Friday, April 10, 2009

The Deception of Love: Chapter Six

When the Depression hits in the early 1930's, a boy and his family are forced to move downtown into a rough neighborhood in Hell's Kitchen. When times turn rough, darkness and solitude are not the only things you fear. The Deception of Love is an exceptional, fast-paced novella written by Fresh Writing.

 “Manuel, take that bollixed rubbish out; we open in ten minutes, and if there’s one piece of rubbish on the floor, I’ll knock you sideways!”

“But no one ever comes ‘ere”—

“No excusies!”

Manuel, or whoever it was, kicked open a door just as Frank stealthily crept around the back.  Jumping around the brick corner, Frank heard Manuel slam the trash into a bin and storm back into the restaurant just as the rubbish bin fell over.  Cursing his supervisor, he returned to the dumpster and picked up the bin.  “Close the door, Manuel.  Wipe the windows, Manuel.  Clean the stove, Manuel.  Shine me vuddy shoes, Manuel.  No, you bloody wanker!  I—said—NO!”  There was a loud noise and a shattering of wood. “Wish that was your effin’ head, you drinking, Irish sod!”  He closed the door with a snap, a reverberating echo shaking Frank on the spot.

Supposing he was having a bad day, Frank paused for a few moments to allow Manuel the greatest possible distance from him before entering the building.  He quietly opened the door, and, as a shadow crossed the hallway’s wall, he leapt into a storage closet and closed the door, peering through the shafts.  A person walked down the hallway, and entered what might be a kitchen.  Moving away from the slide door, he looked around in the dark room.  He wouldn’t dare go anywhere until Juve started doing something productive; where was he?  He doubted Juve would leave him at this crucial point in the mission, for, regardless of what Juve would do afterward to Frank, he still needed to complete this mission.  Sliding down the wall, he knocked a light switch down, and light flooded the closet.  Cursing madly, he twisted and flicked it up.  Peering upward to see if he could unscrew the bulb, he noticed a vent was to the right of it.  Was it possible?  Could it be that easy?  Frank fumbled around, his fingers scrabbling over surfaces like a spider’s, and located a ladder he’d seen earlier when the light was on.  Moving it under the vent, Frank climbed up it, and felt around for the vent.  He needed light, something he feared to use.  Seeing no other option, he nudged the knob down with his foot, and looked at the screws on the vent.  He’d need something to undo those…searching his pocket, he pulled out a dime, and unscrewed all four screws.  Slowly releasing the vent, he dropped it on a coat rack, and began wriggling his way into the crawlspace.  He pushed, his arms working like a crab’s at this point, his lower body wiggling; he was almost in, and he kicked his foot off an object as a last push to get him in when—Crash.

The ladder fell, knocked over the coat rack, and dropped the vent causing—


Frank heaved himself into the vent and scrambled along as fast as he could just as footsteps thundered along the hallway in the opposite direction; he heard the closet door opened, and another door shut, but most of all heard, “MANUEL? MANUEL!  C’mere, ‘ou scrubby little Spanish git”—

A second pair of feet moved in the opposite direction as Frank crawled ever more, the scent of food in his nostrils—

“Manuel,” growled an angry voice, “We have a guest at the front door, wonderin’ if he could eat a bit early, when ‘ou smash up this ruddy cupboard, and leave open the back door again, unlocked!”

“Vut! I ‘ave never, ever, done such a ving—ah!  Let go of me ear!”

After checking for personnel, Frank rolled out through an open vent into the kitchen, his mind racing against time.  So Juve is here, he thought, and paused, contemplating the situation.  A shoe grated against the polished floor, and Frank spun on the spot, his heart thudding, fearing it wasn’t the two men—

Juve was staring at him.  Briefly brushing past him, he turned on all the stoves, grabbed paper towels and stuffed them into the grates.  Fire rose, but Juve, possibly trying to ascertain a victory (or losing his marbles, thought Frank), grasped a bottle of brandy and poured it on the grate, causing the flames to leap over the stove and catch onto a cabinet, which leapt onto another, and another, setting off a fire alarm after no more than twenty seconds; Frank moved to the front, desperate to leave but Juve roughly threw him to the ground and kicked him, drawing a weapon—

“Who the hell—Oi!  Oi!  Get the ruddy hell out now, ‘ou low life junkie— RAZZERS!  Oh god, help! Manuel, phone the razzers and fire department while I grab ‘im”—

Juve was off faster than a bullet, his gun in his pocket; he skidded out of the kitchen and disappeared through the front door; Frank tried to move as the heat increased above him and footsteps pounded but—

Frank felt himself lifted into the air, guided through the flames to the front door, and thrown, head first, outside. Tumbling out onto the ground, Frank tried to rise to his feet again but he was smacked in the face by the man and fell back to the ground.  He tried to stand again but this time was picked up and pinned against a wall, a hand to his throat.  Not the first time, thought Frank.

“Oi, thank god you’re here, policemen!  This boyo has just set fire to me shop”—

“Get down, ya no good shite!”

Frank felt his strength draining as the police raced to the pair of them, then—

Two shots released the hand from Frank’s throat.  The butcher fell away like a discarded coat.  The boy turned and he saw Juve standing there, the gun from earlier smoking, in his hand—

“No! No, Juve, please no!”  He grabbed the butcher, and held him there, the blood blossoming out of the man’s mouth and side like little flowers.  Stunned, he felt a rush of regret, so sorry for the trouble he’d caused.  When he glanced up, he saw Juve preparing to shoot him as well—

Another voice cut in.  “Put the gun down, laddie, put it down!”  Frank and Juve saw the police officers standing there, their weapons drawn, but Juve’s right arm was still locked, the pistol still aimed at Frank.  His eyes hardened, the years of independence and ghetto lifestyle appearing more apparent by the second.  His finger seized up, the middle finger that hadn’t even touched but murdered countless others, with motives that Juveprobably didn’t even have—

For what seemed to be an eon finished in two seconds; he dropped the gun,  and turned and ran just as Manuel came sprinting out the back of the burning restaurant, coughing, face streaked with tears of rage.

At that point, Frank fainted.  All of his work, just to feed his family, finished, for nothing.  All of the dangers he’d faced just to adapt to society...for what?  He wondered as his vision faded.

If you enjoyed chapter six of The Deception of Love, be sure to read the intense novella from Chapter One.

Digg this