Brian took me to the drink table and waved his hand out to show me everything that was at my disposal from this big alcoholic buffet. "Pick your poison, little dude! What do you want?"
Trying to look knowledgeable with this sort of thing, I stared at the bottles and said, "Whatever is cool. It's all the same right?" Even though I was totally confused by what I was looking at.
"Not at all. You've got to know your flavors, bro." Then he asked, "Oh wait...you've never had a drink before, have you? Aw shit, dude, I'm sorry..."
Trying not to feel like too much of a novice, I said, "PSH! What? Of course I have! I usually just...I'm used to the expensive stuff. Like...ummm...like, I usually just get all wasted off of the yellow stuff over there."
"Wasted?" Jason smirked.
"Totally thrown, dude!"
Brian gave me a weird look, and Jason was like, "That's margarita mix, doofus. There's NO alcohol in that."
Ugh, why does he have to be such a jerk? "Oh...well yeah...it's not good if it doesn't have the liquor in it. I mean....am I right? Heh..." They both gave me strange looks, and I said, "I'll just take the...ummm...do you just have beer?"
Brian got a plastic red cup and filled it to the top. It was really foamy and stuff, but they looked like that were waiting for me to take a drink. Ok...so no matter WHAT it tastes like, I'm NOT gonna make a ewwwy face! Just have to force my face muscles to go limp. That's it. Now...lift the cup up, and take a decent sip.
YUCK!!! FACE, Preston! Don't make a face! I almost spit it out. My throat didn't even want to swallow it at first. I squinted my eyes shut and commanded my tongue to get out of the way and let the liquid pass. Oh gosh...it's like someone added a can of Sprite to a moldy bucket of urine! What would possess anybody to drink this stuff? I'd rather stay sober.
They were still looking at me, and with my mouth still recovering from this sickening pucker feeling, I wrinkled up my eyebrows and gave them a thumbs up. "Thatta boy!" Brian said, patting me on the back. I took another sip just to let them know I wasn't just faking it, then I said thank you and walked back over to where the girls were. I'm pouring this out the second nobody's looking. Or at least pretend to knock it over or something. Lesson learned.
I actually started to have fun once I sat down and started talking more to people. As tense as I was about fitting in, once I got some momentum going...I didn't have any problems at all. The books said that socializing isn't just about talking, but about listening. That way, you can relate with the stuff you talk about. And ask questions! I remembered to ask questions. This whole thing was so COOL! I was talking and saying things that I didn't even realize I was saying. And the girls laughed! Making cute girls laugh is like...the most magical thing in the world. Every time I said something funny and they laughed, I'd get the most humiliating blush on my face. I couldn't help it. They thought it was cute though, so...maybe I can use that kind of thing to my advantage.
The bad thing is...the other boys at the party started looking over at our table and wondering why all the girls at the party were giving ME their undivided attention. I don't think they liked that very much.
Especially Jason. I think the girl I was talking to the most, Deanna, was his girlfriend or something. Or at least somebody that he wanted to talk to tonight. He kept looking over at the table, and practically snarling at me from a distance.
Finally, he starts walking over to us and I started cringing immediately. "Deanna, what are you doing? Why don't you come over here and have a few drinks with the rest of us for a while?" He said.
"Why?" She asked.
"I thought you wanted to have a good time tonight, babe."
"I am having a good time. I'm talking to Preston." She said. No no no...leave me out of this!
My adrenaline was pumping so hard that I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. Then Jason turned up his nose at me and grumbled, "Are you really going to WASTE this whole night on this pipsqueak?"
"God, Jason! Don't be mean!" Deanna said.
Another girl said, "Leave him alone. He's not bugging anybody. Don't be an asshole."
Jason said, "He IS bugging somebody, he's bugging ME, and he's fucking up the whole vibe of this party!"
I don't know if it was some kind of weird itch being triggered in my male pride, or if it was a reaction to the hurtful comments and treatment, but I suddenly sat up straight and said, "HEY!!!" It probably didn't help that my voice squeaked when I said. Stupid puberty. I say ONE tough word to another boy, and it decides to squeak. Stupid.
Jason said, "He doesn't even belong here!" Then he looks directly at me and says, "You're out of place, kid!"
Deanna said, "Knock it off!"
"Are you kidding me? You'd really rather spend the whole night talking to a NINE YEAR OLD???"
I heard myself yell, "I'm THIRTEEN!" But I'm not sure where the confidence came from.
He sneered, "Where are your parents?"
"Where are YOUR parents???" I shouted, angrily! I'm sick of him being a weeny! He's not even that much older than me. And not HALF as smart! Who is HE to treat me like a baby?
Deanna stuck up for me. Saying, "What's your problem? Are you pissed because we can actually have an intelligent conversation with somebody instead of fighting off your lame attempts to get us drunk and give you a handjob in the cornfield?"
Wait...girls DO that? They touch your junk and do...you know...that 'activity' for you? Is it like...? Wait so...oops, sorry. Lost my concentration there for a second.
"It would be better than hearing about this kid's adventures with his teddy bear all night. I mean, c'mon, Deanna! LOOK at him! His BALLS haven't even dropped yet!"
Now wanting to irritate Jason even more, I turned to Deanna with a dreamy look and a smile, and I said, "Don't worry, baby girl. My balls dropped months ago..." Which caused her to laugh out loud.
Other girls started laughing too, and a few of the boys too. Embarrassed, Jason got really really ANGRY! "Alright, dipshit! It's time you went to go find a fucking sandbox to play in!" He roughly grabbed my by the arm with his big ol' monster hands and yanked me up from the table.
"Owwwww!!!" I cried out, and Deanna got up and pushed him off of me.
