“Great book! I was quickly drawn into the story lines and character development. I really enjoyed how it all came together ...”

Click Here to Read More Reviews

The writing of Paul Gavin featuring novels, short stories, anecdotes, politics and anything else that's on my mind.


Monday, February 13, 2006

The Break - Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Running at an unaccustomed pace, Ass pushed himself to the limit. It was almost as if he thought he could push the conversation from his mind.

"Did Ben actually say that?" Ass asked himself. "Could he be right?"

After the words had fallen from Ben's mouth, both men stood in the middle of the room staring at one another. Then, without a word, Ben turned, opened the door and left. No, he didn’t just leave. He ran faster than he had ever run in his life.

About a mile down the road, his lungs felt as if they were burning like a western wildfire. He back off a bit, but not much. If he relaxed, he would think about it again. The words Ben had said. His own cowardice of running away from ...

"From ... what ..." He exhaled out loud. "From ... what ..." he exhaled louder.

He continued running. Actually he was punishing himself. Punishing himself for cowardice. Punishing himself for being afraid. Punishing himself for being afraid of words.

"Of words." He thought. "The Master would not be pleased."

Then, slowly, the thought crept into his head. He was punishing himself for what he knew he felt, but would not ... could not acknowledge.

He had to make the thought go away. He had to think of something else. Something before his world was shattered. Something from when they were younger.

He remembered the first time he ever met Ben, the new kid. The way Ben approached him had taken him by surprise at first.

"Hi." Ben said as he walked quickly to catch up to boy. "My name is Ben. What's yours?"

"Uh ... Ass." He replied tenatively. “At least that’s what everyone calls me.”

“Ass?” Ben repeated. “That’s weird. Why do they call you that?”

“Cause I’m so short.” He explained. “You know, I just come up to their ass.”

Ben fell silent not knowing where to go with the conversation. He just knew that he wanted to keep talking to the boy called Ass.

“Uh, I just moved here.” He said.

“Yeah, you’re the new kid.”Ass responded. “I’ve seen you around a few times.”

“I guess so since we just got out of band class.”Ben replied a little sarcastically.

“Duh.” Ass responded with good natured smile. “You play trombone right?”

“Yeah, but the bass is my real instrument.”

“No shit, huh?” Ass said. “I dig listening to the bass, but I gotta pound it out, ya know. This cheeseball concert band playing the snare drum thing sucks. I need a set.”

“You definitely got the rhythm.” Ben replied.

The boys were approaching the school exit.

“Thanks. Well, my dad is picking me up.” Ass said. “See you tomorrow in band.”

“Yeah, sure.” Ben said his disappointment evident.

As he walked towards his father’s car, Ass heard the tone in Ben’s voice. For some reason, he felt the connection between them. At that moment, he knew they were going to be friends.

“Why not start now.” He thought.

He stopped and swung around.

“Hey, you ever jam?” Ass asked.

“Huh...?” Ben responded.

“You know, jam.” Ass repeated as he mimicked playing a guitar. “With your bass?”

Slightly taken aback by the question, it took Ben an instant to respond.

“Well ... I ... usually I don’t ... play ... uh ... with ...uh ... anyone ... uh else.”Ben managed. “I kinda ...”

“Play with yourself.” Ass chuckled at his own joke.

“Well ... yeah ... I mean ... well ...uh ... I don’t ... uh ... play with myself ...” Ben tried. “I mean ... I do ... crap ... I play ... uh ... alone. That’s it. That’s what ... uh ... I am trying to ... uh ... say... uh ... I play alone.”

“Classic.” Ass snorted in amusement. “You always get like that?”

“No.” Ben responded somewhat dejectedly. “Usually, it’s much worse. I have been known to shit myself.”

Shocked by the admission, all Ass could do was to gawk at Ben. Then he saw it. There was slight twinkle in Ben’s eye and the left side of his mouth was turned up just slightly. Finally, Ass burst out laughing.

“Someone worthy of my humor.” Ass thought as he caught his breath.

Reaching out, he slapped Ben on the back. Ass looked directly into his eyes and saw knowing comfort mirrored in his new friends eyes. In that moment, they both knew that they were linked. Neither had any idea how things would progress, but in that fleeting look, they agreed it was worth it.

