Night crawlers, p.10
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       Night Crawlers, p.10

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It was a Saturday morning and Jed had to take one of his trips to Los Angeles to get drugs for Lynn. He went through his normal routine, but when he got there he wasn’t able to make contact with the usual drug dealer. He found out the dealer had gotten picked up by the police for selling drugs and thrown in jail. Jed now had a big problem because he had to find a new drug contact fast and get the drugs he needed for his mom. He wasn’t really sure what to do so he started asking around to find another dealer. He was having a hard time finding one that trusted him. They were all afraid he may be an undercover narc or have some other kind of police connection. Since he wasn’t immediately able to make the contact he had to spend the night and try to see if he could make a connection the next day. He knew Lynn would be upset that he wasn’t back when he was supposed to be, but he knew she would be even more upset if he didn’t come back with her drugs.

  He rented a cheap motel in the bad part of Los Angeles for the night. When he checked into the motel he asked the motel clerk where he could get a burger. The clerk told him there was a McDonalds about five blocks from the motel and pointed him in the direction. Jed thanked him for the room and the information before he left. He didn’t have a suitcase or anything else with him to put in the room so he headed straight for the McDonalds.

  While on his way, he was met by several girls who approached him and asked him if he wanted company for the night. At first he was amused by their bold approach because he’d never been around girls like that before. He didn’t know they would approach you right on the street and try to solicit you for sex. Although he was intrigued by the offer, he only had eyes for Chelsea so he just thanked them for their offer. He stopped and talked to one of the girls and he asked her about how he could score some drugs. She stepped back and looked at him as she said, “You aint no cop are you?” Jed replied, “No, I’m not a cop. I’m just trying to buy some drugs for my mom. How do I know you’re not an undercover police woman trying to frame me?” She laughed out loud and said, “Honey, do I look like the “po-po” to you? Jed didn’t know what to say and she finally realized he wasn’t a cop. She continued, “There are guys selling different stuff on most of the street corners. You just have to keep an eye out for them and be cautious how you approach them.” He thanked her for her time and she said, “Are you sure you don’t have time for a little fun.” He looked back as he walked away and said, “No Thank you, but thanks for your help.”

  He headed in the direction the hooker told him to go and he saw guys buying and guys selling drugs all along the street just like she said. Some were very discrete and others were obvious. He made his move and went up to one of them and asked if he knew his old drug dealer. He gave the guy his dealers name and quickly told the guy that he had been getting drugs from him for years for his mom. He wasn’t sure if this guy was an undercover policeman or not, but he had to take a chance. They exchanged conversation for a few minutes and after a while the dealer felt comfortable enough to give Jed the name and phone number he needed. Once he had the information about a new dealer, he went back to the hotel and called him and made arrangement to meet with him the next day. By noon the next day, he met with the dealer and was finally able to get all the drugs his mom needed. Unfortunately, he wasn’t going to be able to make it home until late that evening.

  Lynn had used up all of her drugs a few days before Jed left to Los Angeles and was starting to have withdrawals. She was sweating and pacing the floor, wondering what had happened to him by the time he got home.

  When he walked in the door Lynn was very agitated and quick-tempered with him. She had only recently started losing her patience and getting irritable about little things Jed and the boys said or did. She had never been like that with them before so Jed knew it must be the drugs that was causing her to be that way. He knew that her drug addiction was getting worse and she needed more and more drugs to sustain the same high she was used to get. He and Justin were having to work extra hard at stealing, just to make sure they made enough money for her drug habit.

  Before he even had a chance to tell her what had happened in Los Angeles, she started reprimanding him, like he was just a little boy, for not getting the drugs to her sooner. Jed was emotionally exhausted and sleepy. He wasn’t in the mood to try to explain everything to her if she wasn’t willing to listen. He especially wasn’t ready for her to come down on him as hard as she did. He felt like all he ever did was try and make sure she got her drugs and make sure she was happy. Now she was treating him like everything bad in her life was his fault. When she jumped him this time, he was irritable and frustrated at what he had gone through in order to get the drugs in the first place. She hurt his feelings and he took her scolding personal as he became defensive toward her. He felt bad that he didn’t get home sooner with the drugs but he couldn’t help it. When she yelled at him this time, it was more than he could take and he yelled back at her as he said, “I’m sick of you and you’re stupid drug habit. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t deal with you losing your temper and blowing up at every little thing I do.”

