by Julien Gregg
Edited by Bruce
© Copyright 2005 Julien
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. This story is almost all fiction. Almost all of the characters depicted in this story exist exclusively in the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, is, sometimes purely coincidental. For a list of my other stories, original and fan fiction, please visit my personal website.
"Hey, Tommy," said Phillip
as he walked over to the locker that I shared with Steve. "What time is the
"We can head over there now," I replied. "I was just thinking about something."
"About your locker?" He asked, looking at the freshly painted surface of the locker.
It stood out even more now that it was painted. The other lockers in the row were nowhere as bright as ours. Scratches could be found on the lockers on either side, but ours was gleaming and pristine. The thought of it made me angry all over again. Leo hadn't come to school, so it wasn't him. If not Leo, then who? Who would do this? My only other thought was one of the Freshmen. They were the only ones that I knew of that hadn't gone to the school the year before when everything was peaceful.
"Actually, the locker is what got me started," I replied after a brief moment. "I want to do something through the GSA to promote tolerance and acceptance. I'm going to discuss it with Vince tonight when I get home."
"What are you thinking about doing?" Phillip asked as we started to walk toward the computer lab where the meeting was being held.
"I'm not sure just yet," I told him. "I'll know more after I talk to Vince."
Mr. Branch was waiting for us when we got to the lab. He was the teacher who was the silent observer in our meetings. His function was to make sure that we didn't stray too far into matters that were better left outside the after school club. He smiled at us as we walked in, and I was happy to see that he'd put bottles of juice on the far table against the
Most of the football team was already there. I didn't expect any of the Freshman players to attend the meeting, but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few of them in the room. Wendy and Steve were already sitting at the front table where the entire committee usually sat. Phillip was new, so he just sat in the front row of tables that faced the committee table. I sat down between Wendy and Steve as Ben, Mark and Rick came into the room.
"Its a go," said Mark with a huge smile. "Mitch said all we have to do is get four chaperones, and we can start planning the dance."
"How many have to be faculty?" Wendy asked.
"He didn't say," said Mark. "I'm going to try to get two teachers, though."
"Well, you've got one," said Mr. Branch. "Just let me know the date, and if you need any help with anything, let me know."
"Great," said Mark as he and Rick took their seats.
Everyone was talking in little groups, but as soon as all of us were seated, they started to quiet down. Some asked questions about the dance, and others offered to help with decorations. Most of them just sat there, saying nothing and waiting for us to start
telling them what we had planned. I wasn't going to bring up my ideas for tolerance and acceptance at this meeting. I still needed to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. There was also the fact that whatever I decided to do, the school had to approve.
"Well, I guess you've all heard now," said Mark, getting the announcements underway. "We're planning to sponsor a dance as quickly as possible."
"Sort of a back to school kind of thing," said Wendy. "Something that will let us all be together and have a good time in a safe and friendly environment."
"Exactly," said Mark, pulling a sheet of paper out of one of his folders. "Now, I heard some of you say that you were interested in helping with decorations. I'm going to pass this around for all of you to put your name down for me. Then we'll decide on a theme, and we'll know more about the type of decorations that we need."
The meeting went on, and I gave it all of the attention that I could. However, most of what went on was name-taking for decorations and a few other things. We had to decide on a theme and gain space to have the dance. That was more Rick and Mark's area. After all, the dance had been their idea. I was all for it, though. I just didn't know what they expected the rest of us to do in the planning stage.
I had to excuse myself from the meeting early to go to work. I thought about what I wanted to do through the GSA the entire time I was bussing tables that night. By the time I got home, I was still no closer to knowing what I wanted to do. I hoped that Vince was home, so I could talk to him about it. We wouldn't have another meeting until Wednesday, but that didn't mean that I couldn't discuss my ideas with Wendy, Mark and Rick. Steve would be with me, so he and I could talk about what I wanted any time.
Vince was home when I walked in. Steve was still at work, so I just sat in the living room with Vince and talked to him about what I wanted to do. He listened to everything I had to say and then talked to me about t-shirts and other things that the GSA could sell at school to anyone who wished to buy them. He was very upset about the messages written on our lockers, and I was worried that he might revert to the behavior he'd displayed when we'd first decided to come out of the closet.
"Do they know who it is that's leaving these messages?" Vince asked calmly, and I was a bit
"Not yet," I admitted. "I had thought that it was Leo Hartman at first, but he wasn't at school all day long, so it couldn't have been him."
"He could have done it before he left the school yesterday," pointed out Vince.
"No," I replied with a sigh. "He left before we did yesterday. I watched him and his brother get into their father's car and leave the parking lot. They were outside when we got outside after going to our locker."
"Then that means someone you don't suspect is against you," he said. "I thought that the attitude at school had changed."
