Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rough Draft #1

The Pit was an escape for me, for all of us really, and always the highlight of my day. It had black light posters and the lights to match, a black metal bunk bed, TV, mini-fridge, and old brown carpet circa 1983. The thick sweet smell of pot smoke in the air and a stereo playing music that was unfamiliar to my ears but captured the rage in my heart was a constant. That’s where we usually where, the three of us, me, Josh, an’ Brannon. The gateway from The Pit to the outside world was painted black with red letters, where we could drink, smoke and draw pictures in the sand. After school we would wait with anticipation for 4:20 to roll around; then we’d roll around, laughing and fighting. Movies and popcorn were consumed in that room. Mambas, Sprite, Skittles and Boogers were all shared.

We all had a physical friendship, hitting, kicking, wrestling, and chasing. We could point to our bruises and recall the memories, who was being lippy and who had shut them up. We were each others living, breathing punching bags. Bodies were broken, but they always healed. Feelings were hurt, but all in good fun, right?

Brannon was a skinny, blond kid from New York with way more attitude than brawn. I met Brannon because I was friends with Josh. His teeth were crooked despite the years of metal in his mouth. He wasn’t attractive, didn’t have a great sense of humor nor was he too terribly smart. So where he got off on his self importance I’m not sure. Maybe it was compensation for his insecurities. With a friend like him who needed enemies? Brannon could be found in baggy pants with white tee shirts, and the smallest sized wife beater that hung off his almost sickly body.

Josh had the jaw of a young boy and the long hair from his childhood. His skin was smooth and white, a hard smile but soft eyes that showed you the depths of his soul and eyebrows that all but took over his forehead. I remember the moment I chose to love him, but that’s another story. He had a great sense of humor, a bad attitude, and always seemed more comfortable in his skin than I was in mine. Josh wore black boots, black baggy jeans and a dark shirt always with some sort of comic book art on it. Josh never hit me. If he ever bruised me it was purely on accident while wrestling. He always stuck up for me and protected me, usually from my friend Brannon.

Brannon admired Josh and was jealous of my relationship with Josh. Was it because he wanted to be better than Josh? Or was because he could appreciate the calmness in his uncomfort? Brannon secretly hated Josh because Josh was what Brannon could never be. Brannon was jealous of my relationship with Josh.

We had completed regular ritual of smoking and fighting. I was being particularly lippy that evening and laughed at Josh when he inquired to whether or not I wanted to be duct taped up. What could he have possibly thought my reaction was going to be? Brannon, always the one looking to find someone to beat up on because he had learned along the way by picking on others, he in his small frame would be left alone, thought Josh had come up with the best idea of the day and pounced. He channeled all his skinniness into his arms trying to wrestle me to the ground but with the fire of defeat in his eyes, he turned to anger. Failure dripped off his words, “Josh help me.” And Josh sitting there, on the bottom bunk, laughing at Brannon’s feeble attempt at domination, only to be beat by a girl.

To my great pleasure Josh joined forces with Brannon to conquer me. Pride swelled at the fact it took two boys to get me down. I fought to the bitter end which came with the first scandalous sound of duct tape being dislocated from the rest of its sticky, gray body. The tape found itself secured around my ankles and I found my hands behind my back with a large bracelet. I must admit I enjoyed being wrestled to the ground and being tied up. It was the first time and the last.

Josh, again with the bright ideas, asked Brannon, with the complete lack of seriousness, if he, too, wanted to bound. With surprise in my eyes I read the amazement at Brannon as Josh followed through with his offer. Josh was the leader of our pack, the Alpha-Male.
What a scene that would have made: Josh, master and controller of our fate, sitting on the bed with pot smoked eyes laughing at his loyal subjects, one taped into submission, one volunteer, both hopping around on knees. Somehow chases were being pursued in our taped state, cops and robbers. Ever my pursuant, Brannon had caught me again, this time trapped in a corner. He pressed his hollow chest into my back and with his large Italian nose and its constant leak, his right nostril made contact with my shoulder. And with movements of imagined domination his dripping nose was dry. I laughed. No big deal, I shrugged. It’s just boogers right?

With Brannon still tied up, my shoulder still slimy and a large glass of water in hand, I walk over to Brannon, my equal, and poured a little water down his back, his white shirt becoming transparent as the water soaked in. The next thing I know there is this little ball of Italian anger hopping around the room like a Mexican Jumping Bean. Kicking if he could have and because his arms are not at his beck and call, he hurled insults at me with the force of (he wanted to hurt me but couldn’t) something weak throwing something heavy (a pregnant poll vaulter?). Visible veins protruding from little arms and angry saliva shooting from his mouth with the same intensity as the daggers from his shallow eyes, his screams demanding he be cut free so he can “take care of me”. I left the safety of the Pit with confidence and ventured out into the clear Sedona night. The tall pine trees shadowing the street and the stinging fall air a refreshing slap in the face.

I find myself at the bottom of the hill when I hear the wheezing of asthmatic lungs and the slap of tennis shoes approaching. I turn around and face up the hill to see this thin white blur trying to keep body and feet in the same place at the same time, no part left behind. Brannon. I roll my eyes and sigh. I wait for him, fearing little, annoyed with much.

“What the fuck dude. I’m gonna kick your ass.” Keeping his elbows locked, the catapult releases. His fist is fired in a large half circular (circle?) motion, not the straight forwardness that requires contact. His left arm follows suit in the worst swing I’ve ever been witness to.
“Brannon, are you seriously upset?” I inquire incredulously. I can’t take him seriously, what’s a little water? We drink it, bathe in it, and play in it. Clothes are washed in it, food is cooked with it. He steps closer as I step back, our ever present dance of “friendship”. I’m full of confidence that I can knock this little fucker over with my pinky if needed, though his rage catches me off guard.

I don’t know how the situation was defused. I just know it was the first time Brannon tried to fist fight me with hatred in his veins, not the first friend though, and it, nor was he, the last.