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Entry date: 12-2-2022 - The Trees part 24 - Things I made up

Dear Friends,


Happy Friday, I suppose. Here is part 24 of The Trees. Slay the day.


*****


Dan was standing in between her mom and dad with his arms around each of them. Peter was next to her, about to turn 13, and JR was standing next to Jan with his arm around her leg. Her other siblings, Anthony and Brynn, were not even old enough to go to school yet, and they were standing in front of the adults. They all looked so happy.


She needed to call Anthony and talk to him. He hadn’t shown up for dinner when Dan told everyone, and she wasn’t sure if he even knew what was going on yet. He and Dan didn’t always see eye to eye on things, but Dan had always been there for him anyway. She thought of this as she dialed his number.


During his last stint at Evolve, Anthony had really done his best to piss everyone off. It was Dan who had stuck to his guns and talked John out of pressing charges. Even Allie herself had thought calling the police was not a terrible idea, but Dan had argued that Anthony was not going to get the help he needed by going to jail for a few laptops that weren’t even very good in the first place.


Allie remembered her dad saying, “He’s not even good at being a thief,” but she knew that was more because he was embarrassed by what Anthony had done and less about him being angry. A few days later, Anthony had shown up at Allie and Ron’s home, crying, strung out, and begging for forgiveness. She hadn’t had the heart to turn him away and ended up listening to him for an hour before he abruptly said he had to go and was gone before she knew it.


She kept tabs on her little brother as best she could while also doing her best to keep a little distance there. Ron was understanding but firm about how much time he wanted Anthony to be around the kids. Bobby was very fond of his Uncle Anthony and Allie thought the feeling was mutual, but Ron didn’t seem to see it the same way. Dawn seemed to be a little afraid of Anthony and this was probably why Ron had little patience for him.


On a couple of occasions, Allie had asked Ron to see if the guys from the station house near Anthony’s apartment could check on him when he wouldn’t take anyone’s calls. Ron had told her that the police were really the ones to do wellness checks, but he would do what he could. Getting the police involved with Anthony never seemed to work out in his favor.


When Peter was killed, Anthony had been thirteen and in eighth grade. He was a devoted baseball fan and loved the Diamondbacks more than anything. He would tell everyone he talked to that someday he was going to play for the hometown team and his favorite thing to brag about was how his dad and his Uncle Dan took he and his brother and his “cousin” JR to see all the playoff games in 2001.


Things changed quickly, though.


By the end of the school year, Anthony had his first hangover, got high for the first time, and took his first acid trip. He fell in with a crowd of boys at his grade school, Madison No. 1, where Allie had gone ten years earlier, that were not averse to raiding their parents liquor cabinets or scoring drugs wherever they could find them.


Ron had suggested to Allie’s parents that an inpatient treatment facility might not be a bad idea, but they had balked at the idea. Instead, Hettie and John had taken Anthony and Brynn to San Diego for much of the summer where things seemed to be all right for a while until Anthony figured out where his dad’s stash was and helped himself a little too much.


Jan and Dan offered to have him come stay with them until John and Hettie were ready to come home, but Anthony spent most of those two weeks staying with Allie and Ron. Allie would sit up with him and watch movies until she would fall asleep on the couch, but Anthony just never seemed to be able to sleep unless he was high or drunk. At least at their house, though, he seemed to stay on a good path.


With a little finagling, Anthony was accepted into Brophy Prep, which was the all-boys counterpart to Xavier where Allie had gone. John and Hettie had hoped going to a private, Catholic school would be a safe haven for Anthony, but it was anything but. Most of the students at Brophy and Xavier came from very privileged, very lenient backgrounds and the availability of drugs and alcohol was plentiful.


By homecoming during his freshman year, Anthony was asked to “take a break” from Brophy and he was enrolled in St. Mary’s High School, which was known for being a little less friendly to the partying lifestyle some Brophy students enjoyed. For a while, Anthony was on his best behavior and even seemed, at least to Allie, like he was coming out of his grief, but when the families gathered to celebrate New Years Eve at the Lewis’ cabin near Payson, all hell broke loose.


Anthony had asked to stay back in Phoenix and spend New Year’s with one of his old little league buddies, Scott and his family. Scott’s parents were friends of the Rawls for many years and it seemed innocent enough until Scott and Anthony broke into the Lewis’s home and raided their liquor cabinet with several other friends.


Anthony had known that J.R. left his window unlocked unless he ever forgot his key and knew that the alarm code was Annie’s birthday year, 0418. Courteous as he was, he even reset the alarm before he slipped out the window, but not before leaving with a few hundred dollars’ worth of alcohol. To add insult to injury, Anthony, Scott, and their friends got drunk as hell in the trees that ran along the back of the property and left empty, and half empty, bottles strewn throughout them for Dan to find when they got home and realized they had been robbed.


Anthony later confessed to Allie what he had done after Scott’s parents told Hettie and John that the boys had snuck out and not come home until the middle of the next day. Exasperated, her parents had called and asked if she would come talk to him since he really only seemed to open up to her. Allie urged Anthony to talk to the Lewis’s himself, but he refused, and Allie took it upon herself to tell Dan and Jan what happened.


It had been Dan’s idea to have Anthony work off his debt to them at Evolve and it was the first of many times he worked at the company. It occurred to Allie that’s probably why Anthony always acted like working there was some kind of punishment.


If only Anthony knew, she thought, that Dan was only trying to help. She would try to get through to him if he would just pick up the damn phone, but like usual, he got his voicemail.


“Hey, this is Anthony. Fuck off.” Beeeeeeeeeep.


“It’s Allie. Again. Please give me a call. We really need to talk.”


*****


See you tomorrow.



This is kind of a cool artifact. I remember thinking not so nice things about Soul Grind back in the day, but it's really cool because Ben's band played on the following Thursday.

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