They call me Sing. It's not the name Mama christened me with, because that boy no longer exists. I began losing myself in high school, unmindful of my downward spiral until the person I once was faded away.
I'm only eighteen but feel a lot older and tired on account of the lives I've taken. Mostly poor souls whose only mistake had been getting tangled up in the affairs of powerful people who fancied themselves as gods sitting in judgment over men.
I take full responsibility for my actions. I sat in judgment, too. But I'm also compelled to expose those who made me into what I am. I owe it to the dead, all of us exploited, all of us victims.
Here's how it went down.
* * *
Mama bought us our first TV when I was sixteen. Wasn't no modern 3D flat screen like all of the other families in our tenement had, just a cast-off from a second-hand store. I could barely reach around the thing to carry it up the stairs for Mama on the day she bought it. Mama plugged it in, pointed the remote at the screen, and pressed the button. You should've seen her wide smile when the screen lit up. A bright, clear picture, maybe more bluish than it should've been. That TV was the only thing of value Mama ever owned free and clear.
She sat on our soiled velour sofa with my little brother, Jacko, snuggled up against her stub arm. The doctors had to amputate her left arm at the elbow a couple years before I was born because of an infection. Using her good arm, Mama patted the cushion on the other side of her. The dust floated up and glistened in the sunbeams when Mama patted that cushion.
"Come sit with us and watch the TV. You're always running off from me and Jacko."
I joined Mama on the sofa but had to squeeze right up next to her so as to avoid the big hole in the fabric at the edge of the cushion.
She clicked through the channels pausing a while at each one, looking for something interesting to watch. After flipping past a doctor show I said, "Go back to that one. What are those people doing?"
She pressed the back button on the remote. The doctors on the show raced around helping people. They had pretty girlfriends, and everyone seemed to like them.
"I want to be a doctor."
Mama looked at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why, because doctors have lots of money? That doesn't mean they're any better than we are."
Her insight was lost on my sixteen-year-old brain. Mama didn't get it. I didn't know if doctors were rich, but they seemed happy with their lives. So many people wanted to be around them. If Mama and Jacko and me died that night, nobody would notice. We didn't matter to anyone, but the doctors on that TV show? They mattered.
"How do I get to be a doctor?"
Mama laid her hand on my shoulder. "Won't be easy, son, but you could do it. You can be anything you want to be. Just study hard and keep out of trouble. Graduate from school and you'll find a job, earn a decent, honest living."
YOU ARE READING
The Story of SingTeen Fiction
[2018 Wattys Short List] - Sixteen-year-old Sing strives to do well in school so that he can find a decent job and provide a better life for his crippled mother and younger brother, Jacko. That goal becomes derailed when Sing is falsely accused of a...