There was a storm raging on the most beautiful day of my life. It was early afternoon, but the sky was nearly as dark as night. It kind of felt like the world was coming to an end, too, especially being locked outside in the rain.
And here my parents were gone out for the day, not even in the same city. Normally, that would have been an awesome thing. Just kicking back, blasting tunes, sitting around in my underwear, playing video games with nobody nagging me to clean up or be quiet. Except, my idiot brother left his keys at the gym. I called to ask him if he had them before I left my buddy Evan's place, and he said, "Yeah, yeah! I got them." And he just hung up on me. What a douche.
So I'm standing on my front stairs getting soaking wet, and he comes strolling along and asks me why the hell I'm standing outside like an idiot.
"I'm waiting for you!" I said, nearly screaming with rage.
"Well, where the fuck are your keys?" he says.
"I told you, I haven't had them in like a week. I don't know where they are. I asked you if you had yours!"
He searched his bag.
"Well, I had them at the gym!" he says. And then he punched me and called me about 18 different names for not having mine.
For fuck sakes. What a dick.
"Well, go back to the gym and get them!" I told him
"I just got off an hour-long bus ride! I'm not going all the way back now! Fuck that!"
We were nearly in a fist fight by the time I figured out what to do. He was ready to take a rock and smash the window, but I stopped him.
"Wait! Why don't we just go over and hang out with Debbie until mom and dad get back?"
"What the fuck we gonna do at Debbie's? All she ever does is watch TV all day. She's a weirdo psycho bitch."
It was a dickish thing to say about a girl who you've been friends with your whole life. We've lived next door to Debbie since we were little kids. She used to let us play in her sandbox and on the swing set her parents had in their back yard. We used to play hide n' seek, and tag, cops n' robbers, and all that. It was fun. And she always invited us to her birthday parties, even if we didn't have a present for her.
Well, all that ended when we hit junior high school. Suddenly, my brother was too good for her. She hit puberty and grew up kind of tall and skinny and awkward, and he became this super hot shit jock douchebag, all popular at school with all the ladies, into all the sports, and invited to all the parties, and too good to even talk to Debbie, never mind be her friend. Then in grade ten, he got a girlfriend, this little bimbo named Jessica with more tits than brains, and suddenly he was acting like he was too good for everybody. He'd gotten laid finally, by a girl who worshipped him a little too much, and he walked around like he was God's gift to humanity.
The worst part about my brother having a slutty little girlfriend is I was forced to keep watch every time he brought her home after school. He literally made me sit at the bottom of the stairs while they fucked in his bedroom. I was supposed to holler when my parents' car pulled up. I had much better things to do, and it drove me nuts listening to all those moans and squeals of hers, and the smug, gratified laughter when it was all over, like she owed him or something, and it was a good thing she'd paid up. But every time I tried to tell him to fuck off, he threatened to beat the shit out of me so bad I wouldn't walk straight for a month. The dude was in kickboxing, so I sort of believed him. I never argued much. Maybe deep down inside, I actually liked listening to those moans and squeals of hers. She was pretty damn hot when she was getting laid. I just wished she had a better boyfriend than my asshole brother. She could have any guy she wanted.
But he's a douche. He has been for years. He's about 9 months older than me, but about five years stronger than me. He's got more muscle than brains, the kind of guy who thinks it's hilarious to kick the shit out of anybody who disagrees with him about anything, or just simply looks funny to him. A real winner, that guy. And I'm stuck with him for a few more years yet. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear him making fun of poor old Debbie.
For my part, Debbie's okay, I guess. She's never done anything wrong to me, so why should I have anything against her? Years ago, she would actually come knock on our door to invite me over to play. Lately, I've hardly seen her outside at all. I still say hi to her when I do see her, but we never really hang out any more. She eventually just stopped coming to school altogether, and it was a rare event if you ever saw her step outside her house. Nobody knows why.
