10 May, 2011

The Outlaws

“Come on, Lenny. Just light it and throw the damn thing.” I held the bottle a little tighter. One deep, calming breath, and I was able to light the rag. Seth grabbed my arm once I threw it, and we both ran out of harms way.

A few seconds later, a great roar filled my ears. I turned around to see a great fire that was now encompassing the whole trailer.

“Lenny! You’re not supposed to look at the explosion. Haven’t you learned anything from Andy Samberg? Geez.” Joey brought the car around, and we all jumped in. We sped off down the highway, trying to out-run the oncoming sounds of sirens.

Joey found a dirt road that led down to an abandoned lake and cabin. He took me down here a few times over the summer to help him fix up the place. Once Bernie found out about the cabin, he asked Joey if he could hide the stolen goods here. Bernie kept everything he’s ever stolen here. There’s robbed money stashed away somewhere in the floorboards, guns and knives, televisions, explosives in the back shed, and any thing else he put his sticky fingers on.

“Holy hell. Joey, how’d you find a place like this?” Seth asked.

“Used to bring the chicks down here.” He winked in the rear-view mirror. We all knew exactly what he meant. Joey was the total sweetheart that girls typically fell for. Only, he never cared for any of them.
The small cabin came into view, and I knew this was gonna be it for the rest of the summer. Each one of us has a price on our heads. We’ve been robbing and stealing things for the past couple years. But lately, it’s been out of hand.

Bernie, my older brother, has been causing trouble since he left our mother’s womb. He’s twenty-seven years old now, and leads our outlawed group. He’s done his best in trying to teach me the ropes, but I’m just no good. My best friend, Seth, is his star pupil. Seth’s twenty-three, just three years older than me, and he’s been with the gang for less than a year. Those two do most of the dirty work. They rob the stores and plan out all the details of each robbery. The last time I went with them we almost got caught. So now I just get to blow stuff up.

Honestly, I wish I never got into this mess. I’d much rather be out in the country somewhere living a peaceful life. Bernie’s like that, too. Only, me and Seth think he’s too tough to admit it.
Bernie and Seth went into the cabin, and Joey came over to stand beside me.

“Ready to spend the summer here?” Joey clapped me on the back. I stared up at the small, rotting cabin.
“I think I’m the one that’s excited about this. At least a little anyways.” I said, and kicked a stone that was at my feet.

“Your dream’s finally coming true.” We walked into the cabin together. It was bigger than it looked from the outside. A tiny kitchen with a wood stove was on the one side, and an old, battered couch was facing the fire place on the other. Joey used to take old furniture from the junk yards or random peoples’ houses and bring them here. Upstairs there was a loft where we kept all of the mattresses, pillows, and blankets. The only problem about this whole place was that there wasn’t any indoor plumbing. Which means I have to go outside to do business.

“Hey Lenny!” Bernie called for me. “Take those buckets on the table and fill them with the lake water.”

“Is it even safe to drink that water?”

“I’ve never been sick.” Bernie turned around to close further arguments. I sighed as I grabbed the buckets, and headed down to the lake.

The grass was as tall as my knees, but luckily there was a path that led to the water. I was afraid to step on a poisonous snake or something. I filled the buckets, and stuck them behind the rock that I was sitting on.

It was actually a really nice day out. I took off my socks and shoes, and dipped my feet into the cold water. Tiny, little fishes swam away from my feet into the grasses.

Times like this reminded me of when Bernie and I were younger. We found this small creek in the woods behind our house when we lived on the outskirts of the city.

Bernie stole these two fishing rods from one of our neighbors once, and we went down to the creek to fish. He would always get mad at me because I would never fish with him. Instead, I would climb onto a rock, fix my line, and start daydreaming about the countryside. I guess I was too concerned about daydreams. Sometimes he would get so upset with me, he’d push me off of the rock I was perched on into the water. I never quite grew out of the “phase” like my mother said I would.

The grass to the side of me rustled, and I jumped back in surprise. A white rabbit poked his head out from the grass, saw me, and then ran away. I grabbed the buckets, meaning to go inside, when I heard sirens far off. My heart started pounding in my chest. I dropped the buckets, and ran as fast as I could to the cabin.

“Jesus Christ, Lenny,” Joey grabbed a hold of me when I burst through the door. “What’s wrong with you? You damn near ran me over.”

“Guys - Guys, I heard sirens. They’re still pretty far off. Do you think they know where we are?”

“Shut up, kid.” Bernie told me before I could say any more. He took the cigarette from his mouth, and put it out on the table.

No one made a sound. Then we all heard the sirens making their way closer to the cabin.

“Joey, Lenny. Start making some barricades against the door and windows. Seth, come with me and get the guns. Dave, help Lenny and Joey. This place needs to be solid.” Bernie ordered us.

I was pushing the couch up against the door when I heard cars speeding up the dirt drive. Joey looked over at me with the nails in between his teeth. On the outside he looked pretty calm, but his eyes said he was scared. Really scared. Bernie forced the gun into his hands, and pushed him to his knees.

I kneeled down in front of the window when Seth came over with three guns in his arms. He handed one to me, and kneeled down. Dave went up into the loft to take the “surprise shots” there. The cops were at our doorstep now, telling us to come out. It was all too loud and confusing. My brother’s voice mixed with the sound of sirens.

And then the shooting began.

I grabbed my gun and aimed, but I couldn’t do it. Seth was firing away, and every once in a while, he would wipe his palms on his jeans. Joey was no better. He was pale, sweating, and shooting with no aim at all. My brother was the worst. Bernie looked absolutely terrifying. He loved this! His face was intent, and he reminded me of a crazy person. Maybe he was just crazy, and we were all playing his games.

The window in front of me shattered, and I felt something bite the side of my neck. Seth screamed my name and tried to reach for me. I could feel myself falling backwards, and there was nothing I could do to stop. Everything moved slowly, and the sounds of the fighting were muffled. I looked over to Joey and Bernie. Joey was even more pale now, and he yelled something up to Dave.

I closed my eyes for a second. Hands, hundreds of hands were grabbing at me. Someone picked me up. I hope it’s Bernie. I can’t hear anything. My eyes are so tired, I can’t even keep them open. Then, there was nothing, but the fading call of my name by someone far, far away.