Brittle as a Bird

Chapter 1

I hate my life.

There, I’ve said it. I’ve been lying here for hours contemplating this hellish nightmare I call a life. I think when I was born, God took some paint and splattered it on an easel and said, “Joey, my young man. This is your life. No order or neat lines; just random blotches that will not give you any sense of continuity. Do what you will; your life will be no more than the ugliness you see before you.”

And that has been my life. Blotches of ugliness on a splattered easel. Do you understand what I’m saying? Hell, why should you. I don’t even understand it myself. At seventeen, I don’t know how my life became so messed up- so unordered. I tried. I swear to God I tried. Until I was twelve, there weren’t any blotches. Then I guess the shit hit the proverbial fan. Or I should say in my case, the paint splattered on the easel.

Black seems to be the predominate color. There’s some crimson red, and occasionally a tint of gray, but most of the time it’s black. In my world, the sun stopped shining five years ago.

Do I sound morose? I really am sorry. But I can’t help it. It is how I feel. It is how I always feel. In five years I’ve gone from being a really sweet kid who loved to play baseball in the field in back of my house with my best friends, to being a hustler, a pothead and a future alcoholic.

I’ve turned tricks in back alleys just to make a few bucks so I could buy me a couple of joints. I’ve drank so much trying to erase the filthy memories of fat men stuffing their fat cocks in my mouth, but I still wake up in the morning craving more. Not the cocks. The money I receive from pleasuring some man whose wife stopped giving him sex years ago. I’m always there, waiting to satisfy his needs.

Man. I need another drink. All this sad shit has depressed me. I hate it when I travel down this road. It’s useless because nothing is ever going to change. I’ll go to bed tonight sad and alone. If I’m lucky, I’ll be drunk and high. It makes the night more bearable. Of course, the nightmares don’t cease. They only become more vivid. When that happens I get up and go out into the cold night.

Damn nightmares. I wish they would end. I would like just one sound night of sleep. I used to cry myself to sleep, but I stopped doing that shit when I was fourteen. No more tears for Joey Carpenter. What good are they? They only flow down your face and disappear with the wipe of a hand. Once they are gone, the same hurt is there. Tears. A waste of time. I made myself tough and I refuse to be weak. Tears are for the weak. Right? That’s what my old man used to say.

“Stop that fucking crying, Kid.” This statement was usually followed by a fist to my stomach and a kick in the ribs after I fell down. “Fucking pussy!” he’d shout, after hitting me again. “Real men don’t cry.” So I don’t cry anymore. I guess I’m a real man now.

My old man. What a work of art. If I am the splotches on an easel, then I guess he’s the shit in a cow pasture. God really did a number on him. I guess I got my drinking from him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sober.

He’s an auto mechanic. That is, if he can drag his drunken ass out of bed to make it to the shop. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and married my mom when she got pregnant with me. He was my age when that happened. He’s always said his life would be better if I had not been born. I don’t know about him, but my life would be a hell of a lot better if that wish had come true. My old man- what a piece of shit. Yeah, I guess shit in a cow pasture would be appropriate.

Thankfully, my mom never had any more children. I guess one mistake was enough. She claims to love me, but then I see the look of disappointment in her eyes when she looks at me. I guess she thought I was going to be her meal ticket out of the shit house. I have always been smart and made good grades in school. I could tell she put a lot of hope in my future. She always told me I’d be a doctor or a lawyer someday. I had promise.

But then God picked up the palette of paint and tossed it at the easel. Hell, I was twelve, but I could still hear it hit with a sickening thud. And the crimson red? That was my blood hitting the bedroom wall when my old man beat the proverbial shit out of me. Only this time, he literally did it.

Then God took the black paint and covered me ass deep in it. Even the sun couldn’t shine through. I haven’t seen the sun in five years. Sure, it rises in the sky every morning, but I don’t see it. I don’t want to see it. I’ve become accustomed to the dark, to the blackness that is around me.

Damn, this shit is depressing me. It’s alright though. When I leave here, I’ll find another old man who needs a young kid like me. I’ll satisfy his needs, and he’ll satisfy mine. Twenty bucks usually makes me happy. If I do a really good job, sometimes I’ll make more. They love it when I call them Daddy. That usually makes me more money. I’m always glad when I hear them moan, “Here cums Daddy,” because then I know I can get paid and go get me a bottle of cheap wine and a few joints. That satisfies my needs.

I do afford myself one pleasure. It’s funny how the simplest thing can be called a pleasure. The alcohol, drugs and sex don’t bring me pleasure. They block the pleasure. They make me numb so I can’t feel. I don’t want to feel. If I do, then the blackness overwhelms me and I can’t control it. It consumes me and drags me down into a bottomless pit. Then the cycle continues- more alcohol, drugs and sex.

But occasionally, I give in to my pleasures and I come out here to Sullivan Lake. I’m always sober when I come here. You know, for just a little while I want to feel. I want to feel alive again. I watch the birds flying overhead and I imagine I’m one of them, flying to a far away place where I can be free.

I listen to the water lapping against the shore, and for just a brief moment I feel at peace. Since it is a desolate lake where hardly anyone comes to anymore, sometimes I’ll strip off my clothes and lie naked and feel the warmth of the sun’s rays soaking up my body. I close my eyes and wonder if this is what God gives the good people of the world- a bright sunshine filled with warmth and gentle breezes.

Then I get sad, and this shitty depression swoops over me- like it has now. I beat my chest and throw my fists into the air and curse an evil God. Then I think, no, there is no God. If there was, how could he let all this shit come into my life?

And then the need to satisfy my real needs appear. Soon I’ll hit the streets and look for a trick. Afterwards, I’ll head over to Louie’s and get me a bottle of wine. He’ll sell to kids, but he charges twice the price for a bottle. I don’t mind, though. It’s easier than standing outside the door all day trying to con someone into buying it for me. I can’t count the number of times a guy has emerged from the store and hurried to his car and quickly drove off with my money.

A few months ago, I got even with one guy. I was sitting on the side of the building waiting for Louie to bring me my bottle when I saw the blue Taurus pull up in front. I remembered the dent in the right front bumper. The guy got out and walked into the store. I knelt down and snuck up to the side of the car and carefully let the air out of his tires.

I thought I was busted when another car pulled up. But then a young guy got out and noticed what I was doing and started laughing. “Damn, Dude. I hope I don’t ever piss you off,” he exclaimed as he flashed me a thumbs up and disappeared into the store. I carefully snuck back to the side of the building and awaited the old fart to come out of the store.

He didn’t notice the flat tires until he started up his car and began backing up. He beat on the steering wheel and jumped out of the car and ran to the side. “Mother Fucker!” He shouted to no one in particular. He hit the roof a few more times, and then pulled out his cell phone. About that time Louie opened the side door and handed me my bottle. I took one more look at the flat tires and then skipped off down the alley behind the carry out. That was a good day.

I don’t get many chances to laugh, so I have to take them when I can. I laughed a lot until that day when I was eleven and the darkness came.


“Come over here, Joey.” My Uncle Mike was motioning for me to sit beside him on the couch while we were watching television. I had been stretched out on my back on the floor. Since it was summer, the only escape we had from the heat was a small fan blowing the hot air around the room. I was lying with nothing on but a pair of small shorts covering my body.

“You’re growing into a big boy,” my uncle stated when I sat down beside him, nestling my body into his. “How old are you now?”

“Eleven,” I said proudly. I looked up and grinned as he looked down at me and laughed.

Uncle Mike was like a hero to me. He was my father’s youngest brother. He was twenty eight years old and worked as an accountant. He had stepped in on more than once to protect me when my father went into one of his rages. Once when my father reached out to hit me after he had polished off a fifth of whiskey, Uncle Mike decked him and left him lying unconscious on the floor. When I became concerned that he had killed my father, he simply remarked, “Let him sleep it off.” He lay there the rest of the night, snoring loudly. And Uncle Mike was right. In the morning he arose, not remembering what had happened to him.

“Bet you’ve started growing hair on your pecker, Huh?” I giggled when he reached over and grabbed my dick through my shorts.

“No!” I giggled as I wiggled around on the couch.

“No, What?” he asked playfully. “No hair, or no tickling?”

“No, both!” I giggled. I was curling myself into a ball so he couldn’t squeeze my small dick.

“Well, you will soon enough,” he assured me. He stopped tickling me and we resumed watching the show. I was disappointed because I had enjoyed the attention he had given me.

I leaned further into him. He took his large hands and positioned me so that I was lying in his lap. He put his hand on my side as we continued to watch television. After a while, he slowly slid his hand down my body until he was caressing my small butt. Underneath me, I could feel his dick begin to grow hard.

His breathing began to quicken as he looked around the room to make sure we were alone. He then placed his hand inside my shorts and started rubbing my small cock. It immediately grew hard as he wrapped his large hands around it and rubbed it up and down.

“Feel good?” he whispered hoarsely. I mumbled a weak, “Yes.” I knew what we were doing was wrong, but I didn’t want to tell him to stop.

He took my small hand and led it to his large cock, holding it while he ran it up and down the length of it.

“That feels good, Joey,” he said. “You’re making your Uncle Mike feel real good.” He then reached down and slowly unzipped his pants. Again, he looked around to make sure we were alone and that no one was watching.

Carefully, he snaked out his enormous dick. It was extremely hard with drops of liquid on the tip. He took my head and pushed it down to it. “Take it in your mouth, Joey. Make your Uncle Mike happy.”

That was the beginning of my darkness. I think it was on that day that the paint splattered the easel. For a year I made Uncle Mike ‘happy.’ I became his constant companion. He was good to me. He took me places my father never would. We went fishing and hunting. On several occasions he let me drive his car when we were on the back roads.

We went to Five Flags several times, and I delighted in playing arcade games with him. He’d always beat me, but I didn’t care. I was rewarded afterwards with a trip to get pizza. The best time I ever spent with Uncle Mike was the afternoon he rented an ATV. We spent an entire weekend traveling trails on a mountainside of a friend’s property.

My parents never questioned why I was spending so much time with Uncle Mike. I guess they were happy I wasn’t around the house so much. It was one less mouth they had to feed. Besides, I was constantly wearing new clothes and shoes. I was happy, and I never questioned the price I had to pay for Uncle Mike’s generosity.

He always treated me nice and never hurt me. Not once did he ever hit me like my father did. I always felt safe when I was curled up against his body when we were naked in bed at night. In the back of my mind I knew it was wrong, but I kept telling myself that I was still a good boy.

“I wish you were my son,” he said softly one night as he gently pulled me into him. I felt tears start to fall down my face. I wished he was my father, too.

Then it ended. It ended and my personal hell began.

About a year after that night in the living room, Uncle Mike had stayed at our house to watch me while Mom and Dad went out for the night. That usually meant that they would go to a bar and my father would drink until he picked a fight with someone and would be asked to leave. After being arrested twice for disorderly conduct, he was careful not to return to jail. So he’d usually stagger from the bar after getting in a final word, and then he’d pass out while my mother drove them home.

I had made Uncle Mike happy earlier in the evening, and we had fallen asleep naked on the couch. For some reason, my parents came home early and found us together. We were startled when we heard a gunshot. My father was standing in the middle of the room looking down angrily at us. He walked over and placed the gun in Uncle Mike’s mouth. I covered my eyes and screamed; afraid he was going to blow his brains out.

“You have exactly thirty seconds to get your faggot ass out of my house,” he hissed angrily. “If I ever see you again, I’ll finish what I goddamned want to do right now. Kin or no kin, I’ll fucking kill you.” His words sent chills down my spine.

Uncle Mike grabbed his clothes and ran naked out the front door. I never saw him again. Of course, I didn’t see too much for the next few weeks. My father almost killed me that night. I still wake up late at night with nightmares reliving the hits to my body he inflicted on me. Before it was over, I was begging him to shoot me with the gun he had lying nearby on the dresser.

My mother took care of me and mended my bruised and battered body, but I could tell that she felt disgusted by my presence. I really couldn’t understand what I’d done wrong. I knew that what Uncle Mike and I did wasn‘t right, but I didn’t think it warranted the beating I received.

The next year at school, I began to understand when boys started making crude jokes about fags and cocksuckers. At thirteen, I wasn’t sure if I was gay, but I realized that Uncle Mike was and that he had involved me in something perverse. Even now, I still don’t have any ill feelings towards him. He was the only person who had ever remotely cared for me.


