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True As It Can Be - 4. Chapter 4

Morris is not happy with my imminent departure. He isn’t happy for the reason I am leaving, nor my new living conditions with someone who may or may not be as bad as Gary Gaston. My roommate is a very kind man, despite his voracious heterosexual appetite. Based on what I’ve learned about him, I think Morris was taught to be welcoming to people in search of a home by his family, because they don’t want what happened to them to repeat itself. His family left the Deep South a generation ago, moved to Boston hoping for a better life in the growing black community of Roxbury, but faced rejection and fear by their white neighbors during the busing crisis in the 1980’s. They don’t wave rainbow flags, nor really interact with any gay people publicly, but they showed me support with care packages and well-wishes, when I had no family to call my own. I can never thank Morris or his family enough for showing that kindness to me, a complete stranger. Leaving our dorm room, leaving Morris and his family’s support, it felt like I was getting kicked out of my home again. I couldn’t control the circumstance for either departure, will I ever find a place where I belong. Even though I didn’t want to leave, what choice did I have with Gary Gaston literally a foot away?

“You shouldn’t have to go, nor should that fucker be allowed to run Scot free. I can kill him and make it look like an accident, he’s human and he’s a bastard. The world would be better off, I have a plan…” Morris tries to argue for an outlandish murder plot that probably should have belonged on a TV show like Empire.

I shrug his suggestions off, ignoring the plot involving hookers and poisoned condoms, “I don’t want to leave, either, but you know I can’t stay. The asshole is too close for comfort. Maybe we can room again next year, when he joins up with his jock bros in the 7th circle and loses interest in me.”

Morris scowls, “It’s messed up and you know it. I can’t believe they told you that bullshit and threatened you. What if I complain online and start a tweetstorm over it? They’ll think twice before messing with someone from the local BIPOC student group.”

I shake my head, “There’s no proof what I’m telling you is true, they’ll just say you’re making it up and even if I back you up on the claim and kiss my scholarship goodbye, they can just twist it around as us making controversy for the university to gain attention. That’s the problem with giving everyone a voice, too many people have already lied, so most people doubt anything that comes out even if it’s true. Besides, I don’t want to drag you into my problems, Morris.”

Morris stares at my rolling bags filled with everything I had in the world, “Beau, you know you’re my gay homey. Like, if the other guy you’re moving in with turns out to be just as bad as Gary, I’ve got your back man.”

Tears begin to well in my eyes, but as I was about to go into a crying fit, someone knocks on the door. Morris gets up and opens the door to reveal, Paki Featherworth in all his glory. Paki was formerly a gymnast, which fits his build and compact muscle mass. He is around 5 feet 4 inches, short for a guy, but still taller than my 4 feet 11 inches in height. I notice immediately his appearance has changed from the morning. He still wore the polo and khaki, but he’s released his hair pin, allowing a long curl of black hair to fall halfway down his back. He’s wearing a gold necklace chain around his neck and a large golden earring loop on his right ear. Also, I notice his mixture of teal and purple eye shadow, which gives him an otherworldly charm with the other changes, like he could be some exotic obsidian nymph or male siren, if sirens came in an androgynous boy form. Sadly, I know there’s one feature that most will not overlook despite his innate beauty, his rolled up right sleeve points to the fact that he lost his right hand in the past.

Morris was shocked at the sight of Paki, I am not sure if he was trying to find the proper response, slightly questioning his own heterosexuality at the sight of a beautiful effeminate black male, or weirded out. Paki struts into the room, while Morris is distracted. Paki did not come alone either as Francis Lumens was right behind him with his strong muscular body and bright red hair. Being blind, Francis had a white cane in front of him swiveling back and forth to make sure he has a clear path forward, hitting Morris on his foot.

Morris’ daze ends abruptly, he stammers out a greeting, “Hello”.

