South Africa
Part 31

Well, if ever I needed a good reason to work my butt off doing my homework, it was the surf. My folks reasoned that I'd be too tired to do it afterwards. Anyway, before the fucking ink had dried, I was in Kyle's room to check if he was ready to catch a wave. "You finished your homework?"


"I won't be able to stay long at the beach -- my folks want me to go out with them later. But we'll be home early. Can I come around then?"

"One thing at a time, Wingnut. Let's get wet."

Well, the surf totally sucked but we still had a cool time -- at least, I did. Steve and Kyle were pretty fussy about what waves they decided to catch, whereas I'd paddle for just about anything that wasn't fucking flat. Later, after my folks and I had returned home, I was itching to see Kyle again. "Mom?"

"Yes, but don't be home too late."

"How'd you know what I was gonna ask?"

Kyle's dad had a fire going, so we sat around chatting about all kinds of cool shit. Kyle was there too, but he was doing his homework between talking and listening. He was telling us about Steve's DVD player. Steve's folks were pretty rich, and a DVD player was something Kyle's and my folks could only dream about. "The quality of the vids is totally unreal -- like being in a movie theater. We watched Event Horizon, Twister and Airforce One. I'd seen them before, but watching them on DVD is like a whole new experience!"

"You guys want experience?" his father asked as he prodded the fire with a metal poker and sent a flurry of red sparks up the chimney. Then he went on to tell us about his adventures as a teen with his buds, and how they'd hiked all the way up the coast, way off the beaten track, looking to catch all the good surf breaks -- just them, their boards and their rucksacks. His stories were so fucking awesome, I was hanging on every damn word. Jeez! What a wicked adventure! Kyle, meantime, was doing his homework, but I was sure he had an ear cocked as his dad's experiences unfolded in front of the flickering flames.

Kyle's dad wasn't like other dads. He was a kinda teen in dad's clothing. I could tell by the way he was recounting his stories that he enjoyed reliving his youth, and that he didn't wanna put it behind him like so many adults did. I guessed that was one of the reasons why he and Kyle were so close -- they weren't just father and son, they were buddies who shared a lot in common.

Anyway, as I listened to the stories, I kept imagining how fucking cool it would be for Steve, Kyle and I to go on a similar adventure -- hiking through virgin country, discovering mile after mile of golden, sun-drenched beaches, and not seeing another person for days on end. And surfing nude! Whoa! That would rock big time! Yes!

"Jeez, don't you ever wish you could do it again?"

"It wouldn't be the same -- we're not kids any more. Besides, I've got responsibilities now. But I'm glad I did it. There are some things you only get one chance at doing, for whatever reason, so you've gotta sieze the moment or it's gone forever."

"Is that why you allowed Kyle go with Steve to Jeffrey's Bay?"

"Yep. His mom and I were concerned, of course, but we agreed that it was a necessary part of his growing up experience. It was the same with my folks -- they were worried the whole time I was away."

"About what?"

"One day you'll have a son -- or maybe a daughter. Then you'll know."

Then I'll know? What was it about adults that caused them to avoid answers to certain questions? Well, whatever it was, it was fucking annoying! It made me feel like some lamo kid who wasn't smart enough to understand stuff. Hell, I was twelve already!

Next day, the surf was so damn crap that even I didn't bother to take my stick down. Either did Steve or Kyle. In any case, it was more fun to hassle Steve at Kyle's house. "You wanna wrestle?"

"Later, Wingnut. I'm busy."

"You can be busy later."

"Don't you have to pick up the dog crap or something?"

"I already did."

Well, he didn't bite, dammit. He was too engrossed with the comp in the den, working on some weird graphic for Kyle. That dude Steve had muscles where mine weren't even thought of yet, and I was itching to test him to see how strong he was. I guessed I must've been a fucking nuisance, though, 'cause Kyle put the headphones on my head and ordered me to listen to the lyrics of Just Jinger. So I did. I figured he might ask me questions about them later. Then he disappeared into his room to do his homework.

There was something totally cool about hanging with the guys, even if I was just watching them do regular stuff. I felt like I belonged, and it was a different feeling to being with guys my own age. I mean, that didn't take a whole bunch of fucking talent -- anybody could do that. But hanging with the big guys? Hey, that was styling big time. Yeah, that was way damn cool!

For some reason, the surf was crap for the next few days. The conditions would seem OK, then nothing. No groundswell. There wasn't much else to do but hang with Kyle while he did his homework. But that was OK. At least I was with him, and that was way better than being on my own.

I was laying on his bed listening to music through the headphones one afternoon when he remarked on my boner. "What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing. I'm just listening to the music."

"Don't talk crap. You're as hard as anything. I wanna know why."

"Really, Kyle, I dunno! The fucking thing's just doing its own thing! Honest!"

Well, my explanation obviously wasn't good enough for my bud. He jumped on me, planted his buns on my stomach and drilled his knuckles into my chest. "I wanna know!"

Damn, I was laughing so much I could hardly talk! "That's sore! Shit, Kyle," I giggled, "if you're not happy with it then you can jack it off for me and take the pressure off."

"Yeah, right."

"Anyway," I said as I caught sight of the bulge in his shorts, "you've got one, too!"

"Trust you to notice."

"Hey! You're the one who…"

"Wanna toasted sandwich?" he grinned, then rolled off the bed and onto his feet.

