Disclaimer: This story contains adult
content, you should read it responsibly. If you find this type of material
offensive, don't read it. It's really that simple. The writer created this
tale entirely in his own mind; he owns it and all the rights to it. You
may not copy it, you may not show it publicly without the writer's consent,
because he wants to be there if and when you do, just in case you get all
hot and bothered.ãJCPco2003.
I was excited to have a best friend, I'd never really had one before. I just always hung around with my buds, never really thought about it before I guess. I liked the way it sounded when Petey said, "We'll be best friends forever." While I was excited, I was a little confused as to what exactly a best friend was supposed to do. I really didn't know what it meant to be a best friend, but it sure sounded good. Whatever it did mean, I was gonna do my best to be one.
"Boy, I don't want you going out no where after supper. I gots me some stuff to do on the boat. I needs two more hands." Daddy's deep voice sounded off as we were eating.
I looked up at my daddy from my plate, I put my biscuit down, and folded my hands for a minute. His blue eyes seemed distant. It was the first time I'd noticed how old my daddy looked. His hair now lightened, with all the silver-gray that took hold of what once was brown. His eyebrows had gotten bushier, with longer hairs cropping out and growing wildly up on his forehead. There was now a maze of wrinkles on his cheeks that were once smooth and clean-shaven. My daddy's skin looked lighter now too, not the bronze tan I remembered from when I was real little. I think it was the first time I noticed that Daddy wasn't shaving everyday anymore, often he'd have this light gray stubble on his face.
I sat there a few minutes caught up in my thoughts. I remembered when I was little sitting in the high chair that was now in the corner of the room. My eyes swept across the room, looking at the faded floral printed wallpaper. I tried to imagine it when it was bright yellow, with the vivid lavenders, blues, and greens it once boldly displayed. Now the walls were dull, perhaps a little dingy with age. The pine table we ate around showed its age too with some deep set scratches running over it. The dark walnut stain was worn off around all the edges of the table, showing the lighter pine-wood. The same was true for the armrests on the chairs that went with the table.
"You got something on your mind boy?" Daddy asked in between chews.
"Is something troubling you son?" My mother then asked, her voice sounded so sweet.
I looked at my momma and smiled, but directed my comment to my daddy. "What's it mean to be a best friend?"
I watched my daddy put his fork down, and push his plate away. He sat back in his chair, it was the one at the head of the table, under the large glass wall that faced the canal. Daddy's face got all serious looking, even his nose crinkled a little bit as he pursed his lips. I figure he was thinking of what to say, and how to say it right.
"It means you watch his back, it means you do whatever you can in your power for him, and he for you. You're equal with one another, and have total respect for one another. No promise can ever be broke between best friends." Daddy explained, then sat silently looking at Momma.
"Billy, a best friend is someone who will be there with you no matter what. Pick them wisely." Momma softly said, and reached her right hand toward Daddy.
Daddy slipped his left hand into, and then he lightly placed it over Momma's. "You got a best friend do you boy?" He asked, a slight smile crossed his face.
"Yes sir, I do. Petey Tomo, the new boy." I announced proudly.
"You be careful around him Billy, he's a Yankee." Daddy said, and seemed filled with concern.
"Now B.B. don't go on `bout all that and some." Momma protested.
B.B is what most older folks call Daddy. His real name is Billy Bob Velleriuex, Senior. My real name is Billy Bob Velleriuex, Junior. I don't tell many people my full name, I don't like it. I don't mind Billy, but I can't stand it when people call me Billy Bob. It sounds so silly to me.
"Jackie, the boy has got to know, there is only one thing worse than a Yankee that moves down south to stay, and that's a Jew Yankee that moves down south to stay. This Petey isn't no Jew is he boy?" Daddy was truly alarmed now.
"I don't think so Daddy. I never asked him what church he went to."
"B.B, now if Billy has him for his best friend we'll welcome him in my house. You hear?" Momma put her foot down, that was rare.
"Yes, Ma'am." Daddy got up from his chair and went into the parlor.
I was sitting at the table with Momma, not knowing what to say or do. I stared at my plate, it still had food on it, but I wasn't hungry anymore. I watched my momma get up and start clearing things off the table. I just stared at the faded lilacs that once adorned the paper on the walls. After a little while, I got up and helped my momma clean the dishes.
Daddy came into the kitchen a little while later. He looked tired, his eyes seemed red, and he even seemed to move a little slower. I wondered again, when he got so old. I caught him smiling at me as I was watching him.
"You almost ready to go help me?" He asked.
I gave my momma a quick kiss on the cheek, and followed Daddy down the stairs. I couldn't help but think to myself, `now that Daddy was getting older I'd have to be there more to help him.' I'd been helping Momma around the house for quite a while, now I'd have to make sure I was there for Daddy too.
I thought a little about my older brothers and sister, and how they'd left us. Not that they didn't love us, but they moved on with their lives. It left me to be the one to help our parents. Just another one of those things the youngest gets to be I suspect.
We worked on the boat together for about an hour or so, tying the nets, folding them all up, and just general cleaning. I liked being alone with Daddy. I like being with him on the boat too. He loves his boat, and it makes me feel good to help him work on it. I knew when we were done, we'd take a walk over to Kurt's Marina. Daddy always took me there on Sunday nights.
"You wanna go to the Marina a little bit? I'll get me a beer, and buy you a pop." Daddy asked, as he slammed down the metal lid to the toolbox and locked it.
We walked slowly next to each other as we made our way down Mile Long Road. The sun had begun to set, it wasn't quite dark yet, but the only heat I felt was coming out of the road. The warmth of the day's sun that had been baked into the tar would soon be replaced with the cool dampness of the night. Now, I guess I should tell you that the reason it is called Mile Long Road, isn't because it's a mile long. No, that would be easy. The way it got its name is because it is one mile from the drawbridge to the tip of the island. The road itself is really two miles long.
I looked across the road towards Petey's house as we past it, I could see into the windows, but I didn't see anyone. His house was the first one we past on the way to the Marina. Our boat dock was right across the street from our house, just like everyone else's.
You can tell the fishermen's docks, from the others, as you walk down the road. Not only by the boats tied to them, but by how big they are, and if they have a shed on them or not. The bigger docks with sheds usually always are fishermen's docks. They have the big docks to work on, cleaning and packaging their catch. The sheds are where they keep all their tools. Some people have shrimp boats but don't trawl for shrimp, they just have them. I don't know why, Daddy says `that's Yankees for you, all uppity and stuff,' I just figure it's because they like having them.
We walked into Kurt's Marina, and Daddy took me right to the bar first. Kurt's daddy was bar tending. He smiled and put two napkins on the bar. I guess he had to show us where to sit, I don't know why, we were the only two there. Just like every Sunday.
"I see your building yourself a bigger tool shed, Kurt Senior." Daddy quipped as he stared obviously at Kurt's big and growing belly.
"Yeah, I got to keep all the beer spills off my little tool, so I needed a bigger roof." Kurt's daddy guffawed after his silly joke.
I didn't need to hear any of this stuff. "Is `Little Kurt' around?"
"Yeah, he's in the game room. Why don't you take him a pop? Thanks." Kurt's daddy said, and then handed me a bottle of Brisk.
I hate Brisk, it's Kurt's favorite. I like plain old Coke. I tried that vanilla stuff, but I didn't like it. I don't know why they have to mess around with things. I guess it keeps people busy or something. I took the pops with me and headed for the game room.
No matter how many times I go to the Marina, the pungency that wafts in the air always seem to strike at my nostrils. The dank, dusty smells of aged and rotten wood, mixed with bitter sweetness of the various sundries and wares, combined with the salt water. It is definitely an odor that has been burned into my memory. I don't know why, but I notice smells. In my friend's houses, and on their clothing, in school or church, Sunday's supper cooking at my own home, are all smells that were familiar to me. The one in the Marina was like no other.
I seen Kurt sitting on the sofa watching some program on the t.v. I nodded at him and handed him his pop. He nodded back at me as I handed him his Brisk, kind of like his Daddy putting the napkins down on the bar; he nodded, and directed me where to sit. I sat where he indicated by his silent gesture, right beside him.
"What you watching?" I asked.
"I don't know, some crap. Hey, did you really tie with that Yankee?"
"We said so didn't we?" I hated to lie.
"Yeah, you said so, but damn Billy he's a Yankee."
Now I have to admit, I wondered what that meant. I didn't know what to make of his comment. So, I just sat there a few minutes not saying anything. For the life of me, I can't see what all the fuss is about people being Yankees. I got to confess, I really only know one Yankee, Petey. I don't even know him that well, but he's alot like me, I think, and he's so cute too.
"Couldn't you have stuck an arm out or something, and knocked him off his bike?" Kurt finally asked.
"Now why would I do such a thing Kurt? He's just a boy like us, needs friends specially `cause he's new here in these parts." I defended my new best friend.
"He's not like us. Oh he's been trying to act like us, talking with a little southern accent, and trying to be like us. But he's a Yankee!"
I kind of thought it was nice of Petey to imitate us, our accent and all. I thought it showed how much he wanted to be like us, and be our friend. I didn't understand what Kurt was trying to say. I never cared much for Kurt, I'll be honest, he always thought he was so smart, and rich, and all. Hell, I been in the bathroom with the boy, I know his shit stinks bad, just like my Daddy's after a night of drinking beer. Kurt was just little boy, and tried to act big always hiding behind his daddy, he wasn't nothing special.
"What does that mean? He's a Yankee?" The words tumbled lightly from my mouth. I had dared to question Kurt; it was the first time I spoke up to him in my life. It felt good.
"You know Billy Velleriuex, you know damn well. You're Daddy didn't raise no fool. Just `cause your sister is turncoat don't mean you have to go get all soft in the head." Kurt raised his voice a little.
