Life Lesson #214: Running Away Never Solves your Problems

By Joy Papadopoulos

My name is Joy Papadopoulos. Actually, my given name is Efrosyni, which I fucking love to pieces. Dumbest. Name. Ever. No one can pronounce or spell it and when I say it, they sort of blink and smile like an ass. It’s pronounced ef-ro-SEE-nee, if you’re curious. Apparently it’s Greek for “joy and mirth.” How fucking ridiculous considering I’m completely lacking in both things. My big brother couldn’t pronounce it, so my mother just started calling me Joy to make life simple for him. My parents were all about making life simple for my brother. Wait till you see where that got them.

Ironically, our last name means “son of the priest” or some shit like that. It’s ironic considering my father is not even close to priestly. Tony Papadopoulos is a cutthroat businessman, and if you cross him, well you won’t have much time to ponder the consequences.

My story isn’t “officially” written yet. Renee’s still pissing around with her outline, thinking about me while she finishes up with that pussy marine she stuck up on a mountain. She’s also trying to rewrite a bunch of shit she lost because she’s too stupid to save her work now and then. Basic rule of writing: Save your shit before you walk away from the computer. You’d think she’d have learned by now. I’m writing her blog post for her because she has all these good intentions of updating it regularly. Yeah, you all know how that’s going to turn out, right? Girl has the attention span of a two year old hopped up on  cherry Kool-Aid and crack.

Anyway, more about me. My father and I have an unusual relationship. It’s not terrible. I know he loves me, but the problem is he’s just so fucking old fashioned. Well that and he makes me kill people. More on that later.

Tony Papadopoulos moved to America when he was six. His father, the late and much quoted (to my utter agony) Niko Papadopoulos arrived in New York with nothing. His wife had been murdered, and all they had was each other. Well, that’s the story my father gives everyone. I checked it out when I was a teenager. It’s a bunch of bullshit. My grandfather came from a rich family. A family that sent him off to America with a fat bank account to avoid tarnishing the family name after Niko caught his wife, my grandmother, in bed with his cousin Stavros. He killed them both, and tried to kill my uncle Dimitri, who was suspected to be the illegitimate child of Niko’s brother. Dimitri died a couple of years ago. He’s the one that told me the truth, and before he died he was able to meet with my father. You know, I suspect that’s probably why he died… The point is my grandfather was a rich nobody when he got to America. By the time my father was sixteen old, just ten short years, Niko had built the foundations for one of the largest crime families to never be discovered by the feds. I’d say that’s pretty fucking impressive.

Another irony is my father’s “motto,” which is that you never run away from a fight. Considering his father, the man he idolized, ran from everything, it’s a strange motto to have.

My dad and I got along great for most of my life. Even after my mother left and I found out my dad had been banging a woman with huge fake tits and a tattoo of a monkey on her ass on the side, we managed to stay close. He doted on me, called me his princess, bought me everything I wanted—until he realized he had the perfect assassin under his roof for eighteen years. I didn’t mind killing people. Actually, I kind of liked the challenge of stalking my prey. I loved that every dipshit crime boss in the country assumed I was a man. Idiots. What I didn’t like was my father’s need to keep me as close to him as possible. I think he worried I might come for him if I was allowed to think for myself. Paranoid freak.

I started looking for my own place, but dear old Dad would have none of that shit. He arranged a marriage for me…with his second in command. First off, an arranged marriage? Who even does that anymore? Second, as if I’d ever marry that arrogant, illiterate prick. He’s so hooked on steroids and himself I’m sure the honeymoon would be gloriously underwhelming.

I said no. My father said it was for the good of the family. I said no again. He said if I didn’t marry the guy, I was not allowed to move out. At first I was like, “Oh no, you didn’t!” But I realized very fast that, oh yes, he certainly did. A woman had no place living by herself. It was dangerous out there in the big bad world.

Dangerous. Yeah, makes total sense. He sent me to kill people for him and he’s worried getting my own place would attract the psychos? Fucksakes. I was the psycho.

