January 5th 2019 by Patrick Starks
Joanne woke up next to her 4-year-old daughter wondering what she could possibly teach her in a world so chaotic. She’d done the best that she could for a single mother but still she couldn’t help but feel she hadn’t done enough. But after a miserable week in her 9-5 job that she hated more than her ex-husband, Joanne would make a promise to herself for the first time in her life that she would do something spontaneous. And as she pondered on the thought, there would be only one thing that had come to mind.
Joanne then stood up and walked over to her closet and pulled out her old piggy bank, that of which she’d hoped she had been applying money to. It been so long since she had even looked at it, so it wouldn’t have been much of shock if all she had was just a few dollars. But still she’d hoped there would be more. Eager to see what might’ve been in it, Joanne closed her eyes and smashed it opened like a pissed off Irishmen drunk off his ass at a pub.
“Mommy!” shouted an innocent voice.
Joanne cleared her throat.
“It’s okay sweety, mommy just dropped something,” she replied. “Go back to sleep.”
Joanne then looked down at the floor and stood surprised by what she was seeing. What she believed would be a few dollar bills ironically were hundred-dollar bills, which looked like they’d added up well over the thousand-dollar mark. But where did it all come from, she wondered. Surely, she couldn’t have put them there herself. And if so, where would she ever get that kind of cash. Joanne had thought about all the tips she’d made back at Mike’s Karaoke bar but a waitress on the sunny side of California didn’t make that much, not even in Beverly hills and everyone had money there, which was always the frustrating part.
But out of all that Joanne thought about, what was for certain was that she had the money now to take her little girl, Maple, to where she’d promised, Disneyland. And feeling spontaneous as she was, Joanne would plan for them to go that weekend.
While her father had stayed by and watched over little Maple, Joanne hopped in her car and headed towards the closest bank she could find. And on her drive to the bank she would grin. Out of all the reasons for her father not to stay with them, watching Maple was the only thing that she could conjure up that her father was useful for, sadly. But family was family, and since her mother had passed away years ago, she and Maple were literally the only family that her father had, which was the only reason she’d always found the strength to tolerate him. Because at the end of the day, Joanne had missed her mother to.
Nevertheless, at the stop light Joanne could see that everyone and their mothers had thought the same. The banks were to close in 30 minutes, which for the most part meant 10 to 15 minutes. But the good news was that she could see the bank just past the light. Once the light had turned green, Joanne would punch the gas as hard as she could and would find herself in the parking lot of the bank before she would even blink again. Joanne hopped back out of her car and ran to the ATM desperately, but as she did a man would stop her.
“Sorry to disappoint mam, but the ATM’s ain’t workin,” said the man. “It’s already enough that the bastards closed up earlier than they should’ve. They could’ve at least had the ATM’s working for Christ sake…”
Joanne stood annoyed and anxious.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“Yup,” said the man. “But you’re happy to give it a try.”
As the man had walked off towards his truck, Joanne would still walk over to the ATM’s certain that they still might work. Maybe it just needed a woman’s touch, she’d told herself.
Joanne then put her debit card into the ATM and put in her pin number. Within second a screen would pop up. Although, it wasn’t the screen that she was used to. In fact, it was quite different from the banks, but it at least had the same prompts. Joanne pushed the button for cash deposit and placed the money she’d gotten from her piggy bank into the machine. And instantly, she could feel her heart almost come to a halt by the view of a black screen. Everything had just gone blank right before her eyes. Joanne then shook the machine and banged on it, even kicked it with her running shoes but nothing happened. It was as if someone had unplugged the machine.
At this point Joanne sobbed and felt hopeless. Her tears dripped onto the ATM buttons but along with them a miracle would arise. As she dried her tears and wiped her eyes, the ATM screen would be back up and the deposit amount would be for $100,000,000.00.
Joanne, of course, looked around to see if it was just a joke. Or that maybe some wannabe Ashton Kutcher would come out and say that she’d been punked. She’d even thought about the man that stopped her but not even he popped out from behind a bush or any of the sort. The man’s truck was completely gone. The whole parking lot was empty.
All sorts of questions had gone through Joanne’s mind. Was it a crime if she’d accepted the money? Would she go to jail and never see her daughter again? But before Joanne could think of anything else that would stop her from accepting the money, she’d pushed the button to accept it anyways and her card would be spat back out from the machine, with a tiny receipt showing what was now in her checking’s.