I followed him to the kitchen where I watched him make toasted sarmies with peanut butter and cheese. It was cool to see him doing all that stuff for me 'cause it made me feel important -- like he was kinda showing his appreciation for my picking up the dog crap. Besides, the smell of freshly toasted bread was something that always made me hungry, no matter what time of day it was.

As we ate and washed the sarmies down with juice, we talked about the rugby and surfing, and how shitty the surf had been lately. Then he mentioned the boxing tournament that night with Mark. "You gonna come with us?"

"Gotta ask my folks."

"Steve's gonna be there, and whole stack of guys from the swim team. Even my dad's gonna try to make it, but he's gotta get mom's permission 'cause he was supposed to take her out somewhere."

"I thought your dad was the boss around here."

"There's a lot you don't understand about women, Wingnut."

"Such as?"

"Women don't need muscles to be the boss."

Well, that didn't make a whole lotta sense to me, but I knew that I had to finish my homework if I was gonna get permission to see the fight. "I'd better jet! Catch ya later! Thanks for the sarmies!"

I was totally wicked to be walking down the street to the Civic Center with Kyle and his dad -- like I was one of the guys. When ever I was recognized by a kid from my school, I'd puff out my chest and smile, knowing that they'd be wondering why I'd been 'promoted' to big guy status all of a sudden. The center itself was packed with people, and there was a strong atmosphere of excitement and expectancy that you could almost touch. Mark was sitting with his team some ways off, but he waved as he saw us take our seats next to Steve, Carol and Steph, and a bunch of Kyle's swim team. Then Kyle made a move to go see Mark, but his dad's hand held him back.

"Stay, son. He's got enough on his mind already without you causing a distraction."

"I just wanna say hi, dad -- just to let him know that we're here for him."

"If he doesn't know that you guys are here for him now, he must be a cabbage or something. Just cool your heels."

Well, maybe Kyle's heels were cool, but the rest of him wasn't. He was as red as a beet at having been told to chill by his dad. And there was no way I was gonna say anything -- I was gonna stay right outa that one.

The first part of the night featured all the little dudes like… well, all the little dudes. I knew some of them, and told all the guys in our group that we should root for them. So whenever they won, we'd all go totally ballistic! Damn! It was the bomb!

There was a break before the seniors fights, so I went with Kyle and some of the other guys to get some cold drinks. Man, what a crush! Everybody in the fucking center had the same idea. By the time we'd returned to our seats, Kyle paused to check something on the other side of the boxing ring. It was his dad talking to Mark. Well, when Kyle was mad, you didn't have to be a fucking genius to figure it out -- his spiky black hair seemed to become even more spiky, and his chin would set like it was made outa granite.

"Oh, I thought Mark had enough problems without me hassling him," Kyle said sarcastically as his father returned. "So what's the diff with you talking to him?"

"He just looked like he needed somebody to say hi to him. His mom's not here. She had to work or something."

"Yeah, so what's the diff? I wanted to talk to him earlier."

"Grow up, Kyle."

Whoa! That did it for Kyle. He was glowing like a beet again. He wasn't the kinda guy who liked being talked down to, or to be told to grow up. But he chilled outa respect for his dad -- and I was glad for that. We were all having too good a time for it to be spoiled by an argument. "Chill, dad," he said. "Thanks for talking to him, anyway. I just wanted him to know that we were all rootin' for him."

It seemed like ages before they finally got to Mark's division, but it was worth the wait. When he stepped into the ring, he looked totally fucking wicked -- like he was in charge and knew exactly what was going down. Mark had an awesome build -- not big like a bodybuilder's -- but athletic, supple and supremely fit. The way he danced around you would've thought he was gonna fly any minute -- he was so damn light on his feet.

The first round was kinda disappointing, though. The other guy was good, and he connected with Mark's ribs almost right away. Mark had to back off. We were all yelling "c'mon Mark! c'mon Mark!" but I didn't think he heard us. He was too focused on sizing up his opponent as he skipped around the ring, dodging and darting, ducking and weaving.

During the second round, both guys went ballistic. Fists flew so damn fast they were a blur. Several caught Mark just under his arm and it was obvious that he was on the defensive. Then the other guy went down for the count of eight. Oh, well, at least Mark was putting up a good fight. But, for us, there was nothing we could do but sit, wait and watch with our hearts in our mouths.

Then it happened. Pure fucking magic! Mark jabbed with his left but pulled it short. The other guy fell for Mark's trick and came at him. Whammo! Mark lifted his right and caught the dude right on the jaw. He went down like a sack of potatoes. He crumbled like a building being imploded. Woohoo! And he couldn't get up in time. The referee took Mark's hand and raised it triumphantly in the air. Damn! I was making so much noise, my voice was hoarse. We were all going totally ballistic!

It was almost the end of the tournament when Mark approached our group after showering, then dressing in his school uniform. Jeez, he looked so different to the way he appeared in the ring -- almost like a regular kid. But we were all over him like a rash, telling him how awesome he was and what a great fight it was. He was smiling a lot, but kinda modest at the same time. Anyway, I couldn't resist hugging the shit outa him even though I hardly knew him. Hell, everybody was way too excited to worry about decorum or any of that bullshit.

After the tourny, Kyle's dad took us for 'shakes at the local where we all chatted about the night and how cool it'd been. But I could feel my energy ebbing away fast. It was way, way past my bedtime. I vaguely remembered Kyle's dad driving everybody home, then Kyle carrying me to my room. I think he said "'night, buddy" as he laid me on my bed, but I wasn't sure.

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 Wingnut Part 32