Green Room II
Chapter 39

I explained to G that I didn't understand the cause of the muscle cramps. During sleep, my stomach turns into a knot. Then I experience the most unbelievable pain as my stomach muscles cramp, followed by every other muscle in my body.

On a lighter note, I managed a bit of surfing, not a lot but a couple of nice rides. Sunday night, I fulfilled my dinner date with the Ts. We talked about old surfboard planks. Mr. T remembered the old `barges' he rode as a teen. They were so heavy and big, it took three of them as kids to carry just one to the beach. He said they were all little guys back then, and that he didn't remember teens being as big as they are nowadays.

Graham studied at home, so he wasn't present at the table. The grommet was totally pissed off about that according to Mr. T. But he agreed with Graham's folks that the kid needed to get his priorities sorted.

I hadn't realized that Brett phones the Ts a lot to catch up on goss. He also keeps the Ts informed of the goss at his end. I enjoyed the supper and the evening and could've stayed all night listening to Kyle's folks tell stories about their magic son.

Mr. T introduced Kyle to Wollumbin when he was just 4. They sat together to admire the view while Mr. T told Kyle blood-curdling stories about pirates. Two years afterwards, Kyle got his first ride on a surfboard. His dad surfed regularly, and wanted to spend quality time with his son. He solved the problem by teaching Kyle to surf.

Mrs. T is unable to become pregnant again, G. How's that for a bust. They wanted to have more kids after Kyle was born but that was impossible. Mr. T says Kyle broke the mold when he came into the world. Hahaha! Mr. T had me in hysterics as we imagined Kyle smashing that mold to smithereens.

I asked if the Ts wanted more kids now that Kyle was gone, but Mr. T said he didn't wish to be an old man at his kid's 21st. He wanted to hike and surf and camp with his kid. He reasoned it would be unfair on the lightie if he couldn't be an active companion until the kid formed his own circle of friends.

The convo eventually turned to drugs, which Mr. T was willing to discuss in the presence of his wife. At first, I glowed beet red with embarrassment. However, he soon put me at ease. I told him about Melanie and me attending counseling as well as dating.

"Do you think it's cool, Mr. T?"

"I think it rocks--you and Melanie going out together. We love Melanie as if she were our own daughter."

"The reason she hasn't mentioned it is because she's concerned that you may interpret it as a betrayal of Kyle."

"Nonsense! Betrayal of Kyle? That's ridiculous! Kyle would wholeheartedly approve of your going steady. At first, she dated Brett, then Kyle and now you. Makes sense to me--keeping it in the family."

Graham arrived next afternoon for a session in the gym. Unexpectedly, I got to appreciate the limits of the grommet's pain threshold. He caught his hand in the weight cable of the pec machine. His hand was crushed between the cable and the roller, but the little bloke didn't flinch. He calmly pulled down the cable to relax the tension and released his hand. There was a helluva cut, which I cleaned despite his lack of complaint about any pain or discomfort. Anyone else would have screamed!

He phoned later to say his dad took him to the doc for a check, and that everything's okay--nothing broken.

"I told my dad already that my hand was cool."

"Wasn't it sore?"


"I would have screamed!"

"Because you're old."

"Not too old to beat the crap outta you, you little runt."

"At least I'm a handful, huh?"

I laughed myself stupid at his wisecrack, and then, "So when do I get another?"

"Can't talk now--I dug it, though--just so you know."

"Cool. Hey, maybe there'll be surf this weekend."

"Maybe you can get your mates to drive us up the coast a bit."

"I'll check. Love ya, mate."

"Cool. Seeya."

My relationship with Melanie had also improved. One night we took in a movie and pizza, then went to a nightclub. Craig was there with a few of his mates, but was pretty much out of it by the time we arrived. He whistled at Melanie which, at the time, didn't bother me. But it bothered her. She squeezed my hand as we made our way to the rear of the club.

Once seated, Craig appeared complete with beer in hand. I was okay with him initially because I figured he might jive Melanie a little--tell her how good she looked, and ask why she associated with an idiot like me. I could handle that. But the first thing he said to her was, "You look good enough to fuck. Want to experience a real cock in your pussy?"

Before Melanie could stop me, I stood and asked Craig if he wanted to see some real pussy outside the club.

"You looking for another hiding, acid head?" he growled.

My head nodded `yes' but my hands shook. It was too late. The challenge had been issued, which was the last thing I wanted.

As the three of us walked outside, Melanie made it plain she was mad as hell. Craig insisted on going further up the road where we were out of sight. That worried me. As I led the way, he struck the back of my head--his usual style. Instinctively, I spun and hit him from nowhere. That was a lesson from Brett--to get the guy on the deck quick smart. I gave it no thought, it just happened in an instant. Next, I sent a fist to his gut. He gasped and crumbled.

Two of his goons dashed to his aid and helped him to his feet. I was ready for them too--by then, smoke billowed from my ears. Craig stood and took a swing which I blocked, and hit him again. He buckled and fell in a heap. I was tempted to put the boot in as well, and would have if not for Melanie's freaking and shouting to stop.

