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“Ready, set, hike!”

The hiker tossed the football between his legs to the quarterback. His receivers were frantically scrambling for a clear overhead pass — tall defenders blocked their view. A wide-open receiver immediately caught his attention. He threw the football. Too late. A towering freckled-face figure came straight on to the receiver. Stunned, the receiver fell backward from the painful force.

“That’s a passing interference Jimmy. What the hell are you doing?” the coach screamed.

Peter clutched the dirt in his hands as he groaned on the grass field.

Jimmy ignored the coach. “Is mommy not here to save you Peter?” he said mockingly. Boys surrounding them snickered at Peter’s tormented face.

“Shut up Jimmy or else I’ll — “Peter said.

Jimmy interrupted him. “Or else you’ll what?”

“Or else I’ll go tell your father about those cigars you’ve been sneaking into school yesterday”, Peter said threateningly.

Jimmy was taken aback by such a response.

“Peter, Jimmy get over here now!!” the coach barked.

But Peter had enough of this. For the past seven years he was tired of getting shoved around by Jimmy. “Oh Jimmy,” Peter said with distaste. “You know I always see you across the street from your house. You getting beat up by your abusive old dad.”

The rousing teammates grew quiet. Peter had spilled the secret about his father. No one knew about Jimmy’s abusive father. Not even his friends.

Jimmy clenched his fists, simmering with rage. “I’m gonna beat the shit outta you Peter!” Jimmy shouted. The two boys grunted as they threw punches at each other. He grabbed Peter’s collar—the way his father always did —and threw him down onto the floor. Meanwhile, the rest of the players huddled around them, eager to see some fist-throwing action.

The coach stormed into the scene and grabbed the two boys by the scruff of their necks; both were bruised up with bloody noses. “I’ve had it with you two. I’m not gonna deal with this type of behavior in our final week. Both of you, get off my team.” the coach growled. Both boys looked down with their shoulders slumped.

After arriving home, Jimmy opened the door and saw the tension in the living room: his mother sitting in a chair with a blank face. Next to her was his father, clutching a beer bottle and staring at a photo on the table. It was a picture of him holding a bag of white powder behind the school building.

His dad looked at him with a disgusted look.  “Is this what I expect from you Jimmy? What the hell is your problem?”

“Who sent these photos?” Jimmy muttered.

“I don’t care who sent these photos!” he roared. Jimmy’s heart sank—this was payback from Peter.

He looked again at his mom — she had a black eye with bruises on her face. His father had thrown a violent fit minutes ago. “I lose my job today and this happens. Why can’t you and your mother act normal for once,” Jimmy’s father grumbled. “I’m sick of dealing with this family’s problems. Get your mother and get out of my house!”  He got up from his chair and flipped the dining table over. Bits of glass and china flew all across the room. Jimmy’s mother desperately tried to stop him by grabbing his arms, but he effortlessly knocked her in the head with a bottle. She fell to the floor unconscious. “Grab her and get out!”

Sensing the danger that was coming, he stepped back. “I’m calling the police.”

His father laughed it off, as he yanked the landline off from the countertop. “No you won’t. If I’m not here who’s going to take care of you and your mom?”

“I’ll find a way, after you get sent to jail for treating us like crap.”

“Go ahead.”

Instinctively, he charged himself at his father. Swinging his fists, Jimmy’s father landed a blow on his stomach. Jimmy felt the air escape his breath but he continued to wrestle his father. With his remaining strength, he tackled him into the wall. A loud thud knocked his father’s senses and he fell to the ground.  Quickly tucking an arm under his father’s neck, he locked in and pulled as hard as he could. His father thrashed wildly as he lost air. Jimmy held on, his head searing with rage at the thought of his helpless mother. The sound of his father’s raspy voice echoed the room: “F-finish me..and you’ll be the one in jail. For life…” Jimmy’s mind was still racing from all the stimulus.

Coming to his senses, he released his grip and his father’s body went slump. Jimmy abruptly fell to the floor and stared at his hands and then at his father’s body. Was his father dead? He leaned over to check the pulses of his parents. Nothing from his father. A faint beat came from her mother—she was alive. Jimmy was swept with the realization that he had just taken someone’s life away. He clutched his head as he felt this weird wave of adrenaline through his body Never had he felt such a rush to the brain. Was it the drugs he had inhaled yesterday? He shook his mother to awake her, but to no response.  He was just like his father.



Bio: Nicholas is a writer who enjoys wrapping himself in ink, paper, and fiction. If he is not writing, he is either grabbing his hands on the next bestselling novel or training for his upcoming marathon.


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