I couldn't believe the time when I looked at my clock radio. Actually, it took quite a while for my eyes to focus. Almost 1pm. Shit! And the distance from my bedroom to the bathroom seemed to have been extended by at least a mile.
"How was the party, dear?" mom asked as I staggered into the kitchen. "Oh... I see."
"Whaddaya mean by 'oh'?"
"You look a little worse for wear."
"Just a little? Jeez."
"Sean was here earlier. He said he'd be back."
After some toast, and a cup of coffee, I was feeling a tad better, but still not totally with it. Then Sean rocked up, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed.
"Whoa, Wingnut! That must've been some party! Hey, you need a wave, man. Surf's rocking big time."
After we'd fetched Kyle, who was looking a helluva lot better than I was feeling, the three of us hit the beach. For the first time I could remember, I was really battling to get out through the surf. My arms felt like lead weights. Even on the backline, I was finding it difficult to summon the energy to catch a wave.
On the other hand, the whales were putting on an awesome show, so I was glad I'd made the effort. There was a small pod quite close to where we were surfing, and one of the whales had its tail high outa the water. It looked like the sail of a ship. Wicked!
On the walk home, Sean started telling me about a rave party that was being held that night, so I elbowed him in the ribs to shut him up. That kinda talk wasn't good for "adult" ears, which Kyle's had become since he'd turned eighteen. The last thing I needed was a fucking lecture from my paranoid bro.
Next day, at about lunchtime, I hopped the fence and found Kyle in his room studying. It had been raining all morning, so I guessed he'd had nothing better to do.
"Hey, bro. You need a break from all this fucking study shit. Wanna go down for a surf? Just for a couple of hours?"
I should've known that he'd have something to say about last night's rave party, though. On the way down to the beach, he started to give me the third degree.
"Hey, what's happening?"
"With you keeping secrets from me."
"What fucking secrets?"
"Hey, I saw you nudge Sean when he wanted to tell you about last night. I thought you could speak to me about anything."
"OK. Sean and me went to a friend's party, and we smoked some whites."
[Whites are Mandrax tablets, crushed, mixed with marijuana, and smoked]
"Hey, if you wanna end up killing yourself, that's cool. But I'm beginning to think that maybe Sean's not such a good friend for you."
"You see? That's why I didn't wanna tell you... 'cause you start freaking."
"'Cause I fucking care for you... that's why!"
"Yeah? Then stop sounding like my fucking mother!"
"OK. Go ahead and kill yourself. Try some e." [Ecstasy]
"I will. I have! The last time was at Steve's party, and I was OK. You want me to tell you everything, then I will. Just stop freaking, or I won't."
"I'd rather you tell me, so I can beat the shit outa you. And I will. You know that."
Anyway, the surf kinda sorted us out, and we were back to normal at the end of the session. Actually, I was pretty chatty during the walk home.
"Bet you're pretty excited about the Senior Prom this Saturday. You gonna wear a penguin suit?"
"It's called a tuxedo."
"Whatever. Can I check you out before you go? I wanna see you all dolled up."
"Actually, it was a bit of a toss-up whether I'd go or not. Mark twisted my arm."
"Is that all he twisted?"
"The girls talked him into it, 'cause they wanted an excuse to get all dressed up."
"Do you and Conan do stuff?"
"Nothing too serious."
"Just jack... sometimes. He's kinda paranoid about that kinda stuff."
Well, that wasn't the only thing Conan was paranoid about. We were walking home from school on the Monday when I pulled my shirt outa my 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 some new style with you or something?"
I stopped walking, unzipped my pants, then tucked in my shirt. I'd had enough of getting the third degree from Mark and Kyle, so I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the walk home. When we got to my front gate, Kyle paused for a few moments.
"Hey, Wingnut, what's up?"
"You seem to have changed."
"Is this gonna be another "since Sean" convo?"
"You tell me, Kyle. You've changed, too. Since your birthday, it's like you're on my case all the damn time."
"I haven't changed. I still think you're the best. It's just that I worry about you... like you're my little brother."
It was time for the truth. To halt the crap. To confront this fucking 'holier than thou' attitude. Do as I say, not as I do. "I found out you used to do drugs as well. I heard that you were a real coke head when you were a junior."
"You gonna tell me it's not true?"
"Nope. Some of it's true. I don't think I was a coke head, though. Tried it once or twice."
"And you smoked it up all the time."
"So, hey, what's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that you lose control, and you can get hurt."
"Sean and Brian and all the other guys smoke, or do other stuff."
"So that makes it OK?"
"It's just that the guys will think I'm a wuss if I don't."
"I've stopped... and my friends don't have a prob with that. They don't think I'm a wuss."
"Maybe not all of them."
"Alan and some others."
"I said friends... not that Alan asshole. Do you smoke it up with Alan and his friends?"
"Brian and me have... sometimes."
There was something major going through Kyle's head, especially after I'd mentioned Alan's name. He hated Alan. He hated what Alan had done to me, as well as what he'd done to his younger bro. "Hey... you wanna rock over for a little while?"
"I've gotta bunch of homework to do before I'm allowed out."
"That's cool... do it... or ask your mom if you can bring it over to my place."
Ten minutes later I was sitting on Kyle's bed. He'd changed into track pants and a t.
"You better help me with this math or I'll be in deep shit with my mom. It took me for-fucking-ever to convince her to let me come over here."
"Ten minutes is like forever? Anyway, I'm not the math genius... Steve is."
"You'll do. So what did you wanna talk about?"
"About the drugs shit."
Kyle sat on the bed next to me, and put his arm around my shoulders. "The worst memories I have of getting stoned are when we'd all hide in someone's dark garage, or in their rooms with the curtains drawn, or hide behind trees in some field, so that people couldn't see us. Then I'd get home, and sleep for hours, or try to dodge the snakes crawling all over my room. Maybe they were imaginary snakes, but they were as real as all fucking hell, sliding and slithering everywhere, scaring the fucking shit outa me. Then I'd sneak out at two in the morning 'cause I needed something to pick me up... a fix."
"We've never done that."
"It'll happen if you don't stop. Trust me. Anyway, I'm not gonna tell you to stop. I just want you to know that it's a total shit trip. Smoking weed is one thing... getting into the chemicals is something else. Nothing is more important than your next fix. Nothing."
"I've only tried it once or twice, Kyle, and I don't think we'll do it again. I don't have the same bucks that the other guys have, anyway."
"Other guys? Like Sean? Hey, they'll buy it for you, just to get you stoned with them."
"It's not Sean. OK? You keep going on and on about Sean."
"OK, so it's not Sean. Ever had the greenies?"
"No. What's that?"
"That's when you get totally stoned on weed, then drink yourself into a hole afterwards, and you are so sick, you wanna die."
"Sorry for laughing, Kyle... but it sounds kinda funny. You had the greenies?"
"Yeah, and I really just wanted to lay down and die."
"Cool. I wish I'd seen you." What else was I supposed to say? This convo was getting heavy... big time! I figured I had to introduce a little Wingnut humor.
"You and Sean are good buds, huh?"
"The best! Well... after you. You're still my best bud... but you know that."
"I don't want you to think, now that I'm eighteen, that you can't speak to me. OK? I wanna know every little disgusting detail. Yeah... I'm gonna freak sometimes, but at least it'll be me freaking, and not your folks."
After Kyle had helped me with my homework, he made us some sarmies, and poured some juice. Nothing more was said about the drug thing, and I wasn't even sure I understood what he'd been talking about. It was kinda like telling me that I shouldn't go surfing 'cause I might get eaten by a shark. Hey, if he'd done worse things than I was doing, and he'd turned out OK, what was the biggie? It seemed to me that something weird happened to people when they turned eighteen, and I was glad that I still had five more years of being cool.
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