Paki notices my roommate’s discomfort and laughs, then replies with his accented English, “Oh dear, am I your first? I am so sorry to disrupt your comfortable worldview. I do seem to turn a lot of straight boys…”

Morris quickly stammers, “No, it’s not that at all. I’m just…”

“…Heads with my appearance. People think only boys in full drag can do that, bless RuPaul’s delicious faux reality show. Really, I think understatement is far more important than overstatement with boys like me,” Paki completes his statement, while batting his eyelashes at my stunned roommate. I can tell Paki was having fun with Morris. A languishing silence holds the dorm room, while Morris’ brain is trying to process Paki’s appearance and words.

Francis cuts into the silence and squeezes Paki shoulder with his big muscular hand, “We’re just here to help move Beau into his new room. Paki volunteered me as the muscle. I assume you’re packed up Beau.”

I nod, then stare at my belongings, “It’s not that much stuff, you guys didn’t need to come over.”

Francis snorts, “You shouldn’t be moving at all, unless it’s out of this shithole of a university and somewhere far away from that prick and the Beast.”

Paki shrugs Francis off his shoulder, “Francis, don’t start that up again,” he glances apologetically at both of us, “So sorry about him, he’s what you would call sensitive. Anyway, I am here to direct and Francis being the most muscular guy in the house was the perfect choice. Warren has a night class, so he couldn’t come. Min had an accident…” Paki pauses, “He wanted to help, but didn’t want to be a burden.”

It is quite nice to have their help. Morris wanted to join in helping with my move too, but Paki and Francis said that he’s not allowed to enter Keller Hall. I had a lot of old books, photos, and even a few cherished stuffed animals that I took with me, when I was kicked out of my home. Francis swung my two duffel bags around his shoulders, filled with at least 50 pounds of books each. I grabbed 2 rolling bags and a lighter duffel bag of my clothes. Paki had the rear, holding my most beloved stuffed animal, an old big green western dragon I called Buff. I named him as a kid, rhyming with his fictional origin. He had an old toy tag name, “Puff, the Magic Dragon”. I think my parent bought him at a garage sale and gave it to me, when I was 4 years old. It’s probably one of the few things they gave me that I still cherish with only fond memories.

Heading down the dorm’s hallway, we encounter Gary Gaston along with several of his friends, “Oh look, little Beau is moving out. Did you find yourself a nice sugar daddy?” He stares pass me and recognizes Francis, “Oh Shit! Lumens! You blind motherfucker, how the hell did you end up here? I thought they cancelled your scholarship after the game cancelled your eyes.”

My mind whirled with the revelation, Francis and Gary knew each other. Francis said he was a “former football player”, but I had no idea.

Francis grunted in the direction of Gary and appear to tighten his hold on his white cane, “What does it matter to you?”

Gary smile widens with his amused expression, “Well, we’re friends right. I remember when we were freshman and you were following us around, like a big puppy. How many cocks did you have to suck to get on the varsity team? Or, was it just one cock you were after? Being our center must have been your dream job, having the quarterback reach between your legs for the ball,” he sneers at me, “Guess all you can do now is be little Beau’s big bulky bottom bitch.”

Francis' face turns red and his voice cracks, “Shut up, you don’t know me. You don’t know...”

“Oh, I do know you, do you want me to tell your new friend all about you and how much of an obedient slut you can be?” Gary jeers.

Paki with surprising speed maneuvers his way in front of me and Francis, confronting Gary head-on still holding my stuffed dragon, “So you are the infamous Gary Gaston…” Paki does a quick up and down glance, “You are not that impressive of a man. I guess the attitude must compensate for a lack of manhood.”

Gary is surprised by Paki’s appearance and for just a moment, he is lost for words.

He gathers himself though at the sight of Paki’s missing hand, probably seeing a weakness to exploit, “And who are you supposed to be? A one-armed African princess,” he closes the distance between himself and Paki, placing his hand on Paki’s right side, “What’s up with the stump?”

Paki smiles brightly, “I’ve met worse men than you on the streets of Pretoria. White boys like you think they own the world,” Paki quickly drops my dragon and uses his left hand to grab Gary’s hand with an amount of force that shocks everyone, “They never realize how close to the fire they really are due to their arrogance. I’ve seen a rich man like you, who thought he owned everything and lived in a fancy place. He tried to get a beautiful street boy with nothing to lose for fun once, but got gutted in the streets by the boy. His body rotted for days until some white police man picked him up. For all his money and power, he still bled and died, while everyone forgot him. I know this story, because I was the boy who had nothing to lose,” Paki then speaks in a foreign language with clicks on his tongue, “Hamba uyo bepha inja.”

Paki releases his hold on Gary and grabs my stuffed dragon on the floor in a fluid without shifting his gaze from Gary. Gary backs away with the rest of his entourage, allowing all 3 of us to walk pass them. Gary was frozen in place, between fear and surprise, staring at Paki, whose appearance seemingly changed with the story he told.

After we went a comfortable distance away from the freshman dorm building, Paki sighs in a single tone, “Xolo…”, then realizing he was still speaking his home language, switches back to English,” I am sorry for scaring all of you. I didn’t want to share that part of me.”

Francis following behind Paki and me, replies softly, “I’m sorry you had to find out that way about me, too.”

Paki walks alongside Francis and says a word or a phrase. I do not understand him and it has various clicks of his tongue as he places his left hand on Francis’ right forearm, “Ndiyakuthanda”.

Francis’ expression relaxes slightly, “I know...”

There was something dangerous and forbidden about Paki, a history of violence that I had never imagined could come from his effeminate appearance. I don’t know anything about Pretoria, is it a country or a city? It sounds familiar, like something I studied in a geography book. His language and words sound very African, like one of those countries where people lived in huts and were half-naked all the time, but is that just me holding some racist perceptions? I guessed all the residents of Keller Hall probably had tragic backgrounds, but I had no idea, where any of them came from. Also, learning Francis’ story is tied in with Gary makes me want to sit down and really talk to the redheaded former jock. Despite what I want, we walk in silence to Keller Hall, taking the long way through the LED lights of the campus’s round circular path. We had to cross into a wooded area without lighting and only a dirt path in the 3rd circle, explaining why few students would know there was a house hidden between the classrooms and dining area.

When we reach the front door of Keller Hall, a familiar brown-haired boy broke our tension, “Beau, Beau, I can’t believe it. Wow, mom told me you will be staying with us. The Beast is letting you stay. You came here with Paki and Francis. It fits like that old rhyme, about people being here and queer. Everyone except, my mom is queer, but she is used to it. Cook is making a special dinner right now for you, he wants to welcome you to the house with some of his special stuff.”

Chip is wearing a red Charmander T-shirt with reddish brown pair of pants and fiery red sneakers with a yellow flame design. I wonder how many coordinated Pokémon outfits he has. He pulls me into the house with great enthusiasm. I can smell spices and sauces coming from the dining area, it was unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. At my family home in Minnesota, my mother’s cooking was simple with the standard spices and standard fare. Sometimes, we would order in American Pizza, American Chinese food, or KFC, when I was growing up. I never remembered a time, when my house had so many rich aromas. There was something sweet, something spicy, something sour, and even something salty in the air, how can food actually project taste without even entering your mouth?

We reach the second floor and I am surprised. In the empty bedroom I woke up in the morning, I found a room that was refurnished. The queen-sized bed was fitted with a new light blue duvet, pillow cover, and sheets. The empty table, I had laid my laptop on this morning, is no longer empty. There was a computer terminal and various gadgets around the work desk. There was a smartphone with a stick note regarding a passcode phone number. There was a wireless charging station for my laptop, which only the newer IT classrooms had. There was even a fully loaded printer. In a corner of the room, a large screen TV set, along with a Nintendo video game console and several controllers, sits waiting to be used. I saw various games lining an entire shelf of above the TV. On the opposite wall from the TV, facing the opposite side of the bed, there was a large wooden cabinet, which was thankfully empty and could be used for my clothing and books.

