Dancing on a Star Chapter 16
“Dad?” He stood in the doorway looking down at me.
Mrs. Alexander said, “Please, Mr. Woolery, come in and have a seat.”
Tracy took another seat as my father sat beside me. He looked at the side of my face and asked, “Are you hurt, Son?”
“I don’t think so,” I replied as I felt the side of my face.
Mrs. Armstrong responded quickly, “The nurse is on her way to check for any serious injuries.”
My father turned and noticed that Tracy had also been hit. He asked him if he was alright. Tracy assured him that he wasn’t hurt too badly. Dad turned back to me and asked who I had fought.
“Jimmy,” I informed him.
“Jimmy?” my father asked excitedly. “I thought Jimmy is your best friend?”
“He was,” I told him. “He doesn’t like me anymore.” I could tell that my father understood, but he didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to out me to Mrs. Armstrong.
My father turned to the principal and asked her what had happened. She informed him that she still had to question a few other people, but that it appeared Jimmy had initiated the fight by throwing spitballs at us.
My father asked, “Then my son and Tracy aren’t responsible for fighting? From what you say, it sounds like they were merely defending themselves.”
Mrs. Armstrong looked over at Tracy. “From my initial reports, it appears that Tracy may have also been involved by jumping from his seat and confronting Jimmy.”
Tracy rose and shouted, “But he was hitting us with fucking spitballs!” My father grabbed his arm and ordered him to sit down.
“We’ll get nowhere,” he said angrily, “if you keep acting like this.” Tracy wanted to say something, but he didn’t. I think he was realizing that he was already in enough trouble.
Mrs. Armstrong excused herself. She said that she had to finish her investigation before deciding what kind of punishment she would give each of us. As she was leaving, we heard her talking to someone. The door opened and Tracy’s mother and father entered.
Mrs. Craft immediately rushed over to Tracy and inspected the swelling on the side of his face. A large bruise had already formed. I couldn’t see my face, but I was sure I had similar injuries.
“Oh, my God, Tracy!” she began to cry. “What happened?” Mr. Craft sat beside my father as Tracy told them about the incident with Jimmy.
When he finished, my father stated, “I just don’t get it.” He looked over at me. “Jimmy has been Jack’s best friend for years. He’s been at our house so much I consider him like a son.”
“He hates me,” I responded. “He thinks I’m a fag.”
Tracy looked over and said, “I told him what would happen when people found out he was gay. I know, it happened to me.”
“People can’t be that intolerant,” Dad asked, “Can they?”
“Yes, they can, Jerry,” replied Mr. Craft. “Tracy went through this at his old school. I was constantly in the office because he was always confronting students who called him names.”
Tracy rose from his seat and stood before his father. “What am I supposed to do, Dad? Just take it when someone calls me a faggot or cocksucker?”
Mrs. Craft grabbed Tracy’s hand. “Of course not, Dear. But what good does it do to fight them?”
“I don’t fight them anymore,” he replied. “But when they do shit like throwing spitball at me, I’m not going to just ignore them.”
“Is that what happened?” asked Mr. Craft. Tracy then related how we had been working on an assignment when Jimmy started pummeling us with spitballs. He then told them how he stood, confronted him and told him to stop. He said that Jimmy threw the first punch when someone pushed him into him.
My father asked me how I got hit. I told him Jimmy hit me when I tried to stop him from hitting Tracy again. I described how I had lost control, grabbed Jimmy and we fell to the ground. Then I began hitting him in his face.
My father looked over at Mr. Craft and shook his head. “It looks like all three boys may get suspended.” Mr. Craft agreed.
“But why, Dad?” asked Tracy. “We were just trying to get him to stop throwing spitballs at us.”
“You should have told the teacher,” replied Mr. Craft. “He would have handled it.”
Tracy shook his head and mumbled, “This fucking sucks.” I thought Mr. Craft would say something about Tracy cursing, but he didn’t.
Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Armstrong entered with Jimmy and his mother. A security officer came in and stood against a wall with his arms folded. The principal looked around the room and sighed. After shuffling some papers on her desk, she began to speak.
“I’ve reviewed this incident,” she stated as she looked at Jimmy, Tracy and me. “As you know, I don’t condone fighting of any kind in my school.”
“But…” Tracy started to say something, but his father gripped his leg and stopped him.
She looked at Tracy. “Tracy,” she said as she looked at him. “I’m not holding you responsible for what happened in Mr. Glicker’s class.” I looked at Tracy as he sat back and seemed to be less tense. “Even though you should have handled the situation better, you don’t appear to have been involved in the fight.” She looked at Tracy as he nodded his head.