Too bad about Melanie's distracting hysterics. One of Craig's mates took a swing and sent me flying. Craig seized the opportunity to put his boot into my ribs. I was sure right there and then that he'd cracked a few.

I am in so much bloody pain, G, but only when I breathe. Hahahaha! Oops! I behaved, though. My folks don't know about the damage. That would only cause more aggro. I just need to make a plan in case my dad wants to spar with me. He'd kill me! One shot to the ribs is all it would take.

I'd never been interested in all this fighting crap until Kyle came along. He was not the type to stand back from anybody. He and Craig almost came to blows at a swim meet but the coach stepped in and stopped it. Craig never bothered Kyle again. He knew Kyle was not afraid.

Graham rocked over one afternoon with Jacky in tow. "I want to show Jacky your battle scars," he explained at the door.

My instinctive reaction was, "Piss off!" but then realized I was in female company. "Sorry, Jacky."

"That's okay. You think Graham never speaks like that?"

The pair followed me to my room where Graham lifted my T. He wasn't prepared for what he saw. His eyes grew as big as dinner plates. "Something's broken," he concluded, "that is soooo bad."

"It is? It only occurs to me when people comment."

Jacky made no secret of ogling my abs. I asked if she would put some arnica oil on the bruises. Before she could respond, Graham snatched the bottle from me and volunteered to apply the oil. Sorry, kiddo. Quick as a flash, Jacky grabbed the bottle from the grommet. "I can manage," she insisted. Hahahaha! Graham was under the thumb!

I was high on the fact that she admired me, so I removed my T and stood motionless while she rubbed the oil into my skin. Even then, it was painful. The bruises were purple/black from obvious damage.

After she finished, I replaced my T and headed to the kitchen for drinks. Upon my return, the pair was lying on my bed, with Graham's arm draped over his lady. They stared into each other's faces, madly in love and momentarily oblivious to my presence. Red-faced when he saw me, Graham rolled off the bed and grabbed the two glasses of juice. They left soon afterwards, but not before Graham said he thought it was cool that I flattened Joe's big brother.

Towards evening, Melanie arrived. She'd cooled off and was okay about the Craig thing. However, she suggested I needed to tell my folks about it. "I can't do that, Melanie. There's bugger all they can do about cracked ribs. Besides, it would open a can of worms I'd rather keep the lid on."

"You need those bruises attended to."

"You're hired."

I handed Melanie some surgical tape and asked to be strapped good and tight. "Ouch! Not that tight!" I thought I'd crawl across the ceiling one time when she accidentally nabbed a tender spot.

When I plucked up the nerve to tell my folks about the damage, they sent me to the doc who, in turn, sent me to the hospital for x-rays. They revealed no major damage--no cracks or fractures. However, a layer of muscle suffered injury which the doc explained. It was soft tissue that took ages to heal.

What did my folks say about the fight with Craig? I didn't tell them. I lied, and explained the damage was caused by a surfing accident. My dad would freak if he knew I'd been kicked. He'd want to lay charges. Can you imagine the consequences of that? Meanwhile, I worked harder in the gym. No way would all this Craig shit slow my fitness program.

I discovered later that my manager also kept himself busy. My manager? Meet Graham. He'd arranged the title fight between Craig and me for a date in the near future. "So I told Craig it was cool," announced the grommet. "I told him you were prepared to take him on in the school gym."

"Have you gone berserk? Mental or something? In the school gym? His home turf? Anyway, who said I'd take him on? I planned to talk to him, Graham ... talk! You made this whole situation worse than it already is."

"Yeah, well, okay then. Next time I see him I'll tell him you're a chickenshit. And that you're gonna run every time you see him."

"Graham, you know that feeling you get when you're so damn mad you wanna choke someone? I'm close to that right now. And you're the one I wanna choke! You think I'm totally new to fights? The problem now is that we're bigger. We hit harder and cause more damage. And, yeah, I'm not too crazy about pain. You're different, you can handle pain."

"So can you. I'll train you to screw him." Graham's accidental double entendre crossed my mind and caused me to smile. "So what are you grinning about? Reckon I can't train you?"

"Listen, mate, I want to speak to him first. Okay? Everyone says I should beat the crap out of him but it's not that easy. Sure, I realize you can show me a few moves but that's not enough. Craig has the balls for a fight and that makes all the difference."

"Kyle would've taken him out right now after what he did to you. And I know you've got the balls for this too, because I felt them. Nice hanging ones."

"What's Joe's position on this?"

"He reckons Craig will wipe the floor with you. But you can do it, Stuart. Serious! I really think you can take him on. C'mon, man, look at you! You're as big as he is."

"I'll think about it. Do you mind if I speak to Craig first?"

"Yeah, right. Like he's gonna listen to you? He wants your heart for breakfast."

"Okay," I relented after a long pause, during which Graham's face lost its happy glow. "If Craig refuses to listen to sense I'll take him on, but only because you'll be my second and I'll give him a hiding to remember ... plus an extra shot or two for you so you can boast to Joe."

"Ace!" The beaming smile instantly returned to the grommet's face. "Then Joe can shut the fuck up and clean up his bro's mess. Hehehehe!"