DISCLAIMER: Glacier Bay Stories is a work of fiction and all principal characters are the result of my diseased mind. Though the stories might be based on fact everything contained in these pages have been endorsed or blessed by those who gave them to me. While Glacier Bay is patterned after Juneau, Alaska, it is not a definitive description of said town nor its inhabitants. I have nothing but found memories of my late childhood there and I hope that you become to enjoy this sleepy little town as I do.
Glacier Bay Stories is copyrighted and any use of said name without permission is punishable by law. Do not remove from Nifty without first obtaining permission from the authors.
All emails are welcomed. You may contact me atFireangel197502@Yahoo.com for any questions or comments.
GLACIER BAY STORIES
CHAPTER FIVE: A SENSE OF SELF
If not for that tragic for years I would not be the man I am today. The pain, the joy, the heartache defines me and begs me on till morning. Set your sight on the stars and your dreams will be realized...FireAngel
"I'm Jamie. Nice to meet you." Jamie said, offering his hand to the youth.
Brandon looked at his hands and held up the paint cans. "I got paint all over me." He offered, explaining why he wouldn't shake hands.
Looking back at is painting, he said casually, "It's really hard painting in this cold, the paint tends to clump together."
"It looks fucking awesome to me."
"I've done better." Brandon said truthfully. Placing the cans in a bag, the youth grabbed a plastic bag that had a rag stuffed into it. Placing the bag over his face, he breathed deeply. As the high overcame him, he staggered back a few feet. His blue eyes rolled up in his head and a silly grin broke out across his face.
"That feels better." Brandon stated with a sigh. "Do you want some?"
"No thanks." Jamie said with a shake of his head. He had heard to many stories about kids dying. He knew just how dangerous sniffing could be. "I have to drive."
Laughing at him, Brandon placed the bag into his backpack. Looking at Jamie with a dreamy expression on his face, he asked, "What are you doing out here in he middle of the night?"
Jamie shrugged his shoulders, "Killing time before I have to go home. What are you doing out here painting on rocks? Why don't you paint on canvas like normal people?"
"Every artist has a journey." Brandon slurred. "This is part of my journey."
"Painting in the dark?" Jamie asked sarcastically.
"You wouldn't understand." Brandon stated blankly. "And I don't have the patience to try."
"Probably caused you're stoned." Jamie snorted. The arrogant attitude of the blue haired youth grating on his more cultured upbringing.
"You find that rude." Brandon asked, turning his bloodshot eyes on the youth beside him.
"Just seems to me you don't know why you're painting in the dark." Jamie stated, with a hint of anger in his voice.
"No, you find that rude that I won't explain myself to you." Brandon said, his voice raising an octave. "And why should I explain anything to you?"
"You don't have to do anything." Jamie declared. "All I said was you were too fucking stoned to even know why you're out here in the middle of the night."
Suddenly laughing, Brandon reached for a cigarette from his pocket. Bringing the flame to the end, he breathed deeply. Looking at Jamie with an amused expression, he began, "I'm painting out here to familiarize myself with these harsh conditions. Learning how to layer the paint so the shadows bring out the scenes vividly."
"Told you, you wouldn't understand." Brandon said with a smile. "As an artist, I have to experience everything. To become a genius, I have to be willing to give up the normal restrictions and forge my way into uncharted areas."
"And you do this by painting in the dark?" Jamie asked, his face a mask of confusion.
"Only the first step." Brandon said mysteriously. "Come back here tomorrow and this beautiful scene will look horrible. The shading of the colors only works under the light of the moon."
"You did that on purpose?"
"Of course. I think people are afraid of the dark and they never see the beauty the night has to offer." Brandon said intensely. Throwing his cigarette on the ground, Brandon asked, "Why did you come out here in the dark?"
"I don't know. I've always loved the nighttime. It's so quiet and peaceful. The moon is a good friend of mine. I've spent hours talking to her." Jamie explained as he put his hands in his coat pockets. The cold was beginning to get to him.
He wondered how Brandon could stand it. The boy was wearing a pair of pants and a hooded sweatshirt. They're breath was frosting slightly in the chilly air and they're faces were red. Giving both of them a bizarre Santa Claus look.
