One Door Closes

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2009 MultiMapper and CSU Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

For full disclaimer and Copyright information visit Copyright/Disclaimer Page. Continuation of viewing this document is deemed acceptance of all terms on the preceding link. While these stories are provided for free, I would appreciate it if those who were able would consider contributing to this artist via my Patreon.

Chapter 2

Kenny awoke to the sound of firecrackers going off.

"Don't look out the window." Kevin said sleepily from beside him.

"What is it?" Kenny asked, noticing the seriousness in Kevin's voice.

"They're shooting at each other. There's going to be sirens in a little bit. We live too high up for the flashing lights to bother us." Kevin said as he fought to open his eyes.

"Shouldn't we do something?" Kenny asked with worry.

"Yeah, go back to sleep." Kevin said and pulled Kenny close to his side.

* * * * *

Kevin awoke to a wonderful feeling. Kenny was snuggled against him, using his chest as a pillow.

He thought about the talk they had had the previous night and was filled with longing and regret that he'd never had a chance to know his father.

"Good morning bro." Kenny whispered.

"Good morning." Kevin said with a smile.

"I think we fell asleep while we were talking. How are you doing today?" Kenny asked as he sat up and stretched.

"Good. We need to be quiet. Mom works late and doesn't like to be woke up too early." Kevin said in warning.

"Oh, okay. What are we going to do this morning?" Kenny asked in a low voice.

"It's Saturday, so I've got to do laundry. If you want to change we'll go down and do it while mom's sleeping." Kevin said as he got up off the bed.

"Okay, let me hit the bathroom and then I'll be ready." Kenny said as he also got up.

"Don't flush the toilet, it'll wake mom up. And if you leave the seat up, everyone in Chicago will hear her scream." Kevin said carefully.

"Got it." Kenny whispered and hurried out of the room.

* * * * *

After morning business was taken care of, Kenny made a point of checking his cell phone to see if his Pop had called. After that, the brothers were ready to leave the apartment with a pillowcase of dirty clothes in hand.

"So you wear your shorts when you have to do laundry?" Kenny speculated.

"Yeah, it's that or go bare assed to the laundry room." Kevin said with a smile as he fished out his key to lock the apartment.

"¿ Kevin, como estas?" {Kevin, how are you?} A voice said from down the hall as Kevin locked the apartment door.

Bien, Mamacita. Eso es me hermano, Kenny." {Good, Mamacita. This is my brother, Kenny.} "¿Que Tal?" {How are things?} Kevin asked as he led the way to Lupe's usual resting place.

Mamacita responded in Spanish and Kenny lost any sense of what they were saying. The conversation seemed to get faster and faster as they spoke.

Suddenly Kenny realized, his brother not only spoke Spanish, he was fluent in it... how 'Learning Disabled' is that?

"Mamacita said she's about to make breakfast and invited us. Do you want to?" Kevin asked, interrupting Kenny's train of thought.

"Sure, sounds great." Kenny said immediately. He could feel his stomach gnawing on his backbone.

"Si, gracias..." {Yes, thank you..} Kevin began, then Kenny was lost again as they walked into the apartment.

"These are Lupe's brothers Reuben and Riccardo and the baby is Edovina." Kevin said as they passed through the living room into the kitchen.

Kenny glanced at the two boys and estimated them to be three and six years old.

Mamacita said something quickly and Kevin went to the refrigerator and pulled out a carton of eggs.

"Can I do anything to help?" Kenny asked hesitantly.

"No. I'm just going to grab things when Mamacita needs them. There's not much to do, she already made the tortillas this morning so all she has to do is cook the chorizo, potatoes and eggs." Kevin said as he sat down at the table by Kenny.

"What's chorizo?" Kenny asked with a note of worry.

"It's like a spicy sausage. Don't worry, it's really good and the potatoes make them not so strong." Kevin said with a smile.

"Tell her thank you for inviting us." Kenny said quietly.

"Your welcome Kenny." Mamacita said over her shoulder with a thick accent.

"Mamacita speaks some English. It's just easier for her to speak Spanish so we talk that way." Kevin said at Kenny's surprised expression.

"Oh." Was all that Kenny could think to say.

Mamacita rattled off something quickly to Kevin and he said something back.

Finally Kevin turned and said, "Mamacita wants to know what part of Florida you're from."

"Orlando." Kenny said quietly.

There was more talk in Spanish as Kenny turned his head, looking like he was watching a tennis match.

"She says she's been there a few times. It's beautiful." Kevin finally said.

"Yeah." Kenny said and looked down.

Mamacita started putting all kinds of plates and bowls on the table loaded with food.

She said one word into the other room and the young boys raced into the kitchen, a few seconds later Lupe came in carrying the baby.

"Um, could you tell me what... I'm not used to this kind of food." Kenny said hesitantly.

