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Pain & Wastings

152 pages
At fifteen, Ethan is on the fast track to nowhere. In and out of group homes and constantly in trouble, he is fighting to find a sense of who he is. After breaking into an amusement park and being savaged by a police dog, Ethan is befriended by a paramedic. Offered a choice of court or going on a ride-along in an ambulance, Ethan takes what he thinks is the easy way out. On Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Ethan comes face-to-face with the horrific truth from his past and must learn to deal with where he came from, and where he is going.
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Pain & Wastings
Carrie Mac
For Ian Muir and his sick sense of humor. And for Reggie...sorry about the jacket.
Copyright ©2008Carrie Mac
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Mac, Carrie,1975Pain & wastings / Carrie Mac.
isbn9781551439044(pbk.).isbn 9781551439068(bound)
I. Title. II. Title: Pain and wastings. ps8625.a23p33 2008 jc813’.6 c20079071775
First published in the United States,2008 Library of Congress Control Number:2007941834
Summary:Fifteenyearold Ethan must face the truth about his mother’s murder.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Getty Images
orca book publishers poBox5626,Stn. B Victoria, bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers poBox468 Custer, wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
C h a p t e r O n e
Tonight we’re going to break into Playland, the amusement park across the highway from the group home.It was Harvir’s idea. It’s raining when we climb out the window, but it stops when we are halfway down the alley. “The rides won’t work,” I say as we wait for a break in the trafîc. “They turn the power off at night.”
Carrie Mac
“Who cares?” Harvir looks like a cat burglar, all dressed in black. “I’m not interested in the rides. I just want to climb the roller coaster.” “What for?” “Because it’s there. And I want to.” He dashes onto the highway. A pickup truck slams on its brakes, swerving to miss him. The driver rolls down his window and yells at Harvir as he drives away. Harvir does a little bhangra dance in the fast lane. “Are you chicken, Ethan?” Horns honk. Headlights Lash.A sedan screeches to a stop on the shoulder and a beefy guy gets out, his hands already in îsts. “You chicken, Ethan?” Harvir asks again. I îx him with a glare. We are always one-upping each other. And I always win. I run right at the sedan and jump on the hood—denting it with a loud metallic crunch—onto the roof and down over the
Pain & Wa stings
trunk end before the guy even realizes what’s happening. “Sucker!” I Lip him the înger, and then Harvir and I scale the retaining wall and make a run for it. Along the off-ramp, across the overpass and into the bushes, where we wait to make sure Sedan Man isn’t on our trail.
We are only halfway up the îrst incline of the old wooden roller coaster when the lights Lood on below with a loud buzz. “Don’t move!” The glare of the lights blinds us. We can’t see who it is. “Just security.” Harvir keeps climbing. “Rent-a-cops. Harmless.” “And that?” I start down as the sirens get closer. “Cops. So?” Harvir shrugs. “If they’re going to get us anyway, might as well have some fun with it.”
Carrie Mac
So Harvir keeps climbing up whileI start climbing down. Just as I’m about to set foot on the cement, they set the cop dog after me. So of course I run. Who wouldn’t with a snarling barking beast of doom coming after you? I dare youto stand still. “Stop!” the dog handler yells. “Or it’ll get messy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Yeah, well I’m a good runner, so I’ll take my chances. I hop the low fences that form the lineups for rides; so does the dog. I deke in and out of the concession booths; so does the damned dog. I throw myself halfway up a fence that would get me out of the park, and so does the dog, clamping on to the back of my thigh.He hangs there, midair, ripping my Lesh with his teeth, growling. “Get it off!” I swat at him with one arm while holding myself up with the other. “Okay! Okay!” I can literally hear my skin rip and the burble of blood as it
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oozes down my leg. The pain makes me high, and not in a good way. “Good dog, Smokey. Off!” The dog handler gives the shepherd an old plastic pop bottle and a pat on the head. The dog wags his tail and gnaws on the bottle, swinging it back and forth as if it were a rabbit or a rat. Or my leg. I ease myself off the fence and collapse on the ground, face-îrst onto the wet cement. “He bit me!” “That’s the idea,” the cop says. He snaps a leash on Smokey and leads him away, the dog trotting proudly while two other cops handcuff me where I lie on the ground. “I need a goddamn doctor!” “ Yo u h e a r s o m e t h i n g ? ” C o p Numbnuts says. “Just some foul language that don’t get you nowhere,” Cop Buttface says. The pain is so bad I have to grit my teeth to talk. “That’s a double negative, idiot.”
Carrie Mac
“I think you’ve got better things to worry about than my grammar, kid.” Cop Buttface pulls on a pair of leather gloves. “Anything in your pockets I shouldknow about? Knives? Drugs? Needles?” “Screw you. I don’t do that crap.” “I’ll take that as a no.” He digs roughly in my pockets, each jostle sending hot pain shooting down my leg. “Do something about my leg, jerk-off!” I try twisting to see how bad it is but can’t. “It’s still bleeding, isn’t it?It hurts, man. Do something!” The cop puts a thoughtful înger to his chin. “Now, why is he so upset?” “An excellent question.” The other cop squats beside me. He shines his Lashlight on my leg. “Ouch. Look at this, partner.” “Nasty.” Cop Buttface wrinkles his nose. “You can see the muscle and fat and everything. Good thing he didn’t go for your balls. They’ve got a command for that, you know.”
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The cop radio crackles as Buttface organizes an ambulance. “Warrants, prior arrests…?” Cop Buttface picks through my wallet and pulls out myid. He records the details in his notebook. “Might as well tell me now. We’ve got some time. They don’t hurry for this kind of call.” “I’m going to bleed to death, you pig!” “Let’s start with where you live.” Cop Buttface turns the page in his notebook. “You’re one of the juvenile delinquents from Harbor House, right?” “I don’t have to tell you anything.” I writhe on the ground, the pain like a jackhammer digging into the back of my thigh. “Suit yourself.” Buttface Lips his notebook shut. He unwraps a piece of gum and folds it into his mouth. “I got all night.”