Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1740367-Framacees-Chance
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Romance/Love · #1740367
A very odd telling of a short event based off of a dream I had.
Carly Chance visited the restaurant Framacee’s every week. It was a nice classy place out front and inside, but in the back it was busy with an arena filled with strange people, music and games; she loved it all. Tonight was a big night, the last Friday of summer, of course they had nights like this for ever day of the week the week before school started up again, but Friday and Saturday were everyone’s party nights so they were bigger than the other days.

Tonight Carly was sitting with her friends at a nice table by the French windows on the west side. They had a long, oak table and were all finishing up their meals as the sun set, most were watching Carly. She being the hostess of this small get-together and having been so well known at the restaurant the cook had come out to speak to her; most cooks didn’t come out to talk to sixteen year old girls all very often.

Carly was daydreaming about the night and how many people would be there, her mind wandered away from her fairly often, so she didn’t hear Tanner say her name until he tugged on her long hair.

“Huh?” she asked, dazed.

“I was wondering if you wanted any desserts,” he said in his smooth voice, motioning to the waiter watching patiently.

Carly smiled at him. “A bottle of the usual wine, please,” she said to him pleasantly.

“So what do you have planned for tonight?” Tanner asked when the waiter was gone.

She shrugged. “Dancing, drinking, the usual; Gates told me that there was something extra tonight that I’d enjoy, so we’ll see what that is.”

Tanner nodded, unimpressed as the others would have been. He hadn’t been there when the cook, Gates, had come out to say hello to her, but he was a regular as well and had stopped by the kitchen to give his greetings; having not wanted to inconvenience the busy man, he said. Tanner was also cool all of the time, he never got worked up or angry or surprised, and the small smiles and subdued expressions fit his dark blue eyes and eye-length dark, brown hair.

“You have any special plans?” she asked him.

Tanner shrugged and stood to get the bottle of wine from the waiter who had returned. He popped the seal and everyone turned to watch as he poured the first glass for Carly. They toasted to the summer and Carly sipped her wine, her mind wandering off again. She solemnly watched as the sun set, the wine slipping smoothly down her throat, as Tanner took her hand and did the same. Some admired her for her money or for her looks or for her cool temper, but most admired her for her closeness to Tanner and the ability to deal with that closeness so neatly.

When the sun was completely gone and everyone’s meals eaten, they paid their bills and made their way to the back, following Tanner and Carly. Outside there was the usual set up of a bar, dance floor, stage, bleachers, and pool, but there was also a giant TV, extra lights, two gazebos and a few blow up obstacle courses. Carly grinned, she was very excited and planned to live the night up. 

At one thirty in the morning five air horns were blown and the music turned down, capturing all of the kids’ attention.

“We have someone very big, much known and much loved about to come up on screen, but I need an applause as big as him,” shouted the MC, Jared, “Introducing Bubba!”

The screen showed a large, cartoon-looking man that was incredibly overweight. People cheered and he did nothing, not even blink, maybe it was absence of movement other than the rise and fall of his chest but he didn’t seem very happy. Carly cheered along with them, Bubba was a famous part of the Strange Show and she loved the oddness of it all. As she watched the camera scrolled around, but Bubba took up the entire screen.

“Who’s that?” Ginger asked Carly.

“Bubba, the strangest looking and fattest man in the world, that they known of at least. He doesn’t make regular appearances, because it’s so hard to move him, so sometimes they just make a recording. This is the best yet,” she answered.

“That’s weird,” said Ginger.

Carly nodded, all of it was abnormal, that was the point of it, but what came next was too abnormal and weird for even Framacee’s. The camera scrolled down but instead of stopping at the floor of Bubba’s feet it continued through the floor that became the ceiling and continued down to the long, black, dirty hair of a boy who was locked up in handcuffs and other contraptions that securely held him there. His face was down and part of it covered but he seemed young, too young to be in such a situation.

“Carly!” Ginger said.

“What? What did I miss?”

“He’s calling your name! Go down there, go!” Ginger was grinning ear to ear, excited for her friend.

Carly, just as surprised, stood and looked to the stage, the TV no longer showed the boy but her, staring off blankly. “Did you see that? On the screen earlier?” she asked Ginger hastily.

“Bubba? Duh, how could you miss it? Go, hurry!” she shouted back over the cheering of the crowd.

Carly started down the bleachers carefully, a bit drunk and confused but steadily growing more excited. By the time she reached the bottom of the steps she was running and laughing, Jared smiling widely at her.  Once at the stage a large guard escorted her to her place beside Jared, up the steps and across the stage, everyone cheering her name so loudly she thought that it must be a dream.

“Carly, I’ve been told that you have been here at least once a week all summer, that true?” Jared asked her excitedly, feigning disbelief.

Carly laughed and nodded.

“Well we thought that you come to see the show so much that we oughta put you in it, what do you think?”

Carly laughed again. “I think that’d be pretty awesome, but am I weird enough?” she said into the mic.

“That’s what I thought, but since you’re not as strange as most of the people that come on this stage, we thought we’d give you a job that fits. You have to find out the biggest question of Bubba,” the crowd grew quieter , “is Bubba a boy, or a girl?”

The TV now showed Bubba again, as fat and cartoon-like as always, but now that she thought of it, Carly wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman, she had always just assumed.

“How do I do that, exactly?” she asked him.

“You will be allowed access backstage; you must go back there, find Bubba and discover his true identity. It’s a hard task, but we believe that our most faithful visitor will be able to accomplish it, what do you say, Carly? Is it weird enough?”

Carly thought of the boy she saw on the TV, and decided that he must be near Bubba, of somewhere down below at the very least, and she made her decision. “I’m up for it, Jared, just tell me where to start,” she said with a grin, eliciting loud cheering from the crowd.

She scanned it and found Tanner at the bar, smiling at her unsurprised. Somehow she thought he knew and blew him a kiss which he caught in one hand. The two weren’t a couple, but they were cute together and people liked to see the romance between them and, being part of a higher society, they went along with it easily. Their parents’ even planned their marriage as her friends picked out her dresses at the store for their “dates” on what he would like best and Carly went along with all of it, he being her best friend and her agreeing that they were the best possible match.

The hulking man who escorted her onto the stage escorted her off and down a makeshift hallway beside it. There a pass was put around her neck and she waved goodbye to the camera as she entered a large, industrial area through a heavy metal door.

Dimitri’s blood boiled at the sound of the cheering and chanting that came from the ceiling above him, quiet and far away but perfectly audible. He felt a sort of tingle start at the top of his head and move down him slowly, and he decided it was time he got out of the hellhole he was put into years ago and began to work the tight metal cuffs around his wrists that were chained to the cement wall behind him but it was difficult to move his arms which were bound to him with black leather. He struggled against his restraints, his neck and legs aching at movement, having been still for so long.

A black, rusty bar came from the wall behind his head and pushed his neck down and holding it there with a thick half cuff like those on his wrists; the same was for his thighs and shins just below his knees, but these were tighter and helped support him, albeit painfully, and his ankles were cuffed and bolted, not chained, tightly to the wall. His tangled, black hair fell limp around his face and was blown aside lightly like a curtain with his gasps of effort but he could not see it for a black mask contoured to fit his face covered his eyes, tied in the back tightly with a ribbon.

After a moment of rest he decided to be glad of the extra large crowd above for it deafened the guards that wandered the halls from his quiet battle with the chains and bars. Another moment of struggle passed and he took a break, but instead of the crowds’ sounds capturing his hearing footsteps did and in a moment of desperation a hand slipped free painfully from his cuff and he hastily removed his others and tore his arms free from their binding and proceeded to free his feet, unable to undo the tiny knot in the ribbon of his mask.

The footsteps were running now and he was unable to free himself without seeing how the bounds were held so instead he stood again upright, just as the footsteps stopped not feet from him and there was a barely audible gasp. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, the footsteps approached him and he held his arms up, ready to defend himself from the onslaught he was sure he’d suffer. Instead of yelling or hurting him, however, hands touched the side of his head where the ribbon was attached to the mask and he flinched away.

“Sh…” someone hushed softly and the hands returned, following the ribbon along his head to the knot.

Suddenly the mask fell from his face and the chill of air stung his sweaty skin. His eyes snapped open and in the dim light he saw a soft face framed by soft brown with soft lips and green eyes. He didn’t think about anything, he simply acted as any animal in his situation would. After all, that was what he had been reduced to, a trapped animal intent on escape and survival, and nothing else.

He pushed the face and the body attached away, more gently than he meant to, and pounced on the binding on his ankle. A moment later small hands appeared by his and he froze, the binding fell from his left foot and he saw that one of the hands held something thin and metal. He stared at the hand curiously, wondering why it was helping him and what it was using, it didn’t look like any key he’d seen before.

