Chapter One: Cringes and Carvings


"Please, Mr. Johnson, would you mind paying attention for once?"

Someone in the back of the class grunted. "Uh, what'd you say?"

The teacher sighed looking disappointed and returned to her lecture.

I don't know why she even bothers asking Dan to pay attention when more than two thirds of the class is clearly passing-well more like throwing-notes while the rest are sleeping (and drooling) on their desks.

It's sort of pathetic when you think about it. The class isn't more than forty-five minutes long and these idiots can't even pay attention for more than two. It's still shocking to fathom the idea of how they made it all the way to high school.

I really shouldn't waste my time wondering about these idiots I'm supposed to think of as classmates. I sighed and looked down at my desk while still paying attention to the teacher.

On my desk, surprisingly, there weren't many carvings or pen marks. The only graffiti of any kind was a pentacle in the corner. I couldn't say the same for the back of the wooden chair in front of me; there were marks all over it. '420' was written in green in the middle with random writings all over ranging from 'Chris smells like Jesus' to 'U smell funny'. I shuddered inwardly at the chat speak. These idiots could have been taking notes instead of defacing school property. How rude.

That day after school I found myself walking around downtown (which is about as fun as sticking yourself with needles). It was more like I was being pulled around until my 'best friend' Garret found the right music store, The Spin, so he could get this 'hard to find' CD. I'm guessing he dragged me along for moral support when he finds out that they don't have it. (I'm always the optimist, aren't I?)

We finally got to this little hole-in-the-wall store with vinyls and band t-shirts lining the walls. The glass front of the store was painted black with slashes of dark colours running though it. I looked at Garret. "You expect me to go in there?" He just sighed and dragged me in. I knew it; it's full of 'Goths' and such. I hid behind Garret.

If you haven't already noticed, I have social problems. I'm one of those people that observes things from afar and leaves it at that. I don't come in contact with a lot of people and I like it that way. Going into a store full of people that look nothing like me isn't exactly going to make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Peaking from behind Garret I could see two employees and about four customers. One of the employees was sitting on a stool behind the short glass counter, which was filled with pins and stickers. When I looked up from the display case my eyes immediately went up to the very, very blue dyed hair then to a very shiny lip ring. The shiny lip ring started to move… because his mouth was moving. He was talking; talking to me. Well, us, Garret and I.

"Hi, Can I help you two?"

"Uh Yeah. I called earlier about the CD Raging Automatics," answered Garret.

The blue haired guy thought for a moment then seemed to remember. "Oh! You must be Garret. Who's your cute little friend hiding behind your shoulder?"

I peeked out again. He wasn't talking about me, was he? This is very disturbing. Blue haired guy was smiling then he laughed. "You know, I won't bite- well, I might, you never really know."

I squeaked.

"Let me get your CD, it's behind the counter over here," The blue haired boy sashayed (Yes, sashayed) his way over this locked black cabinet and pulled out a CD with a sticky note attached that read 'Garret'. "This is what you wanted, right?" he said after handing the CD to Garret.

Garret glanced at the CD. "Yep, that's it."

"That'll be $14.96. I do hope you come again, and don't forget to bring your cute little friend." He winked at me. Winked at me! Who does Blue Hair think he is?

Right before we exited the store a voice behind me said, "Oh, by the way, my name's Tony."

The entire weekend Blue Hair, now known a Tony, invaded my mind. I don't know why exactly but something about him stuck. I told myself he probably acts like that to everyone and he was just trying to be amusing. But unfortunately, for me, I couldn't get myself to believe that.

There was something about him that intrigued me. I'm not sure as to what exactly it is, there's just something and it won't leave. It may be because he's the only person that has ever spoken to me like that- I mean about me; he didn't actually speak directly to me.

Well, whatever it is, it doesn't really matter. I don't plan to see him again.

So, anyways, Garret's over and we're having a 'sleepover'. It's more like his dad has his latest girlfriend over and he really doesn't need to hear them. Garret always comes over when that happens. I don't mind, actually, I rather him be over here then at his house.

Now he's droning on about some new manga he got. Something called FLCL, I believe. Eh, I don't care, Garret is far too obsessed with his weird Japanese comics and by now, I've learned to tune him out. So I'm turning on some of my music in hopes of shutting him up; so far, no luck.

"Dude, while Future # 1 is a good song, I don't need to hear it over and over again. Did you even hear one word about FLCL? The anime is WAY better, I mean Haruko alone…" I just tune him out again and switch to Le Disko by Shiny Toy Guns. That hopefully will shake him out of it.

"Ben, please, no chick music, remember?"

"Garret, please," I mimicked. "It's my room." I told him while ignoring the fact that Le Disko so isn't 'chick' music.

"So… Got any booze, Benny old pal?" Garret looked at me expectantly.

"GARRET! How dare you suggest I drink! My parents and my moral code of honor are offended!" I stood up, outraged.

Garret rolled his eyes. "Dude, it was just a joke. Chill and listen to your chick music."

I just make a 'humph' sound and spun back in my spiny chair facing the computer switching to Garret's least favourite song.

We were silent for what seemed to like a half an hour. I was at the computer ignoring Garret who was lying on my bed reading his manga until he decided to intrude on the wonderful silence.

"So, Ben," Garret said in a girly voice. "Who's your secret crush?" He giggled like a Valley Girl. It's creepy how good he is at it.

"No one," I answered seriously.

Garret laughed putting his hands under his chin. "What about the guy from The Spin? He seemed to think you were pretty cute. And you seemed to be blushing."

I almost choked. He did not just say that. "I was not! I'm not gay. I'm like the farthest thing from gay. I'm like the poster boy for all non-gays."

"Right, Ben, because you've obviously had many girlfriends. Have you even had a girlfriend?" Asked Garret.

"Of course I have."

Lie. Lie. Lie. I can't even believe I said that with a straight face.


Damn him and his best friend knowledge.

"Well, just because I've never had a girlfriend doesn't mean I'm gay!"

"I never accused you of being gay, Ben. Jumping to conclusions, are we?" asked Garret.

"Don't know what we are doing, but I am not jumping to any conclusions. It's kind of obvious as to what you were insinuating."

"Um. Okay."

I hate it when he does that. Garret just gives up on an argument and says 'Um. Okay.' when I have a really good comeback.

Garret got up and stretched. "Let's watch a horror movie!"

I spun around really quickly and shouted, 'WHAT THE HELL? NO!"

A voice belonging to my mother shouted back through the walls. "WOULD YOU TWO KEEP IT DOWN IN THERE? WE'RE TRYING TO SLEEP."

"Pussy," hissed Garret as quietly as possible.

I can't believe he just called me that.

"I don't make fun of your fear of elephants, so shut up." I almost thought of including a swear word in there but I have, um, a problem saying them. Which is also known as, I can't. The worst I can say is 'hell'.

"That's not an illogical fear! They're big and scary, Mr. I'm-too-scared-to-walk-in-a-big-bad-music-store."

"I did walk in!"

"…Hiding behind me doesn't count."

"Yes, it does!" I said in a 'loud' whisper, trying to keep my mother from having to scream at us again. "It counts because I was in the store and I had to endure the winking Tony- guy."

Garret laughed while stepping closer to me and then patted my head. "How cute. You remember his name."

School and I really do have a love/hate relationship. I love school because of the whole learning thing. I hate it because of the whole 'Have a social life, make some friends and memories you can cherish forever' thing. So it's not exactly: Ah, school, how I loathe you... It's more like: Ah, school, how I loathe those who populate your halls.

My mother tells me that I need to make some friends, and that Garret doesn't count because I'm only his friend because I've known him since Preschool and I only talk to him out of school. Which is true but it's also beside the point.

The point is…well, I don't exactly know what the point is, but I'm sure it has something to do with me liking the fact that I don't really have any friends and I rather not make memorable memories to cherish for the rest of my life.

I'm thinking all of these 'deep and moving' thoughts during religion class (Yes, I go to a religious school, a Catholic one to be exact.). Religion class happens to be the same class that has all the markings on the chair in front of me, and the pentacle my desk. I have to admit the pentacle is nicely drawn.

I'm straying away from listening to the teacher… who is basically saying the same thing over and over again- that we covered last week and then had on the test that almost everyone failed. Suddenly, home schooling sounds kind of fun.

I try to stop myself from laying my head down on my desk, but it's just way too tempting. The teacher is starting to sound like the one from Charlie Brown saying, 'waaa-waaa-waaa' over and over again. So there technically isn't any point in me trying to listen… that's enough convincing for me.

I laid my head down on my desk. I still had my eyes open because there was no way I was going to fall asleep in class. I had my head turned right on the desk looking at the beige wall covered in posters that all seemed to have God loves you written in so many different ways. There were also Bible verses scattered around. You know, I really don't mind the posters and such but they could be put up a lot nicer, because right now it looks like a God obsessed five year old attacked that poor innocent wall.

Something on my desk caught my attention. There were little cuts; new little cuts. They may have been small but I knew they weren't there on Friday. They were so small that you really had to look to see them. I lifted my head back up and traced the cuts with my nail. Oh, wow, really mature, the cuts on the desk were letters and they clearly spelled out, 'I'm so fucking bored.' I cringed.

I'm sure whoever wrote it didn't think anyone would see it. It doesn't really bother me…that much. But it did amuse me enough to take my pencil out and write very lightly by the message, 'How cute.'