Author of Dark Fiction
Excerpt from Cevin’s Deadly Sin
I finger my lace panties through a hole in the bottom of my jeans pocket. The satin is smooth and reassuring in this cold, uncaring world. Yes, I’m a boy, and yes, I’m wearing red lace panties. Deal with it. I do.
The house has a damp, decaying smell like flowers that have been left in a vase to rot, and the living room is stacked to the ceiling with cardboard boxes from the move. We unloaded our cartons from the U-Haul last night and both of us were too tired to unpack. Mom looks at them with a frownie face, but when she notices me noticing her, she switches over to fake-cheerful. “It’s a beautiful day for our fresh start.”
“Yeah.” Right now, I’m too preoccupied to make conversation. What am I thinking, wearing my girl’s panties the first day of school in a new town? Just that I need them, that they neutralize any bad energy, that they make my life bearable. But maybe I should ditch them for today. Maybe I need to start out in this new school by trying to be more normal, whatever that is. I run into my room and change into briefs, stuffing my red panties into my backpack for safekeeping, then I pull my ratty jeans back on. It’s a new school where no one knows me. I can be a completely new person here.
When I get back into the living room, Mom’s holding up a freshly ironed cornflower blue shirt and chinos that are starched so hard the crease could cut through steel. “Here you go, Cevin. You want to make a good impression your first day at school.”
I look down at my gray T-shirt, frayed jeans, and rumpled hoodie, the drab clothes I wear when I want to blend in. My heart digs into my chest at the thought of wearing her dorky clothes in public. “Mom, this is a hick town. They’re not going to be all dressed up. And it’s not the 1950’s, you know?”
My objections only make her more adamant. She holds the clothes in my face. “You have to make the teachers like you, make them think you’re a serious student. That’s the most important thing.”
She’s been through a lot in this year. We both have. Still, I have to hold my ground. “The most important thing is not looking like a geek. You want me to fit in, right?” I fold my arms in front of my chest.
She lowers her eyelids and her face tightens up. I’ve hurt her feelings now, I can tell. She rubs the stump where her left hand used to be before the accident, which makes me feel really bad for her, and she blinks back the moisture in her eyes. “I was just trying to…”
Neither of us mentions this, but memories of my sister, Caroline, float through the room like a ghost, casting a pall over our house and lives. If she were here she’d be making jokes and organizing things the way she always did, and everything would be okay.
I grab the clothes from her. “Okay. Just today, though,” and duck into my room to make a quick change. After I change, the reflection I see in the mirror makes me want to cry. I look like a prime dork. Mom’s bought the clothes a little too big for me, like they’re hand-me-downs from an older brother. And the outfit does not fit my hair, which is just past shoulder-length and straight. My hair is the one thing I insist upon, despite my mother’s protests.
The peeling paint of the windowsill with its pile of dead flies momentarily takes my attention away from my clothes. I wish it was last year and we were still in our ranch house in Daytona.
“Cevin. Come on. You’re going to be late.”
I jolt back into awareness and dash into the living room, only to find my mom going through some of the boxes. Panic shoots through me, and a drop of sweat trickles down the inside of my cardboard shirt. “Let me unpack my own stuff.” I pull the box away from her and set it down.
“Oh, here it is.” Mom pulls out my trumpet case. “You’re going to need this. I signed you up for band and you have practice today. It says so on your schedule.” She shoves a piece of paper into my hand.
I hadn’t even looked at my schedule. “I don’t want to do band at this school. We’ve been all through this.”
“But you like music so much.”
How can I tell her that I have no interest in getting involved in anything at this school? I just want to make it through the year and graduate so I can get the hell out of here. “I’m not into it anymore.”
“Not into playing the trumpet? After I spent so much on it, the least you can do…” Mom gets that sad look again.
“Okay. I’ll take it to school with me…” And deposit it in my locker the first chance I get.
She starts rummaging through my boxes again, and my head throbs. I have to stop her from finding the box that has my girl clothes in it. “Don’t you go to your new job today?”
“No, it starts tomorrow.”
There are easily fifty boxes piled up in the living room, and I start pushing the stacks around, looking for the box with the small “X” on it. But there are so many boxes I can’t find it. Why didn’t I put a huge “X” on it? I know perfectly well it was because I didn’t want to call attention to the carton that has my special stuff in it.
“What are you doing? You need to hurry up.”
Finally, I find the box and carry it into my room. Now what to do with it.
Mom follows me into the bedroom. Great.
“Mom, can you see if you can find a box that has my name on it? I had some school supplies in it.”
That diverts her long enough for me to remove my prize possessions and stuff them into my backpack: a cast-off black mini-skirt, a special set of baby pink, shimmery Victoria’s Secret bra and panties I bought on eBay, a princess-cut red dress with matching heels that almost fit me, and other assorted bras, panties, and blouses I’ve managed to gather together. It makes my backpack lumpy and conspicuous. Shit. But I have no other option with Mom being home and going through my stuff.
“I couldn’t find the one with your name on it.”
“That’s okay.” Especially since there isn’t any box with my name on it. I hoist the backpack over one shoulder and head toward the door.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you to school? Your car’s not going to be ready for another couple of days.”
Before she can question me about all the stuff in my backpack, I grab my trumpet case and hurry past her, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. “No, that’s okay. The walk will do me good.”
“Just one minute, young man. We need to say a quick prayer before your first day at school.”
“Come on, I’m late.”
“This will only take a second.” She bows her head and closes her eyes. I do the same but open one eye to watch her. “Dear Lord,” she says with her eyes squeezed shut. “Please guide Cevin throughout his day in this new school. Lord God, please make his day be a glory to your own great goodness. Amen.”
“Amen,” I say as I dash out the door. It irritates me how she always has to push her religion on me. I know that’s the reason she and Dad broke up. He couldn’t stand it either.
Mind you, a year ago, she wasn’t like this. She was still partying just like my dad. That was before the accident.
As I trudge through the woods, past a lake that has pretty pink crepe myrtles blooming beside it, I think that things might be okay; I might be able to make a new life here. But when I get closer to school my feelings change.
A sense of foreboding races through my veins as I walk down the main street of Tilapia, past a teenage mother carting her two wriggling brats into the Piggly Wiggly, past a pudgy handyman catching an artery-hardening breakfast at the Cozy Rest before his day of work. A micro-sized post office, a Dollar General, a one-pump gas station, and a Baptist church complete the collection. This is life in a conservative Florida town like Tilapia. Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else.
I’m hopeful that I can lay low at school, that I can stay in my protective shell and no one will touch me. At least I keep telling myself that.
* * * *
Tilapia High is a big, pink birthday cake of a building. The architecture is in the Spanish style with two stories, a tile roof, and open outer hallways that remind me of a motel. Hot pink bougainvillea crawl up the sides of the columns. Even though it looks like it was designed by Conquistadors, I’m sure they wouldn’t have painted it the color of lawn flamingos. There’s a rotten egg sulfur smell coming from the sprinkler. That’s the reclaimed water. Ugh.
As I walk toward the archway of the main entrance, I notice several boys in T-shirts and cut-offs. The girls are in halter tops, short shorts, and dresses made of material so tight it looks like it’s been sprayed on. In my starched shirt and tightly pegged pants, I may as well be from Mars.
Buzzed off hair seems to be the norm here for guys. No one has all-one-length, model hair like mine. A kid wearing a backward baseball cap, a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off (you might be a redneck if…), and baggy jeans with his gut hanging over spits on the sidewalk directly in front of where I’m going to walk. I think he says “fairy boy” under his breath, but I’m not sure. He snickers as he picks his teeth with a matchbook cover.
I walk directly into the building without commenting or taking any notice of him. Experience tells me that this is best. Don’t give them any attention. I still have hope that maybe they’re not all like this.
Because the school is all open hallways, it’s hard for me to find the office, so I have to ask. A couple of girls who look more or less normal in skinny jeans and T’s tell me where it is. This is good, but as I’m walking away they kind of snicker. I’m well aware they could be laughing at anything, so I try not to take offense. This is another survival tactic I’ve learned. Don’t assume the worst, because it just makes you paranoid. Even though paranoia is sometimes justified.
When I get to the office, a chunky lady with a mullet (a mullet? seriously?) is all frazzled trying to take care of some emergency that’s come up. She’s on the phone and her face is flushed and her upper lip is sweating. She covers the receiver with one hand. “Can I help you?”
“I’m new. Cevin Foster.” My backpack is digging into my shoulders, so I put it and the trumpet case on the floor.
She riffles through some papers she has in a file next to her PC. “Kevin, I have your paperwork right here.”
“That’s Cevin. You know, like the number seven?”
She looks up at me, irritated. “I wish people would stop with these damned creative names. Makes my work harder.”
“Kevin, I mean Cevin. We have someone who’s going to show you to your first class. This is Derek Standard.”
