Chapter Three: Stanley's Morning
When I was twelve years old, I punched a soap dispenser. And broke my hand. It had been one of those fucking squeegee, "push this button and I'll give you a handful of slime" sort of deals – too much soap for a twelve year old. Just enough for, say, King Kong. Or perhaps some poor fuck inflicted by a horrific case of elephant-fucking-titis. It was an unjust machine, and depressing, because no one who used it appreciated it. Five to Fourteen year olds who wanted the playground a hell of a lot more than a handful of Sani-Tot. And, me just hitting puberty and all, I had no fucking time for soap. Not like I had time for skater caps or skater shoes or Element T-shirts or older, sophisticated women with older, so-fuck-sticated bodies. I remember the older kids used to call the excess soap 'free lube'. And I'd gotten it, and I'd laughed so they'd think I was the shit. Which they didn't.
But this 'excess' had nothing to do with why I punched the damn thing. Instead, being the disturbed little fuck I was, am, and will continue to be, I had demonstrated my powerful rage towards the seventh grade Science teacher by punching the shit out of the junior high lube dispenser. And I had really wailed on it. My memory's fuzzy, but I do believe my anger had something to do with her confiscating my Game Boy? Bitch. Whatever it was, I had gone L.O.T.R Balrog on her ass, tipping my desk, dropping my rented copy of 'Ecosystems and You', and sprinting from the classroom like a riled bull elephant in full heat. "You walk out this door you march right to the office, Stanley!" she had shrieked. My response had been a verbal fucking assault. I'd kicked the door open and threw it shut. And I didn't go to the office.
I went to have a rebellious piss instead.
And, upon entering, wanting to act like a fucking tough guy in front of the crotch-cradling pissers currently occupying the room, those same fucks who pressed their lube from the kid's soap dispenser, free of charge, I had slammed my right hand down on the countertop and let my left attempt to terminate all things soap. "Fuck teachers!" I had bellowed, imitating Rocky. My hand had exploded. I mean...ow. I still remember the sound of my necks breaking. That is, the necks of my fourth and fifth metacarpals (aka. those weenie bones that hold your fingers together). A Brawler's Fracture. Sweet and to the fucking point.
My hand had been in a cast for eight weeks.
And it was during the corresponding trip to the hospital that I had developed my ever-lingering case of sanatora-phobia. The fear of all things medical-and-me.
My hands were sweaty as we had pulled up onto Memorial. Like, sweaty. But that's what happens, I guess, when one is terrified. I wiped them on my jeans. I saw the stains they left. When I sweat, I leak the stuff. It's fucking gross.
Great... now I look like my thighs were sweating. Pretty fucking picture. Angry, I stared down at the six-inch patches of dark; the area around my crotch. I rubbed my perspiring fingers against my cheek. I felt stubble. My foot still hurt. My chest was thumping. My mouth tasted like Advil. Oh sweet Jesus my foot hurt. Ached. Throbbed. Medication was putting me to sleep. My thighs were wet. Gwen was looking at herself in the rear-view mirror. Primping.
"What are you doing?" I asked, tired; baffled. Here I was, looking, feeling and acting like a little boy who just saw Barney killed on the big screen; who pissed himself in nauseous horror. And Gwenny was making sure her fucking eyeliner was strait. Fuck her.
Her soft head whipped over, eyes big as DVDs. I must've really looked like shit, because the startled look on her face spoke part of concern and part of something else. Something rancid. I hoped it was just more concern, but it was probably repulsion. Last I checked I hadn't shaved in two days and there were droplets of blood on my forehead.
"Oh, god." Her eyebrows crumpled together, and a hand reached out to uncomfortably touch my hair. I didn't know why. "Sorry...Habit... shit."
So not repulsion. Humiliation. A little too pleased with this, I smirked. "You're fucked." It was meant as little more than a joke. Goddamnit, she knew me well enough by now. But the offence she took was tough. Guilt, I guess. Whatever Her little cheeks filled with blood; her jaw stuck out far. It was offence bred by embarrassment, I knew. She was overly mortified, and that mortification had fucked the early morning, giving birth to this ridiculously messed up act. Giving me an unnecessary look, she turned up 96.9 FM and voiced her emotions through a middle finger. By this time, the Advil was already kicking in, and my eyelids felt heavy. I felt powerless to her driving. "I didn't mean it like that, stupid. I don't fucking
care." Music was too loud. She didn't hear me. I tried a different approach. "Fuck you." I muttered, a little louder, half-assed, turning my face away. Hurt? Yea... hurt.
The window chilled through the stubble on my jaw; like the skin of a bathtub before hot water hits it. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling. The rain softly slapped the glass, lulling me into a pill-induced trance. Just like the old days, I thought pleasantly, drawing my legs up onto the warm, fury upholstery. Fuck me... fuck the old days... fuck Advil... Later, I would look back on this and hate myself. Think how pathetic I was. Hate myself more. Hate how I let myself fall into the pill. Hate the childish way my knees folded against my chest and my body regressed to the caricature of a goddamn fetus. But now, it was all okay. All natural and completely acceptable. I fell asleep quietly. Without a fucking question in my mind.