How I Live Now

Day 40

(This is the first draft; expect some problems)

I have written many adventure books with LGBTQ+ characters. Visit my website to browse my full bibliography. You can also sign up for my mailing list to ensure you don't miss any fun future updates. 

View Website



I'm thinking of doing an exclusive reading of the story live. Twenty-two chapters, Twenty-two days, each segregated into an hour a day. You can grab yourself a copy of the book, and we can read the novel together simultaneously, ask questions, and whatnot. If this is something you'd like to participate in with me, let me know below by voting on it. . Click on the link to go to survey monkey.




Day #40


I'm exhausted, so excuse me in advance for making mistakes. I can hardly keep my eyes open, and my brain feels like it has melted. All the brain juice is swishing back and forth in my upstairs room, and I don't have the energy to debate whether I'm right or wrong. So, listen, after what happened on Sunday, I thought it would have been all peachy with Matias. The more I hang around with him, the more I fall in love with who he is and how free-spirited he can get. Except, seeing him terrorize that baker the other day has slowly been gnawing away at me. I thought it would be just the once, but Matias stopped by work to reiterate what we did on the weekend. Though, first, let me start with why I am tired.


I got a rude awakening at 5 AM this morning. Turns out Tiny and some other man swung by Doug's apartment. I've never seen the other guy before today, but with me standing in my underwear as they paraded around the home to intimidate me, I felt like I was going to die. I actually feared for my life. They didn't do anything to hurt me, just took juice from the fridge, sat down in the living and wandered around the condo. If the ocean had developed in my stomach, it would have explained the nausea sensation I exhibited on boats when I followed them around the house. I haven’t forgotten about the money, and I’m doing well with saving. Another $500, and I can afford to pay off my debt. How can I forget Salvatore with these occasional home visits?


Doug was home at the time; the man looked incredibly pale. Almost like a sickly white, but he didn't let on that he was mad about the disruption after Tiny left. Doug didn't yell at me. He didn't kick me out on my ass. Nothing was broken, nobody roughed up and no death threats. Yet, Doug did something I didn't know how to process. Instead of asking me what was going on, he just shut the front door, locked it and peered through the peephole. Afterwards, he just went back to his bedroom quietly and shut the door. I didn't hear from him for the rest of the night. I didn't go back to sleep after what happened. I kept thinking that Tiny would come back to kill me. Or, in some weird twisted turn of events, they'd send Matias to butcher me. They mentioned that my month is almost over, and I realize that I will not have enough money for Salvatore by the time he needs it. I am out of options. I'm not sure. Tiny was cocksure that an accident could occur if I wasn't careful. I don't think that was a threat, but it still rattled me a little. But the other man had to top the entire moment and heighten my terror.


"You never know when a golf club could appear and tap both of your knees out," the shady man added.


Thankfully, the rest of the morning was peaceful. Nobody came knocking again, and I went back to my room to try and get some sleep. Yet, I couldn't shut off my brain. My cogs were running rampant in all the ways they could hurt me. Would they take me down to the bayou and feed me to the crocodiles? Unlikely as this is not some 1930s gangster movie, it's my life. Would they take me out into the desert and make me dig my own grave? Are they that sadistic, torturing a guy by shovelling his own shallow grave? Or will they put me in a coffin and use me as a coffee table like that movie Rope. Either way, I’m still terrified. Maybe they won’t kill me. Perhaps they’ll just cave my knees in or sell me to some crack dealer to fuck. All these thoughts didn’t play nice with my sleep schedule, so I lay awake all night.


Doug didn’t say anything this morning. He just got up, had his breakfast and left for work. I went back to my room and recounted my money again to make sure how much I still needed to earn. I figured a nice warm shower would ease up all the tension I built up last night, and it did. The water felt so good, I even tilted my head back and savoured the sensation, but eventually, I had to drag myself from its warm embrace and get ready for my job.


Work was slow. Somehow, I kinda wished the day would pass faster. In the least, have more customers come in so I could have an excuse to stay busy. It would have been nice to have a place to put my thoughts, but with it not being as hectic as usual, it gave me plenty of time to think. I started wondering if they'd torture me, like rip out my fingernails and or brand me for annoying them. That was until break where I spent some time with my colleagues in the cafeteria. The reprieve was lovely, and talking to people helped take my focus away from the looming cloud hanging over me. Halfway through my break, some employee approached, telling me that some boy was waiting outside for me. So, I went out onto the work floor. Matias was standing in the men's s clothes section that backs onto the storeroom. He was browsing clothes on a carousel.


“What do you think?” Matias said, holding up a long sleeve shirt.


It made me curious as to why he was there in the first place. Had he come to tell me my time is up? That I'd be taking a walk down to the river. I didn’t have a clue, but seeing him, seemed to provoke a different reaction. I was rather intrigued to see him, but at the same time, I feared whatever notion he had for fun in his head would be a bad one.


“It's flamboyant,” I said, referring to the shirt Matias picked up.


Matias's smile dimmed, and he placed the top back on the rail.


“Is that a bad thing?” Matias questioned.


“No…” I said.


The inquisitive side of me wanted to know why he came searching for me. Especially during mid-day when he'd know, I'd be at work. Though of late, Matias has been showing up at all hours, asking me to skip work, so maybe this is his new ploy.


“But… What are you doing here?” I asked.


Matias took a step closer to me. He peered down; his lips were at eye level.


“I was thinking of you… you know,” Matias said.


“Don’t you have school?” I asked.


Matias grinned, “It's lunch… so I came to see you.”


I was quiet for a second.


“I heard Tiny stopped by… I’m sorry,” Matias continued.


I didn't want to be reminded of my last visit; it sorta upset me.


“I… I was thinking, you wanna come on another job and help me?” Matias asked.


I don't know what came over me, but suddenly I felt a slight tingle in the bottom of my stomach, my face felt hot, and I felt annoyed.


“And what…. bust someone’s windows in?” I added.


Matias backed away a little, giving a short sigh; he said, "It sounds bad when you put it that way.”


I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t like the direction the conversation was going, and with Matias saying that what he did was no big deal, it sort of ticked me off. So, there was silence, and Matias saw the stern look on my face. He reached out and stroked my arm, the touch was nice, but it felt like my body betrayed me. I was supposed to be showing my determined side.


“I brought you there so I could help you. So, you can pay off Salvatore quicker. I told Salvatore that you even helped,” Matias added.


Matias rummaged in his hoody pocket and removed $100, and held it out for me. I didn't know what to say. It felt too easy, but at the same time, it didn't feel right. Matias harassed that poor shopkeeper, and I was suddenly getting money from inflicting misery. Plus, it unsettled me that Matias told Salvatore. I didn't want to be associated with the criminal underworld, and now Matias had pretty much punched my entry ticket. Maybe I did that myself a long time ago when I walked into Salvatore's office and begged for money I shouldn't have taken. Why did I listen to that fool Lee? Matias peered around to see if anybody was looking, and I did the same.


"This is your half…." Matias whispered.


"I'm not taking that…." I scornfully said.


“Why not?” Matias said.


I understood where his logic was coming from, but morally, it wasn't right, and I wish I could take it back. But desperate people are desperate for a reason.


“I vouched… and you’ll be able to pay him off,” Matias continued.


I felt another headache coming. Stress must really likely me. It seems to hang around me a lot, and I can't get rid of the cunt. I stepped back and ran my hand through my hair.


“Why did you say I did anything? Now he’ll think I’m like you,” I added.


Matias stepped back, too... he looked offended.


“What’s that supposed to mean?” Matias said.


Pinching my nose didn't help relieve the pressure, but it did offer my hands something to do. If I didn't, I'd probably have rattled during the entire conversation. I didn't want to be stuck in the same position Matias is in, where you are Salvatore's lackey.


“You know what I mean… trapped,” I said.


“I’m not trapped… I’ve got one more job to do,” Matias said.


"I bet there's always been just 'one more job.' Do you think he's just going to let you off the hook?" I added.


“Put that back in your pocket,” I said.


Matias stuck the fistful of dollars back in his pocket. Matias gave me a puzzled looked. He attempted to speak, but he obviously couldn't think of a thing to say. I was right. With people like Salvatore, there is always more than one more job, and they keep coming. But… Maybe… Just maybe we could play Salvatore, I thought. We could make some money and run away again. I don't have a home anymore, so I can keep running. But then Matias would have to leave his family behind if we ran away. Hudson is pretty neat, so is Amy, and that didn't seem fair.


"You know… you're running out of time. You have to start weighing your options," Matias said.


“I have… but it's not terrorizing bakers and old ladies,” I added.


Matias nodded after that, and slowly he backed away. I couldn’t think of anything else to say, so we left it at that. Matias took tentative steps back like he always does and then exited the store. The rest of the day felt like a blur, and it made me feel horrible for even having the conversation with Matias about going on another job. I didn't want to enjoy this whole thing, but maybe Matias was right. I don't have a lot of options. Doug also had a talk with me when I got home, and he seems pissed. I don't want Tiny’s next visit to the apartment to be the last time I ever see someone. I don't want to be flying to the ground as I go sailing off the roof of the apartment block, either. So, I messaged Matias. I shouldn’t have, but what other choice do I have? I don’t want to end up like that baker.


The message read, "I'm in…."


Matias sent back, “I’ll swing by tomorrow.”


And that was my very confusing, morally fucked up day. I'm not proud of it, but maybe I should hear Matias out. Possibly the next job that comes up could be counting money or something. I can do that… but only one job. I can get what I need and then quit.


I'm going to try and unwind, my head is ready to burst, and I'm drained. So here's to hoping that I get a whole night’s sleep without somebody knocking on my door.


Talk soon,





Thanks for reading, comments are welcome, and I reply to all.