All That Drama: The NovelabyFantasyboy69©
"Hey sissy boy, you dropped your purse!" my friend Steven called out. The person in question looked back with such loathing that I did not want to be associated with the in Crowd when he went Columbine on us all. The statement never failed to produce a laugh from us ...or anyone within ear shot.
"The proctologist called, Steven, they found your head," the young man shot back and then whirled away, his long blond hair haloing out like a summer wheat blond nimbus. It produced another ooh of immaturity. I shook my head and went to Poli Sci.
Late June...last year
I thought being in college would get rid of all the stupid childish political bullshit. I thought we would be more mature. I thought we would put the childishness of high school behind us...I thought wrong. My college was made up of mostly the kids I went to high school with the previous years and the few people stupid enough to think that the college was a stepping stone into a four year. Nope, mine was a cesspool of the dregs of the county, myself included.
My name is Justice Leonard Anderson. My father, curse his soul, was a judge before someone whack job tried to off him. The man was sent to prison for life without, my father was paralyzed from the neck down, and I was shipped off to JROTC at the tender age of eight. He thought having a name like Justice would be good for me. More like his political career. He was now a state Senator...BFD. I got stuck with a lame first name just so he could hobnob with the snobs. At sixteen I rejoined public schooling in time to be "in". I'm six feet three inches, pale skinned, hair so black it had blue highlights, and deep brown eyes. Full lips, one hundred ninety pounds of solid muscle and a look of permanent pout on my face, I was a shoe in for every girl in school to go after and the "in" Crowd guys wanted to be part of it. I went along with it, any insane high school jock would, and I had more fuck buddies than I had homework assignments. I would woo the girls for about a month, usually one for every day of the week, and then move on to the next half dozen. I took Sundays off to rest.
When I graduated I was in the top five percent of our class. Not bad considering I was horrid when it came to history and barely scraped a C every semester. I remember sitting in the front row next to the valedictorian, one Hector Andrews. He was a whiz kid, never got below a 98% on anything except a popularity test. He was a member of every boosters club, chess club, drama department and I even heard him playing one mean Jethro Tull flute solo. He was also the biggest queer in the school and made no secret about it. Not that he could. Steven had caught him staring at him in PE and had been the typical dick that he was. Steven led him on and acted like he wanted to have sex with Hector who believed him. When Hector showed up with a pair of tickets to the Aerosmith concert Steven had all of us over as witnesses.
I am ashamed to admit I joined in on the teasing, the name calling, the occasional shove...but I refused to even go through with the gay bashing. They beat him so badly Hector has a slight limp and will have it all his life. He also has four parallel scars in his scalp where they used a crowbar on him. I got one too for pulling them off him. That's the reason my hair is somewhat long, why the "sissy boy" despises Steven, and why I left school politics alone. Hector, with a force of will I found amazing, pulled out of a coma after two weeks, learned to walk, talk, and be human again in two months, and was use to the fact that he would never lead a normal life.
He made a trip to see me during that summer, still relying on a cane to walk. I was shocked to my toes to see him at my door, his hair barely covering the scars. He looked like pan fried hell, but he was alive. "Y-you are an asshole, J-j-justice." He was probably having to work through the trauma induced stutter to get all of this out and I was obligated to listen. I was just so surprised to see him out and about after so short a time. There was no way I could even formulate a sentence to ask him what he was doing here. "You and y-y-your friends h-have made my life hell." I was so shocked to see such anger and pain in his blue eyes that I hated myself then.
"Save it!" he yelled at me. He swallowed hard as his face contorted in fury. "I am not here for your apology. I'm h-h-here t-t-t-to say thank you." I blinked in confusion. "You pulled them off of me and got hit t-t-too. I w-w-would be dead if you had not done th-th-that." I could tell he still hated what I had done to him, would never call me friend, but he seemed to at least call us neutral.
"I'm glad you're alive Hector. And able to function." I could not say alright. He was far from alright. He nodded and walked back to his mother's car without another word. This was two years ago. Hector had recovered to about 95% normal, Steven had been put on felony probation for those two years, and I was given a clean slate. After graduation I hung out with the guys still, but I found excuses to get out of a few parties because I could not stand who I was becoming...who I had become.
