Here is a very special Flash Fiction for the week. I thought that it was time to tell you a little back story about Glory Days and how they all met.
This story is from Ash’s POV.
As will all Flash Fiction, this story is written RAW and UNEDITED.
Please enjoy….Rescue Me
“Mrs. Sullivan,” I said, trying my best not to shed a tear. “Can you come pick me up?”
“Ash,” she gasped. “Yes, dear. You know I will. Where are you?”
“I’m at the gas station by my house. I…I had to get out of there.” I looked around the slum neighborhood I lived in and knew that I couldn’t stay here any longer.
My parents were home and didn’t even notice me leave. Their dealer was there and the smell of crack was making my head hurt, along with the sore ribs from my father kicking me the night before. I only wanted to make myself something to eat, but there wasn’t enough food for all of us. Mom had sold her food stamps again for drug money.
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” she said. I heard a door close on her end of the phone and then the sound of her minivan cranking.
“Are you bringing Reed,” I asked, hoping she wasn’t. I didn’t want him to see where I lived, again. He was too good of a friend and I didn’t want him to pity me any more than he already did for the way I lived. If I ever found a way out of this place, I would be gone with nothing more than the clothes on my back.
“No,” she said. “I know how it makes you feel when he comes with me.”
“Thanks, Mrs. S.,” I sighed. “I’ll be waiting.”
I hung up before she could say anything else. She knew the routine. This was my pickup spot for the times that I had to get away from the house. We’d been doing this for a few years now. I didn’t know what I’d do without her, or the entire Sullivan family. I loved them more than I could ever express.
I had a dollar and a few quarters in my pocket, so I ran inside and grabbed a bottle of water and nothing else. Mrs. Sullivan would have a nice hot meal for all of us tonight. I couldn’t wait. She always made a huge dinner when I would spend time with them and never complained when I asked for seconds.
In four long months this would all be over. I would turn eighteen and legally be on my own. The food stamps would be gone and I was afraid that I would have nowhere to live. If I wasn’t any good for money, my parents would toss me out on my ass. It wasn’t like I had anything there to call my own. The clothes on my back were bought by Reed’s parents. Even the shiny guitar I carried around in this hard, velvet lined case was bought by Ann Sullivan. It was the only thing I cherished in my pathetic life. I would never sell it.
Her maroon van turned into the parking lot and she didn’t even pull into a spot. I ran out and tossed my case in the back before sliding into the front seat. “Thanks for coming to get me.”
“You don’t have to thank me, Ash,” she said, taking my hand with a gentle squeeze. “Are you alright?”
“My ribs are bruised,” I admitted. Her nostrils flared, but she kept her anger down. Ann Sullivan was a saint and I’d never heard her utter a foul word in the three years that I’d known her. Even though she hated my parents just as much as I did, she had never said a bad word about the people who gave birth to me. And that was all they were. My mother was the woman who was sitting in the driver’s seat of this old mini-van.
“I’ll look at them when we get home,” she said.
“Okay,” I said, resting my head against the window. I fell asleep before we made it a block from the convenience store.
“Ash, sweetheart. Wake up,” Mrs. S. said.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, ducking my head to get out of the vehicle.
“Why don’t you grab a shower and a nap until dinner,” she urged.
“That would be great,” I said, walking into the house. “Where’s Reed?”
“He ran to get some new strings for his bass,” she said, shaking her head. “I had him pick up some for you, just in case.”
“I’m going to need some,” I smiled. I wanted to say ‘thank you’ again, but damn, I was like a broken record. Instead, I pulled her into a hug and buried my face in her neck. “I keep saying thank you for rescuing me.”
“I know,” she said, rubbing my back. “I’m trying everything I can, Ash. Your parents are fighting me.”
“I know,” I said, releasing her. There were unshed tears in my eyes, but I held them back. The Sullivan’s had been trying to adopt me for the past two years, but my parents refused to give up custody. I’m not sure what all Reed’s parents had done to try and get me to live when them, but so far it wasn’t working. “I’ll be eighteen soon.”
“Not soon enough,” she whispered and stroked my head. “Go shower, Ash. Food will be ready at six.”
While the warm water pelted my skin, I closed my eyes and rested my head on the cool tile in front of me. I was so tired of living my life in that house with those people who I called my parents. I’m sure all of the crack and weed they smoked was in my system. I hated it. I hated them.
