The Other Side of the Coin
By Sasha Cartwright
Travis was sitting on the loft's couch when he heard the door open. In came a very drunk Derrick as well as his newest one night stand, little Miss Whatshername, who was equally, if not more, drunk than Derrick. This was nothing new and since he already knew what was going to happen, Travis ignored them and went back to working on his sketchbook.
Derrick and his squeeze disappeared into his upstairs bedroom. Less than an hour later, he descended the stairs with a triumphant smile on his face. It didn't take a genius to tell that he had gotten what he wanted. The unfortunate girl, however, was still upstairs, more than likely passed out on Derrick's bed.
"How could you do something like that?" wondered Travis to himself as Derrick made a gin and tonic at the bar. If he had sex with a girl, if he ever got the chance, he would at least stay there afterwards. The way Derrick did it, have his fun and leave, was so mechanical and unfeeling. It almost seemed that Derrick didn't even care who or when. He just wanted, well, his own pleasure.
Every night seemed to be the same. Derrick would bring some poor, drunk girl home, screw her, forget her, and be on to the next one the following evening.
The next night was no exception. Derrick stumbled in to the loft at about two o' clock in the morning with a drunken Jones swaggering in behind him. As they collided with the wall, Jones and Derrick burst into hysterical drunk laughter.
Jones seemed to be oblivious to it, but Travis, from his place on the couch, could tell that Derrick was just pretending to be drunk to trick her into his bedroom.
Unfortunately, this whole thing was just a matter of time and with no way to move Jones and no place to go other than the loft, he couldn't really prevent it.
"Hello Travis," greeted Jones, as she crashed onto the couch next to him.
"Have a good time Jones?" Travis asked. Jones gave a furious nod.
"Come on Jones," stated Derrick, giving the drunk girl a reassuring smile that was more like a shark sighting in its prey. "We'll get you something to drink. Something that's less than ninety proof. Come on Travis."
Travis raised himself from his seat and followed Derrick into the kitchen.
"You might think I'm really lucky," Derrick said, putting a few ice cubes from the bar's ice bucket into a glass and filling it with water.
"Why's that?" wondered Travis, not enjoying this quality time with Derrick.
"My ability to have any woman I want, whenever I want up, down, or backwards," explained Derrick with a nonchalant air that Travis hated.
"I guess," Travis replied, wanting to get away from Derrick and back to Jones. Derrick, however, wasn't finished.
"But they don't know that meaningless sex is nothing to me," continued Derrick.
"Is that so?" asked Travis, wondering if there really was a more obvious statement in the world.
"But what I really want," stated Derrick, taking a step closer, "is you."
"What?" exclaimed Travis, backing up into the counter he had been leaning on.
"Come on Travis," said Derrick, taking slow steps until he had his roommate pinned against the counter. "You must have known that there would be something between us."
"N-n-no Derrick," stuttered Travis. "There must be some m-mistake."
"Now Travis, don't get so upset," chided Derrick, caressing Travis' cheek. "It's what we both want."
"No, it isn't," stated Travis firmly, shoving Derrick away from him and rushing into the living room.
"Come on Jones," he said to his friend who lay almost asleep on the sofa.
"What is it Travis?" she slurred from sleep and booze.
"Don't worry," Travis replied. "I'll explain later." Pulling Jones to her feet, Travis rushed towards the door, tore it open, and jerked the drunken Jones into the hallway.
"All right," stated Jones, sitting on the bed of the hotel room that Travis had rented. "Will you tell me what happened or not?"
"When I was in the kitchen," Travis explained, " Derrick said that he loved me."
"Oh, come on,' said Jones, not believing him.
"And then he tried to feel me up," Travis continued, desperately wanting Jones to believe him.
"Is that why you left?" Jones wondered. Travis nodded.
"So why did I have to leave too?" asked Jones.
"I didn't want him to hurt you trying to get to me," Travis answered honestly. "He really scared me Jones." Jones sighed.
"Don't worry," she promised, putting her arms around his neck and pulling him into a hug. "It was probably just the booze talking. He'll be over it in a few days."
"I hope so," said Travis.
For the next week, Travis and Jones stayed at the hotel. Whenever they needed anything from the loft, they would go while Derrick was at class. This, of course, didn't protect them for long.
One night, when Jones was at work and Travis was in the hotel room by himself, there was a knock at the door. Knowing that Jones wouldn't knock because she had a key, Travis ignored it. Then he heard that awful voice.
"We can do this the easy way or the hard way," Derrick stated in a frightening, serious voice. " I'm coming in either way, even if I have to kick in this door."
Realizing that he didn't have much of a choice, Travis opened the door to find Derrick leaning expectantly against the door's frame.
"Did you think you could hide from me?" Derrick questioned. When Travis didn't answer, Derrick walked into the room, closing the door behind him..
