Save Me From MebyPhantom21©
As a psychology major, it never ceases to surprise me how deep human loathing can go. Often times the most screwed up ones are ourselves. For every ten people that you meet, eight hate everyone, six hate themselves, but blame everyone else, three loathe themselves with depths unfathomable, and one or two out of those ten will never let you know just how disturbed they really are. Actors are not just on the big screen in Hollywood, they are your next door neighbor, your roommate, your best friend, your sibling. Everyone wears a mask. And because the world revolves around you without you ever intending it to, you will never look as closely at them as you should. They don't want you to, really, they would rather hide what they see as a weakness in the darkness of their souls, too proud to ask for help; dying inside without really knowing why.
I'm in that one percent. I can admit it to myself, that's the easy part. I have a love hate relationship with myself; I love to hate myself. My family doesn't know it, my best friends don't know it, no one knows it but me. Even my college professor who is supposed to understand people better than they know themselves just thinks I'm a sarcastic prick. A talented sarcastic prick, but a prick none the less.
You may say that I'm self-destructive towards myself, maybe I am, but I don't really care. All my life I've found no one to make me want to care, to make me want to help myself. Not even my family was enough to save me, sadly enough. Maybe it was because my twin died at birth and in some dark recess of my mind, I felt that death as surely as I was now waiting for my own. I don't know.
It was surprising that I kept up good grades considering that I never studied. I did just about everything a good college student wasn't supposed to do, but at least I never got caught.
Ah, but I'm a grand actor, you see. No one knew that I was slowly killing myself. They thought I just like to have fun. I was always kind to others, if not a little sarcastic at times. Okay, a lot sarcastic, but it was always good natured. My sarcasm was never cruel unless it was directed at myself and others simply saw it as a joke.
I couldn't stand just sitting for any length of time. I had to be doing something, going somewhere. It was a need that I couldn't seem to control, it would take over me, leaving me in a near panic if I stayed in one place for too long. As long as my subconscious was preoccupied, I was generally okay. I think that is the only way I was ever able to make it through my classes. My roommate, Dan, always thought it was funny that I was always wound so tight. He would always ask me if I'd ever been tested for A.D.D. like it was some big joke. Of course, I would just laugh and leave it at that.
I was running late for class this morning, grabbing my book bag, a few pills shoved into my pocket and out the door still throwing a shirt on as I went. Some of the students felt it was their duty to dress up a little bit for psychology class, seeing as how most of them were planning on being future psychologists. This was not the case for me. Some baggy, torn jeans, and one ugly T-shirt Marvin the Martian was all Professor Hannigin was getting from me. The guy was lucky I was wearing shoes. As I slid into the class door near the back, I was trying to smooth down my bed head hair with one hand and grabbing a seat with the other. I was twenty minutes late.
Of course, there is no such a thing as sneaking into Hannigin's class, it was physically impossible. The bastard had eyes in the back of his head, I swear. "Ah," he said without turning from the black board, "So the infamous Mr. O'Malley has decided to grace us with his presence, am I correct?" You could hear the glee in his voice that he'd actually caught me at something. He was always on my case for one thing or another, but that may have something to do with the fact that I was constantly correcting him in his own class. That's just a theory, though.
Whereas most other students would have looked guilty, sliding down in their seats and apologizing, I just popped my pills in my mouth and swallowed them down with a swig of water, ignoring the man at the front of the class.
Now Hannigin turned around, staring straight at me with a look that I think had an evil red gleam to it. I'm sure he wished the school would allow him to take a whip to me, but wishes don't always come true, thank you God. "So, O'Malley, what is your excuse this time? Too much partying? You felt you didn't have to be here by the required time? Did you think class should just wait with baited breath for you to appear before really starting?"
"Sarcasm really doesn't become you, Professor. Punish me or get back to teaching, but don't waste these students time by trying to make me feel small in front of them. It won't work."
It was amazing how fast his face turned from pale and ugly, to red and ugly, to purple and down right horrifying.
I cocked my head to the side. "Now, now, Professor. Remember your blood pressure."
