Rocky and I continued to the Gang-Hangout, no longer slumping our shoulders due to the earlier moment of comedic reprieve.
Of course, I missed the humor of all of Rocky’s proceeding jokes.
“This is the last joke I swear,” Rocky said while looking at me pleadingly.
Truly, I was too caught up in my own thoughts to pay his jokes any mind, but I decided to give him a chance nonetheless.
“Okay, so it goes like this…
A lost dog strays into a jungle. A lion sees this from a distance and says with caution, “This guy looks edible, I’ve never seen his kind before.”
So the lion starts rushing towards the dog with menace. The dog notices and starts to panic, but as he’s about to run, he sees some bones next to him and gets an idea. He says loudly,
“Mmm…that was some good lion meat!”
The lion abruptly stops and says, “Woah! This guy seems tougher than he looks, I better leave while I can.”
Over by the tree top, a monkey witnessed everything. Evidently, the monkey realizes he can benefit from this situation by telling the lion and getting something in return.
So the monkey proceeds to tell the lion what really happened. The lion says angrily, “Get on my back, we’ll get him together.” And they start rushing back to the dog.
The dog sees them and realized what happened, starting to panic even more. He then gets another idea and shouts,
“Where the hell is that monkey! I told him to bring me another lion an hour ago…” ”
I choked back the laughter that threatened to upset my already empty stomach, but Rocky still stared at me intently, wondering if the joke was a comedic hit.
“Ha ha ha ha!”
Finally, when I could hold it back no more, I burst forth with laughter that no doubt alerted the hidden teens romancing the poor Whisper Dog a couple alleys away.
“That one was actually good,” I complimented.
“I know right?” Rocky replied smugly as we walked faster to avoid the irritated eyes of the teens who had been interrupted during their ‘fun-time’.
Rocky tried to surpass his joke with another one but failed miserably to impress me.
It wasn’t that his jokes weren’t funny, it was just the entire matter hit a little bit too close to home.
Ever heard a poor neighbor talking about their neighbor being just as poor as they are? Nope!
Because you might as well be talking about yourself subconsciously. Sadly, Rocky had no such dilemma when insulting others.
Rocky’s brain was split into several categories, and I am pretty sure that his frontal lobe only consisted of two areas called ‘them’ and ‘me’.
I wasn’t nearly as shameless as Rocky so when I saw a group of younger teenagers fucking a Whisper Dog in a back alley, my thoughts automatically drifted to:
‘I wonder when that’s gonna be me!’
It’s all fun and games until you are the one fucking the dog in the back alley… then suddenly the grass doesn’t look so withered on the other side.
You might even find a luscious forest on the other side given the dog has enough fur in the right places.
Still, I could somewhat understand the concerns that led them to indulge in such a ‘unique’ method of euphoric pleasure.
Teenagers didn’t make it very far in slum-society. It was one of those great mysteries that nobody gave a shit about.
As far as the eye could see, there were only upwards of twenty teens walking around the slums at any given time.
Beyond the age of fifteen, you would rarely ever see any teenagers, but they would magically reappear when they turn about twenty.
Of course, they had no clue about where they spent the last five years of their life.
Some of those teenagers were never seen again, so Slum-Dwellers just assumed that they were dead.
Death was the universal answer to many of the mysteries within the slums. The other popular answer was ‘dirt’.
‘Oh, your leg was just cut off by a Corporation Robot?
Then just spit on it and put some dirt and you’ll be fine.
If that doesn’t work, then just go and die!’
Surprisingly, I don’t know if it was because of the Slum-Dweller in me, but putting dirt on your wounds seriously seems to do wonders in the slums.
Occasionally, you could hear stories from the elderly about how the slums used to be an area for Top Secret Research, but I chalked it up to the delusions that came with old age.
Now and again, you’d hear whisperings, accusations, and wild theories, but the people who instigated such events never lived long enough for their ‘gospel’ to spread.
Eventually, I theorized, that everyone just learned to shut their mouths.
Of course, all of this happened before my time, and now 'freedom of speech’ was more like ‘freedom of thought’.
And even when you think… it better be whispers that will forever remain in the confines of your mind.
Rocky shook my shoulders, and I was startled out of my trance-like state.
“Hey, if you don’t think the jokes are funny, then just say so… no need to zone out,” He complained.
“What?” I asked confused.
Truly, I Hadn’t been paying attention much since we came out of the church.
“I said –” Rocky started but didn’t finish, instead quickly grabbing me and leaning against the wall.
I instantly knew what was happening, and quickly released myself from Rocky’s strong grip.
Swiftly, I pulled two daggers from my pockets and gave one to Rocky as a precaution.
Had we not been so boisterous earlier, we would have realized that we were being followed much sooner.
Of course, this wasn’t really a panic-inducing moment since we had been followed many times before.
Rocky used his left hand, pointed at himself, and gestured up, then pointed at me and gestured down.
This was our usual plan to deal with being followed. I go for the legs, and Rocky for the head or neck depending on who it was.
Rocky was good with determining if someone deserved to die with just a split second of looking at their face.
That instant just before he plunged a dagger into their neck, Rocky would mysteriously determine all the transgressions that person had committed since their birth.
“They went this way,” I heard a couple voices whisper and immediately relaxed my tense muscles.
It was obviously the teens from earlier that probably heard our laughing and put two and two together.
I wouldn’t want my rendezvous with a dog getting out either.
Still, Rocky didn’t seem to relax a bit and I suddenly detected why.
The ground was vibrating a bit too much for my liking.
My intuition rang out like the 4th of July and my fight or flight instinct kicked into gear.
It was just a single step around the corner, and Rocky and I jumped into action with our daggers.
Faster than I ever had before, I stabbed my dagger three times into the muscular body in front of me.
Rocky leaped over my shoulder and stabbed his dagger more times than I could count in the heat of the moment.
I sighed in relief at our successful assassination, but my intuition did not ease up one bit.
A massive panic attack within the pits of my stomach fought to stay down as if it knew that a panic attack at this moment would not warn me of danger, but just hinder a much-needed escape from catastrophe.
I stood frozen in place as the sensation of the person I had just stabbed finally trickled through my fingers.
I was not that experienced at stabbing people, but I knew how easily my dagger should be able to cut through human flesh.
The flesh I had just penetrated felt sturdier than a human… like muscles clumped onto muscles fought against my blade’s deep penetration capabilities.
There was only silence in the alley following our assassination attempt.
I slowly raised my eyes to witness the faces of the frightened teens that stood behind the huge leg I had just stabbed.
I dreaded looking up further but I knew it had to be done.
My eyes rose and the next thing I witnessed was Rocky’s body flying through the air, making the most perfect parabola I had ever seen.
With a thud, I heard Rocky’s less than gracefully landing, but his absence from my vision gave me time to marvel at the being we had just attacked.
7 Ft 6 Inches of pure muscles that towered over my frail, short body.
Hands like clamps that would crush heads without any issues, a head so shiny that it looked like the moon as his shadow draped over the surroundings.
Finally, the enormous human, I assume he was human, wore a jumpsuit that made his identity painfully apparent to both me and the injured Rocky – Big-Jumpa Tim.
Big-Jumpa Tim, the man… the myth… the monster trapped in the body of an adult even though he was only twelve years old, but had the emotional mentality of a six-year-old.
There were two things Big-Jumpa Tim liked more than anything – bashing heads and eating candy.
However, apparently, there was now a third thing he liked given the teens he was hanging with – raping dogs.
“R deze dee guz?” Big-Jumpa Tim asked the frightened teens that stood behind him.
“Yes, brother Tim!” One of the teens answered confidently which caused horror to appear on both my and Rocky's faces.
Big-Jumpa Tim’s eyes trained onto me and Rocky who limped to his feet a bit further away, but I paid neither of them any mind.
My eyes were trained on the teen that had just condemned me to death…
I was giving him the Liam Neeson look – ‘I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you!’
Still, it was a painful reality that Rocky could run faster than me so my chances of escape were near zero.
There was no comradeship when it came to being pummelled to death by a nearly 8ft tall man-child.
Suddenly, my panic disappeared and a subtle calm overtook my mind.
The next moment, I found my body fluidly moving, then came the sensation of my dagger slitting the throat of the confident teen.
I didn’t even realize when I released the dagger and darted past Rocky, running away faster than star athletes.
Everyone else was still frozen in shock, and even I didn’t exactly know what I had done.
My mind had no solution to deal with Big-Jump Tim, but my body automatically knew how to deal with the situation – create a distraction, and then escape.
All this time, I had assumed that there was something wrong with me… something happening with the chemical reactions in my brain but…
For the first time, I found myself posing a new question…
‘Who Am I?’