Chapter 43

The Rest Of The Week . . .

It’s been a few days since ‘Black Tuesday’.

I haven’t had the heart to write much since hearing about Jimmy’s suicide attempt. I almost asked my Dad if I could stay home from school, but figured that I’d ‘soldier on’, as my uncle likes to put it. Actually, my Dad was a bit worried about that bit.

“You know, Bran, if it is hitting you that hard then you don’t have to go to school today. We already have a writ on file from Dr. Klein saying that all you need to do is ask for it and I can call in that you’ll be absent.” He was worried about me . . . understandably.

There are some things, erm, that I haven’t been very clear about, Nameless Hacker. I don’t like to think about them because they are scary to me sometimes. Like, I made mention before about when I heard about Jimmy’s ‘thing’ on Tuesday and how I often felt the same way, but can ‘control’ it or whatever. Well, this sort of thing really is a part of my, um, reality, I suppose.

‘Control’ means that I go to Dr. Klein and visit his support staff about every six months or less if I need it. I’m not like on medication . . . yet, but my Doctor has been thinking about it. The meds he’s been telling me about are supposed to be for Depression (I capitalized the D on purpose because that’s what Dr. Klein calls it: ‘Depression with a capital D’.) He figures it is a permanent result of the trauma of my Mom’s death at such a young age. It ‘puts me at risk’ (I seem to be doing the ‘’ bit a lot, but please bear with me). ‘At risk’ means that I’m more prone to emotional breakdowns than other guys, which would make sense as to why I’m such a fucking pussy all the time.

Things like Jimmy’s suicide attempt probably resonate with me more than it might with other people. I wish I could have done more for him, but now I have two more sources of information that tell me that such a thing was probably not possible from my end of things.

One source is my doctor. Dr. Klein said that Jimmy probably has been thinking about this for a very long time. He has, more than likely, been planning it since way before I ever met him. He also figured that there had to have been something he called a ‘catalyst’ that set him off on actually making his plans come true. He explained that a ‘catalyst’ is something that makes something else happen pretty much immediately. A trigger, I guess. Jimmy had been triggered. Dr. Klein assured me that there couldn’t have been anything I did, didn’t do, or could have done that would have triggered Jimmy to suicide. More than likely, it was something close to home or perhaps even in his home that triggered the response. A fight with his mom or dad that got too rough or something said by someone else very close that, perhaps, convinced Jimmy that suicide was not only a way out of the hurt but, more importantly, a ‘stroke of revenge’, as Dr. Klein put it.

Now, that was something I hadn’t considered. Was Jimmy actually punishing someone by hurting himself? Did he figure that if he killed himself he’d be hurting someone back in such a way that they could never retaliate? That, to me, is very bizarre thinking! Dr. Klein agreed with me that it is this kind of confused thinking that results in suicide. This kind of thinking comes from mental illness and that once signs start to show that there is a sickness at work then it is time to seek treatment as quickly as possible. Hence, why he was my doctor and why me and my Dad are very wise that I come see him, especially when things like this come up.

So, the Good Doctor was very helpful in helping me, at least, make a little more sense out of the Jimmy Thing. What sense that can be made when a poor beat up kid starts to act on the fact he’s, basically, been driven nuts. I can only hope his parents get him some psych help too. Sounds like Jimmy needs it really badly.

The other person who had something REALLY interesting to say about the whole thing was Chandler! Mr. ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Own Damn Self’ himself! Hehehe! He called me up yesterday evening! He called me! I guess the Blondes must have tattled on me about what went on with Jimmy and how both Jamie and me felt guilty about it.

So, per Chandler: “Now, Jamie I can understand feeling like he should take a little (very little) responsibility for this poor kid, since it was his idiot ‘friends’ who seemed to be Jimmy’s chief tormentors at school. This I know personally. I actually had to rescue this Jimmy guy one day when I was waiting to pick up Jamie at school. Those two thugs Karl and Jason were chasing him out on the playing field a few weeks back. I intervened by scaring the two jack-offs away and by personally escorting the little waif back to the locker rooms. His ‘coach’ had the nerve to read me the riot act for ‘trespassing’. I informed ‘coach’ that, basically, if he’d been doing a better job of controlling his wild apes then I wouldn’t have had to do his job for him! ‘Coach’ quickly changed the subject and we started reminiscing about ‘Ol’ Time’s’, or whatever. If you want someone to point the finger at as to why Jimmy tried to bleed himself out then I’d aim that finger (preferably the middle one) right at ‘Coach’ and the rest of those dick-lickers they have running our High School! They aren’t doing their jobs if kids are being pushed to suicide on their watch!”

I couldn’t help but giggle at him a little bit. I could just imagine what he did to scare off those two meatheads away from Jimmy. I found it very interesting that Chandler did what so many other people wouldn’t have done and that’s get himself involved if someone was fixing to beat someone else up. He not only risked getting a beat down himself, he also risked the stupid school having him arrested for trespassing! It’s no wonder none of us feel safe at that school! That must have been Coach Bradshaw Chandler was talking to. It’s true, he’s useless. He does let his ‘apes’ get away with murder! In Jimmy’s case . . . almost literally.

“Wow, Chan Chan! I had no idea you knew anything about Jimmy outside, maybe, what Marie and Jamie had told you! I, erm, I, kind of, tried to help him once a little too at one point . . .” I confessed.

“Oh yeah? What did you do?” Chan asked and I felt suddenly stupid for even bringing it up.

“Um . . .” I didn’t want to bring it up because I was sure that I might have been part of what started this whole horror show off! I know I’m not supposed to feel guilty about it, but . . . what if, ya know? What if I’d just let Jimmy take his small peck on the butt and had not interfered? The jocks wouldn’t have felt shamed in front of each other and felt like they needed to take revenge! But, then, Chandler helped and what he did, kind of, worked, but then he did it with just Jason and Karl and those two never shame each other. So . . .

“I smell smoke coming through the phone, Bran. I can almost hear your brain sizzling trying to put all the connections together as to how this was somehow your fault or even mine for interfering.”  It was like Chandler picked the thoughts right out of my head! I’m convinced now that he’s a warlock! He’s got to be!

“Well . . . I was in the locker room and one of the goons was going to pop Jimmy on the butt with his towel for ‘looking’ and I, sort of ‘accidentally’ got in the way before Jimmy could get popped.”  I told part of the story, anyways.

“. . . and this pissed the jock off (probably Jason: The Closet Case), but then when he went to do that to you he was tipped off that you round-house kicked someone’s lights out at some point in your life. So, the big coward let it go but looked like the stupid dick his is in front of his fellow dicklettes. Am I getting warm?”  The gasp I made into the phone must have tickled Chandler because I heard him quietly chuckling on the other end of the line.

“How’d you know about my training?” I couldn’t help but blurt the question. I hope it didn’t sound as suspicious as it sounded, though I was a bit suspicious as to how he knew that bit.

“I heard it from Jamie, of course, but really didn’t need his input. You go to Church together, Brandon, and he’s just as connected there as he is in school. He can’t help himself! He probably blathered it to some of his goons so that’s probably where the others heard about it. Also, I think you can blame your Pop on that one too since he crowed about how well you were doing to anyone who would listen, including me! I was still going to choir when you were training to become the next Brandon Lee!” Chandler was opening up a world to me that I had no idea existed. A world where my actions and interests were actually things that others actually cared about talking about. Never have I felt that I was anyone to attract that much attention! I never figured anyone cared enough about me to care about anything I do!  Here I was, in Church, just sitting there all those years and rumors about me were being spun around me like cobwebs and I didn’t even know it!

“It’s a crazy small world, Bran Bran. We all matter to someone. We aren’t just faces in a crowd. It’s human instinct to want to know something about someone else. Especially someones as quietly mysterious as you are, Batman!” That got us both giggling.

“Oh, would you STooOP! Get outta here! I’m no Batman! Rreelly, now!” There was a lilt to my voice I’d never noticed before as I said that and it caused Chandler to pause in his giggles.

“Uh-oh, there he is! There’s that someone I know peaking out! Yoo-hoo, I see yoo-ou!” Chandler teased. With him, my one and only really Gay friend, I can be, I guess, my true self!  I was embarrassed by the new ‘Gay’ sound to my voice . . . but also strangely proud of it too!

“Awww, you are just too adorable, Bran Bran. I have to go soon, but before I do, let me give you a bit of advice in regard to this Jimmy business with the suicide shit and all . . .”  Chandler’s voice went down two whole octaves and I could tell he had stopped joking around and was being dead serious with me.