I was fit to be tied, he had no business talking `bout my sister that way. I stood up, my fist clenched and raised, without thinking I belted him good, right in the kisser.
"Don't you ever talk `bout my sister like that. I'll tell you something right now Kurt, Petey Tomo is my best friend, and as far as I'm concerned you're nothing until you take them words back." I spat the words at him, turned and walked out of the game room, and kept on going, right on out of the Marina.
I walked home thinking about what Kurt had said, and how much hate he seemed to have for Petey. I remembered all the things he'd said and done to the others and me. His cruel comments and digs, he'd made to us while we were growing up, they all came rushing back. I knew that the reason we all had hung around with him was because his daddy owned the Marina. That was the only reason.
I figured I'd talk to the other boys in the morning, I couldn't imagine they all felt the same way. Especially Perry, I knew he didn't think like that. I was determined to be Petey's best friend, just like my daddy and momma told me. I was gonna `watch his back, and be there no matter what, I was gonna have as much respect for him as he did for me.'
It didn't take me long to get home. I said hello to Momma and went right to my bedroom. I was tired, it had been a long day, and we had school in the morning. I was out of my pants, shoes, and shirt in no time. I slipped under my sheet wearing only my briefs and drifted quickly off to sleep.
I heard something rattling on my bedroom window, it woke me up. I was confused a little; it felt like I'd been sleeping for hours. Suddenly, I heard a sharp crack against the window, and quickly looked outside to see where it came from. Down on my lawn I saw Petey, he was only wearing a pair of jeans.
I opened my window, he called up to me, "Billy, can you come out?"
"Petey, what time is it? Is everything alright?"
"I don't know Billy, it's late, maybe two. I need to talk to you Billy. Please."
"Yeah, sure I'll be right down."
I frantically stumbled out of my bed and grabbed my pants. I kind of jumped around a little bit, on each leg, as I slipped the jeans on. While I was doing the one leg boogie, I was trying to move towards my bedroom door. I didn't waste no time, I was down on the lawn a few moments later. I looked at Petey, he was crying, his eye was all black and blue, there was a little blood on the corner of his mouth.
"What happened Petey? Who did this to you?"
"My daddy. He gets drunk and beats me. He'll forget about it in the morning. Please Billy, don't tell anyone. I just need a place to sleep tonight, and to get cleaned up. Can I stay here with you? Please Billy."
"Sure Petey. God, your eye looks horrible. Come on up, I'll get my momma to clean you up." I reached my hand to his and led him towards the house.
"No, please Billy, don't say anything to your momma."
"I got to tell her something. I mean she'll see you in the morning."
"Please Billy, we can't say nothing to your momma. Maybe I can just sleep in your daddy's boat."
"No Petey, sleep in my room with me. I won't wake Momma up now, we'll figure something out in the morning."
I took him up into the house and right to the bathroom. I ran a sink of warm water and got a wash cloth out. I looked in the cabinet beneath the sink and grabbed the bottle of peroxide. I gently cleaned the cuts near his mouth and eye. It was a pitiful site, and I had to hold back my tears.
His steel gray eyes locked on mine while I dabbed the warm wash cloth on the wounds. I could almost feel his pain when he would wince from my touches. He'd give me a brief smile after the hurt subsided letting me know it was ok to continue. Every now and then I'd pour some more peroxide onto the cloth. I don't really know why, I'd seen my momma do it when she cleaned my cuts, so I figured it was something that needed to be done. Once I had all the blood cleaned up I told him we should go to bed. He didn't argue.
When we got into my room, I went to throw a blanket on the floor. He asked me if he could sleep in my bed with me. I wanted him to; I wanted to be next to him. I felt like I wanted to hold onto him and never let him go. I was sure glad when he asked.
"Sure, that's ok." I whispered to him in the darkness.
Without another word we took our pants off and climbed into my bed. I pulled the sheet over us both. It felt so good having him with me under the covers. As much as I wanted to reach out and pull him closer to me, I fought the urge. I didn't know how he'd take it if I had. I just felt so close to him, all I wanted to do was make him feel good, and take all his pain away. I just didn't know if I should.
"Night Petey." I whispered as my eyes stared up at the ceiling.
His only responses were his shallow breaths of his slumber. He'd fallen asleep.
I lie in my bed for quite sometime. The whole day played over again, perhaps twice, in my head. I vividly saw the bike race; I felt the air blowing in my face as we flew down `Devil's Hill.' I thought about how funny it was we had named it Devil's Hill. I smiled, when I thought about Petey saying that it was no hill, when he had first heard its name two days earlier. It was just an old mound of dirt covered with tar. He was right, we don't really have no real hills in Hopedale, but it was the only hill we had. So when they dredged the canal and used all the silt for some flood protection, and to build up the road-bed, it made a hill for us. We called it `Devil's Hill.' It was long, and it was slight, but it was our only hill.
It took me sometime, but I was finally able to fall asleep.
To be continued: