If I didn't have an Aunt Fiona I wouldn't have lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If my mother didn't get knocked up at age sixteen, and if my father wasn't her teacher, I wouldn't have needed to be in my Aunt's possession.
But please, I'm getting ahead of myself.
My mother got pregnant with me and left me in my Aunt Fiona's care, and since Aunt Fiona never wanted kids of her own, and she's got a horrible memory, it's as if I don't even exist.
I moved from Missouri to Tulsa when I was four after Aunt Fiona supposedly fell in love with a man who could only afford a house in this little neighborhood.
Growing up I quickly realized that this neighborhood had a good amount of gangs within it, and most people would have to pick sides.
I was unaware of which side to pick. I was unaware of what the different sides were, but since no one ever really bothered me I was okay in the long run. Sure I witnessed things that I wish I didn't see, but since I really didn't have the nerve to go out much or get to know anyone I was fine.
When I was nine I made the first friend that I actually was willing to take home with me. His name was Robin, and he wore rather fancy clothing for a kid who'd want to be my friend, but at that time I didn't think much of it.
We hit it off real well. He was really nice and always made funny comments about my blonde hair, which in later years I noticed why: Boys don't have blonde hair in this town.
After about two hours there was a knock on the door and I went to answer it, some big looking guy pushing passed me.
He had a stocky build, short hair like Robin's and the same kind of fancy clothing.
"What the hell are you doing with this filthy grease?" he shouted at Robin, punching me in the gut.
"Grease?" Robin asked as the big guy began to kick me, "There ain't nothin' wrong with him! Leave him alone!"
The big guy grabbed Robin and looked down at me, "You got lots to learn, Greaser!" and soon he slammed the door shut.
Greaser? I had heard the phrase but I didn't know it was a type of person.
Whenever I saw Robin in the hall we'd both look away. Whenever I'd see kids dressed like Robin I'd put my head down. Whenever I'd see people dressed like me, though…Hell, I'd sprint down the hallway.
I just don't want to cause trouble.
Once I turned thirteen the trouble came to me, and I didn't have a chance to avoid it.
"Rumble?" I asked myself. The word had been passed around like wildfire, "What's a rumble?"
I was so desperate to know that I couldn't help but eavesdrop.
These two Socs, when I was fourteen I found out their names, stood and talked about beating in some greasers at the rumble.
"They aren't going to be able to see once we're through with them, let alone walk!" one of them laughed.
"They were foolish to come into our territory!" the other growled, "I swear, that Dallas Winston won't be alive tomorrow!"
"At least it's not skin against skin," the first one said, "Lead pipes. I'll be knocking their teeth out with 'em."
"Don't tell anyone," the second whispered, "but I'm bringing my switch."
The first gasped, "The six inch?"
I saw him flip out the switch and I flinched. That's what a rumble is like?
Out of fear I ran, but they heard me.
I was being chased by Socs.
They yelled for me to stop and I knew that they held their switches as they ran. I could hear it clank in their hands.
I ran up the first tree I saw. Luckily they were too big to climb up it as well, but one of them threw their knife up at me, and it went right through my blonde bangs.
I almost fell out the tree, but the branch caught my foot.
I wish it didn't.
One of the Socs punched me out the tree, but with a skill I learned early on in my life I managed to grab the switch on the ground and stabbed him in the leg.
As he howled in pain I ran off, the other Soc running after me. As we turned the corner I grabbed a branch and hit him with it making him fall backward.
I knew that they'd be looking for me at the rumble, thus I ran for it, making sure no one else was following me.
Getting home I told myself it was a bad idea to go to the rumble, but after what just happened I felt obligated to it. Those Socs are crazy! I needed to participate in this rumble, even if it kills me.
With Aunt Fiona caring less I headed out that night, a pipe from the garage in my shaking hand. What am I doing?
I made it to the lot. To calm my nerves I ate one of my Snickers. I saved the others in case I really started to panic.
We had to wait for the Socs. All the other Greasers looked like they had done this before and could care less about who else was there.
One of them realized I was knew and made his way over to me.
"What's your name, kid?" he snarled.
I swallowed, my nerves getting the better of me.
