The New Room Mate Part 4
© November 2004
All Rights Reserved
By The Hit Man
Like someone is holding smelling salts to my nose, the odor of putrid food invades my senses enough to bring me back to the land of the living. I move and instantly curse whoever has brought me back for I can hardly move, feeling like I have been run over by a steam roller or at least a Mack truck. I lean my head down and realize the smell is coming from something coating my chest. Ah yes, I puked on Brandon, and obviously myself as well. I have no idea how long I have been out but they obviously dropped me right there, not even bothering to at least throw me on the pile of clothes.
The door to the hallway opens and I instantly close my eyes, not tight, just making it look like I am still asleep. The door closes, the light going away, and I open my eyes again.
"I thought you were faking," a voice with an accent says from nearby, making me jump. I moan audibly from the pain. The vanity light in the bathroom comes on and I can see someone there, watching me in silence.
"I am Juan, Julio's brother." Oh great, I think to myself, he's moving the whole family in. "Let's get you cleaned up. This can't be good for you." I flinch as he leans down and touches me.
"It's okay, Hombre, I'm here to help. You don't need to be afraid of me." He grabs me under the arms and with what seems like no effort, hauls me to my feet. He literally has to drag me into the bathroom for I have no strength left. He sits me on the floor as I can't even keep myself erect and turns on the water in the huge whirlpool tub that fills a good portion of the room. He picks up a bag of Epsom Salt that came from who knows where and pours the entire bag into the hot swirling water. Picking me up like a new bride being carried over the threshold, he lowers me into the water, its' heat and bubbling water instantly causing me pain as it moves up against my battered skin. I stifle a cry. He turns away for a moment. When he comes back, he has 3 white pills in his hand along with a glass of water.
"Here, these will help." I am hesitant to accept anything from him even though he has been only kind to me up to this point. He simply reaches forward and forces my jaw open, dropping in the pills and pouring some liquid down my throat. I choke a bit but manage to keep it all in. "Just give those a few moments to do their magic."
I am pretty sure I fall asleep in the tub, the soreness being sucked out by the water. When I open my eyes, Juan is sitting there on the side of the tub watching me. Seeing that I am awake, he picks up a wash cloth and starts rubbing the dried hard puke off my chest. He is gentle but thorough and soon my distrust is melted away. Whatever he gave me has taken away the edge of the pain and I am able to support myself now in the tub.
"You've been through quite a beating my friend. I'm glad Julio called me after they found you. Whoever did this had no kindness in their heart and only meanness in their fists." Flashes of Julio, Clifton and Brandon pounding on me flashed through my mind. "But they sure knew what they were doing."
"I couldn't agree with you more." Some of the bitterness I felt inside must have crept out in my voice because Juan looked at me weird, like he had a question but was afraid to ask. "Go ahead, ask your question."
"Did you know these men that attacked you?" He paused just long
enough before voicing his words that I knew he had no idea it had been his
brother Julio and others close to me who had done this. They had obviously
realized they had gone too far and had fabricated a story well in advance
of calling in the cavalry. I finally shook my head no, afraid that if I spoke,
my anger would spill out like a dam releasing water after a flood.
He resumed caring for me, rubbing me down in concert with the spa jets.
"What caused this? Do you know?" I glanced down to find his hand at rest on a round shaped bruise, the exact shape of the dull end of a baseball bat. "It looks like they rammed you with some kind of weapon, a bat maybe from the looks of it." Again I was afraid to verbalize my confirmation but I am pretty sure he read it in my eyes by his next words.
"Those bastards." I felt conflicted for Juan was taking on my anger, my righteous indignation and I barely even knew him while those who were supposed my friends and relatives had been able to do this to me without batting an eye. Juan kneaded my abs like he would dough, working out some of the stiffness and soreness from the muscles. As he worked, he hummed a soft comforting tune, nothing I recognized, but soothing nonetheless. Soon I found myself nodding off. He placed a small rubber pillow behind my head to support me, preventing me from slipping under the water. As I drifted off, he continued his healing.
When I woke, I was lying in my own bed, all tucked in and comforted. Juan was sitting, himself asleep, in a chair that he had pulled into the room to monitor me. I was feeling closeness to him that I had never felt toward any other living human being. I tried to sit up but instantly regretted it as my abdominal muscles screamed in disobedience. I must have made some sound for Juan opened his eyes.
"How long have I been asleep," I asked?
"Two full days and then some," he replied. "You fell asleep in the tub and I had to carry you in here. You didn't even stir." I smiled warmly at the thought of this man's kindness.
"But I am concerned about your job. No one has called looking for you. Does no one know what happened to you?" I wanted to laugh but somehow I knew that too would hurt.
"I work here at home. I'm a graphic designer and hire out to companies who need my services."
"That is a good thing, no?" I do laugh now and I was right, it hurts.
"Yes, that is a good thing."
"I am a paramedic and in fact, it is time for me to go to my shift now. I have made arrangements for my nephews to stay with you in case you need anything. I will return tonight." As if on queue, the bedroom door opens and in walks two boys, young men actually. They bear a strong resemblance to both Julio and Juan. "Tito is in the blue, Umberto in the red."
"They are fine looking boys, Juan. You must be very proud of them." Juan smiles broadly at my words. The boys blush a little so obviously they speak English. Juan stands up and gathers them at the doorway, barking orders in his native tongue. While I pick up a word or two during his long discourse of specific instructions, most of it is lost on me. Juan waves adios and I listen as the door leading to the outside closes. Tito and Umberto look at me like they are waiting for instruction. "Why don't you go watch television while I clean up?"
There is no hesitation in following my suggestion and soon I hear a soccer game blasting away on the tube. Once again, it is broadcasting in their native tongue so I tune it out. As I enter the reclaimed bathroom of the master suite, I am shocked by the myriad of colors that cover my upper torso. While the soaking and massaging had helped take much of the pain away, it had done little to cover the bruises. They had really done a number on me, no doubt about it. I took a long hot shower, once again letting the hot water work at easing my stiffness. Pulling on a pair of sweats, I walked out to the kitchen. The smell was heavenly but almost so powerful it made my stomach heave in rebellion. I wasn't even sure when the last time I had eaten was. I suppose it was the hotdogs I had thrown up on Brandon. That thought brought a smile to my face.
Senor," a voice said behind me and I jumped. I turned to find one of the boys. Tito I think for he wore a blue shirt. "I am so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you." He spoke fluent and unaccented English.
"You're Tito, right?" He seemed pleased that I remembered his name. "What smells so good?" He walked over to the stove and pulled out a plate covered with some kind of egg dish.
"Uncle says you should eat this. It will help make you strong again." He laid it at a place on the table and I sat down. He sat down at an empty spot but obviously wasn't planning on sharing with me. I figured this was a part of Juan's orders, to make sure I followed his to the last letter. I dug in, the warmth wonderful as it slid down, until it hit my stomach. It was amazing. I even hurt on the inside of my body. I must have grimaced because Tito was beside me in an instant. "Eat slowly!" He spoke but two simple words but instructions that carried the wisdom of Methuselah.
"I'll be fine," I tried to assuage his concern. "Go on and watch the soccer game with your brother." He heard my every word but totally ignored me, remaining in the seat until I finished a portion of the plate sufficient to please his uncle. Only then did he leave my side.
I went through at least three more days of the same routine. Finally I was beginning to feel normal again. Juan and I decided (well, actually he did) that it would be okay to do a light workout that day but only if Tito and Umberto were there to assist me. I was actually feeling much like my old self again but my arguments fell on deaf ears. Juan would hear nothing of my insistence that they had all done enough.
It was at least another week before I was back up to my normal routine which typically included a thousand crunches during the breadth of a day. Tito and Umberto joined me often and I was suitably impressed by their abilities for their age. Today was no different but they didn't seem as committed to working out, instead just watching me as I went through my routine. I was just completing my last set of ab crunches when Tito walked up standing over me. His behavior was a little puzzling.
"My uncle Julio says that even at your best you are a wimp, unable to take gut punches." The mention of Julio's name brought such an onslaught of feelings that before I knew what I was doing, I had Tito by the neck and was pounding on him as I held him against the wall. Umberto was on me in a flash, trying to drag me off his brother. They were admittedly strong but they were no match for the fury I was feeling. I rammed an elbow back into Umberto's gut, sending him to the floor gasping for breath. Then I concentrated on Tito, still wailing away on him. I failed to hear the front door open nor was I even aware of anyone else being in the room until I heard a bull roar from behind me. Before I could even turn, a body smashed into me, driving me sideways across the room. Our bodies crashed to the floor. I had just an instant to recognize the face of Juan, totally twisted in anger.
He grabbed me by the neck and hauled me to my feet. I tried to defend myself but he obviously knew what he was doing because his fists were like streaks of lightening, striking me with such speed I could barely focus on one before the next was being delivered. Tito and Umberto seemed to be recovering and headed toward us, intent on getting their retribution.
"Alto," Juan shouted with such force the two stopped dead in their tracks. I tried to grab at Juan, hoping to lock him up, giving me a chance to explain. But it was not to happen. His fists were pummeling me faster and harder, his face the study of intent. Despite my days of recovery, his fists were making short work of me as he pounded away. I was gasping for breath before his blows even began to slow though they didn't alter in power.
"Why, after all I did for you, have you attacked my nephews?" His beating didn't slow, like he was expecting me to be able to answer while he pummeled me. His fists were once again starting to dig through my musculature, working their destruction much faster than I had been able to regain my strength. Suddenly he shouted something unintelligible to me but Tito and Umberto certainly understood. They rushed in, grabbing my arms, stretching me out. Flashbacks of the beating by Brandon filled my mind.
Juan began to throw knee strikes, each one lifting me off my feet. His energy was boundless, my resistance waning. Once again, had it not been for the boys holding me up, I would have collapsed to the floor long ago. Suddenly, I was on my knees. I didn't really understand what was happening but that wasn't important to anyone but me. I was yanked back to my feet, locked in a full nelson by Juan. Then the boys stepped in front of me one at a time. Tito was first for I had done him the most wrong. His blows weren't any match for his uncles but in my shape they hurt just as much. He wasn't hesitant in repaying me for my earlier blows including a couple of low blows that made my knees quake. Then Umberto stepped up. Though I had only hit him once, he was just as incensed that I had turned on them.
He used his knees, elbows, and even his head to finish me off. Finally Juan
let go and I collapsed to the floor, curling up in a fetal position to try
and ward off any more pain.
Juan stood over me for a moment.
"I can only think that you deserved what you got originally." With that he spit on me, Tito and Umberto following suit and they left the room. Soon I was alone. I don't know how long I lay there before a sound from the hallway brought me back to reality. There in the door way observing me was another stud. His eyes were full of question at me lying on the floor obviously having suffered a beating, maybe a robbery gone badly.
"Sorry, the door was open. I hear you're looking for a room mate?"