The Sickboy Chronicles – Hate

The early evening sky maintains the gray of the day as an overly anxious June Gloom blankets the coast in mid-May. A cool breeze races in from the Pacific, and even the OB parrots are squawking about the weather. They didn’t fly all the way up here to sit and shiver in this winter wonderland. It’s a SoCal chilly sixty degrees outside, and the only one complaining louder than those damn green birds is Sickboy as he limps into Tony’s to meet Sevrin for a Happy Hour pitcher.

“Looks like you got a little hitch in your step there, Sickboy.”

At the moment Sickboy has lost his good humor. Let the squawking commence.

“Yeah, can you fuckn’ believe this! Two days ago I was baking in the sun and building sand castles on the beach with Hawaiian Kan and his kids. Now today I’ve got third degree burns on the top of my feet and its like Green Bay in December out there.”

Sevrin can’t resist.

“Dumbass! You forgot to put sunscreen on your feet Sunday? How long have you been in San Diego now? Twelve years? Are you ever gonna’ stop being a tourist here? Then again, if you think sixty degrees qualifies as Wisco cold, you might be a local after all. Beverage?”

Sickboy hops up on his stool. Chloe slides a fresh frosted pint glass in front of him.

“What’s shakin’, Chloe?”

Sickboy might as well be a ghost. Chloe offers no acknowledgment and quickly shuffles back to the far end of the bar.

“What’s up with you and Chloe?” Sevrin asks with curiosity as he pours the Bass. “If it wasn’t a frozen tundra in here before, it sure is now.”

Sickboy is weary from the long workday, but he musters up the energy for an explanation.

“I think she’s creeped out by my scribblin’. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I started that. But now I can’t stop.”

“The blog thing? Yeah, that’s definitely a little weird. How’s it going lately?”

“First of all, it’s not a fuckin’ blog. I hate that word. I don’t blog. I’m not writing an online journal. I’m more interested in telling a good story than in telling the truth. I just make shit up whenever it’s convenient, which is most of the time. So it’s definitely not a goddamn blog.”

“What is it then?”

“I don’t know what the fuck it’s called! But its no blog.”

Sevrin won’t let it go.

“How’s it different than a blog then?”

Sickboy wasn’t prepared for this interrogation, and his patience is waning.

“Look, I just told you. I make shit up.”

“Like what? What do you make up?”

For just a second Sickboy considers throwing his pint into Sevrin’s face to put an end to this line of questioning. But he reconsiders.

“You know. I exaggerate things. Thoughts. Feelings. Conversations.”

“You mean like all that sappy shit about your feelings for Jenny?”

Even Sickboy has to admit that he’s laid down some super-saccharine scribbles as of late.

“Exactly. It’s a character. I exaggerate reality to magnify the character’s insecurities and neurotic headspeak. I play up the dichotomy between the drinking and the childlike simplicity of his emotions. It’s fictionnn… ish.

Sevrin doesn’t buy a word of it.

“Yeah. But you’re exactly like that. What part are you exaggerating?”

“All of it, asshole! It’s all an exaggeration. It’s literaturrrre… ish”

“Uh, I don’t think so, my friend. It’s pretty much you.”

“Fuck you, Sevrin.”

Sickboy’s online artistic endeavors are a sore topic today. After only six weeks, he just received his first piece of hate mail. He never thought his scribbles would warrant enough attention to generate hate mail. The experience has left him feeling a little uneasy, and Sevrin picks up on it.

“What’s up? Something else going on?”

“Yeah some fuckin’ psycho wrote some nasty shit on the website last night. He calls himself the Crowbar Mangler. It’s been creeping me out all day.”

“Crowbar Mangler! Fuck! What did he write?”

“He called me a fuckin’ faggot and told me to cut off my hands and drink gasoline.”

“How are you supposed to drink gasoline if you cut off your hands?”

“I don’t know. Through a straw? Or maybe I’m supposed to drink the gasoline first.”

“That’s pretty scary. Who do you think it was?”

“Oh, I know who it was. It was some dude right here in OB. I guess he didn’t realize that his IP address would display with his comment. It’s no big deal. I let it go.”

It’s obvious, however, that Sickboy has not let it go. The Mangler’s hateful remarks are bumming him out. Sickboy doesn’t take the hate personally, but the idea that an OB local could be so moronic and hateful is a real downer. OB is supposed to be Sickboy’s laid back beach village. Who the hell invited The Mangler? And why is he hating on the scribbles? What harm could they be doing?

“The thing is, Sev, whenever I hear a guy call someone a ‘fuckin faggot’ , it reminds me of Eddie Berger.”

The name means nothing to Sevrin. “Who’s Eddie Berger?” he asks.

“You know I grew up in the ‘hood back east. Eddie Berger was one of my classmates in sixth grade. He was dumb as a stump and nearly two years older than the rest of us. He’d been held back twice. He was a skinny little dude with mop top hair, all hunched over and mostly deaf in one ear. He talked like he had a mouth full of marbles. But he was as harmless as a fly.”

