Every Dog Has It’s Day
By: Jordan Langley
Everything in my body told me to just turn around and just mind my business, but no I had to be a fucking hero for the day. I walked outside to a frenzy of flying fists and blood stained concrete. I didn’t even think it was possible for that much blood to be pummeled out of a person’s body and have them still be alive. It was fucking brutal, like something out of those cliche, Italian mafia movies. I wanted so desperately to change the channel, but this was no movie; this kid was getting the life literally beaten out of him and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’d seen this kid get beat up plenty of times, but I would have to say this was the beating to rival all beatings.
The kid’s name was Bennett Larson. He was just this tall, lanky, blonde kid who wore tight skinny jeans and shirts with all these funky looking patterns. I had a couple of classes with him, but I barely heard a peep out of him. He had a small circle of friends, did his schoolwork, and basically went about his day like everyone else. Now, what’s so special about Mr.Larson that Asher deems it so fit to paint the sidewalk with this kid’s blood in front the entire student body of homeroom 102? Well, it’s because our friend here Bennett is gay and Asher Hines was the biggest homophobe that ever walked the halls of Smithville high. I’m not a damn civil rights activists or anything, but gay people don’t bother me much. I don’t care what they do as long as it didn’t involve me. But, nah, Asher didn’t really have such a forward way of thinking. He was the typical jock with the IQ of a door knob and testrone levels tipping off the scale. Yeah, he was an ignorant fuck who lived to torment this Bennett kid just because he couldn’t stand the whole “being gay thing”. I was done with the whole innocent bystander routine and knew that I could no longer stand there and watch this brutality any longer. A surge of bravery, arguably stupidity, ran through me and I made my way toward the fight.
I never was the type to get involved with anyone else’s business. Call me a punk, but Asher Hines wasn’t exactly someone I wanted to mess with. Asher was 6’2, pushing 190, while I was only 5’6 barely weighing 140. I have almost all my classes with him, but I might as well be a ghost to him. There were countless times where he would forget my name whenever he asked to cheat off my tests in history or borrow a pen he’d never give back. “Harley,” I would always correct him, “my name is Harley”, even though I knew he would just forget it the next day. I wasn’t surprised though because I am pretty forgettable. I look like any other normal white kid in this school and don’t really stand out much. I kept my black hair relatively long and wore a lot of T-shirts with my favorite bands on them. I blend in with the crowd and I’ve always been alright with that.
Bennett, on the other hand, was anything but forgettable especially to Asher. Even though Bennett kept to himself everyone pretty much knew who he was. This was mostly due to the fact that he was best friends with one of the hottest girls in my class, Piper Monroe. Piper was a bombshell with big, curly hair and an amazing smile. Not only was she hot, but she was a wizkid as well. She always did great in her classes, especially chemistry, which was not my strong suite.We never really spoke, until the day we were lab partners. Unlike Asher, she actually cared to remember my name. After being lab partners, we didn’t really speak much except to say hi in the hallways, but it sure was enough for me. I had a crush on her, just like most of the guys in my class, but I knew I had not a chance in hell with a girl like that. No one as forgettable as me would ever be lucky enough to be with someone as awesome as her.
I and almost all of the male student body were jealous of how close Bennett was to Piper. Piper didn’t really concern herself with boys because she was so set on going to an ivy league college. All of her friends were girls, except for Bennett. It’s kinda fucked up, but I guess I never stepped in when Asher picked on him because I was jealous of him. I know, it’s pretty stupid to be jealous of him being around her so much, considering the fact that he was gay. But, damn it really made me jealous that he was the only dude worthy enough to be around her. It was hard to be mad at him though because he really was a nice guy. We didn’t speak much, but he’d always help me out in Algebra when I needed it. He’d always see me in the distance the days he would get beat up, but not once had he ever called me out on it. I would see him the next day, bruised and battered from the day before, and all he would do is make small talk. He’d often hit me with “Hey, did you study for Ms. Miller’s exam?” or “Hey, Harley. Really digging the shirt today.” You’d think he would hold a lot of resentment for me since I’ve never really stood up for him, but it was always as if he never seen me watch get beat up, even though I knew he did.
I always felt like the biggest pansy for not defending Bennett. My friends, Niles and Matt would always urge me not to get involved whenever I thought to do something about it. Niles and Matt were just as, probably more, invisible than me and they wanted to keep it that way. It just urked me that a kid as chill and to himself as much as Bennett would get picked just because he likes guys, instead of girls. Asher just really had this weird obsession with Bennett. Don’t get me wrong, Asher was known to pick on other kids too, but not as badly as he would bother Bennett. It also didn’t help that Asher had been trying to get at Piper for months and remained unsuccessful. Most of Bennett’s beatings were because he would throw salt in Asher’s game and tell him to leave her alone. This always ended with Bennett being punched in the stomach and Piper pushing him and yanking on his hair. Sometimes this would work, and sometimes she would run off to get a teacher’s help. This plan never worked since Asher would always run off by the time she got back.
I guess you can say I finally intervened for a couple of reasons. I was tired of being a pansy and letting Asher get away with everything. Bennett was a good kid and it was pretty fucked up to get beat for doing nothing wrong. And I’d hate to admit it, but I knew I would be unforgettable if Piper saw me stick up for her best friend. I know it’s selfish, but what teenager isn’t sometimes?
“Hey!” I yelled from behind the crowd watching the massacre of this kid’s face, “leave the kid the fuck alone!”
Of course no one could hear me over the commotion. There were so many screams and loud voices it was as if we were at the monkey exhibit at the zoo . There was Asher’s band of idiots cheering him on with pure merriment and enjoyment with the word faggot being thrown around accompanied by other ignorant insults. Then there was Piper, who was the only person being held back from trying to stop the fight.
“You’re fucking killing him,” she yelled, “Oh my god you’re gonna kill him!” She struggled as she tried to break free from the grasps of Jake Riley and Kevin Baker.
Her pleas were only drowned out by hoots and hollers while two of Asher’s buddies were holding her back. She scratched and pulled on their hair, but all of her attempts were futile against the stereotypically muscular pair of jocks who barely even struggled to hold her back. They were so focused on her that they didn’t even notice me slip through the crowd.
“Asher chill the fuck out!” I yelled as I struggled to push him off of Bennett, whose face was practically unrecognizable at this point. I’m not exactly one of the biggest kids in my class, so trying to push this kid off was nearly impossible. I shoved him to the point where he lost his footing and stumble a bit.
“So is this your little faggot friend, Harley?” he asked me. He sure picked one hell of a time to remember my name.
“Nobody said anything about us being friends,” I said still surprised I didn’t get clocked in the face. “Just tired of you beating on him is all. He’s not bothering you so why don’t you just leave him alone?” Asher walked towards me, with a Grinch-y half smile on his face.
“I think you’d better get out of here before you end up on the ground with your little boyfriend here” he pointed to Bennett on the ground, who laid on the cement shaking. He let out these weird wailing sounds that sounded as if someone had poured acid into a papercut.
“Listen, I don’t want any trouble,” I began pleading. Bennett’s wailing rang in my ear, before he eventually got quiet. “You’ve gone too far Asher and you need to stop”.
Asher laughed and turned around to go to Bennett’s direction. Like some weird animal instinct, I ran towards him and jumped on his back tumbling us both to the ground. While on top of him, where I was able to find an opening and landed a clean right hook to his face. I knew I was lucky enough to catch him off guard or else I would’ve ended up on the floor next to our friend Bennett. I could see rage swirling in his eyes and knew that I was probably next to get an ass beating. The crowd froze in awe, no one has ever been brave enough to even blow in Asher’s direction and I just punched him in front of almost everyone that feared him.
I jumped off of him and he sprung up like a frog leaping off of a lily pad. Before I could even blink, he snatched me up by my shirt collar and gave me a hard one to the gut. My lips flew open as a gust of wind tumble out of my mouth and I fell to the ground.
“If you wanna help this homo, then I’ll treat you like the faggot I know you are” he said through his teeth.
My guts felt like they were just going to fall right out of me if I didn’t keep holding onto my stomach. I prepared myself for a blow to the face, but for some reason it never came. My guess was because the sound of sirens in the distance tend to send people in a frenzy and everyone scattered out of there like a hoard of roaches. The only people who didn’t run off was me, Bennett, and Piper. Bennett and I could barely move, while Piper was there to see if Bennett was okay.
She ran over to Bennett and began to cradle his limp body in her arms. For a moment I was sure that he was dead and that me trying to help was only too late.
“Bennett! Bennett wake up! Oh my god please don’t be dead” she cried.
I slowly stumbled my way off the ground and wobbled my way next to her.
“Is-is he…” I stammered, “is he…breathing?”
“I don’t know! I don’t know! This is so fucked up we need to help him!”
By the grace of God, or whatever you fucking believe in, Bennett took in a deep breath and consecutively let out loud, heavy coughs. It was a miracle this kid could was even still able to breathe. Piper began to cry and began to hold him even tighter, which then lead to me tear up a bit. He then let out a few groans and mumbled something that sounded like he was saying Piper’s name. The sirens we heard were that of a rushing ambulance and before we knew it, two EMT’s hovered over us and put Bennett on a stretcher. Piper then got up and followed them frantically to the ambulance.
“Is he gonna be okay? Please tell me he’s gonna be alright” she cried.
They put those breathing masks things over his face and told her to stand back as they put him in the ambulance. I saw his chest moving which reassured me that he was still alive, at least in that moment. We don’t know who called the ambulance, but I’m damn sure glad someone did or else that kid would’ve died right in front of me. The ambulance pulled off, leaving me and Piper alone in the street.
We stood there for a minute unable to part our mouths to let words come out. Piper started sniffling as more tears begun to fall down her face as she stood there with her blood stained, pink shirt. I wanted to say something, something to make her feel better, but I knew there was nothing I could possibly dream of that could make her feel any better about the situation. Before I could get the words “are you okay” out of my mouth, she then threw herself on me which prompted me to put my arms around her as she sobbed in my chest. As many times as I wanted to get close to this girl, it was a shame that it had to be like this.
