Green Room II
Chapter 17

Today was an up day. Just after 6am, I visited the beach. Not much surf to speak of, but it had a nice glassy surface and a couple of swells that were okay--okay for a grommet learning to surf, that is. Maybe that's what I'd reverted to, hahahaha! Caught a small bitch swell for my first ride and fell on my ass because the damn thing had no power. Thank Christ no one else was there or I would've felt like a right fool. At least I got to paddle around. If the swell was a little taller, with more power, it would have been a Kyle morning.

I know what you're saying about Graham, but I desperately need to see him. I'm thinking maybe Melanie is right about my motives. As to one of your readers asking about Kyle's accident, there was a two-liner in the paper about two people killed in a road accident, together with a number of other accident reports. Two lines, huh? That's almost as tragic as the crash itself.

Kyle's folks asked that rather than spend money on flowers and tributes, it be donated to animal and marine welfare groups. That's what we all did, even if it was just a few bucks. And that's what Kyle would want.

That Gold Coast trip I did with Kyle--the one he wrote about in a diary on floppy disk. I helped write it, and I remember how acid he was when the disk became corrupted. I'll try to put the pieces together one day, and write what I can recall. That was the funniest thing I remembered, though--the two of us hitching a ride with our boners stabbing the night air.

The juice tree? Hahahaha! It's still there. I look at it differently now--our seed is on that tree, together forever. The Kyle tree. It's not a big tree or even pretty, but it's one to remember forever. Kyle was like that, even worse if he was trashed. He had us walk down the white center line of the road one night, with our boxers down around our ankles. You're right. All of us who knew Kyle are the luckiest of people.

It's happening, G. It's a touch of Kyle. I got this feeling that maybe, just maybe, I'll quit the drugs this time.

A lot of the peeps at school got Valentine's stuff today. It was cool to watch their faces as they tried to guess who might have sent the cards. Bob received a delivery of red roses in class. He quizzed me later, and I told him to get knotted. Hahahaha! A lot of girls admire him, and I don't blame them.

My Valentine's gift? Those two photos you sent of the Kyle wine glasses. I love that blue dolphin in the stem. That's Kyle now, diving out to sea. They're just wicked. Thanks.

I guess you know Kyle would be screaming HAPPY VALENTINE'S to you. I hope you had a good one, and enjoyed the graphic I sent you. I thought of Kyle a lot. I can almost feel his skin again. He had this thing where he ran his fingers over you, and touched those fine hairs you can't see. You felt the electricity screaming through your body.

I got a call from my ex-girlfriend, whom I hadn't seen for ages. She asked if I had a nice Valentine's. "You could've made it better," I answered. She's dating a new guy now, but she thought of me and wanted to know how I was doing. How cool was that? Ours was the longest relationship I've had with a girl. She managed to sort me out quite a bit. Kyle reckoned she was good for me, but I didn't recognize that after he died. The girl couldn't handle my depressions and inability to deal with Kyle's death.

A few of the guys from school will hit the town tonight, so I think I will too. Meanwhile, I'll catch a few Zs--right after I check what's under my foreskin. Hahaha!

As it turned out, I didn't go clubbing last night. An old girlfriend called and invited me to a house party. Guess who rocks up to the party? Big bro and his girlfriend, with Sean and his girl in tow.

It was a rave. I ignored the others and danced with my girl, and got a little mellow from a J and booze. Everyone did the same, and it was a really mellow evening.

After midnight big bro approached me. "I hear you're looking for me, Stuart." By then he was pretty much sauced, with the same aggro attitude he had at the beach when he flattened me. I knew I was in for another hiding. My other problem was that I'd also had quite a few drinks. Typically, everyone sensed a fight was brewing, and shifted us from the house into the garden. Then the crowd gathered around like bees to honey.

"I don't know where you heard that," I said.

"I hear from my bro that you're ready to fuck me up," he snarled as he shoved me.

Ah, yes, I remembered my phone convo with Sean. Meanwhile, my chick tugged at my shirt, trying to get me to back off, while big bro's girl did likewise. "It's cool if you want to believe that fuckhead Sean, but he's talking shit."

"Well, now's a cool time to carry out your threat, and you'll have witnesses to prove it."

"It's a cool party. Let's not spoil it, huh?" I reasoned. My chick still tugged furiously at my shirt but big bro's girl gave up and sulked in a corner of the garden.

The moron flathanded me. "Nah, let's rumble--just to liven up the party."

My shirt was still stretched to hell, so I turned to ask my chick to let go. I hoped to catch big bro off guard, but as I began to face him, I walked right into his fist and saw stars. Blood flew everywhere, and gave the impression he bust my nose. I was too slow. His second punch, to the gut, sent me to sleep.

I was out for maybe a minute, and woke to see a bunch of faces peering down at me. Big bro had returned to the house where he partied and laughed with his buds. My chick insisted I clean up in the bathroom, but I chose instead to split back to her house.

