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*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)
- I had an interesting day at work today. More interesting than anything that I was expecting, that's for sure. But I'm kinda glad that it happened. Seriously, I am.
Even if it did start out being sorta awkward! And that's putting it lightly.
See, I punched in during the early afternoon, and Terrell was working on register today with Ollie. Which was weird, because Terrell was one of those people that had such an awesome and easy-going vibe with all of the customers, that they usually kept him on the floor instead of behind the counter. And I remember our manager, Scott, coming out to put some extra change in the registers that were running low and changing things out at the time. That's when Dizzy walked right up to me while I was by the front counter getting my assignment of work for the evening, and she...wait...no...HE...said, "Alright, let's do it. Get it out of your system and let's get this out of the way."
I had no idea what Dizzy was talking about at first, but I noticed Scott sorta throw his hands up in the air and leave the counter to go back into the back office. Terrell grinned at me, and he busied himself with something else that moved him away from us as well. Confused, I said, "I...I don't know what you mean..."
She...ugh! Sorry! HE...said, "Ollie told me you had some issues with figuring me out. So, now's your chance. Figure me out." Dizzy wasn't really angry about it. In fact, he had a bit of a smirk on his face. (Hey...I got the gender thing RIGHT that time!) But still, it was humiliating as hell.
I looked over at Ollie, who was covering his mouth as he giggled madly to himself.
I'm like, "DUDE...!!!"
But he just said, "Hehehe, you're on your own, man. No secrets among family." And went to hide behind the CD rack behind the counter to give us...um...privacy, I guess.
I gave Dizzy the most apologetic look imaginable, and I told him, "I'm SO sorry, Dizzy! Honestly, I didn't mean anything by it. I was a bit confused at first, and I just...I didn't want to make a mistake, either way...and I thought...I thought that maybe..."
I was really sweating about trying to explain myself, but luckily for me, Dizzy found my stuttering amusing. And he put his hand on my shoulder. He said, "Hehehe, it's cool. I'm not here to 'beat you up' or anything. But I know that a lot of people...well...they don't get it. And if I don't at least make an attempt to talk to them about it, they never will. The more people avoid it, the longer it's going to seem 'weird' to them. Plain and simple." Dizzy...he was really being cool about this. And even though my heart was still pounding at 100 beats per second, I took his demeanor as a friendly way of making it ok to...you know...talk about it. Which was cool, because to say that I actually knew what was going on would be a lie. Dizzy said, "The whole 'ignorance is bliss' thing is dead, sucka! Just talk to me, already! I'll tell ya what's up!" He smiled, those big brown eyes shining as he made fun of my discomfort.
Still feeling a bit weird about it, I was like, "Really?"
And Dizzy said, "Well, don't take all damn DAY or anything." Which made me smile and...I don't know...I think he was willingly giving me an open door to peek through , so...I might as well, right? I just didn't want to sound like some kind of a homophobe or something. Or...would that be...well, do they have a separate name for that kind of thing? I'm not really sure, to be honest.
Awkward as it was, with Ollie and Terrell sorta peeking out from behind the counter to see what I said, I asked, "So...technically...you're a girl, right?"
Dizzy said, "There's nothing 'technical' about it, hehehe. But if you want to put it that way, then sure. I guess you could say that." Then he added, "I'm trans, Billy."
I said, "So...like...you cut your hair short and dress like a boy?"
Dizzy was like, "Well, it's a bit more than that. I don't just want to look like a boy. I AM a boy."
I wish I understood right away. I was trying to. And there was an urge to just 'say' that I understood, to avoid making things any more clumsy than they already were between us. But curiosity got the best of me. And I said, "But...you just said...? I mean...do you like girls? Or guys?"
Dizzy said, "I like girls."
And I said, "So...you're a lesbian?" I felt weird saying that word out loud, and looked around, apologizing for being so blunt about it.
But Dizzy said, "No. I'm not a lesbian. I'm a boy. I mean...do you get it?"
I didn't. So I was like, "I'm sorry. This is kind of a new thing for me..."
But before I could even blush fully, Dizzy said, "Ok...think of it this way, Billy. Let's say...it's Halloween, ok?"
And I said, "Ok..."
Dizzy says, "Now, imagine that you want to dress up like a girl for Halloween. And we don't spare ANY expense, right? We get you the total makeover. The wig, the make-up, the clothes, the lipstick, the high heels...we go all out until you're so hot that you could even convince a guy coming out of PRISON that you were the real deal!""