"So did I," I agreed. "There's a whole class of new students there this year, though. I know that there are every year, but these kids might be different. I don't know why Leo and Noah are really at Storyville High, but I was told it was because Reverend Hartman, their grandfather, thought that Compton was morally corrupt, or something."
"And his church is morally superior? He needs to take a closer look at some of his people," he said. "I don't want to get into that mess, though. What is Mitch doing about this?"
"Well, Wendy said that he's talking about cameras and security guards," I told him. "We almost had metal detectors at the entrances, but the school board voted against them."
"Metal detectors wouldn't be a bad idea," said Vince. "I know that several schools have them. I don't understand why the school board voted against them, though. Storyville is a big city, and two of the four high schools here have metal detectors and cameras installed."
"I don't understand anything the school board does," I laughed.
"Well, I've got to go pick up Maria," he said, slapping me on the back. "Tell Steve that I left his college forms on the counter."
"Sure thing," I said. "Have a good time tonight, Vince."
"Thanks," he said, smiling at me. "Be careful tomorrow, Tommy."
I went into the kitchen to get something to eat afterthat. It was only nine-thirty, so Steve wouldn't be home for at least another half hour. Andy was staying at Gage's house for the night, so I was alone in the house for a while. I used that time to work on my homework and eat my sandwich. It was also during that time that I got the first of our prank calls.
The caller was silent after I answered the phone, and after a few minutes, I disconnected the connection. I was half way back to my seat at the kitchen table when the phone started to ring again. I glanced at the sandwich on my plate and sighed. This wasn't going to be fun if it was another silent call. Sure enough, no one answered me when I said, "Hello." I was just hanging up the telephone again when Steve came in the side door.
"Hey, Bud," he said, smiling. "Who was on the phone?"
"Wouldn't I like to know," I said, sitting back down at the table. "It was the second prank call tonight. Silent."
"I thought that was all over," he sighed as he sat down beside me at the table. We'd had the number changed and unlisted before my mother died when we'd first came out of the closet to
everyone. Since then, no one had called us to say anything bad or keep silent. I was wondering how anyone had gotten the number. I was sure that my friends hadn't given it out. I'd thought about dialing *69 to find out who it was, but the call had come in as blocked, so that was out of the question.
"I guess its not," I replied. "I'll talk to Tom and Shirley about changing the number again tomorrow."
"Maybe we'd better," he said with a sigh. "I hate this stuff."
"Well, with the hateful verse written on our lockers and everything else, prank calls aren't so bad," I said, trying to at least convince him that I was looking at the bright side.
"Wendy says Mitch is really trying to get camera's in the halls," he said, slumping down in a seat next to me at the kitchen table.
"Hopefully, the school board will go along with it," I said as I started to make myself a sandwich. I even made him one before he could ask me to.
"Thanks," he said when I slid the plate over, indicating that one of the two sandwiches was for him. "I'm not really hungry tonight. I ate at work."
"How was work?" I asked him, grateful for a change in subject.
"Strange and slightly annoying," he replied. His eyes were tight at the corners when I looked at his face, too.
"Leo Hartman," he said as if the very name of the teen aged Baptist homophobe explained everything.
"What about him?" I prompted.
"He works with me now," he sighed before taking a bite of his sandwich.
"They haired Leo?" I asked, shocked. All right, so I just didn't expect that he would want to work in a restaurant that actually sold liquor or something.
"Yeah, Terrence, the manager, is like his cousin," said Steve. "He warned him, though. He said that if he even heard a sermon, Leo was gone."
"I'll bet Leo wasn't happy to hear that," I said with a chuckle.
"His face screwed up tight, like he'd eaten a bad pickle," laughed Steve. "He didn't say more than five words to me for the whole night, though, and Terrence was cool about not making me train him."
"That would have been interesting," I said, thinking about my own turmoil with him sitting next to me in computer class.
"Interesting is one word to describe it," he said, "though I'm not sure it would have been my choice of descriptions to convey the way training him would have made me feel."
"Surely you're not attempting to imply that training Leo Hartman would have been in any way unpleasant," I said, trying very hard not to laugh as I spoke.
"Oh, quit it," he laughed. "How was your night at work?"
"Mine was fine," I replied. "Nothing major happened. We had a table of twenty, but I had help bussing that one, so the night wasn't horrible."
"No teenaged Baptist homophobes at the Plaza, huh?"
"Not quite," I chuckled. "Although, there is one guy, a dish washer named Henry, that thinks it would be hot to have a bisexual girlfriend who also has a girlfriend of her own as long as he would be allowed to participate."
"That's not something I'm even interested in discussing tonight," he said, pretending to be put out.
