Stuff People Do

Chapter 1

“There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do.”
― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


I really don’t know how I get myself into these messes. When I rolled out of bed this morning and dressed for school, I didn’t think I would find myself sitting in detention for an hour.

It wasn’t my fault. Honest. Well, I guess maybe it is, but it is easier to blame my best bud, Ricky, for the situation I’m now in. He’s sitting beside me, and occasionally he looks over and grins at me. I’m not mad at him, but I can’t let him know it.  For now, I’m just going to frown and act like I’m mad.

It began in Mr. Harper’s English class. We were supposed to be silently reading a chapter of The Grapes of Wrath. I don’t know why we have to read stories about something that happened so long ago. It is boring. If teachers want to keep our attention, they need to turn books into video games. Instead of taking a test on the material, we could be graded on how high a level we can reach.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, why I’m in detention. I was reading, and I could hardly stay awake. Suddenly, I was hit in the face with a paper wad. I looked over at Ricky, and he was grinning. So, I mouthed, “War,” and I took out a piece of paper, tore off a couple of strips, put them in my mouth, and began chewing one of the best spitballs known to man. When I finished, it was about the size of a marble. Ricky mumbled, “No, Matt,” just as I flipped it at him, hitting him on his forehead.

Unfortunately, Mr. Harper looked up just as I did it. I almost peed when he stood and hollered, “Matt! What are you and Ricky doing back there? You’re supposed to be silently reading.”

I managed to squeak out, “Nothing, Mr. Harper. We ain’t doing nothing.”

He sarcastically remarked, “Well, you certainly ‘ain’t’ reading.” He stressed the word ain’t like my mother does when she wants to correct my language. I’m not really sure, but I bet people have been saying ain’t since they started talking. I don’t know one person who doesn’t say it. I’ve even heard my mother use it. She gets mad when I correct her like she does me.

Then Mr. Harper walked back to where we were sitting. By now, everyone in the room was watching. I guess it was a pleasant distraction rather than sitting quietly reading some boring book.

“Matt,” spoke Mr. Harper angrily. He then looked over at my friend, Ricky. Ricky’s face was red. He’s has blond hair and very pale skin, so he looked like he had a bad sunburn on his face since he was blushing so much. “Ricky?” asked Mr. Harper. “Why are you and your sidekick, Matt, disturbing my class?” He then looked down at the floor and noticed the giant spitball.

“Pick it up, Matt,” he ordered as he pointed to it. “That is disgusting. Why would you do something like that?”

I hung my head and replied, “I don’t know, Mr. Harper.”

He started to walk away, and then he turned toward us. “I’m going to give you some time to reflect on that, Matt and Ricky. You have one hour of detention after school. You will write me a two-page essay on why you shouldn’t throw spit balls in class.”

I wanted to stand and shout, “An hour of detention, and you’re going to make us write? What is this, the fourth grade?” But I chickened out. We’re in the tenth grade now, and Mr. Harper is going to treat us like babies by writing a stupid essay.

Fortunately, the bell rang about three minutes later. As we left class, Mr. Harper warned us, “Don’t be late to detention, or I’ll give you another night.”

“Damn, Matt,” remarked Ricky apologetically as he trotted up beside me as I hurried down the hall. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble with Mr. Harper.”

“You?” I scowled. “You mean us?”

“It was your fault, you know,” he replied.

“My fault?” I shouted too loud. Several students turned to see what we were arguing about. For some, it was probably the first time they had heard us argue.

Matt and Ricky. Two peas in a pod, as my mother calls us. I’m not too sure what that means. Sometimes she calls us thick as thieves, and I don’t know what that means either. I guess she is saying that we are good friends. We’ve known each other since the first grade. Ricky lives around the block from me. I can’t remember a day when he wasn’t in my life. He’s the only person who knows what I’m feeling when even my own mother can’t.

“What do you mean it’s my fault?” I asked. “You’re the one who threw one first, and then you had to make a noise, and Mr. Harper heard you.”

“You hit me with a gross paper wad,” he reminded me. “It had your spit on it.”

I replied angrily, “Well, you got us detention tonight. Mom was going to take me to Foot Locker after school to buy me a new pair of shoes. Now, she’ll probably be mad at me and won’t take me.”

He grinned, looked down at my feet and said, “Nothing wrong with the shoes you have on.” I flipped him off and walked away.

Now, we’re sitting in the cafeteria for detention. I don’t know why he sat at my table. The room is filled with tables, and there are only four other students assigned detention. He could have sat anywhere else. I’m still kind of mad at him. He’s the reason we’re here. I continued to read the assigned reading of Grapes of Wrath. However, it has to be the most boring book on the face of the earth. It’s even more boring than Animal Farm which we had to read last year.

