REALLY

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The Fight Club


T A Y A

Oh, the things I do for a high school resume.

Today, I was spending my precious Friday after school hours working to build a Titanic replica with the theater club. If this wasn’t desperation, I didn’t know what would be. Dear colleges, please notice me!

I had my oversized hoodie and baggy pants on, my hair pulled up in a messy bun, and my hands had dried paint all over them. I was in charge of painting the wooden boards, while Hallee was in charge of, well, everything else.

“Where’d Gabe go? I need him to arrange props table,” Hallee said in a demanding tone.

“I sent him to get the rest of the wooden planks from the car,” I replied, my hands still busy with the paintbrushes.

“Alone? He can’t possibly carry all that stuff by himself!”

“No, Judah’s with him,”

“Judah? What—he actually came?” she looked shocked.

“Yeah, I told him we needed a hand with building the set,” I studied her worried expression. “You don’t look too happy about that. What’s going on?”

Hallee turned her head from side to side, as if to make sure that no one was listening to our conversation. Then she stepped closer to me and gestured for me lean in to her.

“So listen, I’ve heard some very disturbing news going around the rumor mill. It’s about Judah,” she whispered.

“What about him?”

“I heard that he got expelled from his last school because he punched a teacher on the face!”

“What?!” I gaped and Hallee put her hand over my mouth to shush me.

“Yeah. That’s not all too. Some kids swore that they saw Judah and some shady guys at town a few days ago, dealing!”

“...As in drugs?”

“I’ve heard a lot of things about him, Tay. None of them are good. So be careful around him, alright? I kinda feel guilty now that I’m responsible for making you guys practice together all the time... Or maybe you should just stop hanging out with him after school hours,”

I took a moment to let her words sink in. Those were some very disturbing rumors. But still, I couldn’t imagine the Judah that I know would do such things.

“But Hal, those are just rumors. You don’t know if they’re actually true,” I said to her.

“And you don’t know if they’re false either,”

“Look, I don’t think you need to worry about me. So far Judah’s been nothing but nice to me,”

“Nice?”

“Yeah. I... I don’t know Hal. There’s something about him, I can’t really put my finger on it... but he’s an okay guy,”

“Okay? Dude, from what I’ve heard, he could be a psycho!”

“He has this dangerous vibe, yes but—”

“He’s got crazy anger management issues!”

“Okay, he could be mean at times, but—”

“He freaking hit a teacher, who does that?”

“Well hey, some days I’d really like to punch Mr. Andrews in the face too—”

“Why are you defending him?”

“I’m not defending him... I just think... maybe he’s not as bad as he seems,”

Hallee eyed me suspiciously as I gave her my most reassuring smile.

“Okay... well, just be careful Tay. Judah’s trouble with a capital T—”

THUD!

Suddenly we heard a real loud noise coming from the hallway. Hallee and I flinched at the sound and we looked at each other instantly.

“Guys! Come, quick! There’s a fight out in the hallway!” a kid appeared out of nowhere at the door and everyone rushed out in response.



J U D A H

Schools never interest me. You never learn shit at school. They were just a big bullshitting institute, trying to mold us a certain way and conform us to be authority-abiding citizens.

I gave up on the idea of completing school a long time ago, but my mother was relentless. She actually believed that school was going to save me, that it could take me places someday, and that it could somehow make me a better person.

Ironically though, school only brought out the worst in me.

I was only going to entertain my mother with the idea of me giving school a try by going to it a couple times. But deep down I knew that shit wouldn’t last.

I had met up with the right people, Max and Ava, and they hooked me up good. We hit the streets every so often, doing the basic stuff—hustling, fighting, or street racing.

Now that was what I called school. The streets were where I actually learned shit about life.

With my track record, I knew my life was already defined for me. The streets were where I’d end up at the end. So why wait when we could start right now? School was just getting in my way.

