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Authors: Alan Weisz

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BOOK: Finals
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In this moment, with my six iron clutched in my hand, I had the power to end Taylor’s life. For the first time, I was in an unfamiliar role; I was the bad guy, the fiend, the asshole, the villain. I felt sinister and I was loving every second of it. My whole life I had kept my darkness concealed with Christian bubble wrap, until this very instance. This was the real me, not the Bible study leader, but this…this monster.

 

As my dark murmurs became audible, the thought of ending Taylor’s pathetic life popped into my head. All the torment and verbal abuse would forever end with a hasty hit to the temple. By eradicating the disease that had plagued St. Mary’s, the world would be a better place. Anna and I would be on our merry way and Taylor would be in a wooden box deep underneath the earth. However, if Taylor ended up in a box, I would find myself in an iron cage, perpetually dwelling on this one moment in my life. As putrid as Taylor appeared did he really deserve to die? He was an ass, but he was someone’s ass. Someone surely loved him, his mother perhaps. Even in this victorious moment as I stood watching my adversary thrash on the floor like a dying fish, I knew killing him was not an option. I might be a monster but I was a very neat monster. Taylor was trash in my opinion, but he still didn’t deserve to die.

 

Tossing the six iron to the side, I jumped atop Taylor, my legs landing on either side of his torso. Before I could react, the son of a bitch socked me square in the mouth. Licking my lips, I could taste a hint of blood. I had to commend the prick, he wasn’t going down without a fight. I promptly punched him in the ribcage to reaffirm I was the one in control, then I clutched his arms, holding them firmly in place on the tile floor.

 

Taylor squirmed on the ground for a few moments before twisting his head around so he could look me in the eye.

 


I have to admit you have guts, but perhaps your guts make up for the lack of brainpower. How was this scenario designed to play out, my friend? Were you playing on ambushing me in the locker room before strolling out of here scot-free? Will you claim innocent to this violent act or were you planning on disposing of me as if I were one of the wives of Henry VIII?”

 


I’m not a history buff, Taylor,” I replied truthfully. “But I wouldn’t worry about things like that if I were in your shoes. I’m the one in control.”

 

Taylor’s muscles tensed, indicating he was not willing to succumb to his fate. He tried to wriggle free, kicking his legs, but the effort was too much for my defeated foe.

 


Well, great wise one, manipulator of destinies, where do we go from here?” Taylor asked, realizing I wasn’t about to budge.

 


Now I know you’re thinking about running out of here to blab to the principal, but just think about this golf club that I have in my possession before you do anything too stupid,” I said, giving him a twisted smile to assert my threat.

 

Picking up my six iron, I walked to the front of the locker room. I glanced back to see Taylor raising himself up off the floor. You know when you come home from work and you find your dog sitting in your favorite leather chair. The dog knows he’s not suppose to be in the chair because he’s been reprimanded several times, so he jumps off when he sees you and stares at you with this timid expression on his face. That was the same look Taylor was giving to me. Wagging my finger in his direction, I left the locker room to go find Mrs. Berkman, knowing the fearful Taylor was going to be a good boy.

 

There was no plan upon leaving the locker room. My lone hope was Mrs. Berkman might be able to play into my hands. She had been sorority sisters with my mother and seeing as that they had a standing coffee date every Wednesday afternoon, my sinister whispers said I might be able to use that to my advantage.

 

Disposing of my contact lenses, I knocked on the entrance of the girls’ locker room before calling out to my P.E. teacher.

 


What is it Mr. York? You know you aren’t supposed to come in here.” Although she sounded perturbed, I knew seeing my fat lip would change matters.

 

 

 


I know ma’am, I was hoping you may have some Band-Aids or bandages,” I said, trying my best to convey the severity of my injury.

 

After a momentary pause, Mrs. Berkman allowed me to come back to her office. I found her relaxing in an office chair enjoying one of the few moments of solitude she had during the day. When she got a good look at my face, she turned into the worried mother, fussing over my minor injuries.

 


Oh my goodness, Wayne! What happened to your lip? It looks horrible!”

 


I got in a fight ma’am, I’m sorry,” I said, watching as her concern slowly transformed into acrimony.

 


Wayne! What has gotten into you? That behavior will not be tolerated at this school, young man. Of all my pupils, I thought you would have known better than to engage in fighting. You know, as a gym teacher I see all sorts…”

 

The parental badgering continued as I stood focused on one particular tile on the floor. My eyes had an uncanny ability to become moist if I didn’t blink for an extended period of time. (A trait I had never known the value of until this instance). Staring at this lone tile, the burning blurred vision was beginning. Soon the waterworks would start up, followed with a sense of pity for this sensitively coy student.

 


So let’s hear it, Mr. York. Why did you get into a fight?” Mrs Berkman asked, once the lecture was over.

 

For dramatic effect, I waited to respond, letting my eyes become watery and unclear.

 


He called Anna the “c” word ma’am.” I knew my words were barely audible but that wasn’t the point. It was all about the theatrics.

 


I can’t hear you, Wayne. Look at me,” she said, as I continued to focus on my single spot.

 


He called Anna the “c” word ma’am,” I answered, raising my head but still avoiding eye contact.

 


Who called Anna the “c” word?”

 


Taylor did, ma’am.”

 

 

 

Mrs. Berkman softened her demeanor after hearing my fallacy, but she maintained a cool appearance, as if students at St. Mary’s dropped the “c” word with a steady regularity.

 


What happened after Taylor called Miss Dawes the “c” word?”

 

I described to Mrs. Berkman a scene in which I went toe to toe with Taylor, informing him that his verbal assaults were a thing of the past and that I wouldn’t tolerate it anymore. We badmouthed each other for a few minutes in this imaginary act before I told Mrs. Berkman that I soon grew weary of the charade, and flat out said to Taylor that he didn’t have the stomach to do anything to me.

 

Continuing with the fairy tale, I said to Mrs. Berkman that Taylor did indeed follow through with his promise. He pinned me to the locker room floor before he punched me in the face and said, “You’re just a little “c” word like your girlfriend.”

 


Infuriated, I grabbed the nearest thing I could reach, which happened to be this six iron,” I said to Mrs. Berkman, showing her the club I still carried. “I swung the club in Taylor’s general direction, hitting him in the side, which caused him to topple over in pain.”

 


He’s still on the locker room floor,” I informed Mrs. Berkman. “But I swear I didn’t mean to hit him that hard. It’s just when he called Anna the “c” word….then he got on top of me…it was just…”

 

I let my voice crack and right on cue my watery eyes caught hold of Mrs. Berkman’s and at that precise moment a single tear escaped. Like in gym class, Mrs. Berkman pretended as if she was a mediator, an independent third party member attempting to assist in our dilemma, but I knew better than to believe her front.

 


Mr. York, please go see the school nurse so she can put some ice on your lip to reduce the swelling. I’ll go and find Mr. Hardy and we’ll sort this matter out.”

 

As her lips parted, a thin smile formed, and she gave me a gentle pat on the shoulder. Even with a dramatic master like Colin Firth at my side, I couldn’t have delivered the lines in a more precise fashion. Like an abused woman coming to the police or a desperate single parent asking for government assistance, I had sold my story with heartfelt seriousness, and I knew I had Mrs. Berkman wrapped around my little finger.

 

I will admit the plan didn’t work out perfectly, but every diabolical plan has a hiccup or a snafu here or there. I was given a three-day suspension thanks to my “confession.” Principle DuPont stated, even in a defensive position, violence was not the answer. Violence was never the answer, she assured me.

 

Now, I’m not positive what happened to Taylor or what was said. Taylor’s parents pulled him out of St. Mary’s before the school year ended, that was all we knew.

 

Pure speculation tells me that Taylor told Principle DuPont, and possibly Mrs. Berkman, what actually transpired in the locker room that afternoon. Since he was a transfer student, I would venture to guess that the faculty at St. Mary’s didn’t believe that an exemplary student such as myself would viciously attack a fellow classmate.

 

Assuming Taylor’s story was discredited, he probably received a suspension as well. Since the prick’s parents were of an elite social class, accepting their son to be a deviant was entirely too much to handle. No doubt, his mother appealed to the principle without any success. Who knows maybe Taylor’s ribs were broken and the family sought justice. However, with their deep pockets, the Hardy family didn’t need money from the school district. Suing the school board would be too much of a massive headache, so Taylor’s parents decided to place their son in a proper school because the cretins at St. Mary’s were unfit to teach. Again, that is simply speculation on my behalf.

 

In retrospect, the whole matter was a little silly given that a few months later, I never saw Anna again. Her mother died of cancer two weeks after my fight. Once school ended, Anna left to go live with her grandmother in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

People say that junior high doesn’t amount to much in the course of one’s life. Junior high is merely a stepping-stone to maturity. The hormones and the bodily changes alter one’s moods and behaviors. Relationships and friendships change over time and they transform into bonds of meaning. But for me, this time in my life was quite meaningful.

 

For such a long time, my secret was hidden like an unsightly wart from the public eye, but as Brent’s sadistic inner demons became visible, I knew it was time to step out from my concealed shadow.

 

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

T
wo tabs were open on my laptop as I sat at my desk waiting for yet another grueling meeting to begin. The newsroom was currently empty, leaving me to ponder why I was needed for this unnecessary position.

 

My supervisor, Sister Robinson, viewed my position as crucial, but by no means did the university paper
require my services. My official title was assistant editor-in-chief but it should have been, assistant to the editor-in-chief. This silly, pointless position wasted my time. Hayley double-checked the work of my peon reporters regardless of any role I played in the creation of their articles. So, as I sat staring at my screen, watching a sickeningly cute video of a sneezing baby panda, I couldn’t help but disregard my oh-so-important assistant duties.

 

Most normal guys loathe having to spend time with a detested ex. Admittedly, I did not enjoy these forced appointments, but I suppose I had grown rather accustomed to them. At our first official
Gazette
meeting we gave each other one of those awkward hugs that you give relatives you don’t like before we chatted mindlessly about our summer activities and her trip to Paris. I hated every single second of our discussion.

 

Every week since then, usually on Monday, Hayley and I would sit down with Sister Robinson and discuss this week’s issue of
The Gazette.
It wasn’t so much of a discussion, since Sister Robinson was our boss, her power was limitless when it came to deciding which stories our puny paper published. It was simply more time wasted in the company of the girl I wished would vanish.

 

A week after the publication about Brent, the editor-in-chief, and her assistant were informed directly that the paper
would not run any additional stories relating to our dear friend’s untimely death. I was a big supporter of this decision but upon hearing this news, Hayley’s perky demeanor evaporated and for once, an expression of clear dissatisfaction was visible. Hayley stated that the paper’s
inbox was flooded with student opinion pieces, and with our ongoing coverage on the issue, the perpetrator may be found.

 

Sister Robinson assured Hayley that the police had the manpower to solve the crime, and that our paper’s efforts were best served covering other campus interest points. In addition, Sister Robinson stressed that the higher-ups did not wish to further publicize this incident and receive more unwelcomed media attention. Sister Robinson offered her deepest sympathies to the both of us, understanding the strong relationships we shared with the departed. I thought it best not to mention the lasting bond I shared with Brent. The fact that I had watched the blood seep from his neck onto the bathroom tile as he gasped for air was sure to displease the two women currently in my presence.

BOOK: Finals
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