SCREENS

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Chapter 3 - Desperation

Every weekday I enter the Red Jetta my mother gave me, but I’m not the one behind the wheel, its Floyd. Every morning we would listen to music for our ten-minute drive. I know Floyd is deaf, but he still talks, quite a lot too, annoying at times. It was our moment of peace before the chaos hit.

He was looking at his phone while he was driving, trying to pick the next song. Already extremely on edge after receiving that text I snapped at him. I couldn’t tell him I had to keep this secret.

“Floyd!”

Floyd then immediately put down his phone and diverted all of his attention to the road wearing a guilty look on his face.

“Can we not do the music today. And you know how I feel about driving, in general, let alone when some idiot is on the phone and could kill everyone in the car!”

He then unplugged his phone and waited until we reached a stoplight. He then signed to me:

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay Floyd. I’m on edge. I have to deal with this girl today.”

“Only if you have no other choice right?”

Then lied to him “Of course Floyd.” I wanted this; I needed it. I was also scared, the feeling of impending confrontation was exhilarating. It was the adrenaline coursing through my body, and I hadn’t felt this alive since the crash.

Floyd’s disability had its advantages, his handicap, so we always got the best parking spots. Our routine would be to park right in front of the planter where Samantha would be consistently sitting, and we would have about 20 minutes of socializing time before the bell rang.

Today as we were driving to our spot Courtney Cline and her gang of bitches flew in front of us in 2017 Silver Mercedes, Floyd stopped the car, and we engaged in a tense stare as he parked the car in the next spot.

She didn’t speak a word. The only thing she greeted me with was a sadistic smile, peeking above the rim of her designer sunglasses. I glared at her as she put the car into park, I understood her body language, it was a message:

I am going to provoke you into action today.

Some dark part of her needs me to know. She thinks I’m timid; she thinks I’m weak, I’m going to prove her wrong today. I never broke my stare as we got out of the car, and neither did she.

“Keep moving.”

I ignored Floyd’s request; I wanted to pounce on her, I needed to. And just as I was about to snap back Floyd pulled me away, and Samantha quickly joined.

“Not yet Sasha.”

“I just want to get it over with.”

“You will. Try not to let it bother you today.” Floyd replied with his autoresponder.

I signed to him: A lot of help you were.

“I’m a lover; I have no fight in me.”

You suck. I signed back to Floyd as we walked through the front doors. We showed the security officers our school ID’s and handed over our phones while we passed through the metal detectors. At least I had the comfort of knowing that Courtney will just have to use her fists in our fight today. I never used to worry about school, but here in the inner city things are more diverse than in the suburbs. Diversity can be great, but it always leads to confrontation because most people are horrible.

The star of Bradbury High’s Fight Night is one that reoccurs a lot. Trevor Nguyen finds a new enemy every other day. We knew we walked into a brawl after hearing a loud smash echo from the metallic banging of the lockers. Every person in the hall stood still, sure that a tense fight was about to take place.

“Who the hell do you think you are you little shit?” The stocky guy demanded as he slammed Trevor into a set of lockers.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Trevor said in a mocking voice back to his bully. “Mikey, if you’re going to hit on me, at least put in the effort for a little originality.”

“That picture you posted on your story. You’re going to take that down.”

“Afraid of people knowing the truth? Big beautiful quarterback likes extra time in the locker room.”

Mikey then slammed Trevor up against the locker several more times.

“I’m not gay. I get more pussy in one week than you have in your entire life. You’re probably the faggot.”

Trevor then shouted out: “So you’re calling me a faggot when you’re the one with a picture of a dick in your mouth? Get off me I’ll have to wash all of the gay off when I get home.” Mikey’s patience fuse, short as it was, ignited, and in his violent rage, he began to beat Trevor mercilessly. Trevor put up his arms to block his face, but it was no use as he was, Trevor’s thin arms did nothing to shield him. Within seconds of hearing the chanting, Mr. Niles, the history teacher, ran out of his classroom to break up the fight.

“Hey! HEY! Knock it off; he’s had enough Mike!”

Trevor used his beaten arm to wipe the blood from his face, looking up to Niles who was holding Mikey back, the jock still panting and aching to strike some more.

“Why can’t you do this after school, you idiots! Trevor how many times can a kid get in a fight? You’re lucky my quarterback didn’t break his hand on your face.”

“Oh, that would’ve been catastrophic huh Coach Niles? Wait till everyone knows how much Mikey enjoys SUCKING DICK!” Mikey then lunged towards Trevor again and managed to snipe in one more punch. The coach then pushed Mikey away down the hall, but Mike still managed to give Trevor one last message: “after school, you are dead faggot.”