Feeling sorry for me yet? Well don’t. I got over it and moved on; at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself. I now know that I’m gay, and that Uncle Mike had nothing to do with that. I’d have been gay even if that shit with him hadn’t happened. I knew at twelve I enjoyed it a little more than I should have. If it hadn’t been him, it probably would have been some other guy. At least he treated me good.

Man, look at that water. It is crystal blue as it laps against the shore. I could sit here all day and listen to it. The sun feels soothing on my naked body.

I need to eat more. I’m a little too scrawny for my 5’11” frame. I can feel my ribs when I run them over my side. Last time I weighed myself I was about 135 pounds. Most guys like my thin body. They say it makes me look boyish.

I have to play on that. If I’m going to be successful hustling, then I need to keep myself looking young. I’m too tall anymore to pass as a kid. I keep my pubes shaved to give me a younger look, but I’m not too sure how long that’s going to last. I’ve seen what happens on the street when guys lose their looks. If I’m not careful, I’ll be sucking cock for ten bucks.

Guys still tell me I’m cute, but I know they’re just saying that to convince themselves they are with a young guy. To them, all guys my age are cute. The zits have popped up on my face, probably from hanging around the dusty streets. I look around school and everyone has pimples, but that doesn’t help me out any. If they get any worse, my tricks may not want me anymore. Then how do I survive?

I’m not homeless. I do have a home, if you want to call it that. My old man won’t let me in the house, but he will let me sleep in the garage. I got me a corner there with a bed and a small dresser. My mother gets mad because she has to park her car outside so that I can sleep there. There’s a bathroom just inside the door, so they let me use it to shower and take care of my business.

Mom’s good about bringing me food. She doesn’t talk much to me when she brings me a plate of food, though. Most of the time I feel like a dog who has to stay outside. Fortunately for me, we live in the South, so the weather doesn‘t get too cold. If it did, I think my old man would let me die of hypothermia before he’d let me come back into the house to live. He’s already told me that when I turn eighteen I have to leave. Right now he’s afraid of going to jail if he puts me out.

Childrens’ Services was already here when I was thirteen. A teacher reported me when I went to school with bruises on my arms. I tried to lie, but all I did was end up bawling my eyes out. She reported my dad, but when they came by the house a few days later he told them I had fallen out of a tree. I knew if I told them the truth, he’d beat me as soon as they left the house. So instead, I told them what my father had said was true.

One good thing occurred because of that. He never hit me again that entire year. I guess he was afraid that my teacher, Mrs. Zachary, would report him again if she saw any more bruises on my body. It didn’t stop the verbal abuse, however.

I came to stay in the garage when I turned sixteen. That was my birthday present. I came home from school and found my room empty. When I asked where my stuff was, he led me to the garage and told me that it was now my new room. So I get to fall asleep smelling motor oil and the cat’s litter box.

It is really not so bad. It gives me the independence I need. I can come and go when I want. There is a side door to the garage, so my parents don’t know where I am most of the time. As if they’d really care to know. They lock the house at night, so I usually shave and shower before nine. After that, I just go outside and piss in the bushes.

I only see my old man once a day, when he leaves for work. He makes sure he wakes me up by revving the engine on the car and filling the garage with gas fumes before he pulls out. I’d let the air out of his tires, but he pretty much leaves me alone anymore. I don’t want to antagonize him. I guess he’s just waiting a few more months before I leave his house. If I had anywhere to go, I’d have already left.

Being here at the lake energizes me. It clears my head and helps me see things better. Problem is, most of the things I see sucks. What kind of a future do I have? At seventeen, my life is pretty much over. I’ve hit my peak and every thing is now downhill. Downhill. That’s a joke. When you’ve hit rock bottom, there is no down.

The sun is setting, so I better get up and get dressed. I’m meeting Ticker downtown. He supplies me with weed. People call him Ticker because he has a bad heart. When they diagnosed the problem when he was six, his old man joked about him having a bad ticker. A friend over heard it, and since then he’s been Ticker. His real name is Albert Wendelmeirer. With a name like that, I think I’d also prefer to be called Ticker.