"She's not a psycho," I told him. I knew damn well arguing about it was pointless, but I was cold, wet, and bitchy. And he was being a dick, so why not? The worst that could happen was I'd get some new bruises. Big deal.
"If you like her so much, why don't you go see if you can fuck her? You don't seem to have any luck with a normal human being." He laughed his horrible, hateful laugh. You know a guy's a prick when he can insult two different people in a single line, and without even trying.
I was mad now, and not even afraid of him kicking my ass. "You don't even know how much of an asshole you really are, and how much everybody honestly hates you. That's the saddest thing about you. You walk around thinking you're the king of the fucking school, but there's not a single person who doesn't talk shit about you behind your back. You're so fucking lame, and stupid, and full of shit. But everyone's afraid of you, so you're completely oblivious."
He kicked high and fast, right at my face. But I knew it would be coming, and I pulled back. His foot stopped in the empty air. He held it there, the way someone would brandish a clenched fist, just showing off his bullshit kickboxing moves. Someday, I'll just kick him in the nuts when he does that.
"You're fucking lucky I'm tired from my workout. Next time, I'll kick your fucking face in, and you'll be even uglier. Everybody loves me. You're just jealous. You should hear the shit they say about you."
Maybe I should just run away. At least living on the streets the abuse would be less predictable.
"Fine. Stay here and get soaked. I'm gonna go knock on her door. If you bust out any windows, don't try blaming it on me. She'll be my witness!"
I left him there, soaked and miserable, and went next door to knock.
Debbie answered. She looked like she was surprised to see me.
"How's it going?" I said, water dripping off every part of me.
"What... ?" she replied, more out of stunned surprise to see me standing at her door than not hearing what I'd said.
"I said, how's it going? I'm sorta locked out and my parents are gone out of town for the day. Mind if I come in and warm up? My idiot brother left his keys at the gym downtown, and I don't even have mine."
"But..." she began. I was still standing there, shivering, looking like a corpse someone had pulled from the river and stood up on her front step, all pale, and cold, and soggy. I could feel the heat coming at me from out of her front hallway. It was lovely.
"Are your parents home?" I asked after a moment's awkward silence.
She shook her head, no. A crack of lightning flashed in the gloomy sky above the trees on our block. Thunder rumbled across the sky, warning godless heathens everywhere that the world may indeed be coming to an end. At least it sounded that way to me. Either that, or the gods had a really epic bowling game going on up there. I flinched at the boom, but Debbie jumped.
"So I can't come in because they're not home? I'm gonna freeze to death. When are they gonna be back?"
"Well ... we're just watching a movie, and..." She trailed off, glancing back toward the living room.
"We?" I asked, sniffling as a drop of water fell from the end of my nose. Debbie was an only child. If her parents weren't home with her, who was?
"My cousin is here," she answered robotically. "Her dad said nobody was allowed over, under any circumstances. They didn't even want to leave her here, but they had an emergency funeral to go to, and they didn't want to leave her home alone during a storm. My parents won't be back until after ten or eleven, maybe."
"All right, then," I said. "I guess I'll go freeze to death. Enjoy your movie." I shoved my hands into my pockets and turned slowly away, dreading a long night of sitting on the front steps listening to my brother's bullshit. Maybe I could just get on a bus and ride around and around the circuit until my folks got home. Or maybe I could just go hang around the convenience store a few blocks away. Trouble was, I had no money. So both those ideas were out.
Another blasting boom of thunder rumbled, even bigger this time. This time, I jumped, too, and Debbie nearly screamed. It shook the entire neighborhood. Car alarms went off. The streetlights dimmed a little for a moment. A dog barked wildly from somebody's backyard somewhere, all in a panic.
"Wait, Luke!" Debbie said, as I got to the bottom of her stairs.
I turned back.
"Maybe you could... visit ... for a little while. It's kind of scary being all alone in here. What if the power goes out?"
"Your parents would want you to be safe, right?" I suggested, hopefully.
"I guess," she says.
I trotted back up the stairs. She stepped back, opening the door to let me in.
.... There is more of this story ...