“Where are you, Amy?” Everyone looked at me when I shouted into my phone.
Bobby gave me a worried look.
“I’m not sure.” she responded nervously. “I hitched a ride with a trucker and he let
me out when I wouldn’t have sex with him. I’m really scared.”
“Do you have any idea where you might be?” This sounded really serious. I was
starting to get worried for Amy’s safety.
“There’s a restaurant down the street called the Wayside Inn, but I’m not sure what
town this is.” She started to cry. She must have been through a terrible ordeal.
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Listen, Amy.” I was trying to think how I could help her. “Let me make a phone call.
Don’t turn your phone off. I’ll call you back in a few minutes.”
“All right. But hurry.” She hung up. I then called my Aunt Janice.
“Aunt Janice. Amy’s in trouble. We need your help,” I said excitedly.
“Slow down Mark. What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Amy ran away this morning.” I started to explain the situation to her. “She hitched a
ride with a trucker and he let her out when she wouldn’t have sex with him.”
“Oh, Sweet Jesus!” she shouted. “Is she all right?”
“She seems to be, but she doesn’t know where she is. Are you familiar with a
restaurant called the Wayside Inn?”
“My God, she’s a hundred miles away!” My stomach knotted when I heard this.
“Then you know where it is?” I asked hopefully.
“Yes. I’ve eaten there a few times. Call Amy back and tell her I’m on my way. Tell her
to go to the restaurant and wait for me, and not to leave for any reason. I should be
there in about an hour and a half.” I sighed with relief.
“Thanks, Aunt Janice. I’ll call her and tell her what you said. Bye.” I only hoped that
Amy would be safe until she got there.
I called Amy back and told her what Aunt Janice had said. After feeling that she’d be
safe, I called my mother. She was extremely upset, but relieved that Amy had called
me. She said she was going to call and talk to her until Aunt Janice arrived.
When I hung up everyone was looking at me. Bobby scooted closer to me and asked
if everything was all right. I could tell that he wanted to put his arm around me, but
he was fighting the urge to do so.
I spent the next few minutes telling everyone what had happened. All of them had
met Amy, so they were not surprised by her behavior. After wishing me well, they
got up to head to class. Bobby stayed behind to comfort me.
“Everything will be all right, Mark. She’ll be safe.” I looked at him and saw the
worried look on his face. I knew he didn’t like Amy, but it was nice that he was
concerned about me.
“I know,” I said. “I just feel so helpless right now.” There wasn’t anything I could do.
I could not call her because my mother would be on the phone with her. Aunt Janice
didn’t have a cell phone, so I couldn’t get any information from her. The only thing to
do was wait until they called me later.
“Look at the two lovebirds.” I heard Scott’s voice behind me. I had been so
preoccupied with Amy that I had completely forgotten about seeing him today. He
bent down between us and looked us both in the face.
“Did you enjoy your little vacation?” A devilish smile appeared on his face as he
looked at me. “You’d better watch your back. I’m not done with you two yet.”
He started to say more, but he noticed Dr. Johnson heading our way. He started
walking away quickly. He still had his little group of followers trailing behind him.
However, I didn’t see Richard with him.
“Are you going to be all right?” Bobby asked. “You think he’ll leave you alone today?”
“I really doubt it,” I replied. “You heard what he said.”
“Well be careful,” he warned me. The bell rang and he headed off to class. I headed
to Mr. Allison’s room. I hadn’t been there since I left three days ago. I doubt he
thought very highly of me now.
“Good morning, Mark,” he said as I entered the room. “I want you to sit here.” He
pointed to a seat in the front row beside my friend Kristi. I sat down and looked at
Mr. Allison. He was giving me a knowing smile. I nodded and whispered, ‘Thank you.’
Scott entered late again. He saw me sitting in the front and gave me a scowl. I think
he was expecting me to be in the other seat so that he could torment me all period.
The rest of the morning went by without any problems. I’d tried a few times to
contact my mother but her phone was busy. Aunt Janice must have arrived at the
restaurant by now. I was till worried that something could happen to Amy.
Something that struck me as odd was the fact that Scott still seemed to be popular
among his friends. In fact, they seemed to worship him even more. I think they
thought he was some kind of celebrity because he was now considered to be the son
of a gangster. I had overheard some students relating stories he was going around
telling others. It seems he was making up lies to make his father seem like he was a
member of the Mafia. According to the information on his inmate profile, he didn’t
seem to be anything more than an average businessman who tried to line his
pockets with other people’s money.
He was in my second period class, but again I sat towards the front of the room.
This was the class that he had hit me in the back with the water balloon. Mrs. Bowen
was sitting at her desk watching Scott and me intently. I think she was worried we
were going to fight again. I also noticed that Dr. Johnson was standing outside the
door right before class started. I became extremely embarrassed realizing that
everyone was watching me.
The class went by without any problems. Scott brushed past me on his way out the
door. He never missed a chance to remind me that he was always around. He was
waiting outside the door when I left, but he didn’t say anything. His friends laughed
at something he said. They were all watching me, so I know his joke had been
directed at me.
Fortunately, he was not in my third period World History class. Since this was my
first time attending all my classes, I didn’t know which ones we shared. At least I
knew I had one period I wouldn’t have to worry about him. Richard was in this class,
though. He took a seat beside me and we talked together after the teacher had given
us our assignment.
“Has Scott been bothering you?” he asked.
“Not too much,” I replied. “I think Dr. Johnson is keeping an eye on him. She seems
to be looking for a reason to put him out.”
“Yeah. He’s causing a lot of problems. Ever since you put up those posters, he’s into
this thing about being the son of a mobster. It’s really crazy,” he informed me.
“I saw all his groupies kissing his ass like it was a bronze idol,” I said jokingly. “You
don’t kiss it anymore?”
“Hell, no. I’m staying away from that crazy fucker,” he replied seriously. “I told you
that at your house. He scares me.”
“You heard anything more?” I was still worried that he was going to hurt Bobby or
“Nothing really,” he said. “He seems to be lying low for now.”
“I hope he stays that way,” I said.
Just then my cell phone began to ring. I looked at the caller ID and saw it was my
mother. I went up to the teacher’s desk and explained the situation to him. He gave
me permission to go out into the hall and return my mother’s call.
“Mom!” I said excitedly. “Is Amy all right?”
“Yes, Mark,” she said softly. “She’s asleep right now. Aunt Janice arrived with her a
little while ago. She wanted to go straight to bed, so we’re letting her sleep for a
“She didn’t get hurt?” I asked.
“No, thankfully.” she sighed. “I shudder every time I think what could have happened
to her. It really shook her up.”
“Do you want me to come home?” I was hoping she’d say yes, but I knew that
wasn’t going to happen.
“No,” she said sternly. “You’ve already missed three days. You don’t need to miss
any more. She’ll be all right. Aunt Janice is going to stay here for a couple of days.”
“Ok. Mom. I’ll see you after school then,” I said. I went back inside, but there were
only a few minutes left. Richard gave me a questioning look. I told him everything
was all right. No need to tell him what had happened this morning. We were friendly
with each other, but I didn’t consider him a friend.
The bell rang and I headed for the cafeteria. We ate the first lunch period. I was
surprised when Richard trailed behind me.
“Mind if I sit with you guys?” he asked timidly.
“I thought you didn’t want Scott to see you talking to me,” I reminded him of what
he had suggested yesterday in my room.
“Fuck him,” he said angrily. “He hates me anyway, so what difference does it make.”
Bobby had a stunned look on his look when he came in the cafeteria and saw Richard
standing beside me. He walked over cautiously. With everything that had happened
this morning, I had forgotten to tell him what he’d said about Scott.
We went through the line without saying much. When I sat down, Bobby sat on my
right and Richard sat on my left. Bobby kept glancing suspiciously at me. I laughed
when I realized he was getting jealous. Maybe he did like me more than he let on.
“What’s he doing here?” Bobby leaned in and whispered in my ear. I couldn’t help it.
This was my chance to get even with all the pranks he’d pulled on me the past few
“He wants to do a threesome with us after school. Is that all right with you?” I
watched as Bobby’s face went through a myriad of emotions. First, disbelief; then to
shock, embarrassment and anger.
“What..are..you..talking..about?” he stammered. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I
started laughing hysterically. Everyone at the table, including Richard, thought I’d
lost my mind.
“I’m just kidding with you. He’s not the enemy. He wants to help us,” I finally was
able to say after the laughter subsided. Bobby again gave me a suspicious look.
“I’ll tell you about it tonight. Just trust me.” Bobby looked into my eyes and then
nodded. The rest of the lunch time went well. Richard seemed to fit in well with our
motley group. He and Casper really hit it off. It seemed that they were going to
attend the weight training sessions after school. Both were going to try out for the
baseball team in the spring and wanted to get in shape.
At one point Bobby elbowed me in my side and told me to look across the cafeteria.
Scott was sitting on top of a table glaring at us. His buddies were trying to talk to
him but he was ignoring them. I felt shivers go down my spine with the cold stare he
was giving us. Richard looked up and followed our eyes and noticed Scott also.
“I told you that mother fucker is crazy,” he whispered. “I’m starting to really get
worried.” Scott sat looking at us and started rubbing his knuckles.
“Me too,” I replied. Just then the bell rang and we got up and left the cafeteria. I said
goodbye to Bobby and heading for my fourth period class, gym. My heart sunk when
I followed Scott down the hall and watched him head to the locker room. Shit! Of all
classes to share with him, why did it have to be gym!
As I walked through the locker room I kept looking around for Scott. I didn’t want to
take a locker anywhere near him. As I walked through, someone stuck their foot out
and tripped me. I fell flat on my face. The room erupted in laughter. I looked up and
saw some of Scott’s friends walk away.
“You all right?” I heard a deep voice ask. I looked up and saw a boy named Randall
looking down at me. He extended his hand and helped me up.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” I replied embarrassingly, brushing myself off. I looked up at him
and he smiled.
I had to look up, because Randall is one of the star players on our basketball team.
He was also a sophomore and had been in some of my classes last year. Randall was
one of the few black students who attended our school. He stayed pretty much to
himself and didn’t act like most athletes who strutted around on campus. At sixteen,
he stood about 6’7”. He was expected to grow another two inches before he
I looked into his face and saw very soft brown eyes. It’s funny, but I had never
noticed them before. For someone his size, he seemed like a gentle giant. He noticed
me staring at him and looked away. I felt embarrassed because I was sure he
thought I was checking him out. He had certainly heard all the rumors going around
“Thanks, Randall,” I said breaking the awkward silence.
“Listen, Mark,” he said looking down at me. “I know that asshole Scott has been
giving you a hard time. Stay beside me in gym. He won’t bother you.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Why, what?” He looked at me questioningly.
“Why do you want to help me?” I couldn’t believe that someone I had hardly said a
half dozen words to last year wanted to help me.
“Because we have to stick together.” He patted me on my shoulder and walked away.
‘We have to stick together?’ The words kept echoing in my head as I got dressed.
What did he mean- we? I wasn’t an athlete or black. Suddenly it hit me. We. He’s
gay! Randall Thompson, star basketball player and future college recruit is gay!
Scouts came to many of our games just to watch him play. I had heard that he had
already received a stack of offers from colleges from all across the country.
When I entered the gym, the coach was taking attendance. I looked around and saw
Randall standing off to the side. I trotted over and stood beside him. He looked
down at me and smiled warmly. I looked up and returned the smile. Suddenly, all my
fears melted away. I knew I would be safe this year in gym.
The coach said we’d be playing basketball. He chose Randall and Scott as captains.
A coin toss determined that Scott would pick first.
“Mark,” Scott said, giving me a smirk. His friends began to laugh.
“He’s on my team.” Randall walked up and stood before Scott. I began to blush as
everyone turned to look at me. It was a known fact that I wasn’t very athletic. I
didn’t play on any sports team. In fact, when we played baseball last spring, I usually
struck out. Now two guys were arguing over me.
“I picked him first.” Scott backed away from Randall.
“I said he is on my team,” Randall insisted angrily, moving closer to Scott as he
stepped back. It was obvious he felt intimidated by Randall’s size.
“Yeah, whatever,” said Scott, casting me a dirty look. “Ray.”
When the sides were chosen, Scott walked past me and slammed his body into mine.
I started rubbing my shoulder. I watched as he walked away and saw Randall slam
against his body. He hit him so hard that Scott almost fell on his ass. Randall then
looked at me and winked.
The rest of the period went that way. Every time Scott would try to do something to
me, Randall would step between us and give Scott a warning look. Soon he stopped.
Once he tried to get one of his friends to push me, but Randall walked up and
whispered something in his ear. The boy looked at me and nodded, then walked
away. I saw him talking later to Scott. I think they were confused about what was
going on. They couldn’t figure out why someone like Randall would be protecting me.
To be honest, I didn’t quite know myself.
The coach blew the whistle and we headed to the locker room. Randall had already
disappeared when I saw Scott trotting up to me.
“So what did you do? Hire yourself a bodyguard?” he asked. “He can’t protect you all
the time.” He pushed me and went running into the locker room. I didn’t see him
again as I dressed. Randall was down at the other end of the room, keeping a
watchful eye on me. When I was done dressing, I walked over to him.
“Thanks, Randall,” I said appreciatively. “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but
“I told you. We got to stick together,” he smiled. “Later Little Bro.” He held out his
hand and I shook it.
“Yeah, later.” I smiled and walked away. I felt that I had just made a really good
I didn’t see Scott again until the last period of the day. He was in my computer
science class. Fortunately, the teacher assigned us to a computer. We were on the
other side of the room from each other. I was at station 2, he was at 27.
I met up with Bobby when school was out. We walked home together and I told him
about Randall and what had happened in gym class. He was astonished as I was that
someone like Randall could be gay.
He also asked me about Richard. It was the first time we’d had a chance to discuss
him. I told him how he had come to my house the night before and warned me about
Scott. At first Bobby was suspicious. He thought that Scott was trying to get
Richard to befriend us so he could watch us. But I assured him that Richard could be
trusted. He said he still didn’t feel comfortable around him. I could understand that.
Richard had been one of Scott’s ardent admirers.
I really felt confident with what had happened at school. I had acquired two new
friends- gay friends. I was beginning to realize that there may be more gay students
at our school. I just assumed that Bobby and I were the only ones. Another added
bonus was the fact that they both despised Scott as much as we did.
Bobby wanted me to go home with him, but I wanted to see if Amy was all right. He
seemed disappointed. I’m sure he wanted to mess around before his parents came
home because his shorts were tenting out. I hated to say no, but I really wanted to
check on my sister.
When I entered the living room, Aunt Janice was curled up on the couch reading a
book. She sat up and patted the cushion beside her. I sat down and gave her a hug.
“How was your first day back, Sweetheart?” she asked worriedly. “Did that terrible
boy leave you alone?”
“Everything went all right,” I assured her. I didn’t feel it was necessary to tell her
about the threats Scott had made. I was pretty sure that with the help of my new
friends, I could deal with him.
“How’s Amy?” I asked.
“Thank God, she didn’t get hurt,” she sighed. “She was more scared than anything
“Where is she now?”
“In her bedroom. She’s asleep.”
I gave my aunt a kiss on the cheek and then went to my sister’s room. Her door was
slightly ajar, so I tiptoed inside. She appeared to be sleeping comfortably. I walked
over and gave her a kiss on the forehead and then headed to the door.
“Wait,” Amy said quietly.
I walked over and sat down on the bed beside her.
“You all right, Kiddo?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “You know what was really weird?”
“When I was in trouble, you’re the first person I thought about.” She looked up at
me with tears in her eyes. “I knew I could depend on you.”
“I’ve always been here for you.” I reached out and brushed back her hair.
“But I’ve always been such a shit head,” she cried.
“But you’re my shit head.” I kissed her on her forehead. “I don’t know what I’d do if
something happened to you.” She leaned over and held me as she cried. I rubbed
her back gently. After a few minutes I laid her back down on the bed.
“Get some sleep, Amy.” I kissed her again on the forehead and got up to leave.
“Thanks, Mark.” I walked out of the room with tears in my eyes. That was the first
time in two years she had called me ‘Mark’ instead of ‘fag.’
Chapter 11 Return to TMJ