Zit-Faced Idiots

This is what happens when I actually trust my process.  I bang out a story the day after the challenge is posted.  In case you couldn’t tell, I’m rather stoked about it!  Can’t say it will happen every time, but it was nice this time.

Turn-a-trope Tuesday has been hauled over, redefined and renamed.  It is now Trope-Tastic Thursday in which we are still using tropes, it’s just up to the author to either play it straight or turn it on it’s head.  This week’s Trope is Vocal Dissonance (Mike Tyson, anyone?).  I definitely think I played it straight, maybe even a little loosely, but it’s in there.  It’s the first thing I thought of, since my son is about that age.

The story is about teenage boys, so there is some swearing involved.  (If you think your teenagers don’t swear when you’re not around, think again!)  Anyway, just a heads up for those who don’t like that sort of thing.

Coming in slightly over 1,000 words, I hope you enjoy!

Zit-Faced Idiots

The final bell rang and Ben jumped up, his desk sliding sideways in his haste. He was the first one to the door. He hadn’t planned it, he just wanted to get the hell out of this dung hole.

Stepping into the chaos-filled hallway, he shoved and pushed his way to his locker. Jerking it open, he unceremoniously threw his books in. He might have homework in a few classes, but meh. He had better things to do. He slammed the door shut, leaving the mangled books and crushed papers behind.

“Hey, Ben! We still hanging out after school?” Josh walked up and punched him in the arm.

“Sure.”

“Cool. Freddie’s gonna come. That okay?”

“Whatever. Not like we have solid plans.”

Josh leered at him and grinned. “We do now!”

“Huh?”

“You’ll see. It’s gonna be awesome.” Josh took off down the hall.

Ben caught up with him outside where he was bent over, apparently laughing at Freddie. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh my God, dude. You should’ve heard it. He walks up all deep, growly voice and the next instant it’s like someone grabbed his balls!”

“Fuck you, Josh.” Freddie was looking slightly red around the edges.

Ben sympathized. Junior high was like a death pit of deep voices turning to squeaks in seconds, zit-faced idiots and boners. Just one more year, he thought. By then, he could only hope his face was more clear and his voice was more settled into its tone, whatever that was going to be. Right now, he couldn’t count on either.

He cleared his throat, a little leery of the squeak himself. As it turned out, his voice came out even deeper than normal.

“Hey, Josh, didn’t your sister kick you in the sack last night? And weren’t you curled up on the floor balling like a baby for a good five minutes?”

Josh immediately stopped laughing and his face turned a few different shades of red. “Fuck you, Ben.”

“Now that we’ve got that out of the way…” Ben started walking down the street and the others followed, sulking. Ben let them, knowing it wouldn’t last. Some teenage sulks could last for days, he knew. He was currently in the middle of one directed right at his dad. He couldn’t quite remember what for, but he wasn’t about to let it go. Friends were different, though.

“So, what’s this thing we’re gonna do?”

Freddie and Josh had finally caught up.

“We need to stop at my house first. But, you know that house with the old lady who yells at us all the time?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, we’re gonna give her something she’ll never forget!” Josh high-fived Freddie and they both laughed.

Ben raised an eyebrow at Josh. “Uh, what do you mean?”

“Promise you’ll do it?”

“No. I gotta know what it is.”

“Why do you always have to be the asshole of the group?”

“I don’t know. Why do you smell like dog shit?”

Freddie burst out in a laugh that ended in a high-pitched squeal. He clamped his hands on his mouth, his eyes bugging out of his face. Ben and Josh laughed so hard they had to stop walking and ended up doubled over.

“Fuck! I hate it when that happens.” Freddie kept walking. It happened to all of them at least ten times a day. They all got a good laugh in before letting it go and moving on.

They reached Josh’s house and Ben and Freddie loitered on the grass out front while Josh ran inside. He was back within minutes, holding a carton of eggs.

Ben took one look and started walking home. “Count me out.”

“Come on, dude! It’ll be fun.” Josh ran in front of Ben and turned so he was walking backwards. “Just, I don’t know, come hang out. You don’t have to throw any.”

“What if you get caught? Did you think of that?” Ben kept walking.

“We’re not gonna get caught. This neighborhood is a ghost town this time of day.” Freddie put out his hand and stopped walking, forcing Ben to stop. “I thought we were friends, dude. Besides, that old lady is a cow. She deserves what she gets. You were bitching about it harder than anyone the last time she kicked us off her street.”

“Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean I wanna egg her house!”

“Come on! Just come with us! Stop being such a pansy!”

Ben looked at Josh, then down at the eggs. “Fine. Whatever. But I’m not throwing any.”

“Fine. Cool. Whatever. Let’s Go!”

The old lady’s house was on the next street over and it didn’t take long before they were standing in front of it. The street was deserted except for a few younger kids playing in their front yard. They waited for a lone car to drive by, but once it turned the corner, Josh and Freddie unloaded on the house, laughing and yelling like idiots. Ben took a seat on the grass a few houses down and watched as the eggs splattered on the door, slithering to a puddle on the porch. They landed a few good ones on the window that surprisingly didn’t break it.

Once all the eggs had been dispensed, Freddie and Josh turned to each other, high-fiving and chest bumping. Soon, they were on the ground, wrestling and hollering. Ben watched, thinking he was gonna go home and play some video games when he heard the siren.

“Oh shit!”

Ben was the first one off the ground, running like hell down the street. It didn’t take the others long to catch up and they all high-tailed it to Josh’s house, running inside and slamming the door. Freddie collapsed against the living room wall, heaving.

“Do you think they were coming for us?”

“I didn’t think anyone saw us.”

“Uh, guys?  We’re in deep shit.” Ben’s squeaky voice went unnoticed.

They all watched through the window as the police car stopped in front of Josh’s house.

Gruff The Rat

This story is for Turn-a-trope Tuesday, a challenge laid down by Mark Baron. This weeks prompt was Verbal Tic Name.  (Think Yeah Yeah from Sandlot – that’s the one that resonated  the most with me and helped me move forward)  I’m not sure I turned it on its head, but I had fun with it.  I’ve wanted to do more Sammy adventures and this gave me the perfect opportunity.  If you want to read Sammy’s debut, you can do that here.

Coming in at 998 words:

Gruff the Rat

I’m a good girl. I’m a good girl.

It’s my mantra these days even though I’m feeling less good, more confused and purposeless. My only real purpose is sitting by Mom, loving her and giving what I can.

Something happened.

We were supposed to go running one morning, but we didn’t, even though I waited by the door staring at my leash, futilely wagging my tail. Then she disappeared for what seemed like forever. The other humans didn’t spend much time at home either and I spent a lot of time with my head in my paws waiting by the door, occasionally twitching my tail and moving my eyes back and forth.

Now she’s home, but she’s on the couch a lot and we don’t go running anymore. She seems to need comfort so I spend a lot of time by her side or at her feet. She tolerates me and occasionally says things like, “I’m sorry, Sammy. I know you miss running.”

A lot of other humans come and go. I pretend I understand their conversations, but really I only understand a few words, like my name.

“How’s Sammy holding up?”

“You know, I think she’s depressed. Can a dog be depressed?” Mom rubs my head and I lick her hand, my tail wagging back and forth. “It might be some time before I can take her running again, and I keep forgetting to have the kids walk her. Even then, it’s just around the block. Hopefully getting another dog will be good for her. She needs the company and I don’t like seeing her like this.”

“That’ll probably help. Are you planning on getting another Lab?”

“No. A neighbor’s sheepdog just had puppies a few months ago and we already picked one out of the litter. We are going to pick him up tomorrow.” Mom is petting me but she bends to lift my muzzle and stares into my eyes. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you girl?”

I let my tongue hang out and my breath is coming fast, my tail picking up speed. I don’t know what she’s saying but I love it when she looks in my eyes.

If I’d known then what was going to happen, well, I don’t know what I would have done. It’s not like I have a whole lot of power here. To be honest, when the gray ball of matted fur shows up, I’m curious, sniffing and licking him. The thing barely moves and doesn’t really change things much, at first.

They start calling him Gruff because that’s how he barks, I kid you not. The first time he lets out a little “gruff” sound it takes so much energy, it almost knocks him off the couch. All the humans say “Awwww” and laugh as if they’ve never heard anything like it before. I let out a bark, full-throated and deep, to show the humans and the intruder how it’s supposed to be done, but they all shush me.

I look at Mom, stung, but she has her face in the fur ball and doesn’t see me.

I try to be a good girl, but I can’t help but think that Gruff the Rat doesn’t have anything on me. I have velvety, chocolate brown fur, I hardly shed and I pee outside where dogs are supposed to pee. I am also named after something sensible – Samus, the female warrior from a thing called Metroid. At least, that’s what Mom tells other humans when they ask.

