Green Room II
Chapter 38

Saturday, August 31, Bob collected me in his car and drove to his place. We planned to go to the movies. Hey, suited me--besides, he ditched his girl to be with me for the night. No hanky panky, just a movie and a few drinks afterwards.

His house was in total darkness because his folks were out for the night. He led me through the pitch blackness to the garden entrance of his room. "Be quiet," he ordered.

"I thought your folks weren't home?"

"They're not, but my great aunt is here for the week, and she's got ears like a bat. That's why we're using the garden entrance." Once inside, Bob asked me to fetch his cell phone. "It's on the kitchen table."

"I can't see! It's pitch black!" Nonetheless, from memory, I made my way to the kitchen. Great aunt? Fetch his cell phone? What the bloody hell was this all about? I almost shat myself as a pair of arms surrounded me from the gloom, and drifted underneath my shirt to my abs and pecs.

"Now do I look like a great aunt?" said the voice, which I immediately recognized.

"I thought you were supposed to be studying?"

"I am. I'm studying you."

As my eyes slowly adjusted, Melanie's familiar face took shape. "So what's up? Are we gonna use Bob's bed?" At that precise moment, the lights turned on. I blinked a few times, then saw a couple of school mates and their girlfriends. Graham was there with Jacky, and Bob's girl was present. Hello? What was this all about?

Somebody whistled. Another said, "Hey, can we use Bob's bed when you're finished?" As I stood there mystified, I resembled a stunned mullet.

I discovered later that Melanie and Bob organized a few friends to surprise me for my birthday. And it was so tight to see Graham there. The little guy beamed, and laughed at the other guys' jokes.

After all the handshakes and `howzits' and hugs and kisses--no, I didn't kiss the grommet--I managed to get Melanie alone. "So you knew about this?"

"Of course!"

No sooner did the convo between Melanie and me begin, Graham crashed our private scene, still beaming and holding a Smirnoff Ice in his paw. "Pretty cool, huh?"

"Hey, mate."

"So how old you gonna be tomorrow? 100 or something?"

"I can still beat you up, lighty."

"You gotta catch me first, old man."

The party was ace--lots of jiving and drinking (a little too much). At one stage, a couple of my school mates invited me to the bathroom but I declined. They were snorting a couple of lines. It was tempted, but I couldn't do that to Bob and Melanie.

The party still raged when Bob's folks arrived home. They shouted their g'days and disappeared (most likely to seek refuge) into their room. I figured Bob hoped the guys hadn't stained his folks' bedsheets. More than a few bed-wrestling activities took place that night. Hahahahaha! And no, Melanie and I refrained.

Shortly before the party ended, Bob called me into his room and closed the door behind us. He handed me a gift-wrapped package. "What is it?" I asked, stupidly.

"Open it, you bloody twit, and find out."

Inside, was a small pair of briefs--pure white with a pouch. Bob was the kinda guy who got his jollies from giving me such stuff. And what's wrong with that? He was good for my ego.

We ended up with erections that needed to be beaten to death before we emerged from his room feigning innocence. Yeah, right.

Eagle-eye Melanie checked my jeans as I entered the main room. I suspected she knew Bob and I had at least kissed. Meanwhile, I left the briefs in Bob's room for later retrieval. I certainly didn't want the rest of the guys to get an eyeful of those skimpies and serve me no end of uphill.

About 2am, we cleaned the house. Then Bob drove a few of the guys home before he ferried Melanie, Graham, Jacky and me home. Jacky arranged to sleep over at Melanie's house.

It was a really cool evening. Graham was dead on his feet when I made sure he arrived home safely. He danced all night, and probably downed a few Smirnoff Ices too many. I also suspected he smoked a joint with two of the other guys.

I woke next morning to the sound of my mom calling my name. She offered a cup of steaming coffee, and wished me happy birthday. Then she hugged me. Yes, I was naked. And yes, I did have my dangly bits covered, although they weren't all that dangly at that time of the morning.

I wanted to jump out of bed and give my mom a decent hug but I figured she might freak. Kyle could hug his mom while he sported a piss boner, but I'm not Kyle.

I was still dripping wet from a shower, and wore a towel around my waist, when my dad entered my room. He presented me with a gift, which I opened, and was thrilled to see a red Ferrari sweat top. I was ecstatic! I'd always supported Ferrari in the F1.

My dad seemed uncomfortable; disoriented, like he was unsure how to behave. I came to the rescue, wrapped my arms around him and hugged him hard. He failed to respond for a moment, then tightened his grip around me, so much so, I thought he might crush me to death.

How did it feel? It felt awesome. It was a beginning; a step in the right direction for all of us. A small start, but a start.

Shortly afterwards, and with no warning, the phantom grommet breezed into my room and dove onto my bed. He bounced a few times, then tossed a small package in my direction. "What's this?"

"Open it!"

It was a CD of my fav band. I'd often mentioned it to Graham. So that's why he took such a great interest in my current collection? He also made a card in the comp lab at school, the same comp lab Kyle practically had shares in because he spent so much time there. The cover was a really cool pic of a surfer. Inside, he wrote: `You're cool. Have a rad birthday and thanks for being around for me.'

Hey! So the grommet learned to make cards on the computer! I was chuffed! Then, as I tried to load the CD into the player, he jumped off the bed and pulled the towel from my waist. "See?" He laughed. "I toldya you're getting old. You want a crutch for old limpy there?"

My mom invited the grommet to stay for breakfast. He had a cycling engagement after that, while I buried myself in school books. Brett phoned to wish me happy birthday, as did Mr. T, who extended an invitation to join him and Mrs. T for supper. "Bring your friends if you like."

"I'll definitely take you up on that offer, Mr. T. I've been meaning to visit but, well, you know, study, exams and stuff. I'll give you a call in a day or two. Maybe we can get together Friday night."

Last night, my folks took me to a restaurant by the beach. I'm learning more about my dad all the time, G. He also supports Ferrari, so we talked a lot about Schumacher. Hey, he even mentioned my surfing and fitness. "I'd like to get more regularly involved with you in the gym, Stuart. Are you up to it?"

"Are you?"

My mom supports McLaren so we teased her about having a crush on Kimi Raikonen, hahahaha! She blushed big time.

To see my folks in that situation, and how they inter-reacted, made me aware of the pressure I'd put on their marriage in recent times. Their love for each other was plain to see. It was different to the love between Mr. and Mrs. T, but the result was the same. Love is love.

I don't remember a helluva lot about my previous birthdays, G, apart from my 17th with Kyle, but this one definitely rates. I mean, I got wishes from all over the world from people who only know me from your stories. Hell, if I'd known that Stuart, I wouldn't give him the time of day.

I got wishes from you, the Ferrari top from my folks, the CD and special card from Graham, the surprise birthday party at Bob's, calls from Kyle's folks and Brett, a little surfer alien and card from Melanie that said: Be yourself. Happy Birthday, love Melanie.
Say thanks to everyone for me, G, it was very special. It might be a while before I get the chance to write again. Thanks, thanks and more thanks.

Shortly after the euphoria of my birthday, I was thrust back into reality. Wrote the Geography 1 paper mid week and it was pretty cool. Ha! And they said it was gonna be difficult.

I'm missing the surf, though, which has been crap lately, and I didn't have the time to hunt the coast for better conditions. To ease the boredom, I figured a spar with Graham would be fun, but his mom revealed he got a week's detention for fighting at school.

"I got into an argument with Joe about my girlfriend," he explained on the phone. "I tried to convince him that all the stories about her were not true."

"How do you know they're not true? Where there's smoke there's fire, mate."

"Because I know--that's how. Anyway, Joe said something about her being an open-legged slut so I planted him. We got into a rumble even the teachers found difficult to separate. I'm telling you, Stuart, if those teachers hadn't managed to pull us apart, I would've nailed him good."

"So, what now? Are you blokes enemies after being such good mates?"

"No way! We're still good mates. But he knows not to talk shit about Jacky or I'll sort him out. No, shit, we surfed together yesterday afternoon. I think Joe's aggro because I spend a lotta time with Jacky."

"Surfing? You took your boards out in that slush?"

"It was more about us getting together to show that we're still mates."

"Thanks again for the card and the CD. It rocks. Where'd you get the money?"

"Working around the `hood. Selling my body to little old ladies. I thought of asking you to do the same, but they're not into old guys."

"You are so bad, mate. So what's the work? Gardens and stuff?"

"Anything worth bucks. All Kyle's customers. They've got me doing some pretty hectic stuff, though ... drilling holes, fixing electric plugs. I even had to hang a small window for an old biddy."

"Hope you had your clothes on."

"Yeah," he giggled, "including my shirt. It's too cold."

"Anyway, I just called to ask you to rock over here for a spar in the ring. Sorry about the detention."

"I can handle it. I'm studying too, so maybe the spar will have to wait a while."
The grommet turned up a few days later because the surf was crap, so we gymmed and sparred, and hit the crud out of each other. Man, that little guy can hit! I donned headgear but he insisted it was unnecessary in his case. Yeah, right. That was until I rounded him in the ear. He quickly changed his mind. Hahahaha!

I wrote G again later to say it was a stunning day. The surf rocked as I waited for a call from the grommet. The past few days were boring, G, and it's all your fault. Melanie had plans for last night, as did Bob. And Graham was out with his mates. I did absolutely SFA. This hero shit is boring.

That kinda shit went straight over the fossil's head, so I wasted my time. He paid no attention to my grumblings and complaints. Hahahaha! But my ordeal wasn't over yet. I woke at 2am in agony with cramps. Every muscle known to medical science it seemed was severely cramped, and the pain was almost insufferable.

On the positive side, I had a dinner date with the Ts, and looked forward to it. Meanwhile, my lack of social activity meant I could devote time to answering email from all the guys who wished me happy birthday.