Monday, January 1, 2018

Jack and Truett

There wasn't much comment on the last post, although there was some readership activity. Wasn’t thought-provoking enough, I guess.

This time, let’s try another piece of flash fiction.


          Pissed and only high—not drunk—I drove off campus and into the parking lot of the golf course that backed up to the gym and sat listening to the music floating out of the prom and watching the lights reflected in one of the water hazards. I got out of the car and walked one or two of the holes, ending up on the wooden deck of a refreshment stand close to the gym where I leaned against the railing and tried to sort out my feelings.
          A week ago, I’d gone back into the men’s locker room to get something I’d forgotten and caught Jack servicing the football squad’s quarterback. Astounded, I watched from hiding as he then took care of the running back. My guts tied in a knot, I slunk away with my emotions whipping around in my head like crazy. Was I disgusted to find out Jack was queer or did the pain come from the loss of my lifelong best friend?
          Now, as I stood in an uncertain mood, vaguely aware of music floating from the gym and the grating sound of crickets in the night, I wasn’t aware anyone was nearby until he spoke.
          “You all right, Tru?”
          I whirled around in surprise. Everyone called me Truett except Jack. “What are you doing  here?”
          “Saw you leave and didn’t know how much you’d had to drink,” Jack said. “Saw the headlights in the parking lot, so walked over. Worried about you, bro. You haven’t been you lately.”
          “I’m not drunk,” I said, surprised that he’d bothered to check. “Go on back.”
          “What are you going to do?”
          “Stay and listen to the music.”
          “It’s kinda nice here. Maybe I’ll stay with you.”
          “You like to dance, so go back and dance.” I had to bite my tongue to keep from adding… with Ben and Jerry.
          Wordlessly, he held out his arm as if he had a partner and moved to the mellow music. “I can dance here, see?” He whirled gracefully.
          “You don’t have a partner. It’s not the same.”
          “Sure I do. Come on, Tru, dance with me. You haven’t danced with me all night.”
          “I haven’t danced with you ever,” I snarled.
          “Sure you have. Remember when our moms insisted we go to a dance class? We danced together there.”
          I snorted a laugh. “We were afraid of the girls back then.”
          “But until we got some confidence, you danced with me.”
          “That didn’t count. We were kids then. Hell, we didn’t even have….”
          “Hair down there,” he finished my unspoken thought. “Come on, you’re wasting the music.” He danced over to me and caught my hand.
          It was easier to give in, so I found myself in his arms moving to a slow number. Gradually, I relaxed and allowed him to draw me closer. I swallowed hard but didn’t pull away. He seemed totally caught up in the music, guiding us around the small platform effortlessly.
          “You’re a good dancer, Tru,” he murmured.
          “Do a lot better when I’m leading,” I grumbled. Abruptly, he switched positions, and I was leading. I paused before grasping him firmly and guiding him around the improvised dance floor.
            After a while, I sort of enjoyed myself. When the number ended, I started to move away, but he refused to let go.
          “You saw us, didn’t you? In the locker room, I mean. I figured it out because you haven’t acted the same since.”
          “How’m I supposed to act when I find my best friend… doing that for two football jocks?”
          “Are you going to let me explain?”
          The band in the gym struck up another slow number, and he began to move again.
          “Cut it out, Jack. You don’t have to explain—”
          “I do if it’s going to tear us apart.”
          “What you did tore us apart, not your lack of explanation.” I tried to move away again, but he held on tightly.
          Ignoring my sigh of exasperation, he danced as he talked. “Ben and Jerry gave me a ride after a movie one night and we went out to the lake with a bottle. After I drank more than my share, I let them force me.”
          “In the first place there were two of them and I was drunk and—”
          “And what?”
          “And I just shut my eyes and pretended it was you.”
         I came to an abrupt halt.  “What!”
          “That’s the only way I got through it. I thought about you while I was doing them.”
          “But why?”
          “Because I’ve wanted to do that to you for a long time.”
          I was so astounded that I forgot to break out of his embrace. I forgot to stop dancing. I forgot everything… except I now knew what had tied me in knots that day. Jealousy. Plain old green-eyed jealousy.
          “B-but you did it again in the locker room.”
          “Closed my eyes again. Figured it was the closest to you I’d ever get.” He arched his left eyebrow. “Was I wrong? I hope.”
          I relaxed and pulled him closer, listening to the dreamy music, feeling the hunky guy pressed against me, and inhaling the scent of new-mown grass.
          Prom night was going to turn out to be stupendous!


I sincerely hope you enjoyed this piece, and that it reminded you of something in your past..

Please remember that DSP Publications released Cut Hand on October 31. I’d appreciate it if you give the book a look. Amazon permits you to read a short passage. This is the first novel in the Strobaw Family Saga series.

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
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Twitter: @markwildyr

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The next blog at 6:00 a.m. on the first day of the succeeding month.

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