Chapter 23
© 2006

I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about Brett’s cooking and how awesome it was. “Oh, my kind of man,” she sighed while my dad just winked and laughed.

When I told Brett during lunch break next day, as we sat together on a bench, he shook his head. “I dunno why you guys make such a big deal about me.”

“By the way, do you just stand there while SFB lays into you?”

“Here we go, question time again.” He lowered his half-eaten sandwich between his knees, reflected for a moment, then decided to answer me. “The first time he hit me, I totally lost my rag and fisted him. Then I got the worst beating of my life. Even my dad never beat me that bad…from what I remember.”

“Do you actually bend over so he can beat you?”

“No way. But I no longer retaliate. If he wants to hit me, I stand there and glare at him, and wish away the pain ‘til he goes. Drives him crazy.”

“Ever hear from your dad?”

“He phoned about two years ago. I told him never to contact me again. He blew his chances. I don’t have a dad.”

Tears began to well in Brett’s eyes, so I changed the subject. “I dunno what you put in that macaroni and cheese but I blasted myself outta bed this morning. I’m gonna need half a dozen cans of air freshener to get back in there.” It worked. Brett burst into laughter. “Jeez, I love to see you laugh,” I added.

During swim practice, I sat on a bench and observed Brett as he emerged dripping wet from the pool. He chose a bench across the way, planted his butt and leaned against the wall. I couldn’t help thinking it should be almost illegal for a guy to be so facially good looking while also blessed with such a killer bod. He carried not an ounce of fat. And with every move, a muscle or two flinched. Each gesture, each motion, no matter how incidental, was inherently provocative.

His wet mop of short black hair clung to his forehead as he casually lifted a towel to dry his face. The iron rods of his forearms rippled and his biceps bulged like footballs. I marveled at the cobra-like lats that traveled the entire length of his flawless torso. Water trickled in a tiny river from his navel down a thin line of hair to his Speedos. He normally shaved that hair before a comp, even though it was barely visible. His dick was tucked down, forming a neat package wrapped in shiny Lycra.

My trance broke suddenly when I realized he was aware of my gawking. He waved and smiled. Then his thigh muscles popped as he stood to come join me. Actually, he and Graham had similar builds, perfectly proportioned without being overly muscular. The only difference was Graham’s thin layer of puppy fat. He looked a little softer than Brett.

“Looks like you’re in another world,” he remarked as he sat beside me.

“My mind’s a million miles away. Not sure what I’m thinking.”

“You look beat.”

“Yeah, I hammered myself in the pool after Frank found fault with my turns.”

Later in the week, the swim team organized a challenge between Brett and me just for a hell of it. I was no match for Brett in the freestyle events, but I managed to make him nervous in the backstroke. I touched the wall a second behind the bastard. The butterfly was a different story. We were neck and neck in the final lap and I nailed him! I told him later I almost died doing it. No way I was gonna allow him to cream me in every event.

Shortly after the comp, Graham’s friend Robbie approached me. “Some kid followed Graham into the toilet block and kneed him in the balls. He screamed ‘cause the guy kicked him so hard.”

“Show me who,” I demanded as I quickly slipped into my track suit.

Robbie led me to the bully and pointed to him; a skinny kid about sixteen. I recognized him as one of Mitch Match’s goons.

“Leave it, Kyle.” A hand gripped my arm. It was Brett. He overheard Robbie’s comment and decided to follow me. “Let me book him.”

“Book him later.” My fists grabbed the kid’s shirt and shook him.

“Mitch told me to do it!” he pleaded.

Brett intervened again. “Leave him, Kyle. Let me sort it out.” But it was too late. My knee connected with the kid’s nuts and sent him whimpering to the ground.

“I saw that!” I recognized Mitch’s voice. “You’d better book him, Mr Prefect.”

“Why don’t you do your own fighting?” I snarled. “You overgrown herd of beef.”

“Okay, Kyle,” the blimp taunted with a sneer. “Take me now, if you got the guts. We can get your prefect buddy to ref.”

Brett held my arm to restrain me. “Leave it, mate. You’re in enough shit already.” But I ignored him and walked straight into Mitch’s fist. A tooth penetrated my lip and drew blood. Before I could react, Mitch fisted me again on the same spot. Brett stepped between us. “You guys need to walk away from this before it gets outta hand.”

I was still seething when Mitch turned his back and wandered off with his mentals deficient in tow. “I could’ve taken him out,” I complained, using the back of my hand to wipe away the blood.

“Didn’t look that way to me.”

“I’ve taken him out before.”

“That was before. Anyway, you’re in enough crap, Kyle. Other prefects were watching so I can’t erase your name from the book. You could face suspension.”

“Cool. Early hols. I need to check on Graham.”

“That was fucking stupid, Kyle,” Brett yelled as I stormed off. “It could have waited ‘til after school!”

“No it couldn’t,” I shouted without turning around.

Later, I attended a hearing in the school counselor’s office. Brett was also present. He was great! He argued my side of the story; that I simply sorted out a bully. The counselor said my energy was “misguided” and that I had no right to take revenge on behalf of a friend. However, he reduced the penalty from suspension to work-squad duty after school hours. Once outside, I thanked my mate for his assistance and loyalty.

“It’s better than a suspension, Kyle. At least it doesn’t go on your record. Meanwhile, be careful of Mitch. Two weeks ago he kicked a guy from another school into hospital. Just watch your back.”

“How come I didn’t hear about that?”

“Nobody’s saying a word in case they’re next.”

“The trouble is Mitch does all the needling. When the rest of us are just chillin’, he starts trouble. I can’t just sit there and be a target, and I won’t allow Graham to be.”

“He uses the grommet to get to you.”

“I realize that. But why must the little guy get beaten for no good reason?”

“Mitch knows it hurts you, that’s why. What are your folks gonna say about the letter from the counselor?”

“They’ll freak, as usual, mom more than dad. Another fight at school. I reckon my dad was a bit of a scrapper in his youth so he’s not so heavy with me. It’s in the genes.”

“Levis or Wranglers,” Brett laughed. “Okay, I admit, you’ve got balls, Kyle.”

“You should know. You saw them up close.”

“Screw you, pervert.”

Brett called around to my house that evening to see how my folks reacted, and to remind me to watch out for Mitch and his sycophants. “Bullies weren’t invented yesterday, Kyle. Your dad probably knows how dangerous they can be. He worries about you. So does your mom. Hey, you can count me in as well.”

One long weekend, the air temperature was so baking hot we all hit the beach: Brett, Susan, Stuart, Graham and his girl, Melanie and me. The water was quite cold so many people elected to sun bake on the sand and enjoy the sea breeze. For Graham, that meant an audience. He was Speedo-less under his low-slung board shorts, and spent most of the day riding his stick and taking every opportunity to moon anyone who might (or might not) be interested in his ass crack.

Lunch consisted of burgers and chips at a nearby pub. Graham and his girl Candy couldn’t enter licensed premises, so they sat on the perimeter wall where a crowd of the pair’s admirers soon congregated.

“Is that a fold in Graham’s shorts or a boner?” Brett asked.


“You sure? He doesn’t seem embarrassed.”

“Graham? Embarrassed? You’re kidding. He likes to show the girls he’s endowed with more than the average 12-year-old dick.”

Melanie rose from our table. “Watch this,” she said, then approached the grommet who was too busy chatting to his fans to notice Melanie standing behind him. She put her finger in her mouth to wet it, then stuck it in Graham’s ear.

“It’s called a ‘wet willie’ I explained to Brett as the grommet jumped in fright, and almost toppled off the fence.

“I’m gonna get you in the surf, Melanie,” he threatened. “But I guess you know that already.”

“Promises, promises,” Melanie smiled and returned to our table.

Also surrounded by a bunch of besotted groupies, Stuart looked the quintessential surfer, as always. A wet blond fringe clung to his forehead while the remainder of his sun-bleached locks draped over his tanned shoulders, providing a most erotic contrast of warm, inviting colors.

What pleased me most, though, was that Brett and Susan were part of our group, enjoying the camaraderie of good friendship.

Good friends? At our school Swim Gala, the juniors and seniors were divided into two house teams; each side represented by both age groups. Graham and Brett were on the team opposing mine. It was odd, as well as disconcerting, to hear Graham cheering his team mates and booing mine; me in particular. To make it worse, in the showers later, he and Brett acted like old mates just to further irritate me.

“I think we need to swap Kyle for a friend who can swim,” the grommet chirped.

Brett agreed. “You’re right. It’s the age, though.”

“Actually, it’s because my dick’s too big,” I responded, casually. “It holds me back in the water. You guys with weenies are lucky when it comes to competitive swimming.”

“Your dick’s too big?” Graham mocked. “That little thing? I bet you ejaculate even while Melanie’s still asking you when you’re gonna put the damn thing in. Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

“Yeah? And by the time you offload your drips of water, your hand’s fallen asleep!”

My comment cracked up everyone in the change room, causing Graham to turn a luminous shade of red. The only retort he managed to summon was: “It’s pure mayo.”

“Did Candy tell you she’s allergic to mayo?”

“Har-de-bloody-har. Anyway, you guys got your ass whipped in the pool and you can’t take it.”

Jolly Jim, who was on my team, stepped up to the grommet. Graham’s eyes popped. That monster black dick suspended in a lazy arc over a pair of bovine balls was enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone with an orifice, particularly a tight one. “What was that you said?”

A nervous squeak emerged from Graham’s lips. “I just said we beat you guys fair and square.”

“What was that you said about ass?”

“Nothing…I was just kidding.”

“That’s good, ‘cause if you were serious I’d shove this thing up your ass and cum out your nose.”

Everyone collapsed laughing except the grommet. He shat himself.

Hiya G,

Sorry I’m late with email. I got to school later than normal ‘cause Roo was sick. My dad is taking her to the vet this morning. He thinks she might have to be put to sleep ‘cause she’s so old and starting to suffer arthritis. She’s not getting around like she used to. We were up most of the night with her. She’s 14 now. She was six weeks old when I got her, the bounciest of the litter…I was 3. When she was still able, I used to take her up the mountain and to the beach. She loved that. She scrambled up the mountain, then back down to me, then up again. At the beach, she sat and waited for me to finish surfing. The last couple of years she’s just lazed around. Even when I take her for walks she takes it easy instead of darting across the park. Her favorite spot to sleep is on the floor at the end of my bed. When I shower, she waits at the door. When I arrive home from school she still manages to jump on me. I’m hoping she’s just maybe sick and they can get her sorted out ‘cause I just can’t imagine what it would be like without her hanging around me.

At lunchtime: Hiya G,

Not much happening here today. I guess we’re all waiting for school to end tomorrow so we can go on hols. I’m cutting my last class to get home a bit earlier to see if Roo is okay.

Next morning in the comp lab at school: Hiya G,

Yesterday arvo when I got home the yard was clean and all Roo’s dishes and things were packed away. Obviously, she wasn’t there. I went down to the beach just to be alone and kinda remember all the things we did together, and all the really stupid funny things she used to get up to. She loved eating slices of bread. She’d be a million miles away and still hear the bread bin open.

My dad knew exactly where to find me when he got home from work. The beach is my happy place. It’s where I go when I feel really shitty. I can sit on the rocks and cry my eyes out without worrying about people seeing me. Dad didn’t say a helluva lot. He didn’t need to. He felt the same. After a while we walked home together. There was hardly anyone on the beach ‘cause the wind was blowing like crazy.

Anyway, G, I’m gonna jet. I just wanna swim a few laps and chill. I’ll write ya later.