South Africa
Part 55

For some strange reason, Kyle wasn't at swim training on Thursday afternoon, so, just before supper, I hopped the fence, and headed straight for his room. "Hey, Kyle! I heard about this fight... Kyle and Mark... so I said to my buds, no way! 'cause they're the best of buds. Then I saw Mark at swim prac, but no Kyle. Mark looked right pissed off with the world, and like a bus had reversed into his face, so I didn't even ask him where his friend was. So now I see you looking like a piano dropped on you, and I wonder what's cooking."

Well, I must've said something funny 'cause he smiled at me. "Hey, li'l bro, it's complicated. Too complicated. I just need to be on my own for a while."

"You wanna take a walk to the beach or something?"

"Got homework."

"I picked up the dog crap earlier."

"So I see. Thanks."

"Guess you want me to go now, huh?"

"Not really… I've just got things to sort out."

"That's cool. We're still bros, though… right?"


"See ya, Kyle."

"See ya, buddy."

Well, at least he wasn't mad at me, but I didn't wanna hang around and ask too many questions, 'cause then he would've been mad at me, for sure. So I figured I'd wait until morning, and maybe then he'd feel more like talking. Meantime, I figured I'd quiz my dad.

"Kyle's been in a fight with Mark, and they're best buds. How do you explain that?"

"Because they're boys. When was the last time you saw Kyle's father and me rolling around in the dirt?"

"Yeah… I guess that'd look pretty dumb. But it still doesn't explain why two best buds had a fight."

"Give it time. Both of them will see the error of their ways, and make up. It's pretty normal for boys to behave that way. Stupid, but normal."

"Don't go giving your son ideas!" mom ordered as she strode into the living room, waving her finger.

"Hey, dad, did you ever get into fights when you were a kid?"

"Nope… I waited for your mother to come along… and she always wins."

On the way to school, Kyle looked a bit better… the swelling had gone down, but his face still resembled having gone fifteen rounds with Mike Tyson. Actually, he might've been better off if he had.

"So what did you guys fight about, Kyle?"

"It's stupid."

"That's what my dad said… that it's probably over something stupid. You guys still gonna be friends?"

"Gonna have to wait and see."

"I hope so. I think Mark's cool." Oops! "I think you're cooler, though. It's just that I'd hate to be on bad vibes with Mark. Everyone yesterday was talking about the fight, and trying to figure out what happened. You're like a hero, 'cause they say that nobody has ever given Mark a beating yet. A lotta guys are saying that he had it coming 'cause of his bad attitude."

"So… do I look like a hero?"

"Nope… you look like a wreck."

"Hey, there's something you need to understand about Mark. He doesn't have a bad attitude, he's just a loner, so some people think he's weird. He's a cool guy once you get to know him."

"Yep… so you guys are gonna be friends, right?"

"Let's see which way the wind blows, buddy."

"It's blowing on shore… no surf."

"That's not what I meant."

At swim prac, Kyle was in the comp room writing his diary or whatever. Anyway, he couldn't swim 'cause of his stitches. Mark was there, though, getting stares from all the other guys who were curious to know what was going on. They're weren't gonna get a word outa Mark, though… and none of them had the nerve to speak to the guy when he was in a bad mood. Well... except for me, of course.

I was with the juniors again at break, training in the pool. But, before heading for the showers, I went up to the top of the stand where a forlorn looking Kyle was sitting, watching us, and spoke to him.

"You seen Mark?"

"Duh! We're in the same class."

"So are you guys friends again?"

"Haven't spoken to each other."

"This morning at training, he asked where you were."


"He laughed when I told him that you were still laying under the piano that fell on you. He didn't know about the stitches, though. The guy doesn't know his own strength."

"Did he swim?"

"Yeah… he's swimming like a damn fish. So, are you gonna see him at training this arvie?"

"Can't… I've got stitches."

"So I'll see you at home?"


"OK… so will I tell Mark 'hi' for you?"

"You're shivering. Go grab a shower."

"Yeah… I'd better get moving."

It was obvious even to a grommet like me that Kyle was avoiding the issue. And so was Mark. As a go-between, I was making no fucking headway at all, 'cause both dudes were too fucking proud or stubborn or whatever to patch things up. Was I gonna be as loopy at they were when I was a teen? Jeez.

On Friday, I went out with a bunch of friends to the early movie, then took Candy to the pizza restaurant where we met up with Mark and Carol, and chatted for a while. Mark wanted to know what Kyle was doing. Normally, Kyle and Steph went clubbing with Mark and Carol on Friday nights.