“Why does hearing ‘fuckin faggot’ remind you of him? Did he get caught blowing a guy in the park or something?”

“No. Nothing like that. One day in the summertime he was walking home from the store with a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for his mom. I was standing on the corner with my buddies and decided to have some fun. It started out harmless enough. I was making fun of the way he talked. Ehhhdeeee! You Weeetard! Stupid kid shit. But then I ran across the street and backed him up against the wall of the rec building. What are you looking at, Berger, you fuckin’ faggot! The poor kid was scared to death. I still remember the look in his eyes. But my friends were laughing and I was all puffed up with pre-adolescent adrenaline. Kids can be so stupid at that age. Whack! I smacked him in the side of the head. The gallon of milk dropped and splattered on the ground. This twelve-year-old kid’s eyes welled up with tears. He put his hand over his ear and started bawling. My ear! My bad ear! The milk! My mom is gonna’ kill me. My friends just laughed harder which only fueled this weird hateful impulse in me. Shut up, you fuckin’ faggot! Whack! I slapped him again. But this time he stopped crying. He just looked at me in silence with these sad hopeless eyes as if to say I give up. It was like a brick hit me in the face. All of a sudden I felt sick and couldn’t breathe. I was overcome with regret. Shit, I’m sorry Eddie. I almost started crying myself. I’m sorry, man. Then Eddie ran home, and I probably ran home even faster. Anyway, “fuckin’ faggot” just sounds so hateful, whether its thrown in the face of a young kid with a speech impediment or at a man who attempts to venture into the realm of artistic expression.”

Sevrin is having a hard time believing that Sickboy was ever a bully. “That doesn’t sound like you, Sickboy. You really smacked the kid?”

Embarrassingly enough Sickboy is getting a little choked up as the sins of youth come back to haunt him for a moment.

“Yeah. I smacked him. Twice. I was a kid. But I learned my lesson. What kills me is seeing these idiots, these grown men, who are like me when I was 11 years old. They haven’t learned a damn thing! They still carry around this latent ghetto rage that explodes with the words fuckin’ faggot every time someone different comes along. It’s just ignorance. Hate. It’s like the word nigger. Go out on to Newport and scream Fuckin’ nigger! to the first person that walks by. You can’t do it, right? You can’t yell those words because you need to have a belly full of hate just to get the words out. You don’t have it, Sevrin. No reasonable person has that kind of hate festering inside. There’s no place for that shit in OB. Have you ever in real life seen someone yell Fuckin’ Nigger! into the face of another human being?”

The conversation has taken an uncomfortable turn and Sevrin is squirming, but he replies.

“Honestly. Growing up here, I can’t say that I ever saw it.”

“Well, I have. Again, the east coast hood rat that I am… In my neighborhood there was a gang of high school kids who called themselves the Bomb Squad. Out of twenty of them, there may have been three legitimately tough dudes. It didn’t matter because they never fought fair. I once saw six of them beat on a black kid with brass knuckles and a baseball bat. I think the kid was just passing through, walking home from his job downtown or something. He probably spent his bus fare on a Coke and a candy bar. I was about twelve at the time. Stay the fuck out of our neighborhood you fuckin’ nigger! It’s like words are the embodiment of pure hate. I’m telling you, Sevrin, that shit sticks with you. I’ve got no room for hate these days. I just don’t understand it.”

By now Chloe is working her way down the bar back toward the boys. She picked up bits and pieces of their conversation while she was hustling back and forth keeping the customers lubricated. She still thinks Sickboy is a creep, but she can’t help wanting to lighten the mood.

“Sickboy! Holy shit! Is the Sermon on the Mount over yet? When did you get all preachy? Lighten up.”

Sickboy and Sevrin laugh as the tension of talk about faggot and nigger and hate begins to evaporate. Then Sevrin baits Chloe.

“Don’t worry, Chloe. Sickboy is just pissed off because The Mangler questioned his manhood.”

Chloe twists the dagger.

“The Mangler, huh? Well, Sickboy… Are you a man?”

Sickboy is tired of being so serious today. A mischievous smile erupts on his grill.

“I’m not sure, Chloe. Maybe on your break you can give me twenty minutes in the back room and we’ll figure it out together.”

With that, Sickboy has just accomplished the impossible. Believe it or not, Chloe is blushing.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Sickboy Chronicles – Hate

  1. Anonymous

    A wild pack of family dogs came runnin through the yard one day
    My father got his gun, shot it up they ran away ok
    A wild pack of familydogs came runnin through the yard
    And as my own dog ran away with them I didnt say much of anything at all
    A wild pack of family dogs came runnin through the yard
    As my little sister played the dogs took her away
    And I guess she was eaten up ok yeah
    My mothers cryin blood dust now
    My daddy quit his job today
    I guess he was fired but thats ok
    And Im sitting outside by my mud lake
    Waiting for the pack to take me away
    Right after I die, the dogs start running up towards the glowing sky
    They will receive their rewards

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