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In our ignorance, we thought our only option was to fight. We thought that if we killed him, we would protect ourselves, our way of life. However, it was through this violence that we brought great misery upon ourselves. No one knew that self-preservation would bring such horror to us. Millions died. Millions more were never found.
We did not understand. Our God was not a vengeful God; he just didn’t want to be fucked with.
Chapter 1: Good Morning Mr. Rittenhouse
A slow stream of consciousness began to waft through Sam's brain like the smell of bacon that fills the air right before someone eats it all. The ever so vivid dreams that can never be remembered rapidly began to erase themselves as his eyebrows raised just enough to barely crack open his eyelids. It was the start of what promised to be yet another dull as hell in a day in the life of Sam Rittenhouse.
He could pretty much map out the day before it began. He would take the next twenty minutes to wrangle himself out of bed, which was not a bed. It was a couch. Sam could neither afford a bed nor did he have a place for a bed in his ultra-tiny apartment. The one-room studio apartment was the ultimate in downtown living. Super cramped and small, very expensive, and located in an overpriced part of town full of a bunch of well-to-do, cooler-than-you, bike-riding, beard-growing douchebags, or hipsters, as they refused to refer to themselves.
This apartment was little more than a room and a closet. It did not even have a kitchen. There were only two plugs. One powered the microwave, which sat on top of an empty mini fridge. The other plug was across the room and remained empty. It was located in the vacant space where Sam imagined there would be a large flat screen TV. The reality of it was that he might never be able to get a flat screen TV or any TV for that matter seeing as he could barely afford rent, or food, or basic hygiene products.
Once he managed to get himself up off the slobber stained, crumb stashing couch, he would wobble his way into the closet. For some reason, his closet had a sink, shower, and toilet crammed into it. This “closet” listed as a bathroom in the apartment description. They called it, “a spacious bathroom with all the amenities…” but every morning Sam would call bullshit on that. In a still sleepy stupor, he would fumble for a highly overused toothbrush that was broken and duct taped back together like a pair of glasses on some poor egghead’s face. The toothbrush would go under the water and into his mouth straight away without any toothpaste.
Sam hated toothpaste and believed it was a conspiracy derived by the government to get people to spend more money on things they didn’t need to drive them into poverty; thus making it easier to exert control over the populace. At least, that is what he told himself to feel better about being too poor to afford the simple things that most other Americans took for granted.
Raking the flavorless, worn brush across his teeth, Sam began to contemplate the rest of his day. There were some different options to consider. He knew it was close to noon, and that gave him about 5 hours before his shift started at the restaurant. Five hours of chill before eight hours of Hell. Ideally, he would start the day off by firing up a fresh bowl of super sticky weed before commencing with the day’s events, but recreations such as marijuana were also for those with “a silver spoon in their mouths.” Instead, he would run some water over his hands and slide his fingers through his short-cut, dark brown hair in an attempt to make the severe case of bead head appear somewhat purposeful.
As he made the initial spit of plaque-filled saliva into the sink, he felt the slight twinge of pain that would come like clockwork from a cavity in the far back left molar. Flexing his neck muscles in coordination with squinting his eyes and scrunching his brow, Sam let out a gut-wrenching groan. This was the only way he could deal with this annoyance that persisted in killing him for almost a year. He reached back to the sink and grabbed a nearly empty container of Orajel from the spot opposite of where his toothbrush resided. With the precision of a well-oiled machine, he squeezed out the perfect pea-sized portion, as recommended by the manufacturer. He then slammed it into his aching tooth while reciting a quiet internal prayer for the pain to stop.
This sudden onslaught of pain would dictate his actions for the rest of the day before his shift started. Originally, he planned to go and train a little parkour with his longtime friend, Frank. He was itching to get another crack at a gap they were eyeing for quite a while. He bailed the previous three times after making exactly twenty-three run-ups, followed by twenty-three screams of frustration. He just didn’t have the balls to follow through on the jump from one roof to the other. These screams are what his friend Frank referred to as “the mating call of the North American Bitch.”