"He's at home, doing schoolwork and stuff." I figured it wasn't a good time to quiz Mark about his friendship with Kyle 'cause he'd have to speak in front of his girlfriend, so I avoided going into any detail... such as Kyle having a major case of the sads.

If there was one thing that could lighten Kyle's load, it had to be the surf. So on Saturday, I rocked over to tell him that I was gonna check out the conditions, and report back. His folks had gone to the mall, so he'd taken the opportunity to use his dad's comp in the den, and seemed kinda startled when I saw him checking email.

"Who are you writing to?"

"Just a friend. Go check the surf."

As it happened, the surf was lamo slop, but the two of us went down for a bit of a paddle for two hours. I was hoping that getting wet would ease Kyle's tension, but it didn't really. Besides, he had some school assignments to take care of, plus a bunch of chores to do around the hood.

For the rest of the weekend, Kyle was giving me loud and clear signals that he wanted to be left alone, so I really didn't get an opportunity to speak to him again until Monday after school as we walked home. I'd already chatted to Mark earlier in the day, but muscle-man wasn't saying much at all. And he wasn't walking home with us as he usually did.

"Hey, Kyle, I'm totally fucking confused here. Are you and Mark still friends?"

"I guess."

"You're not acting like it. You guys are acting like a couple of grommets."

"Yeah, well, it'll sort itself out."

"So what's the fight all about, anyway?"

"I don't wanna get into that. OK?"

"Your face still looks like a piano fell on you."

"Your face is also gonna look like that if you don't stop asking questions."

"Ooer! Hey, I'm shaking in my boots already!"

Well, my sarcasm was like waving a red rag to a bull, so my bro chased me all the way home, where he finally caught me, and gave me a mousey on my arm. "Ouch! That fucking hurt!"

"It was meant to."

Next morning, I called in to Kyle's house before school, but he told me to go on ahead, and that he'd catch up with me. But he never did, and he wasn't at school that day. When I called again after getting home, he told me that he'd gotten sick, and was puking. Yeah, right. There was a major prob going on, and I didn't need to be a fucking brain surgeon to figure out that it was between Mark and Kyle.

Anyway, Kyle told me that he was going down to the beach to be alone for a while, even though the wind was blowing like crazy. About an hour later, I saw Kyle arriving home with Mark, and they were both smiling. Woohoo! I jumped the fence, and said 'hi', but I didn't hang around 'cause I figured they needed a bit of space.

"Hey, dad, seems like Kyle and Mark are friends again."

"They always were."

"So how old do you have to be before you stop fighting?"

"Fighting with what? Fists? Or missiles and bombs? People never stop fighting, son. They just learn to use more sophisticated weapons."

"Maybe my generation won't do that kinda stuff."

"That's the hope, son, and we all live in hope."

Well, Mark was in a much better mood the next day, but that didn't stop him from giving me fucking hell while he was training the juniors at swim prac. He was pushing me so damn hard in the pool that I was tempted to get outa the water and tell him to fuck off. But I resisted, and kept swimming, and swimming, and swimming. "OK," he grinned, "I'm gonna sit in the stand with Kyle, and we're gonna watch you guys. So keep at it. We gonna try to spot your mistakes."

Finally, when my arms felt like lead weights, and I couldn't swim another inch, I went up to Mark and Kyle in the stand. "OK, are you guys friends now?"

"We never stopped being friends," Mark shrugged. "We just had a fight, that's all. That isn't like not being friends."

"Oh?" I cocked one eyebrow as I placed my hands on my hips, and transferred my weight to one foot. "So you two are gonna make me your target now? Huh? You need someone to screw around, and it's gonna be me. Huh? Just 'cause you're not giving each other a hard time?"

The next thing I knew, I'd been slung over Mark's shoulder, and was being carried toward the pool. Then he jumped into the water with me still attached. A few moments later, he was standing at the edge of the pool, waving my Speedos in the air.

"Give those back there!" I shouted, which only served to draw the attention of the rest of the juniors who began to laugh themselves stupid. Before I exited the pool, though, I got one of them to bring me a towel, which I wrapped around my waist.

"Don't wanna embarrass the rest of you guys," I explained.

Then the funny side of the whole damn episode dawned on me, and I cracked up with the rest of the juniors until our stomachs hurt.

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 Wingnut Part 56