Toby Williams: Chapter Four

by admin on April 22, 2011

Toby Williams

Chapter Four

“Rockgate” had not turned out to be that big of a deal after all was said and done. Sure, both sets of parents were upset and worried about the boys going back to the woods behind the pharmacy, but a night out at Pizza Hut with both the families in attendance quickly and decisively put an end to future explorations by the adventurous duo. In the time it took to devour two pan pizza Supremes served with breadsticks and two pitchers of Coca-Cola, the parents told Toby and Keith both that if another such incident were to occur where one of them hurt the other, even if it was just in play, that the two of them would be banned from seeing each other for the remainder of the summer. Furthermore, if the woods ever came into play again, that they would never see the light of day except to go to school and help with yard work around the house. This last threat would last throughout the oncoming school year.

At ten, nothing your parents said regarding deals was fair, and for Toby and Keith, the last stipulations were of no exception. They had both agreed although not wholly to not deviate from what was asked of them by their parents. With heads bowed down, both of them staring at the red and white checkered tablecloth spread over the wood laminated tables that Pizza Hut provided for its patrons, their parents seated on each side of them, they had both apologized for the past transgressions they had committed and to never, never put their parents and themselves through that again. Ever. Meanwhile under the table, two sets of hands had fingers crossed, a sure sign of the rebellious nature of young men to be. The bill was split between the parents of both boys and ‘goodbye’s’ and ‘lets do this again soon’s’ were exchanged, once everyone was in the restaurants parking lot, the boys high-fiveing each other once they were sure their parents couldn’t see them. This would not have been good for them as they were supposed to be showing remorse for the actions they had committed, not celebrating being in the company of each other. As the cars departed heading in opposite directions, both boys sat in the backseat looking out the back window of their parents car, waving goodbye to one another as the distance increased between them thirty to forty miles per hour at a time. Soon the cars dropped out from one another’s view totally and both families arrived home safely, full stomachs leading the way to a peaceful nights rest for all.

The remainder of the summer, two weeks total, the boys spent in each others home, having long given up on the idea of exploring, deciding to behave as good sons should, at least until school started or Rockgate blew over, settled down. Both sets of parents worked so this left ample time for Toby, Keith and curiosity to explore their new frontier, one another’s home. They would rotate days: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays would be spent in Keith’s house rummaging through things, while Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent in Toby’s searching for… well, that they weren’t actually sure of. All they knew was that this was almost as fun as the woods had been. Almost.

The ‘treasure’ that they uncovered was more than what they had bargained for, with a lot of it leaving them wondering what were their parents thinking of when they had purchased the item. From Keith’s house they had come across a stuffed wall mounted big-mouthed bass buried within a navy blue service locker that was his fathers from his days as an E6 petty officer in the navy. Also contained within the locker was the uniform Keith’s father had worn during his tour of duty. Decorated with a whole slew of brass buttons and multi-colored pins, the jacket was tried on repeatedly by the two boys, alternating days when each one would sport it while further investigating the house.

The locker was only one of many things Keith’s attic had to offer in the way of clothing. Many of his mother’s dress hats were discovered closed up in round circular boxes complete with lids. There were hats with fake flowers of various colors around their brims, hats with brims and without, hats that caused the boys to wonder where and when they would be worn, as they appeared to be somewhat in bad taste to them. An old Singer sewing machine was found under a white sheet, its large black metal frame almost making it invisible in the attic’s limited light, as it was away from the attic’s one window, shoved back in the dark right hand corner of the room.

At one time Keith’s parents must have been garage sale afficiados because they owned the wildest assortment of China sets, antique bicycles from makers such as Schwinn and Huffy which hung precariously from the racks bolted to the attic’s ceiling, their spokes intertwined with spider webs, and crate after crate of old vinyl records. The records wee a mixture of 78’s, 45’s, and full albums from primarily the seventies with artist such as Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, Elton John, and The Carpenters dominating the bulk of the collection, while Carly Simon, America, Cheap trick and Supertramp were sprinkled throughout rounding out the collection. Dust covered and a bit on the moldy smelly side, the friends looked upon the vinyl as a more than decent explanation for the behavior of Keith’s parents. Not to say that there seemed to be a recording artist that explained their wild mood swings in each of the crates, seven in all that the boys came across in the attic.

