Green Room II
Chapter 13

Today I'll meet up with all my friends at school. All one of me. They want nothing to do with me since I stopped dealing drugs. Bob can't be seen in my company at school because it would damage him. What's the point of attending school anyway? I can't think, and I'm sick of teachers giving me the third degree about my tired face.

Bob has Mandrax tabs that will make me sleep. They were sleeping pills before being banned as a narcotic. I'll ask for one, just to get a single night's sleep. One night's sleep! Wow, what a luxury!

So how's the story coming along? Have I rescued any damsels in distress yet? Did I fight off the hordes and banish them? Tell you what, G, if you're gonna write about that fight with big bro, make me the winner. Okay? I want to fist that mongrel and put the boot in when he's down. Graham can raise his arms and scream with pride. Then Melanie jumps into my arms as I grab a board leash with one hand, and swing across the rooftops into the sunset. Because I'm holding her with the other, dumbass! Hahahaha! Oh, Christ, it hurts to laugh.

Just cut my fingernails so I don't scratch myself. Supper? It was grilled chicken with veg and roast potatoes. I'll ask the cook to roast a whole chicken for me one evening, then take it to bed and make love to it. The chicken, not the cook. That'll be a lotta protein, not to mention horny fun. Hahahaha! Just picture it--me on my back sliding this chicken up and down. Oh shit, now I got the giggles. I'll call it KFC, Kentucky Fucked Chicken. Hahahahaha! With 11 herbs and spices and extra protein. It's the water, Dear Diary, promise. It's full of alien stuff that sends me crazy. Once more unto the breach, dear friends. We'll fight them in the school grounds and take no prisoners.

Did I tell you Brett phoned? No? Probably because he didn't. What to wear to school today. Decisions, decisions. Wonder what comments my face will attract today. Slipped on a bar of soap, sir.

Actually, G, next time, you don't need to read all this shit. I'm doing this to keep myself occupied during sleepless nights. On the other hand, maybe you should read it to see what kind of crazy bastard I am. It's all because I'm 18. Being 18 is soooooooooo hard! That's why you need friends to help you through this time of life. Difficult to party all alone, yeah? I could hang with Bob but he can't keep his hands off me.

4:44am. All the fours. Did you know Kyle was asked to be in a movie? Too true. Actually, more than one. A guy in LA said he already had the script, and that Kyle would star with another hunky teen in a porno. A guy in the UK offered the same. Kyle got stacks of offers to pose for pics. One said it was because of his smile. Hahahaha!

6:07am. Not long now before it's time to wake up. Hahahahaha! Gonna put a plaster over the cut on my cheek because the bone is tender. Gonna get a lift from Bob again. All I want to do is sleep. Just sleep. I'm fucking exhausted.

I read your story of me, THE HERO! Hahahaha! The blond guy sounds hot. Is that really me? Oh, fuck. What I desperately do need is some grass. But the cupboard is bare, except for the crack. Three joints and a bottle of whisky would sort me out. I'm not crazy, G. Three joints and a bottle of Johnnys would kill me. I NEED TO SLEEP!

It's not the H any longer. I'm sure I'm over that now. I feel like jerking the turkey but the turkey's asleep. I need to shower. This has been one fucked up night again.
2:13pm. Back from school. I think Bob has the answer; I've overdosed on the Bs and Cs. I'll cool it with those for a couple of days. He said I should only take the Bs in the morning, AFTER SLEEPING! Hello? I haven't take any today. I'm well and truly stuffed now. I'm gonna sleep.

A few days later: I'm feeling okay now. On Friday after school I slept right through until 5 next morning, and felt quite rested. I ambled down to the beach on a totally glorious morning. The surf was small and glassy but the shape was perfect, and the peaks were there. Another guy was out in the water.

I paddled out but can't adequately describe the feeling of elation at being in the surf again. To Kyle and me, the surf was our second home. For me, maybe my first home. I was always happy there in the bosom of Mother Ocean.

Thank Christ Graham and his gang were not around, that would have ruined my whole scene. The sets were not big so paddling out was okay, despite my lack of fitness. As I headed toward the peaks, the other guy sat quietly on his board watching the sun rise. The first dawn rays lit Byron headland, Australia's most easterly point, just as it did during Kyle's Dawn Patrols.

When I took off on my first wave, the skill of surfing returned instantly and naturally. Not a great ride--short, but it felt awesome to be back in the water. I paddled out again and felt my muscles working. The sensation was totally unreal! Got to the line where the swell peaked and saw the other surfer wave. Couldn't make out who he was, though; he was silhouetted against the bright sun.

I paddled over and recognized Kyle's dad. "G'day, Mr. T." His eyes were red, so I knew he'd been crying. He looked good and fit, though, sitting on his stick like he owned the whole ocean.

"G'day, Stuart. How are you doing, boy?"

"Doing better today," I laughed. "How are you guys, you and Mrs. T?"

"Ups and down, as expected, but it's getting better. A lot of Kyle's friends are in and out of the house, which is cool. We haven't seen you around, though, Stuart--and I think I can see why."

I blushed big time and tried to avoid his gaze. "Sorry. I've not slept lately."

"Sure that's it?"

"I guess you heard about the drugs and stuff, Mr. T. I'm trying to get there. It's over a week now and it's hard. I'm getting there on my own."

"Did Kyle ever try the hard stuff? You can tell me. I can't exactly beat him over the head."

"Kyle hated it. It was the cause of a lot of fights between us. He wanted me to stop, and I couldn't."

"What about little Graham? Sometimes I see his eyes all glassy and I wonder."

"I don't think Graham is into it. He might smoke a reefer with his mates sometimes, but that's it."

"Think that's cool? Smoking weed? I did that at your age. They locked you away if you were caught in those days. Now the kids get away with most of it and the authorities turn a blind eye. I remember hiding from the cops and my folks when I smoked, always in dark dingy hideouts, and never really enjoying it once the euphoria passed."

"No, sir."

"Kyle chose his friends well, Stuart. He must have recognized something other than the crap you use. Mrs. T and I would like to see some of what Kyle saw, and we'd like you to visit sometimes. Graham spends a lot of time there, even sleeps over now and then."

"I don't think Graham would appreciate my being there right now."

"I know the story, well, at least his version--your becoming aggressive and a bully--beating one of his mates because of a prank. I know where Graham's coming from, though. He misses Kyle terribly and looks for him in his other friends, but can't find it. If you look at Brett, yourself and all Kyle's other mates, there's a bit of Kyle in each of you, and it's those bits that his mom and I enjoy seeing. Put you all together and it's almost like Kyle being there in our midst."

I was unsure how to respond, so I stared blankly at the horizon, and felt guilty. After a few moments, he continued: "That's what you need to find, Stuart. Find the bit that Kyle found in you and you'll discover something really special about yourself."

I tried my best not to cry, which must have been obvious to Mr. T. He watched me closely as he resumed his little speech. "You arrived shortly after Rick left for Canada. We remember how Kyle came alive after his deep depression. You were good for him. So what happened, Stuart? As time passed, I know how you guys fought more often, and saw each other less and less. It happens to many of us, but you guys were like two thieves: inseparable."

"It was the drugs. Kyle hated them. And Brett was part of the scene. I didn't want to get in the way."

"You won't come clean without help, Stuart. It's too hard. You may be clean for a week or a month or even longer, but you'll drift back."

"I need to try by myself because of... circumstances."

"Your folks will understand if you need to get to a clinic. Won't they?"

"You still surf in the mornings, Mr. T?"

"Sometimes. I feel that Kyle is here with me. I was very lucky as a dad that he enjoyed my company. Our Dawn Patrols became our special time together. We didn't do it often enough, now that I think about it."

"I haven't surfed for a while."

"You've not lost it, though. It may have been the day Kyle met you--the first time we saw him so happy and joyful after Rick left. He told us about this blond guy who ripped apart every wave he rode."

"Hahahahaha! Hey, you're not so bad either."

"For an old bloke, huh?" he smiled.

"Jeez, Mr. T, you surf as well as any of us."

"Maybe just a little more cautious. Hey, I better get home before Kyle's mom blames me for a spoiled breakfast. Go well, Stuart, and visit us for supper one evening."

"I'll phone you. Thanks."

"Good to see you again, Stuart, albeit looking like shit. I hope you get there. I'll tell Graham you were here."

"I doubt if Graham will think it's cool--rather not say anything."

Once Mr. T turned his board and headed for the beach, my emotions took utter control. I cried my aching heart out as the rollers rose and fell in silence. Did I feel sorry for myself again? Maybe. I really don't know. But talking to Kyle's dad in the surf was just too fucking much for me to handle. I sat there for an hour, riding the gentle swell, without paddling a single stroke--a lone figure beneath the rising sun. Then I returned home.