School begins next week. I don’t know where the summer went. I’d been so busy with Bobby and keeping my customers happy that I’d lost track of the days. It really didn’t hit me until Mom told me that she was going to take me shopping for school clothes.
“God, No!” I screamed as I fell on the couch moaning. “I don’t want to go back to school. Please let me drop out!” I begged. I really didn’t want to go back. If she had said I could stay home, I would have very happily done it.
“What do you expect me to do?” she asked. “Take care of your sorry ass the rest of your life. I don’t think so.” She looked at me and laughed while I continued crawling around on the couch.
“No! Please Mom!” I cried. “Shoot me! Put me out of my misery!”
“Bang! You’re dead!” She pointed her finger at me and pretended to shoot a gun. Then she raised it to her mouth and blew it off, like some cowboy in a cheap western movie.
“Go call Bobby,” she told me. “He’s going with us.”
“You got to be kidding?” I gasped. “All he’s going to want is white shirts and black pants. He’s the school geek, you know.”
“Not this year,” she smiled. “I talked with Nancy and she wants me to help Bobby pick out a new wardrobe. That’s why I’m taking him shopping. She’d give in and end up buying him what he wants.”
“Yes! He’s not going to look nerdy this year!” I pumped my hand into the air. It didn’t bother me the way Bobby dressed for school, but I knew it would hurt me to hear other students laughing at him behind his back. Besides, I had gotten used to him running around in a tee shirt and shorts all summer. He looked cute when he dressed like a normal teenager.
Shopping with Bobby and my mom was an adventure. He whined every time she’d hold up a colorful shirt or denim shorts. Whenever he’d head to the business men’s section, she’d drag him back to the normal clothes. After a few episodes like this, she wised up. She only took him in shops that only offered teen wear. He had no choice but to select clothing more suitable.
He kept insisting he’d wait and go shopping with his mother, but my mom told him he couldn’t. At one point he called his mother on the cell phone. She told him that if he didn’t buy his clothes today, then he’d be going naked to school. When I told him that would be all right with me, he called me a perv.
Shopping for shoes was another experience. He wanted black shoes like his father would wear to work. My mother absolutely refused. She told him he was not going to school looking like an old man. After throwing several temper tantrums, he did end up buying a nice pair of Nike’s and leather sandals. He looked cute in the sandals with his little toes showing. I liked them so well, I talked my mother into buying me a pair.
When we took him home, his mother was ecstatic. She made him model everything he had bought. She oohed and aahed over everything he put on. After changing into several outfits, he began to pose like a model. He had us all laughing. His mother grabbed a camera and began taking pictures. She later gave me copies which I put up on my bedroom wall. I look at them before I go to bed each night.
“Mark! Get out of bed. You have to go to school,” my mother shouted down the hall. I groaned and put the pillow over my head. Maybe if I pretended not to hear her I could avoid the inevitable.
“Amy, you too. Get out of bed.” I heard my sister groan also. I began laughing. She hated school as much as I did. She loved going and being with her friends, but she didn’t like going to classes. If she could spend the day sitting in the cafeteria gossiping about other students, she’d love it.
“Mark! Amy! Get your asses out of bed. Now!” We both knew this was the last time she’d call us. She didn’t curse unless she was angry. It wouldn’t be but a few minutes more before she’d come in and drag us out of bed. Then she’d ground us for a week.
In the past it didn’t bother me if she put me on punishment. That would always give me an excuse to stay in my room and play with my Playstation or watch porn on the computer. But now I wanted to hang with Bobby and I couldn’t if I was grounded.
I jumped out of bed and ran down the hall to the bathroom. If I didn’t beat Amy, she’d be in there until it was time for us to leave. I don’t know what she does in there. She never looks any better coming out than she did going in.
Just as I slammed the door shut, Amy began banging on the door.
“Get out of there, fag!” she screamed while hitting the door.
“One week, Young Lady,” I heard my mother shout out angrily. This was the third time this summer that Amy had been punished for calling me a fag. Sooner or later she’d learn that Mom didn’t want her calling me that.
“You‘re still a fag,” she whispered through the door. She then stomped angrily back to her room.
I looked in the mirror to see how my forehead looked. The swelling had gone down, but there was still a visible bruise. It wasn’t as dark as it had been last week, but you could still see its yellowish color. I could always say that I ran into a tree or something.
Bobby, on the other hand, looked far worse. The jab Scott had given him had left a pretty bad shiner. My mother got upset every time she saw him. Last night she had put some makeup on him to see if it would cover up the bruise. I almost peed my pants laughing at him. She ended up having to put it over his entire face to make it blend. He looked like that preacher’s wife who I see on television sometimes.
My mother took us to school the first day. She had to make sure that Amy was properly registered and she wanted to meet her teachers. Amy wasn’t very cooperative in class, so she wanted to make sure that they had her number so they could call her if they needed to. They’d be calling often. Amy stayed in trouble. Last year she cussed out a teacher and was suspended for a week. Surprise, surprise!
“You boys have fun.” She leaned over to kiss my cheek, but I quickly opened the door and jumped out. That was all I needed was someone seeing my mother kiss me goodbye. She started laughing when I jumped out. She may have found it cute, but I didn’t. Bobby got out and we walked into school together.
Since we’d already received our schedules in the mail two weeks ago, we didn’t have to join the lines that were forming for new students or those who had moved during the summer. We walked through the cafeteria line and got the usual nutritious breakfast offering, a carton of 2% milk and a hard donut in cellophane. I felt sorry for those students who had to depend on this crap to hold them over until lunch. I usually ended up giving my donut to one of my friends.
“Look what we have here.” I didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was. I could recognize Scott’s sexy voice. “You two look real pretty. I like my work.” His usual band of followers was with him. They circled behind us.
“What do you want, Scott?” I said angrily. He sat down across from us and leaned across the table, staring into my face.
“We have some unfinished business,” he sneered. “You still haven’t sucked my dick. Your boyfriend has.” I looked into his face and hated what I saw. I don’t know why I had found him so cute. He was an ugly person to me now.
“Fuck you, Scott!” I spat. I knew he could hurt me if he wanted, but at that moment I really didn’t care. I was tired of him thinking he could have anything he wanted. He definitely wasn’t going to have me.
“No, Mark. I’m going to fuck you,” he threatened. “Your sweet ass is going to be mine.” I looked into his eyes and knew he meant it. I felt a cold chill go down my spine. “Then when I’m through with you, I’m going to fuck your boyfriend’s ass too. I’m sure you’ve got it stretched real nice for me.”
“Touch him and I’ll kill you!” Anger was shooting from my eyes, but he paid no attention to it. I wanted to reach across the table and strangle his neck.
“Oohh! I’m so scared,” he began laughing. “When you least expect it.” He got up from the table and walked around and pushed his hard cock into my back. “This is yours, Sweet Thing.” He then started laughing and walked away.
“I’m scared.” Bobby’s voice was shaking. “He’s going to hurt us. I know he is.”
“We’re going to have to move fast if we’re going to stop him,” I said. “Maybe we should put our plan into action.”
“I don’t know. He’ll know it’s us,” his voice quivered. “He’ll kill us if we do.”
“Give me one of the posters you made.” He reached into his book bag and pulled out one of the wanted posters he’d downloaded weeks earlier. I took it and shoved it into my book bag before anyone around us could see.
“What are you going to do with that?” Bobby asked.
“Nothing.” He looked at me skeptically. “All right. I’m going to put Plan A into action.”
“He’s going to hurt us.” Bobby seemed scared to death. “Maybe I should tell my dad. He’ll know what to do.”
“Look, Bobby. We can’t go running to your dad every time something goes wrong. We have to learn how to handle our own problems.” I was trying to sound brave. “Scott picked this fight, we have to finish it. I want revenge.” I threw up my hand for him to hit it.
“Revenge!” Bobby raised his hand and I high-fived it, but I could still see the fear in his eyes. I’m guessing mine probably contained the same look.
We left the cafeteria and went our separate ways. I really wanted to stay with Bobby, but we didn’t share any classes together. I wouldn’t be seeing him again until lunch. At least we both ate at the same time.
I walked down the hall and tried to avoid eye contact. I didn’t want to see if other students were staring at me. I was pretty sure that the whole school knew about me and Bobby. Besides, it wasn’t unusual for me to walk quietly through the halls. Most students had become familiar with my aloofness.
My first period class was my favorite subject- American Literature. I wasn’t an avid reader at home, but I loved the way the teacher could make stories jump off the page. Mr. Allison taught the class. I had had him last year also. He had quickly become my favorite teacher when he called me by name the second day of class. He didn’t even look at the student list. He had remembered it.
“Good morning, Mark.” Mr. Allison smiled at me. “Nice to have you in class again this year. I’m expecting good work out of you like last year.” I was grinning ear to ear as I walked to a seat in the middle of the room. I don’t like sitting in the front rows because teachers usually called on students to answer questions. The lazy and talkative students sit in the back. The middle suits me fine.
I scanned the room to see the familiar faces I’d seen over the years. Everyone seemed to have grown quite a bit over the summer. The boys appeared taller and the girls’ shirts filled out a little more in the front. I felt like the same person I was last year.
The bell rang and Mr. Allison stood in the front of the room to take attendance. Scott came running in breathlessly. Mr. Allison gave him a stern look.
“What’s up, Teach?” he said as he hurried past him.
“Mr. Allison,” The teacher said sharply.
“Whatever,” Scott shot back.
“That just got you a night’s detention, Mr.-” He scanned his list quickly, “Olsteen.”
“Bitch,” Scott muttered under his breath. He scanned the room for an empty seat. Unfortunately, the only empty seat was the one in back of me. He walked past me and brushed my shoulder before sitting.
“Hey again, Sweet Thing,” he whispered as he sat down. “This must be my lucky day. I get to look at your ass for an hour.” He then made a kissing sound. “Yeah. All mine.”
I buried my hands in my head and groaned. Why me? Of all the classes in this school, all the seats in each class, and he has to sit behind me. I jumped when I felt his bare foot touch my ass. I let out a startled scream.
“Something wrong, Mark?” asked Mr. Allison. My face was beet red. I was not used to being noticed in class. I could hear Scott giggling behind me.
“No, Sir. I’m all right,” I lied. I had already decided to ask Mr. Allison if I could change seats after class. I just didn’t want to do it in front of the whole class.
“Today class, I want to see what you forgot over the summer.” Several students began to laugh. “I have a small test to see what you know about American literature.” The entire class groaned.
“It’s not that bad,” he laughed. I remembered that Allison liked students to work together. He believed that students who were better academically could help those who struggled. Fortunately, last year I had worked with a shy girl who only passed the class because of the help I had given her. Now I was afraid of what was about to happen.
“You may work with a partner on this assignment.” There it was. The words I didn’t want to hear. He began passing out the worksheet. I felt Scott grab the back of my desk and pull it along side his.
“Me and you are going to be partners, Sweet Thing.” He looked over at me and grinned. Last year I would have died to have been able to work with someone like Scott. He was every gay boy’s wet dream. Now, however, I felt like I was going to throw up.
“I don’t think so.” I gathered my notebook and walked out of the class. I could hear Mr. Allison calling my name as I left, but I didn’t care. There was no way I was going to work with that asshole, even if it meant failing the class. I would talk later to Mr. Allison and try to make up some excuse for leaving.
I didn’t know exactly where to go when I left. I’d never cut a class before. I’d heard students talking about their favorite places to go, but those were usually make-out spots. I was afraid if I went to one of them I might interrupt someone trying to have sex.
I went to the library, but the librarian refused to let me in because I didn’t have a pass from a teacher. I tried hiding out in a boys’ restroom, but it seemed like other guys had the same idea. Everyone I entered was occupied by two or three guys smoking. I definitely didn’t want to get caught with them. Smoking on school grounds was a five day suspension.
Out of desperation I decided to go to the counselor’s office and pretend that I had a problem with my schedule. Even though I liked Mr. Allison’s class, I was going to ask for a transfer. When I got there the place was crowded with other students. I quietly took a seat and decided to wait out the rest of the period. At least it would appear that I was not skipping class.
After about twenty minutes the bell rang for second period. I looked at my schedule- Algebra II. Oh, God! Who decided that it was important for people to have to take a subject like algebra? I decided that if I lived to be a hundred, I’d never find a practical use for it. The teacher always said we learn it so we can think logically. Surely, there has to be another way to master that skill without having to endure nine months of equations.
I made my way to Mrs. Bowen’s class. As I approached, I saw Scott go walking in. He was with Richard. I was doomed. Not only did I have to tolerate Scott, I had to deal with one of his loyal followers. I entered the room and looked around. They had taken a seat in the back. I hated sitting in the front row, but when faced with the alternative, it was an easy choice. The teacher had not arrived so the class was rather rowdy. As I sat there, I felt something hard hit my back and explode. Within seconds water was running down my back. The class was roaring with laughter. Someone had hit me with a water balloon.
“Aw. Look everyone. The fag got wet.” It was Scott’s voice. Everyone laugh even louder. I was angry. That was the last straw. He may be bigger than me, but I wasn’t going to sit here and take this kind of abuse the rest of the school year.
I rushed to the back of the room and tackled him to the ground. He wasn’t expecting me to react in a violent manner, so I had caught him off guard. I began pounding on him. I don’t even know where I hit him. I was just blindly swinging.
“You stupid Mother Fucker!” I screamed as I hit him. He was shielding his head so I wouldn’t hit him in his face. “I hate you!”
I could feel students trying to pull me off. Suddenly I was lifted to my feet and slammed against the wall. I was looking into the angry face of Dean Snow. He was the dean of boys and never tolerated students fighting in school. I knew I was in serious trouble.
I looked down and saw Scott looking up at me with a stupid smirk on his face. He knew he was not in trouble since he had thrown no punches. Suddenly the smirk turned to a look of anger. He mouthed the words, “You’re dead.”
Dean Snow took me and Scott to his office. After playing the innocent victim, he was given a pass and was allowed to return to class. I, on the other hand, was given a five-day suspension for fighting. I was told to wait in the outer office until my mother arrived.
When the bell rang ending the period, I watched as students walked by. A few pointed at me and laughed. Suddenly, Bobby burst through the door and sat down beside me.
“I heard what happened,” he said breathlessly. “Are you all right.”
“Five days.” I held up my suspension paper and showed it to him. A sad looked appeared on his face.
“Damn, Mark,” he frowned. “This is just the first day of school.”
“This is how the rest of the year is going to go. Scott’s in almost all my classes. I can’t deal with him,” I said dejectedly. I don’t think I had ever felt so helpless in my life. This school year was going to be even worse than I had expected. In nine years of school, I had never once been in trouble. One day with Scott and I was being suspended.
“Listen, I gotta get to class before the bell rings.” Bobby stood and looked sadly down at me. “I’ll come by your house when school’s out.”
“If my mom let’s you in. I’ll probably be on punishment until I’m twenty five.” I knew she was not going to take this news lightly.
“Bye, Mark.” He turned and headed out the door. Five minutes later my mother walked through the door with a very angry look on her face. I couldn’t tell if she was mad at me or disappointed. It was probably a little of both.
She didn’t say anything to me. She just grabbed my hand and led me out the door. I thought we were going to the car, but instead she took me to Dr. Johnson’s office. She was the principal of the school.
“I want to speak to Dr. Johnson,” My mother insisted angrily to the secretary.
“She’s in a parent conference. She can’t see you right now,” the secretary replied sharply. I could tell that she had had experience dealing with angry parents.
“Fine. We’ll wait.” My mother led me over to some chairs against the wall and we sat down. She still hadn’t looked at me or said anything. I figured she was really mad at me. We sat there for about forty minutes until Dr. Johnson walked out of her office with a parent. She looked over at my mother and smiled.
“Rita. What are you doing here?” she said as she approached my mother and gave her a hug. I was astounded. My mother knew the principal! I found out later that Dr. Johnson and her husband were frequent diners at the restaurant where my mother worked. She was their favorite waitress and always asked for my mother when they ate there.
“I need to talk to you about my son. I think he was unfairly suspended. I talked to Dean Snow on the phone and my son was never asked to give his side of the story. I think he needs to tell you what happened.” I felt my stomach begin to knot inside. I would rather have taken the suspension than have to deal with the embarrassment of telling her about my problems with Scott.
My mother had put me on the spot. I knew she would be disappointed in me if I didn’t stand up for myself. So I spent the next fifteen minutes telling her how Scott had outed me during the summer and how he was now treating me at school. I even told her how he had sexually threatened me and Bobby. It was embarrassing, but my mother held my hand the entire time.
Dr. Johnson said she understood, but was bound by school rules to uphold the suspension since I was the one who had initiated the fight. Considering the circumstances, she did reduce it to three days. She said she would talk to other students and see if any of them would confirm my suspicion that Scott had thrown the balloon. If so, he would be suspended as well.
As for the sexual threats, she was going to ask for a parent conference with Scott and Mr. Olsteen. I cringed when she said this. I knew that nothing but more trouble could possibly come from this. He would only deny it and his uncle would back him up. Dr. Johnson did assure me that the school had zero-tolerance for sexual harassment, and if it continued she would have no problem removing Scott from school.
I felt a little comforted knowing that the principal had believed me and didn’t doubt anything I had said. She was also going to talk to Bobby and assure him as well. When my mother and I stood to leave, she even gave me a hug. At least I knew I had one person in school on my side.
As we left the office I stopped suddenly and gasped when I looked down the hall. On every door was a picture of the wanted poster of Scott’s father and mother. I began laughing hysterically. Bobby had decided to go to Plan A.