Break the Bread
Author's note: I started this novel in March 2010. I stopped writing it in June this year. While writing this... Show full author's note »
Henry part 1There she is. Coming out of the girls’ locker room. Not a sweat but containing an aura. Of sweet smelling perfume. Her bod-revealing shorts. They are never too short. The tight shirt. Never too tight. Her clothes hug her, her confidence is wearing off to him. It is he, confidence carrying Henry. The confident man. There she is, Sarah Button walking out, her dark red hair blowing in the wind. Is it windy?? Or another figure of his illusions??
“Hey Henry” the illusions say.
REALITY: Elvis Presly wig: $18 CVS: Halloween costume section (or costume’s galore!!) . Ages 10 and under. The closest to black spikes. Henry had worn it today, being that today was when he planned for the illusion to go somewhere that wasn’t inside his head. It was because of it, that he could not tell whether all the sweat on his forehead was from the wig or if he was a nervous wreck. Henry feared the sweat would collide with his mother’s shirt, therefore the shirt clinging to his body.
Henry was not a buff guy. He had flabby arms, a stomach inherited by his grandfather and the rest was just plain ugly. Or ugli-ER in his use of term. It was a bit normal that he was wearing his mother’s shirt because frankly it was the ‘coolest’ shirt in the house. (it was an understatement to say his mother was a tomboy).
He had now realized how mistakable it was that he wore baggy shorts. Comfortable? Yes. Underdressed in the presence of the Queen of hotness? YES.
In a way Henry and Sarah had a soon-to-be story similar to those stories of couples where the girl’s a cheerleader and the guy’s a geek. Or like that really old song where a mystery dude sings
Just a small town girl.
Living in a lonely world.
Just a city boy
Just as soon as he got her confidence to walk up and be dark and mysterious and win her heart over Cerberus (the ancient Greek 3 headed dog that guarded the Underworld, known as ‘home to the devil’). Yeah, Henry was a geek with a capital G. In mystical stories, that is. True he was your average, ordinary American 9th grader, but still a mystical story geek all the same. In his mind, Anis, Mason, and Sinai were Cerberus. 3 heads? Sure. But all with the same level of ferociousness. And the beautiful cheerleader, walks right past him, not acknowledging his existence, nor his Elvis Presley wig. Walked right past him, before he could even thinks of words to say that would make himself dark and mysterious and send shivers down her spine. A buff non-figure of his imagination (unfortunately) comes up from behind and grabs Sarah, Henry’s beautiful queen………………..Instead of wrapping his arm around her waist, his arm goes lower……………..
Until Anis’ real-life hand grabs Sarah Button’s real-life butt.
In reflex, her arm goes around his shoulder. No protest. No girl should be treated like that, beauty queen or ugly Betty Henry fumes to himself. And that’s when he THOUGHT he found his silver lining. That even though he had went to the point of buying a wig, begging his Macy’s makeup artist aunt to put natural-looking male make up on him so that he would look like the male models girls were gaga over, AND practicing 3 hours a day on the mirror and his cousin, and flossing 7 times a day to be too hot to impress ONLY. He had willingly hoped his illusion would turn into something more, and then discovered it was all for nothing and that in reality, the most pure and beautiful goddess was girlfriend to the Cerberus head named Anis.
But even if that was so, there was a silver lining, in Henry’s mind. He thought that at least the 2 minions didn’t beat him and make him feel much, MUCH more like an idiot.
Ironic, that just at this unusually optimistic thought, reality struck a cord, as Mason and Sinai attacked from behind. A hand from each guy grabbed one shoulder. They pulled him back. “HEY DOOFUS, GET A SHITLOAD A THIS!!!!” they both shouted, As Mason held on to the now helpless Henry, Sinai got the trashcan. They both dunked him in.
This was the usual routine. Sinai and Mason weren’t creepy, in fact they considered themselves to be ‘normal’. Gourox was astounded by their use of unintelligent words and unintelligent, puny brains. This was backed by the fact that they beat and knocked the air out of him, as a daily routine, just because they just thought he was a nerd. The beating wasn’t because of something he did to them, or envy but simply because they thought he was a nerd. Even if they didn’t gnarl their teeth, and growl, Henry didn’t believe it would make a difference, from the Cerberus image.
Sarah turned away from Anis’ eyes when hearing the huge clanking sound of a head colliding with a trash can. His head still inside the crappy smelling can, he could hear her voice laughing. He had known Button for a long time so it was easy to distinguish her laugh. She had her fake laugh, used around teachers to be flirty (which she only did when she was nervous about a test or something. In her mind, male teachers were blinded by her, when she gave the right attention, and therefore would give her a good grade, letting her slide by bad ones). This laugh was high-pitched and, which you only discovered later, disturbing. The flirty laugh, used when she really liked a guy but just didn’t think he was funny (used often in dates). That one was soft and sweet, like honey. The real end-of-the-joke laugh, sounding more like she was hawking up spit. Henry knew that for that reason, she strained to keep her mouth shut even when she thought something was hilarious. Then the real, joy laugh when she was just having blissful fun. In that one, she would throw up her head in a spur of the moment and just laugh, no pressure, just loose. Even so, he knew it made her sound like an angel of pure gold.