So I ran away, and my father was livid. He searched relentlessly. I swear I felt him breathing down my neck at every shithole I stopped in during my first weeks on the run. Oh, I could afford a nice place. Hell, I had a ton of cash on me—taken from Dad’s safe an hour before I ran—but he’d expect his princess to go for the luxury she was accustomed to. Instead I sucked up my horror and OCD, and I slept with cockroaches, mystery stains and, in one lovely establishment, a rat I named Giles.

Once the heat was off, I snuck back to get my dog, and I’ve been on the run since. I was doing pretty well at evading him too, until my asshole brother revealed to the fucking world (okay, mostly just the crime world) just who was the “muscle” behind the mighty Papadopoulos family. Then the attempts on my life started. True, if I’d just went back to my dad, I’d have been safe and hidden until he could throttle my brother and convince folks I was not an assassin, but that would be quitting and admitting he was right about running away. I’m no quitter, and I refuse to be wrong.

So I moved, and moved again, and finally, I lost the amateur hit men, my besotted canceled fiancé, and my father’s buffoons. Turns out the key to cutting the apron strings when the wearer of said apron is a master at finding people who don’t want to be found, is to hide in plain sight. It took me a while to figure that out, but when I learn something, I become the master. I lived thirty minutes from my father’s estate for six months, snuck in a few times to top up my cash and to pick up clothes I decided I couldn’t live without, and he had no fucking clue.

So I was doing okay. I don’t like people in general, so friends weren’t an issue. I’m a lone wolf. Friends require too much energy, especially the women. Well, I managed to avoid everyone except this fucknut Amy from my job, but we’re not talking about her today. I wanted to just cut her throat at first, but Renee’s trying to make me relatable and says she won’t allow that, but I always get what I want in the end.

Anyway, I came home from work one day, just wanting to sit and chill with Bubba Nugget, my slobbery and loyal English mastiff, and Harvey, the stray ball of fluffy feline fury that refused to leave my apartment once he’d snuck past my ankles and conquered his tiny kingdom. I’d wanted to talk to Bubba about moving again, because that fucknut from my job was really annoying and I’d almost run out of patience with her bullshit, and instead I found a bigass man sitting on my couch. Not bigass fat, but bigass tall and muscular and reeking of beefcake deliciousness. His name? Turns out he’s also a bigass moron. He called himself the “Collector.” You see, he collects people for other people. Why? Various reasons. Some of them are political contracts, some are mob related, others are for reasons he wouldn’t elaborate on. I called him a hit man, he laughed. You know, he never did say if he’d killed anyone. I think he has. He’s got that “Don’t fuck with me or I’ll kill you.” look about him.

Not that I’m in any position to judge such things, but at least I took out lowlifes, he just took out whoever had the biggest price on their head. He won’t tell me who sent him. He says he doesn’t have a name, but swears it’s not my father. Apparently whoever wants to collect me plans to dangle me in front of my dad for some kind of trade off. I do know one thing though; the person or people behind my collection have no fucking clue about my family. A trade? Pffft. They’d put a bullet in my head before they’d deal with anyone.

The Collector thinks I underestimate my value. I think I want to nail him every which way but right, but I don’t say this out loud. He’s kind of serious and professional, and I doubt that’s the way to charm such a fellow anyway. I think a thorough fuck would really improve his temperament. I promised myself I’d get him drunk  and take advantage of him, but I’m not allowed to tell you about that either.

Where was I? Oh yes, the deal and whatnot. So I’m a little pissed that my guard dog is like, not guarding me in the least, and the cat is…well Harvey isn’t exactly loyal. I didn’t expect him to be. He’s a cat after all. Little bastard pissed in my new Manolo’s once because I forgot to feed him. He’s so fat, two days of fasting did him good. I’m a softy for animals though. They’re so much better than humans.

Tangent again. Sorry. I got over my anger with Bubba Nugget because the Collector showed me the hole in his pants that proved my dog tried to be vicious. There it was, right below his fine ass—the Collector’s not Bubba’s. Bubba’s ass is all balls and fart. Not fine at all. The Collector had done his homework though and brought the one thing that could win the slobbery fool’s undying devotion: Golden Oreos. I’d been betrayed for subpar cookies.

