Monday, March 31, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 5

“The homophobia here is getting worse.” Stated Mikey, as Felix, Casey, and Kylie glanced at him wide-eyed, “Today, a can hit my head---”
“---Everywhere you go, there is now a poster.” Zach declared as he valiantly strode into the GSA, “I even put them inside the bathroom stalls.”
Mikey looked up and kissed him in greeting, “That’s nice.”
Casey nodded, while Felix vacantly stuffed another chicken nugget into his mouth.
“I put some on the ceiling in the weight room, too. And I used a step-ladder to cover the upper area of the library. I found a way to tape them so that they’re harder to remove. Hah!”
“Mikey got hit in the head by a can.”
“A can? Well. If that’s the best the homophobes can do, they are screwed.”
Zach gave a plunked his home-made lunch on the table, and leaned over to the others with a childlike eagerness, “I can’t wait to see how many are up tomorrow. Those homophobes will have quite a trip removing these.”
“That’s nice.” Murmured Mikey, taking a bite of his sandwich, “Oh, by the way. I’m getting a summer job working in the community theater. We’re making the puppet theater versions of things.”
“God!” Zach spoke up energetically, “I had to sit through this dumb play for lit--- the Puppet Version of Romeo and Juliet.”
“I saw that.” Murmured Mikey, “You’re energetic today.”
“It’s the coffee. Three cups! Keeps me going. Once I eat I’ll be fine.” Zach heaped sauerkraut on his cornbread, “If coffee is like beer, food balances out caffeine---”
The table exchanged odd looks with each other, and finally Mikey asked,
“Yeah… what are you eating?”
“Estonian soul food. Either way. I want that hour of my life back. Romeo was miscast, I wonder… what were they smoking?”
“Yeah…” drawled Casey exchanging a quizzical glance with Mikey, “he was a bit old. I don’t know--- 40?”
Zach nodded, “And he’s black!”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Casey demanded, a flicker of outrage in his normally sheepish face. This went unnoticed by Zach, who speedily replied,
“How many Black-British-Italian noblemen have you seen in the 1500s? This is a village in Italy, not 1960s Nigeria.”
“That’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said.”
“Actors should be cast according to their role--- not according to a diversity standard.”
“Now you’re just racist.”
“I am black, why the hell would I be racist.”
“Half-black.” Corrected Mikey.
“Who cares! Would it be different if I was full black?” Zach slumped back, “I’m not racist, I’m just saying that a 40-year-old Black New Yorker shouldn’t voice a white Italian-British Romeo puppet. That’s like casting a girl to play a boy; it’s wrong.”
“I think boys can play girls and girls can play boys---”
“Yeah, I bet you also think Asian midgets can play Michael Jordan.”
“Racist.” Teased Mikey.
“I’m not racist. Directors need to type-cast, you can’t be color- or accent-blind.”
“Zach, you could be offending a lot of people.”
“I don’t care who I’m offending, I’m saying it as it is.”
Felix guffawed.
“Listen to me.” Zach lurched forward with a strained sigh, “If Romeo was a 40-year-old black New Yorker, the cast choice would make sense. But he’s not!”
“How many New Yorkers do you know? I couldn’t even tell he was black, much less New Yorker.”
“Then you were sleeping when the play was running, cuz it was clear as day.”
“This is voice acting---”
“But you said the actor was too old, wouldn’t that make you ageist?”
Casey chuckled, “He sounded old, dear.”
“Exactly. You’re not any more racist than I’m ageist; you just want an actor to fit the type. Age is one factor, but race is another. And race or no race, voices come from somewhere.”
“You sound so silly right now.”
“No--- Listen to me. If an actor just focuses on faking the accent, the performance goes to hell. That’s what happened at the Puppet Theater. I’d prefer a New York-accented Romeo anyday over that insult to a British accent. Who did he think he was fooling? Not even 1st graders watching Children’s Theater would fall for that.”
“I think everyone here agrees with me that you’re being racist…”
“I don’t care who agrees with you, it’s my opinion. Besides. Half-black or not, why the hell would I be racist!”
“Self-hatred, dear.” Replied Casey, coolly, “Not the first time I’ve seen it. Please lay off the coffee from now on.”
“I don’t hate myself.” Zach exhaled and fell back against his seat, “If at all, you hate me.”
“No one hates you, Zach.”
“Then why do you insult me for disagreeing with you?”
“Because you’re being stupid. Stupid and opinionated.”
“I’m not anymore opinionated than you are.”
“Technically, Zach, you’re only half black. And you’re not African American, you’re Estonian, so you can’t really represent black people. Now sit down and stop saying stupid things.”
“I’m not saying stupid things, but you’re saying insulting things. You’re the last person to tell me what the hell I am.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Tough! The GSA is supposed to be a place of diverse ideals and tolerance, yet since I’ve come here you don’t do nothing but put me down.”
“Then why do you continue to come here?”
“Because I like having friends with different views. What is this? First you were convinced I’m a homophobe, now you’re calling me a racist?”
“Okay everyone!” shouted Mikey, “Just chill. And Zach, stop being racist.” He made a motion with his hands, “Is anyone hanging up posters today?”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 4