The laugh he was hearing from inside the stinking can was the mocking laugh. The laugh at. In other words, the love of average Henry’s life was laughing at him. Even though he couldn’t see her, he knew Sarah was clamping her hand over her mouth trying to be polite. Either way, one thing was 100 % certain: Henry experienced the most humiliating 2 hours of his life that day. He wanted to curl up into a ball, hide his face in his arms and never look up. Or, even better, go into the underworld, where he would be alive but also be invisible to live humans. And then in the underworld, he would develop the strength of Hercules, and, while invisible, with that strength he could punch Anis out. And then at least a part of his illusion would come true on that detestable day. Very Night Tourist (Night tourist was a book series about a dude named Jack who discovers ways into the underworld. VERY mystical. Hercules, in Greek myths, was believed to be a good god who once lived as a human. He was famous for his super strength, stronger then anything ever seen). The thought of this was very comforting.
Sad to say, but true, that even though she laughed at his face, and didn’t even mind having an a-hole of a boyfriend, but rather enjoyed it, he still loved her.
Yes, he did stay in that same position, head in the can, legs sticking out in a V for 2 hours. His head was clouded up with smells of Banana peel, some girl’s lunch, wasted. Some boy’s dinner, in the form of vomit, Cheddar chex mix bags, containing the strong scent of cheddar crumbs. Combined with the smell of empty Gatorade bottles that had probably been used in bottle-soccer by middle schoolers breaking into school grounds because they thought they were being cool (which was probably the same reason they were playing bottle soccer in the first place) and were caught by a teacher of whom disposed of the bottles. Henry could tell cause they smelled like sneakers.
Sometimes, Henry scared himself.
Combined, the smell was nearly nauseating.
Outside the can, many pictures were taken, girls, boys, loners, but mostly popular. In speaking, the popular who mocked the bullied victims to improve their status. There were a couple of gossips. If Henry was prey, then they were the predators. They ate up what they saw with whispers, points, laughs, texting, pictures with their cell phones. One, inches short guy even made a video. He was only known as “midget” or “kid”. At the time, Henry hadn’t known about gossips. He was only focused on the laugh louder then the rest: Sarah’s. There were nice people at the school. Some, very nice, but they didn’t help him. They knew the daily routine, and because it was a daily routine, they had thought Henry was hardy, used to this. And that one day, he would mature enough that he would stand up for himself, make a protest, not put up with Mason and Sinai’s crap, and take it to an adult, or at least handle the routine, like an adult, all peacemaker. And that when he left, he would be a man. They didn’t want to get in the way for when this day would happen.
Yes, the nice group consisted of girls.
The girls did not know how mistaken they were.
The group scattered at the sound of the bell. Anis, Mason, Sinai, and Sarah included. The trio and the girl would’ve stayed longer, but everybody knew: if you stayed after the bell rang, then teachers would come out of their classrooms to check on you (in the student body mind all teachers had eyes of a hawk, and were seriously geeky). If a teacher came out, the geek (of which they considered to be Henry) would be seen. If there was no one left outside in the hall, teachers wouldn’t come out to rush people in. So basically, Button, and her nasty boyfriend’s trio had purposely shown up for class early for the first and only time that day so that Henry would stay in the can, legs in a V for longer. Mason and Sinai went cause they didn’t want to be seen when a teacher saw the dude in the can, cause then the teacher would know it was them who dunked him in. They didn’t want detention. The 4 didn’t worry about Henry. They thought no one noticed him. Gourox was too ordinary to be noticed.
Later, in the afternoon, after school, “the kid” put his video on youtube and called it “ A REAL WIMP”. By the title, “the kid” had been planning on spreading the message “I’m not a midget!!! If you want a wimp, check out Henry!! I’m cool, cause I’m the guy who posted this video!!!”. “The kid” had thought that by posting the video he would be cool, people wouldn’t make fun of him, he would be popular, people wouldn’t be calling him a midget, people would call him by his real name. No more “the kid”.
On the social ladder, Henry would replace him on the loser rung, and “the kid” would go up the rungs.
The video was popular………………………by the people who went to that school and nearby schools in the district. Teenagers, all guys. The teenaged guys didn’t care at ALL about who posted the video, they just liked it. That was it. The video was popular, but “the kid” was stuck on the same rung.
Sarah, Anis, Sinai, and Mason were right. No teacher came out to get Henry. Henry could tell because after 30 minutes still in the can, getting sick from the same horrid smell, he heard no footsteps in the hall. No teacher pulled him out of the nasty trash can. Until 2 hours after the crowd had left. Until then, when students weren’t in class or sneaking out of school, they milled about in the hall, a huge mob, all wanting to get to class on time and get school over with. Nobody moved the shitty can, no, the can remained in the middle of the hallway, 2 legs sticking out of it in the shape of a V. The mob swarmed around the can, not caring, just on their way to class, or to sneak out, or to their lockers. No one acknowledged Henry, except for 1 kid. A popular senior named Johnny-Tay. His real name was Taylor. He had transferred in junior year, and was first noticed when a despised, but popular Kayla walked up to him. Kayla was despised by guys of whom she broke their heart. A dumb high school dude would fall for her lust, she’d walk over and say the same stupid phrase, they’d fool around a bit, then she’d move on. The dude wouldn’t, he’d cover up his hurt by anger and despise. Girls pretended to like her while secretly talking about her behind her back with hate. They pretended to like her so that she’d recruit them to her rung of the social ladder, very close to the top. Kayla had said that same stupid phrase to Taylor.
“Hey, I have game and I need a player. Wanna play?? I’m tongue-tied, but you can untie it”
Strange, but yet very, very stupid.
Taylor stood there, very chill, and said with no regret, but all casual “sorry, but I don’t play slut tag” . Her mouth was wide open with a huge shocked O. One of the newly heartbroken guys named Lee was standing nearby, a bystander. After Kayla left, all shocked, still, he approached the new transfer. “Hey dude, that was awe-some!! You totally rocked back there!!....................”. The guys got into conversation, and somehow, whether it was Taylor being too open or what, Lee had found out about Taylor’s obsession and love for Johnny Depp and his movies. Lee’s attitude changed from thinking Tay was cool to being giddy from just finding a reason to make fun of him. Of course Lee told everyone. Everyone teased and tormented Taylor for the next 2 or so months. It all ended with the biggest torment of all. The seniors were bored, and they had just found their newest play toy. A Johnny Depp loving play toy. The seniors, Vince and Ned, snuck into the vice principle’s office to get Tay’s locker combination. Early in the morning when Taylor opened his locker, he found huge scissors, and a magician’s hat. The purpose was because of 2 movies Johnny Depp starred in: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Eddie Scissor hands”. The scissors were similar looking to the props Johnny Depp had to wear when he played the star of “Eddie”, a man of whom’s hands were huge scissors, and who had wild hair. The hat was also similar looking to the hat Depp had worn in his role as Wonka in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The point: kids thought Johnny Depp and the movies he starred in were weird, and Taylor liked him, so therefore, he was weird too. Just like Johnny, hence the props Depp had worn long ago. But that wasn’t all. The scissors and hat replaced Taylor’s books and papers, and pictures of friends, and jacket. The jacket was gone, books were torn and ripped and so were papers, especially the one’s Tay needed to pass the semester and NOT go to summer school. He worked hard on them. This was war.
Taylor wore the hat and held both scissors in his hand. He walked around school all day like that, confident, and not caring. The next day, Vince and Ned were walking to their lockers, satisfied for their joke and free jacket. 2 hands reached out from the storage room as they passed it. Being grabbed by the shirts, they were pulled in. When Vince and Ned went out of the storage room, they both wore magician’s hats, and clown makeup, hands tied behind their backs. Taylor had pulled them into the storage room, took the shoelaces from both Ned and Vince’s sneakers, and used the laces to tie their hands behind their backs, and threw the sneakers into the nearby bucket of soapy water, used for mopping floors. He applied makeup, 2 orange curly hair wigs and 2 magician’s hats. When they came out, Ned and Vince both looked like clones of the character Johnny Depp played in his latest movie “Alice in Wonderland”, mad hatter. Taylor was right behind them, holding on to the laces, so that they wouldn’t get out of his sight. That day, all 3 walked around school like that. Tay also made Vince and Ned be gentlemen to every girl they passed.
EV-ER-Y girl they passed.
The day after, as Taylor was wandering about in the hall, Destin came up to him. Destin wasn’t just any senior. The student body knew it all: Des was ‘cool’, no question. It just was. He was wise, a legend. Like a leader. Destin spoke and controlled the public mind. Des said to Tay “hey, I heard about what ya did the other day, was pretty cool”. And then Tay: “Thanks man…………..”. In the meantime, mortified Vince, and horrified Ned were strolling in the hall, when they spotted Taylor.
“Hey, there’s the Johnny twirp!!”
“Let’s get him!!!”
They charged for him, hands balled to fists ready to punch him out in some serious WWE tombstones, bloody even. They were put to a halt by the hand of legendary Destin. “Hey guys, what’dya gon’ punch him out for?? The guy’s cool” Des stated. Vince and Ned put on evil grins. They both answered in unison “he’s a Johnny Depp geek”. And the next words that came out of Destin’s mouth changed the public mind, all heads turned, Ned and Vince’s mouths didn’t turn into 0’s of shock like Kayla. They turned into ovals. And those words were………………………………………………………………..
“So? Johnny Depp’s cool. I like him myself”
From then on, kids still called Taylor “Johnny” only it wasn’t in a mocking way, it was because the kids thought: if Destin says Johnny’s cool then it must be true. And since Tay’s a Johnny lover, he’s cool too, just like Johnny Depp. When 1 guy called Taylor the name, Tay said “Hey I think the Johnny nickname’s cool and all but I wanna keep my real name alive too”
“what’s your real name?”
“Sounds gay. But just Tay sounds cool. I’ll call you Johnny Tay”
“Fine with me”
You couldn’t mess with Johnny Tay and rumors. He’d “wisely” take you out. Now that it was 1 year later, Johnny Tay was the new Destin, the new legend. If he’d never gotten associated with Des, kids would’ve made fun of him for being overweight. But they were mostly focused on the legend.
That same Johnny Tay walked right up to Henry’s V shaped legs, and tapped Gourox’s shoe. With that tap, Henry’s hands that were flattened against the sides of the can (which had prevented him from being trash-covered) gave way and he landed in a vomit-waste-bottle-chex mix-banana peel mess. Johnny Tay snickered.
The teacher that’d pulled Henry out was Mr. Rengenae. The last bell of the day had rang. And while the other teachers came out with the students, Mr. R was the last to leave. Mr. R had the muscles of a WWE wrestler, but the face of many scowls. He had the lets-get-this-day-over-with attitude, and no student put up an argument against that. What set his apart was that he was always serious, not animated, not even open. Mr. R was a true mystery, but hey, who’d really care enough to crack the case?? Though there were many stories about him. Whether or not they were true, you didn’t have to be Rengenae to notice the hallway’s most recently new attraction. Another kid in the most nasty can of trash in the whole school. This was backed by the nasty odor. Henry had thought he was never going to get the smell of vomit out of his nose when he was pulled up, he was starting to see light……………………….his ankles hurting like hell…………………………..his mom’s shirt long gone……………………………………to be pulled up by the ankles and by Mr. Rengenae’s 2 hands. He was frowning with boredom, as usual. Henry assumed that Mr. R had once committed child abuse, and was then probably arrested by the police, and then, for community service, he had become a teacher.
This was backed by the fact that he was pulling Henry up by the ankles.
The Elvis Presley wig that Gourox had thought would be too-hot-to-impress had flew off, revealing brown-blonde curls that made him look horrifyingly too much like the ancient Roman dictator Julius Caesar. Makeup was smeared all over his face, but you couldn’t tell from the vomit, and banana peel and chex mix cheddar crumbs on top of it. He was a mess; he looked as though he had just come out of a dump, which he technically did. He smelled completely grotesque, every big, huge word for gross, horrible, and nasty that was out there. Henry was unrecognizable. Normally, Gourox would’ve been more then happy to skip 4 classes, any kid would. Though stuck in a never ending embarrassing moment, complete with a trash can, his head in it, everybody watching, and being the latest attraction for close to all of the student body to see, AND having a new and even worse improved makeover that made him smell like dog bull and bird bull mixed? Henry missed sleeping in algebra II. And, he even missed Mr. Rengenae.
Yes, Gourox was THAT embarrassed.
Through the mess, there was a huge rosy blush.
Mr. R still held the kid up by the ankles, just staring in pity and frowns, mostly frowns. Another major difference that set him apart from the kids is that he always showed no emotions, as though he had none at all.
The next 5 minutes were spent with Henry dangling from Mr. R’s hands on his ankles, and Mr. R, with nothing but frowns at the kid, of whom he was sure had already landed in the crowd of freshman misfits.
And only when Gourox was REALLY starting to feel blood rush to his brain by being upside down, was he set down upright. A pickle from the wasted sandwhich got caught behind his ear, and American cheese was stuck in his hair, mayonnaise too. The pickle fell out from behind his ear and onto Rengenae’s shoe. Mr. R picked it up and ate it.
And then the extremely strange teacher and his American but slightly geeky teenaged student walked away in different directions, as though nothing ever happened.
For Henry, there was a teeny bit of a bright side. At least there was a dilapidated deli satisfyingly close to his house. The deli had a bathroom with a sink. And true, the sink spurted brown water and was just as dilapidated as the deli, but it worked. Gourox would be able to clean up a bit before having to face his mom.
There were only 2 words needed to describe all of Henry Gourox’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions that day and describe them to the fullest: High school sucks.