Perry had often wondered what it would be like to be tied up and heaved into the trunk of a car. He had seen it plenty of times in movies and on T.V., and he always wondered how he would react. He imagined himself calm and cool, feeling around for the lever that would pop open the trunk, pulling it, and getting saved. However, in reality, he was panicking.
“Where is it, where is the god-damned lever?” he shouted into the cramped darkness, hearing the muffled, croaking laughter of his captors as they listened to his struggles. Perry twisted and turned as best as he could; metal tools pricked at his side and plastic bags rustled in his ears. A dull thud provided little warning before the car bounced, throwing Perry hard against the trunk’s lid. Perry hissed a curse at the pothole the car struck, the DoT for their failure to fill potholes, and Toyota for not making it easier to find the little lever that would pop the trunk open.
Perry tried to calm himself by breathing in slow, measured breaths. However, every inhale was of heavy, hot, air filled with the heady aroma of his own sweat; every exhale was shaky and quivering. Perry was afraid. He didn’t know what his Father had planned, but it couldn’t be good.
30 Years Ago
On the second story of a small cottage home, young Perry Walters is jumping on his bed. In his right hand is a white plastic sword, in his left is a black plastic gun. Wearing his terry cloth robe, he leaps from the bed, lunging at imaginary enemies.
“Back off, Lord Kromdar! The Space Samurai is here! Woosh! Woosh! Woom!” Swinging the plastic sword wildly, it grazes the shade of his bedside lamp.
“Bang! Blam!” he shouts, diving sideways onto the bed. He rolls across his Space Samurai sheets and tumbles onto the floor on the other side of the bed with a thud. He sits up, glances over his mattress and out his bedroom door and sees his Father. His Father hasn’t changed yet, he is still more man than fish, but he has grown mean.
“What in the Sam-Hell are you doing?” he demands, storming into Perry’s room, driving away all that remained of Perry’s imaginings. Everything seems to real to Perry now, too full of despair. His stomach knots as he tries to explain.
“I was pretending to be Space Samurai. I’m sorry I made too much noise. I won’t again, I promise.” He knows what he did wrong, and he tries to atone for it quickly. He thinks that if he can give in, there won’t be a problem.
“Space Samurai? What kind of Chinky-bullshit is that? Your Grandad fought against those slanty-eyed bastards, and here you are making heroes out of them.”
“Space Samurai isn’t Chinky! He’s a good guy. He fights against the Dark Lord Kromdar. He’s a good guy, not like the ones Grandad fought.” Perry grabs at the words as they fall out of his mouth. In less time than it takes for a fly to beat its wings, Perry’s Father pulls the plastic sword out of his son’s hand and belts him with it, hard across his face. A red welt throbs on the youngster’s cheek as tears drip from his eyes. A second whack across the back of the head and Perry curls himself into a ball.
“Good? Bad? You don’t know anything about good or bad. You just sit there and parrot back whatever society tells you to. You are worthless. Do you hear me, boy? You are worthless.”
“Evan!” The cry cuts through the air with a whip-like snap. Perry turns his face. He can smell the scent of the rug. He sees his mother’s black flats and her pantyhose that sag at her ankles. He hears a slap, and yelling. He closes his eyes tightly and covers his ears. Next, he feels himself being pulled to his feet. It is his Mother, and she looks scared. She pulls him after her, stepping over Evan’s still body. He is bleeding from the mouth. Perry sees the cast-iron skillet in his Mother’s trembling hand.
“We’re leaving,” she announces. Perry had heard her say it before. She said it on the nights his Father went out drinking, and she said it when he left for work, but she never meant it until now. They took very little; enough clothes for two weeks and all the money in the cookie jar that was on top of the fridge.
The car rocked when it came to halt; Perry could hear his captors slamming doors and joking with each other. He assumed it was joking; there was laughter. The trunk popped open and a flashlight was pointed into Perry‘s eyes.
“Get up, boy!” demanded his Father. Perry felt nauseous and disoriented; he wondered if he passed out while in the trunk. Rough hands pulled at Perry, throwing him on the dusty ground of a rock quarry. Without the light shining in his eyes, Perry saw six cars arranged in a circle, their lights shining on an girl that was tied to a stake.
“C’mon, time to meet the wife,” croaked his Father, “She’s been waiting for at least an hour.”