One of these days, I would find my way out and I’d be dammed if I ended up like them. Mrs. Sullivan gave Reed and me a way to make some money on the side by getting us guitar lessons last year, hoping we could eventually start a band. I found that I was pretty good at it.
We’d talked to a guy named Gabe Miller last week and watched him play for us. The kid was good…really good. The guy had even written his own songs to play for us in the interview. His little sister had followed along, but he didn’t seem to mind. He’d said that his mother was sick with cancer and he was needing the extra money to help out around the house.
Tomorrow we decided to head over to Venice Beach to check out girls before we went to the movies. School was out for Spring Break, so we had a whole week to work on finding a drummer, because Reed and I had decided to hire Gabe on as our guitarist.
After a long nap and a huge dinner, Reed and I spent the rest of the evening in the garage working on lyrics for songs we hoped someday would turn into cash in our pocket. Reed talked with Gabe and after offering him the spot, asked him to come hang out with us the next day. Mrs. Sullivan finally shut us down around midnight and sent us to our rooms for the evening. I guess we were being too loud.
“Hey,” Reed said, halting me from going into the guest room next door to his.
“Yeah?” I said, raising a brow. He looked uncomfortable.
“I’m glad you’re here,” he admitted, a little embarrassed. “You know I love you like a brother, right?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “I feel the same way.”
“I think what we have going on is going to work out someday. The songs are really good.” He nodded and walked into the room, not saying anything else that might make me uncomfortable.
I climbed in the bed and put on my headphones. I started the music and got comfortable in the queen sized bed underneath me. It was much better than the crappy twin I had at my parents place. As I listened to INXS sing “Good Times” in my head, I fell asleep with the words about a girl named Mary bouncing around in my head.
“There’s a place called Rosie’s that all of the local bands play,” Gabe said, walking beside us, sipping a large soda. “Maybe, once we find a drummer, we could ask them if they’d let us play over there.” His sister was walking beside him, keeping to herself as she read a book while she walked. The kid was a freshman, but looked like she was still in grade school. Our new guitarist was very protective of her and growled at a few guys who gave her a second glance, sending them on their way.
“It’s worth a try,” I shrugged.
A volleyball zoomed past us and tagged Gabe’s sister, Liana in the leg. She cried out and stumbled, but Gabe caught her before she hit the ground.
A guy with angel wing tattoos on his back punched his friend in the shoulder, hard. “Man, what the fuck. Watch where the hell you’re throwing that ball. You better apologize to the girl, or I’ll knock your ass out.”
The guy who’d lost control of his ball came over and issued a quick apology to Liana and ran off. The tattooed guy with long, green hair came up and offered Gabe his hand, “Dude, I am so sorry that happened.” He turned to Liana, “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” she blushed. “I’m okay.”
“I’ve never seen you guys around. I’m Kane,” he said, holding out his hand. We all took turns introducing ourselves. “Nice to meet you all, but I need to run. I’m late getting home. I’ve got to pick up some parts for my drum kit before my mom kicks my ass for being late for dinner again.”
“You play,” I asked.
“I don’t have a band, but I’ve been playing for a few years now,” he shrugged.
“We are looking for a drummer,” I said, praying this guy was good. “Are you interested?”
“Hell, yes,” he said, tossing his hair to one side. “I keep my kit at a storage unit. How about you guys meet me over there tomorrow afternoon?”
“Sounds great,” Reed said. “What’s the address?”
After Kane ran off, we all exchanged looks. I felt the beginnings of something new…something good. Breathing a sigh of relief, I looked up at a billboard. The advertisement was for visiting California’s sunny beaches. A phrase on the big sign caught my attention. “Huh, ‘Glory Days of Summer’.”
“What?” Reed looked up at the billboard and smiled.
“That would be a cool name,” Gabe said, shielding his eyes from the bright sun.
“I was thinking the same thing,” I said.
“Well, that’s just dumb,” Liana laughed.
“No, it’s not,” Gabe scowled.
“Huh,” she huffed. “Whatever.”
We laughed and made our way back to the car. Reed scooted his seat back and held his hand out for Liana, “In you go, darlin’.”
Inside the vehicle, I watched as the scenery passed by, thinking about the band we were forming. If I closed my eyes, I could picture the four of us, on stage, with thousands of people screaming our name. Glory Days in bright lights on the banner in front of the Staples Center.
It was a dream. No, it was a goal. I had nothing to lose going for that dream and I made a promise to myself that I would succeed. Glory Days would be the best damn rock band to hit the stage in decades.