Kyle and I spent a long time in the pool while he was trying to help me with my stroke. "You're gonna have to work hard at it, bro, 'cause it's something you've been doing wrong for ages, and old habits are hard to break."
"So how do I break it?"
"Substitute the old one with a new one."
"You make it sound too easy."
"Nothing's easy if it's worthwhile, bud."
After walking home with Kyle and Mark, I hopped the fence to take care of the crap detail. It was then that I noticed that Sox had done a real runny one on the lawn. Ew!
"Fuck, Kyle! Your dog is shitting custard now! Gross, man!"
"Yeah, well, you've been having it too easy. This is a challenge."
"Six times! Six damn piles! Jeez! I crap once, maybe twice a day. Your dog craps six times while we're at school!"
"Yeah, well, if you could crap on the lawn, you might do it more often."
"You're sick!" I stepped backwards as he approached me. "What are you doing?"
"I'm gonna nail you." Then he lunged at me, wrestled me to the grass, and gave me a mousey [punch] on my thigh muscle.
"You prick! That was not so cool!"
"I kinda liked it," he grinned.
"Yeah? Well, take this!" I tried to fist the muscle on top of his arm, but he saw it coming, and I missed. "Watch your back, Kyle."
After I'd done my homework in my room, I noticed that my thigh was beginning to ache. Kyle didn't know his own damn strength. I was still bitching about the bruise next morning as we walked to school. "If I have trouble swimming, I'm gonna tell the coach that you beat me up! And stop laughing! It's not fucking funny!"
At recess, Kyle was helping me again with my stroke, but I was getting into panic mode 'cause the swim trials for the summer tour were only a few days away. "I won't even make the reserves at this rate."
"You keep slipping back to your old style."
"I'm never gonna make the team."
"How did you win races at primary school?"
"I dunno… I just did. But three of the guys who're beating me were training at the gym during the school hols with a damn coach."
"That's not it. I think your stroke is screwed 'cause you're swimming like you're paddling a surfboard, and chopping the damn thing. I think I'd better get Darren to train you."
"By Friday? Yeah, right."
"OK, but if I train you, I want no lip or bitching. And you can kiss the surf goodbye."
That afternoon, we trained so damn much, I thought I was gonna have to walk home on a pair of flukes. The next day, Mark joined in. I could hear him shouting stuff, but it wasn't making any sense. Then, I felt something grab the back of my Speedos.
"If you want Kyle to help you, then you've gotta make a plan. OK?"
"I can't while I'm swimming."
"Then stop after each second lap, and check with me. OK? If you wanna get on the team, then listen up. I'm gonna swim a few laps with you, and stay behind. And if you don't listen up, I'm gonna pull off your Speedos and burn them, 'cause you won't need them."
"Yeah? Well, you'll have to catch me first!"
For some reason, my stroke came together, and for the next hour and a half, I was powering through the water like a fish, while Mark swam laps alongside me. After he left to go see Carol, Kyle stayed with me for another hour.
"Why does Mark always get so mad?"
"He doesn't really… just frustrated when he knows you can do it, but it looks like you're not trying."
"But I was trying!"
"Yeah, I know," he laughed. "Very trying!"
"Would he have burnt my Speedos?"
"With Mark, who knows? But if he hadn't, I would've."
"Yeah, but you wouldn't be able to catch me!"
We raced four lengths, freestyle, and by the end of the 200 meters, I was a body-length behind, which I thought was pretty cool for a junior. On the other hand, the free was Kyle's worst stroke.
My stroke had definitely improved the next day at training, but there were still a bunch of guys beating me, including Brian! The little shit had nowhere near the muscle mass that I did, but he was creaming me big time. It didn't make sense.
"How come that little jerk can beat me?"
"He's fit, and he's pretty athletic."
"Jeez, Kyle, you won't believe it! I put my fist around his dick, and it almost disappears! And he's got no pubes! He puts his fist around mine, then he knows he's got a cock in there."
"You're just pissed 'cause Brian's beating you. Anyway, I think I know what your prob is."
"Yeah, I know too… I suck ass at swimming."
"You're not aggro enough."
"You need to push yourself, and forget that you've got friends in the water. There are no friends when you're trying for a place on the team, buddy."
