[Might be offensive, depending on who you are. Profanity, anyone? Comments rabidly encouraged, to borrow from Bliss. - SD]
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It was the middle of summer, on a particularly sweltering afternoon in August, and all around everything seemed to be moving. Middle-aged women in tight spandex pants paraded through the neighborhood with neon pink weights strapped to their wrists and ankles, gossiping about the neighborhood bake sale that was scheduled for late next week and glancing around, eager to see if anyone was watching them. A balding, over the hill father tossed the pigskin around with his two sons down the block, stopping every now and then to wipe the sweat collecting on his forehead and to catch his breath. Across the street a sixteen-year-old girl was watering her front lawn in a bikini top and tight khaki shorts. In the thick air, with her hair down and sizzling in the sun, she looked like a cross-between a premonition and a wet dream. With nothing better to do until Danny showed up, we thought we’d camp out in the front yard, Blake and I, and enjoy the free show in style – drinks on the house, lifted from a local booze hawker. Just watching became boring after awhile, so for kicks we started howling at her, flinging dirty phrases her way between mouthfuls of beer.
‘You can fucking hose me down any day, sweetheart,’ Blake called out, leaning back in the lawnchair and sticking his free hand down his pants.
‘Hey, me too! Come on over, baby, we’ll have ourselves a party over here! You old enough to drink, or what?’ I added.
She stopped hosing the car and turned to us, baring her teeth. ‘Fuck off, assholes. You just wait till my dad gets home – he’ll work both of you dicks over.’
‘Fat chance,’ Blake howled, rubbing himself under his pants. ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing, baby, I’m almost there!’
We both laughed. Her dad was even worse than the fat bastard down the street attempting to play football with his kids: a skinny pencil pusher who drove a rusty old Chevy. He was a bit bigger than Blake and myself, but together we could probably do some serious damage. With Danny, who was twice the size of practically any seventeen year old I’d ever met, we would have absolutely no problems with him.
We got out a few more catcalls before Danny showed up.
‘Holy fuck, boys, would you look at that tight ass across the street! Hey, hey come blow me! Aw, don’t be shy, it won’t bite if you don’t!’
This last comment was the final straw, and after giving us the one-finger salute she threw the hose down and went inside.
‘Was it something I said?’ he laughed, kicking open the cooler with his foot. ‘I need a drink.’
‘So what’s on the menu for the day, Danny?’ I said, tired of just sitting around and __.
Danny was tall and naturally thick, with short hair trimmed down to a buzz and trimmed sideburns that stretched down past his ears and onto his chin. His arms were like my fucking legs, and his shoulders, Jesus, he had these linemen’s shoulders that gave our school’s football coach a hard-on. At least twice a week Mr. Borchinski (‘Call me George, Danny, none of that formal bullshit between friends, right?’) would call Danny over to his office next to the main gym and try to convince him to join the team. The football team was ranked second in the province for AAA, but they needed an edge – any by edge I mean a sadistic roid monkey like Danny. Both Blake and I knew he was on juice; Mr. Borchinski knew he was on juice; really, the whole fucking school probably knew it. Danny was only seventeen and could put most amateur bodybuilders to shame with his granite physique.
‘You got two years of eligibility left, son – don’t blow this,’ George used to say to him in their biweekly meetings. ‘I got coaches down south that would eat you up. You ever think of going to college, Danny? With a body like yours, shit, I could pull a few strings and get you a scholarship. All I need from you is one year of sweat, that’s it! Give me one year of all you’ve got, and I’ll get you a free ride, no strings attached. What do you say?’
Danny would just smile, scratch his head and tell ‘Georgie-boy’ that he’d think about it. He never said no, probably because it was flattering constantly being told you’re big and strong and shouldn’t take any shit from anyone. Positive reinforcement and all that. Not that Danny needed someone to tell him that he shouldn’t take shit from anyone. Most intelligent people generally avoided him, anyway; in retrospect, I sometimes wonder how Blake and I made it through our adolescence with all our limbs still attached.
After cracking open a bottle of beer on his belt buckle, Danny reached into his back pocket and pulled out a roll of fishing line, flinging it onto my lap.
‘What’s this shit?’ I asked, lifting the spool up to my face.
‘Fishing line, fuck, can’t you read? I stopped off at the 7-11 on the way here and they were having a sale on fishing supplies and that, so I said to myself, ‘Danny-boy, what kind of fun can you have with fishing gear?’ Then I spotted that little beauty, and I got myself an idea. You guys up for a little bit of Ninja work in the park?’
Blake laughed when he heard Danny mention the word ‘ninja’.
Ever since we were nine and avid followers of the Ninja Turtles on TV, Danny had been absolutely obsessed with becoming this dark assassin-type, dedicating his life to being some sort of unstoppable fighting force skilled in the black arts or what have you. It was actually quite pathetic for someone his age, now that I think about it, but neither Blake nor myself ever had the heart to tell him that his favorite pastime was more the stuff of pre-pubescent boys with overactive imaginations than burly seventeen year-olds with a proclivity for violence. That, and had we ribbed him about it he would have probably made us swallow his size thirteens whole. His size was downright deceptive. When you got right down to it, Danny was pretty damned sensitive, and he tended to take practically everything as a comment on his worth as a human being, not that he had a great deal of that, either. You just couldn’t tease the guy, or you could, but you’d be risking sheer fucking violence.
"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen... there you have me in a nutshell, and kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change."
From his Last Will & Testament, Marquis de Sade