Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 2

All the next day at school, Jordan kept a smile plastered across his face while inside, that tiny voice that screams at you for committing a huge act of stupidness, was shrieking, 'Idiot! What if someone finds out? What if some cybernut answers? What if they tell your mom or, oh God, your dad?" By fifth period, Jordan expected to get home to sirens and flashing lights, the internet police with bullhorns yelling, "Jordan Anderson Lawrence! You are under arrest for computer sex! Step away from that computer!"

He sat, you know that feeling, all sweaty and frozen, when you fully realize that you've done something really dumb and yes, you did it, and no, you can't think of any excuse whatsoever. That feeling ! Well maybe he'd get a gentle cellmate, a nice fella in for um....failing the parallel parking part of his driving test.

Sighing, Jordan idly watched Miguel Juarez spinning the silver cross he always wore around his neck. As he watched, Miguel lifted the t-shaped charm and it slid into his mouth. Jordan closed his eyes, rubbing his fingers across his forehead. No matter where he looked, any small gesture became fascinating. He could feel that cross in his mouth, taste the sharp tang of the....................

"Mr. Lawrence, are we boring you?" the Lit teacher's voice jarred him back to reality. Jordan shook his head, a slight blush staining his cheeks, and sat up in his desk, trying to focus on the page in front of him. He wondered if they had Lit class in internet prison?


Danny flipped on his tiny tape recorder. He'd sit in American Government class but he'd be danged if he'd listen. It was all so boring. Maybe tonight, he'd listen to the tape. Maybe not. He watched the other kids frantically scribