Luckily, no one else was inside when he got there. Nurse Gilbert sat behind her desk, head down, scribbling into a book of crossword puzzles. Matt stood there in the doorway as she scratched away. “Ahem.”
She looked up, eyes latching onto his bent form. “Oh, come in. Pull the door shut behind you.”
He stepped inside and did as he was told. “Okay, what seems to be the problem?”
A horrifying realization came to him. Oh no, what do I say? My nuts have been pulped and shoved back into my guts? His hands moved from his crotch as he groped for the words. “My … My … stomach hurts.” Yeah, that’s it. “My stomach REALLY hurts,” he implored.
“Okay dear,” she soothed, eyes narrowing. “How about if I look?”
Fear shot up his spine. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t have some strange woman looking at my dick. “Uh, uh, no that’s okay. I’m doing better.”
“Are you sure? How about an ice pack?”
“No thank you,” he replied, forcing a smile. “See,” he raised his hands. “All better. Thanks for your time.”
She raised an eyebrow but eventually shrugged. “Okay honey, but you know where I am if you need me.”
Matt nodded before shuffling quickly out the door. Around the corner, he ducked into the boys’ room, and for once, his luck surfaced. The restroom was empty. He slipped into a stall, and slowly dropped his pants, expecting to see everything that was worth being a boy, laying mashed and bloodied. He took a quick inventory and breathed a sigh. Like his father would say, “All present and accounted for.” But, intact did not mean undisturbed. In fact, the random pattern of rainbow colors was almost beautiful. Who would have known that Lester was an artist? Okay, now for the test. Hopefully, it won’t come out my belly button or ass. He let go. Pain sizzled through his loins. Wincing, he stumbled against the cool metal walls of the stall and forced his eyes open. The stream was yellow, and everything still worked. Hooray! I’m not a girl!
His school day marched along, and Matt shuffled along behind it, tenderly nursing his damaged crotch. When the final bell rang, he breathed a sigh of relief. Now all he had to do was survive the trip home, then he would be able to check another day off the calendar. But what did that mean? Days left until what? Summer vacation? What was worse, hot, humid days spent outside, in self-exile avoiding the clutches of “The Beast” or being shuttled between homes during Mom’s cancer treatments? He spent most of last summer alone on a bike, on the edge of town watching bats eat mosquitoes over the cornfields at dusk. But, as boring as that seemed at least it didn’t involve being castrated by steel-toed farm boots.
The cheese wagon arrived with Chuck at the wheel. With rare, but certainly appreciated luck, he found himself at the head of the line to get on board. With both hands on the railing, he hauled himself up the steps. Ow, ow, ow. The seat to Chuck’s right was open. He slid into it and made himself comfortable and watched as the rest of students trudged up the steps. Seats behind him had filled before Kurt shuffled onto the bus. With a demonic twinkle, the creature stood in the aisle, next to Matt’s seat.
Chuck looked over his shoulder. “Move on Lowermilk! You’re holding up the line.”
Kurt’s eyes narrowed, and he gritted his teeth, but the two-legged black cloud drifted past to find a perch further back.
Matt sighed. Cool, someone else gets to be the ape-man’s punching bag for the ride home.
He stared out the front window as the bus turned away from school. This was possibly the worst day ever, but it would soon be over. Something nagged at him. He had forgotten something, but what? Suddenly it occurred to him. The brush! He dug into his pockets, but it was not there. Glancing about, he didn’t see it on the seat or the floor either. Oh, no! His heart raced, palms grew moist. What happened to it? Frantically, he searched his pockets, seat, and the floor again. Oh God, it was lost. What would he say to Mom? Tears formed in his eyes as he stared at the houses passing by. The long minutes of the ride home spun away from him like his sanity. Nausea twisted his stomach, and he cupped his face in his hands, forcing sobs away. Before he knew it, the bus stopped at Sweet Doughs.
He slowly pulled himself up as his legs quivered and ached. The stairs down loomed before him, like cliffs above rocky shores. Taking a breath, he slumped down them, ignoring the throbbing pain in his crotch, and stepped over the curb onto the sidewalk. A noise drifted in from behind him — the clicking of a bus window.
“Hey pussy,” Kurt yelled.
Eyes moistened, and lips twitching, Matt turned to look at Kurt.
“If I were your mother, I’d want to die of cancer too. Have a terrific weekend, faggot.”
A ripping sensation tore through his mind. All the bottled-up angst and pain splayed through the fissures of his self-control. His limbs shook, and tears ran down his face. Blindly, he ran – past the white brick facade of Sweet Doughs, past familiar neighborhood trees and houses, toward his own home. Events of the day played out in his head until his pounding heartbeat, and heavy breathing drowned out the noise.