I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror each morning and see a reflection of a shallow man who only womanized, belittled, harassed and hurt other just to fit in. Often I would look to the left side of my scalp and I could still see the stitches they had used to keep my brains in. They were a year and a half removed, but I could still see them. Hell, if I lifted my hair I would see the scar, but that I was kind of proud of. It was the one time in high school I had done the right thing; it was like my Badge of Courage and Honor. That scar, and the ones I knew were matched on a kid whose only fault was that he tried too hard to be himself in a place where yourself is not who you were, especially if that self is gay, was my wake up call. I did not like who I had become, so I did what I always did whenever I chose a new course. Jump in feet first and worry about it later. The Nike way of life: Just do it.
I enrolled in the summer creative writing classes, my one true passion. I loved to write more than I loved football and I loved that more than I loved anything else. The class met every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night from 7 to 8pm and it gave me an excuse to get out of the constant partying that Steven and the Crowd had all summer long. I could claim I had a homework assignment that needed to be turned in Monday to get out of a weekend of meaningless stupidity and then just relax at the college library with Chaucer or Longfellow, maybe even a bit of Piers Anthony. The one time Steven thought to check up on me was the one time I actually had a big assignment due and schmuck that he was he tried to get me to drop it for an hour.
"C'mon, Justice! You haven't hung out with us all week!"
"Steven, I can't. This is ten pages shy of what it needs to be and if I don't get it right there goes my GPA, my scholarship into Davis or maybe one of those East Coast schools, and the Senator will have my hide." All of these were valid and honest reasons. I was hoping to get out of this state and going back east, where I had been for my JROTC years, would get me as far from here as I could get and still be in the USA.
"Fine, book worm, but Torri will be heartbroken." He grinned when he saw me wince. Torri was the one girl I had not kicked to the curb when I would find them, fuck them and forget them. The sex was just too good. The things she did were acrobatically erotic and she was the only one I knew who could keep up with my sex drive. Plus she had the sexiest tummy in the universe. Enough definition to make them abs but enough flesh to make them comfortable to look at, to feel, to taste.
"Tell her I'm sorry, but I do have to get this done." He left after that and I exhaled loudly. God the man knew how to get me off my center! Just mentioning Torri had blown the story ideas out of my brain and put in thoughts that would shame even a porn star. I had to take care of business with The Guy and then I could reread the stuff I had written to get back into the zone.
I was perusing the library when I bumped into someone. I had been looking up at English poets and whoever it was was looking down at English play writes. "Sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going," I said and steadied them.
"No problem. Oh, hey Justice." The first words were said in a tone of good natured embarrassment and understanding. The other three were neutrally bland and guarded. They were words and a tone I knew well.
"Hey, Hector." I was suddenly wanting to leave. We had settled into a sort of live and leave alone policy and it worked for us. I don't think in the years after the beating we said more than those words to each other. I did not want it to stay that way. I wanted to give the apology he had never wanted to hear, but it would have to be on his terms. "You taking classes this semester?" It was stupid question, I knew he was in the drama production of West Side Story since one of my classmates in Writing was also the stage manager for this season.
"Yeah. You?" He looked almost interested, but he was acting. It was a testament to how good he was at acting to seem like he was actually interested in what I was up to and put most of the loathing out of his voice and stance. Academy Award winning performance, trust me.
"Creative writing. How's West Side Story coming for you?"
There was a moment where he was shocked I knew that much about him. "Good. I'm no singer, but it's okay. How's your sonnet?"
"In need of a dousing with kerosene and being ignited, honestly. It is horrible, I'm ashamed to say I wrote it. Hence the research of the masters." I took a book from the top shelf and handed it to him. "You may find this book good for plays. I recall you liked to write them as well as act." His senior project was the writing, producing and copyrighting of a play. He had aced it.
"Yeah. Thanks, I'll check it out later." In other words he would avoid it like the plague. I put it back and then the uncomfortable silence slammed into us. A big shining hippopotamus of silence that trampled on our good days.
"I need to study, so I'll see you around maybe."
"Yeah. C'ya Justice." I walked past him. Not twenty feet away was the Crowd here for a run to pick up chicks from college.