It was a weird scenario, but I played along. I said, "Um...hehehe....okaaay...."
That's when Dizzy asked me, "So...you look the part, you've got all the proper accessories, you could even lighten your voice and change your walk and mannerism to really LOK like a woman, right?"
I'm like, "Right..."
Then he said, "But, answer me this...would you really FEEL like an actual woman? Or would you just feel like a boy in a dress?"
Hearing Dizzy say it like that caused something to click in the back of my mind. The answer was so easy. I said, "I'd feel like a boy in a dress."
And he said, "Exactly. Well that's just how I would feel too. A boy in a dress. A costume, that might be fun for a few hours at a Halloween party...but I don't want to live my life that way. I want to be free to associate with the gender that I think fits me best. That's all there is to it. I mean...do you get it now?"
I smiled at Dizzy, and he smiled back. I was like, "You know...I think I do."
That's when Dizzy slugged me in the arm. Pretty hard, I might add. He could definitely give Sam a run for his money in the 'playful punch' category. And he said, "GOOD! Now quit talking behind my back and sell some goddamn music! Hehehe!" And he walked off to go back to his section. Honestly though, I think I understand. Just recently, I was writing about how comfortable Ollie was with his sexuality, and now I've got Dizzy telling me how comfortable he is with his. What could have been a truly embarrassing situation turned out to be one of the highlights of my day.
Dizzy was actually really funny once the whole anxiety about talking to him was gone. He could be so relatable. And totally random at times. Maybe it makes me a hypocrite...but whenever I saw other customers in the store noticing that this 'boy' was a little too pretty to be an actual boy...I almost felt offended. Like, you know...leave him alone, you know? Are they serious? Who cares? Heh...strange, considering I was just an hour away from my own confusion about the subject. I think I still have a lot to learn, but the basics are...
1) Dizzy is absolutely AWESOME, no matter what!
2) Girls and boys can be whoever they want to be. And the people who say different are only saying it because they probably don't know what they're talking about.
and 3) Never EVER tell Ollie anything and expect him to keep it a secret! Hehehe! Bastard!
Anyway...I still have one more week to wait for my first paycheck. And that sucks, because Terrell actually asked me to hang out on Sunday! Well, not just me and him...but everybody from work was going. Like as a big group. I guess Taylor's band was playing live, and Terrell actually invited me to come along. Now, I know that I've been talking to and interacting with everybody in the store since I was first hired, but this waslike....wow. This was the first time that I felt like...I had made an 'impression' on them, you know?
They really wanted me to hang out with them. Like...as a family. Hehehe, I don't know, that just felt really cool to me. Especially since Terrell was the one to ask me. Because he's, you know...cute. Hehehe!
So I was like, "Ummm...sure. What do I do?"
Terrell and Ollie gave me the weirdest look. Terrell was like, "Dude, just bring yo' ass here to the store around 7 O'clock, and we'll all go over together." He giggled. I tried to tell him that I hadn't gotten paid yet, but he just said, "Don't sweat it. I got you. You're one of us now. So be there. Deal?" And just like that, it was a deal.
So...I guess I'm going to see Taylor's band play on Sunday. I don't even know what they play, but...really...does it matter? Hehehe! I'm one of them. That's all that matters.
Ok...so...on to Trace...
Yeah, right? Brace yourself. Who wouldn't?
Don't worry, tonight's excursion wasn't as epic as I thought it might be, but still, Trace has a way of making even the most simple things exciting sometimes. Apparently, he's been secretly in contact with Simon during his rather Medieval punishment for the beginning of the Summer, and he decided he had had enough. So as soon as Trace and I met up at my dad's house...he was like, "We're breaking Simon out tonight. He needs some freedom or he's going to wither away to nothing. We can't let that happen."
I'm like, "We can't?"
Trace says, "Fuck no! Listen...his parents are total weaklings. They're in bed by like ten O'clock. So we go in, we sneak him out the window, we go back to my house, and we party."
I'm thinking he means my dad's house, but he says, "No, not here! MY house! My dad's not there, we'll have the whole place to ourselves. You, me, Simon...it'll be perfect." Then he hushed me up as my father walked into the room.
My dad was like, "You two going to get into some mischief this evening?" I think he was joking around, but he didn't know just how much mischief we were getting into. He also said, "Billy, when you get a day off, why don't you come by next week and help us pack up some stuff from the garage? I could really use your help." I accepted without even thinking about it. I think it becomes automatic, obeying what your father tells you do, after growing up with it for so long. But...the other side of that coin was...I was actually going to be helping him move away forever. I had to stop and think about that for a moment. I was...helping him leave me. I was a part of permanently breaking my mom's heart. I was actually pushing forth an agenda that was sure to destroy me, my mom, and any future that I ever had with a happy family forever...simply by encouraging this. Something about agreeing to that made me feel sick. Especially when I saw my...future 'stepmother' walk past the doorway and look inside.
Great job, Billy. You just made it so your family could never be repaired ever again. Your mom...you know, the one with tears in her eyes every day...will suffer for the rest of her life. And I helped.
Anyway, we actually were able to get out of the house once Mikey went to sleep. My dad was a big advocate for Summer fun, and I was thankful for that. I'm sure Mom would have given me the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, degree of questioning before letting me leave the house. Lucky for me, Trace is a much better 'salesman' than I am.
Twenty minutes was all it took to get to Simon's house, and get him to crawl out of his bedroom window to come join us. Hehehe, Simon has obviously never crawled out of a window before. What the heck was he DOING??? Hahaha! He made enough noise to wake the whole neighborhood! But apparently, not his parents. So...you know...that's a good thing, right?
Once Simon fell flat on his damn FACE and sprung up to brush the dirt off of his chest and pants, he gave Trace and I a wild eyed look that made me snicker to myself. Trace gave me an elbow in the ribs, and said, "Leave him alone. Simon's a total soldier tonight. Aren't you, Simon?"
Simon gave us a nervous grin, and he said, "Yeah. A soldier. Totally." It was the most unconvincing declaration of freedom that I had ever heard. But, you know...whatever. Hehehe! It was his first time out. He's still learning the steps to this dance.
Trace's old house (I say 'old' like it's been years, when it really hasn't), wasn't far away. And by the time he could get me and Simon situated in his bedroom on the second floor of the house, he was pouring us little red plastic cups full of liquor. I swear...that boy doesn't think about anything else, sometimes.
I was like, "That's enough. C'mon, Trace...you know I don't drink. My mom is gonna kill me if I come home all drunk and wobbly."
But Trace didn't do much to listen. Hehehe, I kept telling him to fill my cup just 1/4th of the way...which he did...but the second he saw it empty again, he was quick to fill me up to another 1/4th cup. Basically, he was giving me a heavy dose of alcohol...a little bit at the time. So much for restraint, right? After a few cups full...the illusion almost worked. As though sipping it a little at a time would make me any less intoxicated. Psh...
Simon, however, tried to guzzle it down as fast as he could. That didn't work out too well for him, as he almost gagged every time he pressed the cup to his lips and tried to gulp it like a flat soda. Hehehe! Again...what the heck was he DOING? I'm far from being a drinker, but Simon was much less experienced than me, evidently. Even Trace was like, "Dude, stop trying to empty the cup on every sip. Take it easy. Just chill with us for a while. Alright?"
And that's how the evening started. Just the three of us...getting tipsy again. You know, it's the weirdest thing, but I have absolutely NO use for alcohol whatsoever until Trace is around me. But the second his energy and mine begins to mingle...it almost becomes a necessity. I haven't figured that out that. It's gotta be a bad thing, you know? But...if it is...then why am I giggling so much?
It only takes about 45 minutes before Simon is so wasted that his neck doesn't seem strong enough to keep his head up. Hehehe, I'm sorry, I shouldn't be laughing at that. But, fuck it, it was kinda funny. And when Trace saw it, he started laughing too. Simon was barely conscious as it was, and he leaned his head on my shoulder to close his eyes for a few minutes while Trace and I talked to one another.
Trace was telling me about the new arrangements he was preparing for and how he was going to eventually be forced to come home again once my dad left. He was like, "Starting Monday...my dad and I have to go to joint counseling over at the hospital. Three days out of the week. But he has to take a fourth day to go in for alcohol addiction."
I'm like, "And you don't?"
Trace smiled, and told me, "I don't drink because I'm addicted. I drink because it's fun." He tilted his cup back to empty it...and he was quick to fill it right back up. He looked over at Simon, and said, "You know...your buddy over there is a serious lightweight."
I'm like, "What did you expect?"
He says, "I dunno. At least two or three hours worth of fun. We went through all of this trouble of breaking him out, and now he's gonna sleep through the whole thing?"
That's when Simon, with heavily slurred words, said, "I'm not asssleeep. Keep talking. I'm lissstening...and..and stuff..." Hehehe, he's better off passing out and going to sleep. He does not sound good at all.
Trace reached behind me to pat Simon lightly on the head, and stroked his blond hair a few times, nearly putting him to sleep. But once he did, he kept his arm around my shoulder, and he smiled at me. All I could think was, 'There Trace goes again...tempting me with that forbidden fruit.' Hehehe! He says to me, "You know...your dad is going to be a big hole in my life when he's gone. I mean...some days I wake up, and it already hurts to know that he's gone....even when he's not gone yet." He took another gulp of his drink, and he said, "I seriously don't look forward to coming back here. Not at all."
I said, "I'm sure you'll be ok. Really, Trace, you'll be fine." Was I slurring my words at that point? Already? God, I was almost as bad as Simon.
Trace was like, "No matter how much professional guidance we get...my dad will never be your dad, Billy. He just won't. He doesn't have the heart for it." Then he smiles as he stares up at the ceiling, and he says, "How crazy is it to love somebody else's dad more than you love your own? I mean, that's like...some type of blasphemy, right?"
Maybe it was the alcohol talking, but as much as I love my dad, I said, "If he was so great...then why did he abandon us? His family. Maybe he's happy, and yay, good for him..." I said, drinking some more myself. "...But you see him more than I do. He actually talks to you about stuff. And meanwhile, my mom is locked up in her room every day, crying over what he did to us. So...spare me the 'father of the year' speech, k? He's not. He wrecked everything. And deep down...he knows it."
For some reason, Trace just grinned at me, which I thought was weird. He was like, "You and your dad are so much alike. It's uncanny." I asked him what that was supposed to mean, and he says, "You know, your dad yelled at me that day you brought me home and I was about as liquored up as Simon over there. He lectured, and he paced, and he told me that I'd better get my act together or else. You know, typical 'Dad' stuff. But...your dad's not a mean-spirited person. He's just not. He may try to be tough from time to time...but after living with my mom and dad, I know what the real thing looks like. And your dad, he could yell and scream and curse all he wants...I know deep down that he'd never do anything to hurt me intentionally. It's in his eyes. In his voice. Even in the words he uses. He never goes overboard. His heart won't let him. You're exactly the same way."
I'm like, "What do you mean? I don't get it..."
Trace says, "You might pretend that you're really angry at your dad, and that you're so upset that you don't even care anymore. You may even want to believe it. But...I look at your eyes...and you still love him. I don't think you could be a heartless, hateful, person if you tried. Not if your life depended on it. Something tells me you'd only end up punishing yourself." Damn Trace and his...drunken perception. He's like, "You can't keep being stubborn and putting it off, Billy. He's leaving. Time's not on your side. You should talk to him while you've still got the chance. Because once he's gone...he's gone."
I said, "You know, there was a time when 'not being a heartless, hateful, person' seemed like it would come with some kind of reward. It doesn't though. It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't solve anything. It's just enough to let me sleep at night so I can wake up to one shitty day after another..."
Trace smirked and lightly butted me with his shoulder. "Don't be such a downer, dude. We're partying here, right? I can't tell if I should cut you off or give you more at this point. Just relax. And think about what I said." Then he patted me on the thigh and he's like, "Hey, I need to take a piss and grab another bottle. You got a taste for anything special?"
I was being honest when I told him, "I barely have any taste left in my mouth at all. So...whatever." Which seemed to get Trace to chuckle to himself as he left the room.
I drank more. I don't know why. Something about being...'influenced' by this intoxicating brew just made me feel better. If only for a little while. I felt the liquid wash over my tongue, and what was once a steady burn as I swallowed it down, had now become a warm, almost fuzzy, sensation. One that I was quickly learning to appreciate more and more with every sip. It made me smile. It dulled the pain. It gave me confidence to speak my mind more freely. I don't know...maybe Trace had a real reason for drinking the way he does. I had almost forgotten about the fact that I was going to have to somehow sneak back into my house again tonight once this was all over.
Then I thought...'Ah fuck it. Who cares, right? My Mom's prolly cried herself to sleep by now anyway.'
And when I got home, I was right. Fast asleep. House dark. No questions about where I had been. I just walked in and stumbled my way to bed. But I couldn't help thinking about what Simon said to me while Trace wasn't around. At first, I kinda giggled at his mumbling because I didn't notice that his glasses were misted up. I think he was crying. Literally crying.
And through his drunken slur, he said, "I ruined my life, Billy. All of it. Gone. I jusssst....I blew off my final exams. All that hard work, all that time I put in...gone. They're probably not going to let me tutor anymore. Not with my grades..." Was Simon kidding me? His grades have been impeccable since PRESCHOOL! He's the one kid that all the parents want their kid to be. He has been for as long as I've known him. And that's a pretty long time.
I'm like, "You should just pass out for a little while and relax. K?"
He says, "Yep! That'ssss it. I need to relaxxxx....like now. I'm totally relaxed." He smiled for a moment, but it quickly melted away. He's like, "My parents hate me, you know? They totally hate me. I'm, like, the biggest disappointment ever." I told him that there's NO way in hell that was true, but he insisted it was. He whimpered, "I miss my girlfriend, Billy. She really liked me, you know? She didn't care that I was super brainy, or that I was skinny and not some hunk of an athlete or anything. She just...she loved me for me. And I basically told her to take a hike. I ran her off, Billy. And now I want her back." There was only one tear that rolled down Simon's cheek, but it spoke volumes about his current state of mind. Alcohol isn't for everybody.
Again, I found myself in another uncomfortably emotional position that I didn't want to be in. So I secretly scooted away from Simon while he laid his head back and just sniffled for a moment or two.
He was like, "I have to start Summer school next week. I've never even been to Summer school before. I don't know how I'm going to look anybody in the eye. I'm supposed to be the smart one."
I said, "Going to Summer school doesn't have anything to do with being smart or not being smart. It's just extra credits. Dude, you might even come out ahead. Even further than you would have before." I had his attention, and he wiped his eyes underneath his glasses. I'm like, "Simon, you're one of the most brilliant guys that I know. And it's awesome that you always want to put forth 150% day in and day out. But...and I can't believe I'm saying this....Trace might just be good for you every now and then. Maybe he's good for both of us. You were on your way to a total meltdown. You were in a panic, you couldn't sleep, you were getting angry at the drop of a hat. You've got to learn to let loose every now and then. Do something that you enjoy for a change. Nobody is going to fault you for taking a break when you really need one. Better that than burning out completely." I said. I told him, "I never thought you were going to go as overboard as you did with the partying, but that's probably because you were so overdue for a little brain vacation you went a little wild with it. You've gotta learn to be more chill. I mean...don't you feel good right now?" I smiled at him, and Simon lifted his head, as if to think about it for a second.
Then Simon was like, "Yeah! You know what? I DO feel good. I feel...I uh....I feel like...like I...like I might..." And a half second after the words left his mouth, he leaned forward and threw up allover his shoes!
Holy shit!!! Ahhhh! Nasty!
There was nothing even remotely secret about me scooting away from him that time! My but slid a good three to five feet away from him with just one startling push off with both legs!
Trace came back just as Simon was hurling for the second time. He said, "What the hell??? Oh wow! Billy! Grab the trashcan, Billy!" It took me a second to find it, but Trace snatched it from me and stopped Simon from making more of a mess. I don't think he minded too much about Simon spewing projectile vomit all over his bedroom floor. In fact, Trace was such an expert at doing damage control by cleaning it up, opening the windows, and using a fan to circulate the air a bit more...I was sure that he had practiced this procedure a hundred times before. Simon kept apologizing and crying for a minute or two...and then he slumped over to the side and his poor little body just went limp. Then he just started snoring like he had been asleep all along. Hehehe, Trace and I giggled about it, and he told me not to worry. He said he'd take Simon home in a couple of hours after he had some time to sleep it off and was stable enough to hopefully sneak back into his bedroom window. Somehow, I didn't see that happening with any level of success whatsoever. Which means that Simon may be on an even tougher punishment than he was already going through. But, if nothing else, he definitely looks 'relaxed'.
Trace and I clinked our cups together and took another sip together. Then I looked over at Simon's snoozing body, and I said, "He got his very first blowjob at my birthday party..." Trace and I looked at each other and totally started to crack up together! Ahhh...it felt good to laugh again. I know it won't last for long. I know. But tonight...I needed it pretty badly.
I've got to go. I'm pretty tired myself. Not drunk, just sleepy. I'll write more when I've got my head on straight.
Here's to waking up to another shitty morning...