“Trevor, clean yourself up and go the Principal’s office. I’m sure you’ll find yourself in detention at the end of the day. You’ll be lucky if you find yourself in this school next week at all. I for one hope you’re gone.”

Everyone treated Trevor like he was the scum of the school. He was repulsive in every manner, aside from his acne infested face, his feminine voice, and crude and arrogant attitude, everything he did was condemned. I think he took joy in being hated; he was an internet troll who constantly harassed people at school over social media. He was endlessly driven by his need to be heard, even if all of the feedback was negative. Something about him was oddly charming though; his determination was outstanding even if it cost him his human decency.

Trevor got up off his feet and pushed his way between us as he continued to wipe the blood from his face. “Get out of my way retard.” He said as he tried to push Floyd aside to enter the bathroom. Making our way back to class, I head the other students mutter to each other.

“That kid is going to shoot up the school if they expel him.”

“He’ll probably go to an insane asylum before all of that. Look at the kid.”

School went by surprisingly quick today. Nothing occurred for my Math and English classes; we just reviewed for tests next week. I was busy playing catch up for what I missed during our dull Friday sessions. Then in history, I just stared in hatred at Mr. Niles who clearly valued the well-being of his football players above all of his other students. He never has once tried to talk to me about my failing grades, or my lack of interest in his subjects in general.

Then there were these awful cliché posters he had tapered around the room. One read: “your mind is like a parachute it works best when open." I felt like they mocked me and my outlook on life, all of the “inspirational” posters did nothing to help my inspiration or my need for commitment to do anything in life. I just wanted to sleep, that’s been my priority since the crash, and few things keep me from it.

What does make up for the remainder is now that we’re seniors, we get to pick the cool classes. Astronomy always makes the day somewhat worth the burden. Every day we sit underneath the planetarium while the insightful Mr. Potter guides us all in the right direction towards our futures, at the backdrop to the entire Pink Floyd discography. It was the only class that Floyd and I had together, but Courtney had it too.

“And there is Sirius. It’s the brightest star we see in the sky, other than our sun. Now, does anyone remember what constellation Arcturus belongs to?”

Mr. Potter adored Floyd; he was his best student. Floyd wasn’t afraid of what he was, so he used the autoresponder to answer every question in the class. So, every time he would, Courtney and her friends would cackle and make jokes about him. It never bothered him once; he told me “I’m used to it.” I never did get used to it, and every time she did my hate for her grew.

“Böötes the Bear Driver.”

“Good Floyd. Next, we’ll go over the major stars in the summer sky; this will be on the test next week so…..” Mr. Potter was then rudely interrupted by the P.A. the voice that gave the message was full of fear; I could sense the vibration in her tone.

“All teachers, please report to the cafeteria.”

Mr. Potter then adjusted his tie nervously and addressed us, “I’m sure this won’t take long. If I find anyone out of their place when I get back, it’s detention.”

Potter then promptly left the room, and then everyone began to murmur. Floyd then signed to me: “Sasha? What’s going on.”

“I don’t know Floyd, check your phone. Maybe something happened?”

This was Courtney’s moment; no supervisors were around to suppress her behavior. Courtney took the whole planetarium by surprise when she jumped up and eagerly addressed the class.“Carmel Highlands, California. Three people are left dead after a horrific car crash on the Pacific coast highway near the Carmel Highlands off ramp. Drunk driver Jonathan Miller veered into the opposite lane colliding with the car containing Michelle Taylor, her son Dustin, and daughter Sasha. Sasha was driving and was flung through the windshield and survived the accident with minor bruises and cuts; the other three died on impact.”

Floyd then, shockingly to me, threw the book at Courtney which hit her in the arm.

“Watch what you’re doing retard!”

“Courtney. Stop.” I said very firmly, but she responded with a wicked grin and continued her rant.

“Oh, this is the good part, Sasha. Sasha may have survived with only minor lacerations, but she is dealing with a mortal psychological wound. Sasha was texting at the time of the accident and blames herself for the accident that killed her family.”

“I said stop!”

“What Sasha? You afraid of your classmates knowing your past? You know I really had to look to find this. I can’t find you on any social media accounts, couldn’t find any public profiles on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You deleted them because you feel sorry for killing your mother and brother. So tragic Sasha.”

I then calmed myself for a second to criticize her. “Even though I know that even though my family is dead, at least they cared about me enough to not let me turn into a ridiculous piece of shit like you.”

“What did you just say bitch?”

“Let me repeat myself. Bitch! I said that nobody loves you nobody can ever love a fake-ass Instagram model like you.” I continued to rant, and she moved closer to me, she had to back herself up, I would not buckle under her. “You exist as nothing more than a jerk-off session to 10,000 other guys that you will never meet. What a pathetic life.”

We then began to move towards a face to face encounter. “What kind of person kills their parents?” She asked as I could smell the evil intent on her breath.

“What kind of person treats people like you do!”

“My parents are rich; I am rich. No matter how hard you try to berate me, you will always fail because I am better than you. I am better than you will ever be.”

“Is that what your daddy tells you when he molests you the one night of the week he gets to see you.” I then saw that I finally got to Courtney. I know because she began to shake and quiver, her face, and eyes began to culminate rage.

“Did I get you, Courtney?” She leaned in nearly touch my nose with hers. I could feel her fiery presence as she spoke more vile words, she wasn’t backing down, and I felt my adrenaline climb like it never had before.

“At least I don’t think about killing myself every day. If I were you, I’d just do the world a favor, and get it over with; the world has enough evil people. It doesn’t need any more murderers.”

The whole time we were insulting each other I needed to hit this girl, she was like a rabid dog. I feel like she wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if someone would’ve just had the courage to teach her the simplest concepts of respect and discipline. So, I hit her. I smacked her as hard as I could in the jaw.

The class gasped, Courtney lunged towards me and tried to grab my hair, but I had pulled it back into a ponytail.

“You are NOT grabbing my hair like you did to Sam!” I then knocked her down with a sweeping kick. While Courtney struggled on the floor, trying to grasp anything she could, grabbed someone’s book by their desk and threw it, hard. I then learned of her softball skills as I felt hit my chest, just in the right spot it knocked the wind out of me.

Courtney then shot up like a tightly bound spring and jumped on my back. Disoriented, I twirled us around and managed to slam her down on a desk. Her back hit the edge, I had her pinned, and then she knew the only thing she could do was raise up her forearms to block my repetitive punching.

Floyd scurried towards us after he saw that I was beating Courtney’s body to a bloody pulp and he knew I was not about to stop. I was overwhelmed with violent emotion, and I couldn’t stop, that release had taken the wheel behind my vehicle of self-control. I might have killed her had it not been for Floyd.

Floyd reacted very quickly and came up behind me and lifted me up. Despite my knowledge in martial arts, I couldn’t break myself from Floyd’s iron grip, but he underestimated how much and how hard I would struggle. He lost his balance as I flailed around in his arms and he tripped over backward, over a desk, the momentum we sustained would push that desk into the star projector knocking it over and causing a horrible crash.

Mr. Potter rushed in with three other teachers; he did not help restrain us. He was in shock over his broken projector, a two-hundred thousand dollar piece of equipment, and the realization that he would not get another one.

“Oh, my God! What have you done?”

I felt guilty, but Floyd was devastated. Convincing myself it was worth the sacrifice, I was wrong, and now I’d drawn him into my fight, and now he as sharing the consequences with me. It seems all I do is hurt the people I love. Yes Courtney, now everyone can see that you are cancer. That’s what I kept thinking and communicating with her as we still weren’t taking our eyes off each other. The stare would continue until the three other teachers ran to us and picked us up and off our feet. One of them being that awful Coach Niles who was the first to voice his opinion.

“You three, you’re done, finished. Only a miracle can save you now.”

“Where to coach douchebag?” Courtney asked, but the coach was not motivated to respond, so another teacher did as they began to carry us out into the corridor “detention hall, until the end of the day. After that, Principal Summers will figure out what to do with you.”

They carried us down that empty hall, and after hearing the teacher say those words, none of us spoke a word to each other, we knew a dark fate awaited us at the end of the school day. I saw Courtney’s worry in her expressive eyes as they brought us to that door. I’m not sure why a girl like her would be set even without graduating high school. Then I thought of what I said to her earlier, about her being molested. It was a bluff, but maybe that is a horrible reality she faces in her home life. Whatever it is, I know she was scared.

Floyd’s body language makes up for his lacking of being able to talk; it’s how he and I communicate 90 percent of the time. I knew he was feeling incredibly sad and guilty, Floyd is always so hard on himself though, he says it inspires him to do better in school and better to form his art. “Suffering is perspective” that’s one of his song titles. I appreciated that he didn’t blame me, even though I knew it was my fault, 100 percent.

All I had to do was ignore Courtney I thought, maybe this thing could’ve been averted. Unlike the other two though, I didn’t care what our outcome was, I knew we were about to be expelled after our interrogation with Principal Summers went underway. I didn’t care at all; I didn’t care how destructive my actions were, I made them I can’t change them. I didn’t feel any better after beating up Courtney; I thought it might’ve filled that massive void inside of me. I was wrong, I felt even emptier somehow, and almost hoped we’d get expelled so I’d be forced to spring into action with my life. Or forced to see the little hope I had left be swept away by the wind.

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