Instead, he would need to have a bit of a relaxed day. He needed a day that would keep his blood pressure and heart rate low. The last thing he wanted to do today was to piss off his tooth and spend the rest of the day with his hand cupped firmly against his cheek. Instead of spending a sweaty day of frustration on some rock-covered rooftop, he would spend the day with the love of his life, Julia.
Julia was a stunning young woman. She was five foot four inches tall with beautiful locks of flowing black hair. The kind of hair that fell perfectly on her shoulders every day. It was always perfectly styled as though she spent all day with her stylist. Every strand was always in the exact right location, even the ones that fell in front of her beautiful face. They were perfect because it would force here to push it back behind her ear as she looked up at him with those gorgeous brown eyes. They too were also perfect. In fact, Sam could spend an entire day just talking about how perfect everything about her was. He even wrote down and memorized a list of all the things on her that he deemed as “perfect.”
The list was up to two hundred forty-three different things. Many of them were subtle expressions or repetitious actions and habits that any human may have; but to Sam, they were noteworthy and deserved to be not only written down—but also committed to memory. He planned to recite all of them to her once he completed that list. However, that may never happen because Sam possessed neither the balls nor the sack that it took to tell Julia that he loved her. In fact, he had not even told her that he liked her in that fashion. He attempted it once while they were in a 3-hour long gaming session. He remembered it so clearly. There she was in sweatpants and a T-shirt, hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was getting his ass handed to him because he could not focus on the game as he was waiting for the right moment. As the words were gearing up in the back of his throat preparing to make their bold and dramatic exit from his lips he received the most crushing blow to the confidence that any potential suitor could ever endure.
He was friend zoned.
Despite popular belief, being friend zoned does not automatically put out the flame of passion in a young man’s heart. It only forces him to find clever ways to hide it. As time passes, he would need to make a choice, either hold the flame or extinguish it and move on. He decided that neither of these could be considered suitable answers. Instead, he decided to pour gasoline on the fire and refuse to call the fire department. Sam was headstrong with passion. He had never truly been in love before, and he thought that if he was patient and waited for just the right time, he could convince her that he was just the right person for her. She just needed to see that side of him.
Truth be told, Julia always thought he was attractive. She found him funny and witty. He possessed three out of the four credentials that someone needed to capture her romantic interest. Sam knew this. On the front side of his brain, he could not for the life of him figure out why he was friend zoned before he could even get the words out of his mouth. It was a riddle that he needed to solve. How to possess those three amazing traits that she loved so much and leveraged them in his favor for access to her heart. Nevertheless, on the back side of his brain, he knew that a guy needed all four traits before she would allow someone to get close to her in that special way. Moreover, that fourth trait eluded him. It was there in him just as it is in every human being. For some, it is buried just below the surface, for others, it can be buried quite deeply. For Sam, his courage might as well have been buried under the city in a concrete room inside of a stone box.
The benzocaine-laced anesthetic was finally starting to do its job. Sam could feel the pain backing off, and the rhythmic pulse that was pounding in his tooth began to subside. He needed a smoke, and if he was going to catch up to Julia before she started her day, he needed to hustle. He grabbed the same pair of clothes that he was wearing the day before and his backpack and bolted out the door. As he quickly bounced down the stairs, he caught a slight whiff of his armpit. Though he was sure it was him, he felt an overpowering urge to double sniff just for verification. Yep. It was him. This odor was not the kind of smell that would disturb others. This was the kind of smell he would spend the rest of the day wondering if Julia could smell.
“It might just be best to take care of that,” he said to himself.
He reached into his bag and pulled out one of the few hygiene products that he owned. The two-year-old stick of Old Spice deodorant lived in his bag for quite some time. The label was marked, worn and tattered but the gel inside still did its job. With a little thought, he stuck the stick under his shirt and into his armpits.
After making himself smell like a 15-year-old boy, he quickly lit the cigarette that was hanging out of his mouth, slung his pack over his shoulder and began his journey through the city. Julia’s apartment was only about 12 blocks away. It was a short walk and for a good cause. Not everybody gets to see angels.