He cocked an eyebrow, "Candy caught your tongue?"
I guess it did.
He must've spotted the other Snickers in my pocket, "You've got a sweet tooth, boy."
I had to tell him some kind of name, "SweetTooth."
"What?" he asked me.
"That's my name," I was such a liar, "SweetTooth."
He cocked an eyebrow, "Look, I can tell it's your first rumble, and here are the rules: You get the boys who look like tight asses. Understand?" I nodded nervously, "Good."
I shook the hand he offered. He soon looked away, though.
Lots of them.
I dropped my pipe and pulled out another Snicker. I had to keep calm.
It's gonna be okay I told myself It's gonna be okay. Calm the hell down!
I picked the pipe back up and exhaled. I tried to keep my cool as best I could.
A Soc and one Greaser went to the middle of the lot to talk, but soon the Soc hit him upside the head with the pipe, the rumble beginning.
One greaser pushed right passed me and I fell face first into the gravel. One Soc grabbed me by the shirt and began to beat me with the pipe. With my clever hands I got him in the jewels and stood as he stumbled back.
Soon, out of all the grunting and clashing, I heard the sound of a switch.
I know that sound. I thought, I knew who would want to kill me, too.
The Soc I had hit with the branch stood grinning with the six-inch switchblade he had earlier, and before I knew it he was coming at me.
I hit him upside his head with my pipe, his blade getting my shirt.
He held me down on the ground, my struggling making him angrier and angrier.
Soon, though, he got off me, or more so was lifted off.
Another grease punched the Soc so hard he fell over.
He looked at me and helped me up, "You okay, kid?"
I nodded nervously and soon pointed behind him as another Soc came at him.
As he went to fight that one, another with a pipe confronted me.
We played it like swords until he knocked mine out my hand. He got me in the face and I fell to my side. Not far after I felt someone lift me over their shoulder and run. Howls in the distance were made as my savior pushed me in a car.
"He okay?" one of them asked the other.
"I ain't never seen him before," one of them felt my bruise, "I know he's alive, though. Just go!"
As the driver drove off the one in front of me kept me awake, "What's your name?"
It took me a while, "S…Sweet…SweetTooth…Sweet…"
I slowly opened my eyes. He was beaten up pretty bad, but I could tell he was younger than me. Possibly by two years, maybe three.
"Fiona…" I muttered.
"Sorry?" the kid asked me.
"Take…take me…333…333…River…River Ave…"
"You hear that, Tim?"
"Yeah, yeah, I got it!" the driver drove, and the next thing I remember is waking up on Aunt Fiona's couch.
I didn't see that kid for years, but I didn't stop looking for him. I had to thank him. He practically saved my life along with that 'Tim'.
Years passed and now I was seventeen. One afternoon I was driving Aunt Fiona's car from the candy shop, a twizzler dangling out my mouth.
Soon I blew a flat, making me have to push the car to the DX station not too far from where I landed.
I pushed it up to a block away from the station and decided to walk alone the rest of the way.
"Excuse me?" I asked the first guy I saw.
He turned to me, "What you want, Blondie?" then he did a double take. He yanked a tire iron out his waistband, "You a Soc?"
I put up my hands, "No. I just got a flat about a block away."
He looked skeptical, but seemed to believe me enough.
"Soda!" he yelled to the guy surrounded by girls, "You already got Sandy! Now go help this blondie with his flat, will ya?"
When he turned to me I noticed why the girls surrounded him. He was radiant! He was…handsome is a bad word for him…Pretty is actually more accurate. He was too pretty to make fun of because of his name.
He came up to me, "Got a flat?"
Then I recognized him.
He's the kid who helped me in the rumble.
I cocked an eyebrow, "Your parents let ya fight rumbles four years back?"
He smiled. Beautiful teeth, "Nah. I'd sneak out with my brother Darry." He became curious, "Who wants to know?"
"SweetTooth does," I told him, "SweetTooth from 333 River Avenue."
He dropped the smile and his jaw, "You're that greaser-"
"You saved." I finished his sentence.
He blushed, "Well-"
"Soda, you saved my life," I told him, "I've been meaning to thank you for years and now…Thank you."
He smiled, "Full name's Sodapop Curtis, and it was a pleasure."
The other guy came over, "You too long lost brothers or something?"
"Steve, this is SweetTooth." Soda said.
"Your friend and me go back a long way," I told Steve.
"Really?" he asked, "Well, we go back farther." Steve swung his arm around Soda, "Ain't that right, buddy?"
Soda pushed Steve off him and smiled, "Where's your flat?"
I took him to the car and the problem was solved pretty fast.
Over the few months I'd see Soda and Steve, and sometimes Soda with his brothers hanging out around the neighborhood and I'd wave. I finally felt safe around someone.
One day I was sitting in the living room and I heard a knock at the door.
I opened it to a crying Sodapop.
"Soda? What's wrong-"
"Pony's missing!" he cried.
I cocked an eyebrow, "Whose pony?"
"My brother, Ponyboy Curtis," he wiped his tears, "and his friend Johnny Cade. I'm gathering up some greasers to help look for him."
I nodded with understanding. Grabbing my coat I ran out with him.
I got to meet some more greasers, and they all seemed real nice.
"Darrel Curtis," an obviously older greaser shook my hand. He looked too young to be the dad, "I'm Pony and Soda's older brother."
Another with nicely trimmed sideburns shook my hand, "Two-Bit Mathews."
I smirked, "Lots of original names here, I see."
"Just a nickname," he shrugged. He got close to my ear, "Actually, it's my secret agent name, but don't go telling anyone. Especially Dally. He'd kill me."
"Which one's Dally?" I whispered back.
He pointed at another grease. He held a smoke in his hand and had a Cross necklace on.
Basically, I could tell he was dangerous.
But I came up to him anyway, "Dally?"
He looked at me, "Who's asking?"
"SweetTooth Collins," I told him "I'm here to help look for Johnny and Pony."
He rolled his eyes, "That damn Soda…"
He put the smoke in his mouth and shook my hand, "Call me Dally or Dallas. I could care less-"
"Dallas Winston?" I remembered that name from when the Socs were talking.
He smiled, "Ah, so has my name been released to the papers, yet?"
I shrugged, "You a celebrity?"
"Jailbird, but close enough." He smirked.
Darrel soon got us all together and laid out the plan, but I could tell Soda was having second thoughts.
He kept looking back at Dally, making me look at him.
He had a smug look on his face.
Did he kill Ponyboy and Johnny? I questioned.
Will he kill me?
I found out from the meet that Pony and/or Johnny had killed a Soc named Bob.
Darry continued, "Now, we have to make sure Pony and Johnny are not actually running to Texas-"
"Texas?!" Two-Bit stood, "Texas?! We gotta help 'em-"
"Two-Bit, you're drunk!" Steve stood.
"I ain't drunk! We gotta help 'em!" Two-Bit flipped out a switch with such skill I jumped back in my seat.
"Jesus Christ, sit down!" Dally came over and plopped Two-Bit down in his seat, "They ain't in Texas, man."
"They my buddies," Two-Bit snarled, "I'll do what I have to to help 'em."
Dally rolled his eyes and came back to his seat.
Once Darry concluded greasers began to leave, but Soda stopped Dally.
"Dally," he began.
"Yeah?" Dally smoked.
"Tell me where my brother is."
Dally laughed, "What?"
Soda thrust a piece of paper onto his chest, "I didn't listen to a word Darry said 'cause I spent it writing this letter." Dally looked down at it, "Now, give that letter to Ponyboy when you see him, okay?"
Dally scoffed, "Soda, I ain't gonna-"
"I know you know where they are," Soda's eyes began to tear up, "Now give him that letter from me, understood?"
Dally hesitated before saying anything else. He looked at me and I looked away.
He heard him angrily exhale, "Whatever, Soda."
Soda left after a pause or two, Dally stuffing the paper in his pocket while angrily muttering.
During the five days we searched I sort of got to know the boys, especially Two-Bit since he never stopped talking.
Darry was the real authority figure and was obviously the oldest in the group.
Dally was just a jailbird that knew something about Pony and Johnny, but just wasn't talking.
