Sorry I skipped out on the writing yesterday! But I'm back with a BANG today. Here's what I've got to work with today...
Main character: a young woman in her late teens who can be quite easy-going
Secondary character: a young man in his late teens who can be quite shy
Setting: the story begins in a prison
Situation: someone loses a fortune at cards
Let's see what we can cook up today.
He looked like he understood me. Those brown eyes promised he did. Promised he would.
"Hey." I sat down across from him. "You're new."
He didn't say anything right away and I could tell he hadn't yet embraced the orange.
"What'd you do? Couldn't have been too bad since you're here and not, you know. They didn't try you as an adult."
"They wanted to."
He was a mystery I wanted to solve.
"I got caught up in some rough stuff in my neighborhood," I began. "I'm from Brooklyn, but not the nice side, you know? My family didn't have much and I thought I could help by selling some rocks. Turns out I wasn't as street as I thought." I laughed at my own stupidity, but new boy didn't see the humor. "I'm Lacey."
"I don't really want to talk to anyone right now."
"You've been in for almost a week. It's about time to start talking."
He huffed and part of me thought I should back off. I decided against it.
"So what did you do?" I asked again. "Drugs? Theft? We've got some tough guys around here, but you don't look like them."
"What do I look like?"
"Like you got in here by mistake. Kind of like me. I was just trying to help my mom, and I wasn't thinking about morals and laws and stuff."
"We're nothing alike."
The lunch buzzer rang and he bolted off. One of the guards came over and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Careful with him, Lacey."
"Have any intel?" I liked to act like I was some kind of informant and not just a juvenile delinquent. Usually they played along.
"The name's Shawn Piedmont. I can't say what he's in for, but I'm warning you that it wasn't a mistake."
"Is he a tough guy?"
"Just watch your back." With that she walked away.
Her warning just made me want to know him more. What was so dangerous about Mr. Shawn Piedmont? He was a flaming match and the fire was getting closer and closer to my fingers.
At dinner that night I made sure to slide into the seat across from him.
"Shawn, right?" I smiled and took a spoon of potatoes and shoved them into my mouth. "You know, if you just tell me what you're in for, this will be a whole lot easier for you."
"You'll leave me alone?"
"I can't promise that. But I'll stop asking you stupid questions."
"Shake on it."
"I'm from Manhattan. Went to a private school and lived the whole posh New York life. Made some friends from the other side of the tracks and ended up gambling away a lot of money I didn't have."
"Hardly sounds like a reason to get put in juvie."
"Are you going to let me finish?"
I nodded and shoved in more potatoes.
"They crew I was running with thought it would be fun to get into one of those mob, mafia run gambling houses. We made it and started playing and winning. Pretty soon we lost all the money we didn't have and the guys who ran the place didn't like it too much. My buddies and I ended up in a street fight. One of the guys pulled a gun, I wrestled it away, and it went off."
"You shot a mafia guy? Holy guacamole that's impressive!"
"I shot one of my own guys. The rest of 'em ran off, called the cops at a payphone, and before I knew it the blue and red were pulling up to me leaning over a dead teenager. They agreed not to charge me as an adult if I confessed. I signed and now I'm here for a couple years."
"It was an accident."
"But I killed someone."
"But it was an accident."
"That doesn't matter, Lacey."
And it was in that moment I cracked the mystery.
Shawn Piedmont was an Upper East turned Lower East. He was a choir boy turned street runner and now he was in a detention center for an accident. An accident I could tell he wanted to take back.
An accident he would spend the rest of his life punishing himself for.
I wanted to say something deep and inspiring, but all I could do was 'clink' my fork onto my plate and stare at him. The kind of stare that looked judgemental but that was really anything but.
Think! Think of words! I told myself.
I wracked my brain trying to find the right words to say. Finally I blurted out...
His eyes shot like daggers into my soul and I wished I'd never opened Pandora's Box.