Note: The Knights are the mascot to the (fake) Kennedy High School. Jackie Kennedy memorialized her late husband through the words: "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot." Kennedy's presidency was often compared to the idyllic existance of King Arthur's Camelot (when in fact, it wasn't due to the rising tensions in Vietnam and Kennedy's own deteriorating health.) Kennedy High is also an illusion to a "fake Camelot" since despite projecting a noble and idyllic appearance, is wrought with intrigue, manipulation, and "bullshitting" closer to the court in Hamlet than to the peaceful and orderly Camelot. But the passage that follows this isn't so serious ^^...

Tutorial was a time to finish last-minute homework and study, but Zach wasn’t here to learn --- he was here to teach a lesson. For the past weeks, whenever a GSA poster went up it was either pulled down or covered by a swim team poster announcing “Support the Knights at Nationals!”
Some Knights these were, about as honorable as a kick in the balls. But two could play at that game. Zach sniped a searing look at Gentry’s table as he passed, flaunting the large stack of posters that piled up against his chest. In return he got a look of feigned amusement and two raised eyebrows. Sydney glanced up and snarled.
“Hey faggot, nice posters.”
“Hey breeder, glad you like.”
Zach sauntered by, and Sydney threw a can after him (but missed and hit Mikey just as he entered the cafeteria.) Zach moved on through the crowd, oblivious to all. He had more important things to think about.
“Covering the library with posters sends a strong message. But, it takes a lot of work to make sure they stay on.” He mused, leaving the cafeteria, “Posters inside classrooms, however, are harder to cover or vandalize.”
Zach knew well enough that asking teachers’ permission was only a formality because, one way or another, whether they wanted it or not, those posters would end up in their classrooms. Generally, convincing teachers was not a problem since most were indifferent. But, as Zach had anticipated from the list of teachers he had printed out, there were going to be some hard apples…
He knocked on Mr.Handson’s door, and let himself in when no one answered.
“I’m hanging up posters for the GSA. Please host one.”
“I don’t know if you can put the poster on my window…” murmured Mr.Handson, glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose, down to the bulbous tip, as he put the papers he was sorting down on his desk.
“Don’t you support gay rights?”
“I can’t talk about my political views, Zach.”
“Our last posters were torn down.” Zach responded dryly, having more than expected that response, “That interferes with freedom of speech. Don’t you support freedom of speech?”
Mr.Handson furrowed his brow, and nervously scratched the back of his head, “You’ll have to get permission from the office---”
“Already got it.” Zach minutely held up a signed form.
“All right.”
Zach dashed to the window, but Mr.Handson called out.
“Not on the window!”
Mr.Handson glowered in annoyance, rubbing his temples to keep from leering. If he kept his eyes opened any longer or any wider, he would need to put in eyedrops. Zach seized the opportunity to jumped on the desk and slap the poster on the clock at the front of the room.
“No, Zach, not---”
“Bye Mr.Handson! Thanks!” Zach yelled, as grabbing his backpack as he sped out the door.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 3