As bad as she knew it was for doing it, Joanne was smart. Instead of leaving the money in her checking’s, she instead moved it to her savings, for she knew anything in her checking’s could be taken back. Although, part of her still worried that it could have been taken from her savings, so she’d hurry back home to use what she needed of it right away, which out of the million was only $2500 for a 3-day Disneyland escape.
On her way back home, blue and red lights flashed from behind.
“Shit! No, no, no… What have I done…” said Joanne, panicked.
She pulled her car over to the side of the road. And the policeman that had flagged her down would do the same. The policeman then stepped out of his car slowly and put out the cigarette he’d been smoking onto the road. And the sad part was that it wasn’t even out, which it was people like him that was the reason for so many forest fires that year. But Joanne had kept her mouth shut on the subject, for it was the Policeman’s court and she was the ball. He could either decide to shoot or pass the issue along. See what I did there. Right, moving forward.
“Good afternoon mam,” said the policeman.
“Hello officer… What seems to be the problem?” asked Joanne, nervously.
“Your taillights out,” replied the policeman.
Joanne then relaxed her shoulders and exhaled.
“Right, of course, I was meaning to actually get around to fixing it later today sir,” she said.
The Policeman looked at Joanne and then looked at the backseat of her car.
“Daughter?” asked the policeman.
“I’m sorry…” said Joanne, puzzled.
“I see you have an adorable pink little seat back there,” said the policeman. “My little girl just turned 4 last week. They sure grow up fast don’t they…”
“Yeah… they do. My little Maple is turning 5 in a month.”
“Oh, so she’s a May baby,” said the policeman, curiously.
“My wife’s a May baby. You’ll have fun with that one trust me,” smiled the Policeman. “Just don’t get on their bad side.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice. I’ve already gotten bitten by her fangs already,” chortled Joanne.
“And how does your husband feel about that?” laughed the policeman.
Joanne said nothing. She tilted her head down to the floor and sighed.
“Oh, I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean…”
“No, its okay,” interrupted Joanne. “He’s a jerk, plus she hasn’t seen him the bastard since she was born. He just took off. No explanation at all. Just disappeared in the night. ”
The policeman had an angry look on his face.
“You know its men like that should really have their balls chopped off. I mean like to the point they can’t breed anymore. Why should they have such a blessing to help create life if they’re not even man enough to own up to it,” said the Policeman, frustratingly. “You know, I got some connections. I could have him found for you in just a few days and have him in court for child support the following week.”
“No… That’s very kind of you officer but I’d rather not ever see him again,” said Joanne.
“Right… You know what, you have a nice day mam,” said the policeman. “I won’t be writing such a strong mother as yourself a ticket. But here’s my card if you ever change your mind.”
Joanne smiled, and before she could even begin to fathom what had happened the policeman had already hopped back into his car and peeled off as he waived her goodbye.
But without another thought or any further delay, Joanne continued to rush back home. And when she’d pulled into the driveway little Maple would be standing by her grandfathers’ side in the pouring rain. Joanne hopped out.
“Dad what the hell, I mean, what the heck,” whispered Joanne, covering Maples ears. “You know it’s to cold for Maple to be outside. You didn’t even put on her coat.”
“Well, I just brought her out for a minute. She said she needed some fresh air. I think she’s having…”
“I know dad,” interrupted Joanne. “And that’s exactly why she shouldn’t be out here. You know its flue season.”
While Joanne had everyone go back inside, she would log into her laptop. She didn’t have any idea to how much time she had before she’d gotten caught or when the funds would be reversed. So, she hurried and bought 2 tickets for a 3-day Disneyland experience, and with joy in her dark brown eyes the payment had gone through and the tickets would be emailed to her within seconds.
Eager to tell her daughter the great news Joanne rushed over to the other room. Maple was asleep, but for once, Joanne felt it was okay to wake her up. Afterall, there was no way she could sleep herself with so much excitement.
“Hey sweetie, wake up,” said Joanne, rubbing maples shoulders.
But Maple had not moved a muscle. Joanne then shook her again.
“Hey baby girl, mommies got some good news to tell you,” said Joanne.
