Responsibilities of Being a Man
by J. C. G. Goelz
Table of Contents|
1, 2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Kelvin Stoddard is 15 years old and in his second year of high school in Laramie, Wyoming. He feels highly loyal to and protective of his family, particularly his younger brother, who is about half Kelvin’s age; his father, who has been severely injured; and his sister April, who is more than a year older than he.
Kelvin is keenly suspicious and critical of schoolmates he considers pretentious and potentially dangerous. Cautioning his sister April against them is futile; she is as strong-willed as he is, and no younger brother is going to tell her how to lead her life. Only Kelvin’s intense feelings of fairness and justice keep his temper in check. That is, until actions incur consequences.
In parts 7 and 8, Sterling takes April to a “party” to which he has invited two fellow members of the second-string football team. Kelvin and Jimmy intervene. The result is coarse language and extreme violence. Reader discretion is advised.
We left Jimmy’s house around eight-thirty. It was about a twenty-minute walk, and we were carrying some gear. April’s movie would get out around nine, so we would have to wait for about a half-hour, even if she and Sterling came right here without stopping. I didn’t think Sterling would want to wait to get some frozen yogurt after the show; I figured they’d come straight to Peckinpaw.
We had a big flannel blanket to hunker down under while we were waiting. It was going to be cold that night. We each put some snacks and a bottle of water in our jackets, and I carried my titanium rod. It made me feel kinda safe somehow, like maybe some guy with a sword cane might feel.
You didn’t think of it as a weapon, but knew it could be one if you needed it. The weight was a lot more than a cheerleader’s baton, and I could feel the muscles of my forearms pump up when I spun it around. I would have liked to bring my pump-action twelve-gauge, but my folks would have killed me if I used it for intimidation, even if it was unloaded.
There wasn’t any moon, but there were plenty of stars in the sky. We sat down under the blanket about forty yards off the parking lot. There was one pickup parked there when we arrived, but it wasn’t Sterling’s. He had the biggest, highest pickup truck in school, although he drove it only around town.
We talked some about Friday’s game, and a little about school.
Then Jimmy asked me, “Do you think April might go out with me if we get her away from Sterling?”
To be honest, I had mixed feelings about that. Jimmy was my friend, and I’d take a bullet for him, and I thought he’d be a hell of a lot better for April than Sterling would, but I really didn’t want to lose him as a friend. If he dated April, we’d only see each other in class or when we played ball. I was already resigned to not getting a girlfriend until next year, and I didn’t know what I would do in my free time if I didn’t have him.
“I don’t know. She might think of you as a sort of brother. She thinks both of us are just kids.” I wanted to throw him a bone. “But I bet that will all change after we get out of high school.”
“She graduates next year. Has she said what she’s going to do?”
“I think she’s planning on going to Wyoming, in nursing. She could stay at home to save money.”
“I bet they’ll offer me a scholarship, if I don’t blow out a knee.”
“Jimmy, you listen to me.” I jabbed my gloved finger into his chest. “You are not going to the stinking University of Wyoming, do you hear me? You are going to Stanford or some place like that!”
“I could get a good education there, they have some good programs in—”
“Jimmy, you can get a good education at the University of Phoenix, but if you go to the University of Wyoming, I am going to beat the crap out of you, do you hear me? You’re the only kid in school that’s smarter than me, and you gotta make us all proud.”
“We could all go together—”
“Jimmy, you’re starting to make me mad. You just scored a thirty-five ACT as a sophomore, and you have to go to a school where everyone else isn’t a drooling moron in comparison.”
“Look, a truck is coming.”
Sure enough, a big pickup truck was rolling up the gravel road to the parking lot. Considering how high the lights were, and how many lights there were, this was Sterling’s truck for sure. We waited until it came to a stop and turned out its lights. We stowed the blanket, but I took the titanium rod for security.
We bent down, our gloved hands brushing the ground as we made our way through the brush to the edge of the parking lot. While we could clearly see the rear and passenger-side windows, we couldn’t see inside. We waited there for what seemed forever, but was probably only a minute or two. Then we saw the truck start to rock. Jimmy looked to me and whispered, “We go together.”
Before we had a chance to sneak up behind the truck, the brake lights turned on, and steam began to pour out of the tailpipe. We didn’t know what was going on. Was it too cold without running the heater? Did April haul off and slap Sterling, ending the date? The backup lights came on, and Jimmy and I lay flat on the ground. The truck eased back, then moved forward, but took a different road out of the parking lot.
“They’re going to Sterling’s house,” said Jimmy.
“We’ve got them now. My mom will kill them!” I thought what Sterling had in mind for my sister was probably worse than death, and I couldn’t let that happen. Not with him.
Jimmy and I looked at each other for a second, then I said, “I’ll beat you there,” and I began to tear off through the woods, mindless of the branches that whipped me. It didn’t take too long for Jimmy to catch up with me, but then he paced himself to my gait. We ran in the woods along the lake. After about a five-minute jog, we came to a stop outside the Richardson property.
I was breathing heavily, and Jimmy asked me, “Are you OK?” I nodded, taking in a few long breaths.
“Are you ready?” I asked him.
“Yep. You have a plan?”
“There’s no way my mom would give permission for her to come here. I say we just confront them and negotiate a resolution for you, me, and April to go straight home.”
“Sounds good. They’re caught, and they’ll know it. There shouldn’t be too much trouble.”
We stepped over the culvert and down Sterling’s driveway. It was a big house on a slope overlooking the lake, the backyard facing the shore. It had two stories, and a walkout basement that led right to an in-ground swimming pool, and a surrounding patio that extended all the way to the lake shore.
It looked like just about every light was on in the house, and halogen yard lights flooded the front and back yards. The driveway forked, with one fork going down to the patio and garage to the left, and another that went up to the right, and to the front door of the house.
Sterling’s truck was parked down next to the patio, and a few vehicles were parked on the drive in front of the house. His parents must have guests for dinner or something. I hope Mr. Richardson didn’t bring McDonald’s home for his visitors!
Jimmy and I hunkered down furtively as we walked down the drive to the patio. Once we passed the truck, we could see the big sliding glass doors that allowed access to the basement from the patio. They had some kind of recreation room set up in there with a big bar with a half-dozen stools, and couches and chairs for entertaining.
Sterling and April weren’t alone. I saw April getting shoved back and forth between Sterling and three other of the second-team football players, and her coat was opened up, and maybe her blouse, too. What the hell was this?
Jimmy must have seen it too, because he was the first one to the sliding door, but I was the first one through it, and I held my rod like I was some kind of martial arts star and I yelled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing to my sister?”
Jimmy yelled, “Leave her alone.” They let April go, and she moved to the side, away from them but away from us, too.
Sterling just stood there, smug and smiling. I guess he figured the three other guys had his back. “What the hell are you little pricks doing here? Did you come here to get what she’s gonna get?” The asshole was laughing at me!
I swung the rod at him, picturing how it was going to cave in his head like it looked when a car ran into a light post. I didn’t care if I was going to spend the rest of my life in jail.
But the rod thudded into the ceiling, and the shock reverberated in my arms and shoulders. Sterling grabbed the rod from me and clobbered Jimmy on the head. Jimmy went down like a sack of grain.
I reached out for the rod, but Sterling swung it and hit me in the side. I literally went flying through the air. When I landed, I could hardly breathe. I thought he’d broken a couple of my ribs. He jumped on me, and I really couldn’t breathe because he pressed the rod down on my neck. I tried to push it away, but I think I blacked out.
I seem to remember getting manhandled and, when I finally became aware of where I was, I was sitting on a cold concrete floor, wearing only my T-shirt. They’d even taken off my socks. My arms were around a four-inch diameter steel pole that supported a steel I-beam that held up all the joists for the first floor. My hands were posed like I was praying, and my wrists were wrapped with duct tape. I saw Jimmy in a similar position at a pole about eight feet away from me. He was moving, but I didn’t know if he was conscious yet, and he had a huge knot on his forehead.
My heart really sank when I saw April. She was face down on some sort of old sofa, except it didn’t have a back, and only had one sort-of arm and four round wooden legs about six inches high. I didn’t know if it was a chaise, but it kinda looked like that kind of lawn chair, except it was upholstered in some weird textured fabric that looks like it came from the 1950’s.
Her wrists and ankles were duct-taped to the legs of the furniture, and she was completely naked and crying, and it looked like she’d been roughed up some, because she had some red marks on her legs and back.
I saw Sterling and the three other guys, Tommy Hathcock, a backup linebacker and tight end; Bobby Bartholomew, a backup cornerback and tailback; and Grant Griffin, a backup nose guard and offensive guard. All of them were wearing their football jerseys, their socks and their briefs, and that was all.
Grant feathered his finger along the side of April’s body, trying to tickle her. All four of them had been drinking heavily, and probably doing other things, too.
I said, “This is one screwed-up situation, Sterling, but if you let us go now, we can avoid a catastrophe.” I could tell April heard me, but I wasn’t sure about Jimmy.
“Oh, things are screwed up all right,” said Sterling. “Do you know what’s really going to get screwed?” He just laughed. He was drunk or high or something. “Your asshole is going to get fucked, and so is Mr. Star Quarterback’s asshole, and we are going to ream out both of your sister’s holes.”
“Come on, Sterling, you know you won’t get away with something like that.”
“Oh, I’ll get away with it. I’ve brought girls here before, and no one has said a thing. With my dad’s money, I’m invincible, ain’t nothing can touch me. When we’re through with you, we are going to take your bodies to the curve in the railroad track and, when the four-thirty train comes through, there won’t be enough left of your bodies for anyone to ever know what happened to you.
“If they catch us, we’ll tell them we fought back when you attacked us, that we panicked when we realized we killed you and made a mistake trying to dispose of your bodies. My daddy’s lawyer will make sure I don’t get more than a slap on the wrist.”
That was when I started crying. Sterling didn’t have a mind for school or football, but he seemed to have a talent for rape and murder. He dispensed Viagra to the other boys from a trial pack he had. They washed them down with a MonStar energy drink.
I refuse to describe many details of what happened, but they mostly paid attention to April. She tried to remain stoic until Grant sodomized her and found he liked it. Sterling convinced him that boy ass felt even better, and both he and Grant took Jimmy, who wasn’t even conscious. I think that’s a good thing; at least he never knew it happened.
I don’t hate gays, but when heterosexual boys anally rape another heterosexual guy, those bastards deserve to die, I don’t care what anyone says. They all deserved to die for raping April, but some depravity just seems hard to fathom.
They hadn’t gotten to me yet. I swear that’s true. I swear to God that’s true, but Bobby Hathcock shot his load in my ear when he jerked off while he watched Sterling with April. In my stinking ear!
The whole time this went on, I was trying to get my hands free. I had moved them around enough that I could slip my wrists one past the other, but only a few inches, and the tape was too tight to slip my wrists out of its windings.
Jimmy finally came to, and he began to cry when he saw what was happening to April. I was just about cried out by this point.
Then Sterling said, “It’s your turn, little guy.”
Copyright © 2019 by J. C. G. Goelz