With Drawn: Part 30 — Vandal

Jacob's HouseContinued from: With Drawn: Part 29 — Pecking Order

Dennis sat on the couch in the Walsh’s living room. He was drinking a beer and watching the television. It was night, and when he looked out the front window of the Walsh’s living room, he could see a light on in the front window of the abandoned house across the street.

Dennis rose from the couch and he walked over to the window, brushing aside the window’s curtains to peer more closely at 42 Savage Street. The house across the street’s blinds were drawn, but still, Dennis thought he detected a shadow of movement behind those blinds.

Dennis said to himself, “What have we here?” And he thought about the visit from the real estate agent, Harriet Berring, and he thought about the business card she had given him, and he thought that maybe he should call her.

But then he had a better idea. Dennis decided that he should take care of this himself, being the take-control kind of guy that he was, and he strode from the Walsh’s living room to the Walsh’s den. Once in the den, he strode over to his gun cabinet, unlocking the glass doors, and retrieving his new Glock 9mm. Dennis popped the ammunition clip from the weapon’s handgrip, checked that it was loaded, and then he popped the clip back into the gun. He racked a bullet into the gun’s chamber, checked the safety, and tucked the gun into the back of his jeans’ waistband. Dennis then headed for the Walsh’s front door.

As he walked, Dennis’s mind was contemplating what the reason was for that light being on across the street. Some of the potential reasons that his brain came up with were: burglars, squatters, ghosts, the Hamptons themselves, or teenagers. But he figured that burglars wouldn’t keep coming back to an empty house. Harriet Berring probably would have mentioned if she thought squatters had set up in the house. Dennis didn’t believe in ghosts. And the Hamptons didn’t give enough of a shit about the place to be there. So Dennis decided the most logical scenario was that teenagers, looking for a place to drink and smoke pot, had broken into the house. Or maybe it was a teenage couple using the place to have sexual intercourse. Dennis liked that idea. As he opened the Walsh’s front door and headed down the front steps, his thoughts lingered on the notion that maybe he’d get a chance to glimpse some hot, naked, teenage girl having sexual intercourse. Maybe Dennis would hang back and watch for a little bit, before being a badass like Clint Eastwood and stick his Glock 9mm in the face of some pimple-faced teenage boy and watch as the little puke shit his pants.

Clint Eastwood is an actor known for playing badass characters. Badass is a term used for someone that is known to take control of a situation and who is very domineering toward others. Generally the badass dominates others by being physically aggressive. Most action heroes in movies are like this. These badass people would be known as bullies if the people they dominated weren’t a little meaner than the badass, and the audience hadn’t determined that the villain deserved the bullying.

Dennis crossed the street and stepped cautiously up onto 42 Savage Street’s front porch. He approached the front window and tried to peek past the edge of the drawn blinds. He was able to see a sliver of the room’s wall, and it looked like a grassy field had been painted or wallpapered onto the wall. “What the hell is that?” Dennis said.

He darted down the front steps, running around the house to the back yard. He almost tripped over the basement’s bulkhead in the dark. He regarded the bulkhead for a moment and then yanked on the bulkhead door. He was surprised when the door whipped open.

Dennis darted down the bulkhead steps, but he had to stop as he became lost in the basement’s darkness. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He turned on the phone and allowed the screen’s blue glow to wash the darkness around him. He could make out stairs in the dim light, and Dennis cautiously picked his way through the basement to the stairs that led into the abandoned house.

Dennis climbed the steps, and at the top of the stairs, he eased open the door leading into a kitchen. He stepped through the door, now able to see better as the light from the living room bled into the kitchen. Dennis crept toward the light, reaching behind his back and gripping the Glock 9mm that was tucked into his jeans’ waistband.

Dennis turned the corner into the abandoned house’s living room, his hand tightening on the handgun’s grip, and he found Jacob standing there. Jacob was standing in front of a giant mural painted on the room’s wall. Jacob seemed out of breath.

Dennis said to Jacob, “What the fuck are you doing?”

Jacob didn’t answer.

Dennis spotted a man out of the corner of his eye. Dennis began to pull the gun from his waistband, but he relaxed when he realized that the man was actually part of the mural. Dennis’s eyes narrowed as he recognized the man in the painting. It was his former best friend David Grist.

Dennis said, “What the fuck is this?”

Jacob said, “I’m painting.”

Dennis said, “No, dipshit, this is called vandalizing. Don’t you know the difference?”

“No one else is using it,” Jacob said.

Dennis said, “No one else is… Using what? The wall? Jesus, you really are retarded.”

“I’m not retarded. Stop calling me that.”

“You could have fooled me,” Dennis said, looking around the room, spotting the paints and the brushes Jacob had been using to paint the scene. “Wait until your mother hears about this one. Now get your ass back home.”

“But I’m not done.”

“You’re not done? The hell you aren’t.” Dennis grabbed Jacob’s arm and began to yank him toward the house’s front door.

Jacob wrenched free from Dennis’s grip and he glared at Dennis.

Dennis grabbed Jacob again.

And, again, Jacob wrenched free from him.

Dennis pushed Jacob to the floor, and he strode over to the tubes of paint.

Dennis uncapped the paints and he squirted paint all over David Grist’s face.

Jacob screamed, “What are you doing?”

Dennis grabbed the bucket of water Jacob had been using to clean his brushes, and Dennis tossed the water onto the mural, smearing the paint more. Rainbow tendrils climbed down David Grist’s face. Dennis turned toward Jacob and said, “When I say you’re done, you’re fucking done. Are we clear?”

Jacob screamed, “I wish you were the one dead.” Then he ran from the abandoned house.

Jacob ran across the street and into the Walsh’s house, bounding up the stairs and bursting into his bedroom. He grabbed his sketchpad and flipped to the sketch of his father. Jacob sat down on his bed and stared at the drawing of his father in his focused-unfocused way.

The portrait of David Grist stirred, its eyes focusing onto Jacob, and then David Grist began speaking to Jacob. But Jacob could not hear him.

The drawing stopped speaking suddenly and turned its head as if looking toward the door of Jacob’s room.

Jacob’s door banged open, and Dennis stormed into the bedroom. Dennis was screaming, “Don’t you run away from me, you little shit. I’m not done chewing your dumbass out.”

Chewing someone’s ass out is not what it sounds like. It is actually a term used to describe the disciplining of someone in a berating manner.

Jacob stood from his bed to face Dennis, Jacob’s sketch pad falling to the floor, Jacob shouting at Dennis, “You’re not my father.”

Dennis spotted the drawing of David Grist in the sketchpad on the floor. Dennis snatched the pad from the floor. He tore the portrait of David Grist from the sketchpad and crumpled the drawing up. He threw the crumpled piece of paper to the floor, shouting, “The hell I’m not your father.”

Now, obviously Dennis knew that he was not Jacob’s father. He really didn’t want to be Jacob’s father. What he meant was that he was the authority figure and Jacob was to do whatever Dennis told him to do and to show him respect. Even though Dennis neither earned nor deserved Jacob’s respect. And what’s more, Jacob didn’t intend to show Dennis respect. Instead, Jacob shouted, “You’re an asshole,” which wasn’t a respectful statement at all.

Jacob was filled with anger, and it felt like his anger and hatred for Dennis was going to burst from him. He literally felt like he was going to explode, as if his heart was going to launch from his chest with gooey shrapnel of blood and tissue. And this overabundance of anger spilled from Jacob and propelled him, almost like jet propulsion, toward Dennis. Jacob wasn’t quite sure what he would do if he actually got to Dennis, but still, he was propelled forward.

Dennis was much bigger and stronger than Jacob and he pushed Jacob back onto the bed.

Jacob glared up at Dennis. Jacob said, “I hate you.”

“Whatever,” Dennis said, “Like I give a shit what a retard like you thinks.”

Jacob leapt from his bed and charged at Dennis again.

And again, Dennis pushed Jacob back onto the bed. Dennis saying, “Don’t try me, Jacob, I’m losing my patience.”

But Jacob charged at Dennis again, and this time, Dennis grabbed Jacob and threw him away from the bed, Jacob crashing into a desk he had in his room’s corner. Jacob fell to the floor, writhing on the floor because he had struck his back on the desk, hard.

Dennis said to Jacob, “You better learn to show me some respect soon, because believe me, you don’t want me teaching it to you.” And then Dennis stormed out of the room.

Jacob climbed to his feet, wincing and holding his back. He limped over to the crumpled drawing of his father and he picked it up, Jacob flattening out the wrinkles of the crumpled paper. He stared down at the wrinkled portrait of his father, and the drawing shifted, David Grist’s eyes focusing onto Jacob.

Jacob said to the drawing, “Dad, can’t you help me?”

The portrait of David Grist was motionless, his eyes staring up into his son’s eyes, and for a moment, Jacob thought that maybe the drawing was done moving, maybe whatever magic that had caused it to move in the first place was now gone. Maybe the portrait was again only a graphite rendition of a man long dead.

But then a ghostly, pencil-shaded hand reached out of the sheet of paper like a corpse reaching from a grave.

Jacob gasped and dropped the paper. He stared at it, this time not in a focused-unfocused way, now he stared at it in just a focused way. After a moment, he picked the paper up again.

This time, more of Jacob’s father’s arm reached from the paper, the sleeve of the army uniform reaching out of the page up to the elbow.

Jacob’s eyes narrowed. His eyes narrowed because he had an idea. Jacob looked from the drawing to his bedroom wall. He took his pencil from his pocket and began twirling it through his fingers. Jacob walked over to the part of the wall that was behind his bedroom door. Jacob shut the door and began sketching a life-size figure on the wall’s surface.

Continued in: With Drawn: Part 31 — Who’s Your Daddy? 

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