After taking very deep breath, the esteemed professor seemed to regain himself a bit. The class waited in strand silence waiting to see what would happen next. This was better entertainment then the summer blockbuster at the theater. "And you, O'Malley, should remember your place. Now leave my class and don't come back for the rest of the week."
I watched him turn back towards the blackboard, dismissing me like some kind of peon. I'd love to just throw something at him, throw some kind of fit, demand he let me stay, but that would be what he expected of me. I don't like to let him win, but I didn't really have a choice. It was a lose-lose situation.
I gathered my bag, pushed back from my chair and headed for the door, calling out over my shoulder. "Fine, enjoy your week. Just remember, I still get an A if all the answers are right, whether you like me or not."
I let the door slam shut behind me and stormed down the hallway. Didn't really know where to go, or what to do. All my party buddies were still in class and I had the next five hours free. Shit.
First stop, Starbucks. It was really the only way to start the day for me. Call me a pansy if you will, but I love their White Chocolate Mocha Venti. Mmm . . .
It was a beautiful spring day and I had nothing to do. Crap! I hate not having anything to do! I can't stand not doing something! Before long, I was walking to the very edges of campus, near the gym. I could work out, but then that would require effort and I wasn't sure I was up for that yet. Still, I walked through the glass doors and sniffed in that overpoweringly manly sent of sweat, testosterone, and more sweat. Grunts came from several of the guys lifting the weights, the slapping sounds of shoes on rubber sounded from the runners on the treadmills. A TV played in the corner, though most of the guys were busy listening to their own music as they worked out. I recognized several guys from our esteemed football team, heaving and grunting, throwing out the occasional encouragement to each other. The apes.
But it was the crowd around the back room that really gathered my attention. Several oh's and laughs were coming from that direction, so, curiosity as my lead, I went that way. There was a large room, the doorway blocked by several large imbeciles that were laughing and making extremely rude comments.
"Dude, look at his pajamas!"
"No, look at her. Damn, she looks fine!"
"I could take him."
"Man, he would rip you a new asshole."
"Yeah! He's got all that Bruce Lee shit going on and all you got is your bouncer muscles!"
"Do you know how many guys have tried to pick a fight with me and lost?"
I somehow managed to wiggle my way right up next the big brute and look into the room that held the small crowds interest. There were several students in there, practicing some form of Karate. Their movements were swift and precise. Their uniforms crisp white, tied with varying colored belts. An older gentleman led them, calling out moves they should make, carrying a large wooden type sword that looked like several thin pieces of bamboo tied together to make it up. The man, presumably their teacher, would smack it lightly across their backs, shoulders, legs, arms, whatever he found that was not correct. They would correct it immediately, never looking at him, never losing focus of what they were doing except to yell out "Thank you, Sensei!"
The guys around me laughed and mimicked what the students were doing, but I was strangely enthralled. It looked so simple, yet so forceful. Their movements were almost beautiful.
"They don't actually think that crap works in a real fight, do they?" Several of the guys laughed. "That Chinese crap only works in the movies with special effects."
"If you look at the décor around the room, you'll notice the style they are practicing is Japanese, not Chinese, you big ape." I took a long sip of my coffee, draining the cup. "And of course it works, else it would not have lasted for the last thousand years or so."
"What did you say to me, preppy?"
"You're in college, you moron, try not to be such a simpleton." I gave him a withering look out of the corner of my eye while a familiar tension built up in my stomach. I was asking for it, I knew and I didn't care. "Start using a Q-tip once and awhile and you might learn something."
"Why you little-"
Perhaps I should have at least tried to duck, or back into the crowd behind me, but I just couldn't seem to do it. Instead, I threw my empty Styrofoam cup at his head as he pulled his fist back to hit me; watched it bounce off his face. His vacant expression didn't last long. I was soon flying through the door into the room full of students, my mouth throbbing, and a 6'3" football player coming to stand over me to finish what my big mouth had started. As he came at me, I threw out a leg to catch him and let his momentum propel him up and over me, landing in the middle of the students.
