Monday, December 31, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 10: Part 1

“Where is your proof that you attended the Literature Ball, Gentry?”
Gentry gave Mr.Handson a disinterested stare, then moodily reached into his backpack held up a string of pink mardi gras beads.
“Ohh~kay…” Mr.Handson nodded, making a check on his list, “Good. You know, that’s odd, since I don’t remember seeing you there…”
“I made the pig cake.”
“Ohhhh, yes, I remember that.”
Gentry nodded with a thinly veiled scowl, thinking to himself, “Yeah, but you don’t remember me.”
He hurled the beads into the trash the moment he was out the door.
“Of course you don’t remember me, asshole. I’m the ghost of the school. I haunt until I get my grades and then disappear.”
The moment he slumped against the bricks Zach skimmed past him, hurridly ducking inside the literature class. Late, as always. If he would have arrived five minutes later, Mr.Handson would have disappeared on his ‘extended lunch break.’
“Zach! You don’t have to show me those beads. I know you were definitely there. Let me mark you on my list…”
“Thanks. It was a fun party.”
“Yeah, but you know it’s only a few extra-credit points, right?”
Gentry pressed himself against the doorframe, tense with attention.
“Yeaaaah…” Mr.Handson took off his glasses and rubbed his reddened eyes, “but currently, you’re still a D.”
“Oh.” Zach sighed, “What can I do about it? Can I retake any---”
“Work hard and study harder.”
“But I already do that! The problem is no one wants to be in my group. And the last group you put me in had two potheads, and they didn’t pull their weight. So I had to do the work for three people yet was graded by a scale that graded groups that actually had three competent people! If at all, I should get extra credit.”
Mr. Handson was thoughtfully silent for a moment, then said, “Your literature skills are still dismal. You might want to try a tutor. Yeah... Go to the library and get a sheet for it, and they will read it over the announcements that you’re looking for one.”
“That’s embarrassing.”
“I strongly encourage doing this if you want to pass my class.”
“But then whole school will know I suck at literature.”
“You could always study harder.”
“I study! It’s just not showing! I can’t fail this class, Mr.H...”
“Well, you should have thought harder before signing up for it… my job is to teach children literature---”
“That’s fine, Mr.H, but I didn’t take this class to learn literature. I took it because the school graduation requirements force me to. I’m going into science or math later, so why should a subject I’ll never need… no offense… keep me from reaching my future job?”
“The school makes the rules, not me.”
“Come on, can I at least redo one assignment? Like the Romeo and Juliet video project?”
“I cannot offer you an unfair advantage, Zach, and you know that very well. The only advice I can give to you is just to let it go. Move on.”
“But the percentage of my grade it makes up doesn’t let me recover anymore unless I can a 100% on the final! That’s impossible!”
“All I can suggest is that you get a tutor or have a friend from class to explain this to you---”
“I have no friends in this class!”
“That’s not my fault, Zach. You can’t always work with people you like.”
“It’s not that I don’t like others. Others don’t like me.”
“Then get a friend who knows literature and is willing to help you. If you have none, get a tutor. There is nothing else I can do, Zach, and I do not want to grade any more papers. Now, if you don’t mind, my lunch break has started.”
Mr.Handson unlocked the door and held it open, and Zach walked out dejectedly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 9: Part 4

“This is actually pretty fun,” Zach admitted. He took a quick glance around the room, secretly happy that Gentry was nowhere to be seen.
“Yeah, too bad Gentry wasn’t here to see you.”
“… Yeah. Well, it’s a nice party.” He awkwardly stared at the others, then put on a smiling face and chirped, “But why are they playing the Chicken Dance? The last time I did that was in Estonia, first grade. But it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t even know they made a techno version.”
“That’s nice, Zach.” Mikey nodded absent-mindedly. Felix giggled.
“Yeah.” Zach’s eyes lit up, “I’m glad I dressed up. Now that I think about it, I actually like costumes. A lot. In fact, I wish I could be in a school play or something. Back in Estonia my neighborhood celebrated Halloween. This American guy introduced it, he always gave out these big chocolate bars. And it was the coolest thing... in fact, it’s actually my favorite holiday. And you know what’s great about it? Not the candy… But the costumes.”
“Mmm-hmm.” Mikey nodded.
“People always stress fitting in. But Halloween is the one day you can be a freak It’s the one day you can be accepted despite being weird or different--- in fact, it’s celebrated.”
“Uh-huh.” Yawned Casey.
“Maybe it’s not such a big deal for you. But it wasn’t so easy fitting in when you were the only black guy in an all-white neighborhood either. I didn’t have that many friends. But on my first Halloween… it’s hard to explain. But the moment I put on my costume, I belonged. I was part of something…”
Casey eyed his watch and Mikey’s eyes glazed over.
“… And it was the best feeling in the world. But then the American moved away and it died down. Halloween spirit just died and I was a mismatched genetic Frankenstein again. People didn’t even try anymore---”
“Hey, Zach.” Mikey stood up, “I’m gonna go talk to Mr.Handson about things. You wait here, okay?”
Casey stood up as well, “Oh my God, there’s Kylie. I’m gonna go talk to her… Zach, you should go get something to eat! Take your time. REALLY.”
Felix nodded curtly, and shuffled after Casey.
“Ok.” Zach breathed, casting his eyes to the ground as he moved to a chair by the wall. His wings slumped down over his shoulders, and he tiredly stared at the crowd. He knew everyone here, and everyone here seemed nerved by him.
The ghost who sat beside him didn’t say a word.

Because You Suck: Chapter 9: Part 3

“Move out, move out! We have to bring this to the table!” Mikey shouted.
“Watch out for that cake on the ground…” warned Casey, as he helped ease the giant cake right into the center of table.
“Ew,” Mikey wrinkled his nose at the pink mess at his feet, “Whose mess was that?”
“I don’t know. I heard it was Gentry’s… um it was supposed to be a pig or something?” Casey drawled down into a murmur before chirping up again, “Hey, oh my God, Zach! You look so different. So… non-gangsta, for once.”
Zach eyed him levelly, “Yeah, for once.”
“You should dress like this all the time.” Casey lisped, and leaned in to get a better look at the other boy’s neck, “Hey, is that a hickey?”
Mikey licked his lips, “Maybe…”
He turned to Zach and buried his fingers in his hair, pushing his tongue into his mouth.
Casey grinned, “Aw. Let me take your picture…”
Gentry just watched, wondering where he could find enemies to match his friends. With a quiet sigh he moved to a chair by the wall and took a seat, happy to be a ghost for once. Now he just had to wait here for ten minutes, until Mr.Handson would hand out a cheap prize as proof of attendance.
"At least I’ll get an A for being here.” Gentry thought to himself, his glare restlessly lingering on Zach. Yeah, the Estonian terror looked different all right. Now he looked like every other faggot.

Because You Suck: Chapter 9: Part 2

The whispers began out of nowhere. Quickly they turned to murmurs, rumbling through the crowd and over the music. Emptying the main floor and pushing to the door.
“Oh my GOD… is that Zach?” Casey’s voice rang out and everyone turned to stare.
Gentry dropped the cake.
That was Zach, all right. Yet now, he looked… different. He wasn’t wearing glasses, either, but that wasn’t it. Perhaps it was the white t-shirt, or the way the jeans fit over his thighs. Perhaps it was the ridiculously large pair of angel wings…
Perhaps it was the bright red mark on his neck. Gentry’s eyes darted to Mikey, who was helping Zach transport a large rainbow cake. It was the gayest thing Gentry had ever seen, and yet the crowd fawned over it. The cake, if it could even be called a cake, looked more like a disgusting glob of frosting piled on top of three loaves of Wonderbread. That’s what it probably was, either way. And yet Mr.Handson looked downright exhilarated, as if this were a cake to top all cakes and Zach’s costume was a gift from the Gods. Gentry apathetically eyed the swine-cake at his feet, deciding to abandon the pink carnage.

Because You Suck: Chapter 9: Part 1

I'm on vaycay for the next week! I'll be posting all of chapter 9.

The room was swathed in the cold glow of fluorescent white light, making the white brick walls stand out against the people who heralded in through the blue double-doors. Their sneakers and high heels clicked and clacked against the green-gray linoleum floor, the door slamming loudly with each new arrival. The ‘chicken dance’ boomed from the speakers.
Mr.Handson stood by the door next to the other literature teachers, grinning in his wizard’s outfit and hitting his staff against the floor, “Here here, welcome ye to the Literature Ball! Refreshments are to be placed on the table.”
Gentry eyeballed him, holding a small marzipan cake in the shape of a pig’s head.
“Hello... Mr.Handson.”
“Oh, good to see you here…” Mr.Handson stroked his fake wizard’s beard, trying to hide that he didn’t know which of his students he was talking to, “I, the Great Merlin, welcome---- what are you, exactly?”
He comically cocked his head at the costume, a white bed sheet with two eyeholes cut out.
“The ghost of Hamlet’s father.”
“Ah, and so you are! And my, what an interesting cake. I see you did it in the theme of Lord of the Flies. That’s quite disturbing. Did you make it yourself?”
“Yes.” Of course he did. He did the same every year, and this one was no different. He didn’t have a home, but he’d be damned if anyone would be able to tell. Appearances needed to be kept up, life went on.
“Good job, Gentry! Now, just put it on the table over there, next to the Wuthering Brownies and Hamlet Sandwiches.”
Feeling very much like a dog that had been diminutively patted on the head, Gentry drudged towards the food table. He carefully maneuvered around Casey and selected members of the swim team to avoid being caught up in conversation, but soon found there was no need. This costume hid him perfectly!
With painfully precise slowness, Gentry eased the cake towards the same place he put it every year: the center of the table. It felt heavy in his hands, like some sacrificial offering to a primitive God.
He was too old for this bullshit. Everyone here was. Yet here they were, as they were every year, just to remind their teachers of how important their grade was to them. This was a costume party, all right, even faces weren’t faces, but grinning, squinty-eyed masks. Gentry wondered what would happen if he jumped on the table and kicked everything to the ground. Revolt!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 7

Zach shoved him away, then hesitantly put his fingers to feel his burning lips.
“Did you like that? I’m sorry if that was sudden. I came out to my parents a week ago…”
“---Cool.” Zach blurted out.
This earned him a grin, “Yeah, thanks. I’m just getting used to it, you know?”
“Well, you didn’t answer my question. Did you like it?”
Zach’s eyes glanced warily at him through thick black-rimmed glasses, before he replied with a soft, “Yes.”
“Good. I did, too.” He turned back to Zach, and playfully lapped at his lower lip, “You’re sexy, underneath all that shit you’re wearing.”
“Oh, really?”
Mikey glanced up, and felt a spark go off inside him when he saw his own eyes mirrored in Zach’s deep pools of blue.
“Did I do something wrong?” asked Mikey, with a voice which was the audible equivalent of bending the largest toe to test the water.
The answer came in a kiss, one that was strong yet deceptively soft. It burned like quiet anger, and tasted like salt… yet it was so long and so skilled that when Zach pulled away, Mikey had to catch his breath.
It was really like drowning…
“Where did you learn that?”
The little smile Zach gave in return infuriated him so much that, barely a moment later, he had Zach pinned to the mattress and glaring up at him.
“I’m not saying.”
“Was it Gentry?”
“No,” Zach was quiet for a moment, then admitted, “Not entirely.”
“Well?” Mikey drawled, his quiet voice curling around his words like smoke, “You can tell me. I won’t tell anyone else.”
“I learned it back in Estonia. There was this classmate I made out with, no one knew. He was straight, though, and he thought I was, too---”
“That’s so hot, Zach. You remind me of that saying… that it’s always ‘nerds’ like us who get the most action.”
Zach gazed up at Mikey. Here was a good-looking boy with smooth brown hair, clear skin and bright green eyes. Nerd? You’ve got to be kidding me.
“So,” Mikey’s smoky baritone cut through Zach’s thoughts, “blue is your real eyecolor?”
“That’s amazing, did anyone tell you they look just like the ocean? You shouldn’t hide them behind those glasses of yours. Without them, you’d look just like one of those sexy Brazilian boys.” He moved his hand up to Zach’s curled fist, which stubbornly held onto the glasses as if they were a crucial part of his body. Slowly, Mikey slid his rough white thumb into the dark palm, meticulously prying it open. But the more he pried, the tighter the grasp became, until with an exasperated sigh he glanced up at Zach’s face.
“Come on, Zach. Let go…”
“I’m not letting you take them.”
“Oh, really?”
Mikey leeringly raised an eyebrow, then caught Zach’s lips in a short but heated kiss.
It only lasted a minute, and the fiend almost cackled as he pulled away, holding the glasses high up in one hand,
“Mmm… got it now! I don’t even know why you wear these.”
Zach vainly tried to reach for his lost treasure, “… I can’t see without them!”
“What about contacts? The real kind?” Mikey held them higher.
“I don’t want them.”
“Why not, hmm?”
Zach didn’t answer, opting instead to give the mattress a bounce and scramble for his glasses. Mikey to dropped them with a gasp. They thumped to the floor under his foot, which crushed the glass a moment later with a sickening crack just before Zach could reach them.
“... oh… I’m sorry. I can pay you back for whatever they cost…”
“I had those since middle school...”
There was an extended, tense silence.
“Middle school’s over. Besides… you look sexier without them. Let’s see if I can do the same to your clothes,” Mikey murmured, sliding cold hands under Zach’s layers of sweatshirts.
“Hey, stop it… my parents might walk in.” Zach shivered.
“They already know what you look like.” The gleam in his bright green eyes stood out against his quiet words.
A sweatshirt fell to the ground with a muted thud, and was quickly followed by another.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 6

“He’s full of BULLSHIT!”
“Is that the only thing you called me here for?” asked Mikey, following Zach into his room and gingerly picking up a slinky to play with. Zach breathed out forcefully and dropped down onto his bed, resting the back of his hand against the humid skin on his forehead. He couldn’t believe Gentry’s nerve. He might have been raped, but he surely wasn’t a victim now.
“He’s a fucking fake. That Rape Seminar thing was a joke--- you should’ve seen him in the locker room! He was rambling about teamwork as if he believed in it, and everyone thought he was great. You know what he did? He turned the situation around so I looked like an asshole… fuck! I bet he had some crap with Mr.Nilla and used me to settle it.”
Mikey pulled apart the slinky, “So? What do you plan on doing about it? Complaining isn’t going to fix your problem.”
Zach sat up, calmed slightly by the slow, musical quality in the other boy’s voice.
“What else can I do?” he murmured, “Everyone thinks I’m the fag who got Nilla fired; They hate me. My teachers won’t even look me in the eye. Yesterday people threw crumpled paper balls at me as I walked from one class to another, and shoved me into lockers. And the office won’t do anything about it! My parents are considering to send me to another school--- He’s fucking up my social life!”
“You know, Zach. I don’t think you have much of a social life to fuck up. This could actually gain you some notoriety… as in, it will get people talking about you in a good way if you use it right.”
“I don’t care.” Zach huffed, “He’s so fucked up. He’s white trash. And he thinks he’s smart just because he can cheat people out of the truth. Fuck him!”
“You did, didn’t you?”
“Hell no, he fucked me. That’s because he can’t even take it in the ass.” Zach stopped himself. This was going to far.
“You know, Zach. I figured that homophobe act was a complete front. He jokes about it sometimes, but it’s obvious in the way he looks at other guys. I’m actually sorry for him, because there’s nothing sadder than a gay homophobe.”
“Gay homophobe?”
“Yeah. He’s gay but hates everything about being gay.”
“I don’t care,” Zach scoffed, “he should whine about that shit to his shrink and leave me the fuck out of his problems.”
“I agree.” Mikey chirped, leaning into his closet and sorting through the hangers, “Wow, do you get paid to wear these clothes? They look like something you would get at the dollar store.”
“I brought them with me from Estonia.”
“Yeah, well, this isn’t Estonia.” Mikey turned around, “Hey. What are you going as to the Literature Party?”
Zach shrugged nonchalantly, “I… didn’t really think about it.”
“You know what would be fun? If we would both go as angels, like that play, Angels in America. It’s an important part of gay cinema.”
“I never saw it.”
“Doesn’t matter.” he eased onto the bed and smiled, sliding a hand onto Zach’s shoulder, “Just put on a t-shirt, white pants and a large pair of angel wings.”
Zach gave him a look, took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, “That’s ridiculous. I don’t go for that kind of thing. I like baggy clothes---”
“Well, it’s a costume party. So what’s the harm? And you’ll be promoting an important part of gay cinema.”
“Have you ever seen that play?”
Mikey hesitated, then laughed awkwardly, “No one’s seen the play. I’m just going to tell people that I modeled my costume after the poster.”
“That’s just meaningless.” Sighed Zach, “You can’t just promote something you don’t stand for. And what does this have to do with my social life? Will putting on a big pair of angel wings fool people into thinking I’m the real deal?”
“You’re so cute, Zach.” Mikey drawled, cupping Zach’s face with his hands and kissing him on the lips, “And this has as much to do with your social life as much as you want it to…”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 5

The banner hung over the auditorium, a dainty shade of white with chunky red writing proclaiming this to be the “Rape and Sexual Assault Seminar.” Students drudged in with heavy feet and tired red eyes, their sneakers squeaking across the floor. The swim team guffawed at the sight of the banner and murmured about the thin-lipped woman who stood before the microphone, center stage. Her hands where held stiffly behind her back, and her bespectacled fish-blue eyes wide as a young man explained to her how the microphone functioned.
“Rape is such a funny word,” drawled Sydney, “I mean it. Whenever someone says it I just start laughing.”
“Rape rape rape!”
“Stop RAPING me Ethan!”
“Rape rape rape,” Ethan sang, snapping his fingers, “rape rape rape, rape…”
Gentry put the water bottle to his lips and took several large gulps of water.
“I don’t even get why we HAVE to attend this,” whined Mike, “It’s not like I’m going to rape anyone. They should just tell girls to stop dressing like prostitutes or something.”
“I like it when girls dress like prostitutes. That means I can rape them!” Sydeney stood up, thrusting his pelvis forward. Gentry stared at the thrusting organ, which was a few inches left of his face.
“Sit the fuck down, you look like a faggot.” He hissed, taking another swig of water.
Sydney looked taken aback, but the others just laughed. It was unusual to see the redhead so wound up! And it was funny!
A tap on the mike silenced them, and the room darkened as a slide came to view.
“Rape.” The bespectacled woman said, folding her hands together, “Is a very serious crime.”
Her fish eyes bulged.
“It is not a crime of passion or lust, but an act of degradation. An act of dehumanization and objectification.”
Sydney yawned. Gentry leaned forward in his seat.
“Unlike what some people believe, rape is NOT natural. It does not HAVE to happen--- it can be prevented if people change their attitudes towards the nature of the crime. Sexism is one of those attitudes. Our culture furthers a kind of hyper-masculinity, which tells us that men are sexual beasts who can’t control their sexual appetites, and that women must please men or face their wrath. This same complex tells men that if they are raped, they are weak. This sexist ideal also creates a blanket of acceptance for rape, covering up an inexcusable crime.”
Gentry listened to the words, but didn’t feel anything from them. He didn’t need this bitch telling him what rape was.
“… And men and women must work together to eliminate hyper-masculinity, to eliminate the objectification that allows rape to occur…”
Bullshit. If people counted on each other to work together, humankind would have gone to hell long ago. No, you couldn’t count on anyone. The weak got raped. You had to be strong enough to take what they took from you or to fight them before they could take it. It was everyman for himself. He didn’t need this old fish-eyed bitch telling him what he already knew from the pain in his gut and the Church bells that rang through his mind, drowning out thought and reason. Drowning...
The crowd erupted into applause, jolting Gentry back to the itchy seat and darkened room. He half-heartedly clapped along, mustering up a suitable expression.
“Is there anything anyone would like to say?” asked the woman on the stage, peering towards the crowd. There was a numbing silence, and a sudden rage coursed through his blood. Clapping like it was a circus.
Oh, he had something to say all right. Wanted to tell her she was full of crap. That you couldn’t count on anyone, that he hoped her vagina was ripped open because she obviously had no idea----
“Yes, you. With the red hair.”
He now realized, in heated embarrassment, that his hand had been up in the air. Drawing his lips into a line, he slowly pulled himself from his seat and cast a wary glance at the woman who smiled as she ushered him up onto the stage. With heavy reluctance, his reddened hand clasped onto the microphone, and his dark eyes peered spacily at the empty black hole in front of him.
Protected by the darkness he had once so feared…
“What is your name?” the woman inquired.
Gentry turned to her suddenly and replied, “Gentry Lee Johnson.”
He took a deep breath, and threw a few thoughts together.
“Rape is really bad. I’m against it. I think people should do things to stop it. Stopping rape is a really, really good thing.”
The words sounded awkward, tossed together. He could the coach’s eyes burning into his soul, and a blush spreading over his face.
“And… as the captain of the swim team, thank you for coming here. Athletes are typically viewed as rapists, or people think that we’re just insensitive. But the team here isn’t... in fact, we were talking about it as we came through the door. Thank you for empowering us so that we can do more to fight a crime that ultimately affects all of us--- male and female. As a rape counselor, you are my hero.”
To his surprise, the room burst into applause. Gentry looked over the woman’s shoulder as he handed back the microphone, but she caught his glance in hers and looked at those pit-like depths with a confused sympathy. Amidst the cheers and whistles, he slinked back to his seat and sunk back into the darkness.
“He did good, I want it in the paper during Nations,” he heard the coach murmur to the barely visible outline of another adult, “He might be fit for Valedictorian.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 4

That voice.
“Don’t ignore me. I know you saw me.”
There it was again, ringing through the locker room. Grating Gentry’s last nerve with its fast-paced sing-song. Some team members walked by, and one shoved Zach into the wall as he passed.
“Move cocksucker.”
“Fuck you!” Zach shouted back.
“Yeah, the way you did Mr.Nilla!”
Gentry closed his eyes and turned away in irritation. He did not want to have this conversation.
“You shot that picture and wrote that letter!”
Oh, but he was having it all right. The accusation rang out like a slap to the face, and in response he could only sorely raise his gaze to meet that of his favorite rival.
“I did?”
“Yeah, you did. You were also in the office while it was happening, and Nilla’s e-mail had your style--- Each sentence in Nilla’s e-mail differed in length by three words when compared to the other sentence.”
Smart. That Estonian’s mind was some clock, Gentry reasoned. Ticking with cool accuracy, declaring unemotional judgments of wrong and right. Even his most heated actions were based on these judgments, there was no gray area.
“I had to use you.” Gentry thought to himself, “But I’m not sorry. I did what I had to--- If I wouldn’t have kicked him out, he would have kicked me out; and he knows damn well that if I’m not here, with you, with the swim team, I’m nothing.”
His own mind was more like a Church bell ringing through his ears, something he could never fully control. It was always chimed by someone else, controlled by everything but his own will. Hell, he didn’t know his own will. What he did know was shaped by those who owned it. And yet the clock, that cursed Estonian clock, ticked on its own, tick tock tick tock, a merciless judgment…
That was Zach’s problem. There was no room for bullshit.
As Gentry coldly prepared a rebuttal, the coach stood in the corner uncomfortably sucking on his lower lip. The whole team was staring, sensing something was very wrong but not sure what, how, or why.
“Zach. Why would I want to get Nilla fired?”
“You were in the office with me.” Zach’s voice was low now, forceful as the cheerless reality unfolded his clouded blue eyes.
“That doesn’t say anything, because I wasn’t in any trouble. You were called in because you couldn’t handle the dress code.”
“Then why did you tell me goodbye? You wouldn’t tell me that kind of shit if you weren’t---”
“People are staring at us.”
“They’ve been staring at me all week!”
The coach coughed, and the team gawked at them vacantly.
Gentry raised his head, straightened his posture and put a hand on Zach’s shoulder, “Zach… despite what you think, you’re still part of this team and we support you. Rape and sexual assault are horrible. If what they are saying about Mr.Nilla is true, then it’s fortunate that this has come to light to the community so he doesn’t hurt others. It can be said that this is a curse on you, yet a blessing to everyone else. I, for one, pray you get the help you need.”
Cut off all plausible arguments by distracting the other party from their point.
“You son of a bitch---” Zach hurled himself at him, only to be pulled back by the coach.
“Enough of that---”
Zach pulled himself out of the man’s grip and scowled back at Gentry, disbelief slapped over his face. Gentry gave a thoughtful silence, mentally counting the seconds before he dramatically turned to the team and said,
“Rape and sexual assault shouldn’t happen to anyone. Let’s leave it that. Now drop this and get back to focusing on what matters--- Nationals.”
The coach eyed the team sternly, and they nodded in sheepish agreement.
Zach opened his mouth to protest.
Silence the other party before they offer a rebuttal.
“That goes for you, too, Zach. I hope you get the help you need so that we can do our best in Nationals.”
Zach threw out his fist only for Gentry to catch it. He gave Zach a smug look, causing the underclassman to shove him aside and storm out the door.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 3

“You know what I think?” Casey drawled, raising his eyebrows high onto his forehead.
“Zach planned this.”

“Zach?” Mikey laughed, “He can’t even write a sentence without a type-o.”
Casey skeptically raised both eyebrows and pushed back his head back into the fleshy folds of his neck as he slowly peeled the cover off his macaroni and cheese.
“He has the motive.” He lisped, “I’m shocked no one has thought of this before. Zach hates the dress code, right? He probably just sent the e-mail to himself from Nilla’s computer.”
“Yeah, well who took the picture then?”
“I don’t know, but I heard Kylie WAS absent from Literature that day. Nilla also hates Kylie ever since she made out in public with Josh.”
“Zach and Kylie collaborating against Nilla? That’s just ridiculous---”
Suddenly the double doors swung open. Zach sauntered in and the GSA table fell silent, exchanging awkward glances with one another. Zach grunted, and pulled up to the table just as Casey scrambled to stash away the printed e-mail.
Zach swiped it angrily, “So this is your lunch time conversation?”
“It’s… everyone’s conversation.” Replied Casey, unapologetically.
Zach pulled up a seat and sighed, “I really don’t want to talk about it. It’s bullshit, okay?”
“Casey has his own conspiracy theory.” Mikey chirped playfully.
Casey’s eyes widened animatedly, then narrowed, “Yeah. Good planning, Zach.”
“Planning? What planning, you think I did this? Bullshit.” spat Zach, “How could I type up that e-mail when he was watching me the whole time?”
“It’s awfully convenient,” Casey said slowly, “that this happened just when he started bitching to you about the dress code.”
“If I’d want to get rid of someone, it would be Nasty, not Nilla.”
Mikey and Casey exchanged glances.
Zach held the paper in front of his eyes, and quickly scanned over the e-mail.
“And this whole e-mail is too obvious. What are you, stupid? Why would he call me sexy when he was ready to jump at my throat yesterday? This is bullshit, do you really think I could come up with this kind of crap?”
“Yes, I do.” Replied Casey, “There is no one else who would and could do it.”
Zach was pensively quiet for a moment, reading over the e-mail again and again, until a spark lit up his eyes.
“Each sentence is three words more or three words less than the other one. There is always a positive or negative amount of three words between each sentence.”
Mikey blinked, “So?”
“I… I can tell you who did it.”
Zach furrowed his brow and thought back to the office, back to the plant in the corner, the spider on the ceiling, the ceiling the cheap carpeting, and everyone he had seen that day. His mind doggedly eliminated one person after another from suspicion, analyzing one factor after another before reaching the undeniable conclusion. Upon recognition, his eyes darkened earnestly and he broke into a cold sweat. Casey inquisitively leaned towards him.
“Well, Zach?”
“…It was Gentry.”
Casey gagged on his macaroni and cheese.
“Well…” Mikey drawled, “Gentry does have office duty. That gives him access to the staff computers.”
Felix was silent for a moment, and looked to Mikey before saying, “It must take a lot of concentration to write like that...”
“Gentry has OCD.” Mikey cut in, “Sometimes people with that get used to certain ticks. Like doing things in threes. Hey Casey, do you still have that essay Gentry wrote for you?”
Zach blinked, “Gentry writes essays for you?”
“Yeah, sometimes.” Casey replied, pulling it from his backpack and throwing it on the table. They all leaned in, and Casey’s eyes glowed.
“Wow. I never noticed he wrote everything in threes.”
“Yeah…” Mikey smirked, “go confront him, Zach.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 2

It is unfortunate that we disagreed in the office. I remain convinced that this detention will be for our own good. I have watched you for quite some time and have concluded that you stand out. You are a very interesting and attractive student, and honestly I want to get to know you better. You might be interested in an office job as my aide that is opening up. I would greatly enjoy seeing your sexy body all the more often. I greatly look forward to our long detention together.
Casey read out loud, eying the group of eager listeners with wide, lit eyes.
“Wow.” Felix blinked, “That was intense. Mr.Nilla never seemed that type… or that literate…”
“Yeah,” drawled Casey, “But there’s no definite proof since apparently the cameras in the office don’t work. But even so, the school doesn’t want to start a trial since that would bring up a sketchy former accusation. So word is they’re just transferring him to some ghetto school.”
“That’s rough.” Felix drawled, taking a bite of his chicken nugget.
“I never liked Mr.Nilla anyway.” Shrugged Mikey, reaching over and stealing one of Felix’s nuggets.
Felix slapped his hand away, “Stop raping my nuggets Mikey! But seriously, can you imagine him putting the moves on Zach?” Felix guffawed, “Haha it’s really funny actually. A tough guy like Zach getting his ass raped.”
“Bah,” Mikey waved him hand, “Nilla just copped a feel or something. The picture is blurry, we can’t know what happened in that office. I didn’t know he was gay, though.”
“You know what I think?” Casey drawled, raising his eyebrows high onto his forehead.
“Zach planned this.”

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 8: Part 1

“Oh my God, did you hear about Mr.Nilla?”
“Hear what?”
“They’re investigating him.”
“Open your cell phone… Kylie sent everyone a picture of what happened in the office yesterday. You will not believe this.”
“Woah… is that Mr.Nilla?”
“Yeah, some parents got it, too, and they’re complaining about Nilla. He was accused of fooling around with a student before, you know.”
“NO, really?”
“Really. People are saying that he was like… in some steamy relationship with Zach… it looks like Zach in the picture. Or tried to get him into one or WHATEVER he’s gay anyway, right?”
“ZACH and MR.NILLA? No way. My eyes are burning.”
“Yes way. Apparently he also e-mailed him and it accidentally got mailed to the entire school.”
“Wow. That’s so embarrassing! The picture’s kind of blurry though… what is Nilla trying to do…?”
“I don’t WANT to know. OK, actually I do hehe. But yeah I stole a look at the e-mail while I was TA-ing for Mr. Handson. Can you believe he called Zach sexy?!”
“Wow… that is sick. I didn’t know… Mr.Nilla was always so anal about public affection.”
“Yeah, I know. Weird, right?”
“Weird. What a pervert haha… but Zach’s kind of perverted, too.”
“Shhh here he comes.”
“Please, he’s a faggot. HEY FAGGOT!”

Friday, November 30, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 9

“Hm. It appears so,” Ms.Nasty drawled, “Can you take over this?”
“Sure can.” Mr.Nilla laughed dryly, even though there was nothing to laugh about. Zach averted his eyes in annoyance as Ms.Nasty pulled herself up from the squeaky leather chair and left the room.
“You know... Zach. If you were my son, I would not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
“I’m glad I’m not your son.”
Mr.Nilla chuckled beefily, “You should be. If you were, I would throw out all your clothes and burn them.”
“I bet you do that with books, too.”
“Watch how you address me, Zach. I expect you to respect me.”
“You don’t do anything that deserves respect.”
Mr.Nilla’s eyes bulged and he stood up, slapping his hands on the table.
“Your clothes are seriously jeopardizing the quality of education at this school.” He said loudly.
“Then the quality of education is very low.”
“What was that?”
Zach cringed at his loud voice. Here was the office wilderbeast, roaring his problems out for all to hear.
“You heard me.” Zach countered, “This is bullshit and you should be focusing on real problems. Where were you when the Senior Swim team rigged the freshmen teams’ competition? I think you and Ms.Nasty care more about fashion than I do.”
“If you don’t like the rules, then don’t go to this school. WE do not need you, but YOU need us.”
“I don’t have a choice, I just go here to learn. But I’d rather be home-schooled than get pushed around by appropriately-dressed bullies. I’m comfortable in these clothes and I didn’t do anything wrong, what IS the issue? Do you get paid to look busy?”
Mr.Nilla lost it.
The papers fell from the table and Zach gasped as he pulled himself to his feet. Angrily, Mr.Nilla cornered him against the desk and threatened,
“Put on that shirt or I will contact your parents!”
“I don’t care! Contact them, tell them you pulled me out of class, too!”
Mr.Nilla pulled away, “Oh, I will contact them. And don’t forget to show up for your THREE weeks worth of detentions!”
“You said one day of detention.”
“I never said that.”
Zach pointed to the cameras that adorned the walls, only to realized that… they weren’t blinking. What the hell?“The cameras in the office don’t work.” Nilla pointed out with a smarmy satisfaction, “I expect you to show up for every day of detention.” He flicked his pen and handed him another piss yellow note.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 8

“Zach Tyler.” Ms.Nasty said, easing into her desk but keeping her gaze locked on Zach, “Do you have a t-shirt with you? Perhaps, under all those pullovers you are wearing?”
She took a deep, irritated breath, “Your clothing makes me uncomfortable. Dark, baggy clothes are only appropriate for gangsters.”
“I’m not a gangster.”
“But you look like one and it distracts other students, and encourages teasing.”
“If I was a gangster, they wouldn’t be teasing me.” Zach paused, “If at all they act like gangsters, and you should call them into your offi---”
“I’m not going to argue with you about this, Zach. I will do I what tell you, because your clothes give the school a bad reputation. I expect to see you tomorrow in jeans and a t-shirt, which is appropriate wear for a student.”
“But I dress this way because I’m comfortable, and if I’m not comfortable I won’t work well! Isn’t working well the point of school?”
“I am not going to---”
“And to work well, shouldn’t people should accept each others’ differences instead of forcing everyone to fit one ideal?”
“I’m not going to discuss fashion with you.”
“This isn’t about fashion!” Zach fumed.
Ms.Nasty stood up, walking to the ‘lost and found’ closet in the corner of her room. She pulled out a ‘school pride’ t-shirt, and showed it to Zach, “You are going to wear this. Right now.”
“Then I’m giving you a detention. Your choice.”
“I don’t force you to change your clothes even though I don’t like them. I might look like a gangster, but you’re acting like one. People have bullied me to get their way before. I won’t let you bully me, too.”
“Change or sit in detention. Your choice.”
“That’s bullshit!”
“I am---”
The muted ring of a telephone stopped her mid-sentence. Her mouth formed a neat “o,” and for a moment a pensive silence reigned over the room.“I believe,” Mr.Nilla, who had been sitting quietly, supervising the meeting, spoke up, “that’s from your office, Nasty.”

Friday, November 23, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 7

Gentry left the office with a pensive look on his ghost white face. The ground seemed to shake, so he sat down and buried his head in his hands. He could feel Zach’s eyes on him, but wasn’t in the mood to answer the questions they held for him.
“I might not see you again.” He murmured, “It was nice knowing you.”
Zach’s eyes narrowed; he looked away for a moment then back at the redhead.
“Wait, why---”
“Zach Tyler.”
Ms.Nasty stood in the doorway, motioning at him with a stern face and one finger.
Zach sighed listlessly and pulled himself to his feet and into her office. As always, she didn’t close the door all the way. When Mr.Nilla entered, he threw it wide open.
Gentry sighed and slouched in his chair, resting his freckled arms on his lean stomach. Casting an irritable glare at the clock, he observed class would end in five minutes and it was pointless to go back now. His restless gaze then shifted to the documents around him, which he swore he would burn the moment Nilla finalized his transfer. Or, at the very least, he would throw them from the school rooftop and let the wind organize them. And, if he still had the chance, he would also delete every digital file he could get his hands on. Although he wasn’t brave enough to call Nilla and the office bureaucracy just what they were, this would more than get the point across.
There it was, the sound of plastic buzzing against wood.
Gentry raised one eyebrow and his eyes lit as he sharpened his ears to detect where the sound was coming from.
Buzz.There it was again. A small pink cellphone was buzzing on the table beside him. It was new and shiny, with the name K Y L I E spelled out in pink rhinestones. Gentry picked it up, glanced around to see if anyone was watching him, then flipped it open.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 6

The air in Mr.Nilla’s office smelled like sour mint, and tasted of dust. The white walls were lined with brass-gold plaques, illuminated by cold, fluorescent light which bounced off the laminated pinewood table and the shiny edges of a plastic plant next to it. Mr.Nilla loudly sat down in his leather armchair and glanced at his computer screen.
“Is it true,” he spoke up in his gravelly murmur, “that your address is still 5675 Custer Drive?”
“That is interesting, Gentry, because I called your parents about some of your recent absences and apparently, you don’t live there anymore. You have also not been attending classes regularly.”
Gentry kept his eyes fixed on the spot behind Nilla’s head as the older man leaned in close to him.
“Gentry, um, can you explain this to me. Why don’t you live there anymore?”
“Ask my parents.”
“I will do so at my convenience. Where do you live now?”
No reply.
“Well, if it is not within the district, then I will have to transfer you to another school. Tell me Gentry, do you take Bus 62 to go to your new ‘home’?”
Gentry’s eyes widened in unwelcome surprise, then again narrowed again when he spoke up, “I’m in my last year here. Doesn’t senior privilege apply?”
Mr.Nilla gave a grin then hid it again as he shuffled his papers. He slowly eased out of his chair and pulled a document from a folder, holding it up in the air like a lawyer before sliding it across the desk to Gentry hands, “Do you recognize this?”
“Yeah. I signed that when I joined the swim team.” He continued to focus on that white spot of wall, “What does this have to do with senior privilege?”
“Well, Gentry, it’s just that. A privilege. It can be taken away at anytime. Heck, I can write a letter and have it taken away.” Mr. Nilla started to chuckle, but it fell flat in the room’s stale air. He stopped awkwardly and reclined in his armchair, “As an athlete, Gentry, you are expected to represent our school by adhering to the code of athletic conduct. We expect athletes to be role models. And I will say it again, it is your job as an athlete to represent the school.”
“Just like it’s your job to be an asshole. I only represent what the school promotes, and this school promotes bullshit.” Gentry thought to himself, but didn’t say it. He mutely decided that Mr.Nilla was the kind of person who lectured others about their mistakes to distract from his own, and that it didn’t do any good to point that out.
“…Besides, Gentry, you should know what you are signing. That’s an important skill for college. You need to READ documents… internalize them and pay attention when you’re told things. You signed this document freshman year…” Mr.Nilla stated, “and you are in direct violation of the sexual harassment clause.”
“I never had to sexually harass anyone to get what I wanted.”
“Your inappropriate activities with a fellow student in a bathroom stall sexually harassed the janitor. These actions are the same as me exposing myself to young females in the girls’ bathroom.”
Gentry gave him a good hard look. Something crackled up inside him, a whip that drove the bull.
“My exposure, Mr.Nilla, was accidental because the bathroom stall broke open. The janitor is 56 years old, teenagers having sex is nothing new to him or anyone here except perhaps to you. Yet this isn’t the same thing as you exposing yourself to little girls, because people would pay to see my ‘sexual harassment’ and no one in their right mind would pay to see yours. In fact, no one in their right mind would pay to see you with or without your pants on.”
It was out before he could contain himself again, leaving Nilla with a stupefied look on his aged, rubber-like face. Gentry himself couldn’t believe what he’d said, and his heart throbbed wildly in his chest while a cold sweat dampened his flushed skin. Mr.Nilla gawked at him with wide, offended eyes before taking a deep breath and chuckling dryly.
“Watch your mouth, Gentry. This isn’t the only charge I have against you. You’ve broken a lot of rules this year. In fact, I suspect you are sabotaging office documents.” The man’s chair creaked as he pulled out another form.
Gentry regained his composure and stated in a soft yet steady drawl, “This accusation comes as a shock to me since I have full faith in your observational abilities.”
He was careful not to confirm or deny the statement.
Mr.Nilla held the form an inch from Gentry’s face, “Do you see the signature line?”
“Yes, that’s where our principals’ signature goes.”
“This form was to raise my salary.” Mr.Nilla sneered, “Can you read what the signature says?”
“From what I can see, it says Mr.Harold.”
“It says Mr.HarrHarr on it, and now it’s marked void.” growled Mr.Nilla, “What do you think I am, blind?”
Gentry took the form into his hands, “It says here that it’s void because you wanted to get paid for work you did not do.”
Mr.Nilla snatched the form back, “I am not going to put up with you, Gentry. Last time you got into trouble you were lucky enough to have your father defend you. But this time, I’m going to teach you a lesson. I’ve asked one of the office personnel to follow you home so I know which school to transfer you to. So, the next move is yours.”
“What about Nationals? I’m the best swimmer on the team. If you transfer me, this school will lose.”
Mr.Nilla scoffed, “You have only yourself to blame. Actions have consequences.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 5

The first and second dress code showdowns resulted in a stern warning never to wear ‘ill-fitting pants’ again. The reply was always a firmly grounded “you should never pull me out of class to talk about fashion again.” Exactly two days later, Zach returned to the stuffy office once yet again, with particularly baggy pants and a tell-tale yellow note clasped in his hand. It was Ms.Nasty’s annoying habit to call him out of class by sending him little yellow notes. Piss yellow.
The moment he saw Gentry’s scowling face he knew things weren’t about to get better. The redhead sat alone in one of the shiny blue plastic office chairs, slouching with his legs apart and arms crossed. His dark eyes glanced up once, before a strand of red hair fell into his face. His large red hands gripped his hard, freckled arms with wordless tenseness. They exchanged heated glares, and then irritably turned away from one another, Gentry to the west and Zach to the east.
“What are you here for?” murmured the redhead, studying the carpet for any peculiar fibers.
“These pants.” Came the reply, observing a spider skitter across the ceiling, “Where were you at swim practice yesterday?”
Gentry stole a look at the aforementioned pants, and shrugged nonchalantly, “You fight stupid fights.”
“You don’t fight at all, and you’re here too.”
“Gentry.” Mr.Nilla’s gravely cough broke in, “Please come see me in my office. Zach, get comfortable.”
"Oh, I will." Zach stretched out his legs and cupped his hands on his stomach, "Don't I look comfortable?"
“There are cameras in the office,” Mr.Nilla went on, “So do not wander off.”
“I wasn’t planning to.” Zach shot back.

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 5

The first and second dress code showdowns resulted in a stern warning never to wear ‘ill-fitting pants’ again. The reply was always a firmly grounded “you should never pull me out of class to talk about fashion again.” Exactly two days later, Zach returned to the stuffy office once yet again, with particularly baggy pants and a tell-tale yellow note clasped in his hand. It was Ms.Nasty’s annoying habit to call him out of class by sending him little yellow notes. Piss yellow.
The moment he saw Gentry’s scowling face he knew things weren’t about to get better. The redhead sat alone in one of the shiny blue plastic office chairs, slouching with his legs apart and arms crossed. His dark eyes glanced up once, before a strand of red hair fell into his face. His large red hands gripped his hard, freckled arms with wordless tenseness. They exchanged heated glares, and then irritably turned away from one another, Gentry to the west and Zach to the east.
“What are you here for?” murmured the redhead, studying the carpet for any peculiar fibers.
“These pants.” Came the reply, observing a spider skitter across the ceiling, “Where were you at swim practice yesterday?”
Gentry stole a look at the aforementioned pants, and shrugged nonchalantly, “You fight stupid fights.”
“You don’t fight at all, and you’re here too.”
“Gentry.” Mr.Nilla’s gravely cough broke in, “Please come see me in my office. Zach, get comfortable.”
“There are cameras in the office,” Mr.Nilla went on, “So do not wander off.”
“I wasn’t planning to.” Zach shot back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 4

Zach left the office with a yellow note, which he crumpled as soon as he entered the GSA meeting room. He wordlessly sat down, a shaky pride in his slightly smirking lips and gleaming eyes. He looked like the cat who had eaten the canary, and was quietly choking on it.
“Hey Zach.” Mikey spoke up, “We were just talking about you. Did you go all the way with Gentry?”
Zach glanced at him, resting his head on the long sleeves of his heavy black pullover.
“Ask him.” He murmured testily, closing his eyes only to open them a moment later when he felt the other boy’s hot breath on his neck.
“I’m asking you.”
“Then you’re a coward.”
“Don’t give me your attitude, I’m just asking.” Mikey sat back with a strained expression on his face.
He was an attractive boy, and Zach idly noticed he cut his hair. It looked good, smooth and brown. Kind of like Gentry’s, now that he thought about it. But he wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Good job on the win, by the way. Gentry looked really pissed. It’s cool that you made it onto the Senior Swim team and still come to meetings here.”
Just then, Casey sashayed in and eased into his chair, plopping down his lunch tray and peeling the plastic wrap off his macaroni and cheese.
“Hey Mikey, hey Zach, hey Felix. Sorry I’m late.” He lisped, “I was helping out with the Literature Costume party. Are you going, Zach?”
“No. I’m boycotting the school.”
“It’s worth it.” Said Mikey, “You basically go and pretend to have fun. Then your teachers will think you’re passionate about their subject and raise your grade.”
“… It raises your grade? Oh, right, then sacrificing my beliefs is worth it.”
“Honk Honk! It’s the pretentious bus!” Casey yowled, “Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s only a party.”
Felix softly added, “It’s free. And going there raises your grade.”
Zach rolled his eyes, “When is it?”
“After school, room 608.” Said Casey, “And you have to dress appropriately.”
“What’s the point of having a costume party if you have a dress code?”
“Because it’s a school party?” Mikey drawled impatiently, grinning at Zach.
“Well that’s why school parties fail. Not only do you have to stay AT school AFTER school, WITH teachers, but the school dictates everything you can do. That’s not a party, that’s a class without homework. You can’t have a party if you control too many things.”
Mikey blinked, “Okay…?”
Casey rolled his eyes, “Fight for your right to party? Please, if I wanted to party, I wouldn’t be going to school.”
“Aren’t costumes a form of expression, too? Isn’t that the point of dressing up, to BREAK the rules? Isn’t it like art? You can’t just control art and freedom of spee---”
“In school you can, mkay?” snapped Casey, “And by the way. I heard they’re planning a new dress code. They’re finally getting rid of baggy clothes.”
Zach eyed him listlessly and Mikey laughed.
“Well, Zach,” Mikey beamed, “you’ll finally have to start dressing like everyone else.”
“I won’t.”
“You will.” Casey grinned, “It’ll be nice to see you in clothes that don’t make you look like a gay drug dealer.”
“Yeah,” Mikey spoke up, “Zach, why do you always wear those baggy clothes? I saw you at swim practice several times, and you don’t have anything to hide, haha.”
“I like baggy clothes, wearing them feels good.” Zach said defensively, “I’m not changing them just because people don’t like them.”
“Yeah, but you look like a gangster.”
“This whole school is cliquish and full of gangs. I never ganged up on anyone.”
“Yeah, but it’s a professional environment.” Stressed Casey, “School prepares you for work.”
“It’s a learning environment.” Said Zach, “People always tell us to be ourselves and accept different people. Shouldn’t we exchange ideas instead of forcing everyone to be the same? Not everyone has to like what you wear, but why do we need a dress code which forces us to conform to one standard?”
“Your clothes STILL make you look like a gangster.” Mikey pointed out.
“But I’m not a gangster. Other people here act like gangsters, no matter what they wear. Whatever happened to not judging a book by its cover?”
“Whatever,” Casey shrugged, taking a bite of his macaroni and cheese, “don’t freak out. I’m over this and I’d rather enjoy my lunch.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 3

No sooner had it rung out then Zach flinched, a sickening anger taking root at his gut.
Zach cringed at the shrill, nasal sound of Ms.Nasty’s voice. Little dog had to bark for a piece of meat. And there she stood, Mr.Nilla grinning by her side. Zach wondered if they had been waiting for him all this time, lurking amidst the crowd.
“Zach Tyler.” Ms.Nasty curled her finger and frowned, “Come here NOW.”
Zach sighed as he dragged himself to the couple.
“Your pants are far too baggy. You look like a gangster.”
“Is that it?”
Zach sniggered. Nasty was wearing dark sunglasses that contrasted oddly with her clown-red lips, and a long ill-fitting pink jean skirt. Mr.Nilla wore a yellow vacation shirt and creased brown pants. It looked like a colorblind clown had given them fashion tips. He wondered if they had waited in this spot on purpose, just waiting for him to emerge.
“If I’m a gangster, you act like one. You wait out here, lingering in wait for your prey then hurl fashion tips at them. And they can’t contradict you, because you’re in a higher position than they are.”
Ms.Nasty frowned, then pretended to laugh, looking to Mr.Nilla for affirmation that Zach was crazy. Mr.Nilla coughed and spoke up.
“Come with us to the office, Zach.”
“I have class.”
“You aren’t dressed for class.”
“I don’t know about you,” Zach said slyly, “but I learn with my brain, not with my pants.”
“You WILL come with us or I WILL give you DETENTION.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 2

“I don’t want any of you to procrastinate on this next essay and reading,” drawled Mr.Handson, as his aged hands passed back papers.
Zach looked discontentedly at the ‘D-’ on his essay, a few comments lazily scribbled in the margins.
“I didn’t have time to read through all of your papers, so I graded you on just the first page.”
Mr.Handson enjoyed having the reputation of a tough teacher. And he had to be tough--- After all, he could teach both math and literature despite knowing neither. In fact, Handson was an academic anti-talent, an aged paper-pusher and a glorified printer of online worksheets. He knew neither math nor literature, but gave enough homework to his students to ensure that, by the end of the year, they would. He had been on pension for a while now, just about to kick the retirement bucket. The school board quietly wanted to fire him, but knew they could not.
Kylie raised her hand, “Are you collecting our notes on the third chapter of Wuthering Heights?”
“… No, you can keep those.” Mr. Handson leaned onto his desk.
Zach ground his teeth… those had stolen a good hour of his time.
“I’m having a Literature Party…” he drawled, “The Litertature Department is putting one together. It’s after school, but I know you’ll have fun---”
The bell rang, and the class noisily shuffled out in rebellion. They could not yell at him, but they could slam doors. Zach inched out after hurling his books into his dilapidated backpack, pushing his glasses back up over the bridge of his nose and pulling up his baggy pants. Some days he needed to feel like a gangster to face teachers who were no better than crooks.
He was no sooner out the door than he heard a loud, piercing cry.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 7: Part 1

The cellphone rang late at night, and Zach’s eyes popped open as he hurriedly pulled himself off his stack papers and reached back to answer it. He sighed in frustration as his hand fumbled towards the phone, his body too lazy and tired to get up, bend over, and pick up the tiny phone.
At that very moment, the light wooden chair fell over and his feet kicked up the flimsy excuse for a table, shooting that stack of books and paper high into the air and then flat onto the ground. His ring tone of Don’t Worry, Be Happy buzzed on, almost mocking him as he threw a book off his head and exasperatedly picked up the phone.
“Hello?” he grumbled.
He heard a sudden inhalation of air, then silence.
Zach’s eyes darted to the alarm clock, whose glaring red digits alerted that it was exactly 5:55 A.M. In less than one hour, he would have to shower and go to school. Fuck.
“…Hello? Who is this?”
The other end of the line was still quiet, followed a moment later by a soft click. Zach threw the phone into his backpack, cursed and groggily started to pack up his papers for another fun-filled day of learning.
A good leer in the bathroom mirror was all he needed to determine that the day ahead of him was going to be hell. On days like this, where even your tissues had issues with you and ground against your sniffling nose like sandpaper, Zach had a strategy.
If the world is cold, wear a jacket. Not just one, but two. And four shirts underneath that. Wear baggy pants, the kind that sag so people will have a harder time kicking your ass. And then there were the glasses. Bold, thick-rimmed glasses that magnified his eyes into a scary, distorted leer.It didn’t matter what the season was. This was his armor, and school was his battleground. CHARGE!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 6: Part 5

Gentry was always the one who bullshitted everyone. But what it built on bullshit doesn't just stink--- it sinks. Where do you turn when you isolate all your true friends?

The subway station was coldest right around five AM.
Gentry had spent the night on the cement bench, and waited six hours for a friend who didn’t arrive. And now there was no friend, no hope, and no place to sleep for the night.
Six hours. Six hours just to spend the night sleeping on the bench next to the homeless.
Disgusting. But he was not a bum; he was accepted to Princeton.
“Hey, you hungry?”
Gentry glared at the homeless man who was holding out a piece of bread and shot back, “No.”
He shivered and carefully took the phone off the hook, dialing Casey’s number.
Casey’s voice answered the phone with a bright, “Hello?”
“Hi, Casey.” It was a last resort, but even Casey was better than a subway bench.
“Hey hun, How are you?”
“Bad.” Gentry cringed as he watched the homeless man dig through the trash and eat the day-old fries he found there, “Things aren’t going great with my parents.”
Casey sighed sympathetically, “All I can say is I was in a bad place once, and it’s sad that you’re in one now.”
“Right. Listen. Can I stay at your place for the night?”
“Aw, sorry hun. Can’t do anything for you. My mom hates visitors. She hates cleaning after them.”
“Oh.” his eyes darkened with grim understanding, “I have to go. I might not be able to call for a while.”
Gentry heaved a sigh. He knew Casey wasn’t going to ask any more questions.
“I got into Harvard!”
“That’s nice, Casey.”
“Oh my GOD, I know. I was so nervous!”
“Really. Good for you. It’s good to know the essay I wrote for you got you in.”
“Yeah. Where are you going to college?”
“I’m not telling anyone because it’s elitist to brag about where you’re going to college.”
“… oh. That bad, huh? Well, gotta go. Hope things work out. I’ll pray for you.”
The phone clicked on the other end and Gentry slammed down the receiver.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 6: Part 4

“Mrs.Sunshine says you aren’t making progress.”
Gentry glanced at her from the couch, cradling a schoolbook on his stomach and balancing it with his knees. He absent-mindedly flipped through the pages, vaguely registering his mother’s presence by the tingling feeling of uneasiness that tremored through his veins. There were so many different kinds of silence, and shameful quiet that lingered over his house was the one he hated most.
“She wants me to spend more time with dad.”
Sophia froze, then quietly said, “Are you still seeing that boy?”
“Hm.” She glanced into a dusty corner with a distant look in her eyes as she said, “I’m going to Church, Gentry.”
“Then go.”
She pulled on her coat, “I want you to go with me.”
“Take Dad with you.”
“He already goes… every weekend.”
“Great wonders that’s been doing for him. Now he just eyes the alter boy.”
He felt a twinge of satisfaction when he saw the ill look on her face. He could make her sick if he wanted to.
“Don’t give me that look. You knew what he did in my room every night. You walked in on it once and slammed the door.”
“Gentry…” she spoke tersely, “I’ve forgiven him.” Her nervous fingers tied a limp pink jacket over her white shoulders, “Because we all have sins, and you’re no exception to the rule. Now put on your coat, we’re going to Church.”
“It’s not your place to forgive him.”
“It wasn’t your place to tempt him. He’s repenting for what he did, he’s making progress.”
The schoolbook thudded onto the floor, dust scattering into the air like dandelion puffs.
“He’s sorry? That’s it? I’m sorry I’m related to him.” Gentry snarled as he pulled himself off the couch.
Sophia hung her head down the way she often did when there was nothing meaningful she could say, “There is nowhere we can turn. No one could understand us, and therefore no one can help us. You know that. No one sees things from a human perspective. Gentry... he’s repenting his sins, and you should too.”
Gentry held a breathless silence, as the blood rushed through his veins. It rushed and channeled as if the dust in the air compelled it to, those ghostly dandelion heads of dust.
“He only stopped because I got too old and too freckled. And soon, he’ll move on, and fuck some other guy the way he fucked Carly. Fuck their ass, then fuck with their mind long after he’s moved on.”
“Don’t… curse.”
“Don’t be so polite!” Gentry’s hand was balled into an angry fist, nails digging into reddened skin, “There’s nothing to be polite about. You slammed the door, Mom. You slammed it because there was nothing polite about what you saw!”
“How is it different from what you regularly do?” she exclaimed, her face reddening, “You… have sex with boys, Gentry. I don’t want to point out the obvious, but it is what you do.”
He gazed at her tensely. There were things that went unsaid, things you knew but never mentioned.
“I cleaned your cum off the bedsheets the next day.” She said quietly, “We all have flaws, Gentry. Now, please get your coat. We’re going to Church.”
“I didn’t want it.”
“You weren’t fighting, either.” She looked away, “Get your coat, Gentry.”
Gentry spitefully pulled to the corner table, picked up the china vase and hurled it to the ground.
“I didn’t want it.”
Sophia stared at the mess blankly, then looked away.
“I didn’t want it!” Gentry screamed.
“You have a disease, Gentry… I… I-I’m not mad at you. But--- as long as you live here… I expect you to do something about it.”
“I’m not sick!” his hands shook, “I liked what I had with Zach!”
“It was different; I could bear him touching me. I wanted him to, I still do! It was different from Dad---”
“Enough.” She made a face and looked away, tears in her eyes as her voice remained soft and even, “I don’t want to hear about it. If you won’t come to Church… you can pack your things.”
The dusty silence reigned again, settling like snow over the old parlor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 6: Part 3

Do you think I should start updating on Wednesdays too? XD

“Gentry, have you thought about boys this week?”
Ms. Sunshine’s droll monotone jolted him back to the tiny gray office and the plastic-covered couch on which he sat. It was like buzz of an alarm clock, methodical and annoying. Now her small-lipped face peered down at him, pupils dilated as she waited for a reply.
“That’s a hard question.” Gentry said slowly, “I haven’t been thinking at all this week.”
Ms.Sunshine scribbled a few words on her notepad, then glanced up at Gentry with her droopy black eyes, “Explain.”
“There’s nothing to explain you stupid bitch. Take that notepad and stuff it up your opinionated ass.” he thought to himself.
But instead of saying it, he shrugged and looked in the other direction, “Yeah, I might have thought about boys. Or maybe not. I don’t remember.”
“Gentry.” She furrowed her brow, “you are headed down a long, dark path. Gays don’t end happily, I want you to remember that. They have long, hard, miserable lives filled with anguish and pain. Homosexuality can’t be cured, but it CAN be suppressed. And with suppression and oppression of your feelings, you might find happiness.”
“If you suppressed yourself from being here I’d find true happiness.” Gentry thought, but instead replied, “Finding happiness is cool. I support finding happiness.”
“Have you been praying?”
Have you? Gentry thought what he didn’t say, scowling as he leaned back into the folds of the office’s plastic-covered sofa. He eyed the fake plant in the corner and the fishbowl on the table, thinking of ways to rearrange them.
“You need to pray more. You cannot change unless you’re serious about it.” Insisted Ms. Sunshine, “Are you dating any girls?”
“No.” Gentry replied, finally deciding the fishbowl did not have the adequate equipment to support life and that the goldfish inside would die within a week. That was because a goldfish grew relative to its environment, yet its organs never stopped growing. So it would die a long, miserable death in that polished bowl. He also noticed that the fake plant needed dusting and that Ms. Sunshine would look better with a nose job.
“Are you spending more time with your father?”
Ms. Sunshine sighed, “Boys learn traits from their fathers… such as manliness. So, I urge you to spend more time with him to gain the masculine traits you currently lack. But I’ll tell you honestly, Gentry. You aren’t making any significant progress. I am worried for you--- I’ll have to talk to your parents if that’s all right.”
“Do whatever you want.”The round white clock on the off-white wall ticked and tocked with vulgar accuracy, saying more to him than Ms. Sunshine’s words ever would. Some days he wondered why he talked at all, when every word could be used against him.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 6: Part 2

Gentry slammed the locker angrily. Fuck.
He knew what that look meant; that stupid mix of cow-eyed hurt and confusion. He had seen it before, didn’t need to see it again.
“Gentry. I saw the picture.”
No, really. Well, there was the confirmation he needed. His mind drew a blank as those four words resonated through the empty locker room. And there stood Zach, with his hands unknowingly curled into fists and lips pressed flat together. Gentry had never wanted to punch him harder.
“What your dad did to you is wrong.” That grating voice almost stumbled over the words it formed. In response Gentry took a deep breath and closed his eyes to think.
“Gentry. I didn’t know---”
“It’s mine.”
“The picture. Give it back.”
“Why would you want to keep it? Does it turn you on, Zach?”
“What your dad did to you was disgusting.”
“Then give it back.” Gentry said with an urgent discomfort, “No one else needs to see it.”
The memory was his, that picture belonged to him. No one else, no one. He never wanted to see it again, yet here it was; a silent reminder of something he should’ve burned but never could bear to look at, something he should’ve thrown away but couldn’t bear to part with. His father had documented it, Carly had stolen it, and now Zach had it in his grip. Everyone but the rightful owner---Violated again and again.
“I’m not giving it back. I’m giving it to the police.”
His heart throbbed in his chest, and he felt a cold sweat of fear break out over his skin. He had no right--- it was not his memory. Zach never had his father give him that funny look. He never had to wonder what a hug meant, never had to wake up in the middle of the night to see his father standing in the doorway with that hunger in his eyes. No, Zach could sleep at night because he never kept the vow of silence. This was not Zach’s place. Not Carly’s. No one’s but his. Gentry feigned calmness and asked,
“What do you want for it, Zach?”
“Nothing,” his features twisted in disgust, “because I’m giving it to the police. Other people might be at risk.”
Gentry slammed him against the table. The wooden structure shook as he fought to restrain Zach’s hands over his head.
“It’s not your business.” Gentry breathed with a low growl in his voice, “Don’t make decisions on things you don’t understand.”
“I don’t need to understand to know that he poses a risk.” Zach kicked up at him, only to be forced into the table again. This time, the edge chafed into his spine.
“Don’t TALK to me like that.”
“I can do what I want.”
Gentry gave him a searing look then pulled away. Zach pulled himself onto his feet again and exclaimed,
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you want to punish him for what he did? Your dad’s a creep.”
“My dad made a mistake. My family moved here because of it. I lost everything.” He inhaled jerkily, failing to meet Zach’s eyes, “I’ve spent years trying to move on and be as normal as possible. Don’t drag me back.”
“This isn’t about you. He could hurt other people.”
“You’re the only one hurting people.” Gentry pulled close again and Zach flinched. There was a note in his tone that seared, a rawness that hit like an iron pressed to skin. It wasn’t an observation, it was a full out accusation.
“If anyone else finds out, my family will become a freakshow. People didn’t care about me before, why would they care now? Zach, it’s so obvious…” his heart pounded in his chest, straining each breath and every word, “everyone is just waiting for the fall; they’ve been jealous all these years. They pretend to care but then they talk behind my back, and they’ll wonder how I could be my dad’s assmonkey despite being so normal--- being such a man. They’ll wonder if I’ll fuck their kids, too. That’s all they will talk about--- It’s the only thing they’ll see. It’s entertainment to them, fucking entertainment, Zach---”
His voice broke.
“---but not to me. This is my life… It’s mine.”
There was no other sound in the room but that of his own heavy breathing. It felt as if he were drowning, getting pulled deeper and deeper into murky black. He slid up against the wall and down to the ground, wrapping his arms around his legs.
The tears stung his eyes, and he knew when the first one coasted down his cheek the others would follow. They were unstoppable like the ocean.
“Are you crying?”
Zach pressed his lips together, averting his eyes. He couldn’t see this, couldn’t bear to hear it either.
“I have to give it to the police. Gentry--- do you want this to happen to other people?”
“I don’t give a fuck.” Hissed the redhead, “Other people never cared about me. Why should I care about them? You talk about helping everyone, Zach, but what did everyone ever do to help you?”
Zach frowned, and reached his hand out only to have it hit away.
“You’re worse than Carly, Zach. At least Carly was fucked up enough to know what he was dealing with.”
Zach winced at the comparison, and Gentry felt sick satisfaction even as he sensed the footsteps throbbing on the floor, audibly moving farther and farther away.
“You can replace everyone, Zach. But you can’t replace me.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 6: Part 1

Gentry's father in his own words.

Nine-year-old boys are angels. Soft skin, soft cries and soft voices if you know how to play them right. But they can also be mischievous little devils, something I know firsthand. I was lucky enough to be the proud father of one, and I must admit it’s cute how they don’t know the appeal their little bodies have--- or how nature works. But God, do they know how to work their nature. And once you take control and use their body right, they come back to you. They get to wanting it, grow to like it. Sometimes they get to love you the way you loved them.
But like all good things--- an ice cream, a day at the beach--- it never lasts. They age, grow out of it, fade like flowers. They lose their innocence and become so vulgar… but for a brief moment, you’re theirs and they’re yours. They learn a little bit about life and sexuality and you get to hold them through it. But still, I believe you’d agree that it’s a pity something so beautiful has to end.
My son was a real head-turner. He had bright red hair then, before it dulled out. The freckles fit, too. Every night I could, cuddled him and pleasured him until he came. It was hard to describe, but I know from his body reaction that he enjoyed it. Anyone would have touched him; It’s only natural to love your children. I’m only angry that I wasn’t the one to break him in. Someone else took that from me. Just like they took that picture. It wasn’t anything I’m ashamed of, but society would never understand the love I had for my son. I never hurt anyone, and the damage my son suffers now is because of a society that told him this was wrong and that people who introduce children to pleasure are ‘perverts.’ When I look at that picture, I see a man making love to a boy, not a pervert. I can’t believe someone took such a private moment from my house; Such a beautiful picture.
I need to get it back before it would leads to some ugly consequences.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 14

