Castle Roland

Rock and a Hard Place

by Hans Schreiber


Chapter 8

Posted: N/A

I stopped in front of a large white sign and stared. "Mandarin Court," it read. This had to be it, but how could it be? It was a collection of rundown trailers. A tattered brick building, surrounded by overgrown, weed-ridden grass, had 'Office' spelled out on the door. I walked past it and stopped a young boy on a rattling, old bicycle. It was probably his sister's because it was too big for him, and he had to stand in the cutout section to ride it since he couldn't reach the seat. Do you know where William Thames lives? The boy just shrugged. "He's my age but kinda tall and has black hair and is really skinny."

"Oh, you mean weird Willy. Over there." He pointed at a blue and white trailer with 231-blank on the front. The last digit was missing. As I got closer, I could read the faded mark on the chocolate brown paint of a five where the missing digit had once been. 2315. This was it. I finally understood why William was so reluctant for me to see where he lived. I didn't expect this. The last place I ever imagined William to live in was a rundown trailer court. Still, I didn't care if he lived in a trailer and it seemed uncharacteristic that he would be prideful enough to care that I knew it. I stepped up the wobbly steps covered with tattered, brown, outdoor carpet. I opened the screen door and knocked firmly on the thin wooden one. There were muffled voices, a grunt and a swear word.

I was about to knock again when the door knob turned and the door swung open. A middle aged man with two day's beard, no shirt to cover his beer belly, and a chest covered with graying hair, stood before me wearing nothing more than yellowed boxers and black dress socks. He was tall and had once upon a time had thick, black hair, but it was now peppered with grey. He squinted at me, distorting his long face. "What do you want?" He steadied himself against the door jamb with his hand clutching a Budweiser can.

"I came to see William. I have his homework."

"You that doctor's brat?" His very breath was intoxicating; the alcohol was so heavy on it.

"I suppose. Yes."

"Hmmph. Entrée Vous. He stepped back and made a swooping motion with his beer as if allowing royalty to pass. I stepped past and took in the sight. Shit was everywhere. Dishes piled in the sink and on the counter hadn't been washed for God only knows how long. Dirty clothes were strewn about and a mangy cat jumped from a torn couch to the kitchen countertop and mewed loudly at me. The stale stench was hard to bear.

"I coulda' been a doctor. I went to medical school you know." Mr. Thames announced shaking his beer towards me. "But I chose to do medical research. Fuckers stole my ideas and hung me out to dry - sons of bitches."

"Umm, yes sir. That sucks. So where's William's room?" I asked.

He waved unnecessarily long toward the rear of the trailer and said, "Little freak's in the middle bedroom, by the shitter. I still think she was fucking the mailman, you know? How could I produce that fucked up waste of skin? I'm sure it was the fuckin' mailman." He staggered toward the open spot on the ragged couch and plopped down in it and turned his attention back to WWE wrestling. I had no patience for WWE. It's so ridiculous. It ruins the real sport for me and gives us "real wrestlers" a bad rep. Professional wrestling is just a bunch of washed up, mediocre, football players on steroids making clowns of themselves for trailer trash spectators in my opinion. I headed to William's room. He was lying on his bed, naked, with his dick bandaged but no evidence of blood on the bandage. The room was neat and orderly. A laptop sat on an old desk and plastic storage boxes were stacked in two corners from floor to ceiling containing all of William's earthly treasures. He brightened at the sight of me then he scowled.

"I expressly forbade you to seek out my domicile," scolded William. "Why did you violate my instructions?"

"Sorry. I have important news. It couldn't wait. Besides, I have your homework. I opened my bag and pulled it out setting it on the desk.

"What news? Did you win the debate meet?"

"Yeah, we swept them, but that's not the news."

I held up the index card, waved it, and smiled. "I have Brenda's phone number on this card and she wants you to call her and invite her to Fall Formal."

He stared blankly at me. Then he took the card. "I have no telephonic device available to me. My father has confiscated mine after exceeding the allotted minutes on his own."

"Dude, use mine." I fished my cell phone out of my pocket and handed it to him. He looked at it and turned it over and over in his hands obviously trying to think of another reason to procrastinate.

"Are you fully confident in her interest in accompanying me to the affair?"

"Yeah, dude. This Curtis kid wants to ask her out to it, but she said she'd rather go with you." William looked at me suspiciously at first, then deciding that I wasn't goofing on him he broke into a big smile.

"She expressed that sentiment?"

"Yup. So don't just lie there with your dick hanging out, call her before he does."

William dialed the number and held the phone nervously to his ear. "Hello, may I please speak with Brenda? Yes, I'll wait."

After a pause he said, "This is William Thames. From debate class, yes. I'm recuperating satisfactorily, Thank you. Yes, Kyle is present; I am using his cellular phone. Hearty congratulations on your successful forensics meet results."

"Yes, my actual purpose in contacting you is to inquire if I might be privileged to accompany you to the Fall Formal dance."

"Superb. Yes, I will arrange the logistics and promptly supply you with the details. Good-bye."

"Arrange the logistics?" I muttered, shaking my head.

"Okay, so speaking of logistics, I managed to get a date for myself, too. I was thinking we could double date. I'm pretty sure my dad can chauffer us if we ask him far enough in advance, so he can schedule us in."

"That would be most reassuring to have my friend accompany me on my initial foray into dating. It will reduce my anxiety considerably."

"Serious? You've never been on a date before? Ever?"

William simply shook his head. I did the same in astonishment. "Wow. Well, cool then, it's a double date. You need to talk to her again and find out what color corsage she wants you to buy for her dress. She might want you to wear a certain color shirt or tie as well. No need to rent a tux. The black suit you wear for debate meets is fine unless you want a tux, of course."

"Thank you for the enlightenment. I will contact her now." He picked my phone up and began to dial.

"Dude, wait. You can't call her now. You just invited her. She needs time to go find a dress. She won't be able to tell you anything until she finds one."

"I see. Excuse my gross ignorance on such matters. Did you argue affirmative or negative?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked completely confused.

"In the debate meet, did you argue affirmative or negative on the topic?" William asked.

"Oh. Dude, you completely switched tracks on me. We did both, affirmative in the first one and negative on the second one. Brenda's a really good debater." William wanted details and I recounted the step by step of each debate as best as I could remember. He hung on every word of it. I could tell he really missed not being able to be there and seemed to live for the experience. I guess, thinking about it, it's sort of his sport. It's competitive and challenging and he's really good at it. For someone who's not got a lot else going in his life, being super good at debate is pretty big. He talked about evidence we could have used to refute some of the arguments we encountered and he had some good suggestions. I could tell we were going to be hard to beat this year once he got back.

"Dude, it's getting to be about lunch time; you hungry? Want me to go get like a burger or something?" I offered.

William smiled. "I am famished actually. I've had nothing to eat today."

"You skipped breakfast? Why?"

"My mother departed early and charged my father with the task."

"You mean your drunk old man just let you starve?"

"He said I could have what he was having and brought me that." William pointed to an open, untouched can of Budweiser on his table.

"He's a real son of a bitch. I wonder if he's my miserable mother's long lost brother or something." I said with a smile. William winced. "Oh yeah, sorry about the swearing. I'm doing better, really I am."

"I equally disapprove of the disparaging remark towards your mother and my father. Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land."

"Wait. Are you saying you honor your drunken, miserable old man?" I asked.

"It is not essential to approve or to mimic their behavior in order to honor them. Simple respect is required. Additionally, I pity him. He finds no satisfaction in the glorious gift of life he's been given. Great will be his regret for the wasting of it. I leave judgment to the Lord."

"Wow dude. You have layers."

"Layers?" asked William uncertain of my meaning.

"Yeah, you know like in the movie, where Shrek tells Donkey that ogres are like onions because they have layers." I explained. He didn't get it and I let it drop.

William's father walked in and leaned against the door jamb. He still had the beer in his hand. I wasn't sure if it was a fresh one or the same one as before. "Good Lord, boy. Cover that mangled mess; you got company. You some kind of inhibitionist faggot?"

"I think you mean exhibitionist, don't you Mr. Thames?" I corrected.

"Whatever," he said waving off my comment with his free hand. "Not that you'd want to look at that butcher job anyway. Little freak wasn't much of a man to begin with. Had to be the fucking mailman I tell you. Had to be."

William shrunk in embarrassment and steeled his expression. He stared at a spot on the wall and pursed his lips.

"Your mother called. I'm supposed to ask if you're doing okay? So, are you?"

"Yes." William continued to stare at the spot on the wall intently.

"Okie-dokie then. Did you drink your breakfast?"


"Well shit boy, can't be wasteful. You want it, Mr. Doctor Brat?"

"No thanks. I don't drink alcohol; I'm underage like William is."

"Ohhhh, Mr. high and mighty." His father swayed his head side to side as he spoke in a patronizing voice. "Well we can't be wasteful, so I'll have to drink it." He tossed his empty into the trash can and picked up the beer from the table. Even though it had been sitting out all morning, he put it to his lips and took a long, slow draught. He glared darkly at William and said in an angry voice, "Hey! Didn't I tell you to cover that hack job up? I'm sick of looking at it."

"Yes sir." William said unemotionally. He bent over and reached for the sheet. He was wincing and I jumped up and retrieved the sheet for William.

"Hey, doctor brat! I told him to do it, not you." My temper flared and I opened my mouth to give him a huge piece of my mind but before I got any of it out, William tugged at my sleeve. I looked at him and with terror in his eyes, he gave small shake of his head. I read the message and clenched my teeth.

His father slipped back into happy drunk mode and said, "At's right. Hold your bratty tongue boy. Respect your elders. At's right." I was steaming, but I did barely manage to hold my tongue as his old man turned and staggered off. I was thinking William's dad was probably right - it may really have been the mailman who fathered William. I'm not sure how someone as pure and innocent as William could have come from such evil spawn as that jackass.

"Has that asshole ever abused you?" I asked.

"Are you aware that the barnacle has the longest penis in comparison to its body size of any other creation? It grows to eight times its body length. It has both male and female organs and during mating season, it may mate as a male for a while and then switch over and mate as a female. If that same size ratio were applied to humans, our penises would average sixty-four feet in length." William quoted.

William looked me in the eyes and said. "When mating season is over, the barnacle's penis detaches and is lost. That is probably a good thing. Imagine the difficult existence of the organism otherwise. Barnacle's are suspension feeders. They simply attach themselves to a hard surface and feed on whatever gets close to them. Once attached, they never leave their shells. Often, it becomes necessary to scrape them off the surface of the host in order for the host to properly function or thrive."

I stared at him for a while unsure what to say. Finally, I smiled and said, "I think I get you. Your dad's a useless, giant prick and you'll put up with him until it becomes necessary to scrape him off?"

William just grinned ever so slightly and asked, "Do you view the Discovery Channel? I enjoy it thoroughly."

I shook my head and asked, "So you want a cheeseburger and fries? There's a Micky-D's around the corner."

"I would greatly appreciate such a favor, if it's not an excessive burden on you."

"My pleasure dude." I got up and walked to the door.

His bitter, old barnacle looked at me and said, "Freak show's over now, so you're leaving?"

"No. I'm getting William a cheeseburger for lunch."

His smirk turned to a sneer. "You think I can't feed my kid? I got money to feed my kid, rich boy. If they hadn't stolen my fucking ideas and then put a patent on them, I'd have more money than your old man. You ever try to do research without a lab? Can't do it. 'Why'd you leave Immunodyne, Mr. Thames?' they all asked. Know how many job offers I got when I told them the truth? Zero, Mr. Doctor Brat. ZERO! Can't do research without a lab, can you? Might as well just piss up a rope. Zero, that's how many. Get the fuck out of here. I'm sick of looking at you."

I clenched my teeth and exited. The fresh air was a welcome relief. I'd gotten accustomed to the stench inside and only realized it as I breathed fresh, clean air into my lungs again. I jogged to McDonalds, ordered him a cheeseburger and fries with a chocolate shake, and I got a grilled chicken salad with oil and vinegar for me with a diet coke. On the way back, I began to formulate a plan to free William from his barnacle. I wondered if William really did have some form of autism or if he was just a mental case from living with that creature.

When I reached the trailer door, I didn't bother knocking. I just juggled the food and pushed inside. The TV was on and William's old man was passed out sleeping. The mostly empty beer can had fallen to the floor and spilled most of its remaining contents. I had an evil thought. I crept over, picked up the can and set it on the counter. I took the food in to William and helped him sit up. He actually wanted to get out of bed and sit at his small desk to eat. I put a pillow on the chair for him to sit on. I went out and retrieved the beer can and went to the head. I relieved myself and then carefully aimed the last two shots into the can opening. I swirled it around, flushed, washed up and took the can back out by his drunk father. I carefully laid it down on the carpet so nothing more spilled out and smiled at myself. "Piss up that rope, asshole."

William and I enjoyed lunch together and we talked about plans for debate and William brought up the Fall Formal. He wanted all the details on exactly what went on at a formal dance. I did my best to explain even though I'd only attended one before. To me it was all a bit of a nuisance, but if you didn't go, it looked like you couldn't get a date and that was bad for your reputation.

I envied Scotty getting out of Ladies Choice by frolicking in the woods with a bunch of naked people. I started daydreaming what something like that might be like. It took some prodding, but I managed to get William talking about his father. I found out he really did go to medical school and really had been a medical researcher. I only half believed it from the old barnacle.

William wasn't sure exactly how the whole thing with his dad's idea being stolen occurred and exactly how unfair the company had been, but he did know that his father never got over it and slipped into a perpetual depression. His mother had to find a job after being at home with him up until he was about seven years old. After that, his father took care of him, albeit not very well as he grew more and more self absorbed with his anger and self pity. They moved to the trailer when he was nine and his mother took on a second job. She always refused to work on Sundays and she took William to church every Sunday. The church made sure they always had food in the house and rent for the trailer spot. The Pastor made an attempt to help with William and always attended his awards ceremonies and special events when his mother had to work.

After lunch, I helped William get to the bathroom and pee and then I dumped his urine bottle for him. I got him back into bed and set the sheet just below his privates on his thighs. It irritated his sore penis to be covered. But, in case his dad woke up and made a case over it again, it would be easy for William to reach the sheet. "Anything else?"

"Well. No thank you, Kyle. You are a most wonderful friend - my most wonderful friend ever."

I wondered if that meant "only" friend, but of course, I didn't verbalize that.

"You sure?" I could see he really wanted something else but didn't want to say it. "What? You want something, I can tell. Just say it."

"I desperately need a sponge bath. I abhor my stench." For living in such a sty, William was a very clean and orderly person. I bet he hated the dirty, sloppy house as badly as he hated foul language.

"Yeah, you are pretty ripe, no offense. How do I do it?" He explained and I got two large bath towels a plastic tub and sponge. I rolled him on his side and put a large towel on the bed under his back. I filled the plastic tub with hot water and soaked the sponge. I washed his neck, shoulders, back and buttocks. I rinsed him off with a washcloth and dried him with the towel. I repeated the process for his legs and feet. Then he rolled back onto his back and I did his front side and armpits. At his urging, I carefully dabbed around his tender ball sac and was especially careful as I lifted his small penis and gently soaked the bandage before unwrapping it. The attention to his small appendage caused it to expand. I carefully cleaned it by dabbing at it with the soapy sponge, then rinsing it by squeezing clean water from the wash cloth over it.

"Does it hurt for it to get hard?"

"A bit, but I don't mind. It's less painful now than before." It was dark red and purple around the sutured scar. It was an ugly wound and would make you wince to look at no matter where on the body it was located. Seeing it on his penis, creeped me out beyond description. I gently traced my finger around the incision, carefully watching for any sign that I was hurting him. Contrarily, he seemed to appreciate the touch. I gently rubbed his sac and then lifted his penis off his belly and lightly traced my finger around the glans.

"Have you squirted since the operation?"

"No, I have not ejaculated. I think it would be unwise at this early stage of recuperation."

"Yeah, I bet. Probably hurt like he … heck."

"Sorry if I got you horned up. You want anything else."

He instructed me to smear an antibiotic gel around the wound. It was a disturbing image to see a small, half empty sac tucked beneath the gory, erect shaft of his small dick stretched flat against his naked shaven pubic mound. It evoked sincere sympathy deep within me.

William thanked me profusely for my kindness. Though he struggled against it, he had tears in his eyes as I left. I promised to visit again on Sunday. I felt really good about myself as I left.

As I reached the trailer door, I watched the awakened crustacean take a slurp of the doctored up beer. He held the can out and looked at the label, placed it back to his lips and drained it. "Fucking warm beer tastes like piss," he growled.

I stifled a laugh and said, "I'm leaving now."

"What the fuck do I care?" he grumbled. I got as far as the third trailer up the street before I broke into uproarious laughter. The neighbor boy on the rattling girl's bike looked at me like I was weird and pedaled faster, making a wide berth around me.

I broke into a jog towards home. It was later than I planned on and I needed to hurry and get ready to go to Bodie's. When I got home, nobody else was there. I headed straight to my room and stripped naked. I tossed my dirty clothes in the basket and walked freely to the bathroom. I pissed, and then I stepped into the warm water. I felt the water rinse off the stench of William's trailer. The images from there kept popping into my head and I paid particular attention to my dick and balls as I washed them, appreciative of my nice, normal, undamaged set. I thought more about William's parable of the barnacle. He never ceased amazing me. I thought about how incredibly good I felt for being there for him and helping him out in a way that no one else really could. It was nice to get out of my own shell for a change and care more about someone else rather than just thinking about myself.

I threw on some jeans and one of my favorite t-shirts and sent Bodie a text. "Dude when we meeting up?"

"Cum now. then show up here when ur done!!#! haha"

"K got no ride. Is it cool I invited 2 peeps from wreslin?"



I sent Scotty and Kirk a text. Scotty said his mom would take us and they'd be over soon. I told him to just park out by the gate and text me when he was here. I logged on to my computer and checked out intervention programs for alcoholics. I was surprised by the number of them. I narrowed my search and found a couple of different possibilities locally. I saved them to my favorites and then popped into a couple of my favorite porn sites. I had to unbutton my jeans and pull the zipper down while I followed the various barely legal links. I happened onto one called or something like that and got intrigued. It was all young looking guys completely shaven. Most were freakishly large porn star dicks, but I found some of rather small ones and one that totally reminded me of William. I enlarged it and was startled back to reality when my phone vibrated. I let go of my dick and fished my phone from my pocket down by my ankles. I didn't even remember pushing them down really, but there they were along with my boxers.

"Shit." The text message said Scotty and Kirk were out front waiting for me.

"cool be right out," I replied.

I stared at Mr. Happy and decided he'd have to wait. He complained about getting stuffed back into my tight jeans and I had a hard time zipping up over his girth. I logged out and powered down and double checked my wallet and made sure the condom was in place. 'Hey, never leave home without it, right?" I said. I realized it was egotistical boy pride that made me pack it around. The statistical chance of really needing it was very close to zero. If anybody grabbed your wallet for any reason though, it was a good thing for them to find in there.

I pulled open the rear door of Mrs. Simons' old Volvo wagon and climbed in. "Hey guys."

"Hey." Kirk and Scotty said in unison.

"Thanks for the ride, Mrs. Simons." I had a hard time looking at her without thinking about her naked.

"You're very welcome, but you will need to direct me to where I am taking you."

"We traveled just outside the burbs to where the farmland started. Bodie's was one of the closer ranches on Highway 87. We pulled in and found Bodie and his brother just coming back in his brother's old Ford truck from doing chores. Bodie jumped from the moving truck and nearly fell under it before catching his balance and sprinting toward me. He hit me in my mid-section and tackled me to the ground. He sat on my chest and twisted around.

"Hey wrestler dudes, how many points for a takedown?"

"Two," said Scotty between snorts of laughter. I threw both legs up and around Bodie's chest locking my ankles. I pushed with my elbows and pulled with my legs and drove him onto his back and quickly slipped my elbows behind his knees. Then, I drew my legs backward and pushed up driving his knees into his chest. I slipped both hands behind Bodie's neck and interlocked my fingers. Using all my weight, I pinned him easily to the grass.

"Too late," squeaked Bodie. "The bell sounded before you pinned me. I won two zip."

"Whatever." I stood up and brushed myself off. I offered Bodie a hand and hoisted him up. "Got plans made for the all new screw crew?"

"Yeah. You heard when Dig's coming over?"

"Dude, didn't he text you? He's not coming. He's going to Rochelle's little sister's dance recital."

"No way. You're shittin' me right?"

"Nah, I'm tellin' you straight up that's what he said."

"Wow. Pussy whipped already."

"I know. It sucks. But hey, I brought some new recruits. This is Kirk and this is Scotty."

Bodie held his hand out, palm flat and Kirk and Scotty got the idea and did a waist high, hand slap greeting. "Cool. We're gonna have a kickass time tonight. We're going punkin smashing, signing and now we gotta toilet paper Dig's house. Where could we get pink TP?"

"Sounds cool," I said. I hadn't had stupid fun in a long time and I was looking way forward to it.

"Uhh, what exactly is punkin smashing and signing?" asked Scotty cautiously.

"Better not to ask," I said smiling, "just go with it."

"We're not messing with deaf people, are we? Cuz I'm not up for anything cruel to handicapped people."

"What? Deaf people? Where'd you get that idea?" asked Bodie.

"Well, you said signing, so I was thinking about signing like how deaf people talk to each other. I don't know. So what is it?"

Bodie laughed while I explained Bodie's little hobby of collecting signs. He has a 'Stop' sign on his closet door and an 'Authorized Personnel Only Beyond This Point' sign on his bedroom door. There's a 'Yield' sign on the ceiling above his bed. He even has a 'Watch for Falling Rocks' sign glued to his shower door. There's half a dozen others including one on the bathroom door that he and his brother share that says 'Hombres' with a little silhouette of a guy in a sombrero they must have taken from a Mexican restaurant.

I'm personally amazed that his parents let him do it, but they don't really seem to worry much about what he does as long as his chores get done first. He has practically no life in the summer and works his ass off. His older brother, Hawk, is a senior and has a reputation for the ladies. If he's gotten half the action I've heard attributed to him, he's one lucky son-of-a-bitch. He's strong as an ox and the only sport he does is throw shot-put and discus. He holds school records in both. Insanity runs in the family and I think Bodie learned half the crazy shit he does from Hawk. They are both cowboys and willing to kick the shit out of anyone who dares to make fun of them for it. I guess you could say Hawk does have another sport he participates in, but it's not a school sport. He rides bulls in local rodeos. I've gone to watch a couple times, and if you ask me, it's a freaking death wish.

Bodie and his brother went in to shower and I showed Scotty and Kirk around the yard. We sat on some of the tractors and fed some oats to the horses. Finally, the two of them came out and I gave Hawk some money for gas. We all climbed into his beat up Ford crew cab and headed out. We started the night at the bowling alley. We needed something to do until it got dark. We all sucked really badly at it, but had a hell of a time seeing who could make the biggest ass of themselves. I think Scotty won, along with endearing himself to Hawk and Bodie, by packing two red bowling balls in his crotch area up to the chick at the counter and saying, "Excuse me, my balls are too big. Do you have any smaller ones?"

Hawk collapsed on the ground when she answered right back, "Just drop your pants, I'm sure you'll find exactly what you're looking for."

I have a feeling that all the hype about Hawk is true, though, because before we left, the chick behind the counter wrote her phone number on his bicep with a Sharpie. We went to the Dairy Queen where Hawk and Bodie got Double Fudge Brownie Blizzards and Scotty, Kirk and I all got bottled waters. We hung out and joked with some of the other kids from school for a while and flirted with some senior girls that we had no hope of ever scoring with. Then we headed out for some sign collecting.

"Isn't this illegal?" asked Kirk tenuously.

"Only if you get caught, which we're not gonna," answered Hawk.

"I've had this one scoped out for a while. It's the best one ever," Bodie proudly announced.

"Where you hanging it?" I asked.

"Directly above our toilet."

"What's it say?" Scotty asked seemingly excited for the adventure. Kirk seemed really unsure of the whole idea.

"Wait and see," teased Bodie. "It's so perfect."

We pulled into a self serve car wash and Hawk parked in the end stall. No one else was around. We all jumped out and Bodie had a socket wrench already prepared. Hawk put some coins in the machine and grabbed the spray wand and moved to the back of the truck and started spraying the tailgate and keeping an eye out. Bodie positioned me on one side of the wand rack and put Scotty on the other side to hide what he was doing. Our backs were to the sign so we could see if anyone was coming. Kirk was sent out front as a lookout on that end. In two minutes flat, Bodie had the sign off and stuffed under the seat. When the six quarters worth of spray ran out, Hawk replaced the wand and we all jumped into the truck and sped off, whooping and high fiving each other. I recognized the familiar gut wrenching rush I usually got when hanging out with Bodie.

"Okay, pull it out Bodie, I gotta see it," I said.

"Whoa, Rock! I didn't know you were interested, you little gay boy you! But if you want me to pull it out so you can see it, here you go." Bodie twisted around in the front seat and unzipped his jeans and started fishing in his fly.

Everyone had a great laugh at my expense and I felt the rush of blood to my face while joining in the laugh. "You're the gay boy, not me. Now show me the damn sign, you fag."

Bodie zipped up and reached under the seat and struggled to maneuver his new prize out and up. "Okay, remember this is going above my toilet in our bathroom."

He turned it around and I read out loud:


Extreme High Pressure.

Hold Wand Firmly in Hand.

We were dying. Scotty was laughing so hard I swore he was gonna piss his pants. Kirk said that was the sketchiest thing he'd ever done. He couldn't get over how nervous he was and yet how cool it was when we got away with it. Scotty talked Hawk into going back and getting another one for his bathroom. He wasn't sure his parents would allow it, but he had to try. He thought it was the funniest thing ever.

When Kirk found out that punkin smashin' involved stealing pumpkins from a farmer's field, he said he didn't think he had time to be out that late. I wasn't too disappointed either, since that wasn't one of my favorite pastimes. I knew Hawk and Bodie purposely took the near rotten ones and were friends with the farmer, but I still felt weird stealing them. I also worried about smashing them at the rival high schools for fear of getting arrested. Bodie had Hawk drove out to the punkin field anyway just to get three good rotten ones for Dig's driveway. We swung by the 24 hour Wal-Mart scored a twenty pack of pink toilet paper and a giant, picnic size bag of plastic forks.

We pulled up at Dig's house and it was dark. We parked a block away and crept up the sidewalk armed with our Softique toilet tissue arsenal. Bodie spelled out "Dig's a Pussy" with the plastic forks stuck in the lawn, while the rest of us annihilated the trees, shrubs and roof with all twenty rolls of pink toilet paper. Car lights appeared just as we finished and we jumped the fence and cut through his back yard to Hawk's getaway truck. We all piled in and sped off with our lights off.

We circled back about fifteen minutes later and crept up the street with our lights off and saw Dig out on the lawn with a flashlight pulling out the forks. That was just frosting on the cake. Hawk delivered us all back to our homes and Bodie officially pronounced Scotty and Kirk as full-fledged members of the Screw Crew. I walked in to find my dad sitting in the living room with a drink and reading some documents. He looked up at me and motioned me to come in and sit by him. He tossed the stack of legal papers onto the mahogany coffee table next to me. I picked them up and asked "What are these?"

"Your mother is divorcing me." He took a long swig of the brown liquid in his glass, lowered his forehead into his other hand and started to cry. I put my arm around him and pulled him in tight against me while he did.

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