All that DramabyFantasyboy69©
"Hey sissy boy, you dropped your purse!" my friend Steven called out. The person in question looked back with such loathing that I almost 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. I thought being in college would get rid of all the stupid childish political bullshit. I thought we would be more mature. I thought wrong. My college was made up of mostly the kids I went to high school with the previous four 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 ten. 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.
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. "You and y-y-your friend 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." 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.
My guidance counselor told me the bad news after Poli Sci. "Since you did not take any fine arts credits in high school, Justice, you need to take them here if you hope to transfer to a four year college."
"Didn't the creative writing courses over the summer count?"
"Not for transferable credits. There is choir, band, drama, sculpting, painting..." she droned on and on. I could not sing, hated the fact that I could play the trumpet because my father made me learn, could not draw a straight line even with a ruler, could not sculpt or make pottery. There was dance but I did not like the idea of wearing tights and tutus.
"Fine, put me in drama," I said with a sigh. She nodded and from 10 to 11 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would be an actor. Now...the only thing I had to do was learn how to act.
When I walked in to the Fine Arts wing I felt very out of place. I was a football player, a member of the socially elite (when I was honest), and I was standing in the PA building feeling very out of place. I looked around for the teacher and saw her on the stage with the rest of the students and my stomach dropped into my shoes. Of course Hector would be in this class. I gathered up my facade of cool and sauntered up to the stage. The entire class watched me stow my bag in the seats and hand the teacher my slip. "Welcome, Mister Anderson. Just mill around while I finish attendance." I nodded and went to go sit in the wings.
"Justice, what the hell are you doing here?"
"Time, Hector. Need fine arts credits to matriculate." I looked over at him. A stray memory flitted across my brain. There was a girl in our class who had a crush on Hector in our junior year. I over heard that he was thought to be one of the most beautiful guys in our school and I had told every body in the clique about it. This was before the beating. Looking at him now, knowing exactly where every scar and steel pin was, I could not deny that he was attractive. There was a certain quality that made him look more feminine that most guys that nothing to do with his long hair. He was slight of build, as tall as me. High cheek bones, small nose, naturally rosy lips that should be on a woman. Like Angelina Jolie. Kinda large in the hips but I could not really tell why.
"Ah." He turned to go back to his friends. I realized here I was not the "in" Crowd. I was the outcast and it felt very uncomfortable.
"Okay guys. For Justice I will remind you that in each class you must pick an accent and everything you say must be said in this accent." My eyes went wide and I could see the other students were finding a perverse pleasure in my discomfort. "Is this your first time in drama, Justice?" I nodded mutely. "Then try your best."
I somehow made it through the class without killing myself for every slip. I had chosen a British accent and did well enough, but every time I slipped out of it or garbled my words, those closest to me would chuckle or laugh. Hector would just shake his head with a smile on his face. I thought I saw a flicker of compassion in his eyes once, but it must have been my imagination. Steven caught up with me after football practice. It was no longer the season, but few of us kept at it all year just to stay fit. I was one of them, and so was Steven. I played QB and he was a running back. "Where were you today?" We always hung out during the hour that was now my drama class.
"I have to take fine arts credits."
He laughed a me and I knew everyone in the Crowd would know before tomorrow. "So, band geek, huh?"
That sobered him up. "You know, that queer..."
"Yes, Steven, I know I'll be in his class." I left him there with a poleaxed look on his face. I was tired of the whole song and dance with Steven and I was in no mood to deal with being on the end of his barbed jibes.
The next week I found out what one quarter of our final grade was to be. "Okay. Other than the production we will put on in late May there is another assignment that everyone must participate in. Each of you must write a script for a cast of at least two people. No monologues. The entire piece must be at least five minutes but no more than ten minutes." This was something I could do and do well. "The writer will direct and cast their piece but not star in it." Like I wanted to star in any piece. "Each person must be included in at least one act." So I had to be in someone's work. I would probably be the part of the silent butler. I could not mess that up. Maybe the pool boy who gets seduced by the old married lady. "Your works must be submitted by Spring Break." We all nodded.
By the end of class I knew what I wanted to do and was already writing out when I was supposed to be studying my lines for the final. I felt a disturbance in the force and looked up to see Hector standing over me. "Yes?"