  Lynn wasn’t very sympathetic to him and seemed to ignore everything he was saying. After several minutes with no positive response from her, he saw that the conversation was going nowhere. She wasn’t listening to anything he said. That’s when he said to her, “Mom, I’m sick of this. I just need to get away for a day or two to think and clear my head.” She was in such a hurry to get the drugs in her body that she just wanted him out of her room. She didn’t care what it took to get him out. She told him, “Go ahead and do whatever you think it is you need to do. I don’t care, just leave.” She wasn’t thinking clearly. She had no idea, and at that moment didn’t care, how she would get her drugs if Jed left for good and didn’t come back. She was just thinking about what she wanted and needed at that moment. Jed couldn’t deal with her attitude as he said, “Fine, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ll be back in a few days. That’ll give you time to think about things and cool down a little too.” She just waived her hand at him as if to dismiss him from her company. In his heart, Jed knew that all she wanted, was for him to get out of room so she could do her drugs. He was starting to really become concerned about his mom’s addiction, more than anything else. It was getting to the point where her addiction was almost out of control and he knew there was nothing he could do to stop it or to help her control it.

  Before Jed left, he went in to talk to Justin to let him know that he was leaving for a few days to clear his head. He told Justin what happened in Los Angeles and how hard it was for him to get her the drugs. Justin heard the entire fight between Jed and his mom and he was also upset when he asked Jed, “Are you going to come back?” Jed went over and put his arms around him and hugged him as he replied, “Of course I am! Don’t worry, Justin, I’ll be back in a day or so. I just can’t take her attitude toward me right now.” Justin had tears in his eyes as Jed went out to the truck and left.

  Jed wasn’t going to go to Los Angeles like he had told Justin, he was going to go see Chelsea and spend the night on her couch. He just needed to spend some time away from home and that environment and talk to Chelsea. He needed to get everything off his chest and he didn’t want Justin knowing he was at Chelsea’s because he didn’t want Justin to bother him while he was there.

  When Jed left her room, Lynn was shaking so bad that she didn’t waste another minute as she hurriedly took the drugs. She was needing the drugs so bad that by the time she got them she took a little more than she probably should have. After several minutes she lay down on the bed and tried to relax as the drugs started to take effect. It wasn’t long and she wasn’t feeling any pain. As she lay there, she was now feeling bad about arguing with Jed and making him feel terrible. She cried softly to herself because she knew it was too late to say she was sorry. Jed had already left and the damage had been done. She would now have to wait until he returned to say she was sorry for treati
ng him the way she did.

  Later that night, Justin was feeling a little sad that Jed left and wanted to talk to his mom about the fight between the two of them. He went into her bedroom and that’s when he found her lying on the bed and having convulsions. She looked almost like she was having an epileptic seizure, but Justin didn’t know what to do about it. Her body was stiff and jerking and she was shaking uncontrollably. She also had foam coming out of the corner of her mouth and it was running down her cheek. Justin didn’t know what was going on and he thought that maybe she didn’t get the drugs in time or it wasn’t enough. He put his arms around her and tried to hold onto her body to stop her convulsions, but it didn’t help. He shook her several times to see if he could wake her or snap her out of it, but there was still no response from her. He had seen her like that once before when Jed told him she was having bad drug withdrawals and just needed to take some drugs to fix her. He thought that may be what was wrong with her now, she just needed more drugs.