Gruff is named after his bark (how dumb is that?). He’s pretty rough around the edges with weird splotches of black haphazardly strewn over his long gray fur, but not in the cute Dalmatian sort of way, and his eyes are mismatched. He looks more like a rat than a dog, thus the name I’ve given him.

Things go from bad to worse when he gets a little bit bigger.

I’m just walking through the kitchen on my way to my favorite spot when all the sudden Gruff bites down on my tail and I am carrying an extra little fur ball across the room. I swat my tail as hard as I can and he goes sailing through the air, landing underneath a chair. I look at Mom to see if she will do anything to stop the madness, but she laughs. Laughs! Can you believe it?

Things like this happen all the time. The Rat invades my space, wrecks my peace and fiddles with my sanity.

When I finally manage to make it to my favorite spot, I’m just soaking up the sun letting my eyes glaze over and my lids start to droop when the rat gets all in my business, shoving his muzzle into mine, sniffing and licking. I swat at him with my paw and he answers with a bounce and a “gruff” and starts at it again.

But here’s the thing. It doesn’t take long before he actually starts to grow on me. There’s just something about the level of cute he puts out that seems to have an invisible string attached to my heart and the more he yanks on it, well, you know.

Once he settles down after bugging me to the point I growl in warning, he curls up next to me and we spend a few hours dozing. When we go outside, he reminds me what it’s like to have a friend to play with. He chases me and I chase him. I have to be careful, though, because his paws aren’t quite up to speed yet. While he’s bouncing through the grass, running from my exuberance, he misses a step and skids face first into the grass forcing me to quickly change direction before I barrel into him.

He’s a lovable little thing. He’s torn my world in two and rebuilt it into something else entirely, but I’m starting to think it isn’t such a bad thing.

I’m a good girl, after all.

The Not Ideal, Mighty Fine Work Around

This week’s Turn-a-Trope Tuesday was an interesting one – good people have good sex.  And I couldn’t help myself.  The voice, the story just happened and I’m not going to apologize or take it back.  I will, however, do a warning that it has an adult rating (because sexy talk) and some adult language, so if those two things bother you, then you don’t have to read it.  I won’t be offended, I promise.

I present 999 words, flipping this trope on it’s head (I think):

 The Not Ideal, Mighty Fine Work Around

My name’s Eve and I feel cheated. Not in the way you might think. No one robbed me or swindled me, but I’ve been cheated just the same.

The thing is, no one tells you what to expect. They just assume you know. How that’s even remotely possible, I’m quite sure I don’t know. But I’m here to say that I didn’t know and I’m thinking it would have been only fair if someone had taken the time to tell me so I didn’t have to puzzle through it on my own.

Not that my parents were going to tell me. They wouldn’t talk about sex to save their own life much less mine. Pretty sure their sex life was (is?) about as much fun as getting cat piss out of the carpet. Not that I want to know. Nope. They can just keep their sexy secrets behind closed doors, thank you very much.

See, growing up you watch TV and no, it isn’t porn or anything, but you wind up with certain expectations. Have a glass of wine with a gentleman; wear a dazzling outfit; smooch a bit; everything polished to a perfectly pretty shine. Then the door closes and the scene fades to black and your imagination takes over. And boy could my imagination take over!

It probably didn’t help that I found my parents’ book porn hidden in their room when I was younger. Now, just to clarify unless you go thinking my parents really had porn lying around their house, hidden in their bedroom or not; they didn’t. It was more like steamy romances, which had the same problems as listed above, only book scenes end with, “He took her into the bedroom.” Regardless, I ate that shit up! Had to make sure I put the book back so they wouldn’t notice, but when they were at work, I was in my bedroom poring over lustful words.

So, you might say I had some idea what to expect. But, boy would you be wrong.

There I was, the ripe old age of eighteen years old and me and the sweetie had been dancing around it for a few months. Now, keep in mind that we were both raised in religion, so it’s not like we were excited about this new experience, this sharing of sex with each other. It’s more like we were scared shitless.

But it didn’t matter what we did or how much we tried to stop it. Somehow our hands just ended up all over each other and soon we were lifting clothes and kissing more and farther down…

Well, you get the idea.

It’s not like we talked about it either. There was no “you’re going to do this” then “I’m going to do that” and “I really liked that” and “keep doing that” or “stop that right now!” In fact, I seem to remember an absence of words – like the first one who spoke would die a horrible death, or something.

So there we were, getting in on and before I knew it certain clothes had been removed and I was staring at something that I knew would not fit where it was supposedly going. And yep. I was right.

That’s another thing I never really learned about. Lubrication. As stated above, it probably would have helped to have some sort of words from someone on the subject and how to do things the best possible way.

Anyway, long story short, we kept at it and eventually managed to go all the way. But then another thing happened that continues to happen to this day. Once the thing was where it needed to go, it’s like it couldn’t help itself. Being surrounded by all that moist heat, pumping in and out, it expended itself within a matter of moments.

All that build up for a few moments? Because it’s not like things continued. No, once he was done, so was I apparently. And for some reason I did this thing where I smiled and acted like things were great when I was really feeling, well, I guess the appropriate words would be let down.

Which brings me to feeling cheated.

At this point, those moments have turned to minutes and sometimes we get a full ten, but other than that, it’s pretty much over as soon as it begins. I’m not sure he even realizes it, but it just doesn’t happen quite that fast for me. I mean, sure, I enjoy it, because all the build up is nice; but it should lead to that moment, you know the one – seeing stars, fading vision and languid, limp body.

Just in case you were wondering, we aren’t much better at the whole talking thing. We can’t even say things like, “Yes, I absolutely want to fuck tonight!” No, it’s more like we do another dance. I look at him a certain way and he’s supposed to just know that I want to; or he leans into me and puts his hand on my knee and somehow that is the magical symbol for “I want to fuck”. Things could be so much easier if we just opened up and said what we wanted, you know, with words.

Needless to say, we haven’t had that conversation. The one where I tell him I’m walking around most nights like a sex crazed maniac, throbbing and wet with hunger.

But to be perfectly honest, since that’s what I’m doing here, bearing my soul to anyone who will listen; I’m not really walking around like that because I discovered something – a work around; and a mighty fine one too. It’s not ideal, I suppose, but in the absence of actually communicating with sweetie to get shit done, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

And when I say that, I do mean it literally.

Funny how you learn pretty damn fast where your own buttons are and how to pop them.

Bring Her Back

I’m a bit late posting my story for Turn-a-trope Tuesday, but I’m still on time, damn it!  This week, the Trope was “Make a Wish”.  Thanks again to Mark Baron for hosting this challenge, it always manages to keep me on my toes.

I spent a good two days with absolute stillness in my head; no ideas, no spark. Nothing.  It was like a ghost town in there.  I was a little panicked, but I decided to give myself some time (actually it was more like screaming and crying that I was no longer creative and I couldn’t write anymore).  I spent some time reflecting on past stories and how far I feel I’ve come when it hit me on Saturday to use a character I had already created.  After that, it became much easier.

I’m a little over at 1,064 words, but I hope you enjoy my take on turning “Make a Wish” on its head, as well as Jaden’s continuing story.

Bring Her Back

Sitting in chains on the dank cellar floor waiting for my trial, I knew I had made a mess of things, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to regret what I had done. I regretted my own loss more than anyone could imagine, but my actions had saved someone I loved severe heartache and pain. Was that so wrong?

Mom had warned me countless times not to get too close to my human, not to care too much, but my bond with Xander was unique and most Guardians didn’t understand, Mom included. The thing was we had a set of rules to live by. We could only step in when the rules said so, but most times, we were just watching. Sure, we influenced their emotions sometimes, helped guide them in different directions, but the big events like death were written down and we could only step in when told to do so.

Xander was a great kid and it was hard to believe ten years had passed. Ten years of growing and learning together. When his first big tragedy hit, he was the same age I was when he was born and I was unceremoniously entrusted with him.

It was a tough thing to watch. Tougher still that we had this connection where he seemed to know I was there and counted on me.

He was lying next to his deceased mother in her hospital bed, holding her close one last time, tears streaming down his face. Everyone had left the room to give him some time alone, but I was watching, feeling helpless. I would have done anything in that moment to take his pain away; it was all I could do to stand by and not offer anything.

I was so caught up in our shared grief, I barely heard him whisper into the stillness.

“I know you’re there.”

He didn’t look up or turn his head, just soft words spoken into the desperate silence. I knew he was talking to me, but I kept quiet, bound by the Guardians’ rules.

“I think I’ve always known you were there. I just want my mom back and I know you can do it! Please, help me. Please bring her back.” He was staring straight ahead, holding her hand as he cried out his plea.

It broke my heart. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but how to make him understand? I tried sending calming waves in his direction, but it didn’t help. He cried, pleading and begging, all the while hugging his mother, kissing her hand.

All I wanted was to comfort him, to make it stop, to bring him some release.

I don’t know if it was the overwhelming emotion, our connection or something else, but in the midst of the emotional assault, I felt something give inside me. It was the same feeling I had felt when Xander and I connected at his birth, but this time, it directed itself toward his mother. Xander must have felt it too because he lifted up and looked at his mother’s face. We both watched as her eyelids fluttered and a loud breath whooshed out of her mouth.

I was dazed, not entirely sure what was happening, when the air stirred and my own mother flew through the window and landed next to me.

“Jaden, what have you done?

Seeing the concerned look on her face and feeling the joy coming from Xander, I realized I must have done it. I had given his mother back to him.

“Mom! I don’t know. I didn’t know. How did you know?” The words and questions flew out of my mouth reflecting my inner turmoil.

She gently placed her hand on my arm. “When things like this happen, we all know. You need to fix it, son.”

“Fix it? I don’t even know what I did!” My voice was panicked.

“I will help you. You need to gather that same feeling, the one you had when you brought her back and direct it towards her again, but this time you will think the opposite of what you were thinking when it happened. I will do the rest.”

“I don’t think I can. Look at him!”

“Jaden, we are Guardians. If it wasn’t written in his file, then you can’t step in.”

“What happens if I let her live?”

“The consequences are too numerous to go into right now. You need to fix it quickly before life sets in for good. At that point, it will take a whole lot more than what you and I have to make it right.”

I looked back at Xander. He was laughing and crying and hugging his mom. He was saying thank you over and over again and I knew it was directed at me. I was torn. On the one hand, even though I hadn’t done it on purpose, I knew it was wrong. On the other hand, how could I take back what was given? To make him lose his mother all over again simply because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing?

“Jaden?” Mom’s soothing voice penetrated my thoughts.

I looked at her and nodded my head, all the while holding back the tears that threatened to well up. I knew I didn’t have a choice.

I held her hand and focused everything I had into Xander’s mother. At the same time, I felt Mom’s energy flowing out of her and mixing with mine. It wasn’t bright white like before, but stardust gray, billowing and melting like molten lava towards the heartbeat that should never have restarted.

The non-life energy encompassed Xander’s mother and I was just about to breathe a relieved sigh when I realized it hadn’t stopped. The energy continued to flow to the heartbeat closest to hers and I was helpless to stop it. I looked at Mom, her eyes reflecting the horror in mine.

I thought I was focused and clear, but in the midst of the energy meld I divided my focus between Xander and his mother. I couldn’t bear the thought of him losing her all over again. I just wanted to take care of him, to guard him, to give him what I thought he wanted.

Xander would always be with his mother now and I had inadvertently sacrificed the truest connection I had ever felt.

What She Couldn’t Offer Him

It’s week #5 of Turn-a-trope Tuesday from the wonderful Woegman’s World of Witty Wonder.  This week, it’s Opposites Attract Revenge.  I read through the description a few times because the title didn’t seem to match the description.  It’s basically a failed relationship where someone ends up with the other’s rival and a battle ensues – think Mary Jane in Spider Man.

I took it rather loosely, but I wanted to go in a slightly different direction.  After all, the challenge is to turn the trope on it’s head.  So, I give you 986 words:

What She Couldn’t Offer Him

Sophie and James met through mutual friends and while they both recognized that all-too-familiar “something”, it took some time before they dove into any kind of relationship or understanding. All told, it lasted about four years. Four years of happy and sad, back and forth, break-up and get back together; a contemptuous, loving, altogether toxic nightmare.

The core of their relationship was the connection they had – that divine spark so many people believe is out there, spoken of in terms like “soul mate”. It was the only thing that kept them together through it all. Sophie believed the connection was too strong, too rare to let it falter and fade; but there were things, core realities she believed they should have faced from the beginning. She tried, but he always told her he loved her and nothing else mattered.

It wasn’t so much the age difference – he was younger, and while it brought jokes and ribbing from friends and loved ones, it wasn’t a core difference. It was that she had two children and couldn’t have any more. It was that she had been married and divorced and didn’t believe in the institution anymore and was disinclined to try it again. It was that she was angry all the time and all he really wanted was peace and love and attention. It was that he was an only child and had developed “mommy” issues at a young age. As in any relationship, theirs was fraught with tiny “beings” living with them and threatening to tear them apart piece by piece.

Eventually they succeeded.

After three years, they decided to move in together. You know that old saying, the way to truly test any relationship is to live together.

Theirs didn’t stand up to the test.

Sophie had many reasons why she eventually made him leave, but none of them were the core issues she too soon came to realize were what tore them apart. Even after begging and pleading on his part – the soul wrenching entreaties that almost broke her – she stood firm.

The hardest part, for her anyway, was running in the same circles. She knew going into it that if things didn’t work out they couldn’t leave and forget as easily as some. She would always hear about him and of him and while she was sure she had made the right decision, there was a tiny part of her buried deep that remembered their connection.

She was at a party four months after the breakup when she overheard the news.

“Are you going to the wedding?”

“Yeah. It should be interesting. Have you met her yet?”

“No. I’ll probably have to wait until the wedding, at this point. It’s not like they’re giving us a lot of time.”

She was sitting close to them on the couch and couldn’t help but accidentally eavesdrop on their conversation. She was curious and with no one else to talk to, she decided to join in. “Whose wedding?”

They both looked at each other uncomfortably and one of them muttered something and actually got up and left. At that point, Sophie was feeling a bit sick to her stomach because somehow, she knew it was James…

…and it was.

Only four months after declaring undying love to her and begging to take him back, he was getting married to someone else. Even though it was her decision to end things, she still felt betrayed. She left the party soon after even though she said she was fine and it was no big deal. She even said all the right things, she hoped they were happy and of course it was right that they both move on. What else could she do?

And just when she thought she had started to move on and accept that it was really over, only two short months after the marriage news, she heard they were going to have a baby.

Six months in total and he was already living a life completely different than what theirs had been, what he said he was okay living without in order to be with her. She felt angry, betrayed and sad. But who to direct those feelings towards?

Him?

His wife?

Herself?

She begrudged them their piece of happiness plenty of times in the months to come, but Sophie knew it wasn’t going to somehow magically end their marriage or stop a birth; it only served to make her miserable.

If she was totally honest with herself, it wasn’t his wife so much as it was what she could offer him. While Sophie believed she would have eventually married him if things had improved, she hadn’t been ready at the time. She also had two children above the age of ten and had taken steps to ensure she wouldn’t have any more; but his wife could give him those experiences – walking down the aisle for the first time, having a baby and learning to be parents together.

Was there really anyone to blame? Anyone Sophie could lash out at in order to take the hurt away?

In the end, she realized it wasn’t someone, it was something – an idea; the idea that she couldn’t give him what he needed but someone else could and did. The ironic part was, she had offered him that out in the very beginning and he had chosen to stay for the long, torturous four years that it had lasted.

Did he lie?

Did she?

Dwelling on a past, failed relationship didn’t offer much beyond more questions and a constant barrage of ugly emotions, but Sophie came to understand that the only way she knew how to exact revenge (if that is what it was) against the idea that she didn’t have enough to offer someone, was to look for and eventually find her own peace and happiness.

And that’s exactly what she did.

A Boy or a Man

I had all but given up on last week’s Turn-a-trope Tuesday; in fact, I actually commented and said I was giving up.  But it kept stewing and bubbling and I finally ended up with this.  I think the reason it was so hard was the subject matter.  I believe this particular trope says loads about our society and constantly reinforces bad behavior and ideas that need a rest already.

When I first started thinking of a story for how a man just isn’t a man if he’s a virgin and turning it on his head, I couldn’t make anything fit and found myself angry most of the time just thinking about it.  I realized I was trying to fictionalize something that hit too close to home and in cases like that, it’s probably best to write what you know.  The story Cody tells in his letter is one that actually happened to my daughter a few months ago and she really did tell the guy off.  I’m so incredibly proud of her and want to dedicate this to her.  I love you baby girl!

This is slightly short, coming in at 911 words. Oh, and for those of you that don’t like the swear words, this one has some.

A Boy or a Man

Cody Jacobs graduated from Jordan High School this year as their Valedictorian, Senior Class President and Captain of their Varsity football team. We were turned onto a copy of this letter that he posted on the schools’ Facebook page shortly after graduation, only to have it removed a few hours later along with the comments. Before it was removed, it received over 1,000 hits and the comments were both positive and negative. We thought it was worth sharing.

I am a graduating senior this year and I wanted to speak to everyone, but in particular, I am speaking to high school boys, boys who think they are old enough to be called men, boys who think it makes them a man to disrespect women, boys who think it makes them a man to have sex, even though they don’t have one clue about the realities or consequences that sexual experience brings.

I have been plagued for the last four years by boys who called themselves my friends about my decision to not have sex. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but this wasn’t a one-time decision. This is a decision I make consciously every single day and I can tell you, I haven’t yet come across a moment where I felt it was time to take that leap. I haven’t been ready. How can any of us consider ourselves ready?

Because, for me, being ready means I am ready to be a father, just in case there’s an accident, which happens more than you realize, in case you were wondering.

It means I’m ready to take tests and be prepared for a positive on a sexually transmitted disease.

It means I know how to make the experience about not just myself, but also the woman I choose to share it with. It means I know what it takes to please her and I will find joy in her pleasure as much as my own.

There are so many things that being ready to have sex means, but the one thing it doesn’t mean is that now I’m finally a man. A man is someone who makes this all-important decision carefully, using the correct head, the one above his waistline.

I’m going to tell you a story about a typical stroll in the hallway after class. Not only did this actually happen to my girlfriend and her best friend, but the way it somehow got turned on me and how much of a man I was or wasn’t is despicable. I ended up losing a friend that day because I choose to surround myself with people who see me; who see my girlfriend and don’t just think “take care of your woman” or something equally offensive.

We were all milling about in the hallway, the last bell still echoing above the din of chatter and abrupt laughter when my friend Isaac said, “Carrie, you are looking mighty fine today! Do a spin so I can check out that beautiful ass.”

My girlfriend, Ariana, and I were talking but she glanced up when she heard Issac.

“Hey, asshole! You think it’s okay to disrespect women?”

Isaac laughed. “Cody, keep your girl in line, dude. I thought you were a man.”

Ariana calmly walked up to Isaac and got in his face, close enough to make it really uncomfortable for both of them.

“Okay, Fucker. If you really consider yourself my friend and his,” she said, pointing at me, “you will apologize to Carrie right now.”

“Geez, Ariana, chill. I was just joking.”

“Joking? Have some respect. Didn’t your Mama raise you any better?”

“I said chill! No need to bring Mom’s into this.” He tried to take a step back, but she took a step forward, dogging him.

“Carrie is not an object. I am not an object to you or Cody. Now, apologize, or get the fuck out of my circle.” With each sentence she rammed her finger into his chest, driving her point home.

“God, fine! Carrie, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.” He made a big show of bowing and fluttering his eyes, far from sincere. She asked him to apologize and he did. She couldn’t make him actually mean it.

“Gee, thanks.” Carrie just rolled her eyes and walked away.

Isaac didn’t bother to speak to any of us after that and I think we were all better off for it, although it sucks in a lot of ways. Not that this is atypical. It isn’t. This type of thing happened almost daily in the hallways and somehow, because Ariana chose to stand up for her friend, I was called less of a man and told I wasn’t keeping her in line.

Being Ariana’s boyfriend isn’t about control or sex or being a man. It’s about many things, but never that. I love Ariana. I respect her for her strength, for her willingness to stand up for something she believes is wrong even though it turns the negative attention our way.

I don’t need to prove that I’m a man, to you, to my girlfriend, to anyone. All I want is to impart the lessons I learned along the way and hope they reach the thick meaty skulls they are intended for. I’m honestly happy to be leaving this place, to move on to bigger and better things. I only hope college is different, although somehow I think it might be worse and that just makes me sad.

The Guardians

Thinking back on the stories I’ve submitted so far, they are all pretty dark and somber.  Inspiring, some of them, creepy and weird a few of them; but I started thinking I just couldn’t write happiness.  And given how I’ve been feeling this week, I wanted to try and do the opposite.  Which seemed like an impossible task at the time, but as it turned out it actually helped pull the cobwebs out of my head today.  I really got into this voice and enjoyed it.

This is my submission for Turn-a-trope Tuesday #3: “Resigned to the Call”.  I don’t know if I turned it on its head, or if I really even made the resigned part believable.  I think I tried to make this challenge fit into what I wanted to write this week.  I hope it worked and I hope you like my foray into a little more light-hearted territory.

The Guardians

“Jaden, come down from there this instant!”

“But Moooom, you told me to practice my flying and I just started.” I keep flying just to see if I can really get her worked up, or maybe she’ll forget and leave me be.

Flying is great. I wish I had always been able to, but it takes some time before wings are ready. Mom says it’s like walking. You have to crawl first.  I don’t know if I get it, I only know my wings finally decided to work and I can fly.

“Jaden!” Mom’s voice is in shrill territory.  Maybe just one more turn around the valley…

Before I know it, she’s got my wing, dragging me to the nearest cloud.

“Ow!” I don’t cry, cause I’m too big, but it hurts and I have to blink a few times to stop the stinging in my eyes.

Mom lets go of my wing and kneels down in front of me. Mom is beautiful, no doubt about it. She has red-gold hair that brushes her knees as she leans toward me. Her wings, the same color as her hair, fan around her and do this twitchy calming thing. I like Mom’s wings. I sometimes imagine I’m back in her arms, before mine were fully formed, and we’re soaring through the wind together.

“It’s time, Jaden.” I look into her eyes, dreading what I think she means. She’s looking at me a little weird like she’s not sure how I’m going to react.

“Is it…?”

“Yes, Love”

“But, Mom, I don’t want one.” I’m whining.

“Everyone has a human, dear. That’s what we do.”

I frown and crinkle up my nose. “Humans are dumb.” I go from whining to sulking pretty fast, folding my arms in front of me, like I can keep it all out. Honestly, I just want to go back to flying.

She laughs and I’m not sure if she’s laughing at me and it makes me mad. My arms are at my sides, hands in fists and I stomp my foot on the cloud, vapor puffs shooting off into the sky. “I won’t do it. You can’t make me!”

She gives me that look Moms get. “You’re being ridiculous, but I understand. Honestly, I do. I didn’t want to meet mine the first time either. But, you’ll see, Love. It will happen to you just like it did for me, for all of us.”

“What if I hate my human? Can I trade him in for a new one?”

“That just isn’t done, Love.”

“What if I… don’t do what I’m supposed to do… you know…”

“Jaden! Where did you hear such a thing?”

My hands are behind my back and I’m staring down at the cloud, one toe picking at an invisible glitch in its surface.

“I heard Dad once…” I let my voice trail off cause I don’t want to get Dad in trouble. Not that Mom is much trouble for Dad. They usually just make lovey-dovey eyes at each other, but you know, kid code… I think that’s a thing. Anyway, I am not ratting Dad out. Although, I think I just did…

She sighs and reaches for my hand as she stands up. “Come, love. We’re going to be late.”

I don’t really want to go, but it’s not like I have a choice. I do that thing I did when I was like… I don’t know… five… I get really into it too, rolling my eyes, saying “uuuggh” and making a big show out of letting her pull me along as she lifts off the cloud.

“Put up your glamour, Love.” Her voice drifts over to me as we continue flying, staying high enough so we won’t be spotted until we’re sure it’s safe. Nothing really changes much when I turn my glamour on. Like putting on an old hat, it just settles over me and, poof, I’m invisible to humans.

It doesn’t take us long before we swoop through a window and land soundlessly in a room. I don’t really get what I’m seeing, but there are lots of big humans and loud beeping noises. I look up at Mom, thinking she’s going to explain, but she’s looking at me and I think she might cry. So weird!

While I’m looking at her, there’s suddenly this screeching, squalling noise. I scrunch up my face and look back to see what’s making all the fuss. “Is that my human?” I look at Mom for an answer and she is just nodding her head, crying. I roll my eyes. “He’s pretty gross.” I watch as they put him in a glass box. They’re doing stuff to him and he’s screeching so loud my ears start ringing.

I don’t know exactly what changes, but I feel this strange pull inside me. I let go of Mom’s hand without really thinking about it and start walking forward. Mom doesn’t say anything, which again, is weird, but I can’t really stop what’s happening. I have to go.

I feel like I’m in some sort of trance as I walk up to the glass box and see him up close for the first time. Everything sort of melts away and we’re alone, just me and the tiny human. His fists are curled up and his arms and legs flail around like someone just pinched him. He’s all red and splotchy and gooey. I gather some calming energy, stuff Mom used to use on me, and I sprinkle it over him.

His screeching stops and his eyes get really bright and it’s like he’s looking right at me. I reach my hand towards him and he grabs my finger in his tiny fist and I feel it. It’s almost bigger than both of us put together. It fills me up and comes out of me and I’m shining brighter than I ever have.

He’s my human. I didn’t want it, I don’t really get it yet, but that’s the way it is.