"I like it. You have a good talent for writing. Horrible actor though." I wanted to give him a few choice words but he was being honest. Tactlessly so, but then that was Hector. "You should work on your lines, though."
"I know, but I need to get this idea out of my head or it won't stay." He nodded and shrugged.
"Don't come crying to me for help on your lines when you can't remember them," He left. I shook my head. He was an enigma that I would never understand. I had seen how he treated enemies and how he treated friends...I was somewhere in between. He seemed to respect me enough to be honest but not enough to be tactful. He offered the truth how he saw it. He said I was a good writer but a bad actor. I could not make heads or tails of the man.
That thought caught me off guard. When had I started thinking him a man? I had always thought he was too girlie to be a man, but somewhere between the beating and now he was "elevated" to manhood. I pushed away the strange thoughts and wrote.
I was in serious trouble. I had done exactly what Hector predicted and put off learning my lines and it was a week before Spring Break. I was royally fucked. I was up late into the night and up early in the morning to learn these stupid lines. It was not a leading role, but I had more than my share of lines that seemed to be impossible for me to get right. How would I ever get them with only six weeks left? I was holed up in the PA wing since I had already done the midterms for the other classes and was not required to attend them. My head was swimming. "You look like hell."
"I feel it Hector." We had settled into a sort of truce. "You were right." I was reading the lines over and over again.
"I was?" He sounded so shocked. "Are you some sort of alien in the form of Justice Anderson? The man I remember is a cocky son of a bitch with his nose so far up in the air that he is constantly looking over his shoulder." His words made me stop.
"I do not need that now, Hector. I can't get my lines. And I am not that guy any more." I was too frustrated to be angry.
"You're right. You've been...different since we got to college. Like you left high school behind you." He sat down opposite me.
"I did. I hate politics and school politics are just stupid. I've always known it, but you know the final straw...it broke both of our backs." He jerked in shock.
"You mean...because of me?"
"Yes and no. I hated what I was becoming if I helped those assholes do something to a person who did not deserve it. I could not stand there and let it continue."
"And yet you still hang out with them."
"They are my friends, all things considered. I have to see them every day in classes and the team. They are still petty assholes and would let the opposing team sack me if I did not at least talk to them." He nodded. He knew all about survival. "So, if you'll excuse me, I have these mess to memorize."
"Let me help you." I looked back up. "I know it seems like hypocrisy, but you did not come to me." I stalled for a few reasons. "Look, I know you don't like me because I'm gay, but this performance must be at least adequate for us to pass. All of our grades are on the line and if you tank so badly that the entire piece falls apart then everyone fails. So let me help you."
"You know... why did I not see this side of you years ago?" He pulled out his script from his bag.
"All you saw then was popularity, which I was not."
"Touche'." He smiled for the first time I could remember. Yes, he would be a chick magnet. For the next four hours until I had to go home. We grabbed our things and parted. "Thanks, Hector."
"No problem, Justice. Same time tomorrow?" I wanted to say no, that I had the lines, but I knew that was just the old ghosts haunting me. In for a dollar...
"Sure. If you can get some of the others too, that would be great. You know, bounce the lines off each other."
There was a momentary flicker of regret, but he nodded. "Sure. Sarah would love to help you. She likes you, you know."
"Sarah? The...uh...large girl with the rosy smile?" She was not my type at all, but she was nice and a great actress. Guess being close to three hundred pounds either made for a thick skin or a great defense mechanism. Hers was an infectious grin and to be the best actress she could be.
"That was almost nice. You really have changed. In high school she would have been beneath your notice or called the fat girl."
"She was...on both accounts," I admitted. He looked at me oddly. "Look, I've been trying my hardest to get rid of that side and part of it is to try and be nicer to the people I teased. It won't erase the years, but I hope to at least make amends." Hector just nodded and left.
By the last day before Spring break the entire cast had taken time to help me with my lines and I finally found that I was accepted for being me and not for what I looked like. There was a moment when Sarah came over to me and gave me a hug. "You are forgiven." That was all she said and I had to leave the stage. Those three words had me crying tears of relief. One person, one I know had heard every jeer and taunt, had forgiven me. Maybe my own changes were making a difference. I knew who was responsible for this too, and I felt that Hector was on his way to forgiving me too.
I stayed up all night to finished the revision to my script and handed it in to the teacher. She looked it over and nodded. "Very nice, Justice, and a very controversial issue. I see a bit of type casting, but they are the best for the roles. So, by the small look at it I would say you are going to pass my class. You have worked very hard in this class and your improvement is astounding. I hope that next year you will come back."
"Probably. I've actually had fun in a class I knew nothing about. So you think it's good?"
After Spring Break, which I spent more time at home studying my script than hanging with the fellas, whom I did not feel so close to anymore, I was in drama when the teacher came in with the midterm grades. They were based solely off the quality of the skit. Staging, dialog, meter if it was supposed to have any, pacing...anything could drop your grade. Everyone turned to me with applause. "What?" I asked dumbly.
"You've only earned the first 100% she has ever given." My jaw dropped and I had to see for myself. There was my score on the top of the list. 100%. My grin took in my ears. Hector clapped me on the shoulder. "I have to see this skit."
"You will, you're in it." I grinned at his look of shock. "I hope that it makes up for some of what I put you through."
"There were no male parts in it." He had read my original piece.
"I scrapped that one. Stayed up all night and wrote this one and handed it in the last day before break." He looked mildly curious now. The teacher came in with the stacks of scripts written by the student and handed a copy to those who were in the skit. I was given one written by one of the other guys. Jerry was a better actor than me but as I looked over his script I saw why he had earned only an 82%. The dialog was okay, the general story was pretty good. It was a love story from what I could tell...with no part for a lady. I flipped through the pages to look at the stage notes and my jaw dropped. There in parenthesis was the most frightening thing I would ever do.
I had to kiss a guy. At first I wanted to go pin Jerry down and ask him why he cast me in the lead role opposite another dude, but this was part of my grade. I had learned techniques that made it look like I was really kissing someone but our lips never touched. I could do this. I could...god I felt queasy. "You okay Justice?" Hector asked. I showed him the script. He read it and had to cover a giggle. "You'll be fine."
"Are you trying not to laugh at me? Cause this is going to be really hard for me."
"I think you can do it. Jerry would not have put you there if he did not think you could." He was acting, I could tell because his face was neutral. He was laughing at me! Then he got his script and looked at the author. His face turned very white. This was his second script, he already had mine. His hands shook.
"What?" I asked.
"Well, I think we need to really talk, Justice, if we're going to be kissing on stage." I shook my head in denial. It was not even possible...karma could not be this cruel. He showed me the script. "We could ask him to cast someone else..." He was giving me an out, something he knew I would appreciate. I could see he was scared to be staring opposite me.
I took a very deep breath and dredged up a reserve of fortitude I never knew was there. "No...we can do this. I will just have to get over my squeamishness. We're both mature adults." He was really good at looking at me like I was either crazy or I was about the nicest person he knew. "Look, Hector. I never hated you because you were gay. My father had me put in JROTC for six years and they were very anti-gay. I was programmed to think badly about it, but if you were so evil you would never have been so nice to everyone else. So nice to me."
"Are you sure? I don't want to shatter what bridge we've built this semester." He was being honest and I knew then I did not want to lose his friendship either.
"Yes, I'm sure. We'll just use those techniques and not worry about it." That was apparently the right thing to say because he grinned. It would be very hard on me to do this. Hector knew it. "You're in two skits, so we'll work on mine when we have a majority of the cast here and make time with Jerry to do the other."
That proved to be very easy because my cast, mostly guys, also included Jerry. Sarah had a pretty big part too and she helped organize our rehearsals. When I went over the script with my cast I was nervous. "Okay. Bear with me. I've never directed at all. This is a sort of slap in the face of prejudice. The main character, Francis played by Hector, is a gay man in an ROTC program." Hector looked at me in a mix of fear and confusion. "He pretty much says they can go fuck themselves because he is not changing who he is. The leading lady, Constance played by Sarah, is his best friend and the girlfriend of Steven, played by Patrick, who is a raging homophobe."
"I am not!" the man quipped. Hector hid his laugh behind his hand. I had to grin at him.