Thursday, November 13, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 24

Note: Rape does not turn people into rapists. That's a myth. The number of abusers is small in comparison to the number of victims, and even if some abusers were abused, the majority of rape victims do not rape others. PSA over.

“Did you know that most rapists were raped themselves?” he asked morbidly, “It’s psychologically proven— abuse can turn you into an abuser. It’s sad, but that’s how it is. Rape’s not something you should take lightly, and what Gentry is doing is very dangerous and… offensive.”
“Yeah, well. What else is new? Maybe he had water in his ears. Maybe it doesn’t leave his ears, maybe it flows the other way...”
“This isn’t funny.”
Zach reached over to turn off the blaring Bollywood music, then fell back into the barely-there folds of the sleek black couch.
“I’m not trying to funny.” He sighed, “But you’re being too serious. It isn’t as if it’s a death sentence.”
“It can be.”
Zach peered up at him and brashly replied,
“So can walking down the street.”
“A car might hit you.”
Zach moved to sit up, yet Mikey shifted his weight to keep him in place.
“—Anything can cause trauma.” Zach grunted, “What I’m trying to say is that we’re only human, and probability says you will be hurt. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll become a bully or a victim or the walking dead. In the end, it’s people that decide their actions, not their problems.”
“Hm. So…” Mikey’s voice trailed off, and he glanced away.
Zach continued on, awkwardly. He didn’t notice how Mikey was tersely looking away, present in body but not in mind.
“People have problems, but that’s not everything there is to them… let’s be reasonable here—”
“But you still think it’s wrong, don’t you?”
“Of course—”
“And you think victims shouldn’t be re-victimized?”
“Yes, but—”
“But what? Last summer, I volunteered at a counseling center. They told us about how dangerous these misconceptions are, so it’s really messed up what Gentry’s doing.”
Zach’s eyes narrowed, distant from conflict. After about a minute he took a long, labored breath. Mikey leaned in to peck him on the lips, but Zach turned his head away. At this, Mikey wordlessly moved off him and said,
“Why don’t you stand up to Gentry on this remark? If anyone can do it, it’s you. You’re smart, and you know rape is wrong.”
Zach looked at him from the corner of his eyes, then replied in a strained voice, “It’s not my place—”
“So he has you where he wants you.”
“No.” Zach scoffed, “That’s not it.”
“If you won’t stand up to him, I will.”
Mikey’s lips parted, and his eyes lit up in a way which made Zach squirm. The look quickly faded, and Mikey shrugged and calmly moved off him, taking a seat on the armchair opposite the couch.
The sunlight shone in from the bay window, illuminating rings under his eyes. There was a look about him, the look of someone who never sat still, someone who was just now sitting down to think. He knew Zach well enough to know that it took a lot to shut him up, and he wondered what was in it for him. People didn’t deserve things, they wanted things. He reasoned that Zach must want something. He was not sure, however, what he wanted with Zach.
“You know, Zach.” He murmured, “Any way you slice it, a rape survivor will never be normal again. Think about that.”
Zach sighed as he sat up, “Why does everyone have to be normal?”
“Because people who aren’t make things too complicated.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 23

Mikey’s voice trailed off, falling beneath the Bollywood music which blared in the background.
Zach slid past him with his best attempt at a dance, sliding over the hardwood floor in his socks. Zeus followed cloe behind him, snorting and grunting in bewilderment, his hooves slipping on the newly mopped floor. The maid had mopped it later than usual, and the moment Zach had seen it, he kicked off his shoes and yelled at Mikey to turn on the Bollywood music. Although Mikey hated Bollywood music with every cell in his mind, he grudgingly went along with the request.
“Zach, have you read this article?” he asked over the high-pitched singing and the maddening drumbeat. Gods, he hated Bollywood music. He had taken that dance class to demonstrate cultural sensitivity, a delicate ability which was slowly ebbing away. Zach had more Bollywood music on his mp3 player than anyone needed, and he wasn’t even from India. It was flat out weird… Mikey wished that Zach would just focus on being gay… or half-black… or Estonian… because this was just too much. People needed to stick to their culture.

Right now, Zach was skating large circles around him, narrowly avoiding tables and chairs. Mikey tersely watched him woosh by.

“I never read the school paper!” he exclaimed, gracefully gliding past him.
“Gentry was interviewed… he said that Kennedy should pass out condoms to prevent rape. Can you believe that?”
“Yeah, I can.”
Zach twirled around on one foot, then dramatically collapsed onto the couch, resting one arm over his forehead with unearned tiredness.
“I wouldn’t be so casual about it, Zach. And I wouldn’t be dancing around like that, either. This is serious.”
“I don’t want to be serious.”
“Well, rape is a very serious crime, which he obviously doesn’t understand. I can’t believe he’s even being considered for Valedictorian, since a valedictorian is supposed to represent the school…”

Zach sighed forcefully, raised both his eyebrows and looked up at the ceiling, but didn’t say anything. There were times when saying anything was saying too much. So, in the absence of commentary, Mikey went on:
“A rape victim can never be normal again, their lives are ruined and they are dead inside.”
“Now come on.” Zach turned onto his side, “Getting raped doesn’t turn you into the walking dead.”
Mikey leered at him for a moment, then shrugged and put down the paper. He slowly sauntered to the couch and climbed on top of Zach, leaning in. He was not stupid; it was clear that Zach’s newfound joy hadn’t come from out of nowhere. The bruises were one thing, and the way Gentry looked at him was another... it was plain to see that something very predictable was going on. He didn’t like it, not one bit.

