STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
Contrary to what Emily may have thought, Martin wasn’t completely invisible at school.
The day should have been terrible.
Most days were, and Fridays tended to be the worst, as the day would drag on forever.
But today felt different.
First, he felt drenched from head to toe; and every time he sat down he heard a loud, embarrassing, squishy sound.
But, never in his life, had he been so glad that his last name was Zall. Thanks to the assigned seating, it meant he sat all the way in the back, next to the radiator.
He had been shivering when he came in, but ten minutes in, he basked in the warmth of the old heater.
By the next class, however, the warmth from the radiator started to get to him, and he could barely keep his eyes open.
It didn’t help that his math teacher droned on and on about stuff he had already learned at his old school.
The battle to stay awake, ending in defeat. He drifted off to sleep, only waking up when the bell rang.
No one even noticed, and if they did, they didn’t care.
By third period, his clothes had mostly dried.
However, looking down Martin noticed his clothes had dried in the worst possible way, making it looked like he had pissed his pants.
The bell rang.
He reluctantly got up, and rushed down the hallway, enduring the snickers of the boys and the giggles of the girls, as he raced to his next class .
Fortunately, most of them had no idea who he was, so no rumors were going to spread about the boy who pissed his pants.
He made it to his next class, English Composition with Ms. Gillespie.
This was the class he shared with Emily.
Emily had been wrong about something else too. He had noticed her, several times in fact. How could he not?
Emily may not have been a much of a sleuth, but he had managed to put two and two together.
Martin, may not have been a genius when it came to girls, but he had also figured out that Emily had been trying to get his attention all summer.
But, he could never think of anything to say to her that didn’t make him sound like a complete idiot, or a pervert.
By some miracle, she had broken the ice between them, but now the ball was back in his court.
Now, in his seat, he stared at her.
She sat in the middle of the class.
He had to crane his head a little to look at her, while at the same time tried his best not to be too obvious about it, as he didn’t want to creep her out.
So he’d take a peek, and then turn his head away, only to repeat the process a few seconds later.
God she’s beautiful, he thought, especially when she smiles.
Martin thought about getting up, and talking to her, but then he remembered that it looked like he’d piss his pants, so he remained firmly planted in his seat.
Martin craned his head again, but when he looked away this time he found himself staring directly at a pair of tits.
These were not great tits either.
They were old and saggy, much like the woman that they belonged too.
Fortunately, these tits were covered by a tight fitting top.
Unfortunately, the top didn’t leave much to the imagination.
Ms. Gillespie eyed him hungrily, hoping he would return her gaze.
The old woman might have been pretty once, but the years had not been kind.
Her blond hair was streaked gray; and her face looked red and puffy.
She bent forward slightly, giving him an even better at what she had to offer.
Unlike with Emily, however, this was an offer he could refuse, which he did now by averting his eyes.
Defeated, his teacher slammed a paper face down on his desk.
When he dared to look up again, he saw that Ms. Gillespie had moved on, and had sunken her claws into another male student, a little further on.
But, he still wasn’t safe, even from this distance, as his teacher bent forward.
She did this in an exaggerated manner, and now the woman’s assets were on full display for the students behind her.
Only the girls seemed to be safe from Gillespie’s predatory gaze, as evidence by the fact that one of the girls, had had hand up for the last two minutes, and their teacher had completely ignored her.
Martin thought the girl’s name was Kimberly, but he couldn’t be sure.
What he did know was that she was an Asian girl, but had big American breasts.
Rumor was, the girl was a complete slut.
But, Martin was hardly one to believe rumors, especially high school ones.
However, in Kimberly’s case there was at least some truth to the rumor.
He remembered back about a week ago, he’d been reading a book in the school library, and had lost track of the time.
It was late, and he had a long walk home ahead of him.
He just happened to walk past Mr. Frank’s classroom on the way out, and had seen Kimberly sitting in Mr. Frank’s lap.
The girl’s skirt was hiked up so far that Martin could see the girl’s Hello Kitty underwear.
But, the underwear barely concealed the obscene thing slipping in and out between the girl’s legs.
He quickly turned, and exited another way.
The incident had left him feeling completely frustrated— wondering how some fat, old douchebag, like Mr. Frank, had gotten so lucky.
Back in the present, Martin turned the paper over on his desk, and his heart sank.
“C minus,” he said, although he said it quiet enough so as not to draw any attention to himself.
The assignment had been to write about the most tragic moment of your life.
For whatever reason— mostly because he just wanted to get it off his chest— Martin had put all his heart and soul into the essay.
Spilling his guts out, as he detailed the shock he felt when the state police came to his door to tell him his mom had been killed in a car accident.
How he had tried to laugh it off at first, thinking that his mom was just playing a joke on him. How he had nearly punched one of the cops in the face because they kept insisting that it wasn’t a joke.
How Sheriff Joe, Emily’s dad, had shown up a few minutes later, telling him to get a few things, because he was going to his Aunt Rosie’s house.
How, he had managed to keep it together the entire car ride over, as Sheriff Joe, talked to him, but never forcing him to talk, for which Martin was eternally grateful.
How, Sheriff Joe had told his Aunt to “just let the kid have his space tonight”.
Then how he had finally lost it, crying his eyes out, when he was alone in Rosie’s spare bedroom.
Then, the rage, rage at his mom for all the terrible shit she’d done to him, and how he’d never forgive her.
Then, the suicidal thoughts he had after, because he hadn’t died with her.
And finally, how grateful he was to his Aunt Rosie, and even his Cousin Summer (even though Summer was usually a complete bitch to him), for being there for him when he needed them most.
“C minus,” he said again, turning it over in his mind.
There were no marks on the paper. No mention about any grammar or spelling errors. Nor was there anything regarding the style, or composition of the paper itself.
But, a small note down at the bottom of the page, now caught his eyes, which read:
Stop being so god damn depressing. Talk more, and spend some money on your clothes and appearance. Then, maybe, you’ll actually be able to get a girlfriend.
Martin crumpled up the paper, and dropped it on the floor.
Ms. Gillespie walked toward the front of the classroom—shaking her ass a little as she did so— to the enjoyment of no one but herself.
In front of her class now, Ms. Gillespie fumbled with the top buttons of her shirt, letting another pop open to show off the black bra underneath.
“So that last assignment really bummed me out,” she said. “God everyone has such depressing lives.”
She sat on the edge of her desk.
Her legs together for the moment, but Martin could guess they wouldn’t stay that way for very long.
“So, I was thinking,” Ms. Gillespie said now, “how about we spread some joy.”
Ms. Gillespie licked her puffy, cracked lips, and then smiled, showing off her yellow stained teeth.
“I want all of you to write a love poem,” she said.
The class let out a collective groan.
Ms. Gillespie giggled.
“Now, now,” she said. “Some of the greatest works of literature were inspired by people expressing their love for one another…”
But, to everyone’s surprise, her legs remained firmly shut. However, all the students could feel a strange anticipation in the air, anticipation that bordered on dread.
“So what I want you guys to do,” she continued, “is write a poem about someone you love. The more passionate the better. And for you boys who don’t have girlfriends well…”
Her legs parted, and again the classroom let out a collective groan.
Ms. Gillespie laughed.
She wasn’t wearing any underwear today.
Again, never was Martin so glad that he sat in the back of the class.
But, even from his vantage point, he could see a disgusting patch of white public hair.
“Feel free to write about me.”
Martin turned away, and craned his head slightly trying to get Emily in his sights again.
She must have had the same idea, and smiled when she caught his eye.
The smile didn’t last long, as she made a disgusted face, and gestured to her mouth, pretending to gag.
“Miss Nougton!” Ms. Gillespie thundered. “Do you have something you want to share with the class?”
Emily whipped her head forward.
“Uh,” Emily said, but she was rendered speechless after that.
“Ms. Gillespie,” Martin said, coming to Emily’s rescue. “Can you give us some examples of what you mean?”
Ms. Gillespie lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Martin,” she said, “so nice of you to finally participate…”
Ms. Gillespie closed her legs, and hopped off her desk, smoothing out her dress in the process.
She went to the white board, and bent over in an exaggerated fashion.
But her skirt was long enough that it didn’t show anything too revealing.
Emily turned to Martin again, and mouthed the words, “Thank you.”
* * *
After class, Martin rushed to catch up with Emily.
But Emily got swooped up by a wave of girls, and then pushed down the hallway.
Half way down the hall, however, she turned and flashed him a smiled.
Martin returned the smile and watched as she got swept further down the hall toward her next class.
Martin now made his way to the cafeteria.
It was his lunch period.
Lunch being split between two periods: 11 to 12 and 12 to 1.
Martin had the earlier lunch, as did his cousin Summer— although they never ate lunch together.
Emily, sadly, had the later lunch.
But, he couldn’t even think about eating right now.
His mind felt lost in the clouds, so lost in fact that he didn’t even notice the human size wall, until it appeared before him.
The wall in question happened to be a boy named Trunk.
Martin wasn’t sure of his real name, and he doubted whether or not that the big boy in front of him knew it either.
Trunk was almost twenty, but he hadn’t advanced past the freshman level. The decent thing to do, for everyone’s sake, would have been to kick him out of school.
But, as usual, no one noticed, and no one cared.
Martin had at least a foot on the guy, in height anyway.
But, Martin had nothing on the boy’s girth. Trunk was a wall of muscle and fat.
At Trunk’s side, as always, was Billy Zeppo.
Billy happened to be Trunk’s one and only friend Billy also appeared to be the “brains” of the outfit, even though he had also been held back a grade.
“Eleven O'clock already, fellas,” Martin said, surprising himself with his boldness. Any other day, he would have just silently taken the beating.
Billy looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
Martin meet his gaze. He was roughly the same size as Billy, and they were both thin as rails.
Billy blinked, and then looked away.
Trunk simply grunted.
Martin had no idea what he had done to earn this daily beating, but knew it was going to happen regardless.
As far as Martin could piece together, he had offended some girl named Leah Carlson, who was the Captain of volley ball team.
All that matter was that Trunk was madly in love with the girl, and would do anything for her, despite the fact that Leah had been outed as a lesbian.
So, Leah probably had sent Trunk to beat him up the first time, and after that probably had forgotten all about it.
But Billy really got off on seeing his friend beat people up, and it was Billy that encouraged it now.
“Could you guys hold on for a sec,” Martin said, and again marveled at his boldness.
He had balls of steel, today.
Billy’s mouth fell open in surprise, as Martin took off his glasses, and put them in his pocket.
Martin knew that they weren’t going to hit him in the face, but they might break his glasses, and neither he, nor his Aunt Rosie, could afford a new pair.
Martin also knew the reason why they were not going to hit him in the face, as he had overheard Billy explain it to Trunk one day.
“See if we hit him in the face,” Billy said, “then people are going to know he was in a fight. But, if we hit him somewhere where it doesn’t show then we can claim he just fell down the stairs. My brother does it, to his bitch of a wife, all the time. It’s called plausible deniability.”
“Let’s try something different,” Martin said now, as he stepped a little closer to Billy.
Billy quickly hid behind his friend.
“Get him Trunk,” Billy cried, his voice a high pitched screech. “Get him.”
Trunk rolled his hands into a fist, and struck out—aiming for Martin’s stomach, like he always did.
But, Martin had been ready for him, and stepped back at the last second.
Trunk struck nothing but empty air, and the momentum carried him forward, causing him to fall flat on his enormous stomach.
Martin side stepped Trunk, and moved forward. Again, he marveled at just how well this was going for him. This really was turning out to be one of the best days of his life.
“Get away from me, “Billy cried in the same high pitched voice, as before. “You stay away!”
Martin made like he was going to punch Billy in the face, and Billy immediately threw up his hands to protect himself.
“Plausible deniability,” Martin said, and then busted out laughing.
His laughter was soon cut short, as strong hands grabbed him from behind.
Trunk wasn’t strong enough to pick him up, but it didn’t hurt any less when Trunk pushed him face down into the ground.
Martin rolled onto his back, blood gushing from his nose.
“We’re really going to mess you up now,” Billy screamed.
Billy rushed forward, kicking Martin hard in the ribs.
“You stupid faggot!” Billy screamed.
“You stupid faggot! YOU STUPID FAGGOT!”
Martin wheezed and coughed, which only made the pain that much worse. But, he didn’t dare pass out. God only knew what they’d do to him then.
Though the pain lost some of its sting, when Martin spotted the enormous bulge in Billy’s pants, which Martin found kind of funny as Billy continued scream the word faggot.
To Martin’s surprise, it was Trunk who pulled Billy away.
“This isn’t over,” Billy hissed, as he struggled against Trunk’s grip.
Trunk continued to pull his friend away, leaving Martin to fend for himself.
It took him awhile to get up, and he wheezed the entire time getting to his feet.
He started toward the nurse’s office, but then stopped.
The nurse would probably call an ambulance.
And, if he went to the hospital then he’d miss out on any chance had of getting laid tonight.
He threw up then, coughing up blood and bile onto the floor.
He felt better after that.
At least they didn’t kick me in the balls this time, Martin thought, as he wheeze down the hallway towards the cafeteria.
TO BE CONTINUED...