South Africa
Part 81
Based on emails from October, 2002.

After thanking the coach and climbing out of the ring, Winger and I walked silently back along the passageway that led to the visitor's dressing room. And then, "Do you wanna take a shower?"

"It's cool, Wingnut. I just wanna get outta here."

"That was a pretty hectic fight. You got him good! Did you check out his face?"

"Guess you must've missed his last punch. Weren't you paying any attention while he was whipping my ass?"

"Crap. He never whipped your ass. If only you'd just managed to stay on your feet you would've outpointed him. I still think it was cool the way you stood up to him. You were pretty awesome until you did that blonde thing."

"That's what blondes do," I smiled as we entered the dressing room. "We're all thick. Anyway, I didn't think I'd win... not after that first round. But at least he didn't send me to the doctor."

"Gimme your gloves," the grommet ordered before opening the lace flap, then undoing the laces of my gloves. "I thought you totally won. You kicked his ass all over the place."

"You disappointed? I mean like you won't be getting your chance to beat the crap outta Jason now."

"Disappointed?" Fuck no! I'm stoked! And don't hassle about Jason and me cos we barney all the time anyway."

"Is there a back way outta here? I really don't wanna face Craig's fuckwits outside."

Wingnut said he would check out the terrain for me. He was gone for a minute or so, then returned to the dressing room to report that there was a bunch of guys standing outside talking to Jonathan. "Maybe you should hang around here for a little while longer. Take a shower."

So I took a quick shower, and noticed that my ribs had been slaughtered again. Then I toweled myself, and dressed. After a short while, Winger and I decided that we'd waited long enough, and that it was time to leave. Yeah, right. Bad, bad timing.

As soon as we'd emerged from the building we saw all the guys still waiting outside. There were about 11 or 12 of them, including Craig, dressed in his school tracksuit. His eye was puffy and he was still holding something to his nose, probably to prevent any further bleeding. But I tried to avoid eye contact with any of the guys as Winger and I made our way towards the school gate. We were almost there when I recognized Craig's voice behind me.

"Hey, Acid Head."

I just thought to myself, "No fucking more!" I was hoping that our confrontation would have been over by now. But I stopped and turned to face him. I was fucked up angry. Right there before me was the whole group, all staring at me. Then, surprise of all surprises. Craig walked over to Winger and me and offered me his hand.

"That was a good fight," he said. "Put it there, bro. And tell Steph I'm sorry."

I shook Craig's hand, and detected the faintest of smiles. At least, I thought I had.

Meantime, the only words exchanged between me and Winger as we walked out of the gate were, "Fucking ace!"

Hahahahaha! Jeez, what was I fucking laughing at? My ribs were painful all over again. But I knew that there was nothing cracked or broken. And the pain was ohhh soooo fucking worth it! Craig actually shaking my hand and apologizing to Steph? Woohoo!

That night I phoned Mark and told him what had happened.

"I told you he was a cool dude, didn't I?"

"Yeah, right. You told me to beat the crap outta him."

"Nope. But you did anyway. Well done, bud. That's a cool birthday gift."

"How do you mean?"

"Now that you've learned to stand up for something you believe in."

Wingnut phoned a little later.

"You what?"

"I told Mr T that you won the fight."

"I was knocked out!"

"That was after you'd already won the fight hehehehe."

My dad was also pretty stoked that I hadn't been damaged. I figured that was all he'd been worried about. But I also thought that he might have been stoked about what I'd actually done and accomplished. He'd given me the impression that he'd always thought of me as a kind of wuss when it came to fights and shit like that.

Later, I got hold of Steph on the phone to pass on Craig's apology. We spoke for ages.

I wasn't sure how Cody used to handle those fight situations. This whole episode had strung me out totally, and I didn't know if I could handle that kinda thing on a regular basis. Fucking hell. I thought of the way Mark had been looking lately - big, strong, and fit - and tried to imagine the sight of Cody sending him to the deck in front of the whole school back in the bad old days when they'd first met. I really couldn't imagine Cody having done that, but he did. What's more, he got away with it.

I felt good. Totally fucking good. Especially now that this thing had been sorted with Craig and me. But I would've felt better if I'd known what was going on with Gary. Was it right that I must get worried or upset about him not writing or not updating his site? Yeah, definitely the latter cos that would mean that there was something worse than Gary just being pissed off. It could've meant that he was in hospital or something, or helluva sick or fuck knows what. I didn't even wanna think of some of the other options.

I even contemplated that maybe Luke and his fuckwits could have done something stupid. On the other hand, they were chickenshitters and wouldn't have had the fucking guts.

So this was it. On Monday I would write the first of my final papers for the year and for my entire high school term. English literature. I guessed I must get my mind set and focused for the next six weeks of writing exams and studying. I could have done without the stress of Craig right about now. But, hey, it went with the territory.

So a lot of guys from FunTB and MrB had written and told me that they wished me luck with the fight. I didn't think I disappointed anybody. The very fact that I had the guts to climb into the ring with Craig was already enough. Round about that time I should have put on my running shoes and gotten outta there!

So what was it that made people do what they did? Adrenalin, I guessed. It was like when you took off on a huge peak in surf that was threatening to take you over the falls, but you hung in there and took the drop. Why? The feeling of speed, and the power of the wave as it forced you to travel even faster. That was the kinda thrill that could only ever be understood by guys who surfed.

That week it was School Valedictory. My last "official" day at high school. AGAIN! I was trying to remember the Valedictory last year but it was quite a blur. Those guys were my buds with whom I'd spent my whole high school life. But they walked out the gate in 2001 while I walked back in to repeat my final year.

New friends? They saw me as a fucked up druggie riding in my dad's wallet. A few of the new guys became friends, or more like acquaintances, but then they kinda fell into the same group of snorting and lining. Friends or customers? I wasn't sure. A bit of both, I guessed.

Bruce never expected me to attend school on the morning of the Valedictory.

"I didn't think Craig would let you walk outta there even if you fucked him up. Fuck, Steve! You know what I mean. Him and his fucking squad."

Hahahahaha! So, yeah, I had a bit of a bruise on my cheek but it was cool. It was like a medal of honor almost... the fact that I actually got in that ring with him.

Fuck! Gary had had a heart attack. I'd just gotten the fucking email from Dio. So what was this? A fucking re-run of 2001? Was this me being tested to see if I could handle it the second time around?

WELL FUCK YOU ALL COS I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!

I shouldn't have checked my fucking mail. That was it. Cream the fucking system. Gary was fucking right. It's fucking over.

All I wanted to do right then was lie down on my bed. So that's what I did, and then this nightmare would be over, and it would all turn out to be a fucking bad dream.

I'd stressed Gary over fuckall, and now this.

But on Wednesday night, I checked my mail again and everyone was telling me to check the MrB site cos a new news item had been posted, plus a fucking picture of Gary wearing his apprentice angel gear, and sitting in bed like there was fucking nothing wrong.

I read the news and it seemed like he was back home already. Whew! I was able to finish my latest email to him and send it. But there was still no mail from him, so I wasn't quite sure what was cruising under that mop of gray.

That changed the next day, though, when I received a 'novel' from Gary in response to my previous mail... the one I thought had fucked him over. It hadn't. But he did complain about the "mop of gray."

"WHITE, Steve! Mop of WHITE!"

So, anyway, I could quit the marathon journal I'd been writing, send it to the dude, and crap him out for putting us all through the fucking wringer.

Welcome back Gary
Peace, Love, Respect
Your friend and the Codeman's
Steve

G'day Steve,

Yeah, hehehe. And after what I've been through, I ain't scared of nuthin no more. First off I gotta say how proud of you I am. I think you did extremely well in the fight with Craig. I also think the outcome was perfect. You proved that you could stand up to the ego-infested bully and take his shit while giving him a thing or two to think about. And he knocked you out [cos you lost your concentration!] which saved his pride. If you'd flattened him, he might not have been so willing to shake your hand, and aplogize to Steph.

So it all ended pretty well, and Wingnut was happy. :) I also thought the coach's attitude was pretty cool. A no-nonsense kinda guy who had little time for a couple of lightie dickheads hehehe.

Yes, you did trip over your ego, but that's OK. Most teens have an ego. It comes with the territory. As you get older, you'll mellow [hopefully]. Meantime, don't worry about being who and/or what you are. For starters, your life is MUCH more entertaining than mine, and I'm sure MrB readers would rather read about you than me!