He’s the closest thing I have to family. He doesn’t like me turning tricks to buy the weed I get from him. He’s always telling me he’d just let me have it, but I don’t want to be a charity case.

I volunteered once to suck his dick for the weed, but he told me no. He said I was too much like a brother to him and it would feel like we were committing incest. I told him I’d already done that so it wouldn’t bother me, but he didn’t find that funny. Ticker’s the only person who knows about Uncle Mike. We got drunk a couple of years ago and I told him everything. I know he feels sorry for me, but I don’t need his pity. I don’t need anyone’s pity.

Everyone gets weirded out when they first meet Ticker. He’s a big guy with a full head of red hair. I don’t think he’s cut it in years, and it’s probably been that long since he’s brushed it. He must weigh about 250 pounds, but he’s nothing but a little kitten inside. He tries to act intimidating, but it doesn’t come off very well. I once watched him break down in tears when a little kid in the neighborhood lost their dog. A week later, he went out and bought them a new puppy.

Because of his heart condition, he’s also prone to seizures. It scared the shit out of me when he first experienced one when we were in the fifth grade. I ran out of the classroom screaming like a banshee because I thought he was dying. Later his father took me aside and explained what had happened.

A few months later he had another one when we were walking through the mall. That time I watched him thrashing around on the ground, making sure he wouldn’t do anything to hurt himself. When he quieted down, I sat down and put his head in my lap and held him until he could get back up.

Yeah. Ticker’s the closet thing I have to family. He’s about the only thing stable in my life. I know he’ll be there when I really need someone. Same goes for me.


“Yeah, Boy, make Daddy feel good.”

Jesus, I wish he’d get it over with. This time it’s a guy I call Roger. At least that’s the name he gave me when I met him last year. He’s one of my regulars. He drives around looking for me, usually on a Wednesday or Thursday night.

Roger is in his fifties. He’s fat and bald. He wears a wedding ring, so I know he’s married. His wife probably stopped giving it to him years ago. That’s why he searches for me.

“Yeah, Baby. I’m almost there.”

I hate those little terms of endearment. They make it sound like I’m someone special to them. Hell, I wish they’d just call me whore or cocksucker. That’s really what I am. I’m not their Baby or Honey. One guy goes so far as to call me his Pumpkin. Pumpkin. What the hell kind of name is that? No wonder his wife quit having sex with him. Pumpkin. Damn.

I like Roger because he’s a great tipper. He knows I charge twenty bucks for a blow job, but he usually will double that if I make him feel really good. I need the money tonight, so I’m doing a really good job. I can tell he’s close because he has a habit of grabbing my head and pushing gently down on it when he’s getting ready to cum.

“Yeah, Baby. Here it comes.” 

I start to gag from the rancid odor. That’s the only problem with Roger. It doesn’t taste too good. But like I said, he’s a great tipper. Maybe he gives me extra money because he can’t get anyone else to do him like I do. I don’t know. I really don’t care. All I want is to get paid and get the hell out of the car.

“Same time next week, Baby?”

“Yeah, sure.”

He drops me off at Louie’s. He knows the routine. I’ve never had anyone drop me off at my house. My parents would shit if an old guy ever came back and knocked on the door asking for me. Or worse yet, if he ever got busted by the cops and ratted on me. Of course, it would give my old man another reason to beat the shit out of me again.

“Hey, Fucker!”

I turn and Ticker is walking up the sidewalk. I can tell by the expression on his face he isn’t happy with me. He knows Roger’s car, so he’s probably figured I just made some money. You’d think he’d be happy. Most of the money will go to him. But like I said, he doesn’t like me turning tricks.



“When you gonna stop doing that shit?”

“When you run out of cannabis.”

“Come on.” Ticker puts his large hands on my back and starts to lead me away.

“Hold on a minute.” I stop suddenly. “I gotta get some happy juice. Stay put.” I run to the side door and knock. Tina, Louie’s daughter, opens the door and I hand her a ten. A minute later she returns and hands me two bottles of cheap wine inside a paper bag.

“Got it.” I run up to Ticker. “Let’s go get high, My Man.”

This is my life. It’s what I do. What else have I got?


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