Monday, June 2, 2008

At 12, Part 3

1983


I lost a friend today. He didn’t die. He just doesn’t exist anymore, not in my little universe, anyway. Yesterday, Todd and I were like brothers; today, we are no longer friends. We will never again see each other. Never do anything together. We won’t ride the elevator with light bulbs shoved down our pants pretending we have massive erections while old ladies turn purple and shout "You two perverts are going to burn in hell!" as we laugh and laugh. Won’t argue over which of us Nicole likes better. Won’t smoke cigarettes Todd swiped from his father. Won’t battle it out playing Tank on his Atari 2600. And I won’t have to beg him not to show off his penis. My best friend has been taken from me. Stolen in the night. He did something stupid and went away. Todd did something that changed everything. Changed our future. Changed our past. Because now we have no future. Because now my memories of him are tainted.

An unfortunate incident occurred, and because of that incident, Todd will no longer be living at Chapel Manor. Because I’m a kid, my mother did not want to tell me what happened. Soon enough, though, she relented. It took her a long time to speak of the incident, and she was embarrassed to do so. She wouldn’t give the exact details, wouldn’t say certain words, but I was able to put the unbelievable pieces of the story together. Now, having just been given the truth, I sit in stunned silence on the living room couch. I want it to be a joke. Want it so badly to all be a silly prank. But Mom is not the joking kind. Her words are true as the summer sun.

Todd forced Franklin to give him a blow job.

Todd, my best friend, made Franklin, a young retarded boy, give him head. Just thinking of it brings the stinging vomit up my throat. Brings the heat to my cheeks. Brings the hot ache to my belly. Makes me gag. It happened in the woods, near the area that Todd set on fire. Franklin told on Todd right away, and the police came and took Todd away. He was taken away before I even woke up this morning. Franklin’s gone too, off to live with relatives somewhere far away. Both of them now gone for good, as if a magician had simply made them disappear and then died suddenly before having the chance to bring them back.

I don’t know why Todd did it, but I will never have the chance to ask him, because I no longer have a best friend. I’m pissed off at Todd for what he did, fucking enraged, but I also miss him like crazy. Already, I mourn his loss. At least now I understand why he was always trying to show me his penis. Why he always wanted us to drop our pants and compare wieners. Why he wanted to teach me his dazzling masturbation techniques. But he never put the moves on me. Was never forceful. I’d say, "No, Todd, I do not want to see how big your penis is," and then we’d move on, play video games or basketball. His penis fetish was never that big of a deal. Until it was. Today.

Mom is visibly uncomfortable when she asks, "Ervin, are you gay?"

"What?" I say, my face growing hot. "Mom!"

I vehemently assure my mother that I am not gay, unless you’re counting my taste in music, which is, in fact, very gay (and includes groups like The Carpenters, The Brady Kids, The Partridge Family, Culture Club, and Wham!). Mom tells me that gay is disgusting. That gay is wrong. Gay doesn’t seem that disgusting to me. I personally have no interest in kissing other boys, but who am I to tell everyone else who they should kiss? The only gayness that I’ve seen in my life has been on television, on late-night cable. Most of the dirty movies I watch when everyone else is asleep feature at least one or two lesbian scenes; for example: the adult Cinderella—when two beautiful sisters decided to lez-out together, the erection I get lets me know that gay is good. In fact, girls kissing other girls seems to do something in my pants akin to a miracle; a small miracle, in my case. Men kissing each other does nothing for me, but who am I to say it's wrong?

"You’re not a gay like Todd?" she asks. Mom definitely has a way with words. "Did he make you that way, too?" She’s acting as if a sudden outbreak of gay has spread throughout the apartment building.

"No, I’m not a gay. But I don’t think Todd is gay, either. And I don’t think you can make someone gay. I kinda think if you’re gay, you just are."

Mom scrunches her face and shakes her head. "Well, I think he’s gay."

"I’m pretty sure he just did it as some sort of punishment for Franklin, like, to hurt him or something, instead of just hitting him like usual. I don’t think he meant for it to be...um, so gay," I say. "I think Todd was alone with Franklin, and Franklin was dripping snot and laughing and pulling his pants down, so Todd just got really mad and decided to punish him. But then things got out of hand. That’s what I think."

"Well, I know he was your friend and everything, but Todd is sick. What if he had done this to someone else? What if it was your little brother instead of Franklin?"

"It wouldn’t have been. Todd would never hurt anyone in our family. He just really had it in for Franklin."

Mom shrugs and says, "Whatever, Ervin. You think what you want. I have to go to work now. Keep an eye on your little brother, and don’t ever be gay."

My mother and I never have conversations that last more than a few minutes. She’s always moving around very quickly while speaking, and I know when the conversation is supposed to be over because suddenly I’ll be by myself. Mom always has numerous jobs, is always working, always heading out somewhere to earn money so her children can eat.

"Sure, Mom," I say, staring at the floor. I feel hollow. Feel the loss in my bones, the emptiness, like someone has just sucked out all of my marrow.

"You look so sad, Ervin."

"I just miss Todd. He was my best friend. It’s not fair. This totally sucks. I wish I could’ve at least said goodby to him, and told him what a jerk he is for doing what he did, for messing everything up." I begin to cry. I don’t want to cry. Todd doesn’t deserve my tears. Still, they flow.

She smiles. "Well, you’ll find a new friend, don’t you think?"

I would have answered her question, but she’s already out the door before I get the chance. Mom’s like Batman. You blink and she’s gone.

I have a few friends in the building, but none will be able to replace Todd. I have to accept that I’ve lost my best friend because of a blow job. I should feel sorry for Franklin, I really should. He’s young and retarded and doesn’t know anything. I should feel sorry for Franklin, but I don’t. I hate him, and I blame him for Todd’s sudden departure. Of course it’s not Franklin’s fault, but fuck him and his snotty fucking face for even existing in the first place. And I hate myself for not being there, for not stopping Todd from doing what he did. Todd needed me to keep the Devil inside him, like I’ve always done. But the Devil came while I slept. Came and took my friend away.

8 comments:

skirbo said...

Wow, Ervin, this entry is painful and sad on so many levels. I'm just stunned.

I'm also stunned this hasn't been snatched up by some big name publisher yet, because this is all very engaging reading. And not just because I know you. I hope you are shopping this around.

Hope things are going well otherwise; I've been in lurk mode for quite a bit.

Sarah

Marnee Jo said...

Ervin, I've just been lurking, but I'm in agreement with Skirbo.

This is enthralling. I hope you it finds a home amongst the masses of the published.

Marnee Jo said...

Obviously I meant I hope it finds a home, not you it.

My first post here and I muck it up grammatically. *sigh*

Ervin A. said...

Hey, hey! So nice to hear from you two. Sarah: Thanks for keeping up with all this. So nice to know you've been stopping by. How is everything with you? Marnee jo: Don't worry about grammar. I can barely spell. :)


...Ervin...

Sasha Allgood said...

Hey, Erv. Skirbo and Marnee Jo said it well. Stunning. Enthralling. Good words for your good words. :) There's an editor out there somewhere that's going to think he's hit the motherlode when he gets his hand on this. Can't wait to see it happen!

Ervin A. said...

I can't wait, either! Heh. Actually, I haven't done much in the way of trying to sell this of late, since I've had a lot going in "real" life of late, but I am going to start giving this a big push, sending it out to EVERYONE and trying to get this sucker published. We'll see. But, as always, thanks to everyone who's been following this. It is much, much, much appreciated.

...Ervin...

skirbo said...

Ervin-Just wanted to let you know that the Avon FanLit site is going to disappear soon. If you want anything, best go save it. I've got the scene assignments for each round, if you want them.

Hope your real life is okay now, if it wasn't before.

Sarah

Kelly said...

It'll happen, Ervin. It's to fantastic and original not to catch someone's eye.

Painful, heartbreaking, gripping - it's so hard to lose a friend, especially when it's due to circumstances beyond your control, and even when it's probably for the best. It still doesn't take the sting of betrayal out of the hurt.