"This is a nice, little place," he commented, walking slowly and looking around. "Not as nice as the loft though."
"So this is your and Jones' headquarters to fight against the evil Derrick, is that it?" he wondered, his voice lightened by amusement and hardened by sarcasm. Turning around, he gave Travis a sideways glance.
"Now Travis, you didn't think you could outsmart me?" Derrick asked incredulously. "You must have known I'd find you."
"H-how did you find me?" questioned Travis, trying to keep the distance between him and Derrick.
"It wasn't that hard," Derrick stated. "Followed Jones back here after work. Rather ingenious, don't you think?"
"Why are you here?" Travis asked, even though he knew the answer. Derrick turned to face him.
"I came to see you," he replied, his voice sounding soft and innocent as he ran a finger down the middle of Travis' chest. "I thought that would be obvious." Travis shivered off his discomfort while Derrick went back to surveying the room.
"Look Derrick," said Travis firmly. "You need to leave." Derrick gave an affectionate smile that furthered Travis' discomfort.
"I'm not going anywhere, Silly Goose," he promised. "I'm going to stay with you forever." He went to make his move, but Travis blocked him.
"Derrick," he stated, holding Derrick off with both of his palms on Derrick's chest, pushing him away. "You need to leave us alone. I don't..." but he was cut off as Derrick angrily thrust him to the floor.
"What will it take for you to understand that I love you?" wondered Derrick viciously, walking over to the nightstand and yanking the lamp from the wall. Dropping down so that his knees pinned Travis' legs to the floor, Derrick started pounding Travis' face, arms, and chest with the lamp and his fists.
"Do I have to rape you like all those other bitches?" he spat into Travis' bloodied face.
"No," Derrick decided, raising himself to his feet while Travis lay on the floor. "You'll come willingly. You'll want it when you come, and I'll be waiting."
Leaning back over Travis, he hissed, "And if you don't, I'll kill Jones." Stepping over Travis, Derrick made his way to the door.
"Think it over Travis," he said before disappearing into the hallway.
When Jones returned that night, she noticed that all the lights in were off in the hotel room. Flipping on the lights, the first thing she saw was Travis' bloody form on the floor.
"Oh my gosh, Travis!" she cried, rushing to the aid of her friend.
"Travis, are you all right?" Jones asked, running a hand over his battered chest. As Travis let out a groan of pain, she hissed her apology.
"What happened to you?" Jones questioned, hoping he wasn't badly hurt.
"Derrick," he replied, shakily pushing himself up to lean against the wall. In the light, Jones could see the extent of his injuries. Travis needed a doctor.
"Travis, we've got to get you to a doctor," she insisted, trying to pull her friend to his feet.
"No, listen," Travis implored. "Derrick found us. He came here and told me that if I don't..." He paused for a moment.
"You know, sleep with him," he continued, "He was going to kill you." Jones quickly thought over these facts in her mind.
"Come on Trav," she said, first things first. "We'll get you to the police station and they can look for Derrick. They might even have a medic or doctor for you." Travis nodded.
"All right," she stated. "Let's go."
Sitting in the police headquarters, Travis, with Jones beside him, told the officers what had happened.
"Have you told us everything you know?" the man asked. Travis nodded, wiping the blood from his nose with the napkin in his hand.
"Well," the officer replied. "I'll talk it over with my superior and see what we can do. IN the mean time, I'll get the squad doctor to look you over." Standing from his seat, he added, "Don't worry. We'll work this out." Travis and Jones waited for a few minutes until they were greeted by a tall, skinny man who emerged from a small room off to the left hand side.
"Travis McMinn?" he asked.
"Yea," answered Travis.
"My name is Dr. Robert Greene," the man introduced, "and if you could step into my office, I could get you cleaned up." Travis submitted and he and Jones followed the doctor into a small examination room.
Taking a seat, Dr. Rob said, "Please take off your shirt so I can see the damage." Reluctantly, Travis peeled away his blood-soaked T-shirt to reveal a large array of bruises in all different colors of black and purple. Jones gasped in horror at the abuse, but the doctor, expecting as much, began to patch his patient up.
"I'm sorry for this Travis," she apologized as Dr. Rob wrapped her friend's battered and painful ribs.
"It's not your fault," Travis stated through gritted teeth. "I'm just sorry you got dragged into this." As the doctor continued his work, an officer entered the room and walked over to Travis.
"Mr. McMinn?" he asked.
"Yea," Travis replied, felling suffocated in the tiny and now crowded room.
"Well Mr. McMinn, due to the sensitivity of your case," the policeman stated, " we require your full cooperation."
"What do you want me to do?" wondered Travis.
"We'll rig you with a body mic so that we can gather enough evidence to convict Derrick, then we do, there'll be a whole squad there to take him in," the cop explained.
"So what you mean," asked Jones, "is that in order to get rid of Derrick, we have to give Travis to him? You can see what he did already."
"We'll have a whole squad ready if anything happens," the officer stated, "but it's up to you Mr. McMinn." Travis gave a small sigh.
"Let's do it," he replied.
Two days later, Jones was standing outside the police station office's door while Travis was getting ready with his body mic. Everything that had happened in the last few months was swirling around in her head.
"It just doesn't add up," she told herself. Derrick was always the ladie's man. It just didn't make sense that his real target was Travis. Jones was torn from her thoughts by the sound of a closing door: It was Travis.
Despite the two days of healing, he still looked pretty beat up. The bruises on his face had gone from blacks and blues to mostly purples.
"Are you ready?" she asked him as he smoothed the button-up shirt that covered his body mic.
"I guess so," Travis replied, sounding a little hesitant.
"You know you don't have to do this, Trav," Jones told him. "We can always try a different hotel or an apartment."
"He would just find us again," he replied with a shake of his head. "This is the only way."
Jones nodded. She knew that he was right. Leaning in, she planted a gentle kiss on his bruised cheek.
"Be careful, all right?" Jones whispered so that only they could hear. Travis nodded.
"Sure thing," he replied. Just then, the squad for Travis emerged from the office.
"Are you ready?" the main officer, a lieutenant, asked.
"Yea," answered Travis. "Let's go."
Derrick was sitting on the couch when he heard a knock at the door. Rising from his place, he opened the door to find Travis waiting for him.
"I knew you'd come," Derrick said with a smile. "Please come in."
"I'm here," stated Travis, stepping into the room. "Now, will you leave Jones alone?"
"I have what I want," Derrick replied with a wicked smile.
"That's not an answer," noticed Travis. Derrick grinned again.
"Yes," he replied. "Since you are here, I'll leave little Cathy Jones alone." Travis pretended to look around. Not much had changed since he and Jones had left.
"I like what you've done with the place," he stated, looking around as he walked into the living room.
"Enough with the small talk," Derrick said. In one fell swoop, he kicked Travis' feet out from under him, making Travis fall on the floor on his back with Derrick landing face down on top of him.
"I want you,' he puffed."Right there, right now."
"J-just answer me one question," Travis bargained.
"All right," agreed Derrick. "What?"
"Do you really rape those women?" Travis asked, "The ones that you bring back to the loft?" Derrick gave a devilish smile.
"I wouldn't call it rape," he replied. "They always come willingly, but when their drunk and passed out, yes, I do." Travis looked away from his assailant, trying to squelch the urge to throw up.
"But that's not the case with you," Derrick reminded. "You came willingly." Then, all of his reserve burst.
Grabbing the sides of Travis' shirt, Derrick hissed, "Enough talk. Get ready." With one jerk, Derrick torn Travis' shirt open, popping off all the buttons and, unfortunately, revealing the body mic. Derrick's face instantly changed from one of lust to one of anger.
"I can't believe you set me up," he stated incredulously. "Well you won't live to make the same mistake." Balling his hands into one giant fist, Derrick smashed it across Travis' face, cutting gashes open above his eye brows, cheeks, and chins.
Moving his knees so that he pinned Travis to the floor, Derrick continued to hit and pound his betrayer into the floor, all that Travis could do was try his hardest to protect himself from his attacker.
A few minutes later, the squad burst through the door and found Derrick violently pummeling Travis while he pinned him to the floor.
"Derrick Webb," stated the lieutenant that Travis had met earlier. "Release your hostage and put your hands up." Not listening, Derrick switched from punching with his fists and put his hands around Travis' neck, choking the very life out of him.
The police continued to issue commands, but Travis couldn't hear them as he drifted into unconsciousness. A minute later, everything went black.
Seeing Travis black out, the cops issued one last attempt to dissuade Derrick, but when he wouldn't let Travis go, the officers had to open fire. They shot Derrick over twelve times, dropping him to the floor next to the unconscious Travis.
Once the guns stopped, Jones stuck her head through the door to see what had happened, and when she saw Travis on the floor by the dead Derrick, she ran to his side.
"Travis!" she exclaimed, seeing that he wasn't breathing.
"I'm sorry Travis," Jones apologized, placing her hands on his chest and pounding down. After two tries, Travis came coughing and choking back to life. Collapsing, exhausted from pain and struggle, Travis allowed himself to fall into Jones open arms.
"It's okay Travis," she cooed soothingly, rubbing his back gently. Shooting a glance at the body of their former roommate, she added, "It's all over now."
The weeks passed and the nightmare of Derrick Webb seemed to fade. He never really left their minds, but as Jones and Travis moved into their new apartment, they could feel the air clear as the black cloud was lifted.
"Shall we?" asked Travis, extending his arm towards the door.
"I think so," answered Jones, walking through the door and into a new life, one without Derrick Webb.