But, today I was eating my own damn words. Somehow I found myself walking down these stinking school halls, carrying heavy wooden planks with Gabe to the fucking auditorium. And it was all her fault.

Oh, the things I do for a pretty girl.

Blondie took me by surprise when she showed up at my house yesterday. Then she surprised me even more when she asked for some extra practice. I knew this was all just a big game between us. None of what we were doing were real. But guess what, that was exactly the point.

She used me, I used her, and neither one of us cared as long as we were getting our share. This was the kind of deal I could respect. Honest and upfront. None of that fake ‘love’ bullshit.

With her, at least there’s something to look forward to at school.

“These things are real heavy,” Gabe breathed as he struggled to hold his grip.

“Yeah, and we still got a shitload more back there. Blondie wasn’t kidding when she said you guys could use a hand,” I chuckled.

The two of us were just walking down the long hallways, minding our own business, when this group of jock-looking guys came and shoved past us.

“Watch it fuckers,” said one of the dude. He was kind of big, but he was wearing this V-neck shirt that was two sizes too small for him, obviously trying too hard to show off his muscles. Sad.

“Yeah, watch it,” another guy said. He was scrawnier with dark hair and fair features.

Then I noticed Blake, Blondie’s little boy toy, walking right behind them. He shot me a glare before quickly looking away.

“Yo Cam, where did you guys disappear to last night?” the scrawny kid said.

“Oh man, it was so great. I was hanging out with RJ last night. Check this out, we came up with the perfect drill to get girls to go all the way,” the bigger dude replied.

“Why do y’all need drills for? You guys get laid regardless,” Scrawny kid whined.

“Yeah, but we like the thrill too, you know? The chase. The game. We’re not all Blake Harrisons here, who got chicks left and right by just sitting around on his ass all day,” the big dude joked and Blake stifled a laugh.

“Alright, so what was this drill about?”

“Ok, so, first you pick your girl. It only takes three seconds to know if she’s into you or not. Just from those three seconds, you can tell. You’ll get a vibe. Once you’re in, the next step is to strike up a conversation. Pretty basic stuff, make it light, just something fun. Then you show her what a gentleman you are by getting her a drink. Now at this point RJ was like, that’s enough ground work, and he’d just get right down to it. But I was like, nah, I needed more of that adrenaline rush, you know? So when I’d get the girl a drink, if she was kinda tense or uptight, you give her a little extra something to get her to relax. Then, the grand finale, you take her someplace nice, someplace quiet, just the two of you. Then boom! Magic happens, man. Guaranteed, every time,”

“Every time?”

“Yeah, man. And if anything, just grab her by the pussy. Some chicks like it rough too,” he said and they started to laugh.

“That’s really sick,” Gabe muttered under his breath. He probably didn’t mean to say it out loud. But he did, and quite loudly too. And they all heard him.

“You got something to say there, fag?” the big dude snarled.

Gabe’s throat closed up as he strode over to us. I immediately got in between them.

“Hey, we don’t want no trouble, alright?” I said to him.

“What? You need your little boyfriend here to stand up for you, Serrano?”

“Fuck you Cameron,” Gabe piped up and this Cameron guy got more riled up.

“Hey, hey, let’s cool it, guys,” Blake stepped in to pull Cameron away.

“You heard the man, let’s cool it,” I added, watching Cameron took deep breaths to calm himself down. This big dude was so easily ticked off, it was kind of fun to watch.

“Fucking little bitch-ass faggots,” he muttered, glaring at Gabe then at me. “Go suck each other’s dicks or something,”

Oh, dude was asking for it. I felt my body stiffened and my breathing got heavier. The old me wouldn’t think twice about throwing the first punch. My fists were itching to connect itself to his dumbass jaw.

But this little shit ain’t worth it. Take it easy Judah, take deep breaths and count to ten. One... two...three...

“Yeah, that’s right. Walk away. Go home to your whore of a momma, shitface,” he said again as I pulled Gabe and myself away from him.

Oh. Now I lost count.

“Now, you don’t call my momma names okay? That just ain’t nice,” I said, turning back to face him.

“And plus, ‘your momma’ jokes are so dead, let it rest already. I’m sure you can do better than that,” I taunted sarcastically and Gabe looked at me as if I was crazy.

“What’d you say to me?” the big dude glared at me.

“Cam, bro, come on,” Blake reached for his shoulder but Biggie smacked his hand off of him.

“Nah, this bitch is asking for it,”

“Yeah Cam, you needa teach him a lesson. He’s on our turf now,” Scrawny kid added.

I squared my chest and waited patiently as Biggie and Scrawny strode over to me. Blake stayed in the background with an uneasy face.

Biggie pretended as if he wasn’t looking at me, but suddenly his fist swung wide for my face. I dodged it easily, smirking at him in the process. That resulted in an angry growl coming from him.

I let go of my grip on the wooden planks so I could move more freely. The planks fell to the floor with a loud noise, as Gabe couldn’t possibly hold it all on his own. Meanwhile, Biggie started coming at me with everything he got, but I simply dodged out all his attacks, egging him on purposefully.

“Stop running you little bitch!” he fumed.

“Okay,” I replied and my feet swung around to give him a fast roundhouse kick, hitting him square in the jaw.

He stumbled back a couple steps before falling to the floor. Apparently Biggie here couldn’t keep his balance.

I’d been in enough fights to know how to size up your enemy. Cameron was big, sure, but there was nothing to him. His movements were slow and predictable, he had no skills. And don’t even get me started on the amateur that was Scrawny.

Scrawny looked at Biggie who was on the floor and then he turned to me. With rage in his eyes, he launched his fist to my face.

Bad fucking move.

I slapped his fist with my one hand and the other swung around his side, hitting him right in the stomach.

“Ugh!” he yelped and fell to the floor.

Biggie and Scrawny glared at me as they struggled to get back up. Not wasting any time, I picked up one of the fallen wooden planks from the floor and swung it around, hitting both Biggie and Scrawny in the process. They both went tumbling down again as the board cracked in two. There were traces of blood on the cracked edges too.

Ooh, splinters. That oughtta hurt.

We were making a lot of noise and kids started coming at us, making a circle around the scene.

“Kai!” suddenly I heard a familiar voice calling out.

“Oh my god, what happened to you?” Blondie broke through the crowd and ran straight for Scrawny.

“That fucking kid is crazy! He just came at us with fucking planks!” Biggie said, rubbing away the fresh blood on the side of his face.

The little snitch.

“It’s fine Taya, I’m fine—” Scrawny coughed weakly.

“You’re bleeding, shit!” Blondie panicked.

“We should take him to the hospital,” Blake said to her, bending down to help Scrawny up.

Blondie’s eyes darted to the broken planks on the floor and her gaze trailed to my hands and up to my face.

“Did you do this? You did this to my brother?” Blondie demanded.

Brother?

“Blondie—I—”

I didn’t even have a chance to respond, all of a sudden she stood up and her fist was on my face. She punched me square on the nose and I fell right down to the ground. Blood splattered out, a clear sign that my nose had probably cracked.

She looked at me with fire in her eyes. She wanted to say something, probably to cuss me out, but she didn’t. Instead, she just bit her lip and turned back to her brother.

She helped Scrawny up, and together with Blake, they walked away. Biggie followed after them, before yelling to the crowd to fuck off.

Meanwhile, I just laid there on the cold floor. My hand went to my nose, putting some pressure on it to stop the bleeding.

“Judah, you okay, man?” Gabe appeared on my periphery, lending out his hand.

I didn’t know how to answer him. I wanted to say that I was okay, but I wasn’t. Weirdly enough, my bleeding nose wasn’t the reason behind it. It was that look that Blondie gave me seconds before she turned away to help her brother.

She thought I was a monster.


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