Sandwiches eaten, I put the saucer in the dishwasher. Taking my boyfriend by the hand, I led him through the dining room to the living room. It was nearly ten-thirty, but I wasn't really ready to go to bed. Instead, we took our usual places on the couch, and Steve clicked on the television. He found a nice, boring show for us to watch, and we snuggled there for a little while.
"So, what's on the agenda for tomorrow?" Steve asked once we were both comfortably positioned with me leaning against him.
"School, work again, and then you," I said.
"I'm going to be bored stiff tomorrow evening while you're at work," he complained.
"Right," I chuckled. "You'll hang out with Nick and Jeremy, playing that crazed video game all evening, and I'll have to drag you home when I get off work."
"Nope," he insisted. "We've beat the game, so now we're without stimulating entertainment."
"Whatever," I laughed.
After that, we were quiet. We watched the television, and he nearly soothed me to sleep by rubbing the tips of his fingers over my stomach. I was almost asleep when he told me that we needed to get to bed. I let him pull me along up the stairs, but once we were in our room, I was awake enough to undress both of us. We touched each other like we hadn't been able to touch each other in years. I knew that it was partly because of Leo and that damned bible passage on our locker, but I was happy to be touching Steve anyway.
We remained close the next morning all through our run. By the time we were showered and dressed, Nick and Jeremy were waiting for us on the porch. We'd gotten a little too carried away in the shower, so we were running a bit behind schedule. I'm sure that Nick and Jeremy knew exactly what we had been up to. Our smiles more than likely gave us away.
"So, what are we doing tonight?" Nick asked once he and I were in my car. I was thankful that he'd decided to not mention how late we were.
"I have to work again tonight, so it'll just be you, Jeremy and Steve until I get home," I said. "You guys can stay at the house tonight if you want, though."
"Sounds like a plan," he replied. "Movie night?"
"Yeah, I'll remind Steve to go and rent a few later," I said. "If you want to see anything in particular, just tell Steve."
"I'll probably ride along with him when he goes to the video store."
We pulled into the parking lot at school, and I smiled as I saw that we still had ten minutes to spare. Nick and I met up with Steve and Jeremy and the four of us walked into the building together. The first thing I noticed was that Mark and Rick weren't in the quad. Actually, none of our friends were in the quad. I wondered if they had all be late, too. When Steve and I got to our locker, we found out why none of our friends were in the quad.
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with womankind, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."
It was written in the same black magic marker as the first message. The same block capitol letters with a different message. Though the words were different, this one could have been taken as a threat. I was instantly angry, and I didn't realize how angry I was until Steve yanked his hand out of mine and complained. I'd been squeezing it so hard that his knuckled were white. The next thing I saw was Leo, and then I was really angry.
"Do you think this is funny?" I demanded as I slammed him against his own locker. The smirk that had formed on his face melted instantly.
"I didn't do this, Tommy," he said, but the cold look in his eyes made me want to drive my fist through his face anyway. "You should know that you can't go on sinning without someone doing something about it. You're sick, and you deserve . . ."
I hadn't even realized that I was really going to hit him until his words were cut off by a gush of air being forced out of his open mouth. My fist had connected with his stomach, and tears were now running down his face as he tried to catch his breath. I could hear Steve behind me, telling me to calm down, but it was too late for that now.
"If you say one more thing about me, or any of my friends, you'll get worse than what I just gave you," I spat hatefully in his face. "Am I in any way unclear?"
"Mr. Porter, that is quite enough," said the voice of Ms. Tull from behind me. "Perhaps you need to have a chat with Mr. Benson about keeping your filthy hands to yourself."
"Filthy?" I gasped, letting go of Leo and spinning around to face her.
"Oh, don't get all uptight with me, Mr. Porter," she said as a sickening smile crept over her face. "I'm sure you'd be expelled."
"Fuck you," I spat and turned to walk away.
"Go to Mr. Benson's office, and tell him what you just told me," she called from behind me as Steve caught up with me.
Looking back, I'm actually thankful to Ms. Tull for making me so angry that I walked away. I'm also very thankful that Steve followed me. I was on my way to Mitch's office, but the loudest sound I'd ever heard stopped me in my tracks. I didn't have to turn around and see the damage to the row of lockers that mine was in to know what had happened. I wasn't prepared for the sight of Leo, either.
Our locker had exploded, and Leo was bloody from his scalp to his chin. A piece of metal from the destroyed locker was sticking out of his left cheek. I saw all of this in only an instant, for the next thing I knew, another explosion rocked us. This one came from further down the line of lockers, but I didn't have to be a genius to figure out which locker had just exploded. In the moments that followed the sound of Rick and Mark's locker blowing up, all Hell broke loose.
People began to scream and run in every direction. Most were screaming about other lockers blowing up. I didn't think that any other lockers were in jeopardy, though. It was clear to me what was going on. The message on our locker had been a threat after all.
The story will continue soon . . . .