"Ah, so you know about the power of the night." Brandon said, reaching for another cigarette. "The dark hides things, makes ugly things seem surreal. Tricks the mind into seeing something beautiful then laughs at us when the sun comes out revealing the bitter truth."
"That's why I'm painting in the dark. Showing people the ugliness of their own fears."
Jamie nodded his head. He could see the perverse logic behind the reason but disagreed with the statement. Glancing at his watch, he realized he was already late. He had spent longer than he wanted to at the glacier.
"I have to get home. I'm already late." Jamie spoke, shivering slightly.
Grabbing the backpack, Brandon asked, "Can you give me a ride home? It's a long walk for me."
"Sure." Jamie stated as he made his way over to the natural ladder embedded in the rocks.
Brandon looked at him with a weird expression. "What are you doing?" He asked as Jamie began climbing.
"Climbing out." Came the reply.
"Why don't you come this way, it's easier." He stated as he pointed to a narrow crevice between two boulders.
Worming his way through the space, he disappeared from sight. Jamie swore, he had never even tried going that way. Ripping his pants in the process, he followed the youth and found himself at the bottom of the rocks.
Brandon flashed him a smile and headed off towards the viewing platform. Jamie quickly caught up to him and asked, "Where do you live?"
"Down the road a few miles." Brandon stated vaguely. "It's not far. I promise."
Climbing up on top of the viewing platform, the two quickly made their way down the trail and to the parked SUV. Opening the doors, they jumped inside. Turning the heater full blast, Jamie pulled onto the road and headed back towards town.
Brandon asked, "Can I smoke in here?"
"No." Jamie screamed loudly. "My dad would kill me."
Smiling, Brandon put his cigarettes away. "Nice car. What does your dad do?"
"He's an image consultant for Barney and Slone." Jamie said absently as he concentrated on the road.
"My dad is the foreman at Sid Tools." Brandon offered. "My mom is a drunk."
Jamie looked at the boy next to him. He had stated that fact so calmly, Jamie automatically thought it was a joke. But then he saw the tightness around the boy's eyes and realized it wasn't. In that moment he felt so sorry for the boy. It must really suck to have parents that don't really care about you.
"Don't be. She's a real bitch." Brandon stated matter-of-factly. "My dad's been cheating on her for two years. How about you?"
"My mom is a volunteer teacher at the elementary school. They've been married for eighteen years."
"Have any brothers or sisters?"
"I have a little brother, Jonathan. He's thirteen." Jamie said with a smile.
"I don't have any brothers or sisters. My mom always says one was enough." Brandon stated with a hint of regret in his voice. "But it's for the best. I would hate to see a younger brother put through this shit anyway. Turn here." Brandon said as he pointed to the next road. "Go left and take the first right. We're at the end of the street. The last house on the left."
Jamie nodded. The neighborhood he turned into was Glacier Bay Estates. One of the more exclusive neighborhoods in town. It seemed a bit expensive for a simple foreman to afford but he let it pass.
All the houses were large with well-groomed yards and expensive cars parked in the driveways. When he stopped in front of the last house on the left, he was surprised to see the three-story structure looming above him.
"You live here?" He asked, disbelief showing on his face.
"Yeah, over the garage actually. I have a studio up there. Want to see it?" He asked, clearly not wanting Jamie to leave yet.
Looking at the clock on the dashboard, he agreed reluctantly. "Okay. Just for minute, I'm really late."
"Once you're late you might as well stay out as long as you want. Either way you're already in trouble. Might as well make the most of it." Brandon said with a grin as he opened the door.
They jumped out of the car and he led Jamie up the stairs leading to his room. At the door, he paused for a second. Bending down, he picked something up from the floor and put it in his pocket before Jamie could see what it was. Brandon opened the door and motioned for Jamie to come in. While Brandon lit another cigarette, Jamie took the opportunity to survey the room slowly.
It was filthy to say the least. Clothes and trash littered the floor and paintings of all shapes and sizes was stacked here and there leaning against the walls. An empty bottle of some kind of whisky was laying next to the bed and the whole place smelled of paint thinner with an underlying odor of incense.
"Nice place. Decorate yourself?" Jamie asked with a grin.
"It's not much but it's better than living over there." Brandon said as he pointed to the main house.
