FINALE – Fast Forward – City of Angels

Voices echoed in the alley….flashlight beams, shifting back and forth…zeroed in on his face. “Look, damn! Isn’t that Stobbes…the scumbag?”

“What the hell is that stench? Look at his pants…he’s fucking pissed himself.”

“Can you believe that shit? What is he…like twenty-five?”

“No, dude. He’s only like seventeen.”

“No way. You’ve gotta be shitting.”

“He was only a grade ahead of us. I saw him hanging around the 7-Eleven yesterday totally fucked up. He’s a mess.”

Stobbes opened his eyes. Shadowy figures stood around him, skinny goth punks…make-up, chains…the whole bit. How many..four…five?

“My little sister buys drugs off him, but only when she’s desperate. His stuff’s total crap.”

“Some girls think he’s cool. They should see this fucking spectacle.”

“He’d sell dog shit to feed his habit. I don’t blame the school for expelling him.”

“Two weeks ago he was bragging about his peanut butter crank, but it was some fuckin’ candy shit…totally bogus.”

Stobbes nestled deeper in the garbage bags, only vaguely aware of his surroundings. Few things penetrated the haze…a random word, memories…images of Lena…nothing more. That’s how he wanted it. “Get out of here,” he mumbled. “I’m sleeping.”

They reacted with laughter. “Like, we’d do exactly what he says, right? What a fucking joke!”

There was a lull…something happening. “You can’t do that!” one of them said…concern in his voice.

“Why not? We’ll teach him a lesson.”

Then a chorus, “Go for it!”

“Quick, before he wakes up!”

Something splattered his jeans.

“Now! Now!”

A flicker of orange…his legs were instantly hot. He sat up, dazed.

“What the fuck?” Flames were devouring his jeans. Frantically, he jumped up slapping out the fire…encircled by maniacs. He fumbled with his jeans…hopped from one foot to the other…finally got them off.

“Hey, cool…a striptease!”

“Burn his cock off!”

“Fuck off, assholes!” He screamed backing away.

“Come on. Spray him!”

“No way. We’d get nailed by the cops.”

“They wouldn’t give two shits. He’s getting off too easy. What a fuckin’ lowlife!”

“Come on. Let’s get outta here.”

“Wait. Fire up his bags.”

He grabbed for them. “No!”

The plastic exploded in flames…melted and squirmed like a thing alive. Desperately he tried to save a few scraps, but hands pulled him away.

“Fuck, he’s crazy! Let’s split!” The attackers were suddenly gone.

Stobbes stood in the alley watching the bags burn, a total loss…clothes …everything. Where the fuck are my flip flops? Melted too?

He fell against the wall and slid down on his butt…ran his fingers through his tangled hair, then thought of the cliffs…how steep they were…even with Slith on his shoulders, he’d find the first foothold, then the next, and the next, and before he knew it, reach the top. He’d have to start fresh…ditch the quick fixes and face the truth. Lena and his baby were out there somewhere and he’d find them. He had to.