Friday, July 24, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 22

She had pounded on the door for a half hour before creeping away.
That was the rumor. Everyone was talking about her drunken, naked stumble through the football field. And those who weren't talking were listening, watching... thinking. Some freshmen had seen her that night, and snapped a picture which they showed everyone the next day. Too much information was still not enough, and more and more people demanded to know how or why, devouring each tidbit of gossip with ravenous attention.

Finally. Kylie was popular.

Even though she sharply denied anything had happened.
“It wasn’t me.” She kept saying, until Mike presented her the photo and demanded “How could you?” during lunch. Giving it a horrified look, she abruptly stopped answering any further questions. Some time later that day, she started shrugging it off as a stupid prank and all that. That’s what she said to Ms.Nasty, who warned her that this kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated and could result in suspension, since streaking was against the dress code.

Casey was the first to form a concrete suspicious. He made sure to point that out to Mikey, who then pointed it out to Zach (who was not surprised.)

“I just think it’s weird that they went to the prom together, but that she wouldn’t even sit with him today. Don’t you?”
“No.” Zach replied, as he left the his last class and hastily ducked into the open library door.

It door slammed in Casey’s face—
But no sooner had he pulled away then he spotted Kylie, yelling out to her,
“What happened, did you find out if he was gay?” his sneakers shuffled after hers, while she rushed past him like a caged tiger.
“Come on, Kylie. We’re friends,” he whined, “You can trust me.”
“Oh, he’s definitely not gay.” She spat back. “Definitely.”
But no matter how much he reasoned with her, she wouldn’t give him specifics— and that irritated him. He had to know. He wanted to. Gentry passed by at that moment, and Gentry caught up with him,

“Hey Gentry!”
“Hey.” Gentry moved fast, as though he was trying to lose him. But this only made Casey more suspiscious, “You should talk to Kylie. She’s really upset.”
“Yeah man, what happened on prom night? Why'd she run around naked?"
“Ask her.”
“Why aren’t you guys seeing each other anymore?”
“There wasn’t much to see. I’m over her.”
“But why so suddenly?”
“Because she’s a girl.” Gentry shrugged, and ducked into the library. The door slammed shut in Casey’s face.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 21

Moments later, he had her back pinned against the wall and she was kissing him. Where, it didn’t matter. Neck, lips, jawline. His hands pulled down the top of her dress and unhooked her bra, and Kylie took a shaky breath and instinctively covered her milk-white breasts from the cool night air. Her breathing quickened as her heavy-lidded eyes watched his hand run along her thigh, and under the lining of her petticoat. He forced a hand down between her legs an up her warm thighs, rubbing along the thin fabric of her panties. Cotton, not polyester.
“Gentry…” she hissed, pressing back against him. His hand slipped beneath the thin fabric, pushing into the heat of her body.
“Keep going.”
Instead he dropped his hand and moved to face her. After giving her a quick lookover, he ordered for her to, “Lose the dress. I want to see every part of you.”
She slowly complied, wiggling out of it and then carefully draping it over a crate, standing before him in nothing more than her heels and baby blue panties. Her eyes searched his shadowy face for a sign of approval, as her legs slowly spread apart and her hands came up to cover her tear-shaped breasts. Gentry moved behind her to pluck off her restricting fingers, one by one.
“You like?” she breathed, inhaling sharply as his hands covered her soft, barely formed nipples. Every part of her was soft, warm, bare. He gave a closelipped smile and brushed his lips against her neck, then pressed the front of her body against the door. He pinned her wrists against the cool metal, and her lips met his in a heated kiss.
“Yes. This is perfect.”
Then he threw open the door and shoved her out into the dawn.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 20

“You know… you don’t give a fuck. I like that.”
“Shut up.” Gentry growled at her inbetween quick and furious strokes, and the crude slap of skin against skin.
“I mean it. I like you.” She said boldly, staggering over to him. The uneven sway of her hips reminded him of a limping deer, but he liked it. It was as raw as how she crouched down on the mat and slid her fingers into his, peeling his hand away and replacing it with hers. Her hands were damp and hot, and he almost lost himself until the bitch stopped suddenly and slurred out:
“God, what are these?”
Gentry pulled her arm away and used it to draw her close to him, so he could whisper to her face:
“God’s got nothing to do with it.”
She gawked back at him, and he peered right back at her until he could see himself reflected back in her eyes, whispering to her, “I put my hand on the stove, and left it there. Sometimes, I run them under hot water.”
In the sparse light, her eyes looked wide and dark. It was like staring at someone else, a beast hunched before him. Slowly, hesitantly, she churned out, “I don’t get it.”
He leaned in to them and asked,
“Haven’t you ever wanted to destroy things?”
“Haven’t you ever stood next to someone, and wanted to bash their head in?”
He grabbed one of her wrists and pulled her forward, “I have. I’ve wanted to turn them into something they weren’t before, change their life forever— Change the world. I want to break their heads open and change what makes them. Everything I’ve done to myself, I’ll end up doing to someone else. It doesn’t even hurt.”

A cloud covered the moon, and blanketed the room in darkness. Kylie slowly pried her hands away, but Gentry took hold of her bony wrist and pulled it back towards him.
“Want to know what does?”
The shadows of her face were unreadable now, and he could tell her lips were parted from the breath that tickled his cheek. The high tide of inhale, exhale. The clouds passed and moonlight shone back in. As she caught her breath, her lips gaped at him stupidly, then curved into a seductive little smile and cooed,
“Show me?”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 19

“Then what are you doing here?” she asked, brushing her shoulder against his. “Whose key is that?”
“You aren’t supposed to have that.”
“There are a lot of things people aren’t supposed to have.”
“Don't worry, I won’t tell... show me where it leads.”

Gentry forcefully shoved the key into the lock. The door creaked open to reveal the dusty room in its sparsely lit splendor, a cove of quiet. He stepped inside, and she followed him. Yet Gentry instantly blocked her way and harshly demanded,
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“Going in? What, don't you want me around?”
He didn’t glorify that with a response. He entered and loudly pulled out a mat, then laid down.
“You come here often?” Kylie squeaked, “Because this is a really quiet place. It must get lonely… you must get lonely.”
Gentry simply grunted and undid his pants.
“Hey--- what are you doing?”
“If you don’t like what you see, leave.”
Gentry slid a hand down his stomach, between his legs.
“Ohh… well, wow. You’re direct.”
Her words drifted off after that, silence ebbing away at them. Her hand pulled the door closed, then she stood there awkwardly watching him with her glazed eyes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 18

Note: I debated with myself about the scence that you are about to read. It will be posted in its entirety by the end of next week in its original format. It's important, promise. Thanks for putting up with my writer's block.

That student had been Kylie, who now stood before him backlit by the pale moonlight. Somewhere in the distance, the stadium lights had turned on and glimmered with blistering efficiency. Gentry shielded his eyes to look at her, and she eyed him back with a houndlike expression on her face. Wispy strands of her hair stuck on end, glowing along with every sequin on her dress.

“Do you hate me, or something?” she asked him.


He hated that she found his secret places, and followed him tonight. To the bleachers at the back of the school, down in the chamber underneath the seats, crowded with old gym matts, safety cones and crates of things that no one used. Every so often, his fingers took the key off Ms. Copper’s hook, and locked his body in. Many hours of his freshman year were idled away lying on the old blue gym mat, eyes staring up at the cobwebs and abandoned bird nests which lined the ceiling. Occasionally the moonlight would trickle in through small holes in the metal, illuminating the dust as he slowly breathed it in. The particles danced in the pale light, until night slowly settled and merge into morning. And until he left that room, time stood still.

Sometimes he thought he heard flapping, and had one of those moments where he wasn’t sure if he was awake or dreaming. Sometimes he found dead birds here; died while looking for a way out. Gentry never saw then alive, but always managed to find them stiff from the cold. Normally, he’d kick them into a corner and forget about them. It was easier not to get involved in those kinds of things. His father always told him “don’t get emotional, don’t get too friendly, don’t get too close.”

And no place was farther than this secret passage which loomed before him; the place where Kylie had followed him to, the farthest place he could think of. Yet in a strange way, he’d expected her. He had listened to her footsteps on the grass, the soft pitter-patter.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 17

Once, in his freshman year, a dove had flown into the closed-off storage chamber beneath the bleachers. Right around the late fall, when leaves curled dead on the trees, it had made a flight for its life by swooping into the open metal entry gate, disappearing into the shadowy ceiling.
When the door closed shut, the whole class a loud and heard frantic flapping. Only one person had mentioned it to the PE teacher, and that student had not been him.
“Open it the doors, it’s stuck.”
“It flew in there; it knew what it was doing.” Said Ms.Copper, as the fading light glinted off her sunglasses. She wore them because she was cross-eyed.
“It didn’t know it would die.”
“It’s only a pigeon.” Was the impatient reply, “There are millions of them.”
“There are also millions of people.”
No wrinkle of thought carved its mark on her leathery face, as she heard without listening. None ever did.
“There’s nothing I can do.”
And then the door locked shut on the frantic flapping.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 16

So they went to the afterparty; just across the street from the school and Carly’s old house, where last year’s festivities resulted in a fire that destroyed the kitchen. Students habitually partied where they were just out of reach from the faculty; just far enough to reduce prom royalty to commoners. The entire swim team, even some members of the freshmen division, were already crowding the floor of Sydney's two-story starter-castle… the afterparty had started awhile ago, since prom was patrolled by teachers who warned you about dancing too close. Gentry watched stumbling-drunk 14-year-olds bump and grind each other while the upperclassmen pantsed and stripped them. The uneasy suspicion that if Carly wasn’t taking photos, someone else was, briefly crossed his mind. He didn’t want any more pictures. He didn’t want Kylie either, which why he’d abandoned her somewhere in the crowd.

He slipped out the open door and dashed across the street, squeezing through the gate that opened the football field in the back of the school. It stretched in front of him, a yawning abyss of dusty space. The metal goalpost jutted against the overcast night sky, covering the low yellow moon and casting a long shadow over him.

His feet shuffled through the clipped weedy grass, and ears listened closely for any sign he was being followed. There were just moments he didn’t want anyone around. Especially not—Zach was really something. He wondered how Zach had talked him into that. He wondered what would happen if that crazy son of bitch actually were his boyfriend. If they had gone to the prom together. If he’d never left his house, if his father had never hurt him. If, then, when, all amounted to never. Never was, never will be. And that made the night even colder, because all this time there was nothing he wanted more than the hot rush of control.

He’d be happy once he had control. Control who loved him, who hurt him, what he wanted and what he would give… that he would have so much control that he would no longer be a victim— no longer shivering under the blankets afraid of the dark and praying nervously for the dawn.

Well, he didn’t pray anymore, and he’d succeeded in controlling everything. Fragments of the original plan still lingered in his mind, but they didn’t seem relevant anymore. He didn’t know what he wanted. He didn’t know.

Yet… yet.

It was then that his thoughts were interrupted by a nervous rustling in the bushes. A moment later a small creature darted past him, stopping abruptly at a distance to gaze at him with its twinkling dark eyes. Gentry glared back at it, and it twitched its tiny red body before darting back off into the night and disappearing into the undergrowth.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 15

That night, Gentry returned to the scene of the prom.
His heavy feet boarded the yacht once again, and brushed through the double doors, entering to a few slow-dancing drunks swaying to the hazy melody of a slow and grimy song that seemed out of place. But no one noticed anyway; no one was listening to the music. Most people stayed in their seats and some nosily swarmed around Kylie, who immediately looked up at Gentry from the moment he walked through the door, bawling out his name like a rooster crawing out the morning. He looked away as she stumbled across the floor yelling breathlessly, “I thought you ditched me!”
Just a few steps after her, Mike fumbled accross the floor with slow and clumsy steps, barely dodging the tangle of arms and legs skattered across the floor. Blue light glinted off his cheeks and bare head, which was nearly shaven clean by a buzz-cut that that made his face resemble a giant thumb. His short, thick neck bulged out from his too-tight collar as he slowly lifted one hand and grunted out a reserved “Hey.”
Gentry stared at him for a very long time. He was still staring as Kylie stumbled onto him, and threw her freckled arms around his neck,
“Where were you?”
“Somewhere else.”
“Hey.” Mike said again, standing in front of them with legs apart and firmly planted on the ground. He looked uncomfortable as he coughed quietly, and again said, “’Sup.”
“’Sup.” Said Gentry.
“We should get her home.” Mike said in a low voice, “She can barely stand.”
At this, Kylie suddenly cried:
“… Come on.”
“No!” Kylie held on closer to Gentry, worming past Mike’s fumbling attempts to grab her, “We’re going to the after-party.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 14

Note: Sorry for the long delay. I had personal issues to deal with. I'm all right. Things will continue on schedule now...

There were moments when a man needed to be alone. Zach had that beaten look about him, a look that made him hard to face. Tonight he’d failed something more important than a class; there was nothing that would change that. Gentry didn’t say anything as Zach discreetly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He understood what he understood… this was one of those things that would not be talked about later. The officer pulled up to the grotesquely oversized mansion with a strained look on his face, leering at the windshield wipers as the car door creaked open and slammed shut.
His eyes briefly darted to the rearview mirror.
“Aren’t you going with him?”
This was a night to remember, all right.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 13

“Are you crying?”
No answer, just that familiar muffled sound.
“Christ, Zach.”
Gentry sighed, and looked out the window at the flashing light of the police siren. Officer Shandy was helping the woman ease the carcass into an extra-strength trashbag, their movements and shadows warped by the flickering light. After a few more minutes of hushed sniffling, Gentry reluctantly looked back at him again.
“I’m sorry.”
He then slumped against the window, averting his eyes.
The soft reply barely reached him:
“I know.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 12

The Wildlife Center creaked up soon enough in a gray pickup truck, with a single officer who loudly slammed shut her car door. Officer Shandy gestured towards Zach, and her hard blue eyes took him in. She was stout and red-cheeked young woman with a hard voice, and the first thing she told him was,
“I’ll need you to move away so I can take a look at the injury.”
Zach did so without comment, moving to stand next to Gentry, who had instinctively pulled away on his own. Close, but not too close. They both watched her: Zach with curiosity and Gentry with skepticism, until Officer Shandy piped up, “I’ll drive you guys home. Where do you live?”
“Don’t tell me, write it down.” he said, handing Zach a notepad and a pen. While Zach scribbled down the location, his powder-blue jacket landed at Gentry’s feet. After a few minutes, the woman spoke up.
“Well,” she said brightly, “I don’t see any way this animal can return to the wild with its current injuries.”
Zach abruptly stopped scrawling unreadable letters on the notepad.
“Will it be okay?”
“It won’t be able to return to the wild.” She stressed, firmly.
“Yeah. So?”
A sick feeling settled in the pit of Gentry’s stomach, but he kept silent. This was not going to end well. He had that feeling.
“The wildlife shelter only accepts animals that can return to the wild.” Said the woman, “That’s our policy. I had to put it down.”
Gentry instinctively held Zach back, but his grip wasn’t strong enough to keep him from storming up to her, and glancing down at the deer carcass. The woman gawked up at him blankly as she said:
“I know this must be hard for you.”
Zach remained speechless as he looked down at the animal, which still had its glazed eyes wide open. Eyes which were ridid with death, glazed over and foggy. It still looked warm, like it might raise its head again. Yet now the flies were swarming around in those gelled yellow orbs, eating away at them with a low buzz. He stifled back the stinging feeling in the back of his throat. There was a lump building there, a sickness that woudn't go away anytime soon. Gentry moved next to him, cast her an angry look he knew wouldn’t bring anything, and gently said, “Come on Zach, let’s go.”
“No.” he looked to the wildlife official, “You think it’s hard for me? That deer’s dead because you killed it. That deer’s dead because it didn’t have a pack to defend it. You killed it! You didn’t have to, but you did--- and that's murder— you're a murder, even if there’s no law against it!”
“I know this must be hard for you—”
“Shut up!" Zach ground out, but didn't yell. He added quietly, "Just shut the fuck up— I know you. You people ask for donations from my parents to save Bald Eagles. You save the Eagles and put them in your brochure!”
“Bald Eagles are an endangered species. Deer are not. I’m sorry, this must be hard for you.”
Officer Shandy piped up, “That deer wouldn’t have survived in nature. It’s natural to kill it.”
“It’s natural to survive.”
Gentry pulled Zach towards the police car by his wrist, but Zach pulled his hand back and got in himself.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 12

Note: Zach might seem over the top, and he is. This ongoing prom scene is actually based on a true story that happened in the US (though not in my high school.) A group of students were drinking and driving on their way to the prom. They hit a deer, but didn't call police or 911 because they were scared of being prosecuted for underage drinking/drinking while driving. The report didn't express any remourse.

What a night this was turning out to be.
Gentry hoped the officer would finish quickly, since he knew damn well that no one could reason with Zach about these kinds of things. He reasoned it was a good thing that this was not Alabama, since in Alabama, the officer would have asked if Zach wanted permission to take the roadkill home and cook it as deer-meat. That wouldn’t have ended well.

After a lengthy back-and-forth phone conversation, the officer finally spoke up and said,
“You know what… it might be best to put that thing out of its misery—”
“—No!” Zach exclaimed immediately, and Gentry sighed along with him.
“Hear me out. That animal has lost a lot of blood—”
“—But it’s not dead yet, so stop acting like it is. It’s still moving! While you were taking your time getting here, it was fighting to stay alive... and I'm not about to let you shoot it. You don’t shoot human car accident victims!”
Gentry looked away during Zach’s outburst, then reluctantly eyed the man and asked, “Can the Humane Society come here?”
“I’ll give it a try, but I don’t guarantee anything. But the Humane Society aren’t responsible for these types of things… what you want is the Penitentiary Road Wildlife Center. But don’t you raise your voice at me; you should be happy that you’re alive. People get killed from deer hitting their cars more often than you realize. Transporting a deer is dangerous since it could have ticks—”
Please," Gentry implored him, "just call them already.”
The officer reluctantly dialed a number on his cellphone, and sighed into the receiver:
“Hello, is this the Wildlife Center? Yeah, this is officer Shandy. There’s a deer in the road, it was hit by a car. Get over here.”
He hung up and said, “They’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”
“Thanks.” Zach grumbled.
The deer feebly lay its head down on the asphalt.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 11

It pulled to a stop by some bushes, and an officer slowly climbed out with a flashlight in hand, shining it over at Zach.
“What’s going on here?” he asked briskly, in a voice that sounded like he was chewing on tissue paper. Zach shielded his eyes.
“My ride hit this deer.”
“It’s a half hour past curfew… Where’s your ‘ride’ now?” the officer asked, lips hardly moving lips to form his words. He was a burly man with hair on his forearms and a neatly trimmed mustache, holding on to a stern expression tinged by late-night tiredness. It looked like he didn’t want to be here, so Gentry kept his voice soft when answering:
“At the prom.”
“Well, you’ll want to call the Sanitation Department for that. I’ll give you their number…”
“I know damn well what the sanitation department does, and we don’t need it.” Zach spoke up, “We need medical care.”
The officer promptly flashed his light at the deer, “I still have to patrol real crimes tonight...” the light fell on the rainbow GSA bracelet which hung loosely around Zach’s wrist, “may I ask what both of you are doing here together—”
“Our girls went to the prom without us.” Gentry quickly answered, and the officer shone his light back on Zach, who snapped:
“Turn that fucking thing off already! What we’re doing here is none of your business—”
“—Zach, shut up.” Gentry fired back at him, as the officer inquired,
“Are either of you aware that deer carry lyme disease?”
“If it was a person with AIDS—”
“—We didn’t want our dates to miss curfew.” Gentry interrupted Zach, “We stayed behind because it’s dangerous to be out here alone, and that deer— we can’t leave a hurt animal in the road. It might cause an accident.”
The officer eyed him skeptically, shone his flashlight out into the tree-lined distance and firmly said, “I’ll take care of it. You and your friend can take the bus... The nearest station is about three miles away, down this road.”
“You just want us to leave so you can kill it!”
“Zach, quiet. Look, officer. Is there anyone you can call?”
The officer stared at him with cool-eyed contempt, yet Gentry went on undeterred,
“We’re not leaving this deer behind.”
The officer gave a gruff sigh and Gentry added, “I can put my coat on the seat…”
“I’ll have to ask my superiors.” The officer pulled out his cellphone, and dialed a number. Gentry looked back at Zach, who gave him a look worth reckoning with.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 10

The wind howled through the tall dark trees, swirling a few leaves into the street. Their wrinkled edges rustled against the asphalt, and for a moment it seemed as if though were dancing. Zach caught one in his hand and crushed it in his fingers.
“How’d you find me?”
“I asked.”
The knowing scoff that passed for a reply left Gentry to quietly add, “There’ll be another bus here in five minutes. If you still want to go.”
“And what, leave this deer for a drunk driver to roll over? Seriously; does it take a law for you to do the right thing?”
Gentry breathed a heavy sigh and didn’t answer that, while Zach glumly fell silent and stared out into the darkness, towards the flickering light in the distance. Things stayed like that for about a minute, until Gentry said:
“Never thought you were into Deer Rights. Maybe you should start a club for that. Deer, Christians, gays… same difference.”
“Stop making fun of me.”
“I’m not, I’m just thinking. Why wait for the GSA to promote you? Make a club about anything. Hang up a poster and call it ‘raising awareness,’ ask your parents for donations and call it ‘fundraising.’ As long as you’re President, it won’t matter of what. You should show up to prom just to mention that there’s a deer in the road. Kennedy would probably promote animal rights over gay rights.”
“That’s messed up.”
“You know what’s messed up? Even if that deer survives, the pack will reject it because it smells human. If you care, you’ll kill it yourself.”
Zach made a face, “We don’t kill humans just because they don’t fit in to the pack.”
“That’s not a human.” Gentry reminded him, at which Zach angrily shot back,
“Same concept.”
“What if I told you I’d shoot humans?”
“Then I’d say you don’t mean that.”
“Because if it was someone you liked, you’d take it back.”
At this point, Gentry realized that arguing about this wouldn’t solve a damn thing. So he shrugged carelessly, then turned his attention towards the dusty street. Somewhere in the bushes a frog was croaking, and the undergrowth rustled from the wind and tiny creatures scurrying about their business. Although the burning stink of blood hung heavy in the air, curdling every sense it reached, the creatures of the night went on undisturbed. Life went on, even when it ended. Gentry didn’t believe in any after-life but the one on earth, because the world didn’t stop after death.

“How’s prom?” Zach asked for the sake of asking.
“You aren’t missing anything.” Gentry snuck a glance at him.
“And this is much better.” Came the sarcastic reply.
“You’re here.”
Zach stalled, and glanced back at him quickly enough to catch him looking away.
“And?” he teased, just a little.
At that moment the sirens flashed and yelped in the distance, along with the rumbling noise of a small police car.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 9

Note: Happy B-lated B-day to sweetzsugar! Read her story "An Unforgettable Summer" here. It's really good.

The first thing Zach did was stomp as hard as he could on the attacker’s foot, drawing out a pained,
Abruptly he stopped, spun around, and exclaimed, “Fuck! Are you crazy?”
“You’re crazy for staying here.” Came the quiet reply, as Gentry drew out of the shadows. “What it wouldn’t have been me?”
“Then I would’ve felt sorry for them.”
Gentry grunted as if he’d expected that reply, and brushed past him.
“… I thought you decided not to go. But here you are. Nice outfit.”
“Save the remarks. I said I was going, so I did— stealing that stupid friendship bracelet wasn’t gonna change that.”
“Didn’t think it would. Did he notice it was gone?”
Zach didn’t glorify that with a reply. Instead he sat down on the road, and stared out into the darkness with a dogged certainty.
“Well,” Gentry went on easily, “here you are. All dressed up going nowhere. Now all that’s missing is a crowd of people who think you’re courageous for showing up to the prom and queer-dancing to Elvis… Is that deer really worth your magical evening?”
“How did you get here?” Zach demanded briskly, countering the newfound warmth in his cheeks as he turned to press his jacket on the deer’s wound. “And what are you doing here?”
“I took the bus.” Gentry murmured, sitting down beside him. His gaze shifted to glare down at the the animal, whose wide murky eyes gawked back at him soundlessly. The deer didn’t jump when Zach pressed his jacket into the area, which was growing dark with blood. Its eyes calmly lingered on Gentry, no spark of protest buried beneath the deep dark space. It was enough to make him say with some certainty:
“That deer will die.”
“It won’t.”
Gentry scoffed, sitting back with his elbows on the pavement.
“Why, because you called the police? They won’t come out here for a deer.” he told Zach matter-of-factly, then looked away with discomfort.
“Why not?”
“Because those drunk guys at prom will drive home.”
“He better be there. I’ll call him all night long if that’s what it takes. But he’ll be here. He said that he’s already on his way.”
Gentry groaned quietly, “God, Zach. Do you really believe that? Don’t be stupid.”
“I’m not stupid. You’re stupid for coming here.”
“Yeah, damn right I feel stupid now.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 8

Note: I updated the missed parts from last week, starting on Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 6. Sorry for the late updates! They'll be more regular now that I'm feeling better...

Zach picked up a rock to throw after it, but tossed it to the ground instead. Even if he could hit the car, it wouldn’t ease his frustration. It wouldn't answer the hard and frost-bitten questions which lingered, questions Zach grudgingly cast aside. He loosened his tie, because it felt like it was choking him.