Out of Toby’s house, the garage was the place for their explorations. The mother lode, the jackpot of their two weeks was discovered there between the two lawnmowers, empty paint cans filled with nails and screws, and old, antiquated garden tools such as a hedge cutter and pruner from last years failed attempt at pruning by Toby’s father, failed being the operative word. In the back corner of the garage, behind the small woodpile leftover from the out of the ordinary mild winter, was an old milk crate, more than likely bought home from work by the elder Williams. Its contents were the stuff of dreams for young men worldwide. This one discovery made everything else found that summer pale in comparison. Even the old foreign coins that were found in Keith’s attic had not come near the magnitude or importance of this one find; not even on the same playing field. It was amazing what an old quilt covered milk crate filled with pornography could do to the minds of such impressionable young men.

‘The Collection’ as it was referred to by Keith and Toby, was a plethora of VHS and color magazines dedicated to the hardcore porn advocate. Women from all races were fully represented in the magazines, captured in positions ranging from being on their hands and knees smiling back over their shoulders, to positions that had to of required some gymnastics training in the women’s past due to the contortionist poses represented in the books. The boys liked the girls at school, but there was no way possible that the girls just starting to wear training bras would grow to closely resemble these women, the thought causing them to shake their heads in disbelief when spoken aloud to each other.

Movies with names like ‘Debbie Does Dallas’, ‘The Best of Seka Volume 2’, ‘Drive It Home’ were just a few titles in the milk crate ( twenty in all ) that were watched during those last two weeks before school began. They would wait until their parents left and go into the families living rooms, drawing the shades as not to have been seen by the roaming, nosey eyes of neighbors who lived on either side of them.

The movies were watched primarily in silence, each boy giving the screen’s content his full attention. Another thing that would be standing at attention would be their ten-year-old erections, held tight by their all white Fruit of the Looms, a tent-like shape protruding from the laps of their Indian-style folded legs. An occasional heavy gasp or rush of air would escape from one of the friends creating a spontaneous outbreak of laughter that shortly drew them away from their x-rated delight, but that would only last a minute before the two of them began concentrating on the sights and sounds of the movie before them.

Once the movies ended or once the boys stopped the movie out of overexcitement, they would walk together down to the garage to the woodpile to put back the tape, their hard-ons leading the entire way. They made sure to place everything that they took out of the milk crate back in its precise place, in its exact order as not to be blamed for discovering Toby’s dad’s stack of illicit material. The last thing both of them needed was more trouble, especially right after the whole Rockgate incident. The quilt would be placed over the crate once again, and the boys would go back in the house, erections on the way of to a state of becoming flaccid, and either continued watching television, the channel on something more ten year old boy oriented, or they would go outside to the backyard to play soccer, football or any other physical activity that helped to burn off some of that pent-up energy they seemed to have gained after viewing pornography.     The two weeks went by quicker than the two of them could have imagined. The contents had been watched and read completely and both houses had been explored and re-explored. In a small way, Keith and Toby were looking forward to school starting again. They had been somewhat popular boys in Charles Barnes Elementary, and in a course of a few years had managed to acquire a large number of friends consisting of both boys and girls. They had been away from their peers for the last three months and they honestly missed them, even if they had to go to school to see them. On the last weekend before school started, the two swore to remain friends forever, joining pinkies in a ritual passed around the world by children. Pinky swears were gospel and you don’t fuck around with gospel once it was out there. Everyone knew that. It had been an almost perfect summer. Almost

With one day before school began, Keith came over to Toby’s with a face full of pain, with eyes filled with tears. This was a look that Toby was unaccustomed to. He did not know how to react except for reaching out to his friend with his hand and placing it on his shoulder, pulling him in from off the front porch into the house that by that time was more than familiar to Keith. Once inside, Toby led his distraught friend upstairs to his room, locked the door, then the two of them sat on Toby’s bed facing each other, bracing himself for the onslaught of bad news that was inevitably coming.

It wasn’t bad. It was worse than bad. The news absolutely sucked. It would be other words but unfortunately, their ten-year-old vocabularies were limited and bad and sucked would have to suffice. What sucked, what was so bad was that Keith’s dad had just received a long overdue promotion and that the entire family was moving to Baltimore, Maryland, a move that would take place the day school started. Even though Keith had protested to his father, citing that all his friends were here and that it was unfair to have to move just as school began, the move was out of his control. Of course, this plea had fallen on deaf ears as the decision was made by his parents weeks earlier without him knowing anything about it.

Fresh tears started to flow once again from Keith’s bloodshot eyes once he saw Toby crying himself. The two sat in an awkward silence, not knowing what to another, not knowing who should speak first, each searching for the right words to comfort the other. This was something had anticipated ever happening through all the years they had known each other. There was so much to look forward to. Why did this have to happen now? Halloween was just around the corner, with Thanksgiving and Christmas following son after. Couldn’t they just have until the end of the year before the move was to take place, they both thought. Life was unfair that way, and in the time span of ten minutes, both boys had their childhood torn asunder with the news of Keith’s departure.

Nothing else was said that day between them. Nothing else could be said. Keith’s fate was sealed and all the tears in the world couldn’t change his predicament. Toby walked Keith to the front door. This time the two walked hand in hand, oblivious to how that might have been perceived had Toby’s parents witnessed such an open forum of affection. Once the door was opened, they both reached for each other, creating an embrace for the first time in their years of friendship. If anyone was to drive or walk by Toby’s house on Pier Point Place at that time, they would have seen two boys with their arms around each other, accented with tear-streaked faces. They remained that way for close to five minutes, as if they were to let go that they would lose each other for life. Of course they eventually let go, ending the hug with a promise to keep in touch no matter where the other lived.

The following morning came quicker than Toby or Keith had anticipated, and by nine or so, the movers had pulled up to the Adler residence in a green truck with the word ‘MAYFLOWER’ painted on the side of it. The movers, five in all were efficient with the removal of the Adler’s possessions, taking care as not to damage or dent any of the numerous pieces or furniture or the mountain of boxes before loading them onto the massive eighteen-wheeler. By the time Toby came back from his first day of school in the fifth grade, the yellow Merrick County public school bus stopping only two blocks from where Keith’s house stood, the Adler’s were gone without so much as a goodbye note or a trace of them ever living there, except for the mailbox with the letters A-D-L-E-R spelled out in white. It stood there alone at the end of the driveway, serving as a reminder of the friend that had left, its metal black door hanging open, vacant like the house that stood all of ten yards behind it.

Some habits die hard. The habit of calling Keith after Toby arrived home was a habit that he followed even on the last day of the Adler’s stay in Cottonmill. Toby’s fingers found the stored number on the phone’s handset, depressed the appropriate button, and at first, the phone rang its normal musical chime, giving newfound hope to Toby that maybe all of this was some elaborate hoax. It would not have surprised Toby at all; Keith was a well-known practical joker in school and at one point a terror among his neighbors, so Toby would not have put it past him. Like the time he super glued the mailboxes of the five houses on either side of his; something that was done out of pure boredom. He was caught only because his index and middle fingers accidentally became glued together. He had tried to hide it but during dinner, his parents noticed he was having extreme difficulty in cutting his sirloin steak.

His mother was irate. His father was upset as well but during the scolding that ensued, a smirk more than once broke free from the senior Adler’s mouth, putting Keith at ease with the punishment that would be issued to him. The fingers were released from their bond by generous applications of nail polish remover provided by Keith’s mother ( the smell reminded Keith of that smell that came from the frogs he dissected last year in biology class ), and the punishment was he had to mow each of the victims yards for two weeks.

Only this time, there was no practical joke. By the third ring, the automated voice theta announces disconnected numbers came through the other side of the phone’s handset.

“The number you have reached; 717-423-5512 is no longer in service. Please check the number and dial again or remain on the line for your local operator.”

There was no need for a re-dial attempt. No need to talk to an operator. There was only the need to grieve for a lost of a good friend. A friend that would be mourned as if they had died, and that was what it had felt like for Toby. Later on in the evening right as He had gotten into bed, he did something that was alien to him, foreign. He prayed. He prayed for the hurt he was feeling to go away. But what he mostly prayed for was to never feel this way again. And that was when that he had loved Keith for the good friend that he was and that he would be missed. The prayer ended with Toby vouching to never get close to anyone or anybody ever again, and if that was to happen, may God strike him down. Amen.

The time for memory lane was over. How long had he been staring at the bathroom’s medicine cabinet mirror? Its 7:45 a.m. He has fifteen minutes to get to school. With one last look in the mirror to make sure his hair was in place covering the scar over his right eye, Toby flies down the stairs using the stairway’s handrail for balance. His attire of jeans, Nike t-shirt and matching white Nike cross-trainers becoming a blur as he successfully clears the last five steps with an Olympic-sized jump. He grabs the backpack that was placed on the right size of the doors base, flings it expertly over a shoulder, and he is out the front door, locked in a full sprint towards Marshall High. The run would only take five minutes top. This was not the first time he had done this, and the school’s eight o’clock first period bell would be met with ease, with Toby having a good ten minutes to catch his breath and make any last minute adjustments to the previous night’s homework.

Yes, life was good for Toby. In his mind, it could not get any simpler. With no close relations outside his parents and a few school associates that he had to deal with on a limited basis, there was no way he could ever get hurt or love again. This suited him just fine. God was good; his prayers had been answered from childhood. Amen again.

Then Jill Harbour had come along and fucked it up for him royally.

Life’s a bitch.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pixie 09.19.11 at 11:33 pm

oh Man….made me cry….love this story:)you are very talented:))))

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