I wonder out loud, “Why did he get me all this?”

Chip browses the gaming titles, then turns back to me, “He does this for everyone who lives here. We get whatever stuff we want. Isn’t that what rich people do? Buy stuff and give it away to other people. Like there’s a TV show where rich people pretend to be working at their companies and they end up giving poor people a ton of free stuff. Mom said it’s all fake to promote their brand or something, because they’re actually really mean and treat their employees bad. Do you think the Beast is giving us free stuff, because he’s mean and says bad things to us? Mom said the Beast isn’t mean all the time or scary. I know he’s meaner sometimes, when mom doesn’t give him his medicine, like he’s really mean right now and doesn’t care about anyone. He’ll be quiet tomorrow after mom gives him medicine at night, though…”

Something clicks in my mind about what Chip was saying, I ask him, “What is the medicine your mom gives the Beast?”

Chip goes silent, but Francis speak up behind me, having reached my new room, “It’s a high-dose Methadone drug. You should have been told about this before moving in here, but it can’t be public. He’s been fucked up for the past few months. He’s been taking that shit to deal the stuff that happened to him. That shit is not allowed outside government approved facilities. We’re not an approved facility. Chip’s mom, used to work for a program, she is getting paid by a grant given by his parents.”

Some things are starting to fall in place, Brad’s dark room isn’t just some disfigured recluse’s hideaway, Photo-sensitivity is a known side-effect of Methadone withdrawal. This also explains why the university is keeping Brad’s presence quiet, but it doesn’t explain why these guys are chosen to be here. I remember doing a high school report for biology class, where we had to discuss health topics. I was assigned the topic of drug abuse and treatment methods, which I learned isn’t just abstinence or a 12-step program as many folks in my home town believed from watching TV. Methadone plays a major part in drug abuse programs, being a substitute for other drugs like heroin, ketamine, and cocaine. It’s supposed to be a managed program with fixed authorized dosages at government distribution clinics. Additionally, Methadone also has a secondary use for severe pain relief under certain maintenance plans, which the US Veterans Affairs among other agencies authorize. I learned a lot from doing that biology report, not just about Methadone, but also about perceptions by others.

Misconception exists like Methadone being synonymous with meth, the street name of Methamphetamines. People make the common mistake of thinking these drugs are the same, including my own classmates, who made fun of my report. Stuff like that demonizes its authorized users. Sadly, one reason why the misconception can be defended by those who spread it, while Methadone is a treatment, its pain-relieving qualities can also become a form of substance abuse. The low dose versions of the drug can be shared really easily to the general public. The street name for Methadone is “Wafer”. Its illicit form is dissolved in water like tums or Alka-Seltzer. It is why the drug has become highly regulated or outright made illegal in certain areas without federal approval.

On a college campus, it’s not a substance that can be administered regularly, because its withdrawal symptoms are too dangerous, especially in high doses. Brad’s aggressive behavior is just the tip of the iceberg, I remember reading about people with psychotic breaks, suicidal thoughts, extreme sexual drives, and far worse issues if they miss their methadone doses. Brad’s parents must have paid a lot of money to bypass regulations, get him housing on campus, and keep all of this secret. It would be a massive problem, if anyone knew. I feel immense sympathy for him and wonder what caused all this to happen to him?

Paki places my Dragon, Buff, on my new bed, then asks me, “Beau, are you still okay with these living arrangements? Knowing the Beast takes that drug.”

I acknowledge Paki without any reservation, “I am okay with all of this and Brad doesn’t have a drug problem. I know what it is and what it is meant to treat. I have questions about him and about you guys, too,” I walk closer to Francis, “I want you to know, no matter what, I am not afraid of knowing the truth about you all or what shit might have happened in the past that brought you here. I’m not a judgmental guy.”

Francis voice waivers as he responds, “I hope your faith in us and in him, especially, doesn’t go away. Not so long ago, I believed in someone who I thought I could handle being his friend, satisfying his needs. I thought I could take any blow he drop on me. I can tell you one thing right now. He was the reason why I am blind now. I can’t believe in anything or anyone, anymore, thanks to him. Even before they did that to his body and face, he was already the Beast to me.”

That revelation sends shockwaves through my mind, but Chip, probably sensing the tension in the room, diffuses the situation, “Come on Beau, dinner should be ready. We don’t want to keep cook and the others waiting for us. Cook says he’s making catfish bites with cornbread breading and Cajun sauce. I’ve had cornbread before, but never catfish. Do you think a catfish is like a fish with whiskers and meows underwater like a cat? I wonder if there’s dog fish and mouse fish. Maybe, the catfish chases the mouse fish around, like one of those old cartoons…”

Chip’s non-sequitur commentary allows all of us to leave my new room without getting any more muddled in emotional baggage. I’ve learned a lot today already. I’m not sure what dinner is like in a place like this.

Copyright © 2021 W_L; All Rights Reserved.
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Story Discussion Topic

Well, you guys know my taste in reading is eclectic, so what about my actual writing. True As It Can Be is a story set in the modern world without any magic or fantasy. It's characters are lost, tragic, and very human. I also wanted to add some personal reflection, knowledge, and experience into my writing about things I haven't seen many authors comment on. As I noted in my story's summary page, I was inspired by Beauty and the Beast, heavily on its Disney animated version, but I inve

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So it's looking like Gary is responsible for why the various guys of Keller Hall have there injuries, live together and are kept hidden. I think Beau is going to be important to Brad/Beast remaining at the University.

Gary is a dangerous predator, that needs a taste of the medicine he dishes out.

Edited by chris191070
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I'm totally hooked on this story.  I hope the boys of Keller Hall are able to bring Gary to his knees, begging for mercy!  Can't wait to find out if Beau will be able to tame the Beast!  I'm guessing the road ahead will be bumpy with lots of potholes.  So looking forward to the next chapters!

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15 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

So it's looking like Gary is responsible for why the various guys have there injuries and live together. I think Beau is going to be important to Brad/Beast remaining at the University.

Gary is a dangerous predator, that needs a taste of the medicine he dishes out.

Well, technically, Brad was the one who came up with game plan that sacrificed his teammates in order for him to personally win the Colorado High School State Football Championship. Gary was the scheming sidekick whispering in his ear and poisoning him with praise, innuendoes, and so on. He also was the one who led Brad into a trap that ultimately broke Brad.

Essentially, if you were to think of the type of villain Gary was/is, Gary is like Lady MacBeth in MacBeth or the two evil daughters of King Lear or Iago from Othello, at least until his plan succeeded and he clears a path for him to be "Prince". Like I said, I am translating fantasy into modern fiction, maybe with a little Shakespeare in the mix just to flesh out Gary Gaston character and Brad's relationship with others.


Thanks for being such a dedicated reader :)


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21 minutes ago, Gregory said:

I'm totally hooked on this story.  I hope the boys of Keller Hall are able to bring Gary to his knees, begging for mercy!  Can't wait to find out if Beau will be able to tame the Beast!  I'm guessing the road ahead will be bumpy with lots of potholes.  So looking forward to the next chapters!

Wow, thanks for the enthusiasm!

I wasn't expecting a lot of people to like this story. I don't have an editor, nor a beta this time around.

I am grateful for all the readers like you. It's rewarding to get good feedback.

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1 hour ago, drsawzall said:

And down the rabbit hole we go, this is getting curiouser and curiouser!!

Thanks for reading, you and anyone else can feel free to speculate on future plot points in the story discussion thread. I don't mind. There's a lot of potential I just opened up.

This story is pretty organic and I am growing it.

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