Jamie walked around the room, looking at the paintings closely. While Brandon searched for something to drink, Jamie noticed a particular painting. It was a simple painting of a white staircase surrounded by black nothingness. On each step of the stairs, a silhouette of a man stood. Each figure had its head shoved up the ass of the man before him. In white letters across the top was the single word, Conformity.
Pointing to it, Jamie smiled, "That's perfect."
Walking around the room, he saw many strange paintings. One of a baby in a dumpster surrounded by garbage screaming his head off. The piece was perversely named Joy. Brandon saw him staring at that one and stated with a grin, "The baby's name is Joy."
"Right." Jamie replied as he moved to another painting. This time he stared at the image for a while. The reality of the painting hit him so strongly. It was a picture of a dirty boy, maybe 15 years old, half-naked in an alley propped up against a wall, his head thrown to one side. Beside his lifeless hands was a plastic bag with a rag stuffed inside. Beside the bag was a tube of model glue. The painting was called Lucky.
Turning to look at Brandon, he asked, "How can you do that if you know that people die from it?"
Brandon answered softly, "Experiencing everything remember? I can't paint what I don't experience."
Making his way back to the sleeping area, Jamie said, "So you have to experience everything right?"
"Of course. I try something once and then try it again to give it a second chance." Brandon stated as he took a long drink of a warm soda that he found beside his bed.
"Are you going to experience death too?" Jamie asked him pointedly.
"One day." Brandon answered softly. "When everything has been done and there's nothing new anymore. Then I will gladly embrace death."
"Thank god you don't read Rimbaud." Jamie said with a shudder.
"I've read him actually." Brandon grinned. Pausing for a second, he started reciting, "There is nothing new in the world. It's all been, nothing is original."
Jamie shook his head as Brandon said, "But that was before I was born of course. I'm not stodgy Paul Verlaine, I could show him a new world that would even impress a jaded fag like him."
"Is there anything you haven't read?" Jamie asked, grinning despite the implications of Brandon's statement.
"Not much. I've read every book in the town's library before I was fourteen." Brandon declared without a trace of arrogance. "When did you read Rimbaud?"
"I never did." He admitted. "But I watched the movie about his life."
"That's cheating." Brandon accused. "You should read him, he's brilliant. The movie doesn't do his work justice."
"I've read Jim Carol." Jamie tried to defend himself.
"Are you sure you haven't just seen the movie?" Brandon teased, stifling a laugh.
"I've seen the film too but I knew about Carol before they made a movie. He's my cousin's favorite poet."
"You don't look much like a poetry fan." Brandon said as he eyed up the curly headed youth. Sitting down on the bed, Brandon offered the warm can of soda to him.
"No thanks." Jamie stated, looking around for a place to sit. Shrugging his shoulders, he sat down next to Brandon on the bed.
"Wow, you don't smoke, you don't sniff inhalants, you don't drink soda. What do you do?"
"I drink soda, just never this late. The caffeine would keep me up all night." Jamie explained as he pushed a shirt away from him with his foot.
"Be careful with that shirt." Brandon said with a smile. "You might not want to touch it with anything that belongs to you."
"What?" Jamie said, looking at the shirt puzzled.
Making a circle with his fist, Brandon moved his hand up and down in front of his crotch.
"That's sick man." Jamie stated as he stood up and walked across the room. Getting as far away from the shirt as humanly possible. Brandon was laughing as Jamie shook his head in disgust.
"And the funny thing is, you touched it." Brandon called out through fits of laughter.
"You're a sick man. You shouldn't leave it on the floor in plain sight where someone could stumble over it." Jamie said, completely embarrassed by the turn of the conversation.
"I wasn't expecting anyone to be up here." Brandon countered. "You should've seen the look on your face."
"Been there, done that already." Brandon giggled. "Matter of fact it was only last night."
Jamie looked at him trying to figure out if the blue haired boy was serious. Knowing what little he did about the crazy painter and his experiencing everything philosophy, he figured it probably was true. Flashing Brandon a grin, he stated, "Maybe, but not with me."
"Touché." Brandon said, giving a mock bow.
"Look man, I've got to. I'm going to be busted for sure." Jamie explained as he walked over to the door.
"Thanks for the ride." Brandon said and held out his hand.
Jamie grabbed it and smiled, "You're welcome. Thanks for letting me see your work. Your really good."
"I know. And have a good night." Brandon called out as Jamie descended down the stairs. Waiting until the boy was at the bottom, he called out, "Hey Jamie."
