The next arvie, I went down to the beach with Kyle, and we had a total rave surf. He told me later that he hardly saw me on my stick 'cause I kept disappearing. The waves were way over my head. He said he saw me go ass over tit quite a few times when I got nailed, then he laughed about the fact that I just kept paddling out again, looking for more punishment.
Steve was also out surfing with some friends, so I paddled over to him between sets to say hi. I felt like some kinda nautical messenger as I paddled back to where Kyle was.
"Steve says to say hi."
"You gonna go over and say hi?"
"Nope, I'll wait for him to come over."
"I feel like a real little prick 'cause you guys aren't talking, and if I go and speak to him, I dunno whether it's OK with you or not, or the other way around."
"Hey, it's cool. Steve and me have a prob at the moment that doesn't involve you. So it's cool for you to speak to him."
"So what's the prob? Maybe I can help."
Just then, a huge set came through, and we had to paddle like crazy to get moving. I took off on a huge damn wave, and 'cause I was there first, Kyle had to move outa my way. He couldn't make it over the lip, though, and got seriously nailed. After that, it was paddle, paddle, paddle, surf, surf, surf until almost dark.
Both of us were pretty trashed and shivering on the way home. Kyle said that the only reason my boardies were staying up was 'cause they were wet and clinging to me. "Your dick has almost disappeared," he laughed. "Talk about fucking yourself!"
The next day at school was a total bummer. A bunch of the guys and I were about to play cricket when a fight broke out between me and the guy with the bat. We were rolling around in the dirt, fisting each other, when suddenly my body left the ground. I looked up to see Mark holding both Robbie and me in mid air.
"What's going on?" he demanded as he lowered us to our feet.
"He wouldn't let us play with his cricket bat!"
"He always wants to bat before me. It's my bat!"
"That's 'cause I'm better than you, shithead."
"Whoa!" Mark interrupted. "Watch the language."
"Says who?" the Robbie continued, ignoring Mark.
"Says me! And you're acting like a spoilt brat."
"Piss off! You always bat first. You always take over."
"I always open. We agreed."
"Is that why you guys were fighting?" Mark asked. "Over who's going to bat first?"
"When I tried to take the bat, he hit me with it," I argued. "So I flattened him."
"Fuck off! Who flattened who?"
Mark pulled out his little black book. "OK, you're both going on detention."
"C'mon, Mark, it's no biggie," I pleaded. "Not detention!"
"You're written up, boyo. Detention Friday."
"I think there's gonna be surf."
"Any more crap and I'll put you on detention for the whole week. Now go and clean yourselves up."
"See what the fuck you did?" I said to Robbie as we walked through the crowd that had gathered.
"Me? You started first."
"I should flatten you again."
"Piss off! You couldn't flatten horseshit."
We were still shoving each other when we entered the change room. That's when I saw the damage. My nose was bleeding, my face was full of dirt and blood, and my shirt was torn at the buttons. At least Robbie hadn't gotten off too lightly… he had a fat lip and a torn shirt sleeve.
I cleaned my face, grabbed my blazer from the locker to cover my torn shirt, then hightailed it across the field to where Mark and Kyle were still standing.
"Please, please, please take me off detention."
"Can't do that. You were fighting and everyone saw you."
"What's the big deal? Two hours of yard duty at school, then it's over."
"TWO HOURS? Fuck!"
"I could make it three."
"Hey, I've got nothing to do with it, buddy."
I returned my attention to Conan, after being snubbed by Kyle. "Mark? Please?"
"Nope. Fight with the best, and you die like the rest, boyo."
"The best? Robbie's a prick."
"It's a figure of speech. Anyway, he's your friend."
The rest of the day was totally uncool 'cause I had to wear my blazer in class. That wasn't the main prob, though. Somehow or other, I had to figure a way to talk Mark into taking me off detention. He was too big to fight, and Kyle was about as useful as a second navel, so the only way I was gonna get anywhere was to make Mark feel totally fucking guilty.
On the way home, I was walking behind Mark and Kyle, trying to look as angry as possible.
"Hey, Kyle, did you get detention when you were fighting the other day?"
"Oh? Like teacher's pet, huh? Or is that prefect's pet?"
"You've got a choice here," Mark said as he continued walking. "Let me beat the shit outa you, and I'll let you off. That's what I offered Kyle."
"Cool. Then am I allowed to hit back? 'Cause I feel like giving you a fat lip."
"You're getting fucking cocky. I could've put you on report for that fight, and you could've been suspended."
"Kiff… more surfing time."
"Drop it, Wingnut," Kyle intervened, "before we all end up fighting with each other."
"Oh, right. Don't wanna see you get beaten up again."
Quick as lightning, Mark spun around, grabbed me by the collar, and lifted me off the sidewalk with one hand. "Listen up. Detention is not a big fucking deal. I'd look like a right prick if I'd let you off, then book other guys. There's always a fight on the grounds. We'd end up having a free-for-all. So shut the fuck up before I shut you up."
"Whoa! Down boy!" I repented as I dangled in mid air. "I'm sorry. I was just pissing on your battery."
Well, that was it. Mark had reverted to his moody self. He walked through his gate, and waved goodbye without saying a word.
"Jeez, he can't take a joke."
"Now you've seen Mark when he gets pissed. I thought he was gonna clout you solid."
"It was just a damn joke."
"Read the fucking signs, and know when to quit next time. Being a prefect at school isn't all it's made out to be. He hates giving guys DT. But he's right. He'd look like a right jerk if he let you off. He's right pissed off now."
"You pissed off, too?"
"Not pissed off. It's just that I hate it when he gets moody like that… and you need to learn when to stop. One day, someone is really gonna lay into you."
"So long as he's my size, it's no prob. I would've beaten Robbie today if Mark hadn't stopped us."
"It didn't look like he was playing dead for you."
"That's 'cause I was just getting started."
The moment I went inside my house, the shit really hit the fan. I thought mom was gonna bust a gut when she saw my torn shirt, and the blood on it. A little later, after changing into my boardies, I hopped the fence to pick up the dog crap.
"Sounds like you're in crap at home, as well," Kyle commented, and I wasn't surprised that he'd heard my mom yelling at me. The whole damn hood could've.
"Mom's gonna tell my dad, 'cause the shirt's torn."
"Just as well that you cleaned your face before leaving school."
"It helps during swim training," I laughed.
"Anyway, your dad will be cool."
"All dads used to fight."
"I'd hate to have had to fight your dad."
"Well, don't underestimate your dad. I think he's pretty cool."
"Serious? He's not like your dad."
"You just see him differently 'cause he has to be your dad. My dad doesn't have to be your dad."
"You're frying my brain."
"That's 'cause you've stopped working. There's still some crap on the lawn. Wanna swim?"
We goofed off in the pool for about half an hour, then I had to jet 'cause I had homework to do. It was getting pretty close to dinner time when my dad came into my room. He sat on the bed, and asked me about the torn shirt, and what had happened. I also told him about Mark, and detention.
"When was the last time you saw me arrive home from work, all bloodied, and with my clothes ripped?"
"And why do you think that is?"
"'Cause you're an adult. But I'm a kid! I can't be an adult… at least, not yet."
"Becoming an adult isn't something that suddenly happens overnight, son. It's a learning process. Have you apologized to your mother?"
"I'm sorry, dad."
"What about Mark?"
"But Mark put me on detention! And he won't take me off!"
"Do you really expect him to?"
"I guess not," I shrugged. "Kyle said he doesn't like putting guys on DT, but he's got no choice."
"Do you think you should apologize to Mark?"
"Is that like being an adult?"
"It's about being more than an adult, son. It's about being a man."
"Can I use the phone, dad?"
Mark was pretty chuffed when I apologized, and I had to admit that I felt a lot better afterwards. I'd had time to reflect on what Kyle had told me, and I realized that putting me on DT was something Mark didn't wanna do, and probably felt guilty about 'cause we were friends, but that his hands were tied. And he was right about fights at school. If it weren't for the prefects patrolling the grounds, it would become a battle field in a second.
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