Misjudged – Part One
Most towns have those people who you really wouldn’t want to run into. You know the type; the alcoholics, the gangs, and those people who are just straight up creepy. Everyone just knows to avoid them at all costs.
As far as this small town was concerned, a certain group of three teenagers fit the bill. Parents would spread rumors about how they would get wasted every weekend and smoke a pack a day. Additionally, many assumed that the teens were one F away from dropping out of school. But why would the parents assume this? Maybe it was the way they kept to themselves, or how they liked to dress in what could be called an “alternative” fashion. The three of them liked to wear leather jackets and black pants.
One of the two guys was always seen buying cans at the store, and nobody could figure out what he did with them. Some thought that maybe the three of them just lived in the forest and survived off of the canned goods. The girl was tall for her age, and looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks. The other guy towered over the other two and could usually be seen with a cigarette in his hand.
The whole town knew who they were, even the youngsters. So when the three of them approached Tommy one day when he was alone, he was frightened. However, being the brave ten year old he was, Tommy decided he wasn’t going down without a fight.
“Hey, little man. How’s it goin’?” asked the girl.
Tommy stood up from the curb he was sitting on and put out his fists. “I’m doing just fine!”
“Watch it, dude. You’re gonna take someone’s eye out,” laughed the taller of the two guys. “You looked upset and we just wanted to see if you were ok.”
Tommy put down his fists and stared at the ground. “My parents are fighting again.”
The girl bent down and put her hand on his shoulder. “What’s your name?”
“Tommy,” he sniffled.
“Well, Tommy,” replied the teen, “my name is Scarlett. That tall guy you were about to fight is Greyson, and the other guy is Cash.”
Tommy wrinkled his nose. “Cash isn’t a real name!”
The three teens laughed. “True, but it’s a lot cooler than Sam.”
“Do you wanna hang out with us for a little bit?” asked Scarlett. “We can go get some ice cream? Our treat.”
Tommy wasn’t sure what to do. His parents had always told him to stay away from strangers, but they had also told him that they would be there for him when he was upset. He was definitely upset, and his parents didn’t even know he left the house.
Tommy eyed the teens suspiciously. “Everyone says you’re bad.”
“We’re well aware of our reputation,” scoffed Scarlett. “Some people just like to make assumptions about people before they get to know them.”
“Lets make a deal,” offered Greyson. “We’ll buy you ice cream, and then after you get to know us you can decide if we’re bad or not. Deal?” He dropped his cigarette to the ground, stomped on it and held out his hand.
Tommy weighed his options; he could potentially be hanging out with people who could hurt him…but he could also be getting free ice cream, and Tommy really liked ice cream. He decided to play it cool.
Crossing his arms, Tommy said, “I accept your offer, but the ice cream has to be chocolate.”
“Deal.” Tommy shook Greyson’s hand.
The three teens began to walk towards the ice cream parlor, and Tommy looked back at his house; he could still hear his parents fighting.
“Hey squirt, you comin’?” called Cash.
Tommy ran to catch up with them and didn’t look back again.
next: Misjudged – Part Two
more by CASSIE GAMMIE
photograph by Jared Erondu