Green Room II
Brett finished breakfast and said, "I want to see you in the garage."
"My name is Stuart, in case you forgot."
"You got one minute," he ordered as he disappeared through the door.
It was way too early in the visit to stuff up so badly, so I decided an apology was in order. When I entered the garage, he was waiting for me. He tossed a pair of boxing gloves in my direction. "Let's see how useless you are."
As I fitted the gloves, I asked meekly, "Are you going to show me a few pointers?"
"I'm about to give you a hiding, and I expect you to hit back. When I'm finished, you can take the next flight back to Byron. I'll get you to the airport." Just as I assumed I'd gotten my final marching orders, he added: "Or you can stay. If you get high again, I'll put you in a transit hospital before your flight."
Once my arms were in position, he launched into me like a boxing bag. First in the gut, then in the ribs. One punch was almost too low! The more he hit, the madder he got, as though his mission was to reduce me to the status of a rag doll. But I got madder too. I decided right then and there to show him I could handle any shit he dealt, and then return some of his own medicine. I lashed out, but he blocked my wild punches. He saw the opening, and hit me again. It was a repeat of my dad and me in the gym. Eventually, I screamed `Stop!'. Yeah, right. He roundhoused me on the cheek and I saw stars. My knees buckled and I landed flat on the deck. I waited for the kick, but the boot didn't arrive. After a moment or two, he offered his hand and pulled me to my feet. There were scratches on my ribs and abs.
"I sorry I fucked up last night, okay?"
"How many times are you going to say that, Stuart?"
"I didn't know she had the coke when I met her. It got out of hand."
"You're a pig. There's a used condom in the den, and the place is a mess. You don't realize how bad you are when you're out of control."
"Do me a favor. Don't stay mad at me like last time."
"Me? Mad? I'll enjoy having you here as a punching bag."
I figured the boxing match was over, but no. He demonstrated with masochistic delight what he knew about pugilistic art. Jab, jab, jab. I felt the pain, and he relished it. But I wasn't about to surrender. I bit my lip and took all his punishment to minimize any satisfaction he might glean from his superiority.
By the time he finished with me, I was a wreck. However, I learned something valuable; how to stand and how to use my bodyweight to add power to my punches. One time he momentarily dropped his guard and I took advantage immediately, sending a shot right to his gut. Hahaha! But the god didn't flinch. His stomach was like an iron grid. Mine wasn't too bad, but there was no way I could absorb what he threw at me, especially when he put all his power behind it.
For the next few days, our activities became routine. We woke at sparrow's, ran for an hour, boxed for another hour and showered--but not for an hour, hahahaha! Our friendship improved a stack as it went along. He even confided about how his stepdad treated him, which was the reason he embraced boxing. He was determined never to be intimidated or brutalized by anyone ever again.
"Kyle saw it one time. He visited my place and witnessed SFB ready to beat me with a rubber hose. I told Kyle to fuck off outta there."
"Why did you let SFB treat you like that?"
"My mom loves him. Don't ask any more questions."
Following our morning running/boxing ritual, we were too buggered to eat breakfast, so we ate at the boatshed. It was cool because we ate with the black guys. Ol' scarface offered me some of his traditional meal. Witchetty grubs? YUCK, YECH, PUKE! No thanks. When the black guys discovered that Brett was training me to box, scarface offered to spar with me during a break. No gloves.
"No gloves," he grinned as he flashed a blinding set of pearlies.
Hey, G, you need to know these guys are all Tony Mundines. With or without training, they know a lot about the sport. SMACK! Right into the ribs. I thought I heard something crack. Maybe it was just my brain making shut-down noises. You better believe that bare fists against bare ribs hurt like hell. Even, so I managed to stay on my feet and somehow accomplish a few punches to his gut. I might as well have been a fly for all the damage I did. His steel muscles felt nothing.
Brett and I relaxed by the pool that night. "You're either very brave or very stupid to take on one of those black guys," he said.
"You mean scarface? I told him about your lessons and we just kinda fooled around."
"Use your head, bro. It lights up their life to beat up a white boy. You're built, so you think you're strong--until you're up against one of those mothers."
That was quite a compliment coming from Brett. "Built?"
"Those blokes see a muscular white boy who's too big for his boots."
"You really think so?"
"They'll beat you to a pulp at the drop of a hat."
"That's not what I meant. You really think I'm built?"
"That's what they see."
"That's not what they said. That's what you said! You said I'm pretty built and muscular."
"You're getting carried away with ego again, and fishing for compliments. You're as ugly as shit."
"What would he know?"
"He's got good taste in hunks. Hahahaha! Gotcha!"
After showering, I checked my bod in the mirror. Brett was right. I was getting back into shape, the result of running and training with Brett in the mornings. My abs were there, just, and my stomach was nice and flat. My obliques were more defined, as were my arms, chest and shoulders. Hey, even my boner looked good! Hahahaha!
I waited for ages for the damn thing to deflate, but it refused. I flattened it against my gut, wrapped a towel around my waist to keep my erection from Brett's prying eyes. I wasn't sure why I suddenly worried about his reaction, but I did.
He was already dozing when I entered the room. His one arm was above the covers, a strong, muscular limb with smooth, tanned skin, which didn't do anything for boner deflation either.
Next morning was virtually a repeat of the others; running then boxing training. My fitness continued to improve, and I felt it. My thighs were pumped, and my breathing easier. Hey, Kyle, check this out, mate! Pretty awesome, huh? After training, Brett showered while I hit the pool.
It was fantastic to hear Fingers' voice. He looked wicked. I climbed out of the pool in a second to give him a big wet hug. No, I wasn't naked. I wore my own personal Speedos from home. Fingers' bod felt terrific, like he'd been working out. Later, I discovered that was indeed the case. Since my last visit, he'd exercised regularly in the gym. He'd lost the little fat he had. Anyway, I hugged him so hard I almost squashed him. "It's just so good to see you," I beamed.
"I was hoping you'd still be here."
Brett joined us in the kitchen as we chatted ... complete with morning piss boner taking star billing in his boxers. "You wanna take the day off work?" he asked.
"Thanks, mate, but no. I'm amped to go because I'm just so damn full of energy!" The other reason was that Finger's planned a full day of office stuff after his return. If I remained at home it would mean a day wasted.
As it turned out, Brett had a date with his girl that night. "You can spend the evening catching up with the `old man'." Yeah! That suited me just fine. Actually, Brett didn't even stay for dinner. He showered and was off after announcing he wouldn't be back until morning. Woohoo!
By the pool, I helped Fingers stoke the barbecue. We returned to the kitchen to make a small green salad and a potato salad. Next, he took two big juicy steaks and marinated them in red wine and spices. As I watched him, I realized as I stood there that I was falling in love with a man twice my age. I didn't know why, only that it was happening. I wanted him to touch me, and I wanted to touch him. I stood behind him and ran my hands over his abs. "Hey, you really have been working out!" My hands also noticed the absence of hair on his chest and stomach.
"I forgot what it's like having you here in Fremantle. I feel 16 again." He lifted my shirt and let it fall to the floor, then caressed my lats and hips. He makes me feel so special, G. Nobody has done that since Kyle.
Back at the barbecue, I remained shirtless, and felt the warmth of the fire on my skin. It was soothing. As Fingers worked with the steaks, he exuded an air of confidence, an aura that demanded admiration.
After I fetched two beers from the kitchen, I asked him to remove his shirt. "It's okay," he said, "maybe later."
"You embarrassed about your bod or something? Hey, this is Stuart here! HELLO?"
Suddenly, his air of confidence vanished, replaced by the look of a shy little kid who'd just been busted raiding the cookie jar. "I removed all my body hair," he explained. "I've been doing that ever since you last visited."
"Forget it, Stuart. It's stupid."
"You figure it's stupid because you're trying to be 18 all over again? Scared I'll laugh at you?"
"When you left last time, I couldn't get you out of my head. Every night, every morning, every day, all I thought about was you, and how you could live with me, and how I might arrange that. I was almost in a state of depression. It took a long time to get over you, Stuart. And now? All those warm, wonderful feelings of love are rushing back like a swirling, out-of-control flood. I so desperately want you, but I can't have you."
"You know what I mean, Stuart. Maybe for you I'm just someone to play with, and to play with you, but each time we're together I fall madly in love. And I know that's not possible."
"I know that," I agreed. "But I do too ... love you, I mean. At least, I think it's love. Feels kinda weird. I feel comfortable with you, and I can say stuff to you, and you listen to me. You're only the second guy I ever kissed ... for now. Hahahaha!" My laughter didn't hide the stinging tears in my eyes, though. I simply didn't understand what was happening to me. I couldn't fathom it, but I kept talking. "I can speak to you about stuff I can't discuss with anyone else."
"As well as other stuff. Truth? I don't know where I'm headed. I was high most of the time following Kyle's death. I'm scared of where I'm going, or maybe I don't know where I'm going. I get like this--confusion thing--and I need a fix to escape. Then I suffer the downers and get sick, and I want to crawl into a deeper hole. And that makes me feel like another fix. And then another. I was shot-up by some dealers with H after I arrived home last time. Thought I was gonna die. But, even worse, was the realization afterwards that I enjoyed the high."
"So what are you doing about it?"
"Going cold turkey. I have to deal with it myself. I smoke a J occasionally which helps me over a small hump."
"And the big humps?"
"Sometimes too big."
"Speak to your folks?"
"Yeah, right--my dad beat the crud out of me."
"Stop lying, Stuart. Brett told me about the phone convo he had with you--about the boxing match with your dad."
"Yeah, so I'm a liar," I said, and bit my lip to refrain from a snarl. I hate being second guessed.
"Is it so difficult to allow your dad to get close? Is that the real reason you like me so much? Do you imagine me as your dad? I want to be your friend, Stuart. Sounds to me like your dad is desperate for you to be his son."
"If you wanna be my friend, stop finding excuses for him. He's had 18 fucking years to be my dad."
"Okay, I won't mention him again. Meanwhile, don't treat me like your dad. Okay?"