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?”
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.