“A bobby pin,” a soft, melodic voice (he guessed it melodic, it was to him having not heard a voice so quiet and smooth and…natural in so long) said quietly.

He looked up to see the face watching him carefully. As he watched she undid his other ankle and backed away, and he felt remorse, knowing he’d frightened her. Slowly, so as not to alarm her, he stood and faced her, taking in the small girl before him.

She wore a fancy skirt that reached just above her small knees and a green, lacey blouse with a jacket draped over her shoulders, her hair stretched barely passed her shoulders and sweat gleamed on her forehead, causing the hair there to stick. He realized it was summer and she had come from outside, but the thoughts only raised more questions he could not answer.

“Thank you,” he whispered in a deep voice, coarse from disuse.

The soft, red lips grinned at him. “Of course, are you OK?” she asked. Apparently unafraid like he had assumed, she approached him and searched his face and arms. “How did you get here? Why were you like that?”

He was unbelievably bewildered. This girl was totally innocent, definitely from the crowd above and in farther over her head than she would ever guess.

“How did you find me?” he asked, glancing around and listening to see if anyone had heard and was coming to find him free and a girl there with him.

“I saw you. On the TV, I saw you chained and bound and…I had to find you, why are you here, why were you chained up?” she stared up at him sincerely, but as she looked him over in his black leather pants, ripped shirt, lank hair and bruised and bleeding arms, she seemed to question her resolve to help him, a potential danger to her.

“What do you mean you saw me on TV?” he asked, alarmed.

“The jumbo TV, behind the stage, you weren’t on TV everywhere, just there, but…but no one else seemed to see you. I guess they weren’t paying attention. I answered your questions, answer mine.”

“It’s a long story, but I won’t hurt you, I swear. I think I love you for saving me, but now you have to get out of here, people of the crowd aren’t supposed to be below.” He continued to look around, assessing which way would be the best to go.

“Oh! It’s OK, I have a pass!”

“A what?”

She held out a laminated pass that hung at the end of a colorful lanyard that proclaimed that she was completely certified to be down below. He was sad and wondered what they planned to do with her.

“We still have to get you out of here, you don’t understand. I wasn’t restrained because I was dangerous, I’m the victim and you could be one, too. You have to get back to your friends up above.”

She was silent, her eyes wide with fear and confusion. Then she blinked, and her eyes were once again full with resolve. “We’ll go the way I came in. There wasn’t really anyone in that area, and I’m positive I can remember it. Here,” she held up a rubber band, “can’t have you tripping because you can’t see with all that hair in your face.”

She smiled at him warmly and he took the rubber band, she walked away as if confident in knowing that he would follow. Hair together at the nape of his neck, he did.

Carly wasn’t sure what was going on, but she didn’t think about it. All she knew was that there was a boy, a handsome boy, chained and bound to a cement wall in the middle of all of the commotion that was Framacee’s and he wasn’t there as an oddity for a show, he wasn’t there for accident and he wasn’t there on his own behalf.

She turned a corner and a hand closed around her wrist, pulling her back around the corner and through a doorway where the light was slightly dimmer. The boy pushed her back and peered around the corner, quickly retreating.

“There’s someone out there,” he whispered, “I’m not sure who but he’s not a guard. We-”

She cut around him and poked her head around the corner. It was Gefardi and Gerardo, they were brothers in the act, a regular and one of the most spectacular; Gerardo was relatively normal besides his piercings and hair but Gefardi had a growing disorder or something and was stuck at the size of a small one year old, despite being twenty-seven. Gefardi was on Gerardo’s shoulders and when Gerardo turned to go down another hallway Gefardi turned and saw her as she retreated back into the room and alerted Gerardo.

Carly backed up quickly, wondering what to do, and ran into the boy who grabbed her arms and pulled her back into the room. She turned around, starting to panic, and saw short filing cabinets and nothing else. Without any hesitation she swung her jacket around him, tying it around his neck, and grabbed his hand, pulling him back toward the cabinets.

She waited until her back hit them. She put his hand on the small of her back and her hand on the back of his head; she pulled him to her and kissed him. She felt his surprise in the way he stiffened and began to pull away, but then she felt his comprehension as he pulled her to him. The kiss was awkward, they simply sat there for a moment, both of them listening, but when they heard the footsteps approach the door he kissed her, really kissed her.

“Oh…uh…” a blank voice said. There was a quiet chuckle that sounded like a child’s. “I see I’ve interrupted something, but you kids can’t be back here. Hey-”

“Give ‘em a minute, Gerardo,” the child’s voice said quietly, “you remember what it was like to be a kid, and I know it better than anyone else-” another chuckle “-curiosity and what not. They were lookin for someplace to be alone.”

As if to emphasize Gefardi’s words the boy moved his hand from her back to her stomach and increased his ferocity in kissing Carly. She felt a guilty twist in her gut for Tanner mixed with a flip of her gut that was pure excitement and her mind fogged. The footsteps retreated and he breathed a sigh of relief onto her cheek, making her shiver.

“Never though my first kiss would be to a Framacee’s oddity that was chained up in a basement,” Carly said with a shaky voice.

He laughed quietly. “Never thought I would be free,” he said with awe, his voice shaky also.

After waiting a moment, whether to collect themselves or until Gefardi and Gerardo were gone Carly was unsure, they made the rest of the way out of the basement/backstage and edged toward the back of the crowds. At some point she had taken his hand because when she stopped to glance back where her friends stood and laughed he pulled at her.

“Wait,” she said, her voice seeming too loud in the dark night, “I…my friends are back there and….”

He nodded solemnly and squeezed her hand. “Thank you,” he said fervently, his voice deep and smooth like butter, no, more like chocolate, and rising above a whisper for the first time.

He kissed her on the cheek and turned to walk away but she didn’t let go of his hand.

“Wait, what’s your name?”

“Dimitri. Yours?”

“Carly. I’m Carly Chance.”

“Guess you’re my lucky chance, then Carly,” he smiled regretfully, “I’ll never forget you, don’t worry about that.”

She watched him as he back up, pulling the rubber band from his hair and offering it to her. She shook her head and told him to keep it, a memento to remember her, she said with humor. He smiled at her and put it around his wrist, flicking the black hair from his face.

With some effort, she turned back to the crowd and jogged away from him, a pain in her chest that she hadn’t anticipated. When she reached Tanner he took her hand and pulled her close.

“Did you find a girl or a boy?” he asked in her ear. His voice seemed rough after hearing Dimitri’s.

“What? What do you mean?” she asked, panicked. Did they know about Dimitri? How did they find out? Was he in danger?

“Bubba, a boy or a girl?”

“Oh. I finally found out he’s a boy,” she said, going with her initial instinct and talking about Dimitri at the same time.

Tanner smiled and crinkled his nose. “I don’t know if I should envy you or pity you for knowing that.”

Carly smiled a little and turned to the bar tender. “A little of both.”

Dimitri sat against a rock down the road of Framacee’s. He wondered what to do; he hadn’t ever thought of what to do once he was free, had he only ever focused on getting free first. It wasn’t always like that, however. He used to be like a son to Framacee, a little helper running about the down below and the crowds up above. He had even gone onstage with Jared before.

It started out with him living at home with his mother and father. But one day when he was six people came and told him that his father was dead, they’d killed him, and then they killed his mother and burned his home, leaving him on the street with a plate of waffles. It was their name, the Waffle Brothers, and he never found out why they had killed his family. At first he wandered the streets, doing his best to survive as only a six year old can.

Framacee found him then, he was traveling around, looking for people and ideas for his act. He brought him back here and Dimitri worked for food, but he became like a son of Framacee’s, earning a place in his heart and life, or so Dimitri thought.

Dimitri made it his goal to get stronger and find his family’s killers, but one day he picked up the paper and the headline told him that the Waffle Brothers, mass murderers and gangsters, had committed suicide after being tracked down by the police. His life purpose gone, Dimitri threw fit and locked himself away in his room, ignoring the pleas from Framacee and the others. He didn’t eat, he didn’t open the windows, and he didn’t talk to anyone; to him his was as if his family had died all over again. When he slept he woke up to coughing fits, having been dreaming about his home on fire and being surrounded by burnt waffles.

Eventually he walked out of his room and right into Framacee’s arms filled with false love. Two months later, Dimitri returning to his happy child’s attitude, Framacee pulled him aside and told him that he wanted to put him into the show. Dimitri was ecstatic, he had been watching the excitement for five years and, having lost his self-proclaimed life purpose, he had wanted to run the business when he was older and be a bigger part of it. He had even hoped that Framacee would adopt him. But when Framacee explained what would happen to him to have to be a part of it, Dimitri was horrified, heartbroken and scared.

Framacee wanted to take him to a plastic surgeon and change him completely. He had been dreaming of it since he met Dimitri, he said. The personality, the energy, the potential, he planned to turn Dimitri into a living cartoon. There was a possibility of being stuck at age eleven in size, but Framacee was willing to make the sacrifice. For it was a sacrifice, he said, to change his own son so dramatically, but it was business and a man had to do what a man had to do.

Dimitri ran away. He ran and hid and did his best, but Framacee found him and brought him back. He told Dimitri that he was very disappointed and heartbroken that he’d do such a thing and grounded him for three weeks, just like a father should, but Dimitri didn’t buy it. For the next year they fought each other, gradually growing apart. Framacee told him how he hurt him with his words and that Dimitri was becoming a heartless fool, but it hurt Dimitri more deeply than any of them would know to want to be dismantled and disfigured by your own father, or even father-figure, and having to continuously fight everyone you thought to be your family. Eventually Framacee locked Dimitri in the down below, but it was when Dimitri escaped that he began to tie him up.

Dimitri was strong, and he was a fighter full of purpose and resolve and from the first knot tied around his wrists, from the first lock that held him down, Framacee gave him a new one. To escape, to live, and to have a life far away and far different from Framacee’s.

Framacee visited him every week to talk to him, to tell him what weighed on his heart and what was happening with the business. He even came down to tell Dimitri when it was a holiday or his birthday and to “celebrate” it with him. He asked if he would comply yet, and he would tell him about new additions to the family, and one day he came down, said he was sorry, and set him free in the house. Dimitri thought things would go back to normal, and they did for a time.

Two weeks later a man came by, met Dimitri and asked him some questions. Papers were signed and Dimitri became suspicious, but then Framacee took him into his arms and wept, telling Dimitri how he loved him so. Dimitri had just been adopted be Framacee. The next day the man was gone and Framacee told him they were going to see the doctor later in the afternoon, Framacee’s dream for Dimitri was going to be realized. He fought, he fought hard and long and was put back into the down below, tied and locked up once again.

To spite the man Dimitri cried out all night, knowing Framacee would hear: “Why Daddy, why? Please no, Daddy, please let me out! Daddy, please!”

Framacee didn’t let him out again after that, but he still visited and spoke to him. It was as if he was speaking to himself, or maybe no one at all, a way to get things out and let go for a little while.

As time went by Dimitri fought on, and as time went by the ropes became chains, the chains became thick bars and binds, and the darkness he was left in became a mask. He didn’t knew what he was anymore, he only knew he had the instincts of an animal and just enough intelligence to figure only that much out. His mask represented the life he once had, the life he pretended to still keep with a hard, dark shell, but behind it was the soft, pink skin that sweats and cries and knew only hard, angry faces.

It was about a year ago, for he counted time only in years by his birthdays, that he began speaking of a girl he’d seen regularly attending the festivities of the up above, a girl with a spark of vitality that was so defined and purely characteristic of her, he could only compare her to one other; Dimitri. He said she was a small, happy, well-off looking girl that was beautiful in many ways and he name was Clary Chance. He said that Dimitri would like her, and that he had plans for her. Once she was here, Dimitri could be free. He only had to agree to bring the girl to Framacee’s down below to have his life back, a life he no longer truly remembered. Dimitri fought and roared out of pure anger and hatred, that was when he decided that he hated his father Framacee, and his new life goal was not only to get out, but to protect her.

Tonight, just minutes ago, he came face to face with the girl Framacee had described, and Framacee had been right in more ways than one, in this case. He did like Clary, very much, and she looked just as he described, as if she was born into a rich, old-style home and was raised just right, and she had a vitality to her that was precious and contagious, something he felt compelled to protect whether by Framacee’s words or by his own accord.

All at once, Dimitri had wanted to smile and laugh, as he did sitting there on the curb, but he couldn’t remember how. So instead he cried, he cried with happiness and sorrow, for finding Carly and for losing her, for escaping Framacee’s and finally losing everything he had all over again, but mostly he cried simply to feel the tears move down his cheeks, to be free of the mask and the chains and the binding. Freedom was something he had taken granted for even at the age of eight. Freedom was something he would fight for until his death and even then he would be free in the absence of existence. Freedom was something so sweet, so majestic that he wanted to taste it over and over again, it was something he would never tire of, and it was something he wanted to preserve for Carly.

If only he knew how.

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