He woke up early morning on a wet mattress. Yawning with the new morning sun blinding him through the boarded up windows, he felt a slight tingle in his stomach. Despite having not eaten in three days, food was the last thing on his mind. It had been this way for a few years now. It was so bad that he could not remember a time when things were not like this.
“Eddie, hey Eddie,” said a soft voice from behind him. Hearing his own name said out loud, it sounded like a distant memory that came back only to tease him and remind him of a time long lost.
He turned back to see Sharon standing in the door way. In her hand, she held up a McDonald’s bag for him to see.
“Hey Eddie,” she said again. “I got these two burgers if you want one.”
He nods and reaches out as Sharon hands him one of the burgers. He wasn’t too interested in eating, but it was better to eat when one had the chance because you never knew when your next meal would come. Especially a warm one.
After eating, Eddie decides to step outside. The bright sun blinding him the minute he does, forcing him to shield his eyes. He dusted his blue levi’s off. Little good it did for his jeans had holes in the knees and a tear down the right thigh. They were badly in need of a wash, stained and dirty.
He wore a dirty plain blue hooded sweatshirt that covered up a gray Roca Wear shirt he had found on a park bench. He began walking down the street. He could not help but to look down at the sidewalk as he walked. His shoes told the story of all the miles he had tracked over the past year.
With a deep sigh, he marched on. It was a hot July. It was only the early morning, so he knew that it would just get even hotter as the day went on. In the past, he would of spent a day like this with his kids at the community pool. If money was okay, he’d even take them down the freeway to go to the beach. Spend a day enjoying the water and have a picnic under the sun.
Those days were just another set of memories long lost. They seemed ancient, almost false as if he had watched someone else living it.
He stopped in front of a small shop and looked at his reflection in the window. It looked nothing like the man in his memory. Eddie hated the man in the reflection. He disgusted him, but Eddie could not turn away. The man staring back at him had lost everything he held dear; his family, friends, money, a good job, and all his dreams. All of it and for what?
Eddie was shaken from his dream like trance by a voice and loud banging. He looked over to see the store owner pointing at his with a wooden bat in hand. A little Asian man, barely half Eddie’s size.
“Go, get out of here before I call the police,” yelled the store owner as he banged his bat once more against the stores brick wall.
Eddie turned around and began to drag himself away, but not before turning his head back around and spitting on the stores window.
“That’s it, I’m calling the police right now,” the little man yelled as he ran back inside his store.
Eddie was not worried. He knew that by the time the police even bothered to send a unit, he’d be long gone.
He continued on with his journey, ignoring the sneers and dirty looks others gave him as he passed by. Their opinions no longer mattered to him. He began to feel hungry. Not the type of hunger that could be satisfied by food. He long ago stopped trying to resist the urge for he knew it was just a losing battle.
He began digging into his jeans pocket. Two dollars in change, not much he could do with that. He decided to go back to the abandoned house he had began to call home. Maybe Sharon would still be there and they could combine what they had.
So deep into his empty thoughts, he did not notice the group of men walking before he bumped into them.
“Hey motherfucker, do you not know how to fucking walk?” yelled one of the men who had spilled his soda on his red tee shirt. “Now how you going reimburse me for my shirt fucker? huh?”
Eddie began to step back. “I’m sorry man, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
One of the other men stepped up to Eddie. “Yeah, you going to be sorry bitch.”
Eddie tried to turn and run. Before he could get far, one of the men jumped in front of him and tripped him up. Eddie hit the ground hard and before he had a chance to even try to get up, the men were on top of him.
Eddie could do nothing but curl up into a ball as the men kicked and punched on him while he lay there defenseless. People passing by were quick to turn around and go the opposite direction. A few stood and watched but no one attempted to stop the beating or even try to convince the men to stop.
Eddie didn’t know how long the beating lasted, but eventually the men got either bored with him or were satisfied with their handy work. Either way, the beating stopped. As they left, one of the men poured the rest of his soda on Eddie and laughed as they walked off.
Eddie picked himself up off the ground. Sore, soaking wet, sticky and bleeding he looked around at the onlookers. He spit blood out on to the ground and dragged himself away. He no longer cared. He had quickly learned how devilish and selfish people could be. He was not surprised that no one sought to assist him or even ask if he was okay after those men made him one with the concrete.
After a few blocks, he decided to take a break. Those men from before had done a number on him. Eddie thought that he might have even had an concussion. Not that it mattered, he had no insurance anyway. He would of laughed about it if it didn’t hurt to do so.
As he sat there resting, a police cop pulled up along the curve. Two officers proceeded to get out of the car.
“Sir, are you okay?” asked the younger looking one of the two officer.
Eddie could do nothing but look at them. Were they serious? Did he look okay? Eddie could do nothing but wonder where these two were at when those men were connecting their foots to his ass.
The two cops looked at each other. Without waiting for a response from Eddie, they told him to get up and move along as they got back in their car.
“If we come back and see you still here, we’re taking you in alright,” said the young officer before they pulled off.
Eddie dragged himself off of the ground, grumbling. “Protect and serve my ass. I get the snot whooped out of me and I’m the one they threaten to take away.”
Eddie wanted to hurry up and find Sharon. He needed to satisfy his hunger soon. He just wanted to forget and fade away from reality.