Chapter Five: Show Me Love

Dr. Adams' office was furnished with many overstuffed high back chairs and love seats. On the walls were various ink blots and pictures of the brain. He ushered the boys to the Lazy boy chairs placed in front of his opulent white mahogany desk, then the tall balding man cleared his throat.

"Now boys what brings you to my office today? I've read the police report and want to know the way you remember how things happened."

"Oh I don't know, why don't you ask the psycho next to me why he decided to go ballistic on me and my friends, "Josh said pointing his finger at Travis.

"If you hadn't so brutishly accosted my person with your pugilistic pernicious pomp then I wouldn't be forced to endure your repugnant visage."

"If I have to listen to you spout that crap a second longer I'm gonna go insane. Seriously Travis can't you speak like a human and not some robot from the year 4000? You are so not the guy I thought you were."

"Hmm."

"What?" the boys said in unison to the doctor's reply.

"Well Josh did bring up a valid point. Travis, I believe you use your extensive lexicon as a defense mechanism to keep others from getting too close to you. For the remainder of your stay here and each subsequent visit you will reframe from using words with more than three syllables when smaller ones would do just as well. Also Josh your comment on Travis not being who you thought he was leads me to believe you have built a fantasy of who he is, and the inconsistency between it and reality caused you to lash out at him and provoke the fight. Tell me, what about Travis wasn't what you expected?"

"Well I'd watch how he never talked to anyone and was always off by himself and thought he was so lonely and just needed someone to be there for him. And when I reached out to him he dismissed me like I didn't matter at all. I just treated him nice and he shitted all over me."

"That's because you didn't and still don't matter to me. You're just some creepy kid who got his cunt in a bunch," Travis said and received an elbow to the ribs from Josh.

"Now boys there will be no violence in my office. We solve our problems through our words not our fists. Josh from what you said about Travis, I think you've projected your feelings of loneliness onto him and then attempted to befriend him as a way for you to rectify them."

"That is such a load of crap," they said in unison and shared a brief smile before they exchanged death glares once more. Doctor Adams noticed this and came to a decision on how to help them.

"Before we can begin addressing your anger issues we must deal with the feelings you have toward each other. No progress can be made with you constantly at the other's throat. What I want you to do is get to know each other. Your first assignment will be to interview the other and gather as much information as possible, and then comment on how what you learned has changed your opinion of the other. Well I think this is as good a place as any to stop. See you gentlemen next week," Dr. Adams said and then shook their hands.

Oh joy, stuck with a hyperactive red-head who pisses me off to no end, were Travis' thoughts as he struggled to keep a lid on his powers. With a sigh the boy suppressed his rising rage and almost succeeded when a picture on the wall fell to the floor. He took a deep breath held it for a three count and slowly released it. Centered he approached Josh.

"That doctor is such a quack I can't believe they made us come here. Anyways you want to do that paper together or what? I mean it'll get him off our backs for awhile and we're stuck together already because of the interviews. Plus it's due this Friday anyhow."

"And why the hell would I want to spend any more time with you than I have to," Josh spat out and stalked off. Against his better judgment Travis pursued the other boy and grabbed his arm.

"Get your damn hands off of me!"

"Look chill out. I'm sorry for being an ass to you earlier. Let's just do the paper together to score major brownie points with the doc and be done with this crap all the sooner. Then we never have to associate with each other again. Deal?" Travis said.

"Fine let's get this done as fast as possible then. Here's my Yahoo! screen name, hit me up with your schedule later."

"You live around here?"

"I stay ten minutes from you, over in the Lake Front subdivision," Josh replied and the two parted ways. At the last second Travis turned back to the ginger.

"Hey how do you know where I live?"

"Um, your brother sold me some primo weed a while back."

"Right, like you ever hit a joint before."

"Whatever, I'm out of here."

Travis tucked Josh's information into his pocket and headed for his routine checkup. Back at Dr. Hu's place Tommy was engaged in quite the interesting conversation.

"Yeah the kid is coming along nicely, his pyro-kinetic abilities should fully manifest in the next month or so. And as for his psychic ability, Kyle might just have some competition. The kid broke three of my ribs without breaking a sweat. Well I better get back before they get suspicious, Anderson over and out."

"Roger that. HQ ,over and out."

Tommy slid his cell back into his pocket and wondered into the kitchen where Jenny had been busy setting the table for lunch. He snuck up behind her and wrapped his hands around her waist, pulling her into him. They mashed their lips together in a frenzied attempt to devour each other's mouth. They finally pulled apart when Richard entered the room and cleared his throat.

"If you two are through acting like a bunch of hormone crazed teens we have some pressing matters to discuss. The results from Travis' DNA analysis are in and the news isn't good."

And it was at that precise moment the boy in question walked into the room and plopped down at the table. The adults exchanged panicked looks. The vein in Travis' forehead threatened to burst as the boy's annoyance rose.

"Will someone care to tell me why you're all staring at me like that? Stop it right now," he said and caused the cutlery to stand on end before they fell.

"Travis I have some rather important information to give you. My contact at the genetic research lab sent me the report on your DNA today and, Richard said then took a paused before continuing," you only have six months to live."

"What!?" the others said as one. Doctor Hu sighed then began his spiel. Analysis of the boy's DNA raised many questions. Effectively his DNA was like an IPod set to shuffle and would rearrange and shift dominate traits depending upon the stimuli applied and he speculated this caused Travis' change in appearance. Richard had never seen gene splicing so sophisticated, it was light years ahead of even what the super soldier program used. Further testing revealed the boy's genetic structure had become unstable and he would dissolve into a pool of primordial soup unless they found a way to reverse the effects.

"What did I do to deserve this huh?"

"Sweetie calm down, you know what happens when you get upset," Jenny said and rubbed Travis' back.

"How am I supposed to calm down? I only have days to live," he said and caused the windows to explode then passed out. Tommy and Jenny carried him into his room and shut the door.

"I was afraid he'd react like that. It would seem his endocrine system can't take the strain his powers are putting on it anymore. I've devised a temporary treatment but it will only slow down the breakdown. If only I were able to fully isolate the unknown DNA I could make a complete cure. Hopefully it will buy him enough time while I continue my research."

"Doc, what's the likely hood of the kid making it till you've found this cure of yours?"

"That I don't know. This is completely alien territory for me Tommy. And while I'll try my best there are no grantees."

Two hours later found Travis back home and online, deep in an attempt to forget his life had turned to a world of shit. He read the latest chapter of Bleach and wondered if they'd ever end the current arc. As he read the latest Naruto chapter Josh instant messaged him.

daJoshfather: sup?

HCaulfield94: DaJoshfather? Oh how witty.

DaJoshfather: ya w/e, so watz up?

HCaulfield94: Ugh, talk like you have half a brain.

DaJoshfather: OK, no need to go ape shit on me. Who died and made you the grammar police?

HCaulfield94: No one did. I just abhor bad grammar. It shows the utter lack of respect you have for the English language.

DaJoshfather: And the award for most anal retentive goes to... you. lol

HCaulfield94: You'd be uptight too if you couldn't speak that well.

DaJoshfather: Sorry, I didn't mean to say that.

HCaulfield94: Just forget it, ok. Anyways, you come up with anything for the paper yet?

DaJoshfather: All business I see. Yeah I have been kicking around a few ideas. What about you?

HCaulfield94: Basically I thought we could just do it on the symbolism of the monster.

DaJoshfather: Good idea. So, umm when are you like free?

HCaulfield94: That's a loaded question. See I'm sort of busy what with the whole dying thing.

DaJoshfather: WTF yur kidn rite? K, yur place or mine?

HCaulfield94: I wish I were but whatever let's get this done. How about we meet up tomorrow say around noon? Yours, because I know we won't get crap done what with my siblings running amuck.

DaJoshfather: OK, see ya round noon then. Hey what's with your screen name?

HCaulfield94: Duh I was born in '94 and HCaulfield as in Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye.

DaJoshfather: Never read it but didn't figure you a fan of catching. Thought you were a pitcher.

HCaulfield94: Screw you.

DaJoshfather: will u take the stick outta ya azz. i was just trying be nice ta u and ya go and be a douchebag. That's fucked man.

HCaulfield94: No. What's "fucked," as you so eloquently put it, is your grammar.

DaJoshfather: Well excuse me we can't all be English professors like you. STFU!!!

HCaulfield94: eat a dick you pussy ass 3itch, don't ever in your life try to holla at me son I'd done bust a cap all up in yo lily white azz

DaJoshfather: WHOA. Schizo much? Travis what the hell is your major malfunction dude?

HCaulfield94: Two things you pole smoking jizz bag. My malfunction is dealing with weak ass punks like you who come at me with straight bull shit. You best come correct when you step to the Prometheus, or I will straight cut a motherfucka, u best recognize cuzo, I aint no joke.

Dajoshfather: LMFAO!!!!! Dude you have me laughing so hard I'm `bout to bust a gut over here. And btw I aint a pole smoker so go fuck urself.

HCaulfield94: rite n i spose dat wuz a gun in yo pocket then. Lol seriously u wuz sporting major wood n damn near shot ya wad, I aint mad at ya hey if I was into dudes I'd be drooling all over me too, I is 1 sexy mofo. Hahaha

DaJoshfather: and people call me cocky, lol I aint got shit on u bro. On the real dude if you acted like this more often you'd have a ton of friends instead of being such a douche all the time and what makes u think im gay huh? I be up on that pussy like white on rice yo.

HCaulfield94: rite n phat 3itches love exercise and salads.

And it was at this time Travis regained conscious and found himself in quite the award situation.

DaJoshfather: LOL!!!!!!!!!!1111111!!!!!! Prometheus u da man dog.

HCaulfield94: lol yeah brb

Why does that A&F albino think he's talking you? Explain stat or your ass is getting buried under massive amounts of mental barriers.

Fine see if I try to do you a favor again. Man, I got him eating right out of your hands so go in there it knock it out of the ball park.

What the hell are you talking about, I'm not homosexual and if I were I most definitely would not be into Joshua Giovani.

Right. You aren't exactly all about the vagina, homie.

That's it. Enjoy permaban beginning in 3, 2, 1: eat a dick.

Whatever---hey no this is... you suck.

Travis began a haphazard attempt to pry Josh's digital vice grip off him. Though much to his surprise it didn't go as planned. He got to know Josh, who it turned out wasn't a complete ass, so being his partner shouldn't be that bad. The only downside would be getting him to shut up long enough to actually write the report. Travis did concede Josh had him grinning nonstop and if things were different he could see them being friends, but Josh was probably buttering him up—that or covering his ass so if Travis snapped he'd be spared.

Someone's sure hyper, he thought as Josh continued to ramble on about how awesome people thought he was awesome because of the gym brawl. Back and forth they went, trading jokes and just plain goofing off. It turned out Josh was an only child and every bit the smart ass Travis was. Not to mention a mega gamer. Before Travis knew it two hours had passed and they had to sign off for dinner.

I knew you liked him. See why you try to play me. You know you want all up in that kid.

Right, how stupid of me. Thanks for that bit of positive reinforcement, remind me to double my meditation sessions so you stay quiet.

 

He closed the link with Prometheus and headed to the dining room. For once Amber wasn't glued to her cell and Bobby wasn't staring at BET. Their dad had to work late again seeing as his plate wasn't set. Travis dug into his spaghetti with a fierce vengeance. He didn't realize how starved he was. As if cognizant his stomach growled loudly and drew Bobby's attention.

"Hey fat ass save some for the rest of us."

He turned toward Bobby and calmly replied, "Don't tell me how to eat and I won't tell you how to deal drugs."

He savored the exquisite look on Bobby's face and counted the seconds until his mom exploded.

"What!?" she bellowed. Travis explained that his brother fancied himself a kingpin and had been selling weed and ecstasy for the past two weeks. Sarah bolted from the room, no doubt to ransack Bobby's room, leaving Travis with a livid twelve- year-old. Hmm, I give him `bout ten seconds before he loses it, Travis thought. Right down to the nanosecond Bobby stood up. Now Travis had two options: ignore Bobby and let his old man handle him, or put him in his place.

Slowly he stood and glowered at Bobby, daring him to make a move. He swung, but it was already too late. Travis' fist slammed into Bobby's forearm and before he had a chance to counter, Travis pinned him to the wall by his throat.

"I'll say this so your pea brain can understand it. Disrespect me again and it will be the last thing you ever do," Travis said looking to Bobby's narrowed eyes. His brother struggled against the death grip, but to no avail.

"Stop it, can't you see he's turning blue," Amber said trying to pry his finger off Bobby.

"Don't listen to her. You know he deserves worse. Make him suffer," Oblivion's voice whispered at the back of his mind. Travis fought the urge to crush Bobby trachea and released him. Bobby staggered to his chair then sat rubbing his throat.

"This isn't over, snitches get stitches," he said through a coughing fit. Amber in the mean time went back to texting her latest boyfriend.

Travis finished eating then headed to his room and meditated before bed. He awoke around nine Saturday morning to a silent house. After a long shower he decided to rustle up some grub and upon entering the kitchen found a note from his mom:

Amber's staying the night at Megan's house and we'll be gone most of the day getting your knuckleheaded brother situated at boot camp. Text us if you need anything.

He grabbed three packs of Pop tarts then headed to living room and watched the lame horror movies on the Sci-Fi channel. An hour later Travis was bored so he mucked around online until eleven o'clock. With nothing better to do he popped on a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, searched around for his cell, and then headed off to Josh's place.

It was an unseasonably warm April day so a quarter of the way there he chucked off his hoodie. He made it there in no time and had to admit Josh's house was very nice: immaculate lawn, spacious yard, and it had a good two hundred square feet on the Johnston place. He rang the door bell and after seven minutes Josh opened the door clad in boxers and a white T-shirt.

"Well looks like someone's happy to see me. Gee, I didn't know you cared `bout me like that."

"Dude you're way early so screw you, and I've been wondering what's up with your hair? Anyways give me like ten minutes and I'll be ready," Josh said yawning all the while.

"It was a dye job gone bad douche-master-general. And sorry carrot-top you're not my type, but tell your mom to watch the teeth next time," Travis said.

"Who are you and what did ya do to Travis?" Josh said.

"Don't you have a shower to take boner boy?"

"Oh shit," Josh said and realized he'd been giving the entire neighborhood an eyeful of his package.

"Hey I can't help it if I'm packing," Josh said flashing his wide grin.

"Right, if that's packing then I must be horse hung. Now point that toothpick elsewhere and let me in before your neighbors get the wrong idea."

" We wouldn't want that, now would we big boy?" Josh said batting his eyelashes. Travis nodded then entered the living room and outlined some ideas for the paper while he waited. Josh quickly washed up and plastered his baby goo on the shower wall, praying that would ease his not so little problem.

Travis was so focused on writing that Josh had to shake him to get his attention. He blushed wildly and apologized for being so zoned out. They bullshitted for bit with Travis doing well almost as if some of Prometheus had rubbed off on him. All the while he couldn't help notice how tiny the other boy was. Josh's cargo shorts, wife beater and flip-flops accentuated his petite frame all the more. Done procrastinating Josh told Travis his ideas, which turned out to be quite similar to his, and asked the boy what he thought.

"I mean, yeah we could go with the whole science gone awry or the religious angle, but that's a tad trite. I was thinking more along the lines of the monster representing punishment for going against the status quo and breaking taboos. However, if we analyze how the town's people react to it then we can argue that the monster personifies the human inability to understand things which don't adhere to their rigid preconceived notions."

"Whoa Travis, you must be like some super brain `cuz you lost me like from the get go," Josh laughed and then rubbed his spiky red hair.

"No, I'm just a total book worm is all. So how about you write the first half using your ideas, I write the other using mine then we splice them together."

Two hours later they finished writing and looked over the other's work. While not up to Travis' perfectionist standards, what Josh wrote was good and did complement his points nicely. He reread Josh's paper and had begun planning out the final draft when he was tapped on the shoulder.

"I understand a lot more what you were trying to say cuz I kind of had trouble hearing what you said. Anyways, what did you mean by `being trapped in their black and white world.'? And what did you mean when you said all emotions are pointless? How can that be when emotions are responsible for music, art, literature, and video games dude?"

"To answer your first question, I meant that people have a tendency to view the world in absolutes and thus are unwilling or unable to understand complex matters. Secondly, emotions are pointless because they cloud rational thought and prevent people from seeing the larger picture," Travis replied verbally and telepathically so there was no chance of Josh misunderstanding him. Josh's face had a bewildered look upon it as if he wanted to say something else, but didn't know quite what yet. He opened his mouth about to speak, but took a bite out of the chocolate bar he munched on while writing the paper.

"What about love?" Josh said then froze when Travis kissed him.

 

Send all comments to silentbutcudly@hotmail.com In the next chapter the weirdness factor kicks up to 11 and the boys will grow closer though not in the way you might think.