Things a Man Never Forgets
The upperclassmen of Allegheny High had just finished their physical fitness class for the day. As they were filing back into the locker-room, a loud battle cry was sounded from the shower area. “FIGHT!” The sweaty seniors hurried toward the commotion, pushing each other aside in an effort to gain the best view of what would surely go down in the school’s history books as the fight of the year.
The feud between Billy “Bronco” Majewski, Allegheny High’s hulking captain of the football team, and Brian Kinney had been brewing for quite some time. It all started when Veronica Talbert, Bronco’s longtime, cheerleader girlfriend became smitten by the wiry newcomer, with the gorgeous hazel eyes. What started out as exchanging notes in chemistry class quickly became sitting together in study hall. Before long, Brian and Veronica were spending lunch periods together, which lead to a forbidden kiss, and a one-night-stand that Veronica couldn’t wait to tell the rest of the cheerleading squad about. Humiliated by the gossip, Bronco vowed to defend his honor by blackening the gorgeous hazel eyes that had stolen his girl, and wounded his pride.
For Brian, it wasn’t that serious. His relationship with Veronica was all about curiosity. How was he supposed to know that Veronica couldn’t keep her mouth shut, and would go bragging to her girlfriends about their little interlude? Hell, how was he supposed to know that she even had something to brag about? It’s not like Brian knew what he was doing. He didn’t even particularly enjoy it! It was Veronica that did most of the work. Brian was just there to find out for himself why straight guys were so obsessed with female body parts. What he learned was that big tits can smother you, long hair gets in the way, and that both holes are in such close proximity, it’s easy to slip out of one, and into the other, if you’re not really careful. No, being with a girl did not live up to the hype, and it certainly didn’t warrant being in the fight of his life, with a guy nearly twice his size.
Luckily for Brian, the best thing about growing up Kinney was that you learned how to fight. Brian’s father didn’t take any shit from anyone. Quick to settle a score with his hands, Jack Kinney taught the manly art of ass-kicking to his boy. Forget about martial arts, deadly weapons, and pepper sprays. A real Irishman knows how to use his fists, and let there be no doubt about it, Brian Kinney was indeed his father’s son. Just like riding a bicycle, it was all coming back to Brian now. Duck, dodge, and weave away from your opponent’s blows. Follow each punch that you land immediately with another one. Bronco threw a left jab that missed Brian’s face. Brian retaliated with a blow to Bronco’s midsection, followed by an uppercut to the football hero’s chin.
“GET HIM BRONCO! YOU’RE GONNA LET A FUCKING FAGGOT KICK YOUR ASS?” The hate filled voices bounced off of the tiled, communal shower room walls.
Michael pushed his way through the jeers, and was relieved to see that Brian was holding his own against his much larger adversary. If Brian could only keep moving, and striking, big Bronco would surely wear himself out soon. “STAY WITH HIM, BRIAN!” Michael cheered his friend on.
The battle continued, with both men soon showing signs of exhaustion, but neither man willing to surrender. Bronco’s swings were becoming wilder, as frustration began to set in. Brian’s arms were still strong, but he could feel his legs weakening. It was becoming harder to avoid his opponent’s punches. To make the fight more interesting, someone decided that it would be a good idea to turn the water on in the shower. This simple act tipped the scales in Bronco’s favor. Brian immediately lost his balance, and landed hard on the cold, slippery, shower room floor. This was the lucky break Bronco was waiting for. The hulky football player straddled his fallen victim, and began pummeling Brian with a succession of devastating blows.
“STOP IT, HE’S HAD ENOUGH!” Michael called for mercy.
“KICK THAT FAGGOT’S ASS!” The crowd pushed Michael out of the way, and cheered the onslaught on. They wanted to see blood.
Michael turned, and bolted out of the locker room, across the gymnasium, to the coach’s office. “Mr. Hanson, you have to come quick!.......”
“What do you want, Novotny?” Mr. Hanson didn’t bother to look up from the papers on his desk.
“Billy Majewski is beating up on Brian Kinney!” Michael was nearly out of breath.
Mr. Hanson looked up from his work. “Why do you still have your gym clothes on, Novotny?” he asked.
“DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME? BILLY MAJEWSKI IS BEATING UP ON BRIAN KINNEY! AREN’T YOU GOING TO DO ANYTHING?” Michael shouted.
“I’ll be there in a few minutes,” Mr. Hanson said casually, and returned to his paperwork. With homecoming less than five days away, he wasn’t about to risk the wrath of an entire student body by suspending the captain of their football team, just for kicking some faggot’s ass.
“What kind of teacher are you?” Michael hissed, then turned, and ran back across the gymnasium.
By the time Michael went for help, and returned, the beating was over. The gym class had retired back to the locker area, where they proceeded to remove their dirty clothes. Michael searched the shower area, and the aisles of wooden benches. He finally found Brian in a bloody heap, inside one of the bathroom stalls.
“Brian.” Michael knelt down beside his friend.
“Hey, Mikey.” Brian’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Help me to my feet.”
Michael could hear Bronco, and his buddies celebrating their victory in the locker area. “Don’t get up, Brian. Stay down, until they leave,” he pleaded.
Brian wrapped his arms around his friend’s neck. “Help me to my feet, Mikey,” he said again.
“It’s all over with, Brian. You didn’t let him push you around. You automatically won because you fought back.” Michael strained to lift Brian’s dead weight to a standing position.
“Am I on my feet?” Brian leaned against the toilet stall wall to steady himself.
Michael stepped back, and looked at his friend’s beautiful face. Bronco had certainly accomplished his mission. Both of Brian’s eyes were nearly swollen shut. There was a trickle of blood coming from his nose, and more blood coming from his mouth. Brian’s gym clothes had been ripped from his body, exposing varying shades of colorful bruises across his back, arms, and chest. “Yeah, you’re on your feet.” Michael fought to hold back his tears.
Brian lifted his head, and tuned toward the locker area, where the party was still going on. Homosexual slurs of faggot, butt pirate, and fudge-packer could be heard intermingled with laughter, as the victors continued to celebrate. Brian listened as Bronco regaled his followers by retelling how he dragged the little faggot into the stall, and shoved his face into the toilet bowl.
“Don’t pay any attention to them, Brian. You won. Bronco cheated! He would have never gotten the jump on you if someone hadn’t turned on the water in the shower,” Michael said.
“All’s fair in love and war, Mikey.” Brian braced his arm across his aching ribs, and began slowly limping toward the locker-room.
A terrified Michael stood momentarily paralyzed. Brian was about to be beaten down again, but this time there was a good chance that Bronco would be joined by others. Nothing infuriates straight boys more than a fag who fights back. Michael dismissed any hope of the cavalry arriving in time. Mr. Hanson had made it very clear that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about Brian Kinney. The coach’s only concern was for his star player. No, this time it was going to be just the two of them, Brian and Mikey, just like Batman and Robin against the bad guys. Michael took a superhero’s breath, and went after his friend. He had just made it to the locker room door when he heard an ear-pricing, agonizing scream, followed by dead silence.
There are some things in a man’s life that he never forgets. His first car, his first kiss, his first fuck, and the time he slammed the captain of the football team’s fingers in the locker door, and benched him for the rest of the season.
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