“Where’s your pack now?” Zach shivered, glancing back at the deer and thinly suppressing the trembling sensation which twitched up his spine. Probably it was from the cold, or perhaps it was because flies were beginning to swarm into the open wound, eating away at it like old fruit. Their dreary buzzing filled what used to be silence, aggressively fighting for their share. It was disgusting. The deer looked back at Zach with its large, sad eyes, imploring him in a way logic couldn’t. So he sighed gruffly and pulled off his coat, throwing it over the deer’s. Then Zach quickly turned away and cast a sharp look down the one-way street, reminding himself that, any moment now, the police would be here. Any moment now—

Suddenly a hand closed over his mouth, and pulled him back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 7

The moon hung high over the sky, and a few feet away a lone streetlight flickered dimly. A bone-deep chill hung in the night air, echoing an equally lifeless silence along the tree-lined street. Occasionally the frantic chirping of crickets would punctuate the quiet, usually followed by a dove’s remote hooting. The deer had stopped screeching and wheezing from pain some time ago; and now just grunted with occasional discomfort. It no longer attempted to stand on its two good legs, since the cold had numbed the pain as effectively as paralysis numbed fear. Presently the animal took to lying on the ground with two murky black eyes patiently staring out at the lonely night, looking up at Zach’s dark form and standing beside it on the lookout for rumbling hot heaps of metal that weren’t coming.

The sudden flash of headlights in the distance made Zach jump, and the deer jolt its head up. A shiny silver shell whooshed so fast down the road that the air wailed with metal cutting wind. It shot through the dusk with roaring grit and steely determination, leaving a whirling trail of leaves in its dust. Zach stood in its way. Legs steady and arms at his side, holding nothing but an unwavering demand for it to break. The car screeched to a bare split second stop, motor rumbling and music blaring.
“Turn back.” Zach’s voice firmly rang out over the booming noise, “There’s a deer in the road.”
“A deer’s in the road!”
The sportscar flashed its high-beam headlights, and its driver leaned his head and elbow out the window to yell,
“Then move it out of the way!”
Zach moved in front of the bumper and leaned his palms flat on he hood, hunching over it as he slowly ground out:
“It’s hurt. And bleeding.”
“Then drag it to the side.”
“If I touch it, it can’t go back to the wild.”
“But uh, hey, why’d the deer cross the road if it didn’t want to get to the other side?”
The engine rumbled and laughter erupted from the backseat. Zach shot them a critical look and said:
“Hah-hah-hah-Go join the circus!” he glared back at the driver and said, “Turn around this car, there are other roads that don’t have hurt deer on them.”

At this, the driver flashed his lights and honked so loudly that the deer’s neck jerked up, and Zach slammed his fists on the hood. Abruptly the music switched off, and the man stopped honking. His face contorted in a grimace of disbelief and he shouted out:
“Crazy motherfucker! If that left even one scratch, I’ll sue you! You either move that deer or move out the way, this road is public property!”
“Make me.”
The engine roared. The exhaust pumped breathed smoke into the darkness, and Zach squinted from the high-beam headlights that glinted in his eyes as the driver ordered someone in the backseat to:
“Hey, call the police---”
“I already did!” Zach retorted proudly, "But go on and tell them how you wanna turn a helpless animal to roadkill!"
After twenty minutes of arguing and countless obscenities exchanged, the driver turned around his sportscar and sped off in the other direction.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 6

His reflection glanced back at him from a long mirror at the other end of the small oblong room; a room ripe with the smell of old caked-on piss and anti-septic air freshener. Stalls were in one corner and a row of porcelain sinks in the other, barely separated through the narrow path illuminated by the harsh neon bulb which glared overhead. Buzzing steadily. Eliminating every shadow to emphasize the gleam of the white-tile floor, so aggressively scrubbed that the rust-colored dirt between the tiles stood out like a grid of rectangular scars. The tiles were so small, Gentry noted in annoyance, that it was impossible not to cross the lines. He lurched forward just as a stall door opened and Mikey shuffled out.
“Sorry, didn’t see you there...”
“Why isn’t Zach with you?”

The bluntness of the question startled him. He didn’t expect such a lack of subtlety, but it was not unusual enough to make him hesitate in his reply:
“Because my private life is none of your business.”
Gentry’s hands reached out before his mind chose to act, and loudly shoved the metal trash can against the door.
“Your posters are all over the locker room, even the bathrooms. I can’t take a shit without knowing how out and proud you are.”
“Gentry.” Mikey said possessively, taking a deep breath but not breaking the shallow focus his eyes had on Gentry’s face. On those old dark eyes and the freckles so youthfully out of place, a gross reminder of childhood not quite overcome. He kept a safe distance with his feet pointed towards the blocked door, perhaps in a subconsciously futile effort. Yet it was more instinct than fear, because he already knew why Zach protected him, and understood that behind Gentry’s firm-footed stability was a wanton sickness that coursed through his veins, a nature he could not do anything about. It fulfilled Mikey in a way he wasn’t entirely aware of— he had seen that picture, found it beneath Zach’s old clothes, and it told him everything he needed to know:
“Your closeted act doesn’t fool me. Or anybody except you. The only reason Zach does anything for you is that he feels sorry for you, and now I can see why. He’s gone for just one moment, and you can’t take it. But even if he would have come, he would leave with me. Because he’s my boyfriend, and frankly, none of your business. So back off.”

Gentry pulled him into a stall and latched it shut. It happened so quicky he didn't need to think about it, and now the two of them were more than alone, with Gentry leaning against the steel bolt and Mikey staring back at him with thinly-veiled disgust. Mikey steadied himself against the white porcelain toilet, pressed into the other side of the stall, as far away as possible.
“I called the press because I expected you’d try something. You can beat me, kick me, piss on me, but I’m not backing down because I’m not scared of you. Violence won’t change the truth—”
“This is not about you.” Gentry said, to which Mikey blatantly replied:
“I know who this is about, and he isn't yours. You should be out there instead of in here. They haven’t even called prom queen yet, and your so-called date—”
“Is so drunk she won’t notice I’m gone. No one will miss you, either. Prom isn’t for connecting with people, it’s for setting yourself apart from them.”
“You can’t just lock me in a bathroom stall.”
The reply came as a shrug.
“Whatever you do to me, it will be in the paper the next day.”
“I’m not hurting anyone.”
“This is ridiculous.” Mikey sighed.
“Your excuse is ridiculous.”
“So, are we going to spend the whole night like this?”
“As long as it takes.”
Mikey looked away with exasperation, stiffly leaning back against the narrow walls. This confrontation felt surreal enough for him to pinch at signs of some hidden motive, idly searching for some spire of truth, and the stinging sensation of that lone barb of intent. It seemed like Gentry was making up the rules as he went along, as if the more in control he was, the more out-of-control things became. Mikey's thoughts were briskly interrupted by a pounding at the door, and Gentry’s quip:
“There is another bathroom on the second deck. They won’t notice that this one is closed.” His eyes stared past Mikey’s with a fishy determination, bruised hands blocking the lock from both his reach and vision. “This is what Gay Solidarity is all about, isn’t it? Using people to get what you want. I want to know why Zach isn’t here, and I can wait all night until you tell me.”

Monday, February 2, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 5

He watched him intently for roughly five minutes, scrutinizing every step before setting his gaze on the double doors. By the large blue-balloon arch. He’d seen what he needed to, and heard what he didn’t. Clear on what Mikey was here for and why every guy in the GSA was wearing a blue tux, unable to ignore that mild voice preaching to each member of the yearbook staff about gay solidarity for the 33% of gay teens silenced by suicide, speaking up for the silenced minority while posing in pictures with every girl on the floor. Prom could never just be prom, there was always more to it. It was used to show how much money people could throw around, how much hotter they were than everybody knew, or that they really did care for the poor sap who sliced up their wrists in high school. Nasty would probably spend all of tomorrow assuring the principal that although everyone was hammered, not one student was inappropriately dressed. Perhaps this was one of the reasons the disoriented local newspaper reporter was heading for the punch, and probably why this kid named Jake had spiked it with the small tin of vodka hidden in his sleeve, pouring it into the blue plastic cup that would later be dumped into the bowl during a refill. Slowly, because as long as you didn’t look like you were doing something wrong, people left you alone.

“We’re doing this to promote gay solidarity. We’re wearing blue because that’s how people get beaten black and blue. Gay teen suicide attempts are four times more likely than those of heterosexual teens.”

Yeah? I don’t see it. Gentry contented himself in knowing Zach wasn’t here, but suppressed the nagging curiosity of just why until it got the better of him. So he eased Kylie into a seat, and told her, “You wait here— I’ll get us more punch.”
She smiled goofily and clasped her arms around him, “But I loooove this songgg…”
“Me too. Stay.”
He pushed her back to free himself, then snaked through the crowd and up to Mikey, who finished talking to Jenny and started for the bathroom. Gentry pursued him, and slipped in before the heavy blue door slammed shut.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 4

Someone had spiked the punch.
Someone always did, and it was especially important during prom. Each time people pretended not to know, because it was a good excuse to get high and move past the essential stiffness. Gentry poured a full ladle into his tiny plastic cup, them poured it out and diluted the small remainder with water. He liked to see what people did when they got drunk. It felt good knowing what they would scramble to remember the next day. Although he never told them, he saved the knowledge. The other reason he didn’t drink was because he knew how Carly used to snap pictures of these events, and later threatened people with them. There was always one douchebag with a camera phone— ready to threaten you.

But that didn’t stop Kylie, who was on her third cup by the time she swayed up to the photographer in her six-inch heels, staring sheepishly into the lens of the mounted SLR camera. Gentry apprehensively propped her up with one arm, standing on a ductaped “X”-mark with both feet firmly on the ground, back up against a cardboard backdrop of the starry night sky. Kylie took his hand and stood as the photographer told her to— close, but not too close since the parents might want copies. She flipped her hair once and grinned stiffly as Gentry started to wonder why the large red-rose bouquet beside him smelled like soap. The flash went off and the photographer motioned them away with a flick of his palm. Later he would edit the red flush from the photograph, and replace it with a warm glow. The photographer enjoyed editing pictures more than taking them, since editing was where he put in what should have been there in the first place.

Gentry snaked through the crowd with Kylie stumbling after him, until she finally fell into a seat by the wall.
“When are we going to dance?” she breathed.
“When you figure out how to stand.”
Sydney was thrusting his body to the left and right like a bear in heat, until his date finally corralled him into a slow dance. Every now and then she cried out “omigosh! No!” whenever he copped a clumsy feel. But she didn’t really fight him off, either, because one way or another that billowy “mom-approved” dress would come off. And Gentry figured this was just as well, since formal was the way you dressed, not acted.

About fifteen minutes ago Mikey had walked through the door, dateless and alone. This made Gentry downright exhilarated. In fact, if his date had been able to stand properly, he would have waltzed with her up and down the floor.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 3

Zach’s hand clenched tightly around the neck of the champagne bottle, moistening in a sickly cold sweat. Felix gaped. Casey’s knee jerked up and down, and the driver slowly started to clean champagne off his windshield with a tiny piece of tissue paper.
The first to break the silence was Mikey, who demanded,
“Why did we stop?”
“We hit something.”
“I’ll clean the way.” Zach threw open the door and rushed out to the front of the car, as Casey glanced back at the driver and levelly demanded,
“Like… what?”
“Like a deer.”
At that moment Zach pounded on the windshield and Casey jumped in his seat, rolling up the window.
“It’s a deer.” Zach’s breathed, his words turning to fog in the cold evening air, “It’s bleeding, but it’s still alive— we need to move it out of the road.”
The passengers exchanged odd looks, but Zach urged them,
“Come on.”
The car emptied, walking a few steps behind Zach as he approached the mangled deer. Its feet looked crushed, bloat coating the candle-white fur along the hooves. He crouched down beside its heaving, damaged form, then stared up at Mikey, who had already been gawking down at him. After ten heated seconds, Zach snapped,
“You going to help?”
“It might have ticks. Or rabies.”
“Then call police.” Zach jumped to his feet and surveyed the deer again before adding, “I can’t tell how much blood it’s lost, but if we move it, it will lose more. I’ll block the road. You call police.”
With that, Zach marched to the center of the one-way road and wildly waved his arms.
“We have alcohol, Zach, that won’t work.” Casey reminded him, calling at him from a distance.
“What do you mean it won’t work?”
The limo driver piped up, “You’re all underage. I could lose my license…”
“We could get in trouble,” Mikey added.
“Forget that— It will die if we don’t do something.”
“That deer shouldn’t have jumped in front of our limo. Just move it to the side of the road, and let’s get going to the prom.” Casey exhaled, “We have a statement to make.”
“That can wait!” Zach called back, “And if you won’t call, I will.”
“Zach,” said Mikey.
Zach wouldn’t look at him, he just continued wildly flailing his arms with a hurt look on his face.
Zach, listen to me… I’ll call police, we’ll use another route. Now can we go to the prom?”
“We can’t leave it here! Another car might roll it over before the police come.”
Mikey furrowed his brow, “Well. Then you can stay here with the deer. You do whatever you need to do… I’m not going to let it ruin my night.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 2

Zach had stumbled out of the house late, yet everything else was going according to plan. The limo had been on time: a long black ride purchased with pooled assets from Mikey, Ethan, Felix, Casey, and of course, Zach himself. Though Zach knew that none of them really had any of their own money— most got it from their parents, and passed it off as “allowance” to look respectable. About a week prior to the event, Mikey had e-mailed specific instructions as to how everyone needed to look in order to make “a statement of individuality":

· Powder blue tuxedo jacket.
· White t-shirt
· White satin tie, tinted blue
· Blue formal pants.
· Polished blue suede shoes
· Powder blue tophat.

