Chapter 6

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Purring was all that resonated in the room as the sky turned a light blue color and the stars slowly faded away. Half of Belle's body rested on Eddie and the other half rested on me, the purring half rested on me. The cat seemed happy; it was warm, it was safe and it was in loving company. That was all a cat really needed and for a while there I wished I was a cat too. Did cats feel grief? Could they feel grief in the first place? The purring sequence was interrupted by the cat being startled by the house of a metal door slamming shut. The cat went straight to hiding in between two metal crates under the mattress and I bashed my face against the old glass of the window, almost making the entire life resonate out of me, to see who was outside while Eddie checked the hallway for an unwanted guest. The little car Ritchie had stolen was parked outside, but I still didn't want to see anybody. Turns out that it was Byron who stopped by to give me a few of my things.

"It wasn't clear if you said that you and Eddie would be staying here the whole time," he said softly as he handed me my bags, "so I thought I'd stop by and bring you your stuff just in case you won't be returning to the loft."

"Thanks buddy." I whispered back as I put the bags on the makeshift bed and pulled the cat from underneath it.

"Two days can be a heck of a long time without anything of your own."

"Thanks Byron, I really appreciate you thinking of me and looking out for me."

"Always Drifter. We're a family. Just so you know the boys just got back about an hour or so ago with some decent cash and other stuff, we'd just need somebody not too suspicious to go pawn it off."

"I'll do it."

"You don't need to do it now, I know you and Eddie want some quality time alone."

"Don't worry man, I'll do it, but that's all I'm doing."

"Okay, I'll be back with the goods in about an hour."

Eddie and I said goodbye to Byron before going down to the streets below to fetch some food from McDonald's with the rest of the coins I had stashed at the bottom of my duffel bag containing my clothes and the few possessions that I had been able to keep. The streets were quiet but we made it quick. In the bathroom at the restaurant I took a sponge bath because it had been a few days and I was starting to smell like Ricardo. If the smell wasn't disgusting enough, the feeling was even worst. Back in Eddie's shack I swapped my clothes for some cleaner ones as well as dark colors because the prison pants would be too easy to spot if I ever decided to drift onto a wayward path and land myself in some trouble. It was bad enough the way it was without one of the few people in the brotherhood that didn't look "suspicious" for doing something illicit. I was going to do what I had to do.

I put on an enormous black hoodie from Pennington's and some baggy black jeans making me look like a real homeless person and not just some rebellious kid wishing they could live on the streets instead of in a cheap house with their families. If there was one thing I would have told them kids, I would've told them to stick their heads out of their asses and start appreciating what they were given, because all that I ever had had been taking away from me. I covered my unruly hair with a purple slouch beanie, the last thing that my mother had made for me before whosoever that controls all the stuff in life decided to take her away from me too. And then I thought of Byron, his family was still out there, but he couldn't be with them, and that was probably even more unbearable than knowing that all the people who ever loved you had long since left the world I lived in.

When Byron finally brought back some stolen valuables he had put all that he could fit into an old potato bag that I had picked up out of the garbage. I chuckled under my breath because if you walked into a pawn shop carrying some gold and silver in a potato bag the first thing the clerk was going to do is call the police. I shoved as much jewelry and other small items as I could in my hoodie pockets and gave the rest to Eddie so he could try to sell some on the streets or elsewhere. Byron gave us a ride to the downtown core where Eddie and I split up as he returned to Cap'n Crunch's loft. I had my cat under my arm as I walked down the streets of Yonkers to some pawn shops that, hopefully, would pay good money for some stolen junk.

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