“You know Zach, I just had to say--- Congrats on coming out.” Casey lisped as Zach sat down, which in turn caused him to smile sheepishly.
“… That was 2 weeks ago.”
“Better late than never. I still can’t believe you keep a list of gay events! What did your parents say?”
“They’ve been quiet…” his eyes shifted left, then right, “I don’t know…”
“So it didn’t work as well as you thought it would, huh?”
“I need more data to reach a conclusion.”
Mikey flicked his tongue, “Come here.” And pulled him into a sloppy kiss, “I’m so proud of you…”
Felix laughed, and Casey yelled, “Hey you two, get a room.”
Mikey had a black eye, split lip, and a chipped tooth; and he made sure to tell everyone that it was because of Gentry and Gentry’s homophobia. It seemed having bruises gave him more power than fighting back. The whole school was talking about this, divided on what to think about Gentry’s attack and Mikey’s bruises.
“Hey Casey, stop hating and take a picture.”
Casey grunted back a false laugh and Felix pulled out his cellphone.
“Hey,” murmured Felix, “Do you want me to airbrush off the, uh…”
“No. I’m not going to hide. If at all, Gentry should. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
“You should sue.” Said Casey.
“Nahhh. If I file a lawsuit, it will only make the school look bad. They’re strapped for funds as is.”
“Boo hoo.” Murmured Zach, as he slumped lethargically onto the table.
“Gentry’s dad is a lawyer,” Mikey continued, “I’m not going to pit the school against him.”
“The school can go to hell.” Zach replied as Mikey pulled away from him. “It’s their own fault. Gentry gets away with everything; he beat you up, and he’s still here. He’s like the Teflon Student! Nothing sticks to him; that’s not right.”
“Yeah, and guess who took over for Nilla.” Mikey spoke up.
Casey glanced up at Mikey, and after chewing over his macaroni and cheese for a good minute asked, “Who?”
“Mr.Johnson. Mr. Lee Johnson.”
“Ohh. Gentry’s dad. Yeah. Wasn’t he was already active in the PTA? I saw him in the office a few times.”
“It’s obvious by now. Gentry wrote the e-mail. And now his dad took over the vice principal slot.”
“They probably worked together. Shameless.” Casey tsked and sighed as he shoved a hearty spoonful of macaroni into his mouth. He slowly chewed it over as Mikey continued,
“That works for both of them, too. What’s the word, uh…”
“Symbiosis.” Said Felix, to which Mikey gave an approving nod.
Casey sighed in exaggerated frustration, “Gods. That’s just… shallow. It’s so disappointing what happened to Gentry--- to think I used to be friends with him. He’s changed.”

Zach raised his fork, “Hold up.”

All eyes fell on him.
“There’s something missing here. Gentry hates his dad, he wouldn’t want him working here. I’m sure of that. But I wonder why he would want Nilla out in the first place. I don’t think they ever got along, but to go so far is drastic. It doesn’t make sense. There’s something missing…”
“You’re looking into this far too much, dear.” Casey drawled in reply.
Mikey cut in, “You know what? I think Gentry had an interest. A lot of people here have a high GPA, so the Valedictorian is selected based on an essay they submit.”
Casey grinned, “Ahhh, and the vice principals review it. That’s so… Hey Mikey, you should run against him.”
“That’s what I’m planning.”
Zach put down his fork, “Is that the real reason you aren’t suing?”
The table ignored it, and Casey asked, “Zach, are you hanging up posters after school?”

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 2

“That’s amazing. A guinea pig was indirectly responsible for pushing you out of the closet…” murmured Mikey, feet sliding down the marble floor.
“Not just any guinea pig, either.”
They walked to the crudely overturned metal wire trash can that served as a makeshift cage. It was in the middle of the living room, positioned just short of the middle like a bizarre zoo exhibit. Inside the red-furred demon was scuttling around in circles, stopping only to angrily gnaw at the wire.
“It’s Gentry’s.”
“He has a guinea pig?”
“What else does it look like?” Zach crouched down and pulled a piece of lettuce out of his lunchbag, sliding it between the bars. Geranimo watched it fall with apathetic detachment.
“I sense them, I’d know one was hiding a mile away. I hate guinea pigs. They’re so erratic, stupid and nervous. But as long as it’s trapped here, I can deal with it.”
“I used to have a rabbit…” Mikey stretched his finger out, yet pulled it away before two sets of teeth could crunch down on it.
“This is one poorly socialized guinea pig. They’re not supposed to do that.” Said Mikey, and Zach could only shrug.
“It’s Gentry’s, what did you expect?”
“At the shelter I worked, these kinds would be put down.”
“Feh. I wish you could do that with people.”
Zach rose back onto his feet.
“If I give it back, he’ll just let it go again.”
“That’s animal abuse.” Said Mikey, “Guinea pigs aren’t meant to be wild.”
Zach shrugged.
“You’re not keeping it, are you?”
“I can’t give it to a shelter or it will be put down.”
Mikey stalled for a moment, then raised his eyebrows and exhaled.
“Hm. That sucks. I thought he loved animals. I heard he was a vegetarian.”
“You can’t like animals if you don’t even like yourself.”
“He should be reported for letting his animal run wild.”
“What good would that do? I mean, you’re right. It’s wrong. But… I don’t know; things are complicated.”
“What do you mean?”
Up the stairs, in the heavy oak dresser pushed to the wall, down in the bottom drawer under the old sweaters he no longer wore there was a picture that would explain everything. A picture he’d stowed away for safekeeping, unable to keep his treacherous thoughts from returning to it. It was a dangerous picture, a picture that blurred what were once clear lines or right and wrong, black and white.
But Zach was never one to shy away from the truth, no matter how confusing it was.
That was how, last night, he had figured it out.
“I don’t think he looks at it like an animal, or even as a pet.”
“What are you saying?”
It’s a part of him. And no matter how many times he releases it, it keeps coming back.
But this was not something to be shared.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 1

“Something has been gnawing at the legs of your bed. That’s, apparently, why it broke…”
Zach listened uncomfortably to his father’s distant drawl. Johan surveyed the wreck, trying hard to ignore the circumstances surrounding it. It was easier to think about fixing a broken bed than fixing a gay son.
“So… has Zeus been gnawing at any wood lately?”
Zach eyed the pig, which was affectionately burying its snort against his arm.
“No. Pigs don’t gnaw wood.”
Johan was a pale, red-nosed man with a comfortable plumpness and full red cheeks. He hand almost no wrinkles, and his closely clipped brown hair made his cleanshaven face look particularily boyish. Yet his most striking feature were his eyes, which were a crisp, unwavering shade of blue that pulled a viewer into their gaze with a single glance. Only, Johan had the habit to look at the ground when he talked, which caused people to bend in order to just catch a second glimpse.
“Dad… did mom show you the list?”
“Hmm, this isn’t termite damage, either…”
“Are you okay with me being, you know… I mean, you haven’t said anything---”
“You sure about pigs not gnawing wood?”
He was a quiet man prone to bursts of loudness. But otherwise, he was content to sit back and shrewdly observe while Delilah did the talking. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, everyone listened.
“Yeah, pigs don’t gnaw wood. Zeus prefers fingers.”
“Then we might have a rodent problem.”
Slowly scratching the back of his head and wrinkling his brow, he got up and murmured with certainty,
“Yes. It’s most likely a rodent problem. It smells that way in here…”
Suddenly there was a shuffling sound, causing both father and sun to snap to attention.
“Did you hear that?”
With senses alert and bodies unmoving, they surveyed the ground and air for signs of life. That’s when they say it--- a flick of red fur scurrying out of a box and across the floorboards.
Zach’s mouth went dry.
Without explanation, he emptied the wastebasket and climbed onto the desk with it, a great warrior preparing for the ultimate showdown.
“Zach. Get down from there---”
“Shhh.” Zach peered up for a split second.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s watching; waiting for us to get distracted.”
Johan glanced around, slowly turning to scrutinize each angle of the room. His lower lip popped out skeptically, and his eyes widened like dual camera lenses. After a good five minute’s worth of observation, he demanded in own his silent-yet-strong way,
“What is waiting?”
At that moment the red demon scuttled out of its hiding place, jolting across the floor just in time for Zach to chuck the laundry basket over it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 12: Part 7

“Tell me.”
Gentry moved to bedroom, and Carly stumbled after him in a drunken stupor.
“Tell me!”
“I already told you too much.”
“I know he wasn’t just some faggot if you risked expulsion to beat him up.”
“Mind your own business. Just because I’m staying here doesn’t make us friends.”
“Who is your friend if not me? You wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for me! You wouldn’t have been able to join the swim team, to be captain of the team, in fact---”
“Good night.”
“You wouldn’t have been able to stay in school if it weren’t for me! You’d still be sleeping in the Subway!”
“Your mom pays the bills here, and I’m paying her back for letting me stay. That’s not a favor, that’s business. High school is over, the past is over. Get that into your pathetic head.”
“If my poor mom knew why I was drinking, she’d throw you out.”
“Oh, now you’re drinking because of my Dad?” Gentry scoffed in contempt, “Don’t blame my father just because you can’t get it together.”
“He pulled me apart in more ways than one, Gentry. And it’s just a matter of time before you do the same to someone else!”
Gentry shoved him down onto the bed.
“---You’re drunk.”
Carly fell back with a muted thud, and lay there with glazy black eyes fixed up at the ceiling. That hurt, but it hurt where it needed to. Popped something into place that no one else could.
“You’re fucked up, too. Stop hurting Zach… hurt me. Stay with me.”
“I wish you came with a remote control.”
“I wish you weren’t a dick. But I still want you, and… you can’t always get what you want. Fuck. If you knew how much… I want you… right now. You don’t even know… standing there so smug. Who do you think you are?” he slurred, “Yeah, that’s right, take off your shirt as if I’m not here. If I weren’t so wasted I’d fuck you to pieces… your dad had a good thing… but that didn’t stop him, he couldn’t leave it alone. I couldn’t do that to you… but I can understand it. If it weren’t for him, I would have hurt you before anyone else could have, done it like that guy from Alabama… you never forget your first. I wish I were him, so you’d never forget me.”
No answer.
“Fine, ignore me. I won’t ignore you. Your dad works for the school now, doesn’t he? And look where we are. Look where you are now! Is that fair? Did he suspend you? No; don’t anwer that. I know he did. And you just took it, just like when he took you. And now you’re as quiet then as when he did it to me. Tell me, did you slam the door to make it go away?”
Gentry turned off the lights and let the darkness speak for him. He had nothing to say, nothing to satiate Carly’s appetite for desutruction or vanqish the bitterness he held in his heart. Even if he did, he wouldn’t give it to him.
“It was because of Zach, wasn’t it.”
No answer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 12: Part 6

When he returned from the bathroom and sunk down into the couch, he peered at Carly, who in turn lazily peered back at him. They stayed that way for a moment, taking sparse breaths until Carly broke the silence.
“Is that porn?”
“Yeah, wanna jack off?”
Gentry changed the channel.
“If you kept your dick in your pants, you’d still be in college.”
“Right where you want me.”
The room was quiet, nothing but the blaring noise of the television polluting the silence. It was a nature special, pristine lakes and pine forests glinting from a black box in the midst of a dark room. The picture flickered across the floorboards and sounds of chirping birds and splashing fish warbled through the speakers. It was a fishing show, with some guy holding up a large silver fish, slicing it open.
“What do you mean? It’s in your own interest.”
“Come on, you could care less about my interests. Did you think I’d just go and let you forget everything? I won’t let you get away or forget this. One way another, I’ll keep coming back into your life to remind you what you did, and nothing else. I’m so sick of being what everyone wants me to be.”
“So you’d rather be what no one wants you to be.”
“Don’t act so high and mighty. You’re not going to Princeton after graduating.”
“I’ll go to some college. I’m not going to be a bum.”
“That’s only because your parents want you to be a bum. That way they can control you better. They want you to depend on them for money, so that you’ll keep---”
“Quiet.” Gentry turned off the TV, stranding them alone in pitch darkness. His voice dwindled down to a murmur, but a tense one. Carly recognized it and breathed a comfortable sigh as he leaned back.
“You raised the issue.”
Gentry sunk into the sticky-warm folds of the leather couch, and wordlessly reached for the remote. The TV flashed on, back to the moans and groans of hardcore pornography.
“You are so…” Carly sighed, “Don’t you have homework?”
“Why not?”
Gentry sighed, “Suspended.”
Carly eyed him, then snorted with smug understanding.
“Why? Couldn’t keep your dick in your pants?”
Gentry made a face, but wasn’t as riled as Carly wanted him to be. He knew him too well by now, that ghost could rattle his chains as long as he damn well wanted to.
“16-20 is when the signs start to show. Did you follow in your Dad’s footsteps?”
“Have another beer.” Gentry handed him one, and Carly opened it.
“Did you put something in it? Because you don’t need to put something in it, I’d let you.”
“I beat up some GSA fag.” Gentry finally said, rolling up onto his feet, “That’s all there is to it.”
“Why did you do it?”
Gentry didn't glorify that with a response. The real question wasn't why he had done it, but why he hadn't done it... earlier.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 12: Part 5