The moment Zach clicked open the door Zeus came running out, scrambling as fast as his little pig legs could carry him. In a moment he was gone, leaving Zach behind to blink and gape bewilderly, wondering what might have caused such a reaction out of a normally docile animal. Suddenly he picked up on the frantic, angry chattering of teeth. There it was. Pressed into the corner--- A potent ball of red fur.
“OUT!” Zach yelled, cringing in a mix of fear and anger, “Out you fucking animal! Go back to your owner!”
The guinea pig’s dark eyes glinted and it clicked its teeth menacingly. Zach shivered in fear and loathing.
As if sensing his fear and reveling in the power it gave him, the red ball of fur squealed loudly and knocked over the neat stack of envelopes on the table just as it jolted between his legs and out the door.
Zach quickly slammed it--- falling back as he gripped the doorknob. That thing didn’t run from him--- it exited the battle scene with a piggy war cry. At least the terror was gone. Warily, Zach surveyed the room and contently noted it was tidy and untouched except for the letter pile. He slowly backed away from the door and bent down to pick up the envelopes, sorting through them with bored interest. His eyebrows arched up when he noticed one was for him--- delivered no more than one day ago. It had no return address, and had nothing printed on it except the words ‘for Zach’ in a nervous, spidery font. Although he squinted at the text, he couldn’t recognize the handwriting. With wary slowness and painstaking deliberation, he opened the letter. But it was empty.
Why would someone send an empty envelope?
Inquisitively, Zach pushed the sides together, and a glimmer of light bounced off the inside. He reached deep inside and pulled out a photo, which he held close to his eyes in order to make it out. The moment he realized what it was, his hands shook and he dropped it to the floor.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 13

“You let him get to you.”
Gentry brushed past Carly, silently storming away from the locker rooms before the team could catch up with him.
“You fucked up, Gentry.” Carly pulled him back, “You ruined it. I’m sending him that picture.”
Gentry hit him away, “Stop fucking taunting me. I lost, so get it over with.”
Carly pulled away with a shove, “You pitied him, didn’t you? He made you pity him. Is that it? Is that how you lost?”
“How can you be so sure? What kind of moron wouldn’t take the chance to use your sympathies in their favor?”
“Never underestimate morons.”
Carly’s nostrils flared and his eyes widened with a reckless, vicious rage, “Did you let him win?”
“No.” Gentry replied, “He didn’t want pity, he wanted war. And I gave it to him. I lost, so send him the spoils.”
“You aren’t going to try to stop me?”
Gentry stood up, “Don’t need to. You’ve dangled that picture over my head long enough.”
“But--- what about Zach? He’ll never want to touch you again after he sees it.”
Gentry pushed Carly aside again, brushing past him.
“Don’t talk about him.”
“What’s happened to you, Gentry? You think he’ll still lust after you and want you to touch him after he sees it? You may think he’s great and you love him, but the truth is you don’t know what love is. You can’t, no matter what happens you’re still damaged and wrong.”
He was quiet for a long while. The wind was blowing through the trees, whipping the leaves from the branches. The sky was a glistening gray, standing out against the new green foliage. It was not clear whether the storm had ended or was just beginning, but a gray horizon loomed uneasily in the distance. The redhead solemnly turned back to Carly and let go of a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“I know.” He said softly, “But at least you won’t control me with your stupid threats anymore. That picture was dangling over me like a sword on a rope, and I don’t know what Zach will do with it. But I hope that I’ll never see your face again.”

Monday, October 8, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 12

Thanks for reading this far. Every comment I read makes my day ^_^! I bet you saw this coming...

Zach’s bare feet were at the edge of the pool, the sun beating down at his back. Gentry was beside him, but seemed far away.
The moment the whistle sounded, both boys leapt into the water with unrivaled thirst.
Arms stretched and breath was stolen, an unspoken fury crackled through the water like lighting.
The sweat turned the pool salty, limbs cut through the water and the water fought back.
The whistle rang out again, and Gentry shot up from underneath the water, gasping air into his lungs.
The coach’s voice rang out, overwhelming all senses, “Zach Tyler!”
Zach’s eyes flew open and his mouth parted as the coach pulled up his hand.“By one second and three milliseconds, Zach Tyler is the winner!”

Friday, October 5, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 11

Thunder grumbled in the distance. Gentry moved under the slanted roof of an empty building, sitting on the dry ground and peering forward listlessly. Zach cast him a lonely look, then wordlessly sat beside him. The rain pitter-pattered on the ground, starting to come down harder and flooding the school fountain. Silence hung over the weepy landscape like a fog.
“I said fuck off.”
“You can fuck off.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Then we’ll just sit like this.”
An uneasy silence followed, and Zach shivered into his wet clothes. If the other boy was going to be quiet, so was he. And here they were, mutely shivering, both keeping their proud and resolute silence, tired eyes watching the rain puddles merge and slowly cover the court. It was almost as if they were both liquid, falling together and melting into one.
“Are you trying to kill yourself again? Because cutting your wrists in a warm, comfortable room would be more humane.” stated Zach, wringing the water from his soaked clothing.
“I’m not killing myself.”
“Then why are you sitting here? Class is almost half over.”
“I like rain.”
“Yeah, who doesn’t. I like sunshine but I don’t miss class for it.”
“It’s my favorite weather.”
Zach peered at Gentry in curiosity, and a moment later looked away irritably as he replied, “Then I’ll stay with you until it’s over.”
“You’re crazy.”
“You’re the one who wants to sit in the rain.”
The silence that settled now was anything but awkward. It was comfortable, even meaningful. It was an elevated silence, like breezy clouds that rose high above the stormy conflicts and fights that had littered the past few months.
Zach shivered violently, and gasped in surprise when he felt Gentry sling an arm around his shoulders and pull him close. Despite the weather and his demeanor, he was warm to the touch. Zach felt himself relax into his strong arms, guiltily savoring every bit of stolen warmth.
“And you’re the one sitting with me, despite all the ‘nerve’ I have.” Said Gentry, in a soft voice that was uncharacteristically warm.
“Can I tell you a something, Zach?”
Zach glanced at him warily, then slowly, thoughtfully drawled, “Okay. Shoot.”
“In a few weeks, my dad will come here to work in the office. He’ll be in the room next to Miss Nasty’s. Avoid him.”
“Because. Just stay away from my parents, Zach.” He looked away, “stay away from his office. It’s on the far right side. If you don’t listen, I’ll make you.”
“How will you make me? If you’re afraid your parents will know you’re---”
“I don’t care about my parents.” Gentry growled, “Just stay away from them.”
The rain had stopped now, leaving behind a landscape that was both ravaged and new. The air smelled like soggy wood and felt like dewy new leaves against the skin. The sky shed its clouds to reveal a shade of blue so moist you could almost drink it and so wet that the birds flying through it seemed to swim. And here was Gentry, shivering wordlessly. It appeared as if he might cry, but there was something proud that didn’t let him. Instead, his eyes were averted towards the ground and his arms were tightly crossed to hide that he was shaking.
After stealing a few looks in his direction, Zach reached out and unfurled the redhead’s fist. Then, he intertwined his fingers with Gentry’s and pulled him into a soft embrace. The moment the redhead felt a pair of soft lips press against his, he arched his neck and leaned into the kiss. It was wet and smelled like rain, but it wasn’t cold at all.
He held onto that warm hand, held onto it as if it was the only thing that could save him from a gentle drowning. He kissed him as if he would never see him again, kissed him as if he depended on him for air, for warmth, for love.
But once bell rang, Gentry forced himself to pull away and get up onto his feet again. He knew it wouldn’t--- couldn’t--- last.
“Goodbye, Zach. Good luck in the competition. You’ll need it.”
“No,” Zach thought to himself with a twinge of sympathy, “You will.”

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 10

Zach’s eyes narrowed, and his mind quickly spun back through various moments. All the while his blue eyes flickered like a camera light, right until they glinted with a satisfaction that was the visual equivalent of the soft click that came after rewinding a tape.
“At least I’m not afraid of a piece of cement.”
Gentry spun around, “I wouldn’t have touched it if it weren’t for you. You’re a fucking bull in a china store.”
“Yeah, but at least I’m not bull-shit. I might crash into people and into walls, but you meander around everything.” Zach pulled himself up and taunted, “In fact, you don’t just avoid people when you walk, you avoid them in general. And you think you’re so smart about it, but in the end you’re the one without any REAL friends!”
“You don’t have any friends.”
“I do.”
“Oh, what, the GSA?” Gentry scoffed, “With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.”
“How would you know? You’ve never been there.”
“Because I don’t need a bunch of faggots telling me that being gay was a gift from Jesus, just like the freckles on my ass were angel kisses. The GSA here is full of rumor-happy twinks who have nothing better to do than make themselves important. They claim that they are against prejudice, yet they have dirt on everyone.”
“So do you. You’re the most opinionated, judgmental person I ever met. The only reason people tolerate you is because you never talk!”
“Because it’s pointless to talk to idiots, a fact that you should picked up!”
“At least I don’t hide what I think.”
“At least I think before talking.”
“I don’t need to think before talking because I’m not using them to get ahead. I like to have honest relationships--- at least my friends know and appreciate the real me.”
“Bullshit. The only reason Casey keeps you around is because you’re a hot gossip item! You know what he thinks of you? He thinks you’re a nigger. You might be a fag but to them you’ll always be the nigger, no matter how many rainbow bracelets you wear.”
Zach bit his lip, then fired back, “At least they’re not a bunch of chest-thumping homophobic machos. That’s what you consider ‘friends’ to be like.”
“They’re not my friends.” Shot Gentry, “They’re my team. And frankly, to be in a team, you have to put up with people you don’t like.”
“And lose your personality in the process? Great, Gentry, just great.”
“I didn’t lose anything. They don’t mean anything to me.”
“Yeah, a lot of things don’t mean anything to you.”
Gentry fell silent. The rain tipped and tapped on the ground, raindrops splattering to watery pieces as they hit the cement. The wind howled through the bare birch trees, breaking the rain against the branches.
“What time is it?” he finally asked.
Zach pulled up his drenched sleeve, and murmured, “7:50.” He looked up again, and noticed Gentry looked paler than usual, and his eyes were unnaturally dark against his skin.
“Are you sick?”
“The only thing I’m sick off is you.” Gentry turned to leave, “Just fuck off.”
“Don’t tell me to fuck off. If at all, you should fuck off--- you have some nerve shitting on me, someone who was dumb enough to care for you.”
Gentry was silent for a while, then callously replied, “I have nerve. You’ve got that right. So why are you still talking to me? Are you a maschochist? I mean it. Go away.”