"You getting chummy with the fag? You know he was checking you out."
"I don't care. And we were discussing classes and he asked to see a book from the top shelf." A little lie, but I did not want to deal with the Crowd's rowdiness now.
"Short little fairy. C'mon, Justice, the girls are waiting." There was no way I could lie my way out of this one, I did not have class until that night and it was lunch time. I put on a fake grin and hitched my bag higher on my shoulder and motioned for them to lead on. As we were leaving I glanced back and thought, maybe, I had seen Hector's eyes following me.
It was later the next week that I ran into Hector again. I was in the cafeteria with a few of the people from the Writing class while we discussed the latest hell. A fifty page short story about something controversial in today's society. Megan was next to me like we sat in class. "I'm thinking about doing abortion," she said. I winced. She was a great writer and she would have the readers in tears by the time the story was done. I hope I did not have to student edit her work; it was par for the course for the students to edit the other works before they were handed in to the teacher. Twenty percent of our grades were the editing. "How about you, J." She never called me Justice. I liked it.
"Well, I was thinking under age pregnancy, but with you doing abortion that would not fly." I looked up as a group of students came in and stood next to Meg. I looked up into two faces I knew well. Hector's of course and Sarah. Sarah was a big girl, had been as long as I had known her, and we had made fun of her so much that I wanted to hide whenever she came around because she had a knife for a tongue and would give the Crowd the sharp edge that always left them socially bleeding for weeks. Thankfully she never started in on me, but then I usually ignored her. We called her fatty, Moby Bitch, and a few other colorful names that I'm pretty sure she heard at least once.
I could not look either in the eye so I chowed down on my club sandwich. "Meg? Rehearsal?" She thumped her forehead with her hand and packed her bag quickly.
"Sorry, gotta split. You should do that piece, J, it would give the flip side to my story. Maybe we could ask the Prof if we could write the same story but with alternate endings." I thought about it and nodded. "Super. Bye guys." They went off towards the PA wing.
"What's the issue?" I heard Hector ask.
"I'm doing abortion, he was thinking about teen pregnancy."
"Huh. Well, he would..." the rest was lost as the doors shut. I would what? Ooh I hated that, not knowing what they were going to say, but then they hated what I used to say so I guess that made up for some of it. Not.
I was not due in class until later and I was bored so I followed. I was telling myself it was to find out what the play was shaping up to be, but I knew I just wanted to hear what they said about me. I was almost out of ear shot, headed for my locker which was adjacent to the PA wing, but I could tell they were done with whatever was about me. Frustrated I put my book in the locker and still followed them to the theater. I veered off when Sarah looked back with a look of almost humor and I caught the "Hey Meg, I think Justice likes you."
"Why do you say that?"
"He's just stopped following us." I turned beet red as I yanked open the Music wing doors.
"He was going to the music wing, you nasty gossip," said Hector with a laugh. He was defending me? Huh. I slipped into the music lab and asked Casey if I could use a trumpet for an hour.
"You play trumpet?" I nodded and he gave me a look that pretty much said he had not expected it and I think I raised in his esteem from toe fungus to paramecium. Casey was a band geek, but a cool one. Played one mean bass guitar. Graduated a year before I did. Hated Steven, which was cool too.
Once I had the trumpet I went into one of the practice rooms and shut the door firmly or so I had thought. I made sure the thing was in tune and blew air through it to warm up the pipes before I actually started playing. The first note was tentative because I had not played in about a year, but like a bike you never really forget how to play. My fingers flicked through the scales I could remember and then the ones that popped into my head. I was not fond of Modal Scales, but they were interesting to hear. With my chops and my fingers ready I eased into my first trumpet recital piece, the theme from Masterpiece Theater. It was nice to play on the trumpet because you could change the style of the piece just by playing faster and more staccato notes or holding it out and playing slower.
I closed my eyes and just played. It had been way too long since I had played and I felt so out of practice and clumsy, but I was playing better than I thought I would. I flowed from that piece into a jazz number called Salt Peanuts. It was bouncy and fun and a challenge for my chops to do with its octave jumps. My toe was tapping and with my mind on the piece and the song coming from the trumpet I did not hear the door open. With my eyes closed I did not see the crowd form outside the door either.
