that one person in the crowd (a story)

That One Person in the Crowd

I’m sure you know that person.
They are the one the group has that is their toy, their scapegoat, their whipping post… They are teased, shoved around, they take the fall when things go belly up. They’ll even go to prison to keep the group happy. To stay on the inside. Maybe because they’re the runt? Or the one who is always high and easy to dump things on?
The house-mouse in a gang.
The go-boy in a prison.
The towel boy or girl on the sports team.
The newb in the fraternity or the sorority.
The family’s scapegoat or whipping post.
They are so grateful for being on the inside, that they put up with anything the group members do to them.
Do you know someone like that?

Well that was Nattie.
They called her that because her name was Natalie and because her hair was usually in a state of unrest. Tatts, tangles, uncombed, maybe unwashed for a few days? She didn’t exactly take care of herself. And the group took her in.
I’m not sure which came first, her self esteem issues, her drug use, or the group’s treatment of her?
Don’t get me wrong, they protected Nattie and had an odd kind of love and respect for her. Nobody else was allowed to hurt THEIR Nattie! They’d protect her with their lives when other gangs came hunting for a fight.
But they could hurt her.
So long as she showed up the next time they needed, the group members were allowed to do almost anything to her. She had to be able to walk, talk and breathe. And want to stay. But for Nattie that involved an awful lot of pain. And she seemed to enjoy it, so the few times the group leaders were a bit hesitant by how a member treated Nattie, they remembered the smile on her face. She seemed to get tougher the more she was mistreated. So they let it go on.
She gave blow jobs to the single guys, and hand jobs to the single girls. Without a kiss or a cuddle for herself.
And all she asked for was to be in the group. And get her next fix of dope or booze, whatever was going around. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

Now you have the set up, right? You know her place in the world. And more importantly, so did Nattie. And her group.

One night at a party, Nattie was doing the usual thing. Making the single ones happy, scrounging for something to get her high, to escape her feelings. There was a new girl dancing nearby that the gang were watching. As if she was a performance. So Nattie caught a glimpse now and then. To see why they were interested.
The girl was playing with some of the members. Teasing, making out, getting her fix of attention.
The other girl got close to Nattie and the gang watched with interest. The girl had no idea who Nattie was, just that she was on the inside and the girl wanted in. So she took to Nattie, like she was strawberries and cream. They started making out and the group leaders grinned and turned away. They were willing to let it go on.
Nattie was unused to this kind of attention. She became part of the show, all of a sudden. Because this girl wanted in the group. And Nattie was in.
Suddnely the girl was punching Nattie, like she stood in the way of her dream. At first, the members just watched. Anything to be entertained. But then Nattie’s head hit the floor and she screamed. So a couple strong ones pulled the new girl away. But not before she got a few more licks on Nattie.
Someone dusted Nattie off and asked her if she was ok. She drousily nodded. But hey she was half cut on the best of days…
Nobody realized that today a clock started ticking inside Nattie’s head. One that would lose them their favourite toy before the night was over.
Nattie had a concussion and afterwards the group found out she had a brain bleed. In that moment, Nattie started to slip away. She got drousier, and more wobbly on her feet. But nobody thought anything about it. They thought it was just Nattie being Nattie at a party. So they put her to bed in a corner and went on partying.
And somewhere in the party Nattie slipped away. It was only when the sun rose and everyone had to leave that someone went to wake her up. But she was gone.
The group called for an ambulance and stood around in shock as they were told that Nattie was dead. There were tears on a few girls’ faces. It was hard to believe that Nattie would never be with the group again.
But there was nothing they could do. They collected a few dollars for flowers and one of the underlings took them to the hospital, in case Nattie had family.
But that was all.
Nobody came to claim Nattie’s body. The group sometimes wondered what happened to her. But no one checked.
Eventually, Nattie’s body was cremated as indigent.
The girl who had been the catalyst of Nattie’s death? She never took Nattie’s seat in the group’s membership. Nobody wanted her to have that place. If she hadn’t fought Nattie and hurt her, she might have gotten in. Who knows?
But she’d never get in now. Eventually she wandered off.
And after a few weeks? The group was back to their old ways. It’s not that they didn’t care… it’s just that Nattie was their toy after all. Not much of anything else. Ya know?
Nattie had a life and death in obscurity.

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