Friday, September 28, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 9

Monday greeted the morning with a gray sky and tumultuous weather. The maple trees stood out against the gloomy horizon, their twisted limbs clasping onto their last leaves as rain pounded the pavement. Zach’s sneakers sloshed noisily through the puddles and the wind responded by whipping through his hair. Wet clothes hung over his body like a soggy cocoon. These were the days where he wondered why he got up in the morning. All this work just to graduate and get MORE work? Today was so stormy even the office staff didn’t wait by the gate to scrutinize the in-coming students. Zach wondered how they got to their offices in the first place, and played with the notion that the janitor put them away at the end of the day along with the mops and brooms. It was funny for about a minute, until the blaring whine of the tardy bell cut through the storm.
Zach heaved a sigh. Late again. Taking a deep breath, he pulled his backpack over his shoulders and started to run across the slippery schoolyard pavement. Something hit him flat in the chest, and as he fell he vaguely registered having run over someone. His shoulders tensed up as he meekly looked down at the body beneath him.
Those amber eyes had never looked more annoyed.
“What is it with you, Zach? Do you generally lack direction or is it just when I’m around?”
“It has nothing to do with you. You’re the last person I wanted to run into.”
“Then get off me.”
Zach clumsily pulled himself off Gentry, stealing a sideways glance and noting the redhead wasn’t wearing anything but jeans and a flimsy black t-shirt.
In this weather?
As Gentry sat up, he sullenly noted that he hadn’t just fallen on any tile--- but the Cursed Tile. The Tile next to the trash can that he had successfully avoided since Freshman year, and would have avoided until graduation if it weren’t for---
“Zach. Have you considered quitting swimming and joining the football team? Your unique talent of crashing into things might just be appreciated there.”
Zach sighed and guiltily and reached out a dripping hand, impatiently waiting for the other boy to take it. Instead Gentry stared at it like a dead fish, glanced up at Zach, then grabbed it and swiftly pulled him face-first to the ground.
“Fuck you Gentry! What was that for?”
“Being clumsy.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 8

The lunch bell rang and Gentry stood up, Sydney and Ethan tagging alongside him.
“You better win, Gentry.”
“Yeah or we get a faggot on the team. Everyone’s counting on you.”
“Hey, Gentry, did you study for that lit test?”
“Yeah. Everything is B except two tasks.”
“What college are you going to?”
“Not telling anyone.”
“I think it’s elitist to.”
“Oh, so it’s a bad school?”
“No, I just think---“
“Gotta go. Bye Gentry!”
“Yeah, bye man, thanks for the answers.”
Gentry waved at thin air, then pulled his backpack over his shoulder and headed for math class. There, Zach glared at him and Gentry glared back. For the millionth time, Gentry noticed Zach would look better without those fucking thick-rimmed black glasses. For the millionth time, Zach wondered what he had ever found in that back-stabbing freckle monster in the first place. Gentry slid into his seat and he automatically pulled out his homework to give it in. There, Sydney, who was the new class aid, would ruin it with an unnecessarily heavy stamp that would soak through to the back of the paper. As she did everyday, Kylie would gossip about everyone then whine that people were talking smack about her.
“Oh my God. I heard this dumb bitch in my Econ class called me a bitch!”
Mike would then make a feeble attempt to hit on her.
“You’re not a bitch Kylie. You’re really nice.”
And as always, it would go unnoticed.
“Awwe thanks Mike. Oh look! I got everyone’s Hawaiian dance pictures. I thought everyone looked okay, except Jenny. Don’t tell her I said that when she comes back from the bathroom, haha. Gentry, who do you think looks the ugliest?”
Gentry shrugged, mentally counting the seconds before Mike would remind him,
“Hey Gentry, you better win the swim competition.” He wouldn’t use the word faggot because Kylie was around.
“Yes, I’ll win.” Said Gentry, waiting for the next most common question that, according to probability, would be asked at least once every period of the day.
“Hey Gentry, What college are you going to?”
“I’m not telling anyone because I think it’s elitist and people just size each other up.”
“Ah, so you’re afraid of a little competition?” Kylie asked, laughing loudly so it would appear as a joke, then prodding on, “What are you majoring in?”
“That makes sense. Your dad’s a lawyer.”
Well, these people were his network. The people he relied on for social information and popularity. They were the pillars that held up his frame, the walls that made up his square of existence. He didn’t know where he would be without these popular, intelligent people. And they didn’t know how much he wanted to shoot them.
Jenny slammed the door as she came back from the restroom.
“Hey, Gentry.”
“What college are you going to?”

Friday, September 21, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 7

Zach glanced at the GSA table, his hand resting in his hands. He noticed Casey staring at him with a gleam in his eyes, and it irritated him. Tired of the awkward silence and stolen looks, he finally spoke up.
“I’m going to the bathroom. Watch my lunch.”
“Sure thing.” Casey replied quickly.
The moment Zach was out the door, the table was abuzz.
“So, it’s confirmed. Zach and Gentry are officially over, and Gentry will race him to get into the Senior team.” said Casey, leaning forward, “But it’s not that shocking--- I heard Zach’s half black. You don’t want to mess with a black guy.”
“Do you really believe that he fucked around with Gentry?” asked Felix.
“These days I’ll believe anything.” Replied Mikey, “Though I don’t blame Zach for beating him up. It’s nice to see that jerk with a split lip, and even though it’s impossible I hope Zach beats him in the competition. Seriously. I hate Gentry. He’s so ugly. I don’t even know why anyone would want to date that freckle monster.”
“Woah,” Casey laughed, “Mikey, would you date Zach?”
Mikey scoffed, “You kidding? He talks for two. You could put a potted plant next to him and he’d talk to it.”
The table laughed loudly.
“But,” Mikey went on, “He’s really not bad-looking and he speaks English good.”
“He’s freaking rich you know.” Said Felix, “I saw his house. It’s HUGE. Though his mom’s ghetto. She says yah kno whatta mean when she talks.”
“That is pretty ghetto,” stated Casey, shoving a spoonful of macaroni and cheese into his mouth, “But it’s not like you’re dating his mom.”
“Yeah,” Mikey chimed in, “Besides, Zach doesn’t talk ghetto. He’s not really ghetto at all.”
“He just forgot how to be ghetto,” murmured Casey, shoving another spoonful of macaroni and cheese into his mouth, “But he did beat up Gentry, so maybe there’s still hope he’ll remember. That would be so funny--- a black ghetto gay. I really want to know what’s up with those baggy clothes he wears? It’s like he’s trying to make up for lacking a certain something. Whenever he’s walking around the halls, I’m always scared he’ll pull out a gun and shoot me.”
Mikey snorted, “Like someone would put any effort in trying to shoot you.”
Felix spoke up, “Hey. Do you think his eyes are really blue?”
“Psh.” Casey scoffed, “he just wears contacts. It’s a fact--- all black guys secretly want to be white.”
“Well,” Mikey stated, “he’s not THAT black. His skin his pretty light, he could still pass for Latino. And at least it doesn’t look like there are pubes growing out of his head.”
Felix chuckled, “No offense. If my hair was all nappy, I’d just shave it all off. It looks so gross, especially on old black ladies. It looks like dust bunnies are growing out of their heads.”
“More like dusty pubes.” Stated Casey.
The table snickered, and when the door clicked open and they settled down again.“Hey Zach!” shouted Casey, “We saved your lunch.”

Monday, September 17, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 6

“Hey Gentry, is it true? Are you REALLY swimming against Zach?” drawled Casey, perching by Gentry’s locker.
The redhead peered at him with neutrally, while thinking to himself, “I dislike you... and you're too dumb to see it."
“Gentry? Helloooo anybody home? Are you really swimming against Zach?”
“Ask him.” Gentry slammed the locker and shuffled away as fast as possible without running.
“Ahhh, come on now, Gentry,” Casey drawled warmly, stalking after him through the school halls, “I heard he also beat you up. I thought it was probably a small brawl. But I’m worried about you… You seem depressed.”
“I’ve been depressed since Freshman year, and now you notice? Some friend you are, I might as well be friends with a bag of flour. You just want to know what’s up so you can tell your friends. I’d be far less depressed if you’d just committed suicide all those years ago.” Gentry thought to himself, but instead said, “Don’t worry. Zach’s just competing with me. That’s all.”
“I thought you liked him. Is it over between you two?” Casey now walked alongside him, adjusting his pace. His eyes shone with thinly veiled curiosity as he waited for a reply. Instead, Gentry continued to walk quietly, ignoring him until Casey poked his shoulder and said, “Hey you… Don’t space out on me.”
“You know what,” Gentry looked up suddenly, “ask him. I just like him because he has a nice ass.”
“OH. Awww, Gentry, you got your heart broken. Let me hug you.”
Gentry kept him at an arm’s length, “I’d rather you didn’t.” Because you smell bad.
Casey laughed awkwardly, slapping him on the shoulder, “Well, I have full faith you’ll get over him, Gentry. There are nicer asses.”
“I can’t wait to graduate and never see you again.” Gentry thought to himself, but instead said, “Yeah. There are nicer asses.”
“Definitely. There are a LOT of nice asses at this school.”
Gentry looked at Casey and thought, “Like you.”

Friday, September 14, 2007

Because You Suck: Chapter 5: Part 5

If you are still reading this story, thank you ^-^... it means a lot to me.

The bleachers were warm, welcoming, isolated. It was perfect, absolutely great.
There was no sense in wasting time. He had to finish his Romeo & Juliet video project, and now was as good a time as any. He needed to keep busy. Yes, that was it. Busy busy busy, business distracted from anger. What irritated him most was that he didn’t know why he was so irritated. Was it high school? Was it Gentry? Was it being closeted? He didn’t know… all he knew was everything was far too complicated. It was easier being 5.
“I hate this place.” Zach muttered to himself, throwing his copy of Romeo and Juliet onto the bench, “I want to go back to Estonia.”
“Alas, poor Romeo.”
Zach turned to see Gentry beside him, flipping through the book.
“He is already dead, stabbed with a white wench's black eye, shot through the ear with a love song, the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt shaft.”
Zach scowled and pulled the book away.
Gentry laid down on the bench, “And… is he a man to encounter Tybalt?”
Zach glared at him, but Gentry smiled.
“More than Prince of Cats. Oh, he's the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song… keeps time, distance, and proportion.”
Zach glanced at the book in his hands, then at Gentry.
“…He knows the thrust that goes straight through…”
“Did you memorize the whole freaking book?”
Zach averted his eyes, “What a waste of time. What are you doing here, anyway?”
“Your lit project is due tomorrow, right?” Gentry replied, sitting up and wrapping his arms around one knee, “And you’re stressing about it.”
“Yes, a perfect time for the kill.” Zach snorted, averting his eyes as he pulled a camera from his backpack.
“We can come to an agreement that will help both of us.”
“Oh, let me guess. Does it involve BSing? Bribery? Calling your dad?”
“Just drop it for now, Zach.”
“No, I won’t, because I don’t need you to help me. If I get an F, at least it’s mine.”
“That’s just stupid.”
“It would be stupid to depend on you.”
Gentry’s drummed his fingertips on the bleachers, took a deep breath and said, “Everyone already knows you’re a good swimmer and that the Senior Swim team cheats people out of spots. Even if you beat me and get a spot, you’ll ultimately lose time and patience in the long run. I’m a good lit student, and even with a group that Romeo and Juliet project is huge. Flunking it will permanently fuck up your lit grade. I can do it for you, and you can beat Kylie.”
Zach turned to him, “I’m not interested because there’s a catch.”
“No, just equal exchange. I’m doing this to save both of us time--- Preparing for a race before Nationals is stressful.”
Zach shook his head, “You are SO full of BS that my head hurts. If you’re ever really nice to me it’s probably the steroids fucking with your head. You’re nice enough to make people depend on you, then fall into their back. That’s what high school is all about, isn’t it? Even now, I can tell you’re hiding something from me. Either that, or you’re scared I’ll actually beat you. Is that it?”
“Zach…” Gentry gathered his thoughts together, “Think about it. You have a VERY small chance of beating me.”
“It’s a chance I’m willing to take,” Zach looked to Gentry with disdain evident in his clear blue eyes, then saucily said, “Because I will kick your ass at the race.” he pulled out the project script and threw it Gentry, “And you can have this back. I don’t want it.”
Gentry’s eyes scanned the paper. His skin paled, and his lips felt very dry. This was not going according to plan at all. He could not control this… he could not predict it.
“Zach.” He said softly, “Why do you want to win a team of fuck-ups?”
“To see the look on your face.”