CHAPTER SIX: THE FIGHT
The Dream comes back again a few nights later. Part of him struggles against the terror and it seems it wasn’t basically the pain, he could almost step outside of that, it was the feeling of being restrained, tied up and helpless. Peter somehow even contemplated that during the Dream, and the final pure crushing horror of suffocation or drowning when he had to scream but couldn’t. That brought him awake screaming as it always did. When Mom came in he swore at her, unleashing a stream of obscenities such as he had only heard Arnold, or maybe Alex do. After she had left in confused exasperation Peter almost felt bad about it. Why the Dream? He bravely toyed with his recollections of the nightmare, he tried but the final horror was too much, he moved his arms and kicked his legs to reassure himself. He thought of Alex that time… and the pictures of the tied up dark chic. Peter found solace in The Readers’ Digest and eventually sleep again.
The next day when Tom’s out Peter sneaks into his room. Fascinated he spends minutes studying the pictures of the tied up dark chic trying to figure out the expressions on her face before exploring the room. Taped to the underside of a drawer he finds an envelope with several large glossy photos of hairy, husky, mostly bearded guys in it. One picture shows this guy with a black cap and a funny metal studded black leather costume which lets his cock hang out whipping another hairy guy tied up with leather straps and with a hood over his head. Peter holds the picture to the light but he can’t till if the whip marks are real or not. Guys, guys whipping each other? It doesn’t make sense. Peter could, he thought understand tying up chics… and kids and fucking them and maybe whipping them. But guys, big strong hairy guys, why would they do that?
Continuing his explorations he finds under Tom’s mattress a new magazine he hasn’t seen before, Leatherbiker. There’s the usual naked chics and sex, and a lot of bikes but the pictures aren’t as good as Penthouse or Hustler. Peter doesn’t care for bikes or “hawgs” as Tom calls them. Then Peter notices some pictures of guys in leather outfits a lot like the ones in the photos but they aren’t doing anything, And then he comes across an ad for whips, cat-o-nine tails, restraint harnesses and a bunch of other weird things. And at the back he finds some really strange ads which he can’t understand:
GWM, professional, mid 30’s
NS,ND,WS,BD, mild SM,
seeks same 2530. no fats or fems.
Harry, Box I93385,
Wow, that’s not far from here. And other ads have little photos showing the guys naked, and then flipping back through the magazine Peter finds this blurb set into a story:
“As Jim kept laying the heavy leather belt into Craig’s ass he could tell from his facial expression that Craig had passed over the threshold into ecstasy. From now on every blow would be pure pleasure.”
Just as Peter’s turns to the page where the story begins he hears doors slam upstairs and knows that Tom is home. Quickly he puts everything back exactly as he found it and meets Tom munching a sandwich in the kitchen.
“What were you doing downstairs?” Tom demands.
“Nothing, I just got some stuff in a box in the storeroom.” A particle of truth eases his lie.
“If I ever catch you snooping in my room I’ll whip you.”
Does he really mean WHIP? Peter wonders as he walks away with affected nonchalance. He tries to imagine what it would be like to be whipped and that sends a curious tingle and shudder through his body. And if they tied me up too? He tries to think of other things and then the time he helped Mom tie up Alex when she beat him last time comes into his mind. And he remembers how he was strangely excited at the beginning although later he felt scared and sorry and guilty. And those guys in the pictures, were they being punished? Or maybe they’re slaves? Neither answer seems correct. And the funny costumes? It’s a mystery for Peter. I mean nobody would want to be whipped, it hurts. But does whipping do something for you? Does it make you tough? Like there was a lot more beatings in the old days and they say men were tougher then. Does it make you more of a man somehow? like those hairy guys in the photos. Like Alex is tough and he has more hair than me, and he has more fun and friends too. And that “threshold into ecstasy” business and “And from now on every blow would be pure pleasure”. Like if you’re beaten enough it starts to feel good? That doesn’t make sense for sure. It’s all stupid. But the mystery is only part of Peter’s fascination with the subject.
Three days later Peter searches Tom’s room again. The photos are still there but the Leatherbiker magazine is gone and there’s not much else interesting. He checks the ’Not For Sale to Minors’ shelves in the news stands but the magazine’s not there either.
The whole business of beatings and pain and his being a sissy and the photos and the magazine perplex Peter. There seems to be a lot of things he should know, but doesn’t. One day after being called a sissy again at school, and doing nothing about it, he decides to experiment. He gets the old chair rung Mom keeps under the sink and lightly slaps his thigh a couple of times. He thinks about it for a while. Then he goes to give himself a real hard smack but pulls back at the last instant.
He tries a couple of more times but he can’t do it. Dejectedly he puts the rung back, starts to leave but stops. After a few seconds hesitation he takes the rung out again, grits his teeth and manages to give himself a fairly hard smack on the thigh, Peter strives to savour the pain. After a moment he does it again but harder, but this time his whole body and face react. Owww! It hurts, it hurts. There’s no way pain can be pleasure or they wouldn’t use it for punishment. He rubs his sore thigh, the pain is almost gone. And this business of a threshold is all nonsense too, like Alex has been beaten real hard and he never passed over any threshold.
Later that afternoon Peter is peeing out his window and feeling his bladder full he decides to try for a record. As he raises the stream upwards he sees Mr. Hicks watching him through his seldom open window. Quickly he shoves his pecker back in and does up his fly. “Don’t be embarrassed, I sometimes do the same myself.” Bullshit, Peter thinks. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of… Why when I was a boy we used to have contests to see who could pee the highest… I mean you’re quite good…and it’s a fine looking nozzle you have.”
“Really eh, What’s it to you?” Peter has regained his composure.
I’m just trying to be friendly and a… seeing you there took me back to my own boyhood.”
“You don’t say.”
“You go right ahead now. Why if you can pee as high as my windowsill I’ll give you a dollar.”
Peter knows that would be easy and he thinks of the times that Mr. Hicks has bought him chocolate bars in the store, mostly lousy little EatMores and now he wants to give me one measly dollar. If Peter were sure he could pee right into his room, he would. “Fuck off you cheap penny pinching bastard.” He goes to shut the window.
“Now you just wait a minute. I’ve seen you playing with yourself, I’ve seen the dirty, obscene things you do.”
“Fucking queer” and Peter slams down the window and hears the sash weights clang. You’ll get no more free shows, you bastard. Peter silently decides. Mr. Hicks has mentioned the unmentionable, he has gambled foolishly and lost, and Peter experiences a new feeling of power.
“Go to my room.” Tom orders.
“No. I don’t have to.” Peter makes an effort to continue eating his peanut butter and jam sandwich.
“You heard me, you go or else.” Tom draws back his hand.
Peter puts down the remainder of his sandwich and is about to go to the basement door when he remembers the last time and that he wasn’t going to let Tom screw him anymore. “I won’t.” he says almost experimentally.
“What’s that you said?” Tom has his hands on his hips and a quizzical look in his eyes.
“I said I won’t.” Peter replies more emphatically.
“You bloody well do as I say.” Tom draws his hand back again. Peter stands motionless but tense. “Petey?” It’s half way. between an order and a question. Peter fidgets but remains silent. “You go or else.” Tom is insistent.
“No.” Peter manages with determination.
SMACK And it’s a good one right across the mouth. Peter looks Tom in the eye, tries to make a grin and is, just beginning to feel the power of it when SMACK Peter has to catch his balance and the pain is worse this time and he has to fight to stay on top of it. Anger comes to his rescue and he blurts out “NO”. Tom grabs Peter’s collar and pulls him to within inches before his face. “You do it.” He orders.
Peter can’t hold back the tears completely but he remains defiant. “I won’t.” he manages.
Tom goes to slap him again but stops. “What’s the matter with you Petey?”
“Nothing… I just won’t and that’s it.” Peter is trembling and they stand facing each other silently for a minute. Frustrated Tom starts to leave. “Tell you what,” Peter stops him, “I’ll let you do it to me but you got to give me ten bucks use lots of that good slippery stuff, and no lying on me with all your weight… And you got to do what I say too,”
“Well You spend more than that on your chics and most times you don’t get laid.”
Tom tries to keep up his end of the deal and Peter gets to keep the pictures of the tied up dark chic for his own. Afterwards Peter thinks that when he’s older he’d like to do it to Alex, maybe tying him up first, and to chics too. But mainly he thinks about how he had stood up to Tom and how the smacks weren’t all that bad. It’s with pride rather than pain that he recalls them. It’s like he’s discovered some secret, some magic.
The ten dollars lasts almost three hours at the 7-Eleven. He’s starting to get better scores on the TRON machine but then this even skinnier kid Ronnie beats him four straight at Pac-Man. Peter figures he needs more practice.
That night after closing the curtains and undressing for bed Peter saunters up to ’He’ in the mirror, and shows him the bruises on his face. “It warn’t nothin”, he whispers in a cowboy twang to ’He’. Then he sticks out his chest and chin, flexes his right arm, pressing it against his side to make his bicep look bigger, and admires himself. ’He’ is also impressed and nods his appreciation. Peter turns around the other way, clasping his hands in the small of his back and sucking his belly in, he glares ferociously at ’He’ and “RRRAAAHHH”. He’s afraid he’s roared too loud and Mom will wonder what’s the matter.
Accidentally, honestly and truly accidentally, but it doesn’t quite look that way, Peter trips Dougy in the schoolyard.
“Watch it, Sissypants.” Dougy calls out getting to his feet.
He’s someone Peter barely knows although they have been in the same class for years, Peter’s never seen him fight and he is reassured by the fact he’s a little bit smaller. This is it. Peter’s inspired. This time I’m going to do it, I don’t care if I get hit or hurt a bit. The Moment of Truth has arrived. “Fucker. Asshole.” Peter finds himself shouting back, taking the first step.
What did you call me?” Dougy seems surprised.
“I called you an asshole, Fucker.” Peter tries looking tough.
“Well fuck you, you pansy assed sissy.” Dougy stands squarely in front of him, hands on his hips, then he gives Peter a shove.
The Ritual has begun and Peter almost falters before he shoves Dougy back. He knows he can still probably back down, and not get hurt, but there is something else that he fears more, and he almost consciously builds up his not very righteous anger.
“You shitfaced bastard, call me a sissy eh?” and he gives Dougy a hard push, moves in and is winding up to punch him when…
“STOP” It’s his teacher Ms. Candice. “Stop it. You boys know better than to fight. You know violence is wrong.” She rushes over as a small crowd gathers.
“Sissypants.” Dougy hisses at him.
Frustration increases Peter’s anger, he takes a swing only to be grabbed by Ms. Candice. As he tries to shake free she clasps him tighter and pulls him against herself. His struggles become more desperate. “Restrain yourself.” she demands as she wraps both arms around him. Someone else grabs his kicking legs. Terror replaces anger, Peter starts screaming and a hand is momentarily placed over his mouth. His screams become hysterical and he is let go. And then he stands there bawling seconds after it had begun.
“And I never even touched him.” Dougy confides to the gallery.
“I’ll deal with you later.” Ms. Candice says to Dougy and she leads the still sobbing Peter back inside the school. Sitting beside him on the bench in her office she asks, “Whatever came over you Peter?”
“Nothing.” Peter’s sobs have stopped.
“It isn’t like you to fight. You’re usually such a peaceful boy. I don’t know what came over you. And then getting hysterical like that when I stopped the fight. You don’t think the school can just stand by and let things like that happen. You were lucky to be stopped in time, you should be thankful someone stepped in before anybody got hurt.” Peter wishes he had his miniaturized death ray camera. “I know from things you’ve said in class that you may think about violent things, but you must learn to separate fantasy from reality… I realize we see violence all around us on TV, in the newspapers and the problems young people face today, but there is a line between make believe and reality Peter. To think about violence is one thing, to act it out is another… I know you must have felt anger… Now there’s nothing wrong in feeling anger Peter, all of us do one time or another, but we must learn to cope with it without resorting to violence. There are even things we should feel angry about, but we must learn to direct our anger. Like we should feel anger about all the poverty and suffering and injustice in the world. Peter, think of Africa, think of all the poor oppressed people right here in Canada, think of all the starving children in the world. Anger can be positive if it motivates us to make government do something about the problems. You understand what I’m trying to say Peter?” Peter is studying the pattern of scratches and stains on the bench top beside him. He looks up at her briefly. “Suppose everybody let anger get the better of themselves, think what the world would be like, and there’s so much fighting and wars already… Now I don’t think you started it Peter, but we can’t lose our tempers because someone calls us names, can we Peter?” She puts her arm around his shoulders.
“Leave me alone.” Peter shudders.
“Peter, I’m just trying to help you. You must learn to let people help you.”
“I’m all right.”
“But Peter, you need help, I’ve been over your records, and you do have problems. What happened today may be all for the good if it gets you the help you need.”
“I’m all right now, just leave me alone.”
“But Peter, how can you expect to deal with your problems if you don’t get help?” Peter notices someone has scratched ’LOVE’ into the bench top. LOVE, backwards, EVOL Evil? EVOLUTION, backwards, NO IT U LOVE. “Peter!”
“Peter, I’m trying to help you with your problems. Perhaps
you should see your counselor, Mr. Humphrey. I’m sure he could help you. Have you thought of that?… It’s best if you see him voluntarily. I could tell him you want to see him.” Peter remains silent, he wishes she would move so he could examine the part of the bench where she is sitting, “And maybe he could speak to your family worker… Peter?” He looks up again. “And together they might be able to arrange something… like possibly a new school where you could make a new start.”
“I dunno.” Peter mumbles, he is interested but apprehensive of the idea.
“Well think about it.” she advises.
On his way home he does think about it. Maybe I could go to Lady Ascot School or Parkridge Junior Secondary? And I could take the bus instead of having to walk. To Peter who seldom gets to ride in a car busses have a certain appeal. And then his real fantasy begins. I’ll be a new kid in school, everybody is interested in the new kids. It was Peter’s experience that every new boy soon passed him in popularity. And they wouldn’t know much about me except what I tell them. My dad was a test pilot but he got killed when this super secret, experimental levitation plane crashed, it was probably communist agents or Iranian terrorists that did it. They had to keep the report secret because of the international situation. And the reason were so poor now is because Mom lost the money in the stock exchange, like most computer companies were going up but hers got taken over by a multinationial, it was the Americans that did it because the company had this new design for an antimetal matter beam which would leave the enemy crews to freeze to death in outer space. Peter decides to save his miniaturized death ray camera gun for the special friends he’ll make. Real friends, I could make real friends like Tom and Alex have, and hang around and go places and do things. And Peter marches arm in arm into a golden sunrise of palship which only becomes clouded over when he sees Balbir coming towards him. He just has time to cross the road as if he were going to anyway, but not before Balbir calls out “ “Jamtart.” in his peculiar accent. And Peter remembers that new boys often have a hard time too, some get picked on and a few get beaten up. I’ll wait until some little kid picks on me and POW POW POW and maybe I could borrow Tom’s Stretcherciser and POW POW POW bigger kids.
Next day at noon hour Dougy comes up to him in the yard. “Hi Pansypants, I just want to tell you I’m not supposed to bug you or anything so feel safe.” Peter desperately wants to punch him, to do something, to do anything but he can’t even make his hands into fists. Humiliation submerges his anger and with everything else on his mind he just stands there and then walks dejectedly away.
After school Peter goes into his own room, closes the curtains and cries out his frustration for a while. I’m not a sissy. He tries looking tough in the mirror but isn’t very convincing, even ’He’ is not impressed. Peter decides to fantasize tying up Dougy and whipping him, but he gets lost in the detail of knots and paraphernalia and can’t concentrate, He tries the mirror again. “I’m not a sissy. I’m not a sissy. I’m not a sissy.” He stares into his eyes, becoming trancelike and repeats twenty one times, “I’m not a sissy.” Subtle changes occur in his expression, the tone of his voice evolves from tentative to determined. He starts pacing around his room with an air of resolve. But the posters, models, drawings, and all the little things and details each with some personal association which make up the one boy’s room universe he has created, close in on him. The chess set he hardly uses anymore, the copy of an X-ray picture from when he had pneumonia, the model of the Nautilus submarine he had assembled the days he had played sick after Balbir had chased him, and the extra neat and careful drawing he did of his hydro plane car with hovercraft skis which can carry over one hundred passengers and is armed with laser guns and which has the fancy stick-on letters he’d bought with money Tom ’gave’ him were all there.
Peter sits down in the chair by his table. “I’m not a sissy.” he tries slowly and repeats, but it doesn’t seem to work very well this time. Anger. “I’m gonna get them,” he tries, “I’m gonna get them.” It feels good. “I’m really gonna get them all.” But his anger is losing its potency, he pauses to stir it up, “I’d just like to get EVERYBODY” He sees his school compass, grabs it and holds the point in front of his eyes and then jabs it into the hard flexed muscle of his arm. Still in his cold impotent anger he jabs again further down and pulls it out. There is disappointingly little blood. And he sees where the third one should go, so they’d be evenly spaced in a line, but the pain has burst the bonds of anger and floods over him as he tries to make the third puncture. He pushes, but he is shaking uncontrollably and he can’t keep the muscle hard and that makes it difficult and more painful still. He just can’t seem to push the point hard enough to sink into his flesh, and he sees where he needs a fourth prick to make the line complete. One more feeble attempt and he quits. Peter decides to see Mr. Humphrey,
The transfer to Parkridge Junior Secondary is agreed to by all, but not until next term which means another six weeks at the old school. In the meantime?
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