But still Maple didn’t move, and from what Joanne could tell she wasn’t breathing either.
“Maple!” cried Joanne. “Maple, sweetie wake up! Dad! Dad help!”
Bursting through the door Joanne’s father would come to her rescue. Joanne’s dad was, of course, no doctor but still he was trained in CPR, thankfully, which was probably the second reason she’d kept him around but somewhere down the line she’d forgotten all about it. Joanne’s father then had her stand to the side as he’d done his best to breathe life back into his only grandchild. And Joanne would drop to her knees. She’d lost so much in her life, so why now her little girl she prayed. But then there would be little coughs of life.
“Joanne call 911!” shouted her father. “She’s breathing…”
Joanne rushed to her cell phone and nearly fumbled it for how much her hands were shaking. But after she’d called within minutes the ambulance would arrive.
“Mam, please calm down. Your little girl is in great hands and from what I can tell she’s going to be alright. It was a good thing one of you guys knew CPR,” said the medic.
As they’d all went in the back of the ambulance truck, Joanne would follow. And she’d hold Maples hand the entire time they drove. Thankfully, it was a night where not a lot of people needed medical attention. So, getting the doctor was instant.
The doctor then walked into the room.
“Ms. Brown,” said the doctor.
“Yes,” replied Joanne, worried.
“Good news,” said the doctor. “Your daughter is in good condition, although, I’d encourage you to not push her too hard. She’s still on her meds and all the running around just makes her inflammation worse. She can’t have too much excitement.”
“Like Disneyland…” said Joanne.
Joannes father stood confused.
“Disneyland?” he said. “What’s that have to do…”
“Yeah like Disneyland,” interrupted the doctor. “Not at least until next year.”
Joanne then sunk into the seat of her chair as she’d watched her baby girl sleep peacefully. They didn’t have a year, she thought. It was now or never, but at what cost if it meant endangering her daughter’s life. She’d lost her husband, she’d lost her mother, she just couldn’t lose Maple to. There would then be a knock on the door.
“Yes, come in,” said the doctor.
“Sorry to interrupt doctor but there’s a man out here waiting to see Ms. Brown. Said he was a family member…” said a nurse.
Joanne then stood up, but before she did, her father had grabbed her by the arm.
“You need me to go with you?” he asked.
“No dad, I’ll be fine,” said Joanne. “Just watch over Maple for me will you. I’ll be back soon.”
Joanne then gave Maple a kiss on the forehead and headed outside the room. She looked to her left and then her right, but when she’d looked back to her left, she’d felt like she was staring down not a ghost but the devil himself.
“Hi Joanne, long time…” said the man.
Joanne slapped the man across the face and the sound of it would echo every hallway. The man licked his lips.
“Okay, I deserved that,” he said.
“Pig! Out of all these years you come by now while your… no, while my daughter is nearly on her death bed.”
The man said not a word. And nothing but shame would be on his face.
“What the fuck do you want Vince!” shouted Joanne.
The man claimed as Vince looked around. And then whispered.
“Have you been getting the money I’ve been sending?” he asked, cautiously.
“Wait… You mean to be telling me that that was you…” said Joanna.
“Well yeah, even though I have one I’m not an entire dick.”
“Well you having one is debatable,” said Joanne, sarcastically.
“Yeah, typical female comeback. Says the one that had a child with the one with no dick,” chortled Vince.
Joanne then pushed Vince against walls of the hall.
“Enough of your games Vince! Why are you here?” said Joanne.
“You mean you don’t know?” asked Vince.
“Jesus… This is why I left. Your so wrapped up in what you want you never take the time to notice the beautiful things around you…” said Vince, frustratingly.
“Fuck you Vince! You abandoned us!” shouted Joanne.
“Okay, okay… I get that… It was fucked up I know… But I just couldn’t be around you like that…” explained Vince.
“Well when you’re an adult you talk it fucking through not just coward off in the middle of the night,” shouted Joanne again.
Nurses at the end of the hallways then began to turn their attention towards the two. Even the security guard who’d already been looking for some action that night, that of which was both sexual and through violence. Although, the security guard was for certain the sex part wasn’t coming anytime soon seeing how he’d live in his mom’s basement at forty-years-old, but if there was anything he was guaranteed to get, it was a good fight. And just maybe if he’d won it and secured the situation, then maybe Nurse Lovington would finally give him a chance to get physical with her. Without a doubt the security guard was a pig, more so, a pervert but he never tried to hied it and well… that was something to be respected, ironically.
