[font "Times New Roman" "Eachann! Bricfeasta! Girls, stop pulling each other's hair!"
Eachann was just pulling on his jean jacket as he emerged from his room. "No time, Ma, I have to get to work." He grabbed a piece of toast for the road, used to the complete chaos of his home. The twins arguing over who got which glass of juice and his grandmother sitting in the old recliner staring at the television.
"Eachann, you said you could babysit tonight!" Saoirse shouted over the noise while placing plates in front of her daughters.
"And I will! I can!" he said around the toast in his mouth. "I'll be back at six." This was the game his family played every day. Who was where and for how long. One unit that had to work together to make sure every gear was well oiled. He stepped up to his grandmother and placed a kiss on her leathery cheek. She mumbled something witty that he didn't hear before he turned to back out the door. "Don't worry, I'll be here," he said.
His mother gave him a look. "And try not to get fired this time."
Eachann swallowed the feelings this brought up and left the too-small house. He always felt like he was getting a breath of fresh air when he stepped outside.
"Funny how you haven't had a job in years, Ma," he muttered to the bustling street he had stepped into. But then the guilt hit him, as it always did. Moving here had been his parents big idea. And while it had been quite some time since his father had died, his mother couldn't seem to get herself to explore the city. Not without him. So it was up to Eachann and Saoirse to make ends meet. But with the four year olds- the 'oopsies' as their grandmother liked to call them- resources were wearing thin.
Eachann didn't mind working, though. He had nothing better to do. Being at home for too long stressed him out. He thought Saoirse having twins out of wedlock and then her boyfriend bailing on them would be enough to make the family see that they were all capable of mistakes in God's eyes, but Ma doted on the girls. And she still would not acknowledge that Eachann was gay. He was 35 and in a better life he wouldn't even have to be dealing with any of this. If his father were alive, he would have moved out long ago. Kept a stable job. Had a nice boyfriend.
But someone had to pay the bills.
Eachann was a liar. He didn't want to hurt his family. But he had been fired a week past for tardiness. He tried to explain his case, like he did every time, but his boss didn't want to hear it. Ever since, no one was calling him back after submitting his application. He needed something. [i Anything.] Or they weren't going to make their payments on time.
He spent most of the day job hunting around town, but he got that old feeling in the pit of his stomach that would arise when he knew he was running out of options. When he knew he would have to resort to something he would rather not do. He pulled up his hood and headed downtown. He would have to head home before long, but he could easily make enough for the groceries before that...
He tried not to think about the scuzzy businessmen who had more money than they knew what to do with. How they most likely had wives. The way they looked at him from their car windows like he was something to consume. He just focused on the money. [i Focus on the money.] He told himself, over and over again. [i It's just a blowjob. You've done it before. Just focus on the money.]
He was [i so] focused on the money that he had walked right into traffic without looking and he was suddenly looking up at the sky. He didn't remember the impact, and it couldn't have been that bad because the driver was standing over him swearing. The shock wore off and he could hear what he was saying.
"The hell are you doing? Get out of the fucking road! Does it say walk? Does the light say walk?" The man was in his face now as Eachann was trying to stand up.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled at first. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" He shouted back, when he finally got to his feet. The man was huge and he regretted getting defensive immediately. He breathed out, shakily, "I'm sorry, I was distracted."
"Yeah, you fucking were!" The man was still yelling, spittle on his chin. "You could have fucked up my car." He stepped closer and Eachann held up his hands to protect himself, just in case he decided to get violent.
"Please, just let me go. We're holding up traffic," he was saying, but was cut off. The man shoved his shoulder.
"You gonna pay for the damages, little man?"
"I-" The car didn't look damaged to him, but if it was, Eachann wouldn't have that kind of money. "I don't-"