Steve and Soda were best buddies, and with Steve's knowledge of cars and Soda's good looks the DX wasn't going out of business any time soon.
On the fifth day I was eating a lollipop outside the bookstore where I got a part-time job when Steve came by.
"They found Pony and Johnny!" he said.
"What?" I took the pop out my mouth, "Are they okay? What's happened to them?"
"They saved some kids from dying," he handed me the paper. I began to read.
"'Delinquents Turn Heroes'?" I gave him back the paper, "Are they at least okay?"
"Well, since they saved them from a fire," Steve sighed, "Johnny got burned up real bad and Dally's arm got bummed up too. Pony's fine, though. He's just blonde."
I knew Dallas had something to do with Pony and Johnny's disappearance, and unexpectedly it was all for the better.
With knowledge that Pony and Johnny were safe I could settle. If I could I'd visit Johnny, but we weren't close. However, Pony came by the bookstore early the next morning.
"Hey , Blondie," I smiled.
He looked up at me, "Right back at ya."
I soon realized he didn't know who I was.
I extended a hand, "SweetTooth. SweetTooth Collins."
He shook, "Ponyboy Curtis."
He bought the book and began to head out, "Hey, Pony?"
He turned, "Yeah?"
I swallowed, "Johnny okay?"
He took a second and then shrugged, "I'm finding out tomorrow."
I nodded and waved. He waved back and left. I didn't want to upset him. I didn't want to make him mad at me. I just wanted to make sure Johnny was okay.
As I walked home that evening I pulled out a Reese's cup, soon seeing bunches of greasers walking in one direction.
I managed to stop Two-Bit, "Hey, what's going on?"
"Rumble," he said, "Didn't you hear? Those rich monkey butts are pissed that Johnny killed one of their own. This is the ultimate battle. We decide eternal fate at this rumble! It's Epic!"
I stuffed the Reese's in my mouth, "Weapons?"
"Skin against skin," he told me, "You'd better come with us. Don't wanna be alone when it's time for," he made a really dramatic face, "THE KILL."
I couldn't help but grin. Two-Bit could force a smile out of me.
We arrived at the rumble. I saw the rest of the search party gang of Steve, Soda, and Darry, including Pony, but no Dallas.
We stood in ready positions. Once the Socs showed Darry went to the center to talk to one of them.
Their conversation was short and was interrupted by Dally running from a distance yelling something, which I couldn't pay much attention to after Ponyboy was punched in the face.
We got to business and I began beating the hell out the first Soc I could grab.
I pushed him to the ground digging his face in the mud. I heard him gasping for breath, but for some reason I didn't care. I liked it.
I loved it.
I began to kick him while he was in the mud. He tried to roll over but I wouldn't let him. I stuffed some mud in his mouth and then went back to kicking. Soon I began punching him in his gut. I couldn't control myself. What was happening to me? I'm not a violent person. I'm not a bad person.
I didn't feel this way in my first rumble, or in any of the ones before this one. Was it because of the situation?
I didn't have time to think much of it before another Soc pushed me to the ground endlessly kicking me in the sack.
I used my legs to kick him away and I got on my knees, punching him in his package until he fell over, the rain mixing with the constant blood in the ground.
Standing I grabbed the next Soc I saw and began to punch his lights out, but I may have picked a bad one. This guy was big.
He picked me up over his head and threw me to the ground, soon sitting on me.
I screamed. He was ridiculously heavy I felt like my heart had stopped.
Pounding him on his sides I couldn't figure out another way to get him off. I just wanted to live.
I soon bit into his back, him howling as he rolled over, giving me and another greaser the chance to kick him uncontrollably as another held him down.
Not long after another Soc came over not to hurt us, but to get the one we were planning on killing.
He lifted his fat ass up, and I looked up to see all the Socs running.
"We…we did it…" I stammered as the grease next to me began to howl in victory, "We DID IT!"
We all cackled and howled in celebration. One of the greasers picked me up and spun me around. If I were strong enough I'd do the same to one of them.
Not wanting to have to re-explain why I was beaten up and covered in blood I followed wherever the hell Soda and Two-Bit were going.
Two-Bit looked down at his shirt, "Damn them Socs! They ruined my mickey shirt!" he looked back at the lot, "We ain't finished, you bastards!"
I laughed and put my arm over his shoulders as we approached a house, which I presumed to be the Curtis's from Darry's comfort in entering it.
We all calmed down and began to tend to our injuries.
I headed to the bathroom to look in the mirror. I had a busted lip, my gut was killing me, and besides all the dirt that was it.
I wiped myself off and headed to the kitchen as Two-Bit walked passed me to the bathroom.
Steve looked like Hell as he looked at his tooth. From what I could tell it seemed like it grew or was bent. I was too far away.
I asked Darry if I could look in the fridge, which he approved and I discovered a chocolate cake.
I was about to pull it out before I heard the door open. It was Pony.
He looked pretty beat up, but there was something else about him that wasn't right.
"Pony, what's wrong?" Darry asked him.
Pony didn't hesitate, "Johnny's dead."
Like Darry I froze in my tracks.
Pony continued, "I told him about beating the Socs. I don't know, he just died."
Two-Bit walked passed him looking as freaked as the rest of us were. Johnny dead?
He went on, "Dally's gone. He couldn't take it. He's gonna blow."
He left to his room at that.
We all remained in our positions before Two-Bit gritted his teeth and pushed everything off the table in front of him.
"The damn drunk doesn't even give a shit!" he cried, "Go to Hell! Go to Hell, you damn drunk! You bitch!"
He grabbed his head and sunk into a chair next to the table. As he sobbed Soda went over to comfort him, the tears coming down his face as well.
I couldn't stand the idea. Someone I didn't even know, never met, is dead. Died a hero. Died brave.
Why did it drive me crazy?
I have no idea.
I slowly made my way to the door as Two-Bit began throwing some cards at the table to calm his nerves, Soda stood against a wall, and Steve joined Two-Bit.
Once I made it out the door I ran. I ran as fast as I could back to the lot where the rumble took place.
The rain had stopped and the fire was barely burning as I came to my knees, hitting the mud while yelling.
Johnny's dead…Johnny's dead…
I didn't even fucking know Johnny!
Why did it bother me? What was it about Johnny Cade that made me so angry?
Hearing a police siren as I sobbed I looked up to see Dally running passed.
"Dallas?" I asked, "Dallas?!"
I stood and began to run after, "Dally!"
I tripped on a rock of some sort and Dally got away, but I could hear Pony and others getting closer as they yelled his name.
I heard "You'll never get me alive!" "Stop!" "He's just a kid!" "No!" "It's not loaded!"
I was right behind the officer with the gun.
I knew what to do.
Standing I knocked the officer over, a bullet being shot into nothing but the air, startling Dally and making him drop the gun.
The officer I knocked down arrested me for assaulting him and one of the others arrested Dally for whatever crime he apparently committed.
We were pushed into different cars the gang chasing after the one with Dally in it. They didn't even know I had been arrested or had assaulted the officer.
They tossed me in jail where Aunt Fiona quickly bailed me out.
"What happened to you?" she panicked, "Never mind! I don't want to know!"
I looked out the window as she drove me back to her house. Once we arrived she tossed me into my room and with her small memory began muttering about the lottery.
Digging a jolly rancher out from under my pillow I placed my face in my hands and began to tear up.
Don't cry I told myself. Don't you damn cry! You'll be fine, goddamn it! Why do you care about what happened to Johnny anyways? Stop crying, you big baby!
I wiped my eyes and ate the rancher, soon taking off my shirt and going to bed.
The night was long and cold as I lay there questioning everything that had just happened. I questioned my relation to Johnny, my violence during the rumble, me saving Dally, everything.
Grabbing my blonde hair I pulled out another piece of random candy from under my pillow stuffing it into my mouth.
As it melted in my mouth I looked up at the ceiling.
If I didn't have an Aunt Fiona I wouldn't have lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If my mother didn't get knocked up at age sixteen, and if my father wasn't her teacher, I wouldn't have needed to be in my Aunt's possession I thought to myself.
And if Johnny didn't die I wouldn't have a chance to be in the gang.