Dead Puppy, Broken Men
add opening narration/exposition/explanation; scenario with Jared
"I've felt alone my entire life. Please don't make me be alone when I'm with you," Shellie begged Jared.
"You're not alone. I love you," was Jared's reply.
"But you won't open up to me."
"It's just really hard. I've always been this way."
"But why?" Shellie desperately yearned for the answers she would never find. "You need to love yourself, or you will never truly love me. You won't be able to."
"I do love you."
"Maybe you just think you do. Saying 'I love you' doesn't make it true. You have to show me that you love me. I can't handle this much longer. Nothing has changed in two years. Nothing."
"I know," Jared begins to cry, "I'm sorry. I really am."
"Don't cry please."
Jared looks away at the black T.V. screen in Shellie's apartment. He is silent for a long time, but eventually Shellie is able to pry his entire childhood out of his sewn-shut lips. She wouldn't take silence for an answer. Not anymore. If Jared hadn't come home, Shellie would have spoken to no one all day. She liked her alone time, but depended on Jared to be her right-hand-man, her main squeeze, her soul mate, and right now -- he simply wasn't being that. He was being something else; a subject of inspection, a psych-ward patient; a lost friend, who she longed to have back.
"Thank you for telling me," Shellie said as she squeezed his shoulders from behind, comforting him with tiny pecks on his cheeks. "Things make more sense now."
Jared said nothing the rest of the night. He instead sketched photos of slimy creatures with clenched teeth into his notebook, creating meticulous lines, surrounding the figure, as if it were travelling through time and space, into a new dimension, far away from this one.
"Did you know that there is a lizard that can only be female, and they don't have ***, they just clone themselves?" Brannan asked Shellie, his best friend.
"I wish I was that lizard..." Shellie sighed.
"What! Why!" Brannan exclaimed with confusion and worry.
"Because. *** messes everything up. I don't know...Maybe I'm just crazy," she stammered, looking for the right words.
"It's Jared, isn't it?" Brannan asked, already knowing the answer, because he knew Shellie.
"Yeah...I'm giving him one more chance. One more and that's strike three, you're out!" She laughed nervously.
"Ooookay," Brannan agreed, "one more chance."
Eli glanced up from the TV and looked at Shellie, wondering how anyone could hurt someone so sweet. But what did he know? He killed people for a living.
"What did he do?" Eli pried.
"I don't want to talk about it anymore. I've talked about it enough. All guys are the same."
"That's not true," Brannan tilted his head to the side in pity.
"The king is here!" Andy announced, as he walked through Brannan's door with a pound of **** in his canister, which was covered in skateboarding stickers and graffiti. Everyone cheered, and Brannan stopped playing Call of Duty, put down his Xbox controller, and picked up the pack of rillos that Eli had bought prior to coming over.
"That game ain't nothing like real life anyway," Eli mentioned, as he put down the other controller and everyone hastily made their way over to the kitchen table. He walked over to the freezer to pull out some Jack Daniels and ice, then went to the cabinets for a glass, turning his army cap backwards, pouring his drink, and taking a swig.
"How much do I owe you?" Brannan asked.
"We'll talk later," Andy replied.
"I was going to tell you, I still don't have what I owe you from last time, but Alexa said there is an opening at Starbucks, so I'll be able to pay you back ASAP man. I really appreciate it."
"Yeah, no problem," Andy said disdainfully.
"I'll roll it!" Shellie yelled to break the tension, as she put down her phone, only to pick it up again to check the time. Her boyfriend would be off work soon. Would she have to text him first again? Was he even thinking of her?
"Go for it!" Brannan tossed the rillo pack to her.
As she was finishing the roll, her phone went off. Shellie believed that maybe there was hope after all.
"Nope, just my dad..." Shellie mumbled to herself and sighed.
"What's wrong?" Brannan asked, with concerned blue eyes, through his thick-rimmed, black glasses.
"It's just Jared," she said as she pushed her lips to one side and looked down at her phone.
"What did he say?” Brannan asked.
“That’s the problem. He hasn’t said anything all day,” she explained in distress. Brannan noticed she hadn’t worn makeup in days, and by the looks of her outfit, she hadn’t been doing daily yoga like usual.
“Maybe he’s just super busy?” Brannan asked reluctantly.
“HE’S busy?? No. I’M busy.” She paused as Andy and Eli raised their eyebrows and widened their eyes. Eli was confused, because she had always seemed happy whenever he saw her. "I'm in school AND I have three jobs. What does he have? ONE job. One. I think he has time to text me, thanks for your input though."
Brannan said nothing, but pressed his teeth together and opened his lips, revealing a worried look with sad eyes, toward his dear friend.
"Yeah. He just doesn't get it. I'm a fire sign and I'm full of passion! Well, partially an air sign, which is probably why I’m so forgiving and understanding. But if he doesn't reciprocate soon, I feel like I'm going to go insane! Like, really? You don't want to go see Star Wars with me? What kind of person are you? Who doesn't like Star Wars? Really though," Shellie added.
