Eraser Chapter 5

Axel hasn't really been his self lately. There are a lot of things that led up to it, but it really all starts after Hayden kills their grandmother. He gets mad at me at the funeral, but that's pretty standard-public places make him irritable.

He dropped me off at my house after the funeral and hasn't talked to me since. It's been two weeks. Two weeks and every time I call that ungrateful bastard, he just growls in the phone-no words, just noise- and hangs up. Whenever I walk to his house no one answers, even though I can hear the TV blaring through the paper walls. And there's this car-a red mustang that is definitely not Axel's-that's outside all the time.

When Axel finally comes to my house, I punch him as hard as I can in the face.

"You are not a good friend!" I screech, cradling my now pained hand.

Axel blinks. Axel's nose starts bleeding, just a little, but he doesn't move.

"You have no idea what's happening as we speak," He says. I notice he has a newly acquired accent and wonder where he picked it up from. His w's are all v's.

"You've abandoned me, that's what you did," I say, sounding like my mother does when my parents fight. Hurt, terrified that he's going to say he found someone else. "Just say it, you have a new best friend, don't you? You can tell me. I can take it. I understand why you can't deal with the pressures of having a friend with a condition."

"No, Ezra, you don't even know."

No sarcastic remark. And his voice there's something in it-something that frightens me just a little. It's…emotion. Scarier yet, it's an emotion besides anger. It's not even grumpy or moderately moody it's…it's…

"Jesus Christ Axel, what did they do to you?" I am suddenly sympathetic.

"I can't even-" Axel shakes his hair. "Can we sit down? We need to sit down. It's too horrible."

I nod and let him in the house, before designating the kitchen as our area of discussion.

It's a Wednesday, so my mother is busy making dinner. It's fried eggplant smothered in marinade and looks indefinitely like scabs on the white china she lovingly places each patty on.

"Mom!" I say so suddenly, she nearly drops her spatula.

"Are you okay?" She asks. Her eyes are all wide with worry. When she sees Axel she sighs that sort of sigh mothers sigh when they know that all things are right in the world. "Hi honey, how have you been?"

Axel doesn't answer, he just shakes his head.

"What are you doing?" I demand. My mother stares at me helplessly.

"I'm making dinner. Are you hungry?"

I grimace. "Um…no. I need you to evacuate the designated area. This is no place for a woman."

My mother's face crumples into something I can only assume is confusion.

"It means leave the kitchen, Mom."

"I know what it means, Ezra Finch Jones," She says, voice shrill. "What have those video games been teaching you?"

"What?" I say. My mother is suddenly scowling at me like I told her she was fat or something. "Mom, you clearly don't understand the severity of the situation. Axel has-"

"Has Axel been teaching you to that men are superior to women? That women are too delicate to listen to your little male bonding experiences?" She growls. She has now turned on Axel.

"What?" Is all he says. It sounds like "'Vat".

"Mom, we just need the kitchen for a few minutes."

"Your father will be hearing about this," She threatens before storming out of the kitchen, stove left on to burn the remaining Eggplant patties.

I shrug and get out a few juice boxes.

"Want one?" I ask Axel, who has seated himself at the kitchen table. His big hands are cradling his head and I can see he hasn't shaved in days. I'll admit, I'm a little envious of his beard.

"Do you have anything with alcohol in it?" He asks. I search in the cupboard.

"Umm…we have vanilla extract…which is like 20 alcohol," I offer, waving the moderately sized bottle at him.

"Good enough," He says and takes the bottle. He downs more than I would think someone could.
"So what happened?" I ask, seating myself across from him, handing Pikachu the extra juice box. He has a weird thing for sitting at the table and watching my mom cook.

"You're not going to believe me," He sighs. "But my dad came back."

"You're…" I can't help it, I break into hysterical laughter. "Axel, you liar, your dad didn't come back. He never existed in the first place!"

"I knew you wouldn't," Axel said. His voice is still distressingly calm. "But it happened. And now he's living with us again. And my parents are fucking."

I try and take this in. I've known Axel nearly our whole lives and I have never seen his dad. Not even the ghost of his father, I don't even know his name.

