Thursday, May 15, 2014

Savage 1

Adam Savage was the sole proprietor of a small vending machine company.  Every morning at 5 A.M. Adam woke up, put on a bright blue "Savage Treats" one piece maintenance uniform, and headed to Spring Valley Day School.  This was the first of twenty or so stops for Adam.  Savage Treats had machines sprinkled throughout the small town of Merlin, primarily in schools.

Savage Treats had been founded by Adam's adoptive parents, Stella and Gerald Savage.  This kind, if austere, couple had been unable to have children naturally.  It wasn't until the Savage's 50th wedding anniversary that the couple decided to adopt an older boy to help with their growing business.  Why not hire someone, you might ask.  Well the Savages were at the top end of middle age and considering their mortality.  They wanted a living legacy to their character.  Adam was the oldest boy in his orphanage, he was 17 and had just 6 months left as a ward of Ohio.  He was strong and hard and tall, at 6'3" Adam was also the biggest child at the orphanage, towering over the Nuns and Father.  Adam had to choose between being adopted by the Savages or waiting out his final 6 months as a ward to be set free with 200 dollars, a small apartment with first and last month's rent, and a letter of reference.  This quiet monster of a boy who had been orphaned since infancy and had learned to live with nothing chose family.

The boy's new parents, whom he called "Mr. and Mrs. Savage" and later "Sir" and "Ma'am" at their insistence, were a tough and decent, if not loving couple.  They treated Adam with immediate and unrestricted trust and taught him as much and as quickly as they could about the business he was to inherit.  They were as close to a fairytale ending as a 17yr old orphan could hope for.

Other than his years in an orphanage, Adam enjoyed a somewhat placid life until the death of his parents.  He had long since taken over all of the heavy lifting in the family business.  Adam maintained the machines, handled the paperwork and ordering, and kept the licenses and contracts up to date.  When Sir and Ma'am were no longer able to help, it was more of a blessing than a hindrance for Adam, who had always worked much better alone.  Things were difficult for the boy, however, when he found himself taking care of the more visceral needs of his decrepit and helpless parents while maintaining a full time business.  Some might say it was a blessing when the elderly couple drowned themselves in the tub.  Adam found them there together, holding each other under, their faces frozen and staring open mouthed, water as still as glass.  Their son had seen something like this coming, he'd been complaining worriedly to their pastor and neighbors for months that his mom and dad were morosely concerned with becoming burdens and frequently spoke of "just ending it". 

Adam didn't like to admit that life after his parents had become much easier.  The small family hadn't had any friends beyond surface relationships with their parish priest and neighbors.  It was nothing at all for Adam to let those filmy ties wither after they'd passed, and so he did.  His neighbors brought a few casseroles over, and that was that.

In fact, the next meaningful relationship Adam developed, and possibly his first, was with his daughter Emily.  His sweet girl's mother had been a whore named Crystal.  She'd balled Adam for 15 dollars and contacted him 9 months later with the news that he was a father.  Emily was the love of Adam's life.  Without that funny and fat little brunette, there was no way he would have been able to fight off his bad dreams.  Without Emily and Doctor Adler, Adam might have clawed his own flesh from his bones.

Adam suffered from both nightmares and daymares.  When his mind drifted, which was often, images of crying children with perfect circles of skin sliced from their faces, thighs, and chests haunted him.  Worse, he'd catch glimpses of his parents screaming beneath a still plate of glassy water in every reflective surface.  In his rear view mirror, behind him as he lifted his chin to shave, in a metallic napkin holder at a diner, there they were.  Mouths open in twin silent screams, eyes fixed on Adam, their white hair swirling slowly and slowly and slowly, hypnotizing him as circles of their skin peeled up and away.  Adam was a troubled man, but he was getting better.  Learning to cope with his visions through human connection.

Once a week he saw Dr. Adler and his visit with Emily occurred simultaneously.  Once, Dr. Adler took Adam and Emily on a day trip to Cedar Point, the amusement park.  Adam thought Emily's legs around his neck and her small hands gripping his forehead as he walked her proudly around the park on his broad shoulders was the cleanest feeling he'd ever felt.  They had chilli cheese fries and Adam won Emily a goldfish at the ping pong toss.  She named the fish Harry Potter and asked her daddy to keep him because she wasn't allowed, then the girl woefully begged Adam to bring Harry to their next visit.  Adam agreed, and promised to buy the Taj Mahal of fish tanks for Prince Harry.  And he did.  This was Adam's first day in a very long while without any daymares.

Emily died in a car accident along with her mother just a week after the trip to Cedar Point.  Dr. Adler broke the news to Adam on the night before his next therapy visit and helped him make the arrangements.  Only a few neighbors came to the funeral, Adam was mildly surprised at how little family on her mother's side the girl's death had drawn but too overcome with grief to fully realize anything.  Of course nobody was there for Adam besides Dr. Adler.

And so here he was, a year later, getting back to normal.  Adam had never moved from his parent's house and never stopped working.  He couldn't stop working.  The sandwiches in his vending machines didn't refresh themselves, the soda didn't replace itself, the juice didn't stay new.  Adam had gone to work the day before and the day after his baby's funeral and every day around it as he had since being adopted by the Savages.  Idle hands are the devil's playground, after all.

After finishing up his Merlin city rounds, Adam had an appointment a few miles east in Neville at a middle school he was hoping to add to his route.  He was halfway to Neville when he spotted his dead daughter's face, fifty feet high, brushing her teeth and smiling on the side of a building.

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