After we established that Bubba Nugget would have to travel with us until I could sneak him back home or something (I was NOT putting him in a kennel), he realized just how difficult an item I would be to keep. You see, we weren’t even 24 hours into the charade when he got this call from some government agency. They wanted to hire him to collect me, and they definitely don’t want me to go back to my family. They didn’t say why they wanted me. If they thought I’d turn on my family to stay out of jail or something, they’re dumber than they look. If they thought I’d work for them…now that proposal has its merits. Not that I could consider such a thing anyway. I mean, now that the word was out that I’d…shit. Look, you’ll have to wait until Renee writes the story to see what they wanted with me. She’s got that marked as top secret.

Anyway the government asshats had no idea about this other shithead—the first contract given on my head—so they were all like “What’s the problem dude? Just bring her to such and such a place at such and such a time on this date and you will be compensated handsomely.” Okay, I don’t know what they said exactly, but I imagined they’d say something like that. The feds have no idea that the world does not revolve around them and not everyone cares about helping them catch the bad guys. The Collector was like, “How did you get this number?” He paused as I was sure they explained their cunning ways, and he was all like, “I am not looking for work currently. I’m on another assignment. I will contact you soon,” because this is a conflict for him, being that the last people he wants contacting him are probably the feds. True, he’d done government jobs before, but it’d been through someone else. No direct link.

The Collector thought that my brother was behind the whole shebang. I tried to tell him that although Mickey was a class-A twat, he just was not that smart. Wait till you see what happened to that fool. My brother, not the Collector.

Up to this point, my abductor has no idea that I’m an assassin. I really want to tell him, but then there’s the whole trust issue. If he knows I can kill him in his sleep, he won’t let me snuggle up next to him under the pretence of not letting me get away anymore. I really like snuggling with him. Plus, he’d probably assume I meant I was a hit man…woman…person. Fucking PC bullshit. The point is that a hit man is small time. I’m not small time. I take out major names, not some anonymous dope who can’t pay for his shit or some five and dime boss who’s trespassed on Papadopoulos territory. The Collector has no idea that I can escape his “clutches” any time I want. He thinks I’m just a spoiled brat, and I’m okay with that. Until I figure out what the fuck is going on, I need him to believe I’m harmless and helpless. Also, he’s really good at hiding. The man has remained anonymous since he left wherever it is he came from twenty years before. I’d say that’s as expert as you get at hiding.

The point of this ramble? Jesus, impatient much? I’m getting to it. I should have stood up to my father, or at least just moved the hell out and cut my canceled fiancé’s throat. End of story. But no, I ran away and what happened? My problems multiplied. True, it brought the Collector to me, but what good is a hot piece of man candy if I can’t stop running from my life long enough to taste it? Exactly. Running away from your problems only creates more problems. Don’t worry though. I’ll get out of this.

Or I’ll die trying.

6 thoughts on “Life Lesson #214: Running Away Never Solves your Problems

  1. I love Joy! Really — she's infectious. Ah, you know. Gritty.You should definitely write her story.The introduction was a tad too long (spoilers?) but her voice is very compelling. 🙂

  2. I'm having trouble with deciding where to start this one. Originally I planned to begin when Joy meets the Collector, because they're both major characters, but then when I got the outline done and started filling out the characters, I wondered if I shouldn't start further back. Sigh. This is why I hate outlining.

  3. Great voice. Play around a bit longer – ramble on – an edited story will eventually arrive. Clay Cross was bugging my brain for years until he eventually emerged. Not as painful as childbirth, I imagine.

  4. I think the psychological pain of "creating" is equal to the physical pain of childbirth. 🙂 I'm thinking about outlining in a similar way, with her just narrating until I get my ideas in order. The outline I have has many holes yet. Perhaps this "stream of consciousness" brainstorming will patch those up.

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