dontravis.com blog post #553
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Last week, the gay kid Lyle was cornered in the boy’s room at his high school, stripped naked, and tossed into the hallway where half the student body saw him. He fled home where he found little, if any, support. Now what happens?
I don’t have words to describe how I felt when I walked through the school doors on Monday. Smiles and giggles hidden behind cupped hands were bad. Sympathetic looks, mostly from girls, weren’t any better. The curled lips and disgusted frowns were worse, but at least they were honest. But the baddest of all was being called out of class to go see the principal, a prissy little man who went out of his way to make his attitude clear about fags… in my opinion because he was one.
“Lyle,” he said when I stood before his desk. “Friday was inexcusable. I won’t tolerate public nudity in my school. What were you thinking?”
“Wasn’t my idea… sir.” The “sir” came hard because I had no respect for this dominating, tinpot tyrant.
“What are you saying? Explain yourself.”
There was no doubt in my mind that he knew exactly what had happened and who perpetrated the event, but he was gonna do what everybody did… take the easy way out and blame it on the homo. Me.
“Four of them cornered me in the boy’s room, stripped me naked, and threw me out in the hallway.”
I clamped my mouth firmly shut. Although everyone knew, if I confirmed it aloud, I’d not only be a queer fag, I’d be a queer, fag rat squealer. And this bastard wouldn’t do anything about it, anyway.
“I asked you who, Lyle.”
“You know who…sir.”
The silence stretched out as his weak, blue eyes glared at me across the desk. “Very well, if you won’t put a name to these… delinquents, I’ll have to assume there were none, and that you chose to strip and expose yourself to the entire student body. I will also have to inform your parents of your outrageous actions. Do you have anything else to say for yourself?”
“No sir. Just that I’m telling you the truth… and you know it.”
“Don’t be impertinent. You are suspended from school for one week. Do not show your face around here until next Monday. Is that understood?”
I studied the slate floor tiles as I walked back into the hall and straight out the front doors, keenly aware of the other students—my beloved classmates—and teachers carrying on their lives as if nothing had happened. Well, something had happened. And that was the real abomination.
Mom didn’t know what to do or say, so she managed one brief hug and mumbled about how much she loved me, and that was that.
The old man was strangely quiet for about an hour after he came home from the office, and then he cut loose with a lecture and a belting. The lecture was a rambling, semi-coherent thing about there being no fags in his family in living memory. The belting simply raised red welts on my backside and legs. Then the household settled into a seething stew of hostility.
That was the night, my dreams began to take form. The red was anger; the blue, fear. A yellowish haze in the background was cowardice.
Tuesday night, the yellow came more into focus. Who was the coward? I was, obviously, because I didn’t fight my nature and try to be somebody else for them. My father for being a bully who hid his head in the sand. My mother… I didn’t want to think about that one. I had her sympathy, but she didn’t lend me her strength. The principal for acting on what was convenient, not on what he knew. That rat bastard Clark Harbinger for….
Maybe he wasn’t a coward at all. As twisted as his thinking was, he’d done what he wanted to and to hell with the consequences. No, he wasn’t a coward, but he was still a rat bastard.
Then I proved I was the biggest coward of them all by crying through the rest of my dream.
The days loomed hard and heavy into the future. I stayed in bed late in the morning until my bladder chased me into the bathroom. I ignored the shower and lived in my pajama bottoms for the rest of the day, playing games on my computer and visiting web sites. Strange web sites. Web sites that hinted at revenge. Others that demanded it. Still others that explained how to achieve it.
When I refused to come to the table, Mom brought plates of food and left them outside my door. I’d hear her come and go, and then I’d snatch open the door, grab the food, and wolf it down in a hurry so I could get back to the web sites. I even worked up the courage to post on a few of them. Lo and behold, I found sympathy there. Not just meaningless words of “so sorry” or “poor you,” but exhortations to stand up for myself. Stand against the world.
I’d have sudden bouts of uncontrolled weeping during which I’d huddle in the fetal position on my bed while tears flowed. Then I’d sleep… and dream. Even in the daytime. Dream of revenge, of exposing the cowards who ruled my life, let me down.
One day, Thursday, I think it was, I daydreamed of the revenge I’d take on Clark. I showed up at his door, taking him by surprise. In this coherent, satisfying dream, I advantaged his astonishment and shoved him inside where I twisted his arm behind his back until he cried “uncle.” Then I raped his ass while he begged me to stop. Then he implored me not to stop. He liked it. The frigging pansy liked it.
But my night dreams grew redder… and darker. I couldn’t see what was happening, but something was, and I could feel it. Something with more red. Something with loud noises and crying and begging and pleas for forgiveness. Roiling, riotous, nightmares that left me frightened and contented and exhausted and hopeful, all at the same time.
My father tried to intrude on my isolation, but I surprised us both by standing up to him, returning threat with threat and deflecting vile accusation with dreadful riposte. He left me alone after that.
Gradually, I came to treasure those days I had dreaded before. As Monday grew closer, I became more anxious, more resentful. Sunday night’s dream grew more tumultuous, more fearsome than others. I seemed to be more involved, feeling my muscles moving as I fought my way through the increasing horror of the night. Until suddenly, everything went quiet, and I slept peacefully.
It was morning, Monday morning. I knew I had to go to class and face the disdainful looks of teacher and student alike. But I couldn’t. Another dream claimed me. Not another one, the same one. Full of motion and color and fear and disgust.
I felt as if I were moving. Going somewhere. But I had to do it for real. Time for school. To face… to face…
I opened my eyes and glanced down at myself. I was still in my pajama bottoms, but they were fouled with a dark brown crust. Had I soiled myself? No… blood. It was dried blood. My chest was speckled with it too. But I didn’t feel injured.
I stood puzzling until I gradually grew aware of where I was. At the granite steps to the school. Semi-naked and filthy right in front of my loving, embracing, supportive high school. Then I realized I held something in my hand. Something my father loved more passionately than he loved his wife… or his son. His AR-15 rifle. I hefted it as I eyed the big, double doors.
Then as if blinders had been ripped from my eyes, everything finally came clear. Enervated, I darted up the steps.
Well, it went where far too many of our bullying and prejudices and mistreatment go these days. The far right claims it’s not guns that are responsible, it’s the sick bastards who wield them. The other side say it’s because assault—military-style—guns are too accessible. Has anyone considered that maybe it’s the way we treat our marginalized, vulnerable individuals may be a big part of the equation? Yes, inappropriate weaponry is far too accessible. And yes, the weapons themselves don’t commit the atrocities. But they sure make it easier to accomplish.
That’s all… until the next unspeakable, unthinkable event.
See you next week.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
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See you next Thursday.
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