I remember Hayden's father, who was always nice until his secretary filed for sexual harassment and it turned out a lot of his previous secretaries had wanted to do the same thing. And now he exists in the form of Boston and one 100 check a month.

"Okay, let's say I believe you have a father," I say, slowly. "Why the hell would he randomly show up after being nothing for eighteen years? I mean, people don't just come back."

"Well," Axel seemed to contemplate this, sucking on the inside of his cheek. "It's…and then there was…it's a long story."

"I have time," I tell him.

Axel nods, taking another swig of vanilla extract.

Axel takes a long drink from the vanilla bottle and pauses. I eagerly await. I know the crazy man at the door is his father, but the game is trying to figure out how he informs Axel.

As Axel tells me his story, more words spewing out of his mouth than I've ever heard, I start to paint a picture in my head.

I see Axel, fuming after the funeral, barging into the small house and immediately going for the liquor stashed under his bed. He probably grabs his tin flask that's filled with Jack Daniel's because that's always been his favorite. Axels' room is, as usual, the only part of the house that's ever really clean. It smells like disinfectant and he makes sure to shut and lock the door before going downstairs.

Like every other day, he turns on the black and white TV and sits on the couch that is imploding upon itself. He watches an hour of "I Love Lucy", drinking slowly, wondering where he could get substances of a more potent nature.

Hayden comes downstairs then, looking desperate. It makes Axel uncomfortable, a discomfort that gets worse when Hayden sits next to Axel on the couch.

Axel doesn't know what to do. He's terrified of human contact and Hayden is sort of a freak. He tries to ignore him but Hayden needs to be noticed and suddenly starts crying.

Axel can barely stand it. He turns up the TV.

"Oh Lucy!" The TV says.

"Oh Jesus," Hayden says. "Why doesn't anyone like me Axel?"
"Umm…" Axel doesn't know how to respond.

"I try and I try to get them to like me but no one does," Hayden's shaking his head, over and over. "Like your little friend? The crazy kid? He keeps mocking me!"

I resent being called "little" when I'm two whole years older than Hayden. I might even be taller.

"And you hate me too!" Hayden wails, suddenly turning on Axel. He's like a deer in headlights. "We're supposed to be brothers! How can we be brothers if we can't love each other! And speaking of love, that girl I was making out with, you saw her. She was fucking hot. So what if she's our cousin right? She's fucking hot. And back in the day, royalty married their cousins and it was fine. And look at them! They were respected. And I'm not saying she's related to us, because I had no idea, but still."

He looks at Axel for support. Axel stares. He thinks about explaining to Hayden about genetics and horrible diseases the royals got from inbreeding but decides he'd be wasting his time.

"And Jesus I'm not gay! I totally like girls. But I mean, what's wrong with experimenting? I mean, you're only gay if it's penetration. There's nothing wrong with masturbating together or orally pleasing another boy right? And you know, I am totally okay with you and that kid."

"Um…what?" Axel feels like cringing on the inside.

"That kid, your friend. I know you guys are…you know…more than friends…and I'm okay with it!" Hayden is past the hysterics, practically smiling.

Axel's face falls just a little. "I'm not…not with Ezra…that's so…and where did you? I mean…I don't even like Ezra. He just doesn't leave me alone."

"Axel, it's okay," Hayden pats his hand. "I know."

"I like vaginas," Is all Axel can think to say. "Jesus Christ Hayden, go upstairs and cut yourself or something."

Hayden is suddenly sad again. "Why won't you just open up to me? We're supposed to be brothers."

"Seriously. Go upstairs. Find a razor or safety pin or pencil top or whatever you use. Pry it open. Slash your wrist."

Hayden starts crying again and storms upstairs.

Hayden is emotional on the best days but this is ridiculous.

Axel is just about to enjoy his new found peace, when the door suddenly opens. He knows it's his mother-the room is suddenly colder and smells distinctively of decaying youth.

He expects her to go through her routine haunt-pause at the couch to look at what he's doing, ignore the flask or bottle in his hand, and flutter upstairs and lock herself into her room.

But tonight she glides to the couch and speaks. Her voice is barely more than a feeling creeping on his skin, probably something that would be completely put aside to anyone not maternally bound to her.

"Axel," She hisses out. Axel blinks. He can't remember the last time she spoke to him, let alone said his name. "I am appalled by your behavior at my mother's funeral."

"Oh," Is all Axel says.

"She never did anything but help this family out," Her voice is rising, a slow crescendo. "We wouldn't have had this house if it wasn't for her. We wouldn't have any of the things inside the house. She kept us from living on the street."

Axel thinks of a million arguments but doesn't say them. He won't admit it, but I know that deep down he's still terrified that his mother will stop loving him.

"And what do you do to show your appreciation? You desecrate her body."

Desecrate sounds like something sexual. Axel's mom probably doesn't even know what it means.

"If it's not one thing with you children it's another. You and Hayden are running around, getting into god knows what kind of trouble. Tom's children behave, why can't you? I wanted you to be good, that's all. And you can't even do that."

Axel's teeth are grinding and grinding in his mouth.

"Well," He finally says. "Maybe if you weren't such a shitty mother I wouldn't have spit on my grandmother."

Sarah's bottom lip quivers, like a little girl.

"And maybe, just maybe, if she hadn't such a shitty mother, her kids would be normal adults. Adults that can function. Instead there's Tom who's psycho and you, and you know Sarah, you're kind of a slut."

It feels strange telling her this. Because he's thought it for such a long time.

Axel watches his mother burst into tears and doesn't really care. She runs upstairs; face cupped in her hands and Axel just sips from the flask. Apparently his mother is going to be as crazy as Gram-Gram was.

Hours pass after this is finally, blissfully alone. He's running out of alcohol fast and knows he's in no condition to go and get more. Maybe if he closes his eyes his head will stop spinning and he'll stop hearing his mother sob in the other room. Of course she's not there, she left a while ago, purposely ignoring him, but he can't get that damned sound out of his head.

What he needs is his best friend but he won't admit it. And maybe, just maybe, it's because he's secretly attracted me. Maybe he wants to jump my bones, make sweet, passionate love all over his grandma's dead body. Maybe he even jerks-off to my MySpace picture every night. Maybe he has an albino fetish.

It's possible that Axel's thinking about this when there's a knock at the door. He waits for stupid Hayden or his ghost mother to answer it, but no one does. The knockings getting so loud and so annoying that he finally drags himself from the couch and weaves over to the door. He wonders why there are suddenly two.

He doesn't say hello when he opens the door. Just stares and waits.

The man in front of him is Latino and tall, with a straight back and moustache. He's dressed like a used cars sales man and has shiny shoes that look distinctively like they were snagged from a bowling alley. The man looks nervous.

"Umm…" He stutters out. Axel stares. "Sarah Willsher still lives here, right?"

"Who the fuck is that?" Axel staggers out before realizing it's his mother. "Oh yeah. She does. She's uhh…not here…I don't know where she-what the hell do you want?"

This man looks like someone Sarah would sleep with for a month and then forget about when someone different, possibly more attractive came along. Axel can't imagine it'd be hard to find someone more attractive than this guy.

"I heard of her mother's passing," He fumbled in his back pocket. "And I have this card for her."

Axel takes the card and unapologetically opens it. It's one of those singing cards from Hallmark. In black comic strip letters it apologizes for the loss of Grandma. Inside it plays Queen's Another One Bites the Dust.

"Ummm…" Axel hands him back the card.

"I'll just give it to her in person then," The man stares at the card a minute, before turning to Axel, who's ready to slam the door in his face. "Say, are you Sarah's son?"

"What?" Axel shakes his head. He's starting to see things, which is not normal. Right now the Lucky Charms leprechaun and his very dead grandmother are hoping around behind the man's back, singing about gold and plucking out his eyes. "Yeah, sure. Look, she's not here and I'm fucking wasted so just…"

Axel shrugs (at least he thinks) and shuts the door.

W when he gets back to the couch he's happy to pass out, because he needs the sleep and no one should see their dead grandmother with a leprechaun.

He's just barely dreaming (probably about me, naked) when he feels a hand on his shoulder and wakes up. He must have walked to his bed at some point, and there, sitting at the end, are his mother and the man with the moustache.

Axel tries to form words, finds his mouthy sticky, and just vaguely gestures at them to get out. He's not sure he's wearing any clothes.

"Axel," His mother has a soft voice. "There's something I need to tell you."

"Let me handle this Sarah," The man says, nudging Sarah aside. "Axel, do you remember when your mother told you she didn't know who your father was?"

Axel furrows his brow. "Who the hell are you and why are you in my room?"

"Well Axel, there's no easy way of saying this," He takes a deep breath. "I'm your father."

"No fucking way," I say loudly. I'm out of my seat, nearly standing on the table, and Axel tosses the extract bottle aside.

"Yea," Axel says. "My father's fucking Mexican."

"Jesus, you're such a Nazi!" I say. "Mexican's are people too!"

"Ezra, you don't even," He shakes his head. "Ezra, my mother told me my father was a German exchange student who knocked her up and went to Germany. She cut a picture out of International Male and told me that was my father."

I pat his hand sympathetically. "It's like if I found out my dad wasn't really an albino. I understand."

"But your dad's not-"

"Shut your not German face!" I scream.

"That's not even the worse part," Axel sighs. He puts his face in his hands, and I wonder if he's crying. I am suddenly awkward and sit in my seat. "They're…dating again? Yeah. They want to get married and start a family. Do you know where he's been? He left to be a missionary in Africa. He'd go to poor villages and dangle food in front of starving people, who either had to convert or they didn't get the food."

I blink.

"And now he wants us to convert. Me and Hayden. Hayden's a fucker, whatever, but me, I can't…" He trails off. Axel is not a man of many words, and even speaking this much is killing him. He gestures vaguely with his hands, like it means something, and I have no idea.

"Don't tell my parents, " I caution, in a quiet voice. "They won't let me go near you if they know about your dad."

He glares at me. "I'm not joking Ezra."

"Neither am I," I tell him. "My parents are really anti-religion. They wouldn't let me watch X-Men any more after that episode where they find Nightcrawler at the monastery and Wolverine turns to God for help. They won't let me hang out with you anymore."

"It's not like I'm the one who's trying to convert you," He says.

"I didn't know what Jesus was until I was thirteen Axel. And I still don't know what the hell Hanukah's about." And it's true. "So just don't say anything around them. They don't need to know."

"Fine, but I still don't know what to do about…" He does another hand gesture. He's exhausted his vocabulary.

"I just can't get over that you have a father," I muse. "You have to take me to meet him."

"No, this is like introducing you to my grandmother. It's a bad idea."

"Gram-Gram was a bust, I'll be the first to admit," I nodded. "I mean, I was a little traumatized when Hayden killed her but what're the chances that the same thing will happen twice?"

"What's going to happen twice?"

"Exactly," I say, stroking my chin, wishing I could grow facial hair. "Exactly."

Author's Note:

Hey brothers and bitches, I wrote another chapter! YAY! Savor it, because it's the last before December, when I unleash Eraser: the Novel. It will be epic. It will confuse you. It will excite you. It might make you pee yourself. I donno.

Self-promotion aside, I was having the most awful week I've had in a really long time, which essentially caused me to write. A lot. I didn't bother re-reading this because I'm in a horrible mood, so I'm sorry if it fails DX I'm also sorry if anything repeats, I've been working on this since I moved into my dorm.

Also, while I'm thinking of it, I'm going to be changing my pen name again. Probably next week, so if Eraser is suddenly written by someone different, it's probably just me under another guise. I would suggest favoring/alerting/or bookmarking this and any other story you love, just in case.

More stories on the way BD So if you're a fan of my work, I would definitely check my page like once a week.

(Oh, and Ezra thinking Axel might want to do the naughty with him has NOTHING to do with them being gay together. But if you want to draw me pictures/write me stories of this occuring I might be inclined to have a super special "AXEL AND EZRA MAKE SWEET SWEET LOVE" chapter. Or Alternatively replace Axel's name with Hayden.)