Three homeless people of different age and class, and the friendship that they have made
|The Vagabond Club|
By Joseph Daniel A. Laviña
Under the bridge there was a small fire, Raymund saw a fire, something that he desperately need in this chilly night. He approached the fire and stumbled upon two people that are just like him, homeless. The Man in orange pants looked at him, stared at him long ‘til Raymund was near enough. “May I?” Raymund asked, “Go on ahead Gramps” the man said, the man’s companion is a young woman that paid no attention to him, she looks like a European teenager and seemed to came from a rich family based on the clothes that she was wearing, Raymund deduced that this young lady is a runaway, “you got food old man?” the man in orange added. “No, I’m sorry, and thanks for letting me stay”, “Is all good, winter in the urban is just bad.” Raymund nodded in approval, He looked at the black man that is wearing a dirty orange pants, he is tall and yet quite thin, his body is filled with tattoos and his hair is a buzz haircut with 3 stripes shaved in the left side of his head, “looks like he fits in this environment” Raymund thought to himself. The man finally broke the silence, “My name’s Pete and that’s Ilyana, so what brings you here old timer?”, “I’m Raymund. Okay now where do we start… oh yeah, I am here because I’m hopeless, the family hates me because I’ve just hit rock bottom, lost my money and my car because of gambling, then I lost my job. Heh. Best week ever. Say, Pete your orange pants is very interesting, why were you in prison and how did you got out?” Raymund Replied. Pete was startled, even Ilyana was surprised, Pete backed away and grab the rock that was near him and said “Ho… How’d you know?! You freaking cop! Are you here to take me in?! I swear stay away or I will end you!”. “Hey, hey, relax, I’m not here to take you in, we’re on the same sides here, only difference is you are a criminal and I’m not. I was a detective, and damn good on being one, until one day the commissioner comes to me telling me that I’ve been working too much, and I was getting old. He said that it was also about time that I hang my coat and surrender my badge. To what? Replace me with some young detective with no experience? My job was the only thing that I have left, and they took it away from me.” Raymund paused and took a deep breath, “Anyways, I’m not trying to be racist or anything but you do like a convict. Word of advice; just lose the orange pants will you?” Pete’s anger seemed to subside, “Aight talkative old man, I believe you but only for seventy percent, you gonna earn mine trust. And to be sure, I’m still gonna sleep with one eye open.”, “Pardon my talkativeness, I haven’t talked to someone in weeks.” Raymund replied. It was very late so the group decided to rest, Ilyana was the first to sleep, didn’t even speak the whole night, next was Pete, but before he slept he said to Raymund “I’ll be watching you” making gestures and all. Raymund slept last, he sat for a long while thinking about his kids.
The crime scene is crowded, he noticed that his family was there, even his neighbors was present, all at shock and some are even crying. He approached the body and he was surprised at what he saw, it was his own body, a bullet hole in his forehead. Raymund woke up, panting and sweaty, he saw Pete and Ilyana sitting by the fire eating canned beans for their breakfast. Pete greeted him, “Bad dream? Beans will take that away, hot damn this beans tastes like chicken” “It does not, it tastes bad”, Ilyana spoke for the very first time. “That’s cause you a princess. Rich folks like you got people that cooks” Pete put down his can and opened another one, he offered it to Raymund. Raymund got up and accepted Pete’s canned beans, but as a habit he looked at the bottom of the can, “Ilyana I think I know why it tastes like shit, it’s because this is already expired.” Ilyana’s eyes grew big and began to throw up, she threw the rest of her canned beans away. Pete laughed hard and accepted Raymund’s canned beans after he offered it to him. After their meal, Pete was gathering his things, “Where are you going?” Raymund asked. “Gonna get me some new pants. And change my place, the cops might still be on me. You folks coming with me?” Ilyana was silent again, she does not seem interested at Pete’s offer, Raymund on the other hand thinked about it, he knew the risk but eventually he said yes, Pete was a lively character he thought to himself, he likes being around this convict. If ever the police did catch up to Pete, he did not know what he’ll do, he didn’t care anymore. Ilyana had no choice but to come with them, since she didn’t want to be left alone, the group gathered their things and began their journey.