  Justin was so scared that he ran to the only other person in the house and that was Joshua. He brought him back into the room with him and by the time they made it to her room her condition had worsened. Joshua went over to her, he was hunched over her bed and crying. Justin was running back and forth in the room trying to figure out what to do. Justin told Joshua to run and get a wet towel and bring it back to him while he was thinking what he needed to do for her. Once Joshua brought the towel to him, Justin wiped off the foam from Lynn’s mouth and face. He told Joshua, “The last time I saw mom like this Jed gave her some drugs and she was okay in a few minutes.” Justin wasn’t really sure what Jed did, but in his simple way of thinking, thought he had put the drugs in her mouth and gave her a drink of water. Joshua said, “Then let’s give her some more drugs and see if that helps.” Justin looked over and she still had her remaining drugs on the night stand next to the bed. He wasn’t sure how much to give her so he took all of her stash, thinking more would probably be better than not enough, and stuck them in her mouth. He pushed them down her throat with his fingers and gave her a small amount of water so she would swallow and help the drugs the rest of the way down. Once he did that Justin turned to Joshua and said, “That should work. She should be okay soon.”

  They sat on the bed next to Lynn just waiting for her to get better. The wait seemed like forever for them. Unfortunately, what they expected never happened. Justin didn’t realize it, but he had just given his mom a fatal over-dose of drugs.

  A few hours went by and nothing was happening with her as Joshua crawled up next to Lynn and lay there with her. He wrapped his arms around her and cried softly to himself. He knew that something was terribly wrong. Justin also knew something was wrong as he crawled up next to her and lay there beside her and Joshua. As they laid there they were still hoping that she would snap out of it soon and then everything would be okay again.

  Justin said to Joshua, “Maybe all she needs to do is sleep for a while.” Joshua replied, “Yea, let’s let her sleep.” At some point in the late morning hours they fell asleep while they were lying next to her. They woke to the barking of Brutus and Sophie and Justin jumped up to see if it might have been Jed returning home. He found out it was only a car that had passed by their house. Justin instantly starting checking on his mom as he tried frantically to wake her once again. Nothing he did was working, as she just lay there cold and silent.

  After several minutes Justin listened for her breathing, but didn’t hear anything. He felt her chest to see if anything was happening, but it wasn’t. With tears in his eyes, he looked over at Joshua and said, “I think she’s dead, Joshua.” They both broke down and started crying. They were completely distraught and Joshua was crying as he asked Justin, “What should we do?” Justin was also crying as he replied, “We’ll leave her like this until Jed gets home. He’ll know what to do.”

  Jed spent the night at Chelsea’s house, but the next day he was feeling guilty about fighting with his mom. By mid-day he decided to head back down to Red Mountain and see if his mom was awake. He’d made up his mind he was going to apologize to her for yelling at her. Even though he felt like a lot of the problem with the two of them, was her fault. It was the first time he’d ever raised his voice to his mom and he was feeling bad about it. He didn’t like the way it made him feel so he just wanted to clear the air with her. He didn’t want her upset with him.

  When he got home he heard the wailing from Joshua and Justin and knew instantly something was wrong. He ran into Lynn’s bedroom where the sound was coming from and saw her just lying there lifeless in the bed. Justin and Joshua were sitting up next to her crying.

  Justin looked up at Jed and said, “I haven’t been able to get her to wake up since last night. I thought she was going through withdrawals, like she did before, so I gave her the rest of her drugs. I thought it would help her. They didn’t help because I think she’s dead. She’s just like dad was when he died.” When Justin told him about the drugs Jed knew instantly what was wrong with her. He said, “Oh, God! Justin! You didn’t!” He went over to her body and she was starting to get stiff and cold and Jed knew she was dead. He checked for a pulse just to make sure but there wasn’t one. Once he knew she was dead he just lay down next to her and put his arms around her and cried. He said, “I’m sorry mom for getting mad at you, for yelling at you and leaving angry. I love you and I’m sorry.” He knew she couldn’t hear him, but he needed to say those things to her if for no other reason, to make himself feel better.