"Yeah. You can see the eggs. The Brown stuff is refried beans. The green stuff is crushed green chilies, don't worry, it's not hot at all. And then we've got the tortillas. Rip the tortilla like this." Kevin said and demonstrated ripping a decent sized piece off the tortilla, "And use it to pick up the eggs or wipe up the beans or dip into the green chilies, then eat it. This way you don't need silverware."

Kenny just looked at Kevin with question as he demonstrated picking up some of the scrambled eggs and chorizo, then dipping the edge in the green chile.

Kevin looked up at Kenny and smiled, "They have silverware, this is just how they're used to eating breakfast where Mamacita is from."

"Oh, okay." Kenny finally said and began to fill his plate.

"Are you gonna live here now?" Reuben asked quietly.

"Yeah, it looks that way." Kenny responded after swallowing some food.

"You need different clothes." Reuben said seriously.

Kenny looked at his T-shirt and short pants before asking, "What's wrong with my clothes?"

"People see you lookin like that and they're gonna think you have money and try to mug you." Reuben said seriously, then before Kenny could respond he asked, "Do you got money?"

Kenny smiled and said, "No. I don't."

"Then you'd better get some old clothes so you don't look like you do." Reuben said in warning.

Mamacita started to say something harshly to Reuben when Kenny interrupted, "He's right. I don't look like I belong here. If he didn't tell me, I might go out like this and get beat up."

Mamacita looked at Kenny questioningly for a few seconds, then nodded and said, "Reuben can get you some of Manny's clothes. They should fit you."

Kenny looked at Kevin in question.

"Manny was her oldest son, he was killed about six months ago. He was my... our age." Kevin said quietly.

Kenny looked at everyone watching and said, "I'm sorry to hear that. Yes, thank you."

"It's a good thing I kept them. I was saving them for Reuben, but there's enough for both of you." Mamacita said in her thick accent before taking a bite of her food.

"I'll take good care of them and give them back when I'm done." Kenny said in the tone of a promise.

"You're a good boy like your little brother." Mamacita said with pride for Kevin.

"How do you like the food?" Kevin asked, causing a much needed change in conversation.

"It's great. I never thought scrambled eggs could taste this good." Kenny said and scooped up some more with his tortilla.

"Gracias, Kenny." {Thank you, Kenny.} Mamacita beamed with pride.

"And these are the best tortillas I've ever had." Kenny continued.

"It's because she makes them. The one's you buy in the store aren't half as good." Kevin said seriously.

 Kenny couldn't respond because his mouth was too full.

* * * * *

After the meal was finished, Kevin insisted on helping Mamacita with the dishes and enlisted Kenny to help too.

Both boys thanked her and as they were leaving the kitchen, Reuben handed Kenny two sets of clothes.

"You can wash them first if you want." Reuben said hesitantly.

"That's alright. I'd rather start fitting in right now. Thanks for thinking of this. You might have saved me a lot of pain." Kenny said honestly.

"You'd do the same for me wouldn't you?" Reuben asked in the tone of a dare rather than a question.

"Yeah, I would. Where can I go to change?" Kenny asked.

Reuben responded by pointing to the bathroom in the hall.

"Thanks." Kenny said and hurried to change.

* * * * *

Kenny walked out of the bathroom wearing very worn jeans and a cubs T-shirt that was grayish-yellow with age.

"You look like you could live here." Reuben said with a grin.

"Thanks, I'll see you later Reuben." Kenny said and walked to his brother who had picked up the laundry resting by the door. They walked into the hall and were followed by Lupe carrying her cigarettes, lighter and the handset to the phone.

"That meal was really great. Mamacita is a really good cook and really nice." Kenny said as they walked at a casual pace.

"She invites me over now and then to eat. Last Christmas she invited me to her Christmas dinner." Kevin said with a happy smile as he led the way down the stairs.

"You need to get back upstairs now." Jake said as he hurried down the hall.

"What's going on?" Kevin asked seriously.

"Crystal got popped last night. Daddy K sent some guys and they popped Johnny and Dylan." Jake said in an incredibly lucid state.

"Are they dead?" Kevin asked in thought.

"Crystal and Johnny are, I don't know about Dylan. But from the looks of him, if he lives, he won't be making any money for Spade for a while."

"Shit. Spade's going to want someone to replace 'em." Kevin said in thought.

"Yeah, and he's had his eye on you for a while now. The shit's about to hit the fan here, man. I think either Daddy K or Spade is gonna be dead this time tomorrow. You need to get whatever shit you want to keep and have it ready to move. I'll come up and get you as quick as I can." Jake said seriously.

"You're not staying with Daddy K?" Kevin asked in surprise.

"Daddy K is cool and everything, there's a lot of things I'd do for that man. But I'm not going to take the chance of being Spade's bitch for him or no one else. Get upstairs now and I'll be up as soon as I've got us a way out." Jake said quickly and hurried down the stairs.

"Come on, let's hurry." Kevin said and sprinted back up the stairs.

* * * * *

As soon as the door was unlocked, both boys rushed in.