Still at a lost for words, I just rubbed her shoulder and told her that everything was going to be okay. I don’t know what lead me to tell her something so stupid like that, because I didn’t actually know if everything was going to be okay or not. After about two minutes, she lifted her head out of my chest and took my arms from around her.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I didn’t mean to lose my cool like that”
“It’s fine. You had every right to,” I said “I know you really care about him”
“He’s like my brother and almost every day that fucking bastard always has something to say to him. They say ‘tell your teachers’, ‘get help’. But, they never actually help do they? They just give pointless write ups and detentions as if that’s actually going to do anything. God, I fucking hate that Asher kid! I’d kill him if I had the chance.”
“You wouldn’t do that to him”
“Why not? Why wouldn’t he deserve it?
And then I said the most cliche thing I had said in my entire life. “Cuz if you do it, you would be just as bad as he is.” It sounded a lot cooler in my head, but when I actually heard how stupid it was, I wished I never said it in the first place. It was silent for a moment and I felt like the biggest idiot in the world. She thanked me for sticking up for Bennett and began to walk towards the direction the ambulance was going. Just when I thought of something better to say, she had gotten too far and it would’ve been creepy if I ran to her just for a do over of what I just said. There was no reason for me to stand there any longer, so I began to walk the opposite direction to begin my journey back home.
Before I began to walk away, more sirens were heard from afar. I could tell they were getting closer by how much louder they were getting. A police car stopped a few feet away from me with two cops inside. They stepped out of the car, one a big, fat white guy and the other a short black woman with her hair in a ponytail. They told me that there was disturbance and that someone had gotten hurt. They looked at me up and down when they saw my arm holding my stomach. When they asked me what happened, I told them I had a stomach ache and was just trying to get home and that I didn’t know what happened. There I go again with being a pansy.
My stomach still didn’t fully heal by the time the next day rolled around. It was as if his punch put my intestines all out of whack. Eating didn’t really help and just made me feel more sick and when lunch came, I just gave my lunch to Niles who was a real fat ass who would eat anything he could get his hands on. In the midst of my friends asking me about the fight with Asher, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turn around to see Piper standing right behind me. This girl had big hair and a big pair of something else to go with it. I was trying my best not to stare, but it was hard with her boobs literally inches away from my face. I stood up and asked her if everything was okay. I could tell by the red in her face that she had probably been crying a lot.
“He’ll live,” she said “He’s gonna need a hell of a lot morphine and stitches, but he’ll survive. The doctor said he should be able to come back to school in a week or so.”
“That’s great,” I stammered happily “I’m glad he’s gonna be okay. I was pretty worried about him”
“I didn’t get a chance to fully thank you for what you did back there. Everyone else just stared and watched, but you actually stood up for him and I really appreciated it”
She hugged me real tight and I was too stunned to hug her back. She flashed me a little half smile and went off to the back of the cafeteria. I was still stunned until Matt threw something at me and snapped me out of it. Of course Niles and Matt just had to share their disbelief of the fact that Piper would even send a passing glance my way, let alone hug me.
Shortly after the bell rang, nausea started to rumble in my stomach and knew that I was about to puke. It was a mixture of the gut punch and the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything all day. The closest bathroom was the single in the boys’ locker room. Without hesitation, I ran to the bathroom holding my stomach. After kicking the door open, I was greeted with an unpleasant sight that made my nausea even worse. To my surprise, the bathroom was not vacant as I hoped and instead was occupied by Jake Riley with a mouthful of Asher Hines in his mouth. Asher Hines, the biggest bully ever to set foot in this school, turned out to be the biggest coward I’ve ever known. Seconds after catching them in the act, I lost all control of my bowels and puked all over the locker room floor. It was such a surprising and disgusting sight that I lost all composure of myself.
Jake Riley was one of Asher’s jock buddies who often participated in Asher’s reign of terror. My barf was sprawled out on the floor and reeked of yesterday’s dinner. And there they were: Jake Riley scurrying off his knees with Asher frantically trying to close his pants. Before either of them could utter a word, I backed away, leaving my vomit as barrier between me and them. Like a lightening bolt, I dashed for the exit and ran into Mr. Hall, my gym teacher.
“Harley?” he asked me. “What’s wrong with you? You look a little shaken up”
“I-I-I’m fine, Mr. Hall,” I stammered. “Just feeling a little sick is all. Kinda threw up in there”
“Ahh, well that’s alright, son. What happened that made you so sick?”
“Just a little stomach ache is all. Just had a bad lunch”
Seconds later, Jake and Asher ran out of the locker room. They stopped short once they saw Mr. Hall standing there.
“Mr. Hall! Just the man I wanted to see,” Jake said. “We wanted to get our bags from in there, but someone threw up in there!”
“I know, Jake” Mr. Hall said. “I’ll get the janitors to come by and get it cleaned up”
Jake flashed him a thumbs up and him and Asher walked past me staring at me. Asher took his finger and cut it across his neck in a slicing motion and pointed to me mouthing the words “you’re dead” from behind Mr. Hall’s back. The feeling of nausea returned, but I didn’t throw up. Just walked out into the cafeteria and saw Matt and Niles waiting for me.