Thursday, August 26, 2010
Andy Parker slept under the stars for the first time last night. He didn't notice the glow of the starlit evening. He didn't notice the light they gave off illuminating the path he could have chosen. Instead he lay shivering, huddled under a piece of cardboard, barely big enough for his not yet fully grown body. He thought of his mother then, wondering why?
"You're just like your no good daddy," she shouted, exhaling a veil of sour liquored breath. "You ain't good for nothin are you boy? You're probly gonna leave me high and dry just like he did, aren't you?
"But Ma," Andy protested, "Daddy didn't leave you. He died.
"Well he ain't here now is he Mr. Smart Mouth?" Andy turns to let his mother stew in her own drunken stupor. "Don't you walk away from me boy!"
He stops, turns and ducks, just before the blow would have struck his face. He didn't want to explain another black eye to his teacher.
"Get out!" his mother shouted. "Get out of my house."
"But mom, where will I go?"
"Ask me if I give a rats ass," she said under her breath. "You can go to hell for all I care. I don't ever want to see your sorry face her again. You hear me boy?"
'An innocent' they called Andy. During the month he had been in Balboa Park, he had earned the nickname Pony Boy, after the youngest character in the Outsiders. They stood together, the dozens of teenagers that became 'family' to Andy. They watched each others backs.
Andy was the one they watched out for the most. He was the only blond haired, blue eyed of the bunch. He was the kind the men in the BMW's, Cadillacs and Mercedes who came around after dark sought out the most. It was cold the night Andy found himself alone. He had been sick all day, so the others had gone to find food without him. He knew they'd bring some for him.
"Hey son," the bald man in the jaguar coaxed. "Want to earn $100 dollars?" Andy nodded. "My wife's away for a few days. It gets kind of lonely in the house."
Andy looked around for guidance. No one was there. If there had been, they would have recognized the look of desperation on Andy's face. They had all been there before.
He pushed away the thoughts that begged him not to go. The call of warmth and a full belly beckoned to him. Andy shrugged and walked to the car, feeling the blast of heat before he sat down. The man smelled of sweat, stale cigarettes and too much English Leather. He ignored the sausage like fingers that now rested upon his knee.
Andy walked toward the overpass at I-5 and Friars Road. You know. The high one, out near Murphy Canyon Road. He forgets the crisp $100 bill, hidden safely in his pocket. He doesn't feel the warmth of the sun on his back. He doesn't hear the blaring of the horns, warning him to steer clear of the heavy traffic. In his daze, he hears nothing. Not the screeching of tires; nor the pleas for him to get back from the railing he just stepped over.
A single tears escapes him. He thinks of the man who stole from him last night, the last ounce of childhood Andy had left. He takes one more step, and falling, his last thoughts of the mother who threw him away. He wondered if she would ever think of him again. Thirteen year old Andrew Parker died that sun filled Indian Summer day in San Diego. He was 'an innocent' no more.