"Mom's already gone, she must have had an early shift today." Kevin said as he hurried through the living room.

"How can you tell?" Kenny asked, not noticing anything different from when they left.

"Her purse is gone. The only place she'd be going this time of day is to work." Kevin said seriously as he opened his dresser drawer, pulled out the few contents, and put them in the pillowcase with the dirty laundry.

"What can I do to help?" Kenny asked as he closed his suitcase.

"Nothing. We've got to wait for Jake. It's better to wait in the living room so we'll hear the door." Kevin said as he snatched the two shirts out of the closet and hurried out the bedroom door.

"Would you mind if I stay in here for a minute, I wanna try and call Pop again." Kenny asked.

"Fine, but if I call you, come quick." Kevin said seriously.

"Yeah." Kenny said and laid his suitcase on the bed.

"C'mon Pop. I need you." Kenny urged as the phone rang.

When the answering machine came on he said, "Pop, pick up. There someone after us and I'm gonna be dead if I don't get some help right now."

As Kenny waited to see if his Pop was going to pick up the phone, he noticed that tears were running down his cheeks.

Kenny hung up the phone and sniffed back his tears, then dialed the next number in his phone book.

"Hello?" The female voice answered.

"Tiffy, it's Kenny. I need help." Kenny said as a sob escaped.

"Ken, what's wrong? What can I do?" Tiffany asked in panic.

"I need you to get your mom or dad to go over and check on Pop. I've called him twice and he hasn't called back. I'm in trouble..." Kenny stopped at the lump in his throat.

"Hang on." Tiffany said and the phone went dead.

"You there?" She asked less than a minute later.

"Yeah." Kenny croaked.

"Dad's on his way over. Now tell me what's wrong." Tiffany said firmly.

"I got here and it's, it's, there's drug addicts living here and shooting and a pimp is trying to get me and my brother..." Kenny said in a rush.

"What about your mom? Can't she help?" Tiffany asked, trying to remain calm.

"I still haven't seen her. She wasn't here when I got here and she was gone when we got back from breakfast." Kenny said through sniffles.

"Why don't you call the police?" Tiffany asked.

"I don't think they'd come. And if they did, I'd be dead before they left the block." Kenny whimpered.

"It can't be that bad." Tiffany said, trying to sound gruff.

"I saw a guy shoot up heroin last night. There's a crack whore in the hall outside our apartment. In the last twelve hours three people have been killed, I met one of them. It IS that bad!" Kenny said in agony.

"Okay. Hang on, I'll be back in just a second." Tiffany said and the phone went silent again.

"You there?" Tiffany said a minute later.

"Yeah! I wish I wasn't!" Kenny said in frustration.

"Calm down Kenny. We're on a three-way call now. A friend of mine named David is here and he may be able to help." Tiffany said, trying to force calm into her voice.

"Sorry, hi David." Kenny muttered.

"Kenny, tell me what's wrong. Start at the beginning and maybe there's something I can do to help. Tell me your name, then tell me the facts. I'm recording this in case you say something that will let me help you. Do you understand?" David asked with assurance in his voice.

"Yeah. I'm Kenneth Lanson Waite. I arrived at O'Hare airport yesterday afternoon and met my brother for the first time. My mother wasn't there to meet me because she had to work. We took the train and two buses and finally got here over an hour later. We went into the building and it smelled like pee. When we went upstairs it smelled like pot smoke. On the third floor I saw a guy shooting heroin, then on the fourth I saw a crack whore." Kenny said in as professional a voice as he could manage.

"Go on." David prompted.

"We came in and I said I was hungry and Kevin, that's my brother, said his mom couldn't afford peanut butter AND jelly. There's no food here. The roaches won't even come in here because they'd starve." Kenny rambled.

"Kenny?" David asked quietly.

"Yeah?" Kenny answered.

"I've got enough here for us to get involved. Tiffany said you're in danger. Tell me about that." David said calmly.

"There's a pimp called Spade who had two of his guys shot last night. He's kind of at war with some guy on this block and there's a good chance that someone else is going to die tonight, and if it isn't Spade, he's going to try and make me and my brother his whores." Kenny said with the fear evident in his voice.

"Is anyone else there worried about it?" David asked quickly.

"Yeah, Kevin's got all his stuff packed and Jake is going to try and find us a way out so we don't get caught." Kenny said more quickly and started gasping for breath.

"Breathe Kenny, you're doing fine. Help is on the way. I promise. You've got to do something for me. Stay in the apartment. I have your phone number and someone will be there within ten minutes. Don't open the door for anyone unless they have the password." David said firmly.

"What about Jake? He said he was coming back for us. Can we let him in?" Kenny asked quickly.

"Yes. If he's alone, let him come in then wait. When someone shows up with the password, let them in and they'll protect you. Just hang in there, it's almost over." David said in his most calming voice.

"What's the password?" Kenny asked desperately.

"Clan Short"

To Be Continued...