The Broke family is a family in my version of Pleasantview. It consists of the widow Brandi Broke, her oldest son Dustin, and her youngest, Beau.
It is Pleasantview's poorest family, and probably some of the most desperate. Dustin is the only one who has a job, and it doesn't make much. The family's poverty may be holding Beau back. Not to mention there is another mouth on the way to feed!
Due to their poverty, Brandi and Dustin often skip lunch and sometimes even dinner in order to feed Beau, and it may go on with the new child on the way.
Brandi is pregnant at the start of the game. Because she was impregnated using the Tombstone of Life and Death and technically doesn't have a father, the baby will always be a male. The name will be announced later.
Beau Broke is growing fast, and Brandi wants to teach him all the skills he needs to stay out of trouble. Maybe she should also be wary about what Dustin's up to...
Part 1. Wake up!Edit
beep! beep! beep!
Dustin rolled over and glared at his alarm clock. 7:00 AM it glared back.
In a move that he frequently dubbed "uses too much energy," he shot his arm out and hit the Snooze button. Then he threw the covers over and slept some more.
beep! beep! beep!
Oh no, Dustin thought. Not again. Has it really been five minutes?
He rolled over. 7:05 AM.
He hit the Snooze button again and went back to sleep. Five minutes later he did it again. And again. And again.
Until 7:30 came and his own mother decided to supplement the alarm clock.
"Dustin!" the voice oozed underneath his door. "You better get out of bed now! If you don't, you'll be late!"
Hell no, Dustin thought to himself. Hell no, I'm not going to school today. Screw school.
"You're wasting your time in that bedroom of yours!" his mother shouted.
You're wasting time yelling at me in that kitchen of yours, he thought.
"Dustin, if you can't even get out of bed in the morning, what hope do you have of ever being the big brother of young Beau here?"
Brandi, if you can't even get a job, what hope do you have of ever being the mother of young Beau here?
"If you don't come out of there, I'll have to call Mrs. Henderson to babysit the both of you!"
If you don't go away, I'll have to call Gordon to hassle you.
"Now don't you dare talk back to me!" his mother screamed, as if in reply to the unspoken words in Dustin's head. "The bus comes in thirty minutes, and if you're not on it when it leaves, you better have a brilliant excuse ready."
Sure, I have an excuse ready. I was too tired and I was trying to get more energy so I don't pass out at school.
Pounding at the door. "Dustin! Get out of bed now, or you're grounded for the weekend!"
I've snuck out while I was grounded before. Your threats don't scare me.
"DUSTIN! GET OUT NOW!"
Dustin sighed. There was no way he could ever rest with all the ruckus going on. He crawled out of bed, taking a full minute to stand up. Groggy. Fuddled. Punch-drunk. It felt like the time he and Gordon went to that shady bar in that alley in SimCity. He was too young for alcohol, but then again, so was the bartender. Gordon challenged him to five shots of tequila, and he accepted. He could barely make it to the bathroom, almost went into the room of the wrong gender, and couldn't vomit straight. His memories of that time were fuzzy, but he did remember that he got vomit everywhere in the stall except for the toilet itself.
That's what he felt like now, minus the vomiting and the fact that he was drunk.
He fumbled with his clothes. His foot got stuck in his pants. His shirt was inside-out. And his hair... let's not even go there.
"I'm up mom! I'm up!" he called out.
With some extra effort, he managed to free his foot and finished putting on his pants. His shirt smelled of putrid sweat and dirt. He had a comb somewhere, but he couldn't find it, so he just ruffled his hair and hoped it was acceptable. Somewhat.
He opened his door, still trying to put his socks on. His mother gave him a look that said "Finally, you incompetent idiot" and pointed to a bowl of breakfast cereal. "Eat it quickly. The bus comes in ten minutes and you haven't even brushed your teeth. And your hair is like a garden gone wild! Comb it!"
Dustin grabbed the bowl and sampled the cereal. It was soggy and damp from sitting in the milk for too long. Beau was in his high chair, being fed spoon after spoon of baby food. Like any toddler, he found it more fun to play with the food that escaped his mouth rather than actually eating it. Dustin turned around to hide a grin of his mother's apparent "suffering" over getting Beau to eat.
His mother detected an unwarranted smile and yelled, "Hurry up and get to school already!"
Dustin dumped the remains of his soggy cereal into the sink (I'll just pick up a muffin in the coffee shop across the street, he thought), rushed into the bathroom, and fumbled for his toothbrush. Well, at least I try to practice personal hygiene, he thought.
The school bus pulled up in front of the house and blared its horn.
"Run!" Brandi shouted, feeding the last spoon to Beau. "Hurry up or you'll be late late late!"
Dustin grabbed his backpack, filled with incomplete homework assignments (Oh, who cares?) and left the house. Brandi came out a second later and shouted, "And you'd better bring home at least a B today!"
Dustin heard her, but he wasn't listening. As soon as the bus started moving, he pulled his phone and earbuds out and drowned out the world.
Brandi watched as the bus drove off into the distance. She sighed and retreated back into the house to clean up after Beau's breakfast frenzy.
Part 2. One hell of a boring lessonEdit
- "Class, I hope to see every one of you at the exam, no skipping! And I need all of you to pass... at least pass."
Dustin's vision was blurred. Watery. Unclear. Everything was white, like the static on TV. This must be the point where Slenderman pops out, he thought.
- "Now, we'll review what we have learned throughout this course again, and when I point at you, I want you to say the answer, to the best of your abilities."
Dustin squeezed his eyes tight. He tried to picture something. He attempted to picture Angela. No use... instead his mother's face flashed in front of his eyes, yelling "You better not fail this course, or else Mrs. Henderson will be over to babysit the both of you!"
No, he protested. No, just no.
- "What is the... no it was not... stop disrupting the class... that answer is not correct..."
Dustin tried to escape the lesson. Maybe if I can dream hard enough, he thought, this class will be over in a breeze...
No, this better not be happening... hell no, piss off...
- "Dustin! Wakey wakey, Dustin!"
Just... leave... me... the... %$#@... alone...
The blurry mess started to fade. The environment around Dustin slowly swam into view. Soon, a man's face was visible. Then his eyes. Then his beard. And then his mouth, moving up and down.
"Dustin, who was Joan of Arc?"
Dustin looked up. Mr. Downsview was over him, at least his upper body. "Dustin," he repeated, "who was Joan of Arc?"
Uh... uh.... who? Who the hell was this "Joan of Ark" guy? Joan... joan... but that "ark"...
"Uh... Noah's wife?" he managed to mumble.
The whole class burst into laughter, snapping Dustin out of his sleepy trance.
Mr. Downsview managed a smile, an unpleasant one. "Dustin, listen up. I'm pretty sure this course's title is 'History' and not 'Naptime 101'. Pay attention to class."
Mr. Downsview headed back to his desk but didn't sit down. "Alright, back to our review!" he said. "And let's hope Mr. Broke there is a historian and not a comedian. Now, who was Genghis Khan?" He scanned the room. "Dustin?"
Dustin straightened up. "Some Chinese dude, sir," he said.
Laughter shook the room.
"Enough enough!" Mr. Downsview was not impressed. "Dustin, I'm being serious here. If you don't pass this exam, I wonder how you'll pass high school, because you need at least one history credit in order to graduate. If you can't beat high school, I hope your parents have enrolled you into a prestigious military school."
The laughter died down, though there were occasional bursts of giggling and chuckling. Dustin's brain barely functioned. It was either too early, or he was way too tired. Maybe it was a mixture of both. Actually, it was a mixture of both. Waking up before 8AM should be illegal, he thought.
"Dustin, this is your last chance. Now, who is Admiral Landgraab and what did he do?"
Dustin tried to get the gears of his head turning, but the cobwebs were still in the way. "Uh... he liked to grab land," his stupid mouth said.
The class erupted into laughter. Dustin would've laughed if he was conscious enough to get the joke, which he wasn't.
The bell rang. Mr. Downsview sighed loudly. "Dustin, you better have a miracle from God on the exam, because at this rate, you're not passing. Not even close." He plopped down at his desk and busied himself with his paperwork, ignoring everyone else.
"You done good, Dustin," a boy said, jabbing him on the shoulder. "You got Mr. Downsview twisted up into a pretzel of his own emotions."
Mom's gonna flip when she hears about this, Dustin thought as he gathered his belongings and left the room.
Part 3. Am I pregnant?Edit
"C-Caf...Caf! See, aay, tee!"
Close enough, Brandi thought.
Beau was making good progress in his vocabulary. He had already mastered the usual "Hello" and "Toilet," and was able to say his father's name. He still needs to learn how to pronounce my name, Brandi thought.
Brandi stood up, which proved to be a mistake. Her stomach did a wild somersault, and she had only enough time to make it to the toilet before breakfast came out.
She came up, gasping for air, but her body was not done with her yet. Twice more she was violently shaken, her insides turning to goo, almost as if they wanted to exit through her mouth. A putrid bitter taste lingered on her tongue, supplementing the lurching of her gut. She sucked in air in a desperate attempt to breathe, but her stomach fought back, pushing the air back out of her lungs. Defeated, her head hung inside the toilet. Dark patches appeared in the edges of her vision. She was about to pass out.
Then it stopped, as quickly as it started. Her stomach settled down and cuddled up nicely, like a cat curling up before a nap. She gulped down air, and after about a minute, she regained the strength to pull her head out of the toilet.
She wiped her mouth, and later, the toilet, cleaning up the evidence of her sickly endeavor. Her mouth sore from the acidity of vomit, she turned on the tap and slurped down some water.
There, she thought. Much better. She looked outside. Beau was too preoccupied with his xylophone to pay much attention to her misery. That was a plus.
Brandi rubbed her hands around her belly. "Why exactly did I vomit?" she wondered aloud. "Was it something I ate?"
Probably not. The cereal she ate... no, that's not it. We bought it only yesterday and there's no way it could've spoiled by then.
What other circumstances do you vomit in?
She obviously didn't drink. They were too poor to afford alcohol. And with young Beau in the house, that would not be an option until later. Much later.
No, of course not.
I hope not.
Well, there's only one other option... was she pregnant?
Impossible! She dismissed that option, but it came right back at her again. What else could it be? The only other option would be a brain tumor, and she was pretty positive she didn't have that.
Only one way to be sure.
She opened the medicine cabinet and started digging. An empty dental floss container. Dustin's toothbrush and toothpaste. A rusty nail clipper. Brandi's hair comb, with several strands of hair still stuck on its teeth. A well-used pre-threaded flosser. Gross...
Behind the floss was the pregnancy tester. Brandi's hands shook as she fumbled with the packaging. Open flap. Open flap. Open flap. Pull cup out. Pull testing stick out. Try not to drop both of them. Close the door. Now calm down. Sit on the toilet.
Her entire body was shaking. She gulped as she tried, harder and harder. Nothing came out, aside from a whimper from her throat.
She tried again. This time a few drops came out, but they missed the cup. She fell back, using the toilet tank as a backrest, covered her eyes, and groaned.
Well, isn't this a wonderful day! Dustin's failing school, Beau might not finish learning how to talk before his birthday, and now I can't even pee to take a pregnancy test!
She tried to picture something wonderful. Something nice. Images of her childhood flashed by. Her parents, Bob and Betty. Their tiny little house. The two kissing. Talking about how they found a note saying they were being used for a "tutorial". Whatever nonsense that was. And Skip...
His face appeared behind her eyelids. He looked straight at Brandi, motionless, like a still picture. His mouth was open, his teeth forming a graceful smile. His eyes were open and inviting, and they almost glittered.
Brandi woke up. Now, she thought, I'm not going to let this crappy day bring me down! She grabbed the cup again and, much to her surprise, she found it easy to fill it up. With the dropper, she squeezed a small amount of the urine into the stick. Then she waited. The screen lit up, populated with a single animated hourglass, rotating every time the sand emptied into the bottom chamber. She stared mindlessly at the hourglass, watching the little grains of sand fall. She felt like one of those grains, being picked up and dropped mercilessly over and over again. It was like being on an endless roller coaster ride that was completely surrounded with a transparent plastic tube. There was no way out, only being able to stare helplessly at inaccessible freedom while the train rushes around in circles at 50 miles an hour.
The hourglass disappeared, bringing Brandi out of her trance. The screen blinked, and the results of the test came into view:
Huh? She stared at the stick for a few minutes, unable to wrap her mind around the results. I'm pregnant? Who's the father then?
Skip had died not long before Beau was born. The poor child never had an opportunity to see his father. Dustin, hard-hit by his father's death, gave up on school and entered a life of crime. With the bun out of the oven, Brandi had quit her job as a Drive Through Clerk to stay home and care for Beau. But Skip was the family's main source of income, and after his pool ladder incident, the family had barely any money to get by, with Dustin's measly dirty money failing to cover even half of the family's basic needs. Oh, and don't forget Beau's diapers. Every time Brandi changed them, she felt like she was pulling 50 Simoleons out of her pocket and using them as rather colorful toilet paper. Every time she threw out a soiled diaper, she felt like she was throwing money into the trash.
And now, she was pregnant with another child. Another mouth to feed. Another diaper-soiling little brat. Another reason why Dustin should run away from home.
Another burden in the family.
Brandi immediately stood up. No way! I'm not having another baby! She exited the bathroom and headed straight for the phone. She dialed a few numbers, and when her call was answered, her voice was strong-willed and determined: "I'd like to book an appointment to have my pregnancy aborted."