The group saw a house with a clothesline full of dry clothes. The doors was locked and there was no car in the garage, it looks like nobody was home. The three found clothes that will fit them and immediately wear them. The rest of the afternoon was spent looking for food and begging for food. But sadly, Raymund and Ilyana found that there was no luck in that. Pete however returned with 100 dollars, Raymund said “Don’t Tell me you found that.” “Hey now, I gotta do what I gotta do. It’s eat or be eaten here in the wild. If you really do hate the cops, then you’ll be happy for me.” “I’m not worried about the police, I’m worried about the guy you stole that from.” “Guy was a cop. I’m like the black version of Robin Hood, no need to worry old man.” Ilyana chuckled, Raymund smiled but still feels a bit unease. The three split the money to a fourty-thirty-thirty share where Pete gets the fourty dollars. They ate dinner at a fastfood chain, and spent the night at a cheap motel across the street. The group sat by the pool and all of a sudden Pete spoke “I never told you guys how I got in to prison.” There was a long pause, then he added “Back then they call me ‘QuickPete’ It was a silly nickname but it’s what I am, the fastest in the hood. I can steal anything without anyone noticing, and I can outrun the cops every damn time. “, “That’s cause most cops are fat.” Raymund commented. “No man, I tell you, I’m like the Flash. You know who that is? No you don’t, cause you old. Back to my story, I’ve done so many robberies but all of that ain’t nothing compared to what my friend’s guy named Tyson has to offer to our crew. We call it ‘the big score’ t’was gonna be mine final hit, the plan was good and the money is more than we can imagine. All we had to do was rob this big house, we scouted for weeks and waited for our opening, their family vacation. So the family came out, we let ourselves in. I said this is it, my last and maybe find me some fine lady to spend the rest of my life with, then all of a sudden some alarm ticked off. Turns out that Tyson was a bitch, he fucking sold us out, and that snitch was working with the cops this whole damn time. Fucker said that he did what he had to do, he said the cops are on him, it was either him or us, obviously the selfish prick chose himself. After that was 2 years in prison, me and the old crew still kept in touch inside the steel walls though.” “Oh yeah I remember now, you idiots made the local news, In-n-out gang isn’t that what you call yourselves?” “Yeah, In-n-out, Our leader Marcus made the name. He also planned our escape. But that’s a story for another time, looks like little princess has no taste in great heroic stories” Pete finished. Raymund smiled, and agreed that they needed rest, he carried Ilyana to her bed and tucked her in. Raymund found a place in the sofa, because the other bed is already occupied by Pete. Pete was quiet this time, as if he was evaluating or reflecting about the things in his life. Raymund was tired, he shut his eyes and began to sleep.
WeeeeeOOOOOOhhhhh! WeeeeeOOOOOOhhhhh! WeeeeeOOOOOOhhhhh! The sound of the sirens woke Raymund. He found Ilyana sitting on her bed, she looked gloomier than when he first saw her. Raymund looked around and there was no sign of Ilyana’s opposite, cheerful Pete, “Where’s Pete?” Asked Raymund. “The guy he robbed, he’s not really a cop. It was a helpless old man. I.. I feel really bad, we are spending the poor man’s money.” Ilyana cried, Raymund approached her and comforted the teenager. He remembered how his own daughter cried on his shoulders over some boy at school that turned her down. “Pete left because the police are on him. He said that he doesn’t want his friends to be involved in his problem, and by friends he meant us. He... He looked really nervous, and sad too. Do you think that, maybe he’ll outrun the police like he always say?” “I can’t really say, but I hope he does.” Raymund replied. Then came the afternoon and they’ve decided to leave the motel. Raymund knew that meeting Pete again is far from possible. He cursed at Pete’s stupidity, maybe the QuickPete nickname was all brag. With little money left (Pete took his share) the two had to live by eating cheap street foods, this went on for two more days. They slept anywhere, as long as there is protection from the sun and the rain. Ilyana was getting more depressed each day, and talking less too. He knew that he had to talk to her, “Was it because of a boy?” “What?” “The reason why you left home, it is because of love isn’t it? Kids your age are really different from our generation.” Raymund replied. “No, not even close. I… I think I may have killed a man. “Ramund was surprised, Ilyana continued her story “It was my 18th birthday. And as a gift from my parents, they gave me this brand new car. Me and my friends took it out for a test right in that same evening. I swear I didn’t see the man, he… he came out of nowhere. When I hit him, my friends just… they just left me there. I didn’t know what to do, the man was moving, but he looks really awful.” Ilyana began to cry again, “I called 911, then I ran off because I knew that Father will be really mad and I don’t want to go to jail. That was when I met Pete, he said that he won’t hurt me or touch me as long as I give him my money.” Raymund continued to comfort her and tried to calm her down, after all of the things he heard, he doesn’t really know how or what to say.
Raymund was chasing the murderer, his own murderer. The suspect was really hard to chase, out of desperation and anger, he shot the suspect at his leg. He approached the murderer and rolled him over, took a look at him and … Raymund woke up, and he prepared the canned food that they bought yesterday. He observed Ilyana who was still sleeping. The young lady reminded her a lot of his own daughter, because they are about the same age. He miss his daughter so bad. Raymund woke Ilyana and he gave her share of their breakfast. Raymund then said “You should go back. You may be a long way from home but I’ll help you, this isn’t really the life for you. You may think that your parents will hate you but they won’t. Your parents are the only people that will surely love you forever, no matter who or what you are.” “I… I don’t know, I miss them so much, but I’m afraid.” “There’s no need for you to be afraid, we will call your parents and I will wait with you, I promise.” “Thank you Raymund, thank you…” Ilyana as her voice cracked and she continued to weep. They found a payphone and he called her parents. When Ilyana’s mother heard from Raymund that she is alive and well, her mother was really glad and asked for her daughter. The mother and daughter had an emotional conversation over the phone for a very long while until Raymund and Ilyana ran out of coins. They waited patiently and Raymund saw that Ilyana was really happy. The car came and her parents hugged her tight, saying words and thanking him for everything. Raymund smiled, he left them and walked right out of the scene. Ilyana noticed and called him out “Where are you going?” “Not going home yet, I still have some stuff to sort out.” “You can do that in our house, you could work for us, Raymund please, and I want to repay you for everything.” “I’m really sorry Ilyana, best payment I can have is some alone time. I’m really happy for you.”
Raymund came back to where he met his friends. He made a fire and sat for a long while thinking about his dream. When he rolled the suspect over, he found out that, the suspect looked just like him. He finally realized what his problem was, the very reason why he can’t come back to his family. He was mad at the world, because he can’t admit that it was his own fault. It was his own fault that his life went downhill. He wasn’t ready to face his family yet. He needs more time, and for how long, he doesn’t really know.