For Kyle's account of Steve's birthday party, with Mark and Wingnut, see Wingnut Part 79. MrB
I wasn't quite sure why, but Wingnut was going through some kinda change. He'd always been a precocious little shit, but, lately, every now and then, he'd push the boundaries just a little too far.
One afternoon, after school, I was walking home with the grommet and Kyle, when Wingnut pulled his shirt outa his pants.
"Tuck it back in."
"Why? School's finished."
"Hey, have some pride in your school, buddy."
"Stuff it. This is more comfortable."
"OK. So now I'm going to tell you as a prefect, and not as a friend. Tuck your shirt in. When you're outa uniform, you can dress the way you like. What's up with you, anyway? Is this like a new style with you or something?"
I watched Wingnut come to a halt, unzip his pants, then tuck in his shirt. He was pretty pissed off, but, hey, he had to learn to abide by the rules, same as everyone else.
As for Kyle, well, he was still enjoying the sparring sessions in the morning. And he was getting pretty damn fast on his feet, skipping, ducking, and weaving like a pro. By the same token, I'd been taking it pretty easy with him.
"Hey, Kyle," I said as we were putting on our head gear and gloves one morning, "you ready for some serious sparring?"
He took a moment to study my grin, while trying to figure out what I'd meant by 'serious'. Finally, he nodded, albeit with some reservation.
"Hey! You knocked me down three fucking times," he complained as we showered. "I swear you're gonna give me brain damage."
"Relax. Nobody will notice."
"So why do you do it? Spar with me, I mean."
"Truth? It's awesome to watch you moving around the ring, with your muscles popping and stretching. You should see yourself, bro. Wicked. We should shoot a video. Anyway, I like the feeling of the glove when it connects with your abs."
"Lots of times. You probably didn't feel it 'cause your abs are like fucking steel."
"Do anything last night?"
"Studied. And listened to some of my dad's music. Led Zeppelin. Had it blaring big time while I was hitting the books. He's got three of their albums. He thinks it's fucking hilarious how we teens listen to stuff that's maybe thirty or forty years old, and think it's totally cool."
Later, in class, we had some drama. A teacher had an argument with one of the colored dudes about his shirt not being tucked into his pants. Sound familiar? Anyway, some of the dude's friends tried to turn the altercation into a racist thing, and it soon became a shouting match, which the teacher couldn't handle. She stomped outa the classroom, leaving us students to sort out the mess.
"Hey, fuckhead," I said to the trouble-maker, "we've got mock exams coming up soon. Think you better go call her back?"
"Hey, whitey, who do you think you're speaking to?"
I rose from my seat, and walked over to the dude. But, within seconds, he was surrounded by his supporters. I wasn't fazed, though. I glared at the fucker. "Why don't you just tuck your fucking shirt in, shut up, and sit down, so we can all learn something here?"
"Klap hom, man," one of his friends said. [Hit him, man]
"Nei, hys n prefek. Hy sal by die baas gaan huil." [No, he's a prefect -- he'll go crying to the boss]
Then, to everyone's surprise, Alan suddenly appeared on the scene, and stood next to me. "Hey, you're right, dude," he said to the trouble-maker. "Mark's a prefect, and he told you to tidy-up, and sit down... unless you wanna come outside and sort this out."
Well, that did the trick. A few moments later, we were all seated again, and the whole situation had calmed down. Nevertheless, you could've cut the atmos with a knife.
"You worried about those guys approaching you after school?" Kyle whispered as he leaned from his desk toward mine.
"Nah. I don't think that'll happen 'cause too many people saw what went down."
"Hey, I was surprised at Alan."
"You're not the only one," I laughed. "Maybe he's seen the light."
"Nope... I think he saw the lights go out the other week... when you hit him."
"It was cool of him to back me up, though."
That afternoon after school, I picked up the phone, punched in Kyle's number, and invited him over to my place. I had to laugh. It was like asking him if he could use a million bucks. Within minutes, he was standing at my front door, wearing his typical Cheshire cat grin, and giving me a backhander to the gut. In return, he got a punch on the shoulder.
"Hey, what's up?"
"Not with me," I replied as I led him to the kitchen. "With you. What's up?"
"See? You can't even see it yourself. You're like a million planets away, Kyle. And I can tell by that dumb look on your face that you don't have a fucking clue what I'm talking about."
"You've just smoked a reefer... right?"
"Wrong... but I'm gonna. Let's go sit out back. Want something?"
"Coffee? Is that all? OK."
After making two cups, I took the coffee out back, and sat on the bench opposite my bud in the courtyard.
"Hey, Mark," he giggled, "don't keep me in suspense. OK? You phoned. So what's the story? Your dad phone you or something? You gonna tell me that you're leaving for Johannesburg?"
"Hey, Kyle, we've been friends like for how long now? A million years? Well, that's what it feels like. I can't imagine my life without you being a part of it. Anyway, something fucking huge is weighing you down, and I wanna know about it."
"Well, I'm gonna tell you seriously, I don't have a fucking clue... not a fucking clue what you're on about."
"Hey, what's happened to that dumb, fucked-up grin you're always carrying? And the lip you're always giving everybody, including me. And what's with this sitting under the trees during recess thing?" It was obvious from the wide-eyed look of innocence on my bud's face that I wasn't getting through to him. "Hey, you don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"
"No. And what's more, you're driving me fucking crazy!"
"Hey, Kyle, I'm your bud, right? I've got eyes, right? You're feeling lower than shark shit, and you don't know why?"
"No... well... hmmm."
"Hmmm, hmmm... HMMM FUCKING WHAT?"
"Hang on... yeah, there is something. I've been worried about Wingnut. I've been OK about it, though."
"What's up with Wingnut?"
"You'll be the last to understand."
Suddenly, my mind was filled with visions of him and Wingnut... together... alone... "Oh, fuck! You haven't?"
"Drugs. Wingnut's getting into some serious shit."
What a relief! I leaned back, and almost fell off the bench. "Whew! Thank fuck for that!"
"Thank fuck for him taking shit?" Kyle's eyes were studying mine big time, unable to comprehend my comment.
"That's not what I meant."
"Anyway," he shrugged, "that's the only thing I can think of that's been worrying me a bit lately."
"Yeah, well that's a typical Kyle-ism. You worry about him 'cause he's your friend. You worry about me 'cause I'm your friend. Fucking hell. You worry about the nerd at school who's got no friends! You just worry! Period! But it must be bad 'cause you're carrying a lotta fucking baggage."
Well, I must've hit the nail right on the head, 'cause Kyle's eyes began to well with tears. He tried to hide them, but it was no use. One trickled down his cheek as he spoke. "It's been happening ever since he started hanging with his buddy, Sean. They're getting into coke and fuck knows what else."
"Hey, Kyle, settle. OK? Are you sure you're feeling down 'cause of the drug thing? And not 'cause Wingnut's got this new friend Sean? Are you jealous?"
"Nope. I think it's cool that he's got a friend his own age like Sean, who surfs with him, but..."
"Want some more coffee? Or something stronger?"
"His whole attitude is different," he continued, while ignoring my offer, "like he doesn't give a fuck."
Kyle was a mess. Without thinking, I stood, went around behind him, and began to massage his shoulders. He was alternating between sobbing and laughing. Mixed emotions. If ever the dude needed a confidant, and to be reassured by somebody who cared, it was right there and then.
"That's a new one," he giggled, "you massaging me."
"Wingnut's a lightie, Kyle. He'll learn. Paul told me some stories about you, and the shit you were into when he first got to know you."
"So that's where it came from."
"Wingnut told me that he'd heard I was a coke head."
"They weren't Paul's words."
"Maybe not. But that's how Wingnut interpreted it."
"'Cause it suits him right now to say that kinda thing."
"Anyway, Mark, I've gotta beetle before my folks get home. I'm supposed to be studying."
"I'll walk with you. I wanna stop off at Carol's"
"No," I cracked. "Fuck, you've got a one-track mind, Kyle. She's got one of my CDs."
It was cool to have that mop of spiky, black hair bouncing along beside me as we walked down the street. He didn't look like the kinda dude who was destined to change the world. But he sure as hell had changed mine.
"Hey, listen up, Kyle. If you can get through to me, you can get through to Wingnut. OK?"
"You underestimate yourself, bro. You're the most persistent fucker I've ever met... or will ever meet. You don't give up on friends. Well, maybe you get pissed off at times, but you always come back."
"But I feel so fucking helpless at times."
"Like I said, you underestimate yourself."
"I wish I could see myself through your eyes."
"Hey, I wish I could see myself through yours."
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