Yeah, G, I know it was a chickenshit move but it was the second time that fucker climbed into me, and it wasn't like a bee sting either. That guy packed a helluva whallop. My nose burst a blood vessel which I managed to fix. But my solar plexus was extremely painful. Got my reward, though. All I needed to do at the chick's house was lay on my back.

I remember how Graham complained to Kyle about big bro, and how he intimidated the juniors to leave the school pool in order to have it all to himself. He's under the impression that his shit doesn't stink. He's the fool, not you. And his mates are even more foolish for acting as sycophants, gleeful in their own stupidity and ignorance. It's only a matter of time before big bro gets his come-uppance. And when he goes down, his sycophants will find a new ass to lick. Big bro is destined to never know the kind of love and friendship you had with Kyle. Big bro is a loser. I know that doesn't solve your problem, Stuart, but at least it puts it in perspective.

Saturday morning, following the pummeling by big bro, I felt pretty tender, so the chick and I stayed in bed until about 11. Then I gave her a special goodbye bonk for taking care of me. At home, I got a message from the housekeeper that Graham called three times already. I returned the call right away.

"I heard from Joe that you picked a fight with big bro and you got hammered again."

"I didn't start the fight, Graham."

"Beat you bad?"

"I'll live. What's up?"

"Nothin'. I just wanted to check if you were okay. Joe pissed me off with his whole attitude, bragging about his bro and how you got nailed. Big bro can be a real prick sometimes."

"Are we gonna connect sometime?"

"It's hard right now."

"Because of your mates?"

"Kinda. They don't dig you, and it's a pain to listen to their crap while I say nothing in your defense."

"Thanks a stack."

"I'm just being honest."

"I'd like us to get together sometime, just for a chat or a burger."

"How's it going with the drugs thing?"

"Right now I'm clean. I still hang out for something--smoke a joint now and then."

"Me too." He paused a moment, then: "Hey! There's a school swim comp soon. Why don't you rock over and cheer for me?"

"Hahahaha! Sounds pretty wild. Sure you want me to be there?"

"Put a sack over your head so nobody recognizes you. Big bro will be there, so maybe you don't wanna cheer for me."

"Let me know when. I'll keep low--maybe check out the scene through the legs from under the bleachers."

"Now you're sounding like Stuart," he giggled.

"Hey, I just wanna check out my hot mate in his Speedos. Any chance for a chat?"

"I'll make a plan."

I spent most of Saturday tidying my room. How boring! That night I phoned a friend and we hung out at his place where we downed a few beers, listened to music and played PS games.

Sunday morning was cold, and a strong SE wind turned the surf to mush. I sat on the beach not expecting Graham to show, especially in these lousy conditions. But he did--complete with wet suit and board! Hahahaha! He said he wondered if I'd be here.

"I thought the same about you, Graham."

"This is really not so cool," he complained as he studied the chop, then dropped his board and sat on the sand beside me.

"It's cool that you showed," I commented.

"No worries. I thought maybe we could still paddle around, but now I dunno. It's crap out there."

"You still boxing at school?"

"Not actually boxing, just training with the team. Those guys get hit in the face too much, and I'm way too pretty to get my face damaged." His wicked humor cracked us both.

"I bought a boxing bag and gloves. Thought maybe you could give me a hand at home--show me a few techniques--also just for training."


"Whenever. You tell me."

"Maybe after a school a couple of afternoons."

"Hey, when you saw me in my room covered in puke and shit, you must've freaked. I'm sorry."

"I don't really wanna talk about that."

"It's a long story, mate, that I need to tell you. I need you to know what happened."

Graham listened intently to everything I told him, from the time I arrived back from Fremantle to the present. You said, G, that I should confide in Graham when I felt the time was appropriate, and that morning on the beach seemed appropriate. If the surf had been good, we would be out there catching barrels. So this was the perfect situation for me to open up; just the two of us sitting on the beach with nothing better to do. Besides, I didn't want him to return home too quickly. Telling my story was one way to keep him there, at least for a while. I didn't mention the stuff that was still in my closet, though. That would freak him.

While I spoke, I couldn't resist ogling his perfect body. It was as if the wet suit had been poured over him and molded like a second skin to his awesomely defined shoulders and chest.

"Why didn't you tell me all this in the beginning?" he asked when I finished.

"You were already pissed off with me."

"But all that time you allowed us to believe you were still involved with the drug scene. Did Kyle know you sold stuff?"

"You think he would have hung with me if he did?"

"Reckon not."

Graham quizzed me for a long time about the kinds of drugs I used and sold, who was buying, and how much money I made. It was like the `everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask' sort of thing. We sat for ages, staring at the slop. Glaring is probably a better word. To surfers, that slop is an insult. Eventually, we collected our sticks and headed home.