"Maybe he's already seen it and doesn't want to tell you," Brannan suggested.
"You think so? Who would he go see it with though? All of his friends have already seen it. Do you think he saw it with his ex?! Oh my God..."
"Here, take this," Eli said as he handed the blunt to Shellie.
She took a big puff and exhaled as she closed her eyes in relief.
"You know what. I'm overthinking this. He just gets anxious in public, that's all," Shellie explained and looked around for reassurance.
"Are you sure that's all?" Brannan asked as he swung his black bangs away from his face.
"I don’t know... He's really mysterious and quiet. It's really hard for him to open up, I think. He didn’t really have a dad growing up. He's gotten better at talking to me, but he's still weird around big crowds of people. He never wants to go anywhere with me. It *****. I think he's learning to get better though. Maybe he's just young, I don’t know, but I'm sick of acting like his mother, you know? Why can't he learn things on his own? We're all scared, but if you don't face your fears at some point, then what's the point?"
Andy couldn’t help but think she sounded like a nagging *****.
"You know you just partially described the personality of a serial killer, right?" Brannan asked with comedic horror on his face.
"Did I?" Shellie asked.
"You deserve better!" Brannan's mom yelled from the living room. She was watching some reality TV show that she shouldn't have been watching. She continued to Shellie, "You deserve someone who takes you out and treats you right! You're a sweet girl!"
Shellie looked down at her phone. Still no text.
"Do you want to hit this?" Shellie yelled to Brannan's mom.
"I'm good, thank you though! I've got to finish these lesson plans for the day care," she explained with a sigh.
"Aww, sounds kinda fun," Shellie said. Shellie had thought about being a teacher, or maybe a counselor, but after helping so many people with different problems, she was starting to second-guess her passion for it.
"Nice blunt," Andy complimented Shellie. He thought Shellie was kind of cute, now that he had caught Eli in Alexa's bed and was no longer drawn to her. Despite her messy hair and mix matched attire, she had things together. She had things going for her. What did Andy have going for him?
"Thanks," Shellie smiled. Jared hated blunts, but he loved cigarettes. It made no sense to her.
"So what have you been up to?" Eli asked Shellie. "It's been a while."
"Just busy, busy. School and work, you know,” she said as she took one final puff before passing the blunt on its way, into the final circulation, never to return to her. She wanted to ask Eli about his life, but knew he couldn't say much, so she just went back to her phone.
Eli looked at Alexa, "Cigarette?" he asked.
"Yes," everyone except Shellie replied.
They all went outside in the freezing cold to get a brief buzz, while Shellie stayed inside, in the warmth, jotting down new business plans for her yoga studio into her phone. She then opened one of her books, but couldn’t focus on the text, so she quickly closed it. She then sat there in jaded silence, waiting for her friends to return from their strange endeavor.
"All the girls at my work are such *******! Like, one day I think they're my friend, then the next day I'm like, who are you?" Alexas was saying to her mom in between inhales and exhales.
Brannan looked at Alexas then at Eli with a look of concern and distaste. His mom noticed his expression and gave a brief response of agreement with her eyes, quickly returning to her daughter's concerns with compassion and empathy.
"Like, Kate said she wanted to hang out and everything, then she just doesn't respond. What the Hell?"
"Yeah, you probably just shouldn't be friends with them," Brannan replied.
"I have to be! I work with them," Alexas explained.
Knowing it was a lost cause, Brannan turned toward the glass door, where one of his cats pawed at the frame. “Aw, look at Izzy,” he said, pointing.
“Awwww,” his mom replied as she sipped on white Beringer.
“Let her out,” Brannan said to Alexa, since she was next to the door ****.
“No! She’ll run away,” Alexa said.
“No she won’t,” Brannan argued, as he made his way behind his sister, slightly pushing her, and letting Izzy outside.
She looked at everyone, let out a small meow, then hopped down into the grass, under a bush, and out of sight.
“Look what you did!”Alexas said, raising her voice.
“She’ll be back…” Brannan assured her, with ****** eyes.
Alexas rolled her eyes and Brannan continued, “She just wants to be free, Al.”
Their mom watched Izzy as she scurried into the neighbor’s yard. “Yeah, she’ll be back,” she said.
Then Eli turned to Andy and said, "You trying to play Call of Duty?"
"Sure," Andy agreed, though all he could think about was how Eli had been in Alexa's sheets the week before. “I’ll ******* **** you dude.”
“Yeah right,” Eli said as he let out a laugh, not knowing that he knew what he knew.
Alexa went to the living room with her mom, and Brannan returned to his spot at the kitchen table next to Shellie. Smoke stained the air, as Brannan picked up his phone and began playing a Pokémon game. Shellie tried to act interested, but all she could think about was Jared. Eli and Andy finished shooting each other and came back to form a circle.
“Bowl?” Brannan asked.
“That’s okay,” Shellie said, “I’m trying to cut back.”
