I already posted something long to tumblr today without a cut so I'd feel bad posting this there. So I'm putting it here. I was thinking about the novel Boy Meets Boy and the under-the-bed game they played and thought that little Jack, Yusei, and Crow would totally play that game. And, thus, this ficlet came about.
It was a particularly balmy day the day Crow came out to his friends. They were crowded under one of the beds and playing Try to Avoid Death. It was one of their favorites. Two of them would try and come up with increasingly horrible scenarios and the third would have to think of ways to avoid death. Yusei and Jack liked giving him scenarios the best because he had the best answers. Yusei tended to think logically and try to come up with a good way out of every situation. He oftentimes lost. Jack, meanwhile, came up with the most ridiculous and implausible ways to escape death. The best one so far was him stabbing a shark with a sword made out of coral and then, when more sharks came because they were attracted to the blood, he killed them all—except one, which he rode out of there. They decided that Crow was best at this game because his answers were creative but not so outlandish.
They were crowded under the bed because it gave them a sense of aloneness in the house and it was a bit cooler under there than out in the house. Plus, it was like their own clubhouse away from the kids and also kept Martha from finding them and making them do their maths.
“Okay…” Yusei started. “You’re riding a motorcycle through the desert and you crash.”
“I take it apart and make a makeshift tent!” Crow replied.
Jack furrowed his brow and then said, “But you’re cut up from the crash and the smell attracts coyotes.”
“I pick up a piece of the crashed motorcycle and fend ‘em off with it!”
Yusei scratched under his nose and frowned for a moment, trying to consider his turn. He and Jack glanced at each other and Crow anticipated their next move.
“But while you were swinging the bits of motorcycle, some flew off and got stuck in your arm.”
“I pull it out and wrap the cut.”
Jack seemed excited for his and slapped his hand a couple of times on the ground before saying, “But the cut gets infected and you get…uh…gang…green.”
“Gangrene,” Yusei corrected him kindly.
Crow grinned widely.
“Then I cut my arm off and do that burn-y thing to stop it from bleedin’ and stuff.”
“Cauterize,” Yusei again, of course.
“But then a vulture is flying ahead and wants to eat your arm,” Jack put in.
“Then I pick my arm up and start beatin’ it with it!”
They didn’t say anything and, for a moment, he thought he had them beat. He was a bit disappointed because this was a pretty short game compared to their others and he could think of at least three other scenarios to continue the game. Jack and Yusei exchanged a look before they turned back to him.
“Hey, Crow,” Jack said. “We heard some people talkin’ about you.”
Well, that wasn’t what he expected.
“What were they sayin’?”
They exchanged another look before Yusei said, “Well, they were saying stuff about you liking boys and wanting to kiss boys.”
Suddenly, under the bed wasn’t quite so cool anymore. Sweat broke out all over Crow’s body and he swallowed thickly. He had always known that he liked boys and hadn’t thought anything of it until the other kids started teasing him. When he had gone to Martha, she had told him the word “gay” and he had felt so proud for having a label—no, a title—for himself. He also heard that a lot of people got more than teased for being gay and that some got hurt or even killed because people were close-minded and cruel. Crow didn’t exactly like that part but he liked his title. But he hadn’t told anyone else. He didn’t think he had to. Jack didn’t have to tell him when he kissed Noriko in the tree to let him know that he liked kissing girls.
But now he wished he had told them to figure out how they’d react. What if they teased him like the others or didn’t want to be his friends anymore?
“Uh…yeah,” he said finally. “I mean, they’re not lyin’.”
Jack and Yusei didn’t say anything at first and just kind of looked at him funny as if trying to figure him out. The silence was that kind of heavy silence that seemed to press down on his shoulders.
Crow let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding when Jack broke the silence with, “Okay, so the vulture picks up your arm and starts hitting you with it…”
- lj how does it work