I really didn't have long to be proud of myself. I had just dragged myself back to my feet when his buddy, Dog Face, decided to ram his head into my stomach. Okay, first lesson? Pills and caffeine don't make a great breakfast. Second lesson? If someone rams their head into your stomach just after having had both but nothing else, you will be tempted to puke everything you've ever eaten. Don't give into this temptation, it won't taste good. If you do give in, just swallow it down so you don't ruin the floor. Third lesson? Never start a fight that will end up landing in the middle of a Karate class. The students will kick your ass, not to mention the teacher.
Before anyone was able to land a second blow, the students were fighting back the crowd that had followed us in, several were holding us back from each other, and the teacher stood between us, arms out, a look of pure rage on his face. "You will cease this immediately! Do not disrespect this Dojo further with your insolence!"
Someone had me in a bear hug from behind, pulling me back. Who would have guessed I would have been just as eager as the jocks to jump right back into the fight that I was so badly losing?
"You three," The teacher yelled, pointing at the three of us. "In my office now! Bryan, Will, follow just to help keep these three in line for a minute. The rest of you clear out! Class dismissed."
"Yes, Sensei!" The students yelled as one.
"Yeah, as if they could take us on!" Moron retorted, still trying to shrug off two students that were holding onto his arms. "All those fancy moves got nothing on me!"
"Yeah, you tell 'em," Dog Face said, nodding in agreement, trying his hardest to make his pimply face look threatening. If anything, it reminded me to pick up more Oxy Clear at the near by Wal-Mart.
The teacher got a really nasty gleam in his eye as he walked right up to Moron. Now, Moron was a good five inches taller than the teacher, but Moron still backed up with an apprehensive look on his face. The teacher came within inches of him. "Do you want to test that theory with me?"
Moron rapidly began shaking his head back and forth, nothing but obedience now. "No, sir."
"That's what I thought. Now in my office." He led the way to the back of the room where a tiny little office with two glass walls opened into the dojo. With six of us all piling in, it was a good thing I wasn't claustrophobic. The person that had held me in the bear hug was still behind me with a hand on my shoulder as I was standing next to Dog Face. I'm just glad I didn't have to stand next to Moron. I didn't want to take the chance that his incompetence would rub off.
The scary teacher stood behind his desk, looking at the three of us as though we were there just to ruin his day. "Tell me why you three found it necessary to disrupt my class today in such a fashion."
Dog Face and Moron jumped right in to a large explanation, both coming up with facts as they hit their small brains. Apparently, as they were innocently watching the class from beyond the door, I came up and started making very rude comments that they were greatly offended at. After insulting both boys, I told them they were girls and couldn't hit a fly. I then assaulted Moron by throwing my hot coffee at him, luckily not scarring his beautiful face, and threw the first punch. The fight took off from there.
My tongue darted out at the blood still seeping from my lip as I started to laugh softly. However quiet I think I may have been, apparently the teacher heard it over the two loudmouths to my right. His blue eyes bore into mine with a clarity that was startling.
"Is this what really happened?"
I shrugged. "Well, seeing as how half of the crowd were friends of these two oafs here, I'm fairly certain their story will be confirmed if you'd like to ask anyone else. So, sure, why not say I'm a big bully and picked on these two helpless idiots." I flashed a grin. "I'm such a brute."
Whoever it was behind me laughed, stifling it quickly at a dark look from the teacher.
The teacher looked back at me, but spoke to the two jocks. "You two will leave this dojo and not return. I catch you here again, Mr. Richards and Mr. Sampson, and I will see to it your scholarship sponsors hear about your actions. Is that understood?"
"Yeah, fine. Whatever man."
Dog Face seconded the motion.
As they left, Moron brushed up against my arm and whispered fiercely in a stage whisper at me. "We're not done, Preppy. Not by a long shot."
"Just make sure you have a breath mint next time. You're killing me here."
Moron let out a growl.
The teacher's eyes narrowed dangerously. "For your information, boys, I will be contacting your coach. I'm sure he'll have something to say about your actions and will wish to deal with it personally. Should I, however, find out you've gone after this boy or any other student, for that matter, I can guarantee you will regret it."
Both boys glared alternately back and forth from me to the teacher and back again, then left the room, wisely holding their tongues. When the door slammed shut behind them, everyone turned and watched the two leave the dojo, Moron spitting on the floor before he left.
When they were gone, I turned back to the teacher. I couldn't believe he'd just let them off with a warning and open threat. How fair was that? "So . . . Can I go now?"
"After you tell me why you started the fight, perhaps."
"Yes you did and we both know it. If you had not started the fight, you would not have tried to start another one a minute ago. Do not lie to me." It was those eyes again looking at me, as though they could see through me. Creepy was saying the least!
"Fine, I won't." This started the staring contest, a game I was very good at. Not many could beat me at this, not even this teacher.
When it became obvious I wasn't going to answer his question, he sighed and shook his head in disappointment. Like I cared. "What is your name?"
"Are you ditching class, Mr. O'Malley?"
"Nope. I got thrown out for a week. You can call Professor Hannigin if you'd like to confirm it."
"That's not necessary. I am well aware of how Hannigin likes to throw out the occasional student in a fit of temperament." He shook his head, a smile haunting his lips. "However, I will be contacting your Professor to inform him that while you are not in his class, you will be in my dojo learning some discipline."
Surely I hadn't heard right. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me well enough."
"That's not fair! You know damn well it was those two steroid junkies that made the mess and yet I'm being punished for it? What the Hell?"
"Life often seems to be unfair at first. I will confer with your Professor. Be here tomorrow morning at the same time as your other class would have begun." He looked beyond my shoulder to the person standing behind me. "Bryan, please walk him out."
"I'm sure I can find my own way," I sneered, pointing through the glass to the door at the front of the room.
"Come on, Tiger, let's go." For the first time, I looked behind me at the one who'd pulled me from the fight. His dark brown hair had golden hues to it, framing his face in a way that should have made him look feminine but did quite the opposite. His caramel colored eyes held amusement in them that was sure to be directed at me. The gi he wore opened invitingly down past his collar bone, showing a bit more skin that he really should have been.
I disliked him instantly. Him and his stupid, unfair teacher. "It's Sean."
His smile widened in a charming manner. "Okay, Sean, after you."
I glared over my shoulder at the teacher, then headed through the door Bryan was holding open, leaving Will behind to talk to his Sensei. In a rare sense of decorum, I removed my shoes before crossing the dojo floor, even though I had worn them in.
Near the entrance, I sat down on a chair to pull my shoes back on. Bryan remained standing, leaning on his leg on the chair beside me. "That was a pretty nice move you did earlier."
"You know, the kick throw you did, making the big guy fly right over you."
"Oh, that. My brothers and I do that to each other all the time. No big deal."
"Huh." Bryan leaned in, close enough that I could feel his breath brush my hair. An odd tingle went down my spin. "Ever thought of joining the class?"
"What? This class?"
I laughed and stood up. "Why would I want to do that?"
"Because it's fun." Bryan shrugged. "And because if you are going to start fights, you should at least know how to finish them."
"I can finish any fight I want."
Bryan's eyes began to twinkle as he leaned in close to me. "I may have to take you up on that challenge sometime." He breathed in deep, giving me the oddest feeling he was smelling me. "Until tomorrow, Tiger."
I watched as he walked back through the dojo to a little room in the back that I assumed was the class' locker room. There was something weird about that guy. He made me uneasy, but in a good way, oddly enough.
The next morning was dismal with rain pouring down like there was no tomorrow. I vaguely wondered if there was a row boat somewhere near by I could catch a ride with to head over to the dojo as my shoes sloshed through the puddles. I as soaked by the time I got there ten minutes early, a first for me. Even my Starbucks mocha didn't cheer me up. I still didn't understand why I had to go to this stupid Karate class. I wasn't enrolled in it. What gave that stupid teacher the power to enforce this? Crap, sometimes I hated my life. Okay, so I generally hated my life as a rule to live by, but this was pushing things!
Students were ambling in, taking off their shoes and headed for the locker room at the back, laughing and talking with each other. Several threw me odd looks as they headed back, no doubt wondering what the hell I was doing in their class. I was tempted to shout that I didn't have the foggiest idea, but thought that might be a little dramatic this early in the morning.