“You live DESPITE them! Don’t ever let them win by driving you to your death!  Don’t give them the satisfaction! The best way to beat them is to do exactly what they don’t want you to do which is LIVE, BE WHO YOU ARE and BE HAPPY! You do that and they will never hold power over you! You’ll heap burning coals upon their shitty little heads! You will defeat them and you will be the winner!” They were words, again, I’d never thought of before and they came from a place in Chandler that I could tell was deep.

“Chandler?” I needed to ask.

“Yeah? Really, I gotta go pretty soon . . .” He sounded a bit rushed, but I had to ask.

“. . . did you ever try to, you know, hurt yourself?” I don’t know what possessed me, but the depth of his words meant they must be backed by something equally deep and painful.

“A couple of times . . . but I got better and now . . . I am having the sweetest fucking revenge!”  I could hear the smile on Chandler’s lips and the way he said it sent a shiver down my spine!

“Goodnight, Batman!  Don’t run into any buildings swingin’ around town, now! Kisses!” Chandler made smooching noises and hung up before I could say goodnight back.

Sweetest Fucking Revenge? That must mean he’s happy! I’ve been pondering his words for a couple of days now.

Live despite them?


Anyway, Thursday was actually the only day anything really interesting happened.

Billy had found me. He looked like he’d been crying a lot. Naturally, that made me really concerned! My heart squeezed in my chest, actually! I mean, physically squeezed in there! It hurt to see how hurt he looked! I wondered what on earth could have happened!

Then it dawned on me . . .

I’d been wrong! Billy did know Jimmy! He must know him pretty well! Billy is really broken up by Jimmy’s suicide attempt!  I sat and listened to what he had to say. All the things that he could have done, should have done, etc. I felt instinctively that I should only give Billy an ear.  He seemed to need that.  Someone he could talk to about it. He needed someone to listen to him and not talk.

He needed someone he trusted!

That was my take away. When it came to him looking for someone he could trust to talk about his feelings, he came to me!

In some ways, I feel a bit guilty about that (big surprise). I was not entirely honest with him.  I didn’t let on that I had known Jimmy that well. I didn’t let Billy know about the towel incident, what Chandler had said, the many times I’d seen Jimmy out behind shop class just crying his eyes out.  I certainly didn’t tell him about the CD!  It didn’t seem appropriate.  I, just, needed to be there for Billy’s feelings. Not my own.

From the sounds of things, I seem to be the only person he has that he can talk to about this. For once, I felt like my resources were better than his with dealing with things like this. He didn’t mention if his folks had said or done anything to ease Billy’s pain on this.  He said, in passing, something about Sam being anything but sympathetic to Jimmy’s issues. That didn’t surprise me in the least!  He didn’t mention that Joanna had been much help either, but, again, it is strange how Billy never brings her up in conversation with me. I don’t know. Billy seems to be the giver of strength, but rarely the recipient.

In light of this, I offered to call him if he wanted and, of course, he could call me anytime.  Billy said he’d like that, but not at the moment.  He needed some time.

Disappointed as I was by that, I could understand. I just hope that he doesn’t try to go through this alone!  I have a feeling Billy is much stronger inside than I am and, probably, doesn’t need the same kind of hand-holding I tend to need, but still . . .

Our instincts drove us to one thing, though, that seemed to sweeten even this bitterest of fruits: we . . . hugged!

We actually hugged one another!  I was able, for the first time, to put my arms around that beautiful, supple body of Billy’s and draw him close to me.  It wasn’t a ‘bro hug’ either. It was a real one with his cheek in my shoulder, my chin on his head and a mutual soft squeeze.

What’s more, he was not the one that wanted to let go first.  I didn’t either, which was weird, because usually hugs urk me a little since I’m an only child, I guess. I’m not used to close physical contact.  Billy’s hug didn’t urk me!  We let go at the same time with the same amount of feeling of not wanting to!

He even looked into my eyes with his root-beer float deep ones and, despite himself, I saw some tears well up in there.

Billy is pure gold. Inside and out. I see that now and seeing that just makes me want him all the more.  I can’t let go.  I can’t stop hoping.

I love him too much! How could I not? He’s the Golden Boy!

What’s more? He smells so-o good! He smells like the caramel my Mama used to cook to go on gelato. Positively . . . mouth watering!

This is Brandon Hugging

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