Mrs. Young stood and announced that we were free to go. I tried to hurry from the cafeteria to my locker. I was hoping Ricky would get the hint I was mad at him, but no luck. He came up behind me and asked, “Ready to head home?”

I slammed my locker and hurried away with him following me. As we were walking down the sidewalk, he asked, “How long you gonna be mad at me, Matt?”

I turned and replied, “Until you admit you were the reason we had detention.”

He yelled excitedly, “But you threw the spitball!”

“Maybe I did,” I replied, “But you had to make noise so Mr. Harper noticed.”

“Fine,” he said as he threw up his arms. “I gave us detention. Happy now?”

“Yes,” I giggled and walked away.

Ricky followed me to my home. He likes to stay at my house because he comes from a large family. He has two younger brothers and a younger sister and an older sister. His house is usually noisy. His brothers, Ken and Mike, are twelve-year old twins, and they are constantly fighting about something. They have been that way for as long as I can remember. I would think that twins are close, but I suppose not always. His younger sister, Melanie, usually sides with Mike, and that creates even more chaos. Jennifer, his older sister, is a senior at our school, and she works after school until ten at night at Wendy’s. Ricky says she is seldomly home.

I’m an only child. Mom and Dad don’t get home from work until around six. Dad sells insurance, and Mom is a receptionist for a chiropractor. When they are not at work, they spend a lot of time in church. When I was small, they used to force me to go with them. I would usually end up crying because it is a Pentecostal church, and they would scare me with their shouting and thrashing around. When I was fourteen, we got into a big fight about me going. They got really mad when I told them I didn’t want to go anymore. We would end up in big fights, and I usually was put on punishment for the rest of the week. Many times, I was sent to my room to read passages from the Bible. They were usually the ones about children being obedient to their parents, or how I was going to end up in hell because of my wayward attitude.

It became a weekly ritual of me refusing to go with them to church, and then the following week me being banished to my bedroom until the next Sunday. Then, suddenly one Sunday, they just left without me. I woke up around ten o’clock and wondered if they were sick or something. I got out of bed and wandered around the house looking for them. I fixed myself lunch, and they came home around two that afternoon dressed in their Sunday clothes. They never said a word to me, and I sure wasn’t going to ask what was going on. Since then, things have been better, but I can tell they resent me for not going to church with them anymore. But I don’t care. At least I don’t have to listen to Pastor Simpson screaming from the pulpit about all the evil in the world.

We grabbed a couple of sodas from the refrigerator and a big bag of potato chips and headed up to my room. Ricky walked in and sat down on my bed. “Damn, Dude,” he said, “Don’t you ever clean your room?”

Okay, I’m not the neatest person in the world. My Mom used to clean my room, but when I quit going to church, she stopped. I guess that was one way to punish me. So to get her back, I started keeping my room a mess. When I take my clothes off when I come home from school, I kick my shoes off and leave my clothes on the floor. The same for snacks. There are soda cans and empty snack wrappers on the computer desk and dresser. If I want to really get her mad, I leave them in the floor too. I love it when she walks by the room, looks in, makes a huffing noise and slams the door shut. To me, I feel like I have won some sort of a battle.

I know it isn’t right to feel this way, but I think my parents rejected me when I wasn’t the perfect son. I mean, I’m a good kid. Honest. I go to school every day, and I make good grades. They may not be the highest grades in my class, but I do alright. I’m not a disciplinary problem in school. Teachers have never called my house because I’m being disruptive. Today was the first day I’ve ever been assigned detention. I don’t know if Mr. Harper will call them tonight and tell them what happened in class. But I don’t care. It will just give them one more thing to add to their list of disappointments.

I turned and told Ricky, “I’ll be back. I gotta go pee.”

He giggled and said, “Shake it more than three times and you’re playing with it.” I shook my head and left the room.

In the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror. I’m no Adonis, but I look okay, I guess. I grew two inches over the summer, so I’m now 5’9”. My hair is this mousy looking brown color. I wish I had Ricky’s long blonde hair. My hair gets really curly if I don’t cut it, so I keep it rather short. I look closer, and I notice the beginnings of a mustache. It is rather fine, but it still is there. I guess I’m becoming a man now. I have brown eyes, but they are kind of plain. Sometimes I wish I had Ricky’s penetrating blue eyes. They just seem to sparkle when he gets excited or laughs. I’ve often just stared into them because they are so bright and shiny.