"What?" Jamie answered, turning around to face him.
"Remember that shirt?"
"After I used it I never washed my hand." Brandon shouted down in between fits of laughter. Jamie didn't even think about it, he brought up his hand to his mouth and licked the entire length of his hand. Grinning back at the blue haired boy, he called up, "Salty but not bad."
He quickly turned away and left Brandon standing there with a stunned look on his face. Laughing he started the SUV and made his way back to the road. He was going to get busted for sure.
Brandon watched as the SUV disappeared in the night. Chuckling to himself, he walked back inside and went over to his bed. After smoking a bowl, he grabbed his sketchbook and lost himself for awhile. Letting the features of Jamie flow from his mind onto the paper he pondered the innocence of the boy he met.
Something about Jamie intrigued him. Maybe it was honest appreciation of his work. Or maybe the acceptance he felt from the younger boy. But after a while, he admitted it was his smile that captured his attention. Jamie was the complete opposite of Tyler, like the other side of a coin. After all, he had always been attracted to independent personalities. With Tyler it was more of a control factor, the idea of seducing the seducer was just to enticing to pass up. And with Jamie, the idea of corrupting an innocent was priceless. Slowly as he drew, an idea began forming in his mind. But he would have to be careful; he needed to handle him with care.
Leaning back on the bed, he felt something sticking into his leg. Remembering the letter on his doorstep, he reached for it. He immediately recognized Tyler's handwriting as he read the brief note.
"I thought you might enjoy these."
Shaking his head, he quickly thumbed through the pictures of the English teacher blowing Tyler. Suddenly feeling sorry for the teacher, he threw the pictures in his nightstand drawer. What ever Tyler had wanted by showing him the pictures backfired. All he felt was disgust for the blonde that could destroy a family without a second thought. Maybe it was time for a change after all. Musing, he slowly drifted off to sleep where he dreamed of better days and a better life.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jamie pulled into the garage and winced at the noise of the door shutting. Not only was he late but he was two hours late. Something he had never done before. And seeing the light on in the living room filled him with dread. At least one of his parents were up if not both of them.
Steeling himself for the inevitable, he walked into the living room and faced his father. His father was calmly reading a book on the couch, a half-empty beer sitting on the coffee table. Looking up from the book, his father motioned for him to take a seat and then returned to his reading. Jamie sat down in the easy chair and waited for his father to speak.
After his father finished the chapter he was reading, he placed the book next to him and took a drink before saying, "Would you like to explain why you're two hours late?"
Jamie gave him a weak smile and replied, "I'm sorry dad. I kind of lost track of time."
His father nodded and waited for him to continue. Jamie took a deep breath and started, "After the movie, Pete and the girls wanted to go to Denny's and since I wasn't hungry I decided to go for a drive instead."
"So you've been driving around all night?" His father asked, giving him a disappointed frown.
"Not exactly." Jamie said quietly. "I went to the glacier and ran into someone."
His fathers eyes widened, "How do you mean ran into someone?"
"Not with the car or anything." Jamie said with a grin. "How bad of a driver do you think I am?"
His father, Scott returned the smile, "Obvious not very bad since I let you drive my car around all night."
"I ran into this guy Brandon. He was painting a mural on the side of a rock and..."
"He was painting in the middle of the night?" Scott asked, skeptical by the explanation his son was giving him.
"I know. That's one of the reasons we started talking." Jamie said quickly in his excitement. "You should see it though, it really cool. It's a depiction of the Battle of Troy, I mean, its good. But anyway, he didn't have a ride home so I offered to take him home."
"And just where does this boy live?"
"In Glacier Bay Estates. His house is huge dad. I couldn't believe it. He lives above the garage in this converted studio apartment. He has his painting all over the room. He's really good but some of his ideas are a bit out there." Jamie explained as he absently rubbed his hands through his curls.
"He lives above the garage?" His dad stated thoughtfully. "That's a bit strange. How old is this boy?"
"My age maybe a bit older." Jamie replied. "I don't think his parents like him much. He told me his mom gets drunk every night and tells him how disappointed she is with him."
"That's sad." Scott said quietly, clearly feeling sorry for the boy he never met.
"I know. And he has all this talent."
Scott shook his head and stated, "That still doesn't explain why you're getting home two hours late."
"I know. But when I dropped him off he asked if I wanted to see some of his paintings so I went up. I guess I kind of lost track of time. I'm sorry dad. It won't happen again." Jamie promised sincerely.
Laughing, Scott replied, "I rather doubt that." Then turning serious again, he added, "I understand how you can lose the time. But that's not the reason I'm disappointed in you."
"What do you mean?" Jamie asked, leaning forward in his chair.
"The reason we give you a curfew is not to make you upset or make you feel like we don't trust you." Scott explained slowly. "Curfew is there so we don't worry about you."
Seeing that he didn't really understand, Scott tried a different approach. "Your mother worries about you constantly. Every moment that you're not in her sight she worries about you. And we give you a curfew so we know when to expect you home. And when you're not home by the agreed time, we start thinking the worse."
"But nothing happened." Jamie defended himself.
"I know that. You know that. But your mother doesn't. I was sleeping soundly when she woke me up shortly after midnight." Scott said with a smile. "She can't sleep when your not home and I guess she won't let me sleep either."
"I didn't know that. I didn't mean to worry you." Jamie said softly. "I guess I didn't think about that."
"Jamie, I understand that sometimes you are out somewhere and having fun. Time slips by so fast. Believe me, the older you get the faster it goes. But all we really ask is if you are going to be late for whatever reason, take the time out to give us a call and let us know what's going on. It would make your mother happy. And it's such a small thing to do for her. Do you understand now?"
Shaking his head yes, Jamie said, "I understand. If that happens again I promise I will call."
"Good. I know we can count on you." His father said warmly. "Now, we have to discuss your punishment."
Jamie hung his head in shame. He had been hoping to get off with a warning since it was his first time. But he patiently waited for whatever his father decided on.
Scott thought about it for a moment before saying, "Since you were two hours late, I figure that for two weeks your curfew will be ten PM and that you won't be able to use the car either until two weeks are up."
Jamie smiled briefly before remembering that next Friday was midnight madness at the theatre. They were showing a double feature of Nightmare on Elm Street movies and he had been waiting for months to go. Quietly he asked, "But what about next weekend, midnight madness."
Without cracking a smile, his father replied, "Since you've asked about that months ago and we've already agreed that you could go, Friday night will be the exception. But you still won't be able to drive yourself."
"How will I get there?" Jamie asked, racking his brain for a solution.
"I've already thought about that." Scott replied with a straight face. "And since I don't want to have to drop you off and then pick up four hours later, I've decided that I'm going with you."
Grinning broadly, Jamie said excitedly, "But I thought you had to work on Saturday."
"I did. But you don't think I'd miss Freddie do you?" His father asked with a grin.
Jamie impulsively ran over and hugged his father tightly. Every year they had went to the midnight madness together, kind of like a family tradition. But this year he had thought his father had to work and couldn't make it.
"I love you dad."
"I love you too. And guess what?"
"I think it might be time for Jonathan to come with us. He is older than you were when we started going."
"That would be f...cool." Jamie said, almost cursing in front of his father. "Jonathan will be so happy."
"Now young man, you get your butt upstairs and go to bed. I'm too old to be staying up this late." Scott said firmly, standing up and stretching loudly.
Jamie took the steps two at a time and paused when he reached the master bedroom. Opening the door quietly, he walked over to the bed and kissed his mom on the cheek and said, "I love you."
He met his father at the doorway and gave him another hug and said, "Goodnight dad."
"Goodnight son. See you in the morning."
Jamie crept to his room and opened the door and found his little brother sleeping on the floor wrapped up in a comforter. The TV was on but the sound was down and in his hands he still had the controller gripped tightly. Jamie smiled and shook his brother gently.
"Wake up bro. Time for you to go to bed." He urged as he turned off the TV and put the game away.
Jonathan opened his eyes and smiled at his brother, "Did you have fun tonight?"
"More than you know little man. Now get your ass to bed." Jamie said with a smile, already stripping out of his clothes. After putting on a pair of shorts he turned to find his brother already curled up in his bed.
Shaking his head, he pushed his brother over to the other side and climbed in next to him. Jonathan murmured a goodnight and rolled over on his side. Jamie smiled and promptly fell asleep, his thoughts drifting to Brandon.
To Be Continued
Copyright©2002 Burning Angel