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Author: Trekker
Fandom: Profit
Rating: R
Length: 1162 words
Warnings: Child abuse, violence to humans and animals, sociopath, not beta'd

Title: Five Times Jim Profit Broke Free
Summary: Vignettes on the origin of Jim Profit.

-1-
Jimmy was almost three, though he didn't know his numbers yet, so he didn't know. He'd only ever seen his father, so far as he could remember. There was a softer blur in in his mind, a smell of sweetness, but that memory was so faint it would soon be gone completely.

He heard voices outside. He'd heard them before, talking, talking. Sometimes music, sometimes loud sounds, too. This evening, the voices were talking again. He wondered, so he stood up and stretched up to the tippy-top of his tip toes, and just managed to peek over the edge of the box. Across the room, people walked across a glowing screen.

He stared.

"Oh, you like that, huh?" his father said.

The next day, his father cut a hole in his box.

-2-
He was four and a half. He knew his numbers now, and his letters. His father wasn't home. He was probably out with the cows. Jimmy felt a thrill go through his whole body that made him feel all wriggly and tingly and kind of like he had to pee. He could do it. Now.

He went to the side of his box, put his hands flat against it, and for a moment, he hesitated. Oh, he could get in trouble. Daddy would yell and yell. But Daddy wasn't here.

He pushed, and the box tipped, and then fell and he was on his hand and knees on the cardboard, looking out at the room. Inches away was the carpeted floor. He was breathing really fast. He pushed one hand across the cardboard just up to the edge so the very tips of his fingers touched the frizzy acrylic. Shaking all over, he pushed his hand a little farther, so his whole palm sank into the carpet.

Then the fear burst over him, and he scuttled backwards, pushing against the box 'til it tipped back up, surrounding him.

He curled in on himself, trembling, and listened to the laughter from the television.

-3-
He was starting seventh grade at the school in town. It was a big school, with kids from all over the county, not just the kids he'd grown up with, the ones who called him a freak.

It was his chance.

He'd gotten Bobbi to take him out to the mall. He'd snuck the money from Dad's secret "emergency" stash and used it to buy himself clothes like the cool kids on TV wore. He'd showered and combed his hair neatly that morning. In homeroom, he smiled and laughed and talked to the other kids. He made jokes like the ones that the studio audiences laughed at.

When the teacher called his name, "James Stakowski?" he said, "Call me Jim." Not Jimmy.

-4-
His father wouldn't let him go to the student government meetings.

"Jimmy, you've got responsibilities. You need to give Ellis her ride and muck her stall and get her fed and watered and still have time for your homework or whatnot."

Ellis was an old nag who'd never worked a day in her life. Never pulled a plow or ridden on a hunt. She was scared of the hunting dog, for one thing. The cows, Jim understood. They made the money that kept them all fed. Ellis, he didn't understand.

So every day after he mucked her stall, he'd go to the old hunting dog, smelling all over like horse, and he'd kick him and punch him and growl at him until he'd worked the hound up into a state of pure fury.

Then one day, as the next semester was coming up, he took the dog with him up to the back pasture. Ellis shied back and put down her ears even before he let the slavering dog off his leash. He watched for a moment, as the dog rushed and the horse wheeled, and it all ended in a screaming tangle in the barbed wire fence.

He pulled the dog off, dragged him back to his tie-up, then went in the house.

"The dog got into Ellis," he said, talking like his father liked him to, not like the TV voice he used at school. "She's hung up in the fence."

His father looked strange. Upset, maybe. "Did you call Doc Henson?" he said.

"No reason to," Jim said. "She's done for, I think."

His father went to the barn for the shotgun. Jim trailed him out to where Ellis shook and cried in the fence, all frothy blood and sliced flesh. His father raised the gun and said, with a strange roughness in his voice, "Easy, old girl, easy there, honey," and pulled the trigger.

Two weeks later, Jim went to his meeting.

-5-
"Don't know why you take those fancy business classes," his father had said. "Typing. What the hell you need typing for? You're staying here, minding the farm."

He was set on that. It was clear. "Over my dead body," he said. "You don't need college."

So, the terms were set, and Jim would abide by them. Just like Ellis, he knew it would be best to make it look natural, like it happened by accident. Then they didn't ask questions, then his record was clear. His father smoked a lot, smoked in bed even. It was dangerous, everybody knew.

He wasn't smoking now, though, just sleeping. Bobbi was out on the town with the girls, and that was fine, she wasn't a part of this. He held the chains from the barn tucked close to his chest so they wouldn't clank. He could take them off later, after the place was ashes, but before the fire department got there. He'd go to the library to study and come home and it would all be over.

He threw the chains over the bed and across his father's body like a dead snake. His father grunted and shifted but didn't wake. A slight overdose of Bobbi's sleeping pills saw to that. He secured them tight, then pulled a cigarette out of the pack on the dresser, put it to his lips to light it, then held it out at arms' length and let go, watching it fall to the sheets and sit and smoulder.

He didn't move as the sheet began to smoke, then burst into a small lick of flame. The flames spread outward, orange and alive, and once they nuzzled up alongside his father's arm, even the sleeping pill didn't work. His father jerked awake and yelled at him. A smell like barbecue mixed in with the smoke and tobacco. His father was fighting the chains now and screaming.

Jim thought of Ellis, jerking hopelessly in the wire. He watched, waiting until he could pull the chains off and go.

The flames were roaring when suddenly another scream joined his father's.

"No! Oh, no. Oh, no, Jimmy! Jimmy, what are you doing?"

He jerked around, and found himself staring into Bobbi's wide eyes. They stood, each frozen for a moment.

Then he ran.

***
End

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
velvetwhip
Aug. 24th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
Great set of moments in Jim's life. This feels very true to who he is.


Gabrielle
futuresoon
Aug. 24th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Daaaaamn. I knew he wasn't gonna leave your head any time soon. (And now he's creeping back into mine, dammit...) Especially liked He made jokes like the ones that the studio audiences laughed at. and talking like his father liked him to, not like the TV voice he used at school. They just...tie it in, I think, with what we see in the show; too clean, too perfect, too this-is-what-businessmen-are-like. Love it. Even though it makes me ache a little inside.
serrico
Aug. 25th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Eeee, young Jim! I especially like his aborted taste of freedom. Life outside the box, man...he acclimatizes eventually, but the process must've been so *interesting*.

Good Profit fic always makes my day; this one is no exception. :)
mystery_sock
Aug. 27th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC)
Fantastic. I was just watching the pilot episode this weekend, so it's all very much in my mind, and this fic came at exactly the right time for me.

I love it - the fear of "outside the box" really got to me, Jim's transformation into the people he sees on TV, what the world wants him to be, and the way they respond - oh yes, it's right there.

dragonydreams
Aug. 28th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
A friend just told me about boxofwrong and I followed the link over from there. (My Profit DVDs just came in the mail yesterday.)

This was an amazing look into Jim's mind. I loved the second vingette where he knocked the box over, but then was too scared to fully leave it. The way that he killed the horse, and then killed his father with lessons learned from killing the horse, were chilling.
elyssadc
Oct. 6th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
FABULOUS! Oh, how I love Profit-fic. This was creepy and intense and such an excellent look at some of the moments that created him. Thank you SO much for sharing it.
kattahj
Oct. 20th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
You've really captured what makes Profit such a fascinating and unsettling character.
ash_is_veg
Dec. 12th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
This was brilliant, and very scary.
kindkit
Dec. 18th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
This is very good, with strong, subtle character development. I especially like #3, where we see him beginning to learn to be the smooth, manipulative person we see on the show.
zagethe
Mar. 5th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
Dexter's Daddy
I had no idea anyone was writing Profit fanfic. What a pleasant surprise. I hated that they cancelled such an interesting and thought provoking show. Too different for the all the sheep watching TV, I guess. Anyway, bravo.
47_trek_47
Mar. 6th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Re: Dexter's Daddy
I had a ferret named Dexter. :)
game_byrd
Aug. 25th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Cool. Liked it.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )