him high enough to drag him around the side of the house. Once they started down the driveway to the garage, they dropped him low enough that his knees were dragging along the cement. They even bounced him a few times to drive the message home. Jack, with enough blood coming from the slice in his head to soak the shirt over his head, heard the side door open. He felt his knees and then toes be dragged over the metal bar under the door. He sighed with a bit of relief when they stopped moving him. They held him suspended in place. Jack took the time to take in a deep breath. Just he filled his lungs, he felt the fists of two or more other men use his torso as a punching bag. Once, twice, three times the fists came in high and found his face. Jack lost consciousness at one point.

He woke up on the floor. He tried to sit up, but the pain in his stomach prevented such a move. He realized his shorts were wet. He apparently had lost control during his black-out.  His bloody shirt was tossed in his face as someone from behind pulled him into a sitting position. Jack realized that he sat there in just boxers. Boxers, blood, and urine.

“Wipe your face,” a voice from the corner of the garage ordered. Jack gingerly reached out to find what used to be a t-shirt and wiped off what he could. He reached with his other hand to feel his face. It was caked in dried blood. Inside he could feel the anger build. How dare somebody come to his house and do this to him. He tried to move slightly to place himself in a position to attack as soon as somebody came near. Even the slightest of moves shot daggers through his muscles.

“Watch out boys, he’s getting ready to hurt you,” the voice came. Jack could hear the sneer that was on the man’s lips. The others in the room laughed. One man approached within a step or two. Jack heard metal hitting the concrete floor. He saw the long blade of a knife near his hand.

“Here,” a voice whispered from behind. “If you’re going to fight at least have something to fight with.” Jack so wanted to reach out and grab the knife. He calculated where the man was in relation to him. He envisioned shoving the blade into the back of his calf and ripping it all the way down to the tendon in the back of the ankle. He saw it in his mind, but he knew that the moment he reached for it, he would be dead. Jack sat there in silence. He took controlled breaths to slow his pulse. He tried to inhale but could only get about a quarter of his normal capacity before his lungs cried out.

“Check it out,” the first voice took control of the room. “No tears. I think we may have the real deal here.” The man who had dropped the blade picked it up. “Put him in a chair.”

Jack could hear a chair being dragged across the floor. It was one of those ugly metal chairs that his mother would put out in the backyard in the summer. Two men picked him up. Every muscle in Jack’s body screamed. They threw him down into the chair. Being as it was February, the metal felt as if it had been kept in a freezer. He sat there the cold going right through the thin cotton of his shorts. The wetness now trapped between his skin and the chair. While normally the icy metal would have been unbearable, the cold actually felt good on his body.

“I want you to know that I had been looking forward to meeting you. Until last night,” the man continued. “My men don’t look kindly on children screwing over their parents. Your father is a friend of mine. The beating is payment for sending him back up.” The man took a few seconds to let the information sink in. “You’re damn lucky we talked to your father before we came here. It is only because of his pleading that you are still alive.” He stopped again. This time waiting for some sort of sign that Jack understood.

Jack sat there in the chair. He pressed his shoulders into the icy back of the seat. He ran the man’s comments through his head. His father saved his life.

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