It was a cramped space, tiny as it was stuffy.
Faded brown carpeting met faded off-white walls, against which a yellowed couch was pushed. It was obscurely nestled in the sleepy downtown seashore area, roughly an hour away from the school. When her son went to college, she had invested in a smaller house. She did not think he would return so quickly, head hanging low and full of excuses.
The swim team wasn’t worth it.
College isn’t for everyone.
She asked for it.
He quietly slipped out after the loud optimism of graduation to the sagging old couch of his youth. He sat there, day in day out. His skin had taken on an ashy white hue, falling against sunken cheekbones and dark circles. He hadn’t been outside in months.
“Stop staring. Do you want a beer or don’t you?”
He hid whenever there were visitors, and to avoid this awkward scenario Gentry always mumbled a greeting when he entered.
“You look like you could use one.”
“How many of those have you had?” replied Gentry, more to change the subject than out of genuine interest.
“Why don’t you count. One, two, three…”
As he slunk down the hall, Carly yelled after him,
“Hey don’t start washing your hands until they bleed or freaky shit like that…”
Now he was one to talk. He was the freakiest shit of them all.
But at least he wasn’t a sloppy drunk. Gentry was thankful for that much. It was better when Carly was drunk, because when he wasn’t anything could whip him into a tantrum.
The mother was nice enough, though she spent most of her time outside the house. But there was always enough food and beer in the fridge, so it didn’t matter. They weren’t poor by any means, just a nice modest Italian family with enough money in the bank. Fred had had a good life insurance policy, always thinking ahead. Probably too much ahead.
His picture hung over the fireplace, beside his urn.
It was when he died that Carly started drinking, or so his mother thought. Probably that was why she continued to buy him booze. And it was two weeks after Fred’s death that Gentry had knocked on their door and asked to stay the night.
Carly hadn’t said a word against it, and Gentry decided he was lucky; Most homeless teens ended up on the streets or shuffling from one place to another, but not him. No, he had Carly’s sepulcher.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 12: Part 4

I thought I should try to bring over Gentry's reasoning. He's been BSing and faking his way through life in order to reach superficial goals. To him, Zach represents truth, honesty, and genuine affection. This chapter is written in a slightly different style to fit the character.

Gentry sighed a breath of fresh air the moment he fled the office.
This was getting ridiculous. Drama in, drama out. Perhaps expulsion would be like an early graduation.

That would be nice.

A graduation from the lies and bullshit, from the forced smiles and calculated expectations. School was a prison of lies and machinations, everyone swimming towards their own goal and losing sight of anything else. What did they care about the guy next to them? They had to beat them, move past, move ahead.

That was why high school relationships were so pointless, why they didn’t last…
That status quo didn’t ease the loneliness or the strong urge to be understood. The desire for intimacy, for closeness. Something beautiful and desirable that could not grow on this terrain.
It had been this way since he could remember--- Straight from the womb, running through prestigious kindergartens, first grades, middle school--- pushed to excel more and more, higher and higher…
There was no room for friends when you had weekend homework, vacation homework, classes and after-school classes every hour of the day until you collapsed into bed, sleeping restlessly till dawn. You made aquaintences only if you could use them to get ahead, and never gave too much or moved too close.

