All week, I'd been looking forward to the weekend, especially Friday 'cause some of the guys had organized a house party. It was gonna be wicked. That afternoon, though, I'd heard that the surf was rocking, so I hopped the fence to harass Kyle for a few minutes.
"What about your homework and studying?" he asked as I flopped onto his bed... our bed.
"Surf's up, Kyle. I'll get around to homework on the weekend."
"No way! It's Friday, and we've got plans for a house party. It's gonna be raving. You going somewhere?"
"Nope. Mark's working all night, so I'm gonna hit the books. Anyway, try not to get stoned and totally trashed."
"Yeah, yeah." Jeez, who needed parents when you had a friend like Kyle?
"Hey, I'm being serious. I don't want you becoming a fucking druggie."
"I told you already, I'm not gonna take ms again. OK, so there'll be weed there, and everybody's gonna be smoking."
"Does Candy smoke it up?"
"Sometimes... dunno if she likes it, though."
"Just look after yourself. OK?"
"Want me to come around after the party?"
"If my lights are on, you can say hi."
"Cool. I'll be OK, Kyle. Promise."
The party was totally fucking awesome. It was at a rich kid's house. Lots of Sean's friends had rich folks, and he was never short of money either. So, naturally, there was no shortage of cool stuff... even cooler for me 'cause I didn't have to buy my own. I couldn't have afforded it anyway.
I didn't know what time it was when I arrived home, but Kyle's light was still on, so I knocked on his window. I figured a jack session before I hit the hay would be cool.
"Kyle?" Tap, tap, tap. "Hey, Kyle?"
"Hey, bud," he said as he opened the window. "You know what time it is? 2a-fucking-m. How's it going?"
"Coolio. Whatcha doin'?"
"Reading. Then sleeping." He studied my eyes for a moment. "I see you had a good time."
"It was a total rave. Can I come in?"
"Not a great idea. I don't want my folks to see you like this."
"OK." I shrugged. "That's cool."
"You're a fucking wreck. You promised you wouldn't get trashed."
"Couldn't help it. Pissed Candy off, too, so she went home early with one of the other guys and his chick. I'm pissing you off, too, huh?"
"What are your folks gonna say?"
"I'll be OK in the morning."
"You gonna get inside OK?"
"Yeppo... left my window slightly open."
"So what are you on? Grass?"
"You don't wanna know."
"Yeah... I do."
"I took a stripe of coke. There. Now you know. And I smoked a couple of joints, and I had a few tequilas and a few rums." I waited for his response, but there was only silence while he glared at me. "Now you're mad, huh?"
"I actually don't know what to say to you, buddy. You don't listen, anyway. You're gonna end up being a total druggie the way you're going."
"Crap. I'm fine."
"Yeah, yeah. Listen, I'm gonna get some sleep. You gonna be OK?"
Kyle stayed at the window as I climbed the fence, which had suddenly become Mt Everest, and fell over the other side. I picked myself up, waved goodnight, then climbed through my window. I was still fully dressed, and laying on top of my bed, when I woke next morning.
Saturday night was the seniors' prom, with all the guys wearing their tuxedos, and the girls looking like fairy princesses. As for me, well, I passed the time by getting together with Sean again. It was late afternoon by the time I hopped the fence to check on Kyle. He was still out like a light, so I shook him by the shoulders.
"So how was the party, Kyle?"
"Awesome," he yawned, then rubbed his eyes.
"How did the girls look? And Conan?"
"Everybody looked pretty rad. You been here long?"
"Nah... been surfing with Brian."
"Nah... we got slaughtered again last night, and he obviously can't handle the pace, so he stayed home."
"Fuck, Wingnut! Is that your mission in life now? To get slaughtered every possible chance you get?"
"Looks like you can talk. You look pretty damn wasted."
"Ouch!" Kyle placed a hand on his head, and squinted. "Feels like someone's buried an axe in the center of my forehead."
"You're getting too old to handle it, Kyle," I grinned as I bounced on the bed. "I told you... old man!"
"I'm gonna annihilate you, Wingnut!"
"You can't!" Bounce, bounce, bounce. "You're too weak... and old!"
Whammo! Suddenly, Kyle's fist connected with the hard muscle of my thigh. The pain was so intense, it sent me crashing to the floor. "Oh, fuck, man!" I moaned as I tried to massage the pain away.
"Yeah, well... fight with the best, and die like the rest, boyo."
"You're a fucking bully!"
"Hey, if you can't handle the heat, stay outa the kitchen. Anyway, I didn't think I hit you that hard. Your eyes are watering."
"One day I'm gonna fucking hurt you, Kyle."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Promises, promises. Shame. Did you get hurt? Maybe you're outa shape."
"Maybe you're getting weak from all the shit you're taking."
"Or maybe you're just a little wuss."
That was it. Fuck the pain in my leg. I jumped on the bed and let Kyle have it. My fists were flying in all directions, and one connected with his jaw. The next thing I knew, I'd been flathanded across the face, and I was sprawled on the floor. Temper quickly turned to tears, and I was bawling my eyes out.
"What's going on, Kyle?" his dad demanded as he came into the room.
"It's nothing, dad."
"Nothing? You've become a bully now?"
"No, dad. It's nothing." Kyle leaned over the side of his bed, and put his hand on my shoulder. "Hey, buddy? You OK?"
What kinda dumb, fucking question was that? I got to my feet, brushed past Kyle's dad, and sobbed all the way back to my place. How could Kyle have done that to me? We were best buds. Had he forgotten that I was thirteen, and that he was much bigger and stronger than me? OK, so maybe I acted tough -- indestructible even -- but he was still five years older than I was.
It was about 8pm when Kyle came into my room as I was reading surfer mags on my bed. I hadn't told my folks about what had happened, so I guessed they were cool about his visiting me.
"Thought you'd be doing homework."
"Can I sit down?"
"If you want," I said without looking up from the mag.
"Can you put the mag down for a sec?"
I threw the mag on the floor, then glared at him for a moment before I laid on my back, and stared at the ceiling.
"Want me to leave?"
"OK, I'm gonna leave, but I wanna say something to you, and you don't have to answer if you don't wanna, or say anything. Since you met Sean, you've totally changed. You've become a spoilt brat, and I think it's 'cause Sean is giving you shit for nothing. Sean's a lot like Steve -- he's got no respect for money 'cause he gets it too easy from his rich folks. And all his friends are spoilt brats as well. New sticks and wetsuits every summer, like they cost nothing. Overseas holidays once a year. And they really don't give a shit about anyone except themselves. Sean and his buds dig you 'cause you're good fun to be around. And you do everything they do, or tell you to do. Even though you're five years younger than me, I've never thought of you as being anything other than my friend. Yeah... I treat you like a little guy... but that's 'cause you are. But a cute little guy."
Kyle made a lame attempt at laughing, but what was so fucking funny? I ignored him, and continued to stare at the ceiling.
"Hey, Wingnut, you didn't know this, but I write to a few dudes overseas by email, and I tell them some of the things that you and me and the others get up to. And most of those dudes keep asking me about you 'cause they think you're a fucking hero. I tell them about the size of the surf you ride, and they go, "Woohoo!" Out of all the guys I write about, everyone thinks you're like the tops."
He was telling other guys about me? Guys from other countries? Why? Hey, there could be only one reason. There was no way I could stop the tear from rolling down my cheek, but I did my best to keep staring at the ceiling.
"Well," he continued, "if I had to write to those dudes and tell them about what's been happening to you the last few weeks, they'd think I was writing about someone else. All the drugs and shit? They'll wanna know why I didn't try to stop you. Paul wrote me from England, and said he was hoping to hell that you don't end up like his little bro who's been in rehab twice, and keeps drifting back 'cause it's so damn hard to stop."
A second tear. Dammit!
"Hey, Wingnut, this bullshit between you and me this afternoon -- battling. It was supposed to be a friendly fight, but it wasn't. You know that. You were trying to hurt me, and you were totally outa control. I hated my dad seeing that 'cause he loves you as much as I do, and he was really pissed that I'd hit you."
So what was I supposed to say? He could just walk into my room and everything would be like it was before? Anyway, he was saying stuff that I didn't have any answers for.
"Hey, I'm going now. I'll be next door. If you need to talk about anything, you know you can hop the fence. Even just to lay on my bed and stare at my ceiling if you don't wanna talk. I worry about you like you're my own lil bro. Maybe that's why I hit you so hard. But I'd hate to see anything bad happen to you. I know it's not easy to say no to your friends when they're handing out free shit. You feel obliged 'cause they're putting pressure on you. But a couple of years down the line, they're gonna say something like, "That Wingnut was the fucking bomb. He had the guts to be himself, and say no."
Kyle stood, then said, "See ya, buddy," and left my room.
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