Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chapter 90: Beau Will Always Be Vulnerable

Fri December 11, 2074 1:45 am: Route A9 (eastbound)-- Downtown, Pleasantview

“Of all the stupid, reckless, irresponsible things! Do you have any idea what could have happened to you out there tonight?” Beau was slipping down low in his seat. He was three-years-old when his own mother died and the way Dustin told it, Brandi Broke had not been much of a disciplinarian anyway. On the rare occasions when Beau found himself on the receiving end of some else’s railing mother, the tirades rolled off of him like water upon wax. Not so tonight. Maybe it was the way the street lamps flooded her face with shadows or maybe her late night tussled hair made her seem slightly crazed, but Beau was terrified.

“When I was your age, folks found themselves at the bottom of a ditch for less. Just the two of you being seen together might have been enough!” Mrs. Bennett was glaring at her daughter through the rearview mirror. Felicity leaned back against the headrest with her elbow propped on the door. Her eyelids drooped. She appeared disinterested.

“Mom, when you were our age, Uriel Dottore was in office.” Here, Angelica whipped around in her seat to face her daughter.

“You think Lillith Pleasant’s administration has anymore use for you?” Felicity did not respond. She focused her attention out of the window, winding her long red hair between her fingers.

The turn signal of the car ahead of them blinked on and off, casting light into the interior of the minivan. Beau watched the light play against the wall, and thought that this was the way of the universe. He would probably never encounter the people in the car ahead of him but without their knowledge, something that they had done was changing the way he viewed his surroundings. The wall was red and then black, red and then black again.

Mrs. Bennett collapsed back into her seat with a huff. Beau felt guilty for this momentary rift between mother and daughter. He felt guilty for their arrest. He felt guilty for all of it, but he would not take the night back. He would not trade his actions for a better, more enjoyable time. What was right held more gravity than what would have been easy.

“It ain’t even the police that you should have been worried about no ways,” Mrs. Bennett continued. “It’s the people in that restaurant. And don’t try to tell me that times are different. All I would have to do is open up a newspaper and show you just how different times are.” Felicity began picking at the rubber seal along the window frame. Beau thought that he knew how she felt—That she had something to say but lacked the words to say it.

“And you,” Beau’s head shot up toward the rearview mirror. Mrs. Bennett was peering at him now or rather, as much of him as she could see from the passenger seat. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself getting my daughter mixed up in something like this. How old are you again?”

“Seventeen, Mrs. Bennett.”

“Well you should have known better.”

“I would have never let anything happen to—“

“Son, I don’t know what you think you could have done if someone got it in their head to harm you both.” Beau planted the heels of his hands on the cushion beneath him and pulled his entire body upright. It seemed too serious of a conversation to slouch through.

“I am sorry if we were in any danger but it didn’t feel that way,” he said. Mrs. Bennett snorted.

“’Course it didn’t. Boys your age are invincible. I’m guessing you got that memo.” Beau felt quite the opposite but he kept quiet. Mrs. Bennett was squinting at the mirror as though it would help her to see through him, to the heart. “Does your mother know you spent the night in a police station?” Beau shook his head.

“My mother is deceased.”

“Your father then? Legal guardian? Next of kin?”

“My brother and no.” He left it at that. Dustin would have beaten him within an inch of his life if he knew about Felicity. The thought of it made his insides squirm, even though he was big enough now to hit back and do damage.

When Beau thought about it, tonight was very much in keeping with the ebb and flow of his life. He would always be vulnerable to blows. His opponents would always be tougher, stronger and closed-fisted. The result of such a fight would be predictable but he would fight nonetheless. The battle was not a means, but the end in and of itself. It was the fact that he stood up at all that mattered.

Mrs. Bennett propped her weight against the door and said nothing. Beau looked out the window. Glittering buildings flashed by. The phase, skyscraper windows burn like urban stars occurred to him. He was sorry that he did not have anything to write with. He looked up at the rear view mirror. Mrs. Bennett was busying herself with the glove compartment when Mr. Bennett’s reflection caught his eye.

Mr. Bennett appeared to have been staring at him for quite some time. He did not flinch when Beau noticed him staring. He smiled broadly instead, alight with praise and support.


  1. *twiddles thumbs*

    This chapter has been done for days. Sorry about that.

  2. Well, at least one of her parents approves?

    Not that anyone can really blame Felicity's mother for feeling the way she feels, considering the circumstances.

    I'm a little curious as to how the current regime differs from the previous one. Do they just take more of a "turn a blind eye" approach as opposed to actively rallying behind the more serious oppressors?

  3. I think Beau really appreciates Crispin's silent "Way to go!" but it's clear who wears the pants in the Bennett household. We shall see what happens. *sprinkles fairy dust*

    At this point in history, there has never been any serious rallying. People are too afraid, mostly of Resident agression but also of the government backlash. The protests in Veronaville (which have been relatively small so far-- just a couple hundred people at the most active demonstrations) are the first stirrings of rebellion. Those protests have been met with violence on the part of royal law enforcement. A Pleasantview rally might see similar results.

    Lilith Pleasant is well liked by Pleasantviewers of a certain income bracket for her ability to "deal with the Townie Question". Her focus has been on cutting government funding to predominantly Townsman areas and on reducing the number of Townsmen that are granted residency. She isn't the worst that Pleasantview has ever had but she's no Terrance Torrence (whom she took over from). Terrance was a total champion of the downtrodden. He's still a celebrated and respected figure after his death.

    Torrence took over from Uriel Dottore (mentioned here) and Dottore came in on the heels of Bella Goth. Dottore was a nightmare. He was also borderline incompetent, which the Residents took issue with. (Just as an aside, Dottore is Jorge's Grandpap and he is still alive.) Goth was just evil. Pleasantview is due for something better.

  4. Beau should totally run for mayor.

  5. OMG he should. But he would need experience, supporters, cash...