The Maxwell Thomas
By: Eric Case
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Max laughed, "yeah the worm-shit is gonna get it now! Boy I tell you man," he said gripping me by the shoulder gently, "this is gonna be some fun s-h-i-t!" He looked down at me, and I looked up at him with tears forming in my eyes as the feeling of betrayal began to set in. That's when Max winked at me and mouthed "no worries." At that moment my heart leapt in my chest as I realized he had something up his sleeve. Max was cooking up some kinda surprise for these boys and it would be something fun to see!
Jack pushed the bathroom door open and Max lead me inside followed by the other two and once the door closed behind us Jack locked it. Then Max smiled like the spider with a fly hopelessly caught in it's web. "Okay worm-shit," he said looking at Jack. "In the stall."
"In the stall!" Max said more sternly. "You said I was gonna get to dunk the worm shit, and the only worm-shit I see here is you Jack."
"Nuh uh," Jack said shaking his head from side to side with a fearful look on his face. "The kid there.. is.. he's the worm-sh.." Jack trailed off. Max was looking unimpressed and pointed to the stall. "Come on man," Jack said. Then he turned to his two buddies for help but they both just back away towards the door not wanting to be in the bathroom with Max if he blew up.
Max took two steps forward and grabbed Jack around the back of the neck and pulled him to the stall pushing his head down towards the toilet. "Now," Max began through gritted teeth. "The kid you always call worm-shit, and pick on happens to be a close personal friend of mine. I don't take kindly to you fucking with him do you understand prick?"
"Yes! Yes I understand!" Jack shouted in a quavering voice. He sounded so shaky I was sure he was crying and I almost felt sorry for him.
"If I ever hear from him, that you have even given him a dirty look, or breathed too hard in his direction, I'll dunk you head in one of the football locker-room toilets when it's just been used by Porky! Yeah... that's right, big ole 270 pound offensive guard Pork-meister and believe me, you do not want to be anywhere near the toilet after he's used it!" Max said and stooped down so that his mouth was inches from Jack's ear. "Got it?"
"Yeah, yeah Max! Sure thing I promise! I'll never bug wor... Jared again okay? Never ever ever!"
Max stood up and let Jack go and lead me out of the bathroom. When we got outside the lunch period had ended an the hallways were now full of students. "Hey Max you fuckin pussy," came Jack's voice. Max stopped and looked back over his shoulder. "Yeah I'm talkin to you! It takes a real man to surprise a guy in the bathroom huh?" Jack said walking towards us.
Max laughed and turned back to walk away as Jack came up behind him and pushed him. Max stopped and spun around but didn't slug Jack the way I expected him to. "Aren't you gonna hit me?" Jack asked smugly. "Oohh that's right.. if you do that in the hall way, you'll get put on probation and won't play in the game on Friday huh?" Jack smiled a big arrogant smile as Max bared his teeth in a half smile that registered a 9.1 on the 'I'm about to kick your ass' scale. "Not so tough out here where everyone can see huh big guy?" Jack asked giving Max another shove but Max didn't even budge. Instead he slapped Jack's arms down and slapped both palms into Jack's chest sending him flying backwards into his two friends who were standing there dumb-founded.
Jack jumps up coughing having been winded but the hit, and then comes walking quickly towards Max through the aisle of people standing watching. Then Leo came up standing to the right of Max and extended his right arm out in front of Jack barring his way. Leo grabs Jack by the shirt collar and lifts him off the ground and smiles asking in that slight accent "there a problem sonny-Jim?" Jack shook his head "no" rapidly.
"Good.. cause nothing in the pharmacy will kill you quicker than if you lay a hand on Max again," he said setting Jack down then shoving him easily sprawling several feet into his two friends. The three of them, having no other option turned around and scurried through the crowd that was now laughing.
"You okay Jared?" Leo asked tossing a heavy arm over my shoulder.
"Yeah I'm cool," I said simply still feeling a little high on life.
"Power-house.. do me a favor and tell the coach I won't make practice tonight. I'll call him afterwards and sort things out," Max said.
"You know he's gon' kick your ass over that," Leo said smiling.
"Nah I'll take care of it," Max said chuckling. "Besides he's too old to kick high enough to reach my ass anyway."
"Okay take it easy man," Leo said slapping hands with Charlie and sauntering off. As they left the spectators who had been crowded around us watching, stirred into motion like a bunch of robots on an assembly line when someone hits the on switch.
"You okay?" Max asked me placing a hand on my shoulder.
"Yeah I'm okay.. I uh.. you had me scared there for a minute," I laughed.
Max smiled. "Yeah it was partly for effect for good ole Jack. Then I looked down and saw you were upset and had to let you in on it," Max said staring off into space. "Listen Jared, I'll never do anything like that again without talking to you about it first okay?"
"Thanks Max," I said smiling. Then I seemed to wake up and return to the real world realizing that there were people walking by us and we were in school and I had to get to class! "I guess I better get to class," I said resisting the urge to hug him then and there. Max nodded and said that he'd see me after school. We parted ways and I was soon bored out of my mind in English class. Don't get me wrong, I love literature and reading, and I've even written some poetry and short stories, but we were studying "XII Night" by Shakespeare. I had read that play at least a dozen times before taking it in that class, and the topics we were discussing about it were so trivial that all I wanted to do was sleep.