“What…” Brannan said in disbelief. He packed the bowl anyway and handed it to her.
“Naw,” Shellie said.
“Yaw! Brannan yelled.
Brannan handed the bowl to Andy and as Andy hit the bowl, he turned to Eli and said, "Hey, so if someone sat 12 million dollars in front of you, and a puppy in front of you, and said: The money is yours, you just have to crush this puppy to bits. Would you do it?" He looked at everyone as if he already knew the answer; as if it was obvious. Andy waited for everyone else to reply first. Brannan had no intentions of replying, since he was trying to be Christ-like lately.
"No, I wouldn't do it," Shellie said.
"Are you serious?!" Eli asked with pure shock on his sun-kissed face.
"Yes, I'm serious. Would you do it?" She leaned forward, almost rocking out of the tall bar stool she was sitting on.
Brannan and Eli chimed in, "You would SO do it."
"I would SO not." She repeated angrily, hitting the blunt and blinking her brown eyes to moisten her contact lenses.
Brannan's younger sister walked into the room to sit down, and Shellie looked to her for an answer. "Would you??" She looked at her with eyes of a beggar's, pleading for understanding and empathy.
"Do what?" Alexa asked, and the boys repeated the scenario, talking with utter excitement.
"A puppy? A cute little puppy?" Alexa asked.
"Yeah, a puppy or 12 million dollars," Andy coaxed.
"I couldn't do it! I could never do that!" Alexa gasped. “Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t!”
"That's what I'm saying," Shellie agreed. "I'm not even a dog person, but I would grab the puppy and run! Maybe report that guy to the animal police or whatever."
"Yeah!" Alexa agreed, as she took off her Starbucks sun visor and laid it on the table, next to Brannan’s laptop, Eli’s sketches, Andy’s backpack, and Shellie’s books.
"You all are crazy!" Andy said. "If the money was right in front of you, you'd do it, no question."
"No," Alexa and Shellie both said firmly.
"You'd just have to see the money, right there in front of you, in person," he kept on going.
Eli took a sip of his whiskey, then made stomping motions with his feet and said, "Haha! Gone! 12 million dollars richer. You know what you can buy with that much money? Tons of new puppies, if you really wanted to." He laughed.
"Yeah, you could **** me and make tons of new friends, too," Shellie said as she rolled her eyes in disgust.
"That's not the same though," Brannan finally spoke. "We don't know this puppy like we know you."
"Well someone does," Shellie insisted.
"Maybe," Brannan replied.
"Someone could," Alexa said. "Unless you **** him."
"Who said it's a boy?" Shellie asked sheepishly.
"You're right. It should be a girl," Alexa agreed, "like sweet little Lola over here." She scooted her chair from the table, and beneath her feet lay her sleeping Border Collie. She got up from her seat and lowered herself to the floor, head to head with the dog. She touched her nose to the dog's nose, kissed the dog’s cheek, and patted her head before returning to her peers on the bar stools above.
Everyone went silent, and Shellie wondered if the boys felt ashamed - so obsessed with power, that they forget to love.
"You know how I told you that I didn't really know my dad growing up?"
"Well, it's because he was in jail for a while."
Looking around, as if for help or guidance, Jared hesitated to say what would come next.
"What is it??" Shellie pleaded, her imagination running wild with fear and worry.
"He ***** me."
"W-what..." Shellie was taken aback. She would have never guessed this is what all Jared's anger had stemmed from. Life flashed before her like a lightning bolt. It surged through her entire body, carrying memories of her perfect childhood juxtaposed next to Jared's. She thought of all the times she had met Jared's dad. She thought of how they worked in the same office, and Jared had to see his face every single day. She wondered how deeply this must affect his life, and how little she had noticed. Had she misjudged him completely? Why were all of her boyfriends so damaged? Was she drawn to damage? What if he ended up like his father? She wanted to help him. She had to.
"But how? Or... Like, where?! Did your mom know?"
"That's why she divorced him. He used to rent hotels on the weekends and tell my mom he was taking me along on his business trips. It wasn't until I was seven... I started having nightmares. I couldn't wake up. I'd scream and yell, telling him to get off me."
"Oh, Jared. I love you so much. You know that? I'm here for you. **** him. You don't need him. Your mom is great, and your little brother loves you. I love you. It's surprising how great you turned out, honestly."
"Yeah..." Jared said, slightly offended, but also in agreement.
* note for author from author: add scene with Alexa and Lola -- Lola biting her over and over. He's hurting me, ow!! "She just let her bite her. Over and over again." She did nothing about it. She endured the pain.
Shellie teaches Brannan how to "train" his dog.. play with her, be her friend. She just wants to play. She doesn't want to watch us smoke **** all day. You have to act like a dog sometimes if you want her to love you and be good.
reference to god's of love.. maybe venus and mars
- add more in between blunt roation.. it burns too fast
- create more setting!! (vital)
- add physical fight between Eli and Andy
- add scene with brandon's dad at very beg