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How to Save a Life

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What never comes up, whenever that day in the locker room enters my unfortunate attention, is that John was home sick that day. Well I say home sick. The reality was he got so drunk the night before that he slept through his alarm, woke up hung over, and figured fuck it, sick day. I was in the hospital when John told me that.

John had gym right after I did so he was always my stopgap. Whatever they did, there wasn’t time for it to get out of hand before John showed up ready to tear shit up and rat bitches out. He wasn’t there to call time on their playtime the day I lost it.

John knowing his part in what happened to me was why he ended up crying sober in front of me for the first time in all our years of friendship. He didn’t apologize, just let big tears roll down his face as he looked for a dick joke to make.

The thing is. The thing is when I think about that whole nightmare I can’t call it what it is. The R word. Fucked. Used. Turned out. Prison yard shit. But not the R word. That didn’t happen to me even in my head if I don’t use the word.

Look at that mouth, you wrecked him; that is what Billy said. Such a sweet ass, tight like a pussy. I hear his voice when the sauce goes bad and the laughter of the other guys as they take their turns with me.

The strangest thing is they didn’t hit me when they did it. They just held me down. Their mistake. Their big fucking mistake. Aside from the internal injury and a sore jaw, I was fit as a goddamn fiddle when I jumped Billy, when I took him down and started stabbing, stabbing, stabbing meanwhile I’m roaring and sobbing and slicing his eyeballs to ribbons until one of his jock friends punched me so hard my skull fractured. They kicked the shit out of me but by then someone had heard me and-

Kids notice when not one but two ambulances show up at their high school. Word gets around fast, even to the loser stoner home “sick.”

And the kicker was I didn’t tell John what they did. He came in, looked at my face, and he knew. I always meant to ask him how. I never did.

He sat down in the chair beside my bed while my parents were out of the room and said “They should all fucking die for this,” then started to cry and I, shit, I did too. It’s the only time I ever cried over happened. I needed it. I can admit that at least, and it was all John. John let me have it.

He doesn’t believe me still. But right then, John Cheese saved my fucking life.