One look at Derek and I know he’s the “it” kid, the one all the guys want to be friends with and all the girls want to date. He’s tall with long limbs, has a square jaw, piercing blue eyes, and short dark hair fashionably cut with little spikes that stick up. He wears a button-down, white shirt and khaki pants. He thrusts out his hand and flashes me a smile that shows soap opera star teeth. I picture a little sparkle on them like in a toothpaste commercial. “Hi Cevin. I’m Derek,” he says, extending his hand.
He pronounces my name right. His handshake is smooth, firm, and lasts the correct amount of time.
Derek takes one look at my overstuffed backpack and says, “What? Are you moving?”
I stammer a little. “Um, uhh, Mom and I just moved here from Daytona.” I know that wasn’t what he meant so I feel dumb after I say it.
“Oh, well, let me take that.”
In one swift move he takes my backpack and slings it over his shoulder. As he lifts it, the zipper pulls part ways open and I can see something black and lacy sticking out, just a little. You’d have to be looking for it to know what it is, I tell myself. Still this panics me so much I can’t even think straight. What if he opens it?
But he seems to take no notice. “First, let’s find your locker.” He leads me to one of the open hallways. “Let’s see. Oh, here it is.” He reads the combination and spins the lock open for me.
Great. He knows the combination to my locker.
“You’ll be wanting to get rid of some of this heavy stuff, I suspect. Do you want to pull anything out of your backpack before I toss it in?” As he lets it drop from his shoulder, his eyes go right to the lacy black material, but he doesn’t say anything.
“No, that’s okay.” I throw my trumpet case into my locker over my pack. I wanted to get my pens and notebook out of there, but oh well. I’m slightly relieved now that my girl stuff is safely stowed.
“It’s too late to get you to homeroom today, but you have Mr. Toporek for first period Chemistry. I’ll show you where.”
He leads me across to the other side of the building and another open hallway. Trailing behind him, I notice a clean scent of soap and fabric softener. This guy is so perfect it makes me sick.
Even though we’re late for class, one look at Derek and the teacher is all smiles. Derek introduces me, says, “Here’s another victim for you, Mr. T.” The teacher and the class laugh, then he leaves.
After Derek is gone, Mr. Toporek resumes his previously dour expression. He’s a small, nondescript man with metal-rimmed glasses and a two-inch fringe of hair. I would so shave that if I were him. He gives me a book and tells me to take a seat. The only seat left is in the front row. Great. I get the evil eye from some of the kids in the class and giggles from others, and one guy says, “His mommy dressed him up nice for school today.”
The teacher glares at him and carries on with his lesson. He’s talking about some formulas that are Greek to me. Since school has been in session for two months, I have some catching up to do. I open the book and try to follow along, but I keep noticing the girl sitting next to me in the front row. She’s blatantly writing in a leather journal right in the middle of Chemistry class. She looks different from all the others. First, she’s pale in a sea of tan Florida crackers. She has long, straight, black hair and is wearing a pink polo shirt and black jeans. One feature stands out. A black choker that has a chunky cross and a couple of silver bats on it adorns her neck. I try not to stare, but she’s just so interesting.
She seems completely unconcerned about anything going on in the class, and the teacher isn’t batting an eyelash.
Mr. Toporek starts asking a series of questions, and he gets a few volunteers to answer each one. But when he asks, “What’s the general formula for oxyacid?” nobody raises their hands. I look down at my desk hoping he won’t call on me.
He says, “Tessa, can you tell us?”
Just as I think, Oh no, she’s busted, she says, “HaHbOc.” She answers with one hundred percent certainty, then goes back to writing in her journal.
“And what’s the definition of an oxyacid?”
She momentarily looks up. “An inorganic acid whose molecules contain oxygen, such as sulfuric or nitric acid.”
“Very good, Miss Wilkinson.” The teacher brightens up.
Wow, she’s a brain. And apparently unconcerned about what other people think of her.
Finally, the bell rings and everyone rushes out. I go with the herd until I feel someone smack me in the back of the head. I put my hand up and feel a gooey mess of gum stuck in my hair. When I try to pull it out, it sticks into my scalp. It’s one of those redneck kids who did it. The kids look like clones in their backward-facing baseball caps and flannel shirts with the sleeves hacked off. Ugh! If I were back in Daytona, I’d be goofing around with my friends, having fun, going to band practice. This feels like such an act of hatred, I want to cry, but I hold it in and arrange some of my hair over the gum so no one can see it.
I need to put my red panties back on. That’s the only way I can possibly deal with all of this small town Florida mentality. We’ve just moved a couple hundred miles into the interior of the state and we may as well have traveled to the moon for how different the people are. Daytona had its small-minded people, but it had cool people, too, which I haven’t seen here so far.
There might be just enough time for me to get to my locker, get my backpack, change, and get to my next class. I run to my locker, twirl the combination and Yay, the door opens.
But what I see there nearly makes my heart stop. Someone has dumped my backpack over and strewn all of my girl clothes around the floor of the locker.
* * * *
I try to cover the area in front of my locker with my body, stuff all of my things back into my pack, take it out, close my locker door, and run to the nearest bathroom. My mind is a jumble of worry and pain. It had to have been Derek who dumped my clothes out, right? He’s the only one who has the combination. Or could it have been someone else? Am I going to get mercilessly taunted for it? So much for my plan of trying to be normal and blend in at this school.
There are a couple of kids in the bathroom, but I head into a stall, and quickly exchange my briefs for the panties I so love. Immediately, it’s as though I’ve taken a happy pill. Nothing seems quite as bad. The people at this school are different than I’m used to, that’s all. Not bad, just different. I’ll make it through. Everything will be okay. I don’t have time to put my pack back into my locker so I carry it with me.
And things do get better. My next class is English with Ms. Ford. She’s the teacher everybody loves, so no one gives her or me a bad time. Ms. Ford asks me how I’m doing, where I’ve come from. She sympathizes about the fact that it’s difficult to move to a new school when the year has already started. Even the kids in the class seem nicer, more enlightened. I’ve had my moment of grace.
The bell rings again, and I realize I have gym class, that most dreaded of classes. Shit! I didn’t know that was today. Since I haven’t brought anything to change into, I’m sure the gym teacher will let me sit it out.
* * * *
By the time I find gym class, I’m already late. Everyone is changing into shorts and T’s. But damn! Derek is in the class. I look around to find the gym teacher so I can get out of class, and I see an office to the side of the locker room with a sign on the door that reads “Coach Thorpe.” I go over and extend my hand to him. “Hi. I’m Cevin Foster and this is my first day at this school. I was wondering if…”
He looks at me, then looks at my hand like I’ve done the most insolent thing in the world by extending it to him. Maybe he thinks it’s too familiar. He finishes my sentence “…if you could get out of gym class today because you didn’t bring clothes. Wrong. Borrow some.” Then he goes back to his paperwork.
One look at him and I have him pegged. He’s the kind of guy who lives for sports. He gets off on the power he exerts over people at this small school. Big fish in a little pond. His muscle turned to fat long ago, and his flat-top haircut looks silly with his bald spot, like his head has been strip-mined.
Mr. Perfect Derek is taking this all in and says, “I’m pretty sure I can find an outfit for you.” I hate this. I’m afraid to look him in the eye because he must be the one who dumped my stuff. But he shows no signs of it. “This is Hunt Jenkins.” He puts his hand on the shoulder of one of the other guys, who immediately reacts by pulling closer to him. This guy is more muscular than Derek is. With blond, flat-top hair, he has the look of a more stereotypical jock. “Do you have a set of clothes Cevin can wear on his first day?”
“Cevin? What kind of freaking name is that?” Hunt smirks. Then he sees me. “Oh, sorry. Yeah, I have a shorts and T you can use. I think they’re actually clean, too.” Hunt pulls some clothes from his locker and starts to hand them to me.
White hot fear flashes through my body. How can I put them on without everyone seeing my panties? “That’s okay. I’ll just sit it out for today.”
“What? Come on. The coach is a hard ass. He’s not going to let you sit it out.”
“Okay, I’ll use them.” I take the clothes and look for a toilet stall. Luckily there’s a bathroom to the side of the locker room. I keep my panties on. When I’m doing something really objectionable like having to play football, I like to wear them to neutralize the negative energy. Somehow, wearing nice lingerie has the power to make a bad thing bearable. And when I’m feeling good, it amplifies the pleasure. I don’t even understand it myself, but there you have it.
While I change I hear them talking about me.
“There’s something funny about that new kid,” Derek says. “Not ha ha funny. Funny-uncle funny.”
“Leave him alone. He seems okay,” Hunt says.
I can’t quite make out the first thing Derek says, but then he says, “I’ll tell you later.”
Oh, damn. It’s starting. They’ve already got me pegged for being different. Different is not a good thing. Not here. And I’m so sure Derek is going to tell everyone about the clothes in my backpack.
We go out onto the field. We’re going to play football, but it’s flag football, so that’s okay. We have flags Velcroed to our waists and there’s no contact. If you pull one of the flags from another player, they’re out. This is fine. I notice Derek and Hunt showing off, doing some fancy passes with the ball, roughhousing each other. I ask one of the kids, “Are they on a sports team?”
He looks at me like I said I don’t know who Brad Pitt is. “Are you kidding me? Derek is the captain of the football team and Hunt is co-captain.”
That explains a lot. “Thanks. Being new, I don’t know these things. But I can see that they’re…they know how to play.”
“Damned straight. Winning season so far this year.”
Practice is over and we go back into the locker. Now I have to face getting the shorts off without showing my panties. I quickly pull my jeans right on over them. I see Hunt looking at me.
“Let me take your clothes home and wash them and I’ll bring them back to you tomorrow.”
“Sounds good. Whenever.”
I hurry out the door and into the hallway. So far, so good.
I head into the nearest bathroom and take off the shorts, but leave my panties on. Even if they’re sweaty, I don’t care. They protect me. I was stupid to think that I could have come to school this morning without them. Am I going to have to go through this all the time with these people all up in my Kool-Aid? I have to focus. If I keep to myself and not let anybody get to know me, I’ll be able to keep my secret, and I’ll be fine.
* * * *
It’s lunch time, and I can’t face going into the cafeteria at this place, so I decide to go out. It’s part of the rules here that seniors are allowed to go out for lunch. I’d noticed a couple of burger joints right near the school, so with my backpack in tow, I head through the parking lot to find a place to eat.
As I’m walking through the rows of cars, which here are mostly pickup trucks, I notice a blonde girl struggling to change a flat tire on an old, navy blue Bronco. She’s kind of cute, tall and muscular with shoulder-length, blonde hair. She’s wearing a blue T-shirt, ankle-length cargo pants, and chunky shoes. “Can I help you change that?”
“I can do it myself, thank you.” She pushes her hair behind her ears as she rummages around in her trunk, then throws her hands up in the air. I notice that she’s wearing an ear cuff in the shape of a tiny dragon. “Where’s the freaking jack?”
“Let me show you.” I lift the compartment where the extra tire is hidden and pull out the jack that’s underneath.
“I have a little experience with fixing things. My dad was…is a motorcycle mechanic. My parents are divorced.”
“That’s rough, kid. Sorry. I’m Amy.” She offers me her hand.
When I shake it, I feel her strong grip. “I’m Cevin. Like the number seven. The lady in the office tried to call me Kevin.” I take the lug wrench and loosen the nuts. Now she doesn’t seem to mind that I’m helping her.
“Oh, that old battle axe.” She laughs. “I hear she’s had that hockey hair since the eighties.”
“Hockey hair.” I giggle. As we’re talking, I insert the jack under the frame and start cranking the car up. The conversation is easy and pleasant.
“Yeah, all hockey players have those mullets,” she says.
“Hmmm. I don’t go much for sports.”
“Me either. So you’re new here?”
“Yeah. We made a quick move when Mom got a job here. She’s handicapped, so she had to move on it fast when she got a job offer.”
“That’s cool. How do you like our assortment of freaks and geeks?”
“I don’t know. It’s fine.”
“Liar.” She laughs. “This is the redneckiest town ever.”
Then, just my luck, Derek and Hunt walk by.
Derek glances over at me and says in a low voice, “This is how clueless the new kid is. The first girl he hits on is the only dyke in school.”
Amy holds up her middle finger. “Fuck you, bucket heads.”
“If you did, you wouldn’t be a dyke anymore.” Derek chuckles, obviously pleased with his witty comeback.
Hunt pulls Derek along. “Come on, now. We don’t have that much time to get lunch.”
I break my rule about ignoring rude remarks and defend Amy. “I think you owe Amy an apology. It’s no business of yours who she sleeps with.” That didn’t come out right, and I’m afraid I’ve made worse enemies of them and embarrassed Amy. But Amy just kind of sighs.
Tessa, the smart, pale girl from Chemistry class and a blonde girl I haven’t seen before stroll out of the exit, talking. The other girl is classically beautiful, meticulously dressed in a metallic blouse, mini-skirt, and heels. Her earrings, bracelet, and necklace are all made of little silver balls. Nice. I wonder where she got them. The blonde rushes up and takes Derek’s arm, “Can we go already?” She’s the perfect ornament for the captain of the football team, and she’s high maintenance, I can tell.
The group hurries off to their car with Tessa straggling behind.
Amy slams the lug wrench onto the pavement. “I hate those football geeks and their groupies.”
“Yeah, me, too. I’m sorry. What I said was stupid.”
“That’s okay, dude. You meant well.”
I hurry to finish changing her tire, but the mood is heavier now and we’ve stopped making idle talk. She puts the old tire and jack back into her trunk, then flips open her phone.
I say to Amy, “It’s too late to go out now. I’m going to grab some quick lunch in the cafeteria.”
“See ya.” As an afterthought she turns to say, “And thanks for the help.”
“Okay, yeah.” I stand there for a minute and think. Tessa must be with Hunt, the other football guy. It doesn’t fit somehow, doesn’t make any sense. An obviously cerebral girl like that hanging with the jocks. Hunt does seem like a nice guy though.
* * * *
I’m starved so I brave the cafeteria to grab a quick burger or something. The cafeteria is in a tacked-on building that looks like an afterthought. The smell of grease and fake butter hits me as soon as I walk in and it makes me queasy, so I breathe through my mouth until my stomach settles. Since it’s late, everyone has gotten their food and is sitting. The line is clear. I go up to the counter to check out their offerings and see the standard cafeteria fare: salad made with iceberg lettuce and orangey-French dressing, vegetables that look like they’ve been boiled for about a week, tater tots, fried chicken strips, and burgers. I don’t have much money, so I grab a plain burger and take a glass for water. As I fill up my water, I scope out the room. Luckily, there’s an empty table toward the back. After I glob catsup and mustard onto my burger, I go sit down. I’ll eat fast and get out of here.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Amy waving to me. If I ignore her maybe she’ll think I don’t see her and give up. But she doesn’t give up. Then I see her coming over to my table. It’s not that I don’t want to sit with her, it’s just that I don’t want any emotional ties to this small town, because I’m afraid of getting stuck here.
She stands at my table, hands-on-hips, Wonder Woman style. “Hey, dude. I’m not ashamed of being gay, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of being seen with me. Those assholes certainly don’t care about either of us. It doesn’t matter what we say to them.”
“I know. Thanks for saying that, though.” She’s a nice girl, and she’s being friendly to me, but I still don’t want to get friendly with anyone here.
She goes over to get her tray of food, which includes just about every item the cafeteria is selling today, and sits next to me. “Hey, I’d like you to meet my band.” She puts two fingers into her mouth and gives a mighty whistle. All the white noise in the lunchroom stops for a couple of seconds as everyone gawks.
I pull my head into my shoulders like a turtle, thinking that everyone is looking at us.
Then the usual din of the cafeteria continues.
One guy walks over and sits with us.
“That’s your band?” I ask.
“Yeah, what’s wrong with that? Cevin, I’d like you to meet Adam.”
Adam nods at me and gives me his left hand, which I shake, even though a left-handed shake feels weird. “I take it this is the new bloke?” he says with a fake British accent while ruffling his bleached blond hair with one hand. He’s dressed rocker tough in beat-up skinny jeans, boots, and a black T-shirt that says, “Sex Pistols” on it. He seems to attract attention, which is definitely what I don’t want.
“What’s your next class?” Amy asks.
I pull my schedule out of my back pocket. “Uh…band. Where’s that?”
“Band.” Amy perks up. “You play in the band?”
She slaps both hands on the table. “That’s perfect. We need a bass player.”
“I don’t play bass. I play the trumpet.”
“I can show you how to play bass. It’s super easy.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Hey, you know when you’re in a band, all the birds are after you.” Adam nods at me and winks.
“Well, there’s that,” I say. “But I don’t play bass, I don’t own a guitar, and my mom would have a fit if she found out I was in a band. She wants me to be serious about my studies. Plus, she thinks rock and roll is the devil’s work.”
“Well, it is, matey,” Adam says, taking a drag on a straw as though it’s a cigarette. “That’s the point.”
“Come on, Cevin.” Amy slides closer to me and grabs my forearm. “You know you want to.”
I stand and pick up my food tray. “No, absolutely not. Listen, I like you guys, but it would take too much for me to learn a new instrument and everything.” Before they can say any more I pick up my lunch trash and leave.
I am not going to get sucked into having a life here.
* * * *
Category: Young Adult LGBTQ
Formats: E-Book and paperback
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Length: 97,473 words
Reading Level: 7th Grade & Up
Links to purchase: