Axel Park

Age: 36

Role: Hillbilly hog wrangler and slugger

Who I’d Cast: Hugo Reyes

Axel was born to Eugene and Ester Park just outside a tiny town in Louisiana. Eugene Park was a pig farmer and a drinker with a bad temper. Ester was a homemaker who always got the boys cleaned up for church on Sundays.

Axel’s father had inherited the pig farm from his granddaddy, but he never had his grandfather’s work ethic. On top of that, the demand for pork was way below what it used to be, so the farm was in constant financial peril. Ester did her best to keep her four boys fed and clothed, but there were times when meals were light and she went hungry herself.

Whenever things got particularly bad, Eugene would go on a drinking binge and knock his wife around. The twins, Travis and Trevor, were the oldest, so they took turns protecting their mother. As the middle child, it was Axel’s job to look after Jimmy, the baby of the family.

Axel loved his mother, but he grew to resent her choice to marry his father. He always wished that she would leave him, but he knew it would be an insult to his mother to suggest that she file for divorce.

To forget about their troubles, Axel and his brothers spent most of their time outside away from Eugene. They took care of the farm, and the three eldest often missed school so that Jimmy, the youngest, wouldn’t have to. Travis and Trevor were charismatic troublemakers without much in the way of brains; Axel was a hard worker and strong as an ox, but it was clear that Jimmy had gotten the brains.

While Axel and the twins were racing four-wheelers, Jimmy was always hiding out somewhere quiet where he could read. His brothers never thought much about it, but around the age of fifteen, it became clear that Jimmy was different in more ways than one.

The family noticed that he’d been spending a lot of time with another boy from the next town over, and Eugene did not take well to having a gay son.

After Axel dropped out of high school, protecting his youngest brother from Eugene’s wrath became a full-time job. But one day he had to make a run into town, and Eugene beat Jimmy so badly that he had to go to the hospital.

Between the emergency room visit, all the tests, and the stitches, Jimmy knew he’d racked up a bill that his family couldn’t afford to pay. He left the hospital without being discharged and was never seen or heard from again.

Nobody took Jimmy’s disappearance harder than Axel. For months he drove all around the state, asking every gas station attendant he met if they’d seen his brother. He was so preoccupied with his search for Jimmy that he hadn’t been tending to the farm. Travis and Trevor had managed to keep everything going, but nobody had been minding the books.

As it turned out, Eugene was in a heap of debt. He was mortgaged up to his ears, and he owed money to every other family in the county. The Parks lost the farm, and Eugene nearly killed Ester in a violent rage.

This, it seemed, was the last straw. Ester left Eugene and took up with a cattle rancher two towns over. Travis and Trevor picked up odd jobs nearby to look after their mother, but Axel wanted to get as far away from his family as possible. He felt that he’d failed them, but he also felt angry.

By then, the family had lost almost everything they owned, but Axel had managed to hang on to Angie, a runt piglet that his father would have drowned. She’d grown big and strong, and until then, Axel hadn’t had the heart to sell her. But with his family scattered and the farm gone, there was nothing else to do.

That summer, Axel sold Angie and used the money to put a down payment on a beat-up Ford F-150 that he drove to New Mexico. He got a job pumping septic tanks and rented a mobile home out in the middle of the desert. It was peaceful and quiet there, with nothing but the coyotes for company.

For the first time in his life, Axel was happy. He had no one to take care of but himself, and he was no longer forced to play defense every moment of his life. As he let his guard down, he began to date a little. None of the girls stuck, but it gave Axel some confidence.

Everything seemed to be going alright until he met Rose. She was a bartender at his favorite watering hole, and she seemed to take a shine to him right away. They dated for over a year, and Axel fell in love. Rose was the first girl who Axel could really see himself making a life with, and perhaps if he’d been less in love, he would have noticed that Rose’s pill habit was a very big problem.

It had started with some pills just so she could sleep, but it soon morphed into an addiction. Rose was constantly looking for her next fix, drowning under a mountain of credit card debt that allowed her to sustain her habit with the cash she earned from her tips.

Rose skipped from one bender to the next, and when she was at her haziest, she wasn’t always loyal. Axel liked to hunt, and he would disappear into the National Forest for days at a time. When he was gone, Rose never had to look far for someone else to share her bed.

One horrible night, Axel came home with a bouquet of flowers and caught Rose in bed with a guy who’d scored her some Oxy. Axel beat the guy to a pulp and was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Axel managed to squeak by with a short jail sentence, but while he was on parole, he got back together with Rose. She’d sworn to him that she was off the pills for good. Little did Axel know that she’d simply replaced them with alcohol.

Six months after they made a fresh start, Axel caught Rose in the bar bathroom with another patron. This time, Axel nearly killed the guy and was offered a reduced sentence in San Judas.

Axel swore to himself that he would never trust a woman again after that night. He’d bared his heart to Rose, and she’d left it so broken and mangled that he didn’t think he would ever recover.

As it turned out, Axel was made for San Judas. It only took a few broken ribs and a dislocated retina for people to realize that Axel was not one to mess with, and he could once again look after hogs. He hated the Peters brothers with every fiber of his being, but he didn’t mind the other guys so much.

If he just stuck with the animals, he could pretend that the Peters brothers weren’t reincarnations of his deadbeat father. But the day they forced Finn to fight was the day they pushed Axel too far.