The security guard then stood up.
“Shit! Joanne calm down…” said Vince. “I’m not even supposed to be here.”
“What the hell are you talking about now?” asked Joanne.
Vince then grabbed Joanne’s hand and pulled her into a room where they could talk privately.
“Okay I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m a mutant and our daughter is too,” admitted Vince.
“What… No, what kind of bullshit X-men excuse is that,” said Joanne.
“Well it’s not X-men exactly… there’s no human torch, no man that can freeze stuff, or a woman that can change the weather, or even a man that is blue all over who can teleport to anywhere he wants in the world. Me, our daughter, we have heightened senses. Our daughter isn’t sick, its that she’s inherited her abilities at such a young age where her tiny little body can’t handle it. I thought that maybe it would skip her or maybe come to her like it did me somewhere around my early twenties. But apparently she’s a little more special than I thought.”
Joanne walked to the other side of the room. “Bullshit!” she said. “Why out of all these years should I believe you?”
Vince then walked over to Joanne and grabbed her hand.
“What are you doing?” asked Joanne. “Its too late to try and when me back.”
“Joanne just shut up for one moment and watch,” smiled Vince.
As Vince held Joanne’s hand, she could feel the pain in her back from standing up for hours as waitress go away. Her eyesight was much clearer now, as if she hadn’t had a cataract at all in her life. And before she could notice anything else she’d pull away.
“What the… Vince…” said Joanne. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Would you have even bothered talking to me if I did?” replied Vince.
“No… Your probably right…” said Joanne. “So… does that mean that you can heal Maple?”
“Maple?” asked Vince.
“Yeah, even though you weren’t around, I still decided to name her after your mother…” said Joanne.
Vince would then become teary eyed. He could still hear that same voice in his head the day that he’d abandoned them both. ‘Asshole, dick, pussy, manchild…’ All the words that were degrading to a man being a man, Vince would hear whispers of them all. In his mind it was like hell, so that was why he;d always kept himself busy. It was the only thing that helped him forget his own shame.
“So, can you heal her?” continued Joanne.
“No,” said Vince. “Unfortunately, mutants can’t heal each other. Although, I only know of one that can, but she always spends her time in Disneyland. And everyone knows trying to find someone there is like trying to find Waldo. You see, she’s just a kid, and well, there’s a lot of kids there. But my friend Rosco told me that she’s easier to find during the firework shows at night. He said something about her doing this goofy dance whenever it happens. He says she sticks out like a sore thumb but she always vanishes afterwards once its over.”
“I have tickets!” shouted Joanne, excitingly. “We could leave tomorrow but I only have tickets for two.”
“Whoa, now wait a minute now, we can’t just go storming off to fucking Disneyland,” said Vince. “What about Maples treatment?”
“Fuck the treatment! Far as I’m concerned, my little girl might not be around next year and I wont risk losing her to!” cried Joanne.
“I understand that, but Joanne… We can’t just…”
“Why not,” interrupted Joanne. “What are you so afraid of. Did you come here to actually help us for once or still show that you’re the same coward you were when you left…”
“No, I’m not that same man. But you could say that I am afraid of something… Joanne, there are people out there who don’t like our kind if you know what I mean,” said Vince. “They want us dead…”
“Vince, I’m black. Of course, I know what you fucking mean!” said Joanne.
Joanne then dragged Vince back outside of the hall and all the lights would be out. But why she wondered, although, Vince had had a pretty good idea to why that might’ve been.
“We’re too late… What room is Maple kept?” asked Vince.
“Too late for what?” asked Joanne, concerned.
“It’s the Violet Club. Its always them…” whispered Vince. “And they always get what they come for…”
To be Continued.
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all enjoyed “Maple’s World.” I will still be continuing Pacharc Mythologies but as you all may know writing on the same topic can get a little old after awhile and new ideas come to mind. So, i really hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did. Not finished with it yet so there will be more to come 🙂 Stay tuned my friends and have a wonderful night or day wherever you are from lol 🙂