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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Luke Hanson's Mind & Punishment: A Teen in Despair - 2. Chapter 2 - You're not Weak

Sunday 6:13pm - Luke


"Yeah, it was a bad one," I said as Taz revved his bike.

"WHAT?"

"YOU ASKED HOW BAD IT WAS; I SAID IT WAS A BAD ONE. Will you stop revving that, please?"

"Sorry, just testing it. Look, you know who is twitching at the window curtain."

"Yeah, well, I'm not surprised; your bike could render a whole street deaf."

By 'you know who' Taz was talking about Edith Castle - The nosiest woman currently still alive. Nothing went on in Taz's street without her knowing about it, and she had a particular dislike for Taz and me. This was usually because we would be kicking a football around in the street or playing loudly with Taz's bike, as you just heard. Yep, Edith lived solely to cast misery on everyone in a mile radius . That was her pleasure. I got drunk six months ago and politely asked her to stop living. It seemed she didn't comply. Oh well.

"Oh, I forgot to say, Lee is meeting up with Donna again tomorrow. He asked if we were around?"

"You met her?" I asked, tilting my head.

"Spoke, not met. But she sounds nice, ya know, normal."

I shrugged. "Nothing else to do, and watching Lee trying to play it cool might be a laugh. Ahh, shit, but Monday is ping pong."

"Maaah, I know, but come on, he needs our support. You know what he's like with girls, I need to save him, and you need to dress him."

We both giggled, and Taz started to wheel his motorbike towards the back gate after his test run up and down the street. I followed, swinging a half-empty water bottle with my finger lodged in the neck.

So anyway I have to tell you - last night I'd just finished watching some crap movie on TV and went to the bathroom to do my teeth. I can hear me Dad, in the bedroom talking to who I assume is his new woman. Now, I dunno how long they have been talking or how many times, but she sounds like a right bossy one. I actually heard her trying to convince my Dad to switch to a cheaper electricity company! Is she for real? Ha, well, she has her work cut out because Dad can just about play Candy crush, let alone fill out some online forms. So yeah, that was an eye-opener. I doubt it will last, but he sounded happy having another female to talk to. 

"Fifa?" Taz asked, setting the stand on his bike and heading towards the back door. 

"Sure, why not? And when you beat me, I'll play the gay card."

"Oh, here we go!" Taz replied, shoving me as we went upstairs.

Taz's house was well lived in and a little tired. His Mum and Dad worked all hours of the day to pay off a large debt from an investment that went wrong a few years back. I remember it well because Taz was nearly always around mine as he wanted to get away from the arguments that seemed to happen daily.

Taz's Dad basically took some terrible advice, and it all went wrong, so I hear. But we don't know how much it was for. Taz frequently says that no work has been done on the house in years, and it was starting to show. I didn't judge him, of course, nor his parents. I mean, people get into all sorts of trouble in a single lifetime, right? It's not like each person's life is some mapped-out work of paradise and constant good luck.

I threw myself on Taz's bed and toed my sneakers off, letting them thud on the floor. Taz closed the door, grabbed two controllers, and climbed on next to me.

"Hey, before we start, can I ask you something?" I said, taking the controllers from his hands.

"Sure," Taz replied, now looking at me inquisitively.

"D'you think I'm weak?"

Taz drew away from me, squinting his eyes. "What? I mean, why would you ask that?"

I shrugged. "Dunno, it's just sometimes I think I'm weak." My shoulders dropped as I finished my statement.

I don't know why the hell I just asked that! Had I gone crazy, soft, perhaps, weak?

"No, I don't think you're weak, Luke. A little scatty and all over the place, but not weak."

I nodded, eager to now get off the subject I had created. "Well, good, because now you've said I'm not, it must be true."

"Luke, I know you have this thing for believing everything me and Google say over anything else, but just this once, I AM right, for real!"

~

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~

We'd been playing for about an hour, and my thumbs were almost numb from the hectic flicking and tapping I'd been doing. Taz was dosing off towards the end, and I was pretty tired too. I called time on our game, and Taz agreed he had won by goal difference. I had to plead ignorance about that and jumped off the bed, flicking the console to standby.

"I should probably be off,"

"Yeah, I need to shower," Taz replied, smelling his armpits.

"Listen, I'll meet you at yours before we go to Lee's. I'm working until five tomorrow, so by the time I get changed, I'll probably be here around six?"

"Sounds fine with me. Wanna grab some chips on the way?"

"And smell like vinegar and grease? Nah, I'll eat before I leave my place."

"Just an idea. I'll eat too then. Go on, go home; I really need to wash my pits!"

"Always the romantic, Taz. Fine, I'm going.

"Oh, but before you go?" Taz called as I started my exit. "You ain't weak, okay?"

I flapped my hand down. "Pfft, forget I said it; I was just having a moment of self-pity. It passed as soon as it came. See ya later. I'll see myself out.

I popped my sneakers back on and strolled down the stairs two at a time and into the moist, warm evening air. I glanced over to Edith's place across the street, and sure enough, I saw her net curtain twitch, making me form a wry smile. 

You have to hand it to the old woman; she's got some stamina. I mean, she must be at that window like all day. I mean, how do people get like that. Is it the fact when they get old, there is just too much time doing nothing, too much time to focus on menial things? Or is it that you automatically disapprove of almost everything in the modern world. But it does get me thinking that it must be strange for old people who grew up without what we have now, like social media, open sexuality and plastic. 

I loved this time of the day; I thought as I walked the short distance to my house. I mean, that was the great thing about having Taz as a friend; he was so close by. I'm joking; by the way, I would actually drive to him if I had to. But listen, I can help you understand where his house is from mine, and you don't even need Google maps. So, you walk out of his house and turn left. Now walk for forty-seven seconds to the end of the road, turn left. Now walk three and a half minutes to a set of traffic lights. Go straight over for another forty seconds. Cross the street into Roman Avenue, eight seconds later turn into North Cresent, and now? Now you're on my road. Although it is now another four minutes to reach my house on the left. God, I'm sad, aren't I? I just thought I'd tell you all that as it was something to do while walking.

Something else I want to tell you while we're alone too? I hope that's okay; I do ramble a bit when I get into one of my thinking moods. Well, there is a suspicion that Taz's Dad might be... well, you know? Gay! Okay, so don't quote me on this, but if Taz's Aunt Sandra is anyone to believe after she's had a glass of fizz or two, then I think it's true. Of course, Taz never talks about it, but It must be true if Sandra said it, don't you think? I mean, there is the old saying that the 'truth comes out when you're drunk'. Anyway, I heard all that at Taz's Brother's wedding reception. Oh shit, of course. I should have said. Well, maybe I shouldn't; after all, it's not like he's MY brother. But anyway, I've started, so I'll finish. So Taz has a brother... uh duh, you guessed that anyway cos, I said. Regardless, his name is Blue. Okay, I see your faces there, Blue, you ask? Look, don't ask me; maybe Taz's parents were experimenting with substances back then, who knows. But anyway, Blue is now married to Emma, which now brings me full circle to...

Oh, I'm home.

~

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~

So it's one a.m., and I went to bed at ten-thirty. I'm feeling tense, and that all started because I watched some program on TV about open-heart surgery, which seemed to trigger my anxiety. The stupid thing is I'm not even thinking about the program now - that long since went from my mind. Now all I'm left with is this tense, stressed, exhausting doom feeling that has me convinced I am going to die of something very shortly, possibly tonight. Damn, I mean, I know it's irrational, but still, it won't go. See, right here is the most angering thing about this whole issue I have. I sometimes wonder who is in control. This, or me? Who owns the rights to my body, thoughts and feelings? Please tell me, guys!

I get up and tip-toe downstairs into the kitchen, trying not to stub my toes on anything as my eyes struggle to see in the blue-black sea that is the darkness. I open the fridge and pull out the milk carton while being blinded by the bright light of the appliance. Three glugs, and I place it back in before slumping on a chair at the dining table, unable to decide what to do with myself. I can't call Taz; it's an insane hour. 

I didn't have time to think of what else I could do as I saw the room explode into a yellow blaze of light, briefly seeing Dad standing by the switch before I clamped shut my eyes.

"Son? Luke? You okay?"

"Just having one of my nights' Dad; sorry if I woke you."

He wanders over to the table where I'm sitting and crouches in front of me. "Want half a sleeping pill? Will it help?"

"Nah, I don't want to be groggy in the morning, but thanks."

"Wanna talk about it?"

"I'll bore you, Dad; it's the same feeling. Just dread, doom... a feeling of my life being really short." I replied, probably somewhat cryptically.

Dad stood up and pulled out a chair, placing it directly in front of me. I wipe my armpits with my hands, full of fresh sweat even though all I had on was a pair of boxers and my neck chain. Not that that makes a difference. Urrgh, the irrelevance of some stuff I explain is palpable.

"Ready?" Dad asked, placing his hands on my knees.

"For what?"

"Deep breath," he said before willing me on with his own inhalation. I followed with him. He lets his out, and so do I. "Again... one, two, three, four. Hold, and out, two, three, four. His soothing voice and mirrored breathing actions never failed to work as I felt my shoulders start to lose their tension.

Dad gently slapped my knees and slid his chair back before getting up and stroking my hair. I let out a shaky sigh, but felt much better after he worked with me on my breathing.

Dad slid his hand down and cupped my face before starting to head out of the kitchen; I assumed back to bed.

"Dad?" I gently called, causing him to turn back and meet my eyes. "Thanks."

He pursed his lips and went out of the sight, leaving me sitting in the kitchen in silence with only the sound of the refrigerator motor whirring away in the corner of my senses.

~

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~

So that was a shit night, and now you know kinda what I go through. Not that I want sympathy, of course; I know people out there suffer much more than me and have night after night like that.

After going back to bed, I eventually fell asleep... or passed out just after two. I think it must have been the latter through exhaustion. But while chucking on a t-shirt and some shorts, along with pulling on my steel toecap boots, I felt in that zone of having just about enough sleep while feeling it had been a late night.

Off to work!

Dad had already left for work by the time I was out the door, and it was another stupidly hot morning already. I let down all the windows in my car... and old Fiesta - no aircon - and stood outside for a while to let some heat out. 
While I stood idle, I scrolled through my phone, looking at the various notifications coming through after my silent no-notifications time ended at eight-thirty. There were two new messages from the stalker, various WhatsApp messages from my old school friend group and a notification from Amazon that more lego was arriving today.

[05:14] Stalker: Hey, i'm awake. r u?
[06:15] Stalker: U not answering is breaking my heart.

Again, I just smile and ignore them and thank whoever is above that it's only two messages... at least for now! Perhaps he fell asleep?

I jumped into my car and slammed the door shut as it didn't quite fit tightly in its frame. Then reversing out of my driveway, I pulled away towards Saunders, ready to begin a new week at work.
 

Copyright © 2022 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Trying a different style and a couple of new things in this book and my only benchmark on how that is going is you, my loyal readers. So I have a small favour. Please do click a like if you're enjoying the story and please do recommend the book. If you have a thought or comment I'd be made up to hear what you think. All feedback is relished and of course I do love hearing your ideas, opinions and banter. Many thanks, folks! Now, let go forth on to the next chapter :) 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

On 6/17/2022 at 7:25 AM, mansexlover said:

Damn does that mean I cant twitch my net curtains when the stud across from me comes out topless with tight joggers (freeballing) 

 

Yum, freeballing. It's just so hard not to gorp! :D 

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On 6/19/2022 at 12:31 PM, drsawzall said:

Does Edith ever sleep?

She sleeps in the day to not be killed by sunlight!

Classic Film Dracula GIF by Warner Archive

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Funny I was thinking as I was reading the chapter that this seemed a bit less tethered than your series( I had just powered thru your last Puppy book) and how well you were keeping me hooked while being random in what you revealed.   How’s that for a run on sentence. Pax Ste. 

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Luke is an interesting character with his complex, but incomplete thoughts that jump from one place to another.  It makes him seem like a cubist painting with distorted pieces in no particular order.  Understanding him and gaining empathy for him is difficult and will need careful analysis to see him clearly.  The other characters are only sketches at this point.  I am intrigued, but not sure at this point where the plot is going.  Since many people are reading this story, I hope that further chapters will coalesce  these pieces into a clearer picture of the character and plot.  I do like the general feeling and use of words to create the setting.

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