Next came Misty. Anyone who loves jazz knows Misty. Anyone who knows of Johnny Mathis knows the song. Anyone with a pulse should at least have heard it and anyone with a soul should love it. I was doing my amateur best when I finally heard a gasp from the hall and I opened my eyes to see what had to be the entire drama team for the play standing there, Hector front and center. I stopped and turned so red that I heard more than one person snicker. "Why were you never in band?" Hector asked.
"Not popular, Hector." He nodded, giving me the point for the argument.
"J, are you busy right now?" asked Meg.
"Um, not really. Just getting in some time before class." I had a bad feeling about this.
"Could you sight read something? Our trumpet player is an audible copy and can't sight read very well." I wanted to beg out of it, it was not cool at all, but then I remembered I was putting the stupid popularity contests behind me and nodded with a sigh. "You don't have to," she said.
"It's okay. I just haven't played in a while and don't want to make a fool out of myself anymore than I already do."
"Because it's not cool?" asked Sarah.
"Well, yes and no." I left the practice room, emptied the spit valve in the trashcan, and dragged my feet. "Who really wants to be the target of public ridicule? No one." She looked confused, like some alien had taken on my form and was doing a piss poor job of impersonating me. Hector fell back to join her.
"Is he for real, Hec?" she asked him.
"Honestly? He's changed a bit since high school. Hell, he changed since that night." They must talk about it for her to know which night he meant. She nodded.
"True. He pretty much ignored me when he got back to school the next year. Better treatment than the rest of the Crowd. Perhaps all it took to get him to think was to knock him one upside his head."
"Not even he deserved a crowbar," said Hector and I smiled inwardly. No one really deserved a crowbar, well except Steven.
Once in the auditorium I slipped into the pit and looked over the music. It was of course flavored with Spanish flares and runs you would expect in West Side Story and I was sorely out of practice. I put in the mute and played it through a few times, wincing with every wrong note or when my timing was off. I had hoped it would only take five minutes, but twenty minutes later I played for their player and he nodded. He played it exactly the same way I did, a perfect copy that no one, not even myself, could tell the difference. I nodded once and fled back towards the practice room.
I saw Hector and two other students struggling to lift a heavy set prop onto a riser. Without much thought I set the trumpet down and helped them. I was a lot stronger than all three of them and it was up in no time. "Thanks Justice," Hector said with a genuine smile.
"No problem. Anything else a pack mule can lift for you?"
He grinned and shook his head. "No, but thanks for the offer." I nodded and went back to the room. Had I just done something nice for a person who hated me and they had thanked me? How...uncool! I was making progress. Maybe I was no longer toe fungus.
As the summer semester wore on I ran into Hector more and more. There were a few times I would see him across the quad laughing with his friends and I wondered if I would find it funny. He looked better without the constant harassment and with no Steven around. His eyes were not guarded, he sat relaxed and at peace. I could almost see why a lot people defended him in school. He was a genuinely nice person that liked to laugh, have fun, help people out with whatever they needed and I had hated him because he was gay.
In my JROTC program I was conditioned to be very conservative in everything I did and thought. I did not start having my own thoughts until I was nearly thirteen, just parroted what they drilled into me. Gays were not conservative and thus not liked where I was. They were talked about like AIDS victims with sneers and pity for their disease. One guy I knew would laugh along with all of it, but inside he was seething. He hated hearing all of this bullshit because he was in the closet. He was put into the school to teach him to be a man by his bigot Father. I never knew he was gay, no one did, until they found him one morning hanging from the bell tower by a perfect noose with a note pinned to his shirt. It told them all, every last one of them, that what they were doing was the reason he killed himself. That he was gay and their blind hatred for something they knew nothing about was the reason he no longer had the will to live. He had a horrible home life and could not go back. He had a horrible life here so why stay? I heard what the note said and I blinked in confusion. He had been gay? But he seemed so normal, so manly. He was not some limp wristed sissy bitch, he was a model soldier, a good person in community events for help. It began the opening of my eyes, but it lasted only a short time with the constant drilling of words against anything that was not deemed conservative.