"Yeah, but what happens if Brian doesn't get in, or one of my other buds?"
"Hey, they'll live. Anyway, I want you on the team so I can see your initiation."
"Initiations suck. What if I don't wanna do it?"
"Then we'll strip you, and tie you to a street lamp in the main street," he laughed.
"Cool! Near some sluts… they can eat me."
"Nah… we'll get one of the guys to eat you."
"Get Mark to do it… then I can tell my buds that I fucked him up."
"Careful Mark doesn't hear you… or you'll be in hospital while we're on tour."
"What's that?" the voice behind us asked. "You guys talking about me?"
I turned around to see Mark, standing there with his hands on his hips, and his muscles bulging like fucking shiny, bronzed melons. Shit!
"Yeah," Kyle volunteered, with his evil, trademark grin. "Wingnut was just saying that, now he's learned to swim, he can whip your ass in the water."
"Liar!" I protested. "Kyle's lying!" Well, a fat lotta good that did me, 'cause Mark picked me up by my upper arm and Speedos, giving me a wedgy that made my fucking eyes water, and threw me into the pool. I surfaced spluttering and coughing. "Kyle! Tell Mark you're lying!"
"I wouldn't lie to a friend."
"Yes, you would!"
The three of us walked home together, and it was a way cool vibe. Mark was joking about giving me a wedgy, while using a high-pitched voice. He was a real macho kinda dude, so that made it even funnier. Then the subject changed to a teacher at school who was the spitting image of Rowan Atkinson, and it was my turn to make everyone laugh by mimicking his voice. We were all cracking up so much, our stomachs were hurting.
After Mark had split to his house, Kyle and I continued on our way.
"Hey, Wingnut, about tonight… going for pizza… do you mind if it's just us big guys?"
"You want me to stay home?"
"Maybe next time, buddy."
"Hey, Kyle, it's cool. Hanging with you and Steve… well, sometimes I forget that I'm a grommet, and that you guys need your space." I could feel my eyes watering big time, but I had to speak my mind. "It's just that…"
"Well, it's just that the other day, like when we weren't talking… I thought we were never gonna be friends again."
"And I'll tell you something… I missed you during those days, as well. I really missed you."
"Thanks, Kyle. But when you guys want me to back off, then just say so. I don't wanna become a pain in the ass like a regular li'l bro."
It wasn't so bad being at home while the guys were at the pizza restaurant 'cause I watched the cricket on TV… England versus Safrica. Even though we didn't play all that well, we still managed to beat England by just one run… so it was pretty exciting!
"It's well past your bed time, son."
"Just one question."
"Were you ever initiated?"
"Well, like Kyle told me that all the juniors on the swim tour get initiated by the seniors."
"And you need a frame for it? Is that it? Your mother and I can afford a nice frame… nothing too expensive, but…"
"Dad! Jeez! It's not like some certificate thingy! It's like dehydrated water, or sky hooks, only worse!"
"What on earth are you talking about?"
"Never mind, dad. I guess you were never initiated. 'Night, dad."
I was pretty bouncy the next morning on the way to school, and I did pretty well at swim training… nothing to get too excited about, but, hey, I was improving. That afternoon, I hopped the fence, picked up the dog crap, then walked with Kyle to the market to get some stuff for his mom.
"Haven't you got any homework?"
"Did it during a free period," I boasted. "So I've only got a bit of math left."
"Fuck, I've got a pile of it!"
"Yeah, well, you're a big boy… you're supposed to handle a pile. Hey, I've got a pile right here in my shorts. Wanna handle it?"
Kyle cracked. "I'll tear it off, and make you eat it."
"I told you already… you're gonna have to catch me, first!"
After we'd gotten home from the market, we swam and stuffed around in the pool for a while, until Kyle had to get stuck into his homework.
Having a best bud like Kyle was just so fucking neat! OK, so he'd give me a mousey now and then, and sometimes we'd fight about stuff, or misunderstand each other, but there was no way in the whole world that I'd swap Kyle for anybody else. He was so damn neat to be with, that even walking with him to the market was totally cool. Was I jealous of Mark or Steve or Steph? Not really. I figured I was one helluva lucky grommet to be Kyle's bud. Besides, I lived next door, and they didn't! Woohoo!
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