I don’t think I’m ugly, and least I’ve never been called that. My girlfriend, Stephanie, thinks I’m cute. But I guess she has to say that. We started dating about a month ago. She’s had a crush on me since the eighth grade, and she has been trying to get me to date her ever then. I really wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, but when you get in high school, it is just expected that you date someone. Stephanie is more a friend than a girlfriend. We have a lot of fun together when we go out, and she doesn’t expect much from me. We’ve kissed a few times, but so far we haven’t gotten into any heavy petting. I think we have both thought about it, so it may not be too far away when we do take our relationship to another level. Right now, I’m okay just taking care of things when I shower or before I go to sleep at night.

Ricky hollered out, “Are you spanking it?” I could hear him giggling in the other room. When I entered, he was sitting on the bed grinning. His blue eyes were sparkling brightly. Ricky and I are about the same build, only he may be about an inch shorter. We’re both medium built, but neither of us are very muscular. We don’t play sports except baseball sometimes with our friends in the field down the street during the summer months. I can’t dribble a basketball, and I’m too lazy to run track. Ricky ran track for a while last year, but he dropped out. He never told me why he did, but I guess he got tired of running all the time.

“What do you want to do?” He asked me as I took a seat beside him.

I replied, “I don’t know. I guess we could play a video game. I still gotta pay you back for beating me yesterday.”

“Fat chance,” he laughed. He puffed out his chest and said, “I’m the grand master gaming champion.” I started rolling around on the bed laughing.

I caught my breath and replied, “Grand master gaming chump.”

He laughed and threatened, “Oh, you’re going to get it now!”

“Bring it on,” I challenged.

He jumped at me and pinned me down in the bed. I was laughing uproariously. Since no one was home, we didn’t have to be careful about making too much noise. Many times, our challenges ended up in wrestling matches.

He stood, grabbed my arms and tossed me onto the floor. Before I could respond, he was laying atop me, pinning me to the floor. I tried to wriggle free, but I couldn’t.

Of all the wrestling matches we had over the years, this one felt different. For some reason, he was grinding his body into mine. I could feel him getting hard, and I was starting to respond. I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

“Let me up,” I shouted as I tried to break free.

“No,” he replied as he pressed his body harder into mine. I looked into his sparkling blue eyes that were just inches from mine.

“Please,” I pleaded. I again tried to get free, but Ricky ground his dick harder against mine.

“No,” he replied nervously. “I got you where I want you.”

Then, he leaned in and… kissed me!

“What the fuck?” I shouted as I pushed Ricky off me.

He stood beside the bed looking down wildly at me. “Gosh, Matt,” he mumbled as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Damn, I’m sorry.”

I looked up at him in utter disbelief. “Why did you do that, Ricky? You kissed me!”

Tears welled up in his eyes, “I’m sorry, Matt,” he cried as he rushed from the room. Seconds later, I heard the front door slam shut.

I started pacing around the room. “What the fuck?” I kept saying. I walked over to look out my bedroom window, but Ricky had already disappeared.

I touched my mouth where he had just kissed me. “What the fuck?” I kept repeating.

I still couldn’t believe what had happened. I kept running it over in my mind. Wrestling around on the floor, our dicks grinding against each other, and then the kiss.

Why did Ricky kiss me? I know we are close, almost like brothers. He’s even told me I’m a better brother than the ones he has. Maybe it didn’t mean anything. Maybe he was kissing me like he kisses his mom on the cheek when we sometimes leave his house. Maybe it was just a brotherly kiss. It meant nothing.

However, I can’t convince myself that it was. I saw the lust shining in his eyes as he pinned me to the bed. And his grinding wasn’t playful; there was more to it. We’ve wrestled hundreds of times over the years, but this time was different. It seemed like Ricky wanted to have sex with me. If I hadn’t shouted, he probably would have continued to kiss me. And he probably would have wanted more.

But Ricky? He’s my best friend. We know each other better than we know ourselves, but I didn’t see this coming. And what scares the shit out of me, is why didn’t I see this coming?

Is Ricky gay? Has he been keeping a secret from me? In the ten years we’ve known each other, I’ve never thought that about him. We’ve dressed naked in front of each other numerous times over the years. We’ve even slept side by side in bed together on sleepovers. Not once have we touched each other. We haven’t even jerked off together like most friends do. We’ve joked about it, but we never did. I guess we just figured it was things that brothers don’t do together.

But what happened this afternoon? I keep running it over in my mind. Ricky kissed me, and he would have done more if I had let him.

What worries me the most…

Why didn’t I let him?