Some days he wondered what Gentry had over him, but promptly decided it was not a thought worth pursuing. Whatever Gentry had, it didn’t make him great enough to be in a relationship with. He wasn’t even an ex, there had never been a relationship. All he was was a confused homophobe, and now he was starting to suspect that there was something else wrong with him. It was only a hunch, but he was going to test it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 22

“All right, Gentry. What do you think athletes need to know about rape?”
“That it’s bad.”
“Is that all?”
“Well… Rape is the worst crime.”
“Anything else you wanna add to that? Like, do you have any tips for athletes or anything?”
“Not to rape anyone.”
Kylie scribbled that down, hunching over slightly so that her breasts jiggled and bulged out of her top.
Mike cruised by, nearly dropping the lunch tray as he did a double take.
“…Hey Kylie.”
Kylie didn’t glance up as she sighed a greeting. She had worn a low-cut baby blue top today, and was vainly hoping someone would notice. Mike did, brightly commenting that blue was his favorite color.
“It looks good on you.”
“That’s nice.” Kylie whirred dismissively, “But I’m doing an interview for journalism so, let’s talk later ok?”
Gentry gave him a tiredly sympathetic look. Even he knew that Kylie’s “later” meant “never.” Mikey had a conflicted look on his face, and straightened his posture as he brushed past, loudly his tray down beside Sydney and Ethan. Sydney, who had also noticed the top, brightly held two oranges up with a large grin plastered across his face.

“All right,” Kylie chirped and looked back at Gentry, who gazed at her with patient disinterest. She thought his cool front was absolutely sexy. She liked men who were in control… that was a very good quality to have.
“So… Gentry. Tell me…” she clicked her tongue and snuck a look at him, then back at the sheet, “who do you think is most responsible for ensuring that women stay safe… that rape does not happen?”
She sucked on her lower lip, and embroidered her previous question,
“Are there any experiences that shaped your view? Anyone in particular?”
Gentry had a blank look on his face, then thoughtlessly replied,
“My dad.”
“Oh. So would you say, that your dad was positive male influence on that subject?”
Mike gruffly pulled away the oranges, after getting tired of Sydney jiggling them around, rubbing his fingertips over their ridged surface. Normally, it didn’t bothered him. Except that now, she was sitting right there. Ethan laughed dully at this, but moused-up the moment Kylie shot him a mean look.
“That is amazing.” She said, pointing a no-nonsense face at them, before she slowly turned back to Gentry, “I think it’s great that you grew up around a positive male influence. So many guys don’t have one, and it’s so great that you do. That really impresses me. You know, I think your dad’s a really great guy. He’s not only smart, but cool too; I talked to him in the office a few times. He knows so much about so many things.”
“…Including law, which is something I’m very interested in. Maybe I could come over for dinner sometime…?”
“Do you have any other questions?” Gentry snapped impatiently.
Kylie met his eyes, but saw nothing there. So she fell into a disenchanted silence, glimpsed at her list, and slowly read out,
“Is there anything you think Kennedy High should do to inform students about rape?”
Gentry took a chug of water, clunked it down and replied, “Pass out condoms.”
“Condoms?” Kylie glanced up, brows raised high with animated bewilderment.
“Yeah.” Gentry shrugged, “You never know what happens.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 21

For the first time in a long time, Gentry thought.
Admittedly, he didn’t spend as much time thinking as he spent feeling. But today, he was thinking. Really thinking. Perhaps at the wrong time, but it was something.
T h i n k i n g.
Thoughts which set his heart racing, which turned the dreary climpering of the keys in his mind to a wild melody which resonated through every part of him— even through stubborn silence. His lips were slightly curved from quiet daydreams he would never tell anyone, trying to remember how good it felt to touch and be touched. And to be able to rest his head on Zach’s shoulders, breathing him in.
It felt good.
Sometimes, he toyed with the fantasy of, one day, unapologetically taking Zach's hand in public. He would walk through the blue-brick schoolyard without having to say anything to anyone; not as some attention whore, not as the “gay guy,” and without the intention of playing politics. He would just walk with him because he wanted to, and if people didn’t like it, too bad. Their looks wouldn’t matter anymore, and their voices wouldn’t reach him.
It was a stupid fantasy; one which Gentry always dismissed right after bathing in its warm glow.

“What is rape to you?”

Gentry suddenly glanced up; blankly.

“Four letters.”

The question had come from nowhere, and hit suddenly like cold shower.
Where was he? Who had said that?
Kylie was sitting there at the lunch table, and she had asked him a question. She was interviewing him. Right. She was doing an interview. For the school paper. About what? About rape.
“That’s it?” Kylie drummed her pencil on her notepad, “Four letters?”
“Well... Rape… is not a good thing... It’s definitely against the law.” He replied, because he really didn’t know what else to say. Words didn’t mean much. Words were combinations of grunts and symbols, sounds which could manipulate as easily as they could be manipulated. He knew how to use them, but gut instinct always told him what he really needed to know. Words were ornamental, and had failed where his gut instinct hadn’t.

Four letters did not describe rape.
He wanted her to get fucked bloody on the way home. Then she would know better than to talk about it so easily. She could write her own article… maybe even a compelling survivor story. That would get you into Vassar.