  After what seemed like an eternity to Justin and Joshua, Jed got up and went over to them and put his arms around them and they all cried together. As Justin and Joshua lay down next to her once more, Jed sat on the edge of the bed. He was trying to figure out what they were going to do next. He knew their mom would want to be buried next to their dad so that was what they were going to do. As he sat there a thousand things were running through his head. He knew he would now have to be in charge of paying all the bills, getting food and clothing for the three of them. He would have to make all the decisions in order to be sure that the three of them were able to stay together.

  The one thing he knew for certain was that he wasn’t going to let the Child Protection Agency come and get Justin or Joshua as long as he could take care of them and as long as he was alive. He also figured that if they didn’t report her death to the Welfare Department then they would just keep putting the monthly check into her checking account month after month. He would open up a checking account in his name and have the money transferred to him each month. If he had to, he would sign her name on everything, just like she was still alive. As long as they could get the welfare money Jed knew they would have enough money to pay for the food, clothing and the bills just like they had been doing. He had never realized how lucky the three of them had it when their mom took care of everything. Now all the responsibilities were on his shoulders and he shivered about her death and the thought of his new responsibilities.

  He waited for a while and then told Justin and Joshua that they all needed to go out back and build another box for their mom and dig another hole next to their dad. The thought of burying their mom sent Joshua into hysterical sobbing. Jed had to wrap his arms around him and try to comfort him like Lynn used to do. He said, “I think building the box and digging the hole will help all of us to try and get our minds off mom’s death. When we’re all ready, we’ll wrap a blanket around her, put her in the box and bury her. We’ll leave her there until all of us agree to put her in the ground.” Joshua and Justin liked the idea of it taking some time to bury her as they all headed for the back yard.

  Before they buried Lynn, Jed tried to remember the words to the Lord’s Prayer that Lynn had said over their dad. He couldn’t remember all the words, but he did the best he could. It was good enough for Justin and Joshua and that’s what mattered to him. Each of them said a few good things about Lynn
and told her they loved her before they started putting the dirt over the box. They built the same type of familiar cross they had built for their dad and placed it on her grave once it was all filled in. It was a slow process and Jed wasn’t pushing them to make it go any faster. For each of them, the entire time just seemed like things were moving in slow motion. They had just gotten over the pain from the loss of their dad and now their mother was gone. They each felt alone in the world except for the fact that they still had each other.

  It was about two weeks after Lynn’s death that Jed told Justin and Joshua they needed to go to Ridgecrest with him to do some grocery shopping. Jed told Joshua he could bring Mister along if he wanted. He told them they needed to get some food and other things they had to have in town. On the way to Ridgecrest, Jed had a serious talk with them. He told them, “We can’t tell anyone what had happened to mom. If the law finds out she died then they’ll come and take the two of you away and put you in foster care. Joshua, you would have to give up Mister because they wouldn’t let you keep him with you. If anyone asks us what happened to our mom we’ll just have to tell them that she went to Tennessee to visit some of her family that lives there.” He looked over at Joshua and asked him if he understood what he was saying. Joshua didn’t look up as he held his head down and said, “Yes, Jed, I understand.” Jed knew he wouldn’t say anything to anyone because he knew, that no matter what, Joshua didn’t want to lose Mister.

  They made sure they went to a different grocery store than the one Lynn used to go to when she went into Ridgecrest. Jed didn’t want anyone recognizing any of the three of them and asking any questions about their mom.

  It was a completely different experience for Jed than anything else he’d ever done as he got what they needed and paid the clerk. He had never been shopping for groceries before and the entire process of shopping was really weird to him.

  Jed never said anything to Justin or Joshua about his feelings, but the huge pressure on him to get Lynn the drugs was no longer there. He didn’t have to deal with getting drugs for his mom or anyone else, ever again. He also knew he didn’t have to break into houses anymore and steal things unless it was something that he, Justin or Joshua really wanted or needed. Just the weight of that pressure being lifted from him was now going to make his life a lot better.

  * * *

  Chapter 11 – Justin’s Obsession

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