I don't normally write about anything but anime, but I needed SOMETHING to get me out of my slump… And it just so happens that EL TIGRE IS AN AWESOME CARTOON.
And it just so happens that I have an awesome, anime-style twist for it.
Meet Manny Rivera
Meet Manuel Pablo Gutierrez O'Brien Equihua Rivera. Manny Rivera for short. A sixteen-year-old Mexican boy living on his own, as he had been for eight years. No, his parents didn't die when he was young… His family died when he was born. His only known relative is his mother, and he barely remembered her, never mind where she was.
Manny knew nothing about his family, disregarding the knowledge of his mother being a world-famous singer who really didn't care for anyone but herself and select few people. The only people he could remember even slightly were his mom, dad, and grandfather, and they were all starting to fade from his mind.
Orphaned at a few weeks old, Manny had lived in the Netzahualcoyotl Orphanage for at least half of his life. He wasn't born in Netzahualcoyotl, however. His home town was Miracle City, a cesspool city about five miles away. But when his single father and grandfather were killed, not that he knows how, he was literally left on the streets, since his mother had divorced his father (Again, he didn't remember or know why). A passing-by woman with a heart had picked him up and brought him to her hometown's orphanage. Manny started living there, totally clueless about most of his past.
At age seven, he started receiving letters from his mother; not directly, however. The letters were sent to the orphanage for safety, for each letter contained a substantial amount of money. Ms. Vida, the woman in charge of the orphanage, kept it for Manny, in case he was ever adopted. When a couple picked him out, that was when she would tell him about the letters.
However, Manny learned about the letters and cash earlier than that, more or less due to the caretaker's habit of speaking her thoughts out loud. He had been sneaking around Ms. Vida's office, always after a new letter had come. He kept careful track of the money, and by the time he was eight, he knew there was enough. He didn't like living at the orphanage, he never did. When he was sure there was enough, he had taken the money and his backpack, which was kindly given to him by Ms. Vida's daughter, and ran away from the orphanage.
In his opinion, it was more like he escaped.
He ended up back in his birthplace, Miracle City. The money his mother sent him had helped him rent a small, shabby apartment. City Hall, knowing that Manny happened to be Maria Rivera's son, told him that they would supply the tuition money for school if he could get the money for his other necessities. That deal stood firm. However, at age fourteen, the money Manny had received from his mother was gone. The city stopped giving him the money for school without hesitation, and Manny had to be evicted from the only place he'd ever called home. Manny had been getting home-schooled since eighth grade, courtesy of his best friend, Frida Suarez.
Frida was the only friend Manny had made while he was going to school. The two met when Manny began his first semester, and eventually, they became inseparable. When Manny got into fights, Frida had his back if he got hurt. If she was in trouble, he was the one to help. Even with Manny leaving school, and Mr. Suarez's deep disapproval of the boy, they continued to be best friends. Frida was basically his teacher. After she finished school every day, she would go straight to him and teach him what she had learned. Her father thought she was with her old friend, now rival, Zoe Aves. Little did he know that they hadn't talked since third grade. That's why it was such a good cover-up.
But enough history, let's get on with the story.
Manny trudged back to his current 'home', a run-down, abandoned house in the center, mostly abandoned region of the city. He winced with every step, his hand applying pressure to his left arm every so often. He hated the fact that he was always called out to fights with his former 'classmates' that he never got along with, but he loved the fact that he always won, despite the injuries he may or may not receive while fighting. Plus, he was too proud to give up or not go period. Another wince came.
He looked at his arm. Although his jacket was black, he could clearly see the blood seeping through it. Aw, come on. I went months without staining this thing! At least he was almost home.
"Manny!" Manny stopped walking for a moment, and turned around. Frida was running up to him. Why was she here? When Frida had caught up, she grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around so he was facing her. "For God's sake, Manny! I just saw Paolo and his idiot followers when I came back from my band rehearsal! Why do you need to fight those guys every time they call you out!?" Manny snorted and looked away.
"They're all weak. It's not like I ever get hurt in fights." Frida raised an eyebrow, and grabbed his upper arm in her hand. Manny yelped and swatted her hand away. "Dammit, Frida! That still hurts!" Frida looked at her hand, which had been colored scarlet. She poked him in the chest.
"You did get hurt, stupid," she retorted. A forehead slap followed. "Manny, you've gotta be careful." Manny folded his arms and looked at the ground.
"I know, I know…Hey!" Manny exclaimed as Frida started to remove his jacket. "What're you doing!?" Frida made him sit down on a nearby stoop. She joined him in sitting, letting her backpack slide down her arm.
"You're hurt, stupid. I'm trying to help. Why do you think I was wearing my backpack?" She reached into her schoolbag and pulled out a makeshift medical kit, consisting of a roll of gauze, tape, a bottle of water and a small towel. "Best thing I could do on short notice." Many grumbled something inaudible under his breath.
"Fine…" Frida grinned in victory and slipped Manny's jacket off unhurriedly, trying not to cause him any more pain. He reluctantly complied, moving his arms as needed. Frida dabbed the towel with water and rubbed it along his wound slowly, cleaning the blood away.
"You should stop getting into fights so often, you're really going to get hurt one of these days," she muttered, putting the towel down and ripping a piece of gauze with her teeth. "Next time it won't be your arm that gets cut."
"Oh yeah? What'll it be then?"
"Hey, it's Paolo; if he was angry enough, he'd probably try to castrate you." Manny shuddered at this. He also wondered how his rocker friend had thought of that in the first place. Meh, I'll ask her about it later.
"No way I'm letting him anywhere near there." Frida finished wrapping the gauze around his arm. She, using her teeth once again, ripped off a piece of tape. "Besides, it's not like I'll ever lose."
"You lost twice last week."
"…Okay, I won't lose from now on." Frida tightened his bandage on purpose. Manny yelped.
"Ye-oww! Frida!" Frida taped the gauze together and smiled playfully.
"All done." Manny rubbed his arm.
"Terrific," he muttered. Frida put her arm around his shoulders.
"You know Manny, my house is always available if you ever need somewhere to go." Manny raised an eyebrow. He grinned like a cocky idiot.
"Why? Cause you can't keep your eyes off me?" Frida pushed him.
"No!" she snapped, tinting pink ever-so-slightly. She folded her arms. "I'm just saying. You can't stay in that old, run-down house all your life."
"First of all, that hurt." Manny stood up and grabbed his jacket, rubbing his bruised cheek. "Second, thanks, but no thanks." He slid his jacket on. "Even if I wanted to, which I don't, your dad would go ballistic. He gets pissed if I even come within ten feet of your house."
"Because he's the chief of police, you dip," Frida explained, rolling her eyes. "With all the fights you get in, he's up to his neck in reasons to not like you. You cause a lot of commotion."
"And Paolo doesn't?"
"You get the point, Manny."
"Whatever. Why are you so into helping me, anyway?" Frida stood up, walked over to him, and punched him in his good arm.
"Friends do that for each other," she explained, smiling. "Stupid." Manny laughed a little.
"Right." He rubbed his arm. "For the moment, I'm fine. I'm not sure how, but I'll be getting out of here." Frida shrugged.
"Let's hope so." She slung her backpack over her shoulder and started walking away. "And that offer I made is on the table either way." That was the last thing she said before disappearing around the corner of the street. Manny stared after her, blinked, and headed up the stairs of his current home. Somehow, I just know my luck's gonna change real soon…I just know it.
Well, whaddaya say? Should I continue this? Reviews are helpful and nice!