So everyone was in a tizz about me? Silly bois. It's gonna take a lot more than some dumb heart attack to push this old fart off his perch. Nevertheless, I am touched by your concern, as well as everyone else's. I've got a stack of email that I hope to answer over the weekend. But I'm not very good at handling people making a fuss over me. Hey, I just got a call from the jeweller. Cody's necklace has been repaired, and is ready for collection. :)

Why didn't I drive TT down to the river to see Steve Starling? Cos it's only a few blocks away, and an easy ride on the bicycle. I bought the bicycle about a year ago cos bikes are fun to ride. I phoned the Aquatic Club yesterday. That's where I had the attack. They're looking after the bike for me until I collect it. I can't ride it for about a month - doc's orders. And, no, I'm not blonde... but redheads are the next closest color to blonde. :)

Don't worry about missing the after-Valedictory party. I just don't understand those kids messing with their heads like that, using snow and ice. I messed with my heart by smoking, but you don't think with your heart. The popular use of "recreational" drugs amongst young people really disturbs me. What will they be like as they grow into adulthood? In 30 years we may have a US President who's off his face all the time. Seems to me that the world is not crazy enough for many young people; they want it to be even crazier. They may realize their wish, and live to regret it.

Yeah, I can identify with what you say about still craving drugs. I get the temptations too. A dude can't smoke for 40 years and just put it all behind him in a few weeks. So I have to focus on the positives; like no more coughing, feeling better, sleeping more soundly, feeling less stressed, SWEETER BREATH, improved senses of taste and smell, being able to travel on a train for five hours without getting my knickers in a knot about NO CIGGIES! Jeez, I remember the old days when an eight-car train used to have two cars dedicated to non-smoking wierdos hehehe.

Cody used to say SWAP DRUGS FOR SPORT. But I'm too old for sport, unless you're talking golf or lawn bowls. In the cardiac booklet they suggested no sex for two weeks after a heart attack, but they didn't say anything about wanking... so I had one this morning. :)

Daniel growing up? Nope. He never will. He will always be a teen just like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer... or SuperBoy or Robin. That's not to say that he won't mix with older dudes going to varsity or whatever, but he needs to be the eternal teen learning and experiencing life from a teen's perspective.

Thanks for all the thoughts that ran through your mind during my absence. You're more attached to this fossil than I realized hehe. But don't agonize over that little stunt that you and Steph pulled when Cody was alive. Yep, it was a very hurtful thing to do, not to mention totally idiotic. But it's over. It's in the past. Gone. Finito. Cody, thank God, lived long enough to forgive you and Steph. That's all that ultimately matters. He took both of you back to his bosom. He loved you both. Be thankful for that, and forget the mistakes.

Now listen up you dunderhead. Just cos you've got views that don't necessarily sit with mine doesn't mean I'm gonna spit the dummy and get all bent outa shape. I don't expect everyone to think like I do. Yep, I got a bit of uphill from a few readers but that didn't bother me. You're the only one I've given a long response to. The rest got a line or two. I'm not about to get myself involved in arguments with people whose minds are made up and inflexible. Actually, during the rest period after my heart attack, it was interesting for me to ponder how people would interprete my absence. Had Gary spat the dummy? Was Gary pissed off? Was Gary unable to handle criticism? I guess there were lots of similar questions asked... 99% of them off target. The last thing anyone would have guessed was a heart attack. And I'm soooooo glad I asked the nurses to take the pics. :)

"Why do you want me to take a picture of you like this?"

"Because I'm never gonna look like this again!"

It's so good to hear that Wingnut stuck with you all the way through the training and the actual fight with Craig. If he's not the personification of loyalty then I dunno what is. He doesn't quite have the same relationship with you that he had with Cody, but it's still very special. And for him to make it publicly known that he was siding with you in the fight with Craig says a lot about Winger having the courage of his convictions. He's certainly one special little guy - and bud.

Cruising under that mop of grey? WHITE, Steve, WHITE. Hey, thanks for the description of the fight and everything else. I'll end my reply here cos I wanna get stuck into putting Steve 079 on MrB. Everybody will be hanging to find out what happened. After that, I'll write about my little adventure, and try to answer some of the email I've received since [and before] the attack. There's a stack!

Crap me out for putting you guys through the wringer? You've got a short memory, Steve. It was ages after your first trip to Joburg that you got around to writing me. Meantime, everyone was wondering what the fuck had happened to you. So there. :-P

I'm gonna whizz up the road to get Cody's necklace now, and a few groceries. I'm not allowed to carry much, so Lindsay has already done all the heavy stuff. With a bit of luck, Steve 079 will be up later today. If not, tomorrow.

Congrats again. You're a hero. :) And thanks for worrying about me. A certain person from SF whose name begins with S said, "you got a good bud in Steve". :)

Your friend and the Codeman's,

Gary

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. mrbstories


 

 Steve Part 82