Day of the Toad

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“If you’re going to turn into a pig, my dear,” said Alice, seriously, “I’ll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!”

I busted the crap out of my abs before the spring dance at St. Mel’s, which is the dance for sophomores and freshmen, since we don’t have a prom. I was working out with my track guys in the weight room. You don’t want a pooch in the summertime, or anytime, really. There are different colored weights and we do weird kinds of exercises, like putting weights on our stomachs.

We have a new machine that’s a kind of half-cylinder, standing high off the ground, in which you put your ankles through traps that are padded, and do crunches. The pads hold you fast in place. Everyone puts weights on their stomachs and does their sit-ups. I was using two fifteen-kilogram plates, which are heavy, believe me, and I went hard at it.

You start by going flat and basically do your crunches, except you start in the sitting up position and then go flat. They’re the kind of crunches I saw Tim Tebow doing on YouTube. Tim Tebow’s a GOD among men. I love him. He must have a really small wiener to counteract his amazingness on the football field. There are many doubters of Tebow, but they suck, and are retarded, too, and wrong.

But I hurt my abs trying too hard to be like Tebow doing the Tebow crunches. I actually hurt them. They shouldn’t be sore for three days. Nothing is ever sore for three days, not at all, never, not when you’re in the prime of life, or else there’s a problem.

Laurel and I went to the spring dance. The nice girls like Laurel are super, sugar pie, honey bunch. When you talk to them, they don’t send off the superior vibe. They don’t try to act like all that. They aren’t prissy girls, running around all the time, trying to make a ruckus of things. Laurel is probably my best friend who’s not a guy, except for my gal Madison at summer camp. Laurel and like a lot of the same things and she’s easy to talk to.

If you go to a St. Mel’s dance or any other Catholic school dance, you have to have a date. You can’t go by yourself, or one of your friends, or with the crew. If you talked to the Dean and made your case, I’m sure you could, but then why would you want to go? Everybody would know you plead yourself out.

I wanted to bring someone who was a girl, and it came to me, why don’t I bring a friend. “I could ask someone I’m good friends with, and it would be a lot of fun,” I thought it up to myself in my bedroom. So, I brought Laurel. I danced with her all night, too, but no grinding. OH, GOD, NO!

Bigger Blaze, one of my better friends in math class, brought a girl. It didn’t work out, though, for good reason. Blaze is pale, has ginger hair, and loves his iPod. He had his buds on all the time, staring at the iPod in his hand, and walking in circles instead of dancing. While he was going solitary, I thought, “Why would you come, anyway?” His girl left him milling around solo and danced with her other friends all night.

Laurel is a nice girl, which is great for me, since there are plenty of bad girls. There are many girls who are mean and dirty. They are exactly like sluts. The bad girls don’t believe in love or respect. They just believe in teasing. Oh, God, YEAH! You can tell by how the bad girls act and dress. They all wear boaters most of the time. They all like to be casual most of the time. It’s a front since they are NEVER casual.

They are all fourteen years old and all over guys. “Oh, my God, I love you.” I hear them saying it all the time to whoever has just stepped off the handsome hunk bus.

The other project they all have is to date a butt load of guys. The slutty girls wear short pants and short tops. They want to expose as much of themselves to guys as possible, so the guys like them. Most guys like it when their slutty crush likes them back. They call it love. I call it imagination. Their parents don’t seem to care.

Maybe their parents care to an extent, but they’re too afraid to say anything. Or maybe they care, but they think, “My child is not a bad kid. That can’t be.” Sometimes parents are just like my dog and badgers. They don’t know their own minds and they don’t want to know. They even drive their slutty daughters to see their boyfriends. That’s the moral of the story, except there’s no moral.

My dad drives us to the dances, or I ride my bike and meet my girl there. My stepmom is too busy grading work she’s brought home from school, or she has to take Jack somewhere, or she’s planning my future. I don’t walk in anybody’s shadow, but she’s always shadowing me.

There are plenty of girls who like guys who are jerks. Even some nice girls like them. Most of them are smart enough to know it’s not going to get you anywhere. They think, “Wow, he’s a jerk. Why would I ever date him?” But there are so many guys like that at St. Mel’s, and all the other schools, too, that it’s easy to fall into the pit. It’s a load of annoying. But that’s how it is.

It’s annoying because they are the kind of guys who are mean to other guys, especially the ones who are smaller than them. MIGHT MAKES RIGHT is what they all think. They think they’re better than everybody else. They know better than to get into fights at St. Mel’s because the Dean can just kick you out if he wants to, so they tend to stay away from that crap. But they are rude and pushy.

When you’re a freshman you can’t always look out for yourself. You’re outnumbered outmanned out of luck, so I play it smart.

I have some good friends, which is a good thing, especially since they are friends who are football players. They are big guys, like Sconnie and Bigger Blaze. Blaze is the boss of the hallways. When you have friends like that, and someone pushes you around, they will confront them for you. They are your friend and care about you. The IDIOTS generally leave you alone then. Sometimes, though, they have to be talked to twice. That’s because they’re not just idiots, they’re weasels who just don’t care.

That’s when Bigger Blaze steps in. That’s when the fire goes out of them. That’s when they start to care.

When you’re a freshman the other freshmen who think they’re cool, and believe they’re more at the top, are kind of retarded, although you can’t tell them that. They don’t care. Once you get into the sophomores and juniors, especially the juniors and seniors, it’s the fun guys who are at the top. The retards either stop being that way, or they trickle away. It’s because, truly, nobody likes a jerk. When you get older and you’re still like that, stuck in the tard turd bin, my friends and I don’t like you. Neither does anybody else.

It’s all about how you act. Clothes are something, to an extent, but nobody cares what you wear. It’s all about what you do and say. A jerk in a million-dollar suit is still a jerk in a million-dollar suit. The Toad Family is proof of that. The sons of St. Mel’s don’t stand for random grown-ups in silk suits!

It’s unbelievable how many grown-ups are like that. It sometimes seems that there are more of them than most of the rest. My dad’s boss, Ken the Toad, is a complete d-bag, a total D. He Jew baits and calls black people niggers. He hates anyone who works with their hands. The only thing he did with his hands at their boring Christmas party was drink his booze and wave them around like he had something to say.

“Unions and niggers,” he said at my dad’s sad stupid company Christmas party that I had to go to with him and my stepmom. “They’re all trying their hardest to live off us, the people who really work in this country.” The party was in their custom-built party room upstairs, in their custom-built building in Brookpark, right next to Holy Cross Cemetery. It’s the biggest Catholic graveyard in all of Cleveland. It’s where all the policemen and firemen and mayors go when it’s all over.

“Where’s my latte?” dad says Ken the Toad is always shouting out the door of his office. “Get to work, let’s get some orders going, what the hell are you all doing?”

Ken the Bossman with his swank blond hair and FBI chin raises his kids like he’s the boss man day and night, except when he’s ignoring them. I don’t understand how his wife stands him because she’s so nice. She should dump his butt and put his billboard face away. She should have him arrested and he could go to jail for a year-or-two. His butt hole would be the size of a silver dollar.

Although, maybe she can’t, maybe he just dominates her.

There are plenty of guys at St. Mel’s who are JUST LIKE THE TOAD. Matt is one of them. He’s always messing with me in the hallways, at least until Big Blaze settles things down for a few weeks. Matt’s kind of sloppy and kind of ugly and thinks he’s kind of good at football. The truth is he’s a third-string lineman sitting at the end of the bench. He’s not even a guard. He’s a tackle. He just stands around on the field. Matt’s a jerk-off and he acts like it, too. He’s not in any of my classes, thank God!

I run into him in the halls all the time. He lurks in the shadows.

“Sebastian, you’re so dumb, you need to shut up,” he says, edging at me, nudging me toward a wall.

“Dude, get away from me, I’m not going to listen to you.”

I’ve told him more than once to stay away from me. At lunch and in the library, whenever he sees me, he makes a point of saying his butt load of crap.

“Nobody likes you,” I told him.

“You mean you don’t like me,” he laughed.

He has a little mouth, little eyes, and little ears. His neck is bigger than his face. When we’re standing face to face, I am staring straight at his blotchy fat neck. When he’s walking away from me down the hallway, shuffling and swaggering, all I see is his big broad dark humpback and slouchy butt.

I never mouth off to guys. It’s not worth it in the long run. I play it smart. If someone gets in my face once, it’s, “Hey, whatever.” I can deal with it. But when they do it a couple of times, then they’ve started to get in my way. That’s when I tell my boys and they talk to whoever needs to be talked to.

“Lookee here, leave him alone,” is what they basically say, and the rest is body language. All I ever have to do is tell one or two of my boys and they always take care of business. Oh, YEAH! You make friends and they become the friends you care about. Matt doesn’t mess with me much anymore. He learned his lesson one day when Bigger Blaze manhandled him in the shadows.

The last day before Spring Break the main music man at St. Mel’s walked into the lunchroom and came right up to me.

“Hey, babe,” he said, in his fake Jamaican accent. I didn’t know what it was all about. Seth is the music man and he seemed happy as a lark. He’s a DJ and goes to raves. I thought that was what he was happy about. Seth’s fifteen years old and takes pills when he DJ’s. Nobody can tell him anything, not us, not the teachers, not his parents. He shrugs everybody off like cotton balls.

Raves are dance parties where you go crazy. Sometimes guys drink at them, which is what they usually do. They do that, and go crazy, and do pills. The only pills I ever take are the Tylenol kind, when I don’t feel good. Getting high on pills, or whatever, isn’t worth it in the long run. I have better things to do, like playing sports and hanging out with my friends.

Sports are better than drugs because you can’t get a bad high. Rocking it is always a good high, most of the time, unless you get rocked from the side when you didn’t see it coming. You can have a bad low, but not a bad high. When you get high on drugs it feels good at first, but then it just gets bad.

The kids who do drugs get bad worse the worst grades. All of them do, every single one I know, and every single one everybody else knows. I don’t have any friends who do drugs. But guys do drugs at school all the time. Everybody knows. There are definitely a lot more of them than the teachers know about. There are a butt load more, believe me. Most of them are older guys, of course. I know some of them.

Johnny is everybody’s favorite doper. He’s a senior, a white boy, and kind of lanky tall. He has short brown hair, and is strong, definitely very lean muscular. Everybody on the cross-country team knows him, although he only runs by himself and for himself. He would be the frontrunner on the team if he was on it, but he’s not.

“My sack, my junk,” he’s always saying.

He’s a party animal and smokes weed all the time. Some of the guys from the team have gone to parties with him where he just goes fun punch crazy. He gets drunk and does drugs and goes wild. It’s not like punching people, just getting excited.

The girls like him. He’s a lady’s man and all the ladies flock to him. They know the score. I’ve never actually seen him do drugs, but the cat is out of the bag. Everybody can tell what he’s been up to when he starts smiling like the Cheshire Cat, all loopy.

I don’t know what my stepmom would do if she found out I did drugs. She thinks she knows everything, since she’s a grown-up and a teacher. She’s not as smart as she says she is, but there’s no telling her anything. There is no telling grown-ups anything anytime ever. They just smile at you like the man in charge, and that’s that.  I think I would have to move out of the house, or she would make me move out. When she puts her foot down you are squashed.

I could probably always live at one of my uncle’s houses. no matter what I did. I know a few of them would have me, at least the ones who don’t think they know everything, the ones who don’t downpress you the minute you wake up in the morning. My paper boy uncle, for sure, would have, since he could use some help. He’s a doper, so my stepmom never talks about him.

Although you never know, they might leave me hanging, because might makes right. That’s how grown-ups are. You can’t trust them. They’re always up to something. Bloodshed could be is for sure in our blood, I always say. It’s not just blood is thicker than water. What choice would I have? I would have to pretend and make it work. I know how to do it and I would get it done.

My head needs a soft pillow and a good night’s sleep to stay sharp stay smart.

 

 

 

 

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