The sun was high in the sky, nearly overhead. The kid knew it was almost noon without looking at a clock. However, just to be sure he wasn’t running late and the sun wasn’t lying, he checked his phone. Exactly eleven fifteen. He slipped it back into his pocket. He was wearing what most would put him in after one day with the boy. His leather boots he’d had for the last twelve years, buckskin colored pants over the top, a blue collared shirt with a deeper blue quarter zip over the top. All this with his burnt scruff beard and topped with a black flat-bill Richardson hat. He didn’t look like a kid but he was. He was just pulling up to the house for his meeting at noon. This was one he couldn’t be late for. He didn't wanna be late for.
The house was looking a little run down on the outside but it made up for it with what happened on the inside. The pale yellow with a faded red door that seemed to be a shade lighter every time he walked in. He wasn’t sure if it was lighter today as he plowed on through. He continued up the wooden steps he’d crossed hundreds on times. Not a motion to anything else in the house. Boot met stair and carried him right up the stain peeled stairs. Coming to the first door upstairs he put his hand on the knob and knew he had some time to kill.
He loved killing certain things, time one of them, so this would be easy. He sat on the chair to the right of the door. He could hear nothing inside, but he never could so this wasn’t a surprise. He debated getting lost in the cyberspace of bad decisions on his phone but decided against that. It was healthier to keep it away. Healthier for him, healthier for the rest of the world too. Without taking out his phone he would have to strangle these fifteen minutes. It would be a colder, harder, more gruesome end for this quarter of an hour. He was okay with that. He sat back in the chair. Head turned up towards the light.
The light shimmering through the window was hitting the glass cover of the light shade. He knew it wasn’t supposed to be green but it looked green to him. It wasn’t usually green to him but it was today. He wondered why the normally starch white walls seemed like they’d been soaked in nicotine today. A shade of yellow. He was seeing things. It wasn’t the first time, the last time, or the most he’d seen. His distortions had decreased as time had gone on. It’s what made the kid. It’s what kept the kid. It’s what would probably kill the kid.
He wasn’t on anything, unfortunately. Being under some sort of influence provided a good crutch for reality. He could blame certain things like this now pulsating green glass on the intoxicant and not the fact that to him, it was just different today. He tried to remember the light fixture before this encounter. He had some recollection of the frosted white glass hanging from the ceiling. It worried him. He wasn’t sure if the memory was real or he was just fabricating the same thing in a more natural color. The latter seemed more reasonable for something he would do. He got up to walk over to the window and make sure the sun wasn’t carrying the same hue as the light. With a half-second shot outside he knew the normal sun he was just walking under stayed the same. He turned to look back at the fixture to have it be a normal white. It wasn’t as frosted as the one from his memory. He wasn’t sure if this was the real color but it wasn’t green anymore so it might as well be. He wanted to sit back down but he couldn’t be inside his own head like that again. He wanted to go in. He only had nine minutes left until twelve o’clock. He wasn’t sure if he could go in but he was going to. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to, but he knocked and headed in early. The light on the inside of the room wasn’t green. He was relieved.
The kid sat down without making eye contact. He didn’t even wait for a word. He began.
“I think I have a problem.”
A chuckle from the bald man behind the rose-colored glasses. “You have A problem? I think you’re here because you have a few of them.” He stroked his beard and adjusted his glasses.
“What is the one that’s on your mind today?”
The kid winced as he pulled the thoughts out. He still wasn’t making eye contact as he continued. “It’s a problem with women again. I just don’t know what it is. I’m attracted to them, I just can’t, well you know.”
The older man leaned forward “I mean never seeing a problem isn't not having a problem. You could perform well, better than most, and still not be where you would like to be, and that's a problem”
The kid’s face squiggled as he knew where it was coming from but it wasn’t right. “I mean the final phase where most would go ahead and "get off" the train of emotions and finish their ride. It never ends for me”
The old man sat back in slight astonishment. “Well, why can’t you “get off” at the last stop? Is the train still moving too fast for you? Or maybe not fast enough? Maybe you’re on the wrong train? Have you thought about these?”
The kid waved his hand in disregard. “It’s not those. Those would be an easy explanation. That’s what I use as an excuse.”
The older gentleman didn’t have to speak he just had to make sure his ears were open as he could see the Kid starting to break down.
“Pictures of what happened as a child scroll through my mind. He was a little older than I and a lot more into some things. Things I was excited to explore, but would later regret every second. It's like I can't get the images out of my head. They're burned in and bubbled over like a scar across some of your softer skin. It hurts. It hurts every time someone brings up sex. Every time I have these rampant thoughts. They flood my mind from each side. They can't be stopped. Every time I wanna cry. I get turned on. I'm with a woman, I may even love her, but I can't. I'm all there for the performance. That's not the problem. It's every time I think I am about to finish I get the thought of him doing that to me as a boy. As a fucking child.”
The old man just sat and watched the individual drips flow from his cheek bones down the Child's face and onto the floor. His eyes were bubbling with tears as he stared at the cracks in the hardwood. The cracks made sense to him. They were like the green light. He wasn’t sure how real they were, but they were real to him. Real in this moment.
“Starting no older than seven or eightish. I'm not sure, and I'd like to not think about it. I'd like for women to not claim I'm gay. I’d like to finish a job and not fight thoughts every time I met someone’s eyes. I'd like for someone to listen and not judge.”
The old man crept into the conversation the Kid was having with himself. With a hint of sass and a pinch of honesty, “You know not everyone will judge. Not everybody holds your weight in the conversation.”
The Kid’s eyebrows swept a stupefied stare over to the sagging old man.
“It’s not about finding one person that won’t judge. It’s not even that I care about other people’s thoughts of me. It’s more I don’t want their worries. I don’t need them wasting energy on something that can’t be changed. The weight is bearable on my own I don’t need it dissipated to others as distractions. I just need structure. I wouldn't want to bring more pain into people's life every time I make a reference or say something that might relate to it because it never leaves my head, that doesn't mean I want it stuck in theirs.”
The Kid was turning a slighter darker shade of red as he pursued a more angry tone. An ironic one for the line he delivered. "It's not positive, we need more fuckin' positivity!"
Adjusting his glasses for a better look at the words that came out of the Kid the old man didn’t even need to unzip his leathered lips for the Kid to be wary. He didn’t need to speak a word to ask for a further explanation.
“If I wasn’t worried about the worry I would have done a lot differently. If that was the case I could tell them my real reason for doing anything. The real reason I pierced my nose. Not for Tupac, because the Dodgers lost the world series, or because it was cool... So I could put a hoop in and pull. Bring myself to tears on command. But no acting, this was real pain. Pain I needed to get out of my own head. If people listened without worrying, I could tell them why I tried almost everything once. I was looking to get out of my head. Its harder for people to believe these without daily demonstrations of my pain. They don't believe it if I look normal all the time. They are so used to Sally bitching about so much on Facebook they can't seem to grasp the difference between a real problem and a story. Do you think I'm trying to keep it all in? I'm trying to just find someone to let it out too, I'm trying to find the best friend I've never had. Until then, until I tell this person who may not exist I don’t want to tell anybody. Even after I don’t think others should waste their time worrying, especially about me.”
The old man asked what anybody in his shoes would. "Do you ever have thoughts about hurting yourself or others?" He didn't have to hear the response to know what was coming in the answer. It was just he couldn't have prepared himself for all that was about to be thrown at him. when The Kid sat back and whipped it out.
"Do you know what the taste of the metal taste like? I’m not talking about the taste that’s there from a metal cup, from biting the bullet, no, I’m not talking about lead. I’m talking about the metallic burn that would leave your mother crying for days. The taste that makes your head knot up on the inside as you put it in your mouth. The taste that has a sound. A sound that would scare your dog for the rest of his life. A sound that would gather your friends together as you’ve always dreamed of. The taste that may get somebody to think about what you’ve said."
The old man had little to no life in his eyes. The Kid telling the story he now believed to be a hundred percent truthful had taken it from them. The boy had rode away on his innocence like a magic carpet ride. Like someone did to him years earlier according to stories. As his gander fell back to where the drying tear was siezed up into by the hardwood, the Kid started again.
"It tastes like a steel cupcake, with tear sprinkles topping on the frosting of lead. The cupcake that keeps you up at night telling you to take a bite. The one that makes your mouth sore when you try to open your mouth wide enough to fit it past your teeth. You know when the top drags on the roof of your mouth like a plastic toothpick. This cupcake is deadly. The one you’re allergic to. Not for gluten, not for dairy, not for anything cured with an EpiPen. It’s a different kind of allergy, one everybody has. It’s an allergy you that would kill you, yet you’re positive one day you’ll slip and take a bite. I’ve had dreams and nightmares come true. I’ve been touched, tortured, beaten, stabbed as you have in all these visions. The one that hasn’t come true rings out like a gunshot. I hope it’s a sick, cryptic, sadistic message, but on the inside you know it’s not. You have the urge to taste it every day but every day you know you can’t. If I taste the terrible temptation your tongue, the flesh that craves turmoil, couldn’t be studied. It needs to be studied. I don’t necessarily believe in anybody that would study it, but I know something's there. Somebody can solve this."
The old man was reeling his mind back into his head hoping his face was well composed for all that had just spilled out. He was fighting back tears. He was fighting back more than he had held in any conversation. He stepped forward, center stage in his skull to say something, anything to solve this.
He opened his mouth for his words to be lost in his breath. The Kid started again.
"People wanna be the most fucked up. This mental state with all that's happened isn't a contest. We're not measuring anything. Some people have it worse than others but everybody that has it has the same thoughts. I don't want it, neither does anybody else. Trust me, I've put the steel in my mouth more times than most can look at theirs and say it's been around. Every damn day it's like a debate in The Boardroom on what I should do. Every day it's fuckin' business. "
Red-faced and starting to perspire it didn’t take much to know he was flustered. Angrily upset at why he had to make the decisions he did. Mad at the walls he built. Not to keep others out but to keep them from being drowned in the flood of fuckery that was his life.
"And yeah, to answer your question, I thought about hurting others. Not many others. If they enjoy this shit show simulation of life, then so be it. I'm not trying to take anything away from them. I did have the gun loaded once. In my room. Ready for him to walk in. Unfortunately, I didn't pull the trigger. It was probably for the better. I had researched everything out after the last time. With my internet history and this on top I figured I could but wouldn't get through it. Not the way I wanted. Neither way was the way I wanted but killing him wasn't going to work. He got off."
The old man while, looking over the rim of his glasses, came across as almost happy. As if it were a joke in the pain the kid had been through and was going through. It sounded like a joke. He knew the humor was a shield. It was as if the old man himself had been there and was holding back how he had gotten through. He wasn’t smiling but he wasn’t unhappy. He was as twisted as the puns the kid let drag across the story.
“You gotta work it out somehow. I think the best way is to talk it out. I think you’re onto something. I wish I could be your, or help you find your Best friend, therapist, or the person you could talk to. I wish I could be either one of those. Maybe, one day I will be both but the life we’re living makes it more difficult by the day to find someone that fits any parameters you have. I can't always be there for you, but I'm always here for you. Ignore what others may say, as long as I am helping, it’s never bad to be talking to yourself.”
The kid kicked his boot off at the corner of the broken stained glass window. He didn’t need to hear advice like that from anybody. The rose-colored glass fractured into fragments that fell in front of him. As his eyes filled with tears he looked for the old man in his reflection. He couldn’t find him. He had killed himself again. He couldn’t see the invisible cracks in the hardwood floors. The light wasn’t green as he looked up. As he looked up the tears fell down. The kid got up to leave. He walked out of the abandoned house. He took nothing with him and was still mad at what he’d brought back.