Finally English ended and already the word had spread around school that Max, Leo, and Charlie had all been backing me up against Jack. As I left class Nancy came up beside me smiling. "SO I take it you didn't get dunked huh?" She asked smiling.
"Nope," I said smiling happily. Nancy was also in my next class and we walked all the way across the school together! All the guys seemed to be looking up to me now.. well I was still shorter than them but they seemed to respect me. They would nod a greeting or at least smile, and for the first time I felt like I was on level ground with everyone else. The next period was math and since there was no seating arrangement Nancy pulled me over to her table to sit with her and we chit-chatted getting in trouble with the teacher a couple times but we didn't care. She was a great person and as friends we got along well even though I knew we would never be more.
Finally the end of the day rolled around and people were rushing to their lockers, or standing in the halls talking. I found it pretty easy to get to my locker for a change since people seemed to give me a wider birth than usual. It wasn't like they were avoiding me, they just seemed to want to give me my space. Yeah it was pretty darn cool! I grabbed my stuff and filled up my bag and headed to the cafeteria doors where Max had said he would meet me and I was surprised to see Nancy standing there waiting also. "Hey Nancy," I said smiling.
"Hi Jared," she said looking all cute in her bright yellow jacket with her school bag on. I looked past her and saw Max walking towards us then heard him yell something over his shoulder to one of the football players. "Max," Nancy said holding her arms wide. Max walked over and leaned down giving her the type of friendly one-arm hug a guy gives a friend who's a girl and kissed her on the cheek.
"You guys know each other?" I asked a bit shocked.
"Yeah, my dad is Coach Harrison so I know Max from way back," she said smiling.
"Cool," I said smiling.
The three of us headed out to the Jeep where Leo was waiting for us. He came jogging over. "Man you hear?" He asked quickly.
"What?" Max asked setting his bag down at the back of the Jeep and finding the key to open the trunk.
"Greenway quit," Leo said frowning. "Now we got no manager cause you know that dude Roy can't handle no business himself, the coach'll end up makin' us get our own water and shit durin' the games."
"Who's Greenway?" I asked curious.
"He was our team manager, and handled the field equipment, helped with taping people up, and stuff like that," Max said.
"Jared can take over," Nancy jumped in grabbing me by the arm.
"Nah man, Jared don't wanna do that. Lotta players give the managers hassle sometimes," Leo said.
"Well we'll just have to tell them not to," Max said smiling. "Wanna help us out? I gotta call the coach tonight anyway to explain why I'm not comin' to practice tonight."
Max tossed his bag into the Jeep when I said I'd help out however they needed me. "Alriiiiight, that's mah dawg there kna'mean?" Leo said slapping me on the back. "Aight man, I'll catch you later," Leo said as he turned and headed back towards the school.
"Okay let's get saddled up," Max said opening hsi door and unlocking the others.
"Shotgun," Nancy called out walking towards the passenger door. She winked at me over her shoulder and I figured I may as well let her have it this time. She was, after all, taller than I was! Max started the engine and pressed a couple buttons on the radio and I heard the CD switching as I shut my door and did up my seat belt. Then "Dragula" by Rob Zombie came on loud as anything! But it wasn't the original version, it was that remix they made for The Matrix. It was pretty much the same song but the beat was changed to a more fast dance beat and I actually liked it.
We got home after dropping Nancy off and Max had stopped at the grocery store to pick up some "things" he said. We went inside and Max set down his bag of groceries on the kitchen table. I ran up to my room to put my bag away and came back downstairs and walked into the kitchen. "Whatcha doin?" I asked happily.
"Well I figured I'd get something nice for dinner," Max said seasoning a bunch of steaks on the cutting board.
"You're gonna cook?" I asked raising my eyebrows.
"Yeah," Max said a little amused at my surprise. "I can cook you know. Pretty darn well too I might add."
He messed up my hair and I smiled eating his attention up like I would eat his steak later that night. When my parents came home, Max and I had the table set and dinner ready for them. Needless to say they were pretty surprised and pretty happy too with not having to cook anything. Then when we ate it was unbelievably good! Max had seasoned the meat and beaten it so well that it practically disintegrated in your mouth and there were no leftovers from the meet, pasta, or Caesar salad.
After dinner my parents went out cause Monday night is bowling night, and Max and I were left alone in the house. Unfortunately for me, Max wasn't interested in a homosexual relationship so we spent the evening on the couch watching television. My heart absolutely ached at how much I wanted him to hold me in his arms. After all he had done for me that day, turning my whole life around through his friendship, it wasn't enough. I wanted more from him. His friendship was the greatest I ever had but there was so much about him to love, and even though I knew I had to settle for our close friendship, I also knew that as good as having Max made me feel, not having all of Max hurt almost more.
There it is.. chapter seven. Questions, comments, suggestions, little hello notes, and even flames are always welcome at email@example.com lol. see ya!