“However,” she continued, “I have to deal with your behavior and language. Standing in a classroom and cursing will not be tolerated. Therefore, I’m assigning you two days of in-school suspension.” I glanced at Tracy, and his father still had his hand firmly planted on his leg.
“Jack,” she spoke to me next. My hands were noticeably shaking, and I placed them under my thighs to keep them steady. “Even though Jimmy hit you, you did assault him.” She looked at his swollen face and added, “Causing him serious injury.” I looked at him and smirked. He tensed, and I knew he wanted to hit me again. “Your actions were more than just defending yourself. You intentionally tried to hurt him.” I wanted to say she was right, but I kept my mouth shut.
She looked at my father and stated, “I’m suspending Jack for five days.” My father glanced at me and then nodded. I knew there was little I could say. In a way, I was happy to receive a five-day suspension by pummeling Jimmy for calling me and Tracy fags. He deserved it.
“Jimmy,” she said as she looked at my former friend. He had his head down and refused to look at her. “Your actions precipitated this fight. We are sitting here because you childishly tossed spitballs in a classroom. Your actions were also filled with hate and bitterness.” When he wouldn’t look up, she asked forcefully, “Do you understand me?”
He refused to speak until his mother elbowed him in his side. “Yes, Ma’am,” he responded.
He looked up angrily when she stated, “I’m suspending you for ten days.”
“Ten days!” he shouted as he looked down at me. “Look at my face!” He pointed to me and stated angrily, “That fag hits me, and you give him five days, but I get ten?”
“Sit down!” shouted Mrs. Armstrong. Jimmy hesitated before sitting in his seat. His mother reached over and tried to hold his hand, but he quickly pulled it away. “If you use that word one more time,” the principal spat angrily, “then I’m going to go for an expulsion. Do you understand me, Young Man?”
Jimmy tried to ignore her until his mother elbowed him in his side. “Yes, Ma’am,” he muttered.
She glanced around the room at the parents and asked, “Do any of you have any questions?” When no one replied, Mrs. Armstrong announced that the meeting was over.
When we exited her office, Tracy grabbed my arm and started to lead me away. My father said, “Jack, you’re going home with me.” He agreed that I could talk briefly to Tracy before we left.
Tracy asked, “Are you going to be okay, Jack? I hate that you got five days and I only got in-school suspension. It’s not fair.”
“It’s okay,” I assured him. “I’m glad nothing happened to you.”
Tracy whispered softly, “I wish I could kiss you right now.”
I giggled and replied, “You’re a perv.” I gave him a quick hug and told him I would see him later. I turned and followed my father to his car.
I received the usual fatherly lecture. For fifteen minutes I had to listen to him explain how Tracy and I could have better handled the situation. I thought it was kind of hypocritical because when I was about six, he took me to a baseball game. The guy sitting behind us accidently spilled beer on my father when he stood and rooted for a play. Dad got in a huge argument with him. What he said was much worse than anything Tracy said in class. The guy ended up leaving and sitting in another area.
When I arrived home, my father dropped me off and informed me he had to get back to work. He warned me to stay in the house and not go out until he got home. I knew I would probably get another lecture later. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of my books from my locker before I left. I wasn’t even sure if I could make up any work while I am suspended. I just didn’t want to fall behind in my classes. My grades were good, but I’m not exactly Einstein. I didn’t want my grades to fall too much and jeopardize not being able to graduate with my class.
I played a video game for a while, but I soon got bored. I then went over to my bed, lay down and fell asleep. I slept for a couple of hours until I heard the doorbell. I looked at the time on my alarm clock. It was almost three-thirty. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and headed downstairs. When I opened the door, Tracy and Jeff were standing on the porch.
I smiled and said, “Hey, Guys.”
Tracy asked worriedly, “Is your mom around?” When I told them I was alone, he asked if he and Jeff could come inside. I stepped aside and they entered. Jeff immediately hugged me.
“I heard what happened, Jack,” he cried into my shoulder. “I can’t believe Armstrong suspended you for five days for what that shithead Jimmy did.” He reached up and gently felt my face where the bruises were. “Does it hurt?” he asked worriedly.
“I’m okay,” I assured him. I looked at Tracy’s face. His was bruised as badly as mine. He nodded when I asked him if he was alright. I then asked what had happened when I left.
