Episode 36 – Eve of the Race

I get home. Mom and Dad are passed out in their room, and Ava’s studying, sort of. Work’s laid out on her desk, but she’s texting like crazy, so I crash on her bed.

“What’s shakin’?” I ask with a laugh.

“Hunter,” she says testily. “Don’t dive on my bed! It’ll break.”

“Sorry, sis…I’m wiped.”

“How was your run…with Jewel?”

I kick off my sneakers. “Okay. Nothing spectacular. Wow, it feels so good to relax. Who’re you texting?”

“Jamie. He’s studying too.”

“Cool.” I close my eyes.

Before I know it, Ava’s shaking me. “Dinner’s on the table!”

“What?!”

“You’ve been asleep for two hours.”

“Really? Holy shit!”

I start to get up…realize I’ve sprouted a serious boner. “Ava, go ahead. I’ll be there in a second.”

“What’s wrong?”

I’m thinking of saying I’m too stiff, but decide on a clever alternative. “My leg’s asleep.”

“It doesn’t look asleep,” she says slyly, shutting the door behind her.

I pull open my shorts…inspect my tower of power…which looks impressive. Seriously want to jerk off, but no time. Secure it under my waistband…pull my shirt down low. Double check in the mirror….safely hidden. Whew!

Mom’s in robe and slippers, looks pale, holding her head. “I should never drink in the middle of the day,” she groans. The table’s covered with a selection of nasty-looking shit in Tupperware. “Pick what you want and heat it up,” she mumbles. “I’m going back to bed.”

“I see your leg’s better,” Ava says slyly. She loves to torment me.

“Jeez, you don’t miss a thing,” I say, peeling back the foil to examine each container.

“What’s in there?” Ava asks.

“Mold and weird-looking meat…science experiments.”

“Ewwwwww! Let’s make grilled cheese.”

As we pop our sandwiches in the oven, her cell buzzes. She glances at it and freezes. “Did you challenge Max Bly to a race?”

“Yeah. Tomorrow. Why?”

“Listen to this. The whole school got copied:

“To: Students of The Griffin School
From: The Geek Athletic Association
Re: Spring Massacre – Tomorrow. 79th and Riverside

“Members! Slip on your pocket protectors and get ready for our big Spring event. One of our members, who shall remain nameless, but known for his gay taste in clothes, has challenged the famed Max Bly to a five-mile race (a serious error in judgment). The race starts at 4:00, so get there early to get a good seat and watch the parade of misfits. Say your prayers, geeks! The experts predict a slaughter!”

I grab her cell in disbelief. “I can’t believe it! Bly and his cronies are still suspended!”

Ava’s freaked. “But that’s why they’re doing it…to get revenge off school grounds. I can’t believe they hate you so much.”

I study her worried face. “Yeah. It’s weird, right? Just because I wear unusual clothes.”

“Max is gonna be tough competition. Lacrosse guys run a lot.”

It hits me she’s right. Max is a machine…could make me look like a fucking snail…but, then I reassure myself: “I may not be Olympic material, but my running’s totally respectable, and I like it. If I stay cool…try my best, maybe I’ll win a few friends.”

I glance at Ava. “No worries. Everything’s gonna be fine.”

“I’ll make sure my whole class comes to cheer you on. There are a lot of secret admirers.”

“Secret admirers?”

She nods, smiles. “Yup. They think it’s awesome the way you fight the system…plus you’re very cute.”

We pull out our grilled cheeses and head off to study. Ava interrupts every five minutes with email bulletins. Some actually encouraging, but others are fucking nasty!

“Don’t read any more,” I tell her. “They’re distracting, and I need to get totally psyched for the race.”