Oh, Balls

By
“Michael, get down here now!” I awoke to my mom screaming up the stair at a still sleepy me. It was a Monday, and she needed to be at work early. She had preached to me about it the night before, but I somehow slept though my alarm clock. I jumped out of bed, slipped through my pants into my shoes. With my eyes closed with sleep, I flew down the stairs, writhing into my shirt as I went. My backpack leaned against the foot of the stairs, still dreaming of the weekend. I wrenched it from its resting place, jolting my silent companion from its slumber. I grabbed the keys from the kitchen table, and together, my backpack and I, marched toward the school day, like convicts to the gallows.
My mom was waiting for me in the minivan.
“Michael, I don’t know if you’re going to be able to drive to school this year, if you can even get out of bed when I call you,” Mom said. The lecture continued all the way to her office. She yapped about her disappointment in me, I stayed silent. I pulled up to her office, and she said goodbye, still harassing me about my irresponsibility.
Finally I was alone. For a few blessed minutes nothing existed except for me, the minivan, and 98.9 the Rock. I parked my car in the stadium parking lot with half an hour before school started. I already hated this day.
A few of my friends sat in the sophomore locker area when I come in, the first good news all day.
“Hey Michael, how’s it going?” Blake asked as I plopped down beside him.
“Today has been complete shit,” I replied to his small talk. I brought all my friends up to speed on my day. They offered their heartfelt condolences. Blake even offered me a listen on his Ipod.
The conversation continued on around me, but I was oblivious, too busy selecting which band would relieve my stress or at least help me be pissed off. My friends shifted position in the locker area, and I moved with them. “Walk” by Pantera came screaming in over the headphones. I had found my music. We leaned against the windows and I still wasn’t paying much attention to anything but the anger pounding through my ears. My friends burst out laughing, pointing at me. I pulled a single ear bud out.
“What?” I asked, wondering what other horrible feature they had just added to my life.
“Nothing, Feltheim, forget about it,” replied Matt Siler.
Maybe it was his tone; maybe it was all the other crap that had happened that day, whatever it was, it was enough. I snapped. I swung my foot back into the ready position, locked and loaded. From there it was a short journey to its destination: the groin of Matt Siler. Upon connection, our expressions changed: mine went from one of anger to one of victory over a worthy adversary. Matt’s face changed from one of merriment to one of utter surprise and pain.
Ah, Victory was mine. Matt sunk to his knees, slowly, defeated. It was perfect; my day was no longer worthless. Matt curled himself into a ball on the floor. My chest swelled with pride. I raised my arms in jubilation. This was my moment, and no one could take it away from me. No one, that is, except for Matt Siler.
It was like Hartigan still saving Nancy, even after being shot a dozen times. It was like Edward Norton surviving after he blew his brains out. It was like Jesus rising again on the third day after being crucified. Matt heaved himself back up to his knees, and BAM! He uppercutted me, right in the nut sack.
Matt and I sank into the fetal position, trying to protect ourselves from any further assault. We laughed in between the pangs of anguish. We silently acknowledged that we were both justified in our actions and no retaliation was necessary.
It was still another twenty minutes until school started, and we didn’t move the whole time. We were too busy laughing to move. But the bell finally rung, sending us both limping off to our destinations.

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