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Old 06-17-2013, 08:13 AM
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Tau (Offline)
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Default The Dark Side of Summer by Lmc71775

Chapter One

“What if I just shot him in the head?” Chase asks as we sit on the football field bleachers. “That would end the problem.”

I hate it when we get to this point of the conversation. I tell him the same thing every time. “Then it would just cause a shitload of other problems,” I say. I can’t understand why Chase can’t get it through his thick skull killing his father would solve everything.

“What if it’s self defense?” he says, standing up and walking the bleacher plank like it was a tightrope. “Then I have a reason. I’d be protecting myself.”

“Yeah, but it all depends on how it went down.” We’ve gone over so many scenarios, but he’s been hung up on the gun thing for the past few days now. He needs to get his head out of his ass and get over this quick. I keep telling him summer will start soon, we’ll be out of high school for good this time.

“Chase, man, you need a girlfriend, or better yet a job. Then you wouldn’t be thinkin’ bout this shit.”

“Dude, how many times do I gotta tell ya? This is the only way I can cope.” He starts walking off the last row of bleachers and waves me down. “Come on, let’s get out of here, I’m starving my ass off over here.”

We walk around the school and down the busy street to the White Castle’s. I take it that’s what we’re having since we’re headed right in that direction and it’s the first restaurant from here.

“You just wanna stop for some sliders or you want somethin’ else?” Chase asks me. There’s a Burger King further down and further down that is the Oak Lawn Restaurant, which I’d rather go to, but I don’t even remember the last time Chase popped for the food, so I just agree on the greasy sliders.

Once we walk in, the fumes from the thin salty burgers sizzling on the steal oven-tops hits us like an invisible cloud of cooking oil. I really don’t want to eat this crap. It always gives me the shits afterwards. But it’s the cheapest thing around here and since I’ll be paying for the umpteenth time, I keep my mouth shut.

“Just don’t order a lot,” I tell Chase. “I only got six bucks.”

“Fine. I’ll get the next one,” he says. What he always says yet it never happens. If it wasn’t for his prick father stealing his money all the time, I’d have a better savings account balance. If I can just keep a good fifteen hundred to two grand before I go to ISU, I’d be good.

We order six dollars worth of food, six sliders, two small Cokes and a small thing of fries and sit down in the corner booth by the windows.

“So when you gonna talk to her?” Chase says out of the blue as he stuffs a burger in his mouth. “Ain’t got much time left. Graduation’s less than a week away.” He manages to say between bites. I’m not sure why he cares I talk to Heather. Then again it’s all I’ve been talking about this past year. I take it he’s sick of me mentioning all the time.

“I’m not sure,” I tell him, swigging down some Coke. “I need to find the right time.”

“I don’t see why you waited so long. Shit it’s not like she’s this huge superstar actress or something.” Chase gobbles down another two more burgers and crams a fistful of fries in his mouth. “OOOaahhh.” He lets out a huge smelly burp.

“Geez, you gotta do it right in my face?” I wave it off.

“So, what’s stopping you?”

“One word. Aaron. Beside, why does it matter to you anyway?” I take one last bite and ram the remainder of it back in the burger box. “I’m gonna do it.”

“No yer, not. You’re gonna chicken out like always and then you’ll be shit outta luck. You’re just using Aaron as an excuse.” Chase finishes off the last bit of fries and wipes his greasy face with the napkin. “God, I swear, if I have to hear this shit all summer I’ll take my father’s gun and shoot myself.”

Again with the gun. It’s weird. Why is he bringing it up so much lately? He better not be thinking what I think he’s thinking. Jesus, that’s all he needs is to steal his father’s gun and get beat to death. Or worse. I don’t even want to think of all the horrible scenarios that could happen.

“Why can’t you ever focus on the positive? It’s always gotta be this negative shit with you.”

I crumple up the last bit of trash, slide out of the booth, emptying off the tray and stack it on the garbage.

“What are you talking about? I am the most positive person you’ll ever meet.”

Oh, God. Here we go again.

“What about that time when we were with Derek and Hunter? Shit, Derek drove us so out of the way. God, you guys panicked like a bunch of pussies how lost we were. Terrified little girls, but I kept it cool.”

We start walking out the doors as Chase keeps rambling about all the times he was positive. Like passing some kind of test. “And that time when we were heading home that one year. In third grade member? God you knocked your tooth out right on the tracks dude, it was hilarious how you fell.” Chase starts laughing. We wait for the light to change then cross back over to the school.

“But I stayed positive while you freaked out.”

“Jesus, Chase, that’s cause my whole mouth was bleeding. I hada go back and forth to the dentist for three weeks because of it.”

“I know. I know. I’m just sayin’. I was positive then as I am positive now, so don’t give me that shit.”

We head in back of the school again and cut through the football field. Today’s been the nicest day, weather wise. It’s bright and warm, about sixty-five degrees with a light wind brushing against our faces. The sky is a perfect blue without a cloud in sight. And everything’s in full bloom.

Only a few days left of school and summer begins. I desperately want to talk to Heather before all that happens. I just wonder if I’ll ever get the chance.

We walk down a few blocks and in through the neighborhood. Chase walks along me with his tall gangly body holding up a decent stride. He turns to me and smiles with his perfect set of teeth. The only thing that’s perfect on him after wearing braces for three out of the four years of high school. I will admit, he’s always in good spirits and yes, he has a positive attitude most of the time. I don’t know how he does it with a dad like this. If he could just stop hitting him. If you think about it, it’s amazing Chase has the attitude he has, knowing what he’s been through in life.

We silently walk together down to his block. I just wonder how he’s going to take it when I tell him I’m going to Illinois State in the fall. I want him to be okay without me, yet deep down inside me guilt about leaving him gnaws in the back of my mind. I mean, what if Chase did do something with that gun?

We get up to Chase’s house. The weeds are all overgrown and the cement porch is all cracked up. It reminds me again of how shitty Chase has it.

“So you’ll call me later then?” he says, walking backwards up the driveway.

It bothers me he needs me so much, always clinging onto our friendship. It isn’t the same with Derek and Hunter. They didn’t come into the picture till middle school. Not like me and Chase. We’ve been friends since we started to walk. I look at him and hesitate for a second or two thinking all this.

“So you gonna call me or what, man?”

“Yeah, yeah. I will. Later.”

We part ways from there as I head down the block.

Images of Chase shooting his father in the head invade my thoughts. I picture Chase lining up the gun right between his father’s eyes as the bullet rips open his face. Graphic, I know. But I’ve been brainwashed with all these ideas now that it’s really becoming bothersome. All I want to do is make it through graduation and figure out the summer from there. I promise myself not to worry so much about this Chase and the gun talk. All it is is talk. I don’t think Chase would actually do something. At least, I hope not.
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