Since You've Been Gone - Part I

Jelly bean sat on a concrete wall outside the local library noisily slurping her sour apple slush puppy. Today was a good day.

They made out rather nicely. The bills would get paid. they would eat like normal people (At least until their mother came home … at some point.) and Jellybean had her slush puppy as promised.

Swing her feet with childish joy she gave Jocasta and cheshire like grin as she crunched on some of the ice. “Worth it.” She laughed licking her lips.

“So worth it.” Jocasta agreed. The best part about no one noticing JellyBean was days like today. They scored big at the Atm’s. JellyBean picked a few pockets. They’d successfully managed to pay the electric bill and avoid Andrew and his friends by ditching school.

The elation was short-lived though, judging from the police car sitting outside the apartment. “Shit.” Jocasta swore. “What do they want? I made sure I was in plain sight, with witnesses even. You think this is because of school?”

Jellybean peeked at the officers as they hung around the door like flies on shit. “Well … I may have gotten a bit trigger happy. Probably some snot nose jackass with who’s mommy or daddy has some fancy job or zero life and there little Chet or Amber was emotionally scarred by some User being bulled and lashing out in the school. Or something like that. You know? Target the victim and that bullshit.” She said through narrowed eyes. “We can wait them out if you want.”

“Don’t they have real crime to stop somewhere?” The officer rapped on the door with the back of his flashlight again. “I bet it was Andrew. Crybaby that he is. Figures, we just get our lights back and can’t even enjoy it. Where should we go? How long you think they’ll stay?”

Jellybean pouted angrily. “Ugh. Should have flung him down the friggin hall.” She said slurping her slush puppy. “He’s going to dent the damn door …” The albino griped. “ … NO ONE’S HOME ASSHOLE TAKE THE HINT?!” She shouted. Jellybean would have thrown the slushie but she liked it too much to waste.

“We can hide out in one of the unoccupied trailers … then in a couple of hours, I can check back make sure they're gone.” She suggested feeling completely put out by this turn of events.

“Great. Back to no lights.” Jocasta complained in turn. “Let’s go before they spot… well, me.”

The twins spent the majority of the night on the floor of an unoccupied trailer, in the dark, playing the Desert Island game. Five books you’d take with you if you were stranded on a desert island. Five movies. Five people, etc. “What I want to know,” Jocasta said after the twentieth or so round, “is who is stranding people on the island? I mean, what five foods? If someone is making sure I have chicken noodle soup for life, why can’t they make sure I get a rescue OFF the island?”

“The government ... no ALIENS. It’s an experiment. I giant conspiracy on testing human psychology! You know like the evil shit they did in the 60’s! Just way worse because they anal probe you in your sleep. You just don’t know it.” Jellybean joked making giant hand motions.

“Speaking of -- you think they’re still there?”

“Probably.” She yawned. “But let me check first just to be sure. Won’t do having you sent to the clink. Then I gotta break you out and well have to live a life on the lamb and that sounds like a lot of work.” Jellybean snickered.

“We’d be great hobos… ooooh, or carnies!” Jocasta offered. “I bet we’d be good carnies.”

“Do they even exist anymore?” Jellybean asked with a tilt of her head.

“Yes, probably, I think. Maybe. Somewhere. I think if we find a boardwalk, that would be a good place to start looking? But before we plan our lives on the road, go see if they left.”

Jellybean nodded and went for a walk around the trailer park. She took her time, mostly in making sure no one had eyes on there home. There wasn’t any need for stealth, there never was. Though it wasn’t something beyond her capabilities. Hide and seek was an intense game for the twins. Soon enough she can back in with the all-clear. “The fuzz is long gone, let go home, I’m getting hungry what about you?”

“Starving.” She said, loping alongside her sister. “You did all the hard work today, you get to pick what we order. You don’t even need to be stuck on a desert island to get your favorites!”

The decision to go to school the next day was pretty much the discussion for the night, but missing two days in a row was bad. The school would need to call their mom to discuss, and worse, Andrew would think they didn’t show because they were afraid of him. Jocasta even went so far as to forge a note just in case it was needed.

Sure enough, before the first bell rang, Jocasta was called down to the office.

“Well, that was fast.” The invisible twin said with a roll of her eyes. “It was ONE day …” But thankfully if anything Jocasta had her ducks in a row and ready to rumble.

“Let me do the talking.” She kidded. Stomach bug, that’s what they were going to go with. No principal wanted to deal with a kid throwing up. In her head, she practiced what she was going to say until she had it down pat, but when they walked into Mr. Rooney’s office, the same two policemen from the night before were there. Suddenly Jocata’s stomach felt like she really would throw up.

“Jocasta Rivera?” One of the officers said, standing up as the two girls entered.

“It’s pronounced Yo.” Jocasta corrected. “Jocasta. JellyBean is here with me.”

Jellybean leaned on the back of Yo-yo’s chair. “Nice open with the weird factor.” She snorted.

“Ms. Rivera, I’m afraid we have a bit of bad news, it’s about your mother.” The officer looked to the other before looking back to Jocasta. “Who’s Jellybean?”

“Jesus what did Mom do this time!” Jellybean said leading heavily on an elbow. If there was a bright side it was no one seemed to care they … Jocasta … missed a day of school or the incident the day before.

Jocasta heard the question about Jellybean, but she wasn’t able to focus on anything, not until she knew their mom was all right.

“She’s --” The principal started to explain. “Part of an IEP.” Jocasta let that slide, still waiting for word.

“What about our mom?” She pressed.

“We’re afraid your mother is in the hospital.” The other officer responded.

“Is she all right? Will she be all right? What happened?”

“She overdosed. While she’ll likely recover from that, she’s also under arrest.”

“For being high? You can’t arrest her for overdosing and being high, that’s… that’s not a crime, it’s a disease, we learned about it in health class.” Jocasta protested.

“They caught her carrying … she was going on another god damned bender.” Jellybean muttered. “Let us high and dry to get high with some rando. Now we are screwed harder than before.” Unlike Jocasta Jellybean was significantly less attached to their bio operating system that passed her genetic to Jocasta and Jellybean. Mom. Never there when you need her … or there at all.

“She had a sufficient enough quantity that we believe there was intent to sell.” The second officer said softly as if that would ease the blow. “Do you know of any relatives we could contact?”
“Contact for what? Her only relatives are me and Jellybean.” Jocasta replied, not fully grasping why they were asking.

The two officers exchanged a glance; Jocasta swung worried eyes to Jellybean for answers.

Joint Post Winters & Blitzen

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