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Authors: Blair Mastbaum

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BOOK: Clay's Way
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              My skateboard slips from my sweaty hand and shoots into the counter making a hairline crack in the glass.  The fluorescent light inside the case makes it obvious.  “Sorry.”

              Clay looks me straight in the eye.  He leans down to investigate the crack.

              I lean down on the other side.

              We trace the crack on opposite sides of the barrier.  Our fingers are only centimeters apart.

I feel embarrassed by the intimacy of my soft touch on the glass.  When I look at him I feel such a strong connection, like something just clicked that’s been missing my whole life. Clay stares at me, then stops moving for a second.  He’s like a rare captive reptile in a glass tank.  I want to free him.

I want to kiss him.

“No worries, brah.”  He stands back up and holds out his hand to shake.  “I’m Clay.”

              I jump up like an over eager dork, practically throwing my hand at him, but our hands sort of fumble against each other because he does some kind of complicated cool-boy surfer handshake.  I have no idea how to do it, even though I’ve seen guys do it all my life. 

              “I’m Jared.” 

              Clay and I look over at Jared. 

              Jared reaches his hand out to Clay and does the whole routine perfectly.  Then he looks at me like he’s cool Asian boy or something, which he’s not.

              “How much you guys interested in?”

              I look at Jared, whose face is blanker than I’ve ever seen it.  He doesn’t even know the proper measurements to say.

              “Not much,” I say. “Like, maybe enough for a couple joints.”

              Clay laughs.  “I’ll smoke a joint with you guys.”  He pulls out this little 
BACK IN
 sign that’s a clock with the circled ‘A’ for anarchy drawn in the face. He sets the plastic clock hand to 15 minutes.

              I was hoping he’d set it to four hours or maybe there’s a switch you can flip to make it say 
ETERNITY
, and make everyone else freeze so we could be alone together.  I’d be the only human left moving, so he’d have to like me.

Chapter 2

Monster waves

Back on his surfboard

Local boy flies.

              We follow Clay out the back door through the dark storeroom filled with stacks of skate decks.  He smells like a mixture of saltwater, sweat, and trees. 

              We go through the back door out into a closed-off alley with a couple dumpsters and a 
NO PARKING
 sign covered with so many skate stickers you can’t see the yellow.  The gnarly ripped up asphalt is littered with cigarette butts. An old couch with a couple issues of 
Surfer
 magazine on it props open the back door.

              Clay tries to reach into his pocket with his casted arm.  It’s hard for him to twist his shoulder in the right direction to wedge his hand in.  He finally brings out a film canister of weed and some rolling papers.  I zone out watching him as he rolls a joint like an expert.

              He holds the joint up to my mouth.

I can’t breathe.
Don’t panic. You have to calm down.

I take it between my lips.

              He pulls a lighter out of his pocket and lights me up.

              I take a big hit and start coughing.  I feel really stupid, but I can’t help it.  It’s stronger pot than I’ve ever smoked.  I pass the joint back to Clay.  Our hands rub up against each other as I let go of it. 

              He takes a big hit.  His chest puffs out as he holds it in.  He leans back and his T-shirt rides up on his stomach.

              My eyes are pulled to his bare skin.  It’s smooth and tan, and there’s a thin trail of hair from his bellybutton to the waistband of his boxers. 

              Clay looks down to his stomach where I’m staring, then up to me, like he felt my eyes on his skin.

              Jared reaches for the joint. Clay gives it to him.  He takes a huge hit and winds up coughing worse than I did.

              Clay looks stoned.  His face softens and his eyes turn slightly pink.  An alligator smirk curls his lips up a little.  He looks back at me, then down my torso. 

              I focus my mind and send him a telepathic message:

Ask me to hang out with you.

Remember me from when I was in your room.

Ask me to be your best friend and go away with you to be naked.

I’ll just take what I’ve got in my pack. 

That’s all I need.

              “So, where do you guys skate?”

              Jared hands me the joint.  “The old folks’ home behind McPoison’s.”

              I give the joint back to Clay, trying again to feel the heat from his hand on mine.  “Keolu School, when it’s not crowded.  They’ve got a great railing and some steps.”

              Marcus sticks his head out the door.  “Bro, you gotta phone call.”

              “Thanks man.”  Clay gives him a 
shaka
 hand sign.  He looks funny and stoned and I can tell that if we were alone, we could laugh and hang out and have a great time together.  He hands me the joint and punches me lightly on the shoulder.  “Keep it, brah.  I’ve got my own supply.”

“Thanks.”

              
Don’t go.  Don’t go.  This is the most fun I’ve had in years, maybe
 
ever,
 
the most stimulated I’ve been in my whole life.
  I feel like climbing the nearest telephone pole and cutting the wires.

              “Yup.  Laterz.  See you arounds.”  He turns and just stares at me—maybe because he’s so stoned.

              I stare back.  “OK... aloha.”   

              Something flies in the air between us that I’ve never experienced before—like waves of nuclear electricity.  It’s powerful.  I’m amazed I can’t see it.  If the energy was harnessed, it could power all of Tokyo.  It’s a universal force.  Stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. He karate-chops the air, then runs inside, almost tripping on a board that’s lying on the floor in the back room.

              “He’s cool.  I told you.” 

Jared’s so naive sometimes.  Cool isn’t half of it.

              “I gotta go, man.  I have to mow my parents’ lawn.”  I’m lying so I can have some time alone to think about Clay.

              “I thought we were gonna get stoned.”

              “We’re already stoned.” 

              Jared’s useless now.

              I 
miss Clay already.  I skate home as fast as I can, anxious to run to my room and come while thinking of him.  At the front door I reach into my pocket for my key.  “Fuck.”  I must’ve lost it again. I walk around the house and check all the doors and windows.  No luck. 
 
Like we’ve got anything good to steal anyway. 

             
 
My fucking parents keep locking my window like they’re these robots that do nothing else but lock. They know I use it more than the front door. For awhile I look for a hidden key that has never existed, fooling
 
myself
 
into thinking it’s still possible.

             
 
Next I walk around the house to the back porch--which is green with moss because it never dries--and drag a chair into the lawn so I can lie in the sun.  I’ll get a little tan so I look better the next time I see Clay.  Maybe I’ll fall asleep and dream about him.  I see my mom’s bright-orange cat behind my reflection in the dining room window.  He’s rubbing against the glass all cat-like like he’s stoked to get some action.  It’s gross.  I hate the sexuality of cats.

             
 
I walk up to the
 
window,
 
like there’s any chance in hell he could actually help me.  “Get the fucking key, you dumbass cat.”  I flick the glass and he runs away.

             
 
I throw my backpack down and go back and lie down in my mom’s chaise lounge.  The sun’s really hot.  I sweat and smell myself, and I think about the same kind of smells on Clay’s body—which really makes me want to jerk off.  I stand up and walk to my next door neighbor’s shed thinking like a criminal, controlled by his dick.  The door’s open. Cool.

I walk in and pull my shorts down.  They bunch up around my knees and my dick pops out and points up at my face. I picture Clay leaning back on his stool at 808, with his arms back behind his head, with his dragon tattoo showing under his sleeve, the strip of skin exposed above his waistband, the scar on his forehead, the place where his hair meets the nape of his neck.  I imagine how
 
rad
 
it’d be to touch him all over his body, and for his hands to be on me. 
 
             

             
 
I start beating off.  My hand becomes Clay’s in my imagination.  My dick surges upward and I shoot on my neighbor’s workbench.  It’s more cum than I’ve ever shot before.  I guess I was never really turned-on looking at skate magazines and local ads for surf shorts.  Beating off to those doesn’t even compare. 
 
My cum
 
looks anarchic all over power tools and screwdrivers. 
 
Biological vandalism.  I light up a cigarette.  I love Clay.  He’s the best.  I look out the shed’s dusty window at my house. 

             
 
Fuck.  My mom’s home and
 
she’s
 
spraying some wilting Mainland flowers that my dad planted yesterday.  They’re daisies and pansies and all these
 
faggy
 
sounding flowers that don’t belong on this tropical island anyway.  No wonder they’re dying already.  She’s wearing her work clothes: a boring dark-blue business pants-suit thing with a string of pearls and blinding white canvas
 
boating sneakers that make her look good and conservative.  It’s all-wrong for what she’s doing.  She should be wearing shorts and a T-shirt like every other mother on this island. 

             
 
I sneak out of the shed, close the door, and run around the house, then back down the side yard to make her think I’m just coming home from skating.

             
 
The hose slips from her hand and flies wildly around like an attacking snake.  Water shoots everywhere.  It splashes the cat and it runs under the neighbor’s fence.  Water shoots my mom’s face and soaks her pantsuit so the fabric sticks to her legs.  Her white shirt gets drenched too, and I can see her bra and the shape of her breasts.  Her blond hair is plastered on her face.

             
 
I caused this.  My ejaculation was so powerful it fucked with our whole plane of existence. 

I grab my backpack and slip in through the now unlocked back door just off the kitchen.  I grab a soda and go to my room and close the door.  I kick off my shoes, take my shirt off, and throw my skateboard on the bed.  I throw my pack down and stand in front of the full-length mirror.  I look cooler for some reason.  My neck looks thicker.  I practice making cool faces like Clay makes. 
 
“Eh,
 
brah.  What’s up?”  I suck my cheeks in and pucker my lips out. 
 
“Hey, Clay.  You
 
wanna
 
hang out?  Cool.”  I’m such a dork.  I’m not even close to being as cool as he is.  I don’t know what to do.  I need to learn how to surf.  Maybe, I can go over to Waikiki and join one of those tourist classes. I should get a tattoo, but what? 
 
A dragon.  That would be copying.  He’s be freaked out. 
 
A tiger? 
 
A Hawaiian flag?  No way, I’d get my
 
haole
 
ass kicked.

             
 
I shake myself, start over.  “OK, here goes.” 

Sam, just be
 
yourself.
 
“Hey.  What’s up?” 

That was OK.   

             
 
I jump on my bed for a while, trying to make as many punk rock sounds and grunts as I can--for practice--watching the earth go by as my view out the window comes and goes, up and down, up, down.  It’s medicinal.  I stop and look at my room.  I hate the stupid soccer trophy still sitting on my desk from when I was eight and the model boats my dad used to help me make, and my dumb clothes and piles of stupid haikus.  I need a change.

I get a beer from my mini-refrigerator.  I know,
 
I’ll dye my hair again.  I get some dark-red vegetable hair coloring, rub it all over my head, and wipe the rest on my shorts.  My hair turns violet – the red mixing with the blue.  My hands stain in seconds.  This shit doesn’t wash off.  I lie on the floor and stare at this mobile of our solar system I’ve had forever.  It twists and jerks in the afternoon breeze.  I take a big gulp of beer and burp.  I reach for a model of a 747 and fly it around the room.  It has the old paint scheme of United.  It takes off, levels off after a sharp turn to the left, and flies from my chest to my bed with a stop off at my desk for re-fueling.

             
 
I close my eyes and listen to neighborhood sounds: cars driving their conservative neighborhood speed, strollers rolling on the sidewalk, a roving pack of 10-year-olds who found someone’s cigarettes. 

             
 
I have to call him.  I dig the Yellow Pages out from beneath the pile of old haikus that’s under my bed. I find 808 Skate and grab the phone and dial.  It rings and my heartbeat multiplies.

             
 
“Hello? 
 
Skate.”  The voice is scratchy and cool-sounding.  I listen as hard as I can to see if I can tell if it’s him.  I hear him breathing.

             
 
“Hello?”

             
 
I clear my throat and deepen my voice.  “Aloha, is Clay there?”

             
 
“Yeah, hold on. 
 
Clay, phone call.”  The phone gets thrown down on the counter.

             
 
I hear some rattling and fidgeting with the receiver.

             
 
“Clay here, for all your skating needs and more.”  He sounds way better than I even remember and I remember him being perfect.

             
 
“Hello?”

             
 
I don’t know what to say.  Just having him on the line is enough.  I quietly tear the page out and shove it in my pack.

             
 
My door flings open.  “Sam?”

             
 
Fuck.
  I hang up as fast as possible.  I hope he didn’t hear that.  Just the sound of my Mom’s voice would make him run.  “Can’t you knock?”

             
 
“Sorry.  I didn’t know you were home.  I was coming in here to check something.”

             
 
“So, you were just
 
gonna
 
come in my room?”

             
 
“It’s about your birthday, honey.”  Her voice is halfway between sweet and bitchy.

             
 
I want to tell her she shouldn’t even bother with my birthday.  I don’t give a shit about it.  It means nothing to me.  “Don’t get me anything.  Money would be good.”

             
 
“I’m not giving you money.  It’s too impersonal.”

             
 
“I don’t care.  I like it.”

BOOK: Clay's Way
10.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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