“Which one is your old man?” asked the other kid, Flint. We were at the clubhouse, playing video games in the back room. He was thirteen, a year older than me, and I was whipping his ass in the football game we were playing.
“Acid,” I said, pushing the buttons on the controller rapidly.
“That’s what I thought. Wouldn’t it be easier if you weren’t wearing those?”
I glanced down at the fingerless, leather gloves I was wearing. “Maybe, but my hands are cold. Yes! Another touchdown!”
“This is boring,” said Flint, throwing down the controller. He stood up and stretched. “I say we do something else.”
I leaned forward and turned off the game system. “Like what?”
He was silent for a few seconds. “You want to go to the park?”
It was winter time and cold as shit, but I was just happy to be hanging out with someone other than my younger cousin, Tommy. He was only nine and liked to play with action figures, which got old. “Sure,” I replied, grabbing my jacket.
Flint picked up his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. “What was your name again?”
“So, which one is your old man?” I asked, as we walked down the hallway toward the front door.
“Butch.” He stopped abruptly and smirked. “You hear that?” he whispered.
We were standing outside of one of the bedrooms. The door was closed but you could hear two people having sex.
I grinned. “Yeah.”
He put his ear against the door. “It sounds like Schmitty and Gena.”
I knew who Schmitty was. He was the V.P. for the Demon Rebels, which was our dads’ motorcycle club. “Who’s Gena?”
“She’s a Sweet-butt.”
“Cool,” I said.
From what I’d heard, a Sweet-butt was another name for most of the chicks who hung around the clubhouse. They had a thing for bikers and loved to party. Acid would bring one home, once in a while, and they’d disappear into his bedroom for a few hours. Sometimes they’d come out with frightened looks on their faces, never to return; those were the days he usually left me alone. Otherwise, if Acid was having a bad day, he’d almost always take his aggressions out on me. Unfortunately, he had more bad ones than good.
“You ever feel up a girl before?” asked Flint.
“Yeah,” I lied, not wanting to sound like a punk. The truth was, I’d never even kissed a girl, let alone touched one. “Sure.”
“You did not,” said Flint, watching my face closely.
“I did so,” I argued. “You weren’t there, so you wouldn’t know.”
“What was her name?”
I quickly made one up. “Lisa. Her name was Lisa.”
“Lisa, huh? What was her cup-size?”
He held his hands up to his chest. “You know, how big where her titties?”
I laughed nervously. “Oh, yeah. Right. Well, they both fit in the palms of my hands. All I needed,” I said, repeating something I’d heard Acid say before.
“You’re so full of shit,” he said, chuckling. He put his arm around my neck and pulled me away from the door. “Come on. Let’s go and make a man out of you.”
I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant, but it sounded interesting. “Uh, sure.”
As we were leaving the clubhouse, we told one of the Old Ladies, Carla Jean, that we were going to the park up the road. She was up at the bar, drinking a Bloody Mary and talking to one of the Prospects.
“It’s cold outside. You sure?” she asked, flicking her cigarette into the ashtray.
“We need some fresh air,” said Flint, as we reached the front door. “And, we’re fucking bored.”
Carla Jean frowned. “Watch your mouth, Flint.”
“Sorry,” he replied with a smirk.
Noticing it, she grunted. “I’ll let them know. Stay out of trouble.”
The park was less than two blocks away. When we arrived, I followed Flint up to the top of the triple-slide and we sat down under the canopy with our legs crossed.
“Check this out,” he said, pulling out a girly magazine and a pack of smokes from his backpack. “Here,” he said, handing me a cigarette.
My dad smoked, so I didn’t really think he’d mind. I shoved the cigarette between my lips and waited.
Flint took out a lighter and lit our smokes.
“You have to inhale it,” he said, after watching me puff on the end of mine for a while. “You’re not doing it right. Check this out.”
I watched as he inhaled the smoke and then blew it out, making a grayish-white ring.
I smiled. “Sweet.”
“Try it,” he said, doing it again.
I tried inhaling but it only burned my lungs and made me cough.
He chuckled. “Just keep practicing. You’ll get the hang out of it.”
“Okay,” I said, clearing my throat as he opened up the magazine.
“Nice, huh?” he said, nodding to a picture of a nude girl, spread-eagle.
I felt myself getting excited and pulled my jacket down over my lap. “Shit yeah.”
“I’d love to bang her. Or her,” he said, showing me another naked chick.
“The only thing missing is a beer,” said Flint. “Your old man ever let you drink?”
“Once in a while,” I said, lying again.
He held up the magazine and showed me the centerfold. Both of us agreed that the model had more than a handful on her chest.
“How come Acid doesn’t bring you around, much?” he asked, turning to the next page.
I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t want to tell him that it was because I couldn’t stand to be around the asshole. Normally, I avoided him at all costs, spending most of my time at Aunt Peggy’s. That was his sister and although she could be a real bitch, she didn’t enjoy tormenting me like Acid. When he wasn’t preaching to me about respect, he was whipping me with his belt. Fortunately, he’d been taking a lot of road trips with the club lately and leaving me alone.
“Is it true what they say about him?”
Flint exhaled another cloud of smoke. “He really uses acid on people? That’s why they call him that.”
I stared at the hand holding the cigarette, remembering the last time he’d used it on me. It had been about three months ago. Acid had come home from the bar, drunk and angry because of some chick that wouldn’t go home with him. He’d started in on me right away about the house being a mess and I’d given him a dirty look. Unfortunately, he’d caught it and I’d caught hell.
“No,” I said, remembering his warning. That if I told anyone, he’d use some on my tongue. “At least he doesn’t on me.”
“That’s not what I heard,” said Flint, watching me closely.
Before I could answer, we heard someone calling our names, from below.
“Shit,” I whispered, recognizing Acid’s voice. “My dad’s going to kill me if he sees this.”
We quickly put our cigarettes out and Flint shoved the magazine back into his backpack.
“What the fuck you two doing?” asked my old man, climbing the tall ladder. When he reached the top, he frowned. “It smells like cigarettes up here. Are you two smoking?”
“No,” said Flint, looking nervous.
“No, sir,” I said, trying to stay calm.
He spotted some ashes in the corner and his face darkened. “What did I tell you about lying, Boy?”
I opened my mouth but nothing came out.
“You think I can’t see what’s going on up here?” he snapped.
Neither of us said anything.
Acid pointed to Flint. “Get your ass back to the clubhouse. Church is over and your dad is looking for you.”
Without another word, Flint slid down the slide and took off running with his backpack.
Acid glared at me. “You never fucking learn, do you?”
I fought back tears, knowing that I was in deep shit.
He grinned coldly. “So, what do you got to say about yourself, boy?”
“I’m sorry for lying,” I said hoarsely.
His hand snaked out and he grabbed my wrist. “And you’ll be even sorrier when we get home. Looks like I’m going to have to show you again what happens to kids who lie to their parents. Now, get off this fucking thing.”
I quickly slid down the slide, while he took the ladder, and we walked in silence back to the clubhouse. When he began to whistle, I stole a glance at him and noticed the expression on his face. It was almost euphoric. He was already anticipating my punishment.
Someday, I’m going to show you what happens to parents who get off on beating their kids, I vowed, hating him more than ever.