The urchins from underneath the old Vincent bridge
He never fully understood, why he does the things he did. But he knew, that it had something to do with those pesky little voices, always sneaking up on him. nudging him, coaxing him, coercing him to indulge, making him jones for just one more.
His minds swirled with Quaaludes, with Uncle Charlie, with the downers, with the psychedelics. His minds swirled with the inexplicable rage he felt, with the abomination he became, when that brat could not pay him that half a lira. He now detested that ungrateful mutt, always leeching off whatever he scrounged, living free under his roof. Always taking not giving. How difficult was it, to give your poor old father just half a lira? So he did what any reasonable man would have done. He slapped her bloody red and threw her out in the cold pitch dark. He heard her cry, he heard her moan, he heard her beg clemency with her shrill quivering voice, but he didn’t feel the remotest of sympathy. Outraged and jonesing for that one more hit, he rolled over and tried going to sleep, shivering in the empty husk that once used to be known as Anthony.
He hugged his knees and rested his chin on them and looked ahead with gloomy eyes at the speaker. The class around him, in threadbare blankets and overalls, huddled closely together and portrayed as if though they listened with rapt attention at whatever the social worker had to say. Never could they understand, nor could they care any less, for attendance of the whole class meant a stomach full of hot meal at least once a week. As their instructor explained away at something dubbed “violence against your children and how it was bad”, his voice hardly registered in the dawdling minds of his hungry pupils, as the smell of melted corn and chicken wafted off from the mobile soup kitchen set below the arching old Vincent Bridge.
Anthony nauseated and pain ridden from his cramps, got up lazily and dragged his sleeping legs away from the mindless droning of the social worker, to look for that half a lira. The ungrateful mutt, the runt, his daughter Sofia did not come home in the last two days. He did not know, where she spent the long unforgiving winter nights. Neither could he care. All he could bother about was the blissful, infinite darkness that half a gram of Quaaludes would bring.
So Anthony dragged his bone thin body to the piazza, where he knew his urchin would be with the rest of the mutts from underneath the Vincent Bridge. He came to a halt as his eyes rested upon the tiny mass his daughter were. The mutt still held the balloons in her quivering hands and stood aimlessly while the dark was setting in. Anthony felt that inexplicable rage again, the rage which coerced him to slash and tear. As he started on a trot, he saw his urchin running into the piazza, heading for where the rest of the mongrels from underneath the Vincent bridged gathered. As he almost neared the piazza, almost out of breath, he saw the few urchins topple one by one on the ground. He saw his daughter topple to the ground. As the balloons flew away from her lifeless hands, Anthony saw the robed figures carry the lifeless masses of the urchins one by one into the opened back of a pitch black van. He tried screaming, he tried to run after the speeding away van. But all he did was think of the van taking away his daughter, who would have his half a lira.