When your Dad was a lawyer you couldn’t afford to be anything less. And when your dad fucked you, you had to show the world that they couldn’t fuck with you. Prove to them that this never happened or wouldn’t happen again. That you can be head of the swim team, that you can be more cruel, more rough, more ready and more ruthless than any tom, dick or jane.
The high school ratrace had no victims; just victors and losers. This was the high school rat race… this was. Everything was. Every thought, every feeling, every word could and would be used against you.

At that moment, Zach rushed by him, storming through the double doors.
Gentry felt his heart flutter and heavy thoughts fill his head. The first time he had met him, it felt like going through puberty in a day. He was the most beautiful boy Gentry had ever seen.

There was something raw and strong about him, both independent and threatening. Here was someone who was not only honest, but kind, and could take what came with it. That was why his eyes were so clear, so focused, and so unnervingly desirable.

And he wanted him so badly. He wanted take that unchartered beauty and tame it, turn this honest savage into a functioning member of the rat race.
It took so long, too long, to realize that although Zach raced, he was no rat. There was something else there, in the stretch of his smile and depths of his eyes. Something more evolved, something human; And it was true, Gentry concluded somberly… he needed to lose him to understand it.

He needed to lose that close connection, the delicate understanding forged through muted desperation. Forget every glare he’d earned, every word spoken and unspoken. He had to lose the memory of soft breath against his cheek, the salty taste of fear in a furitive kiss. Forget the hurt that made each kiss all the sweeter, each sigh and shiver all the more genuine. He needed to abandon the tender warmth of an embrace, the smell of unconditional acceptance. Senses that came from inside and out which gave him the satisfaction of finally, finally being understood.

And finally, he had to abandon love. The feeling of being accepted despite his flaws--- by someone strong enough to withstand them. Someone so blunt, so honest, so irresistibly direct…
Loved. Treated like a fellow, flawed, breakable little human.
That’s what had been missing. That’s what was missing.
And Now that he had touched, tasted, smelled, heard and seen freedom, everything else was but a narrow cell.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 12: Part 3

“Are you sorry?”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I can’t force you to.”
“You know, Gentry,” his father stalled, sternly shuffling the papers against the desk, “Anger is a form of control. If you allow people to make you angry, you are letting them control you.”
“If they have to let you do anything, they aren’t really in control.”
Mr.Johnson frowned, then slowly creeped a grin past his lips.
“That was smart. You’re a smart boy--- got that from my side of the family.”
Gentry stared at him, coldly noting the the irony that Nilla was replaced by a real sex offender. Instead of replying, Gentry looked away. He stared at a pencil on the desk, then shifted it into a parallel angle with the table.
“It’s regrettable that you acted out the way you did.”
Gentry noticed the table was placed crookedly on the carpet, since the angle of the room different from the angle of the pencil. Yet the room wasn’t straight, either, as the distinctintion in carpet fibers revealed. What good was it to straighten out a pencil when the room was crooked.
“You know what, Dad?”
“I don’t regret it.”

With that said, he stood up and left the room.

That was how he ended up aimlessly sitting against his locker, staring at the stump of a tree.
He needed to think. Needed to get his priorities in order. Just a moment alone, just one moment for himself...
“Gentry.” Casey stopped dead in tracks, almost dropping his pile of important looking papers, “I heard you beat up Mikey.”
“How could you…”
“Someone had to.”
“How could you say that! I can’t believe I ever considered you a friend!”
“Gentry!” Sydney grinned and slapped Gentry’s shoulder, “I heard you beat up Mikey. Props!”
Casey put his hands to his hips, his mouth falling open in a neat ‘o’.
“How could you say that, Sydney!”
“I just did, that’s how.”
“That’s homophobic!”
“Yeah well you’re a homo!”
Gentry wormed out from between them, making his escape.
“I’m a homo, but at least I’m not a homophobe! Homophobia is gay!”
“So are you!”
Casey stalled, then blubbered, “I am certainly not a homophobe. The two aren’t equivilant. Homophobia is gay, but gays aren’t homophobic.”
“Why? If homophobia equals gay, then gay equals homohphobia.”
“If that’s so… that proves most homophobes are secretly gay.”
“Fuck you, faggot!”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you!”