"Don't put your hands on him! What's the matter with you???"
"FUCK that kid!" He yelled.
"FUCK YOU TOO!!!" I think...ummm...ok, so I think my adrenaline was a little out of control at that point. I gasped out loud, putting my hand over my mouth in shock after what I just screamed at him. Oh man, I swear I could see the blood boiling in his veins now. He pushed Deanna out of the way and looked like he was going to hurt me. I just...I REACTED, alright?
When he stepped to me, I super flinched, and I reached for my cup...which I had barely taken more than three sips out of...and I tossed the whole thing in his FACE! It was, like...a knee jerk reaction or something. I gasped a second time, this time putting both hands over my mouth as my eyes sprung wide open and I stood in front of this towering giant before me.
Oh shit. Oh...oh SHIT! He was soooo wet! From head to toe, hair to his sneakers. You would never think that little red cup held so much liquid. The whole party went silent for a second. Frozen. They all seemed just as shocked as I was. The utter rage that built up in Jason's nearly took my breath away, and I tried to find the courage to say I was sorry and that I didn't mean it.
That's when he said, "You are SO dead!" He reached our with both hands to grab me by the shirt, even with other people telling him to leave me alone, and I knew that things were about to get dangerous.
I immediately hopped backwards, my butt landing on the table, and I put my feet on the seat in front of me to push off and sommersault backwards to get away from him! I rolled until I was on the other side of the table. Jason went right, and I went left. Then Jason went left, and I went right. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean it!" I whimpered.
"I'm gonna choke the living SHIT out you, kid!!!" He screamed, still trying to get around that table so he get his murderous hands on me!
I zigged and I zagged, and then he stepped up on the seat and the table to jump over and get me! "Sorry, ladies!" I squeaked as I suddenly wiggled my way between them to crawl up under the table and evade getting my butt kicked. I came out on the other side, and got some distance away from him.
"What are you guys doing? GRAB HIM!!!" Jason shouted to a few of his friends. Great, now I had FOUR boys chasing me! They tried to grab me by the arms, by the shoulders, by the legs...but if it's one thing that I know how to do...it's RUN! By the time I finished changing direction, spinning in circles, and squirming between their legs...they were doing more damage to each other than they were to me. "Fucking...CATCH that little shit!"
"We're TRYING!!!" Another boy shouted just before I caused him and his friends' heads to collide hard enough to knock them both down. They both hollered out in pain and laid on the ground, holding their faces.
"Oh no! I'm sorry!" I said.
But Jason was already coming after me again. "Come here! Little fucker! ARRRGHHH!!!"
Running away, I shouted out to Deanna, "Look me up on Facebook!!!" And I hightailed it towards the farmhouse at top speed! Jason chased me all the way to the front porch, and I knew that he wasn't going to stop until he hurt me bad. I was quickly running out of places to dash off to. I know that he was getting super tired...but so was I. I couldn't run forever.
"I said I was SORRY! Ok? What'd I do???" I said.
"When I catch you, you're going to FEEL it! Get over here!"
"NO! Lemmee alone! Bully! This is bullying! I've seen it on TV!"
"GET OVER HERE!!!"
He lunged forward and grabbed me by the hair! It really hurt in a major way, but before he could get a good grip on me and yank a patch right out at the roots, I stomped on his foot but GOOD!!! He screamed in pain and let me go. I gave him another kick in the shin too, just 'cause I was mad at him for pulling my hair! Then I found a tiny little space under the front porch that I could crawl into, so I ducked down and got on my hands and knees to scamper up under the steps. Jason tried to follow me in, but his big broad shoulders wouldn't let him squeeze into the same space without getting stuck. His angry footsteps were kicking up dust as he moved back and forth, trying to get under that porch. A few times he dropped down and tried to reach in and snatch a piece of me again, but I was much too quick for him. He cursed at me a whole bunch, but he wasn't going to trick ME into getting a beating! No way!
That's when I found a tiny little basement window up against the old house. It was just big enough for me to wiggle through. Ummm...at least, I HOPE it is! So I crawled and crawled and I pushed on the window. No lock! Oh wow, I'm so glad there was no lock on that window! That was 'convenient', huh? Whatever. If it keeps me away from Jason's snarling and hissing and cursing, then so be it.
It was a tight fit, but I managed to worm my way inside the house just as Jason was trying to see if any of his friends would be small enough to climb in after me. I doubt they were though. Good!
I had to drop down a bit to the floor, and hurt my elbow, but at least I was out of harms way. I held my arm and got up to my feet to close the window back and lock it. I put my hand over my heart as I tried to catch my breath. God, I had gotten so DIRTY running and rolling around in the stupid farm dirt! And I left my backpack out by the table! I ruined everything. No...actually Jason ruined everything! And it's not fair! So not fair!
I've got to find a way to get out of here and just...I don't know...get out of here without Jason and his goons seeing me. And I'd better do it before they figure out a way into this house. If that happens, they'll come down into this basement and get me! I need an escape route! I need to find a window or a secret back door, or a...or like a...
My eyes looked across the basement, and I found myself losing my train of thought as I noticed something sitting at the bottom of the steps. I walked around a shelf or two, and a dusty old barbecue grill, to see if I could get a better look at it.
It was a big suitcase. Right there at the foot of the staircase as if it had just been tossed down there for no reason. The thing is...it was packed. It had come undone and there were clothes and shoes and a razor and a toothbrush...
That's weird. I thought Old Man Simpson was going on vacation this weekend? Did he leave all his stuff here? Why the heck would he do that?
I heard a noise upstairs in the house somewhere.
"Hello?" I asked.
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