“So, we playing?” Ass asked.

“Yup.” Ben replied not needing to say another word.

“Yup.” Ass nodded.

When he turned to walk towards his father’s car, Ass didn’t have to look to see if Ben was behind him. He knew he was there. Somehow he also knew that Ben would be there with him for a very long time.

As they approached his father’s car, Ass made a motion for his Dad to roll down the window.

“Hey Dad.” He started. “This is Ben, he is going to come over and hang, k”

“That’s fine.” His father responded.

Then both boys got into the back seat.

“Pearl Jam?” Ass asked finally.

“Yeah.” Ben responded.

“Nirvana?” He continued.

“Oh yeah.” Ben said as he vigorously nodded his head.

“Soundgarden?” Ass asked quickly.

“Sure.” Ben replied a little less enthusiastically.

“Stone Temple Pilots?” Ass continued.

“You know.” Ben responded in a somewhat non-committal tone.

“Yeah, good enough.” Ass agreed.

Basically he had thrown STP in as a little test. They were good enough that he wouldn’t change the station, but they didn’t belong with the others.

Trying to decide if he should even ask, Ass turned and looked out the window for a moment. Seemed like no one even heard of them. But he had a feeling, Ben liked them. At least he hoped he did.

“Butthole Surfers?” Ass asked tentatively.

“Oooooo.” Ben allowed the enthusiastic sound to flow from the back of his mouth as he struck a pose and fingered an imaginary bass.

“Aw, hell yeah.” Ass said excitedly while he drummed the air and smashed a nonexistent cymbal.

“Travis.” Ass’ father said sternly from the front seat. “Watch the language.”

“Okay, Dad.” Ass said as he rolled his eyes at Ben.

Ben felt a huge smile forming on his face. All the time he had spent in Texas and no one at his school appeared to know anything about the music that made him feel alive. One week in Colorado and a boy he wanted to get to know much better had just spouted out three of his favorite bands. Not only that, but Ass understood him and seemed to know that he absolutely hated talking.

“Oldies?” Ben asked timidly.

“What you mean like Neil or Zep?” Ass responded.

“Check and mate, dude.” Ben said excitedly.

“HOLY SH...”Ass caught himself. “You know the songs.”

His dad turned his head slightly as if he was going to reprimand a second time. Briefly, he nodded as if to acknowledge that his son had learned the first time around.

“All of ‘em.”Ben beamed.

“No way, really.” Ass prodded skeptically.

“Dude, Texas?” Ben retorted.

“Ya got a point.” Ass said. “Well, I don’t know all of ‘em, but what I don’t know I can fake until I learn it.”

“Cool.” Ben responded. Suddenly he remembered something vital. “Dude, my bass.”

“Hmmmm. That could be problematic.” Ass agreed.

After a moment, he threw a nod towards his father. Ben immediately understood.

“Dad, can we slide by …” Ass started.

“Just tell me where to go.” His father interrupted.

Ass’ father had been listening to the boys’ conversation. He didn’t understand a word of it, but he had never seen his son communicate so freely with anyone before.

“It’s like he found someone that talks his language.” His father thought to himself.

Not only would he do this one favor, but Ass’ father made a decision to do all he could to foster the relationship. His son had been a loner and now it seemed he found a friend.


All he felt was cold. Fruitlessly, he tried to open his eyes. Next, he tried to open his mouth but like his eyes it seemed to be sealed shut. Suddenly, he realized that he couldn’t hear anything. Laying there lacking at least three of his five senses, he began to become more aware - more aware of cold, more aware of pain, more aware of fear. He tried to move – nothing.

“What the fuck?” He thought. “Am I dead?”

The thought that he had thoughts was comforting. As his thoughts came back, he realized he was lying on his right side on a very cold, hard, rough surface. Slowing, he began moving individual parts of his body. Starting with fingers, then toes, then wrists and ankles. Finally, he managed to blink his eyes open. What he saw made absolutely no sense. There was a constant bustle of shoes. Brown shoes, black shoes, boots of all kinds. In fact, these feet were moving up and down not inches from his face. If he stayed like this surely he would be crushed.

With a Herculean effort he forced himself into a seated position. Correctly, he guessed that there was a wall next to him and he leaned against it. He still could not believe his eyes. All of the people connected to all those feet were white, dressed in western style clothing. As he regained his hearing, he could tell that they were all speaking English.

“What...how...what...” He actually heard his own voice say out loud.

As he began to feel stronger, he put his hand on the wall to steady himself. Unevenly, he regained or gained, he wasn’t sure which, his feet. The thing he noticed was how the passersby were looking, or not looking, at him. Those that bothered to look at him all had wrinkled noses as though they had just confirmed that the expired meat in the refrigerator had gone bad. But most people only allowed a quick look and then diverted their eyes as though they were fearful of losing their sight.

“Excuse me, sir.” He said to one man. But the man just kept walking.

“Excuse me, sir.” He said to the next man that looked at him. Again, the result was the same.

Puzzled by the reaction he was receiving, he slumped against the wall dejectedly.

“I have to find out what is going on.” He thought. “I must.”

“Excuse me, sir.” He repeated politely for the third time. This time, however, he addressed a younger man with very long hair.”

“What’s up, man? Looking for a miracle?” The man replied.

“Uh...huh...I mean...uh ...I...I’m not sure.” He replied. “Where are we?”

“Wow, man. What a total mind blower.” The man replied with a chuckle. “What kinda trip you on, man. Got any more?”

“Seriously, where are we?” He repeated.

“You’re in Frisco, man.”

“San Francisco? That can’t be. I was in Saigon last night.”

“Whoa man … Saigon?” The man asked incredulously. “What were you doing there? Didn’t think any Americans went there after we stopped that war, man. Like a long time ago.”


“Yeah, you know. The Vietnam War.” He continued proudly trying to make a connection. “Hell, no we won’t go. Remember?”

“But, I was just ....” He started, but he was unable to continue.

“What’s your name, buddy?” The friendly man asked after a moment.

“Uh...my ... name?” He repeated. “I...I...I don’t think I have a name. I used to. Yeah, I had a name once.”

“Man, you are seriously fucked.” The man voiced in a very concerned manner. “Like, you need a place to crash or something? You know, just till you come down off this bummer trip that you’re on?”

As the man made his kind offer, he turned and caught a glimpse of himself in a store window. His hair was longer than the man he was talking to. The scraggly beard hadn’t been trimmed for years it seemed. He was wearing a tattered, old field jacket and a stained pair of utility pants.

“I...don’t ... know. I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW.” He began screaming over and over.

“Whoa man, be cool. Be cool.” The hippie repeated soothingly. “You’re getting the attention of the man.”

With this statement, the hippie subtly nodded his head to the right. Allowing his eyes to wander in the direction of the motion, he saw police officer.

“Got it?” Asked the Hippie. “Gotta be cool, man. I’m holdin’ and I can’t help you if I like split. Comprendo?”

“What are talking about?” He asked bewildered. “The man? Holding - holding what?”

“The pig over there, man.” The hippie said venomously.

Suddenly, he felt anger boiling up inside. He felt his hands tremble and the rush of blood to his face. Unexpectedly, he lunged at the hippie.

“You one of those anti-war protesters, mother fucker.” He screamed as he began pummeling the hippie.

The police officer took notice and immediately descended on the man.

“Ok, break it up.” The officer shouted.

“I ain’t doing nothing.” The hippie protested as he took his opportunity to break free from the other man. “That dude is seriously mind fucked.”

Without warning, it happened. The man struck out with lightning speed. Before either knew what had happened, the police officer and the hippie lay on the sidewalk, dead.

“Oh, my god! What did I just do?”He wailed. “What happened? Why?”

Tags: , , ,
Copyright (c) 2006 Paul Gavin. All rights reserved.

Comments on "The Break - Chapter 12"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:46 PM) : 

Wasn't Ass's name Eddie in Chapter 11? Why did his father call him Travis?


Blogger rebeleyeball said ... (5:09 PM) : 

His name is Travis Edward. Uh ... I guess Chapter 12 went out a little hastily?


post a comment