The Son Also Rises

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Troy grew up on a farm where he mucked manure and slaughtered cows; his whole day was blood and crap and sleep before another day of blood and crap. His mother died when he was eight and his father, Jarvis, drank too much to forget his pain. After five years, Jarvis started beating Troy, so the young man packed his clothes into grocery bag and left home after stealing 100 dollars from his father’s room. The only other thing he took was a picture of his mother.

Troy worked jobs that were figurative crap as opposed to the literal crap to which he was accustomed. He sold tires and gave blood to make enough cash to pay for a dingy room in a drug-den. He always made sure to lock his door when the deals went down, and he was never shot, stabbed, or beaten. He fell in love with a girl named Lotus with a tattoo of a teardrop beneath her eye and a pierced tongue. She lived with her mother and had a small child named Gavin. The boy liked cows, but Troy didn’t hold it against him. Together, they made enough money to rent an apartment just outside downtown Syracuse in a series of squat brick buildings. Troy started working two jobs to make more money, but it didn’t amount to much.

Troy and Lotus didn’t drink, but they smoked all day when Gavin was in school. Troy tried to quit but failed three times. When money got tight, Troy bought Lotto tickets and dreamed of a jackpot he would never see.

He had just been fired from his job at a deli because the owner couldn’t sell any beef to a city that was terrified of the African Rabies pandemic. The weary young man was 27 and unemployed, but more importantly he was angry. He stormed along the sidewalks on Salina beneath a dark sky. A drunk wino tried to bite him as he walked home and Troy bashed his head in against a brick wall, painting the white bricks red and gray.

Troy took the five dollars in the man’s pocket, and bought a scratch off Lotto ticket. Three “Winner!’s” later, Troy was a millionaire. As he laughed and ran home, he realized that there were mobs of rabies victims everywhere, staggering and biting people on the street.

He got to his apartment and hugged his girlfriend and her child. They locked the door and agreed not to open it until the whole thing blew over and they could collect their money and start their new life together. Troy promised to buy her a giant diamond ring and Gavin his own cow. They sat together and watched TV until Lotus and Gavin were asleep.

That’s when Troy noticed the burning scratches on his arm where the wino had broken his skin with his teeth. Troy poured alcohol over the wounds and went to sleep beside the woman and child he meant to protect.

Two days later, Troy fell into a coma. Lotus didn’t dare leave the house because of the crap outside.

When he woke, he killed the boy first, then the woman.

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