Although Zach wasn’t part of the GSA, Mikey convinced him that they needed to “stand out” in order to make an important statement of gay solidarity and pride at the prom. Zach couldn’t quite grasp the concept, but it wasn’t the first time in his life that something did not make sense. Although he originally wanted to wear baggy pants, he sternly decided The Cause was more important.

“Zach! Glad you could join us.” Mikey grinned, as Zach ducked into the limo.
“Now that the gang’s all here, I propose a toast.” Casey lisped, pulling a bottle of champagne out from inside his coat.
Mikey’s mouth dropped open, and he said, “You better not let someone photograph you like that. It’s illegal.”
“Psh, our chauffeur can keep a secret, there’s no camera; and it’s only for the limo.” Casey grinned and shrugged.
“We have eight more bottles.” Felix added, excitedly. Casey shook the bottle wildly then shoved it into Zach’s hands, while cattily urging him to “do the honors, 'cause Mikey the Humanitarian here won’t.”
Zach grinned frozenly throughout the while, mostly trying not to look like a dork, then pulled the cork so suddenly that the champagne shot forward and hit the windshield.
Immediately, the limo swerved and screeched to a halt with an untimely thump.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 20: Part 1

“High Rollers Casino” was the prom theme.
Every year, Kennedy High held its Senior prom on a rented yacht, which was anchored in place to avoid potential lawsuits. The decorations were recycled year after year, yet this time they had saved enough money for a roulette table and Monopoly Money to gamble with. Some people sat around playing cards, others sat around pretending to watch them, loudly admiring each others’ outfits. Although music was pumping through the first-rate speakers, most people stood around awkwardly unsure of whether they were better off dancing or looking good. You didn’t want to look stupid in your yearbook photograph… the place was creeping with yearbook photographers. And unlike prom night, a yearbook lasted forever. Yearbook cameras could be anywhere, and the risk of a bad picture was particularily high when you were dancing. A roll of fat could become dislodged, lipstick could get smeared, anything was possible. So most people stood stiff as a board, exchanging wooden smiles. Girls kept their heads stiff to keep their calculated curls in place, as they exchanged stale smiles and compliments.

Gentry nearly laughed when he came through the door, and the scene had washed over him along with a cheesy Elvis Presley rendition of “The Impossible Dream.” Here were a bunch of beautiful useless people standing around waiting to be noticed, and the irritating buzz of conversation waiting to be heard. At some point the band geeks had flooded the stage, and were loudly conversing about tubas.

Gentry had unintentionally rebelled by not wearing a suit. He had “borrowed” one of Carly’s dark tuxedo blazers to wear over a t-shirt and jeans, the same coat Carly had worn the year before. It was good that they had the same dress size, he supposed, although Kylie had fussed over it throughout the limo ride. That and the lack of a corsage, an unforgivable offense. Gentry kept his mouth shut as she chided him, until she grew tired of complaining. He didn’t think it was such a big deal not to wear a suit, but now that he eyed the others, he wondered if this was what rebellion felt like. It felt good.

“You should’ve dressed more formal.”
“A tux is formal.”
“The jacket alone isn’t. And jeans aren’t ever appropriate for prom.”
“Prom isn’t appropriate for anything.”

He just barely managed to strut past Ms.Nasty, who stood prim-lipped at the bright red double-doors to ensure that everybody was dressed appropriately. She gave him a sharp look, but let him pass after gauging that Kylie’s hem was the correct number of inches to make a pair fit for yearbook pictures. Kylie was dressed to the knives, and looked pretty good, he supposed, with her pin-straight hair and navy blue gown, the kind which ruffled along the shoulders. Her make-up covered the only thing they had in common, and sharp six inch heels elevated her tiny feet above the confetti-strewn ground. and her tiny feet were elevated six inches in sharp blue heels. She looked good, Gentry thought to himself, especially when she lit up after her friends in the yearbook committee decided that they made a cute couple. Gentry initially thought was some sort of sly joke, but then decided that perhaps fashion just meant looking stupid and uncomfortable.
They took pictures.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 38

Note: This scene starts on Chapter 19: Part 36, and has three parts. This is part 3/3!

Ducks only see black and white, so don’t forget to accentuare the key colors on your decoys— it is surprising how successful you can be by exaggerating size and brightness

Gentry was staring, too, taking it in as he crudely wiped his blood-stained hands on the sofa. The voice rang out over the footage of the dead duck, probably recorded after the fact:

We were successful here, but normally you want to keep moving. Be where the ducks are. So don’t get too attached to one spot— don’t get left behind, or you get left with nothing. Remember, you need to hunt after what you want.

“Don’t you ever think about your mom? Why she doesn’t look for you?”
“She doesn’t need to.” Gentry replied.
“Don’t you wonder if she cares?”
“All those years she knew what he was doing. She let you walk out of her house, just like that. My mom is sending me away, because that’s what you do when people are dead to you. But yours is something else. Would she notice if you died; would she care? Would anyone?”
Gentry quietly stood up, and Carly took one look at him then groaned, “Where the hell you going? Buying more beer?”
“Like you need more beer.”
Carly leapt off the couch and stormed in front of him.
“Here you are, burning your hands everyday. You burn yourself, you think that’s normal? That’s what crazy people do.”
Gentry brushed him aside and began to walk down the hall, barely listening. Carly could yank his chain all day long, because fact was, Gentry didn’t care. There were things that needed to be done, things that needed finishing.
Carly bellowed after him,
“People just think you’re normal!”
“You’re as normal as a stick in a hand-jar.” Gentry murmured, opening the bedroom door, “If rehab can’t fix “fucked up,” at least you’ll fit in.”
Carly stormed after him and slammed the bedroom door, “I’m fucked up but I’m not crazy! Crazy is not feeling anything, being numb without drugs! And you walk around like you’re sedated. I can tear down this house and you don’t have a reaction— and then you think you’re better than me? You only think you have control, but you don’t. And one day, you’ll crash—”
“Prom’s in two days.”
Gentry glanced away from his cold hard mirror reflection.
“Where do you keep your tux?”

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 37

Note: This scene starts on Chapter 19: Part 36, and is one of three parts! This is part 2/3.

Gentry eyed him for a moment, then looked away and nodded slowly. As Carly pulled away, Gentry fixated his eyes fixated on the hunter’s mouth, watching it move to fit each word. Trying hard to remember what that bird was called. Attempting to recall all those times his father had told him about the birds, swearing how important it was to know what you were dealing with; which type. He only vaguely remembered the feel of that leather-gloved hand guiding him to the trigger, and a clear voice telling him when to fire. What Gentry couldn’t remember was if he’d liked it, because nothing was clear about Alabama except the cold dead-weight of the rifle in his hands, and a lump building in his throat.

“But I won’t be here much longer, Gentry. I want you to know.”

What was that bird? He couldn’t remember, it was all very blurry… but it was there, somewhere between the rising pitch of the choir and the bullet’s hollow pang. He just needed to find it.

The pintail is an alternative to the standard mallard duck call. This mallard whistle works in most situations, but every duck hunter should be bilingual. That’s how you tell ducks what they want to hear, and draw them in. Always carry a pidgeon and pintail with you, and make sure to identify the duck before calling it

“You listening?”

Whistling’s also great way to get kids into the action, because it is hard to mess up...

“They’re sending me away.”

Gentry looked up startledly, as if he’d nodded off to sleep a few minutes ago. But he was awake, more awake then he’d felt in some time.

“That’s a mandarin duck.”
“What that guy’s holding. Its long claws let it nest in trees.”
Carly eyed him for a good long, long moment. And when Gentry added, “It rarely breeds with the wood duck, even though they come from the same species” he responded by irritably turning back to the TV. Without looking away, he reached over and tossed Gentry the remote, which Gentry caught without trying.
“How’s nationals looking?”
“Good enough.”
“You still getting in enough practice?”
“Always do.”
“Good. Just make sure you act like a team, even if Zach’s in it. The audience can mess with your head, but everyone loves a close-knit team. The closer you look, the more intimidated the other side gets.”
Carly abruptly fell silent, realizing that talking was fruitless. There was nothing he could say that Gentry didn’t already know, or hadn’t already heard. Nothing. The hunter had stopped talking as well, and silently held the bird’s wings together for a moment longer before releasing them from his hands. The duck flapped wildly, camera swerving to capture how its wings glinted against the sun. It looked downright surreal, the way it caught the clouds with its passioned strokes— Carly watched it soar up until the shot rang out which sent it plummeting from cloud nine, back down to Earth. Immediately the camera flashed to it. After taking it in for a good five minutes, Carly decided that a dead pile of feathers wasn’t as gruesome as he thought it would be. It was actually very boring.

Because You Suck: Chapter 19: Part 36

Note: Sorry for the delay! I'm posting this scene out in three posts, because lumping it together in one post makes it read heavy. It's an important scene, promise--- I spent New Years editing it! This is part 1/3.

The house was dark inside and out, and its floor was pool of dismantled furniture. Papers fluttered through the air, in and out of the moonlight, raining down on him as he opened the door. Although it was dark, he could make Carly’s silhouette out against the sparse natural light, hacking away at the couch with a steak knife. The moonlight shadowed his face and body, and like the night he was silent, save for the the ragged breath which occasionally escaped his lungs.

Gentry flipped on the lights.

His dark eyes drifted over the torn books strewn across the floor, and he barely spent one minute in the doorway before he started to kick the pages out of the way. Crinkling paper was particularily loud in the dusky quiet, loud and efficient, as he stalked down the hall. Crunching over broken furniture and fizzling remains of the telephone, stepping into the shattered pieces of the urn. What was in his way was soon kicked out of sight, forming a neat carpet path while the TV buzzed on like a malevolent fly.
Carly stopped stabbing the couch, and leered over at him. He threw the butcher knife at the wall, from where it rebounded to the floor with a heavy clang; then stood up with his wobbly legs on the cushions with yellowed stuffing in his clenched white fists. He threw it in the air and yelled at the top of his lungs,
“Four walls make a tomb!”
The bathroom door clicked shut.
Carly took the lamp and smashed it into the wall, again and again until it flickered off, sparks lighting the air from the exposed wires. The overhead light was still on though, shining down on him like a cold sun. But he was tired now, so he exhaled deeply and sunk into the folds of the leather sofa, groaning as steam began to creep out from underneath the bathroom door.
“For Christ’s sake.”
He stormed out of his seat and threw open the door, his eyes meeting Gentry’s complacent stare, and then drifting to the gnarled red hands. Bruised and disfigured, turned leathery by constant heat, cracked with sores and wrapped around by river-like scar tissue. Those hands bothered him; they did not break.
“Ever draw blood?”
The faucet squeaked off and Gentry brushed past him. He quietly sat down in front of the TV, shoving the beer cans off the table. The television blared on with some hunting show. It flickered across the screen in its color-saturated glory: some guy with a thick gray-brown handlebar mustache was a holding some kind of bird, pinning its wings together with one gloved hand while steadying its head with the other. Every now and then it would jerk wildly, before reverting to rigid stillness, while the guy continuously jibbered on to the camera about how to cook it.
“I don’t like hunting shows.” Carly confided, awkwardly. “The hunter is always an idiot, yet he always wins. Who watches this stuff? You ever wonder that?”
Gentry shrugged emptily, then slouched back in his seat to watch the screen. In the corner of his eyes, Carly’s old swim team trophy glistened on the mantle. It wasn’t from Nationals, though. The school kept those. This one was probably from another match, and it was beautiful. Mounted on that white limestone, hard and resilient. Amidst the dirt, the little gold men stood tall— Gentry wanted to put it in his mouth and suck on it, feel his teeth scrape against the gold-painted metal. Take it and put it in something, didn’t matter who; shove it into anyone and just thrust away. Up. Up. Up—
“Aren’t you going to ask me why I destroyed everything?” said Carly, temporarily blocking the view.
“Why?” Gentry droned out, absent-mindedly picking at some new scab. Pulling away layer after layer, trying to see how much his skin could take. There was no other reason he did it. There was no release in it.

“Same reason you do.”