“You know how everyone is,” replied Jeff. “Bunch of assholes. Most were happy you got suspended.”
“I don’t get it,” I responded as I started pacing around the room. “I’ve been going to school with them since the first grade, and they are turning against be because I’m gay.”
“I tried to warn you,” said Tracy. “Most people hate us.”
“Got that right,” agreed Jeff.
I asked, “But why? What did we do to them?”
Tracy tried to explain, “We didn’t do anything.” He went over and sat on the side of the bed. Jeff and I walked over and sat down beside him. “I think most kids just want something different to talk about. I don’t think they really give a shit that we are gay.” Jeff nodded his head. “But we’re different, and it gives them something to talk about.”
He looked at me and then at Jeff. “Jack, did you really care that Jeff was gay?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Not really,” I confessed.
“Then why did you and your friends talk about him?
I thought a minute and replied, “We really didn’t talk about him.” I looked at Jeff and added, “We just kind of ignored him.”
Tracy asked, “But why?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I guess it was because he was different.”
“That’s my point,” Tracy said excitedly. “People don’t really give a shit if we are gay. They just like to mess with us because we’re different.”
“But can’t some people really hate us?” I asked as I thought of the way Jimmy had acted toward me. Just a week ago, we were best friends. Now, he was fighting with me.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “There are some people who are homophobes. Maybe it’s because of their religious beliefs, or maybe they feel threatened by us.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Threatened?”
“Take Jimmy, for example,” he responded. “What if he’s questioning if he may be gay?”
I started to laugh. “Jimmy? Gay? I don’t think so.”
Jeff suddenly spoke. “Didn’t you guys ever mess around when you had sleepovers?”
My face started to redden. I didn’t want to admit that all of us guys at one time or another played around. We would jerk off together when we slept over, and a few times we dared each other to suck our dick. But we never did it as a group; and when we did, we swore that we would never tell the others what we had done. I always thought it was funny because Jimmy would threaten to beat me up if I told Brian or Tyler when I knew because they told me. However, it was never openly discussed among us. And besides, it was something we did when we were about twelve. As we grew older, it stopped.
Jeff grinned and asked, “Well, did you?”
Tracy started laughing when he saw how embarrassed I was. “Yeah, Jack. Were you and Jimmy a cream team?”
“What!” I shrieked.
Jeff looked at Tracy and said, “You know they were, or he would deny it.”
“Come on, Guys,” I replied as my face continued to redden. “We were just kids then. It didn’t mean anything. It’s not like something we did yesterday.”
“But you still did it,” replied Tracy. “Maybe it’s something that Jimmy regrets doing…”
“Or still wants to do,” responded Jeff.
“Listen,” I responded adamantly. “Jimmy isn’t gay. Neither is Brian or Tyler. Trust me, I would know.”
“How?” asked Tracy.
“How would you know?” replied Tracy. “Until last week, they didn’t know you were gay. So how can you say they aren’t?”
“I still don’t think they are gay,” I responded.
Just then, I heard the door downstairs slam shut. Minutes later, I heard someone coming upstairs. My mother opened the door and looked in. Her eyes narrowed in anger when she saw Tracy and Jeff sitting beside me.
“Jack,” she said angrily, “you’re grounded. That means you are to have no visitors.” Her voice became angrier as she added, “Especially these two.”
I jumped to my feet and shouted, “These two? What are you trying to say?” I knew what she meant. I just wanted her to say it. She didn’t want me to see them because she knew they were gay.
She tried to ignore me as she looked past me and told Tracy and Jeff that they had to leave. I wanted to hit her when she informed them that she didn’t want me to see them again. “I don’t think you are a good influence on Jack,” she told them.
“What!” I shouted. “Not a good influence!”
“Well,” she stated angrily. “You were never a problem until you started associating with the likes of them.”
“I’ve heard enough!” I shouted. I looked down at Tracy and Jeff. “Let’s get out of here, Guys.” They stood and started to leave. My mother stepped in front of me and tried to block my path.
“I told you that you are grounded!” She said adamantly.
I stood before her and shouted, “I don’t give a fuck what you told me.” She reached up and slapped me across my face. It hurt like hell since she hit me where I was previously bruised. I pulled back my fist and was going to hit her, but Tracy grabbed my arm.
“Let’s get out of her, Jack,” he begged as he tried to pull me from the room. I thought my mother would try to stop me, but I think she was too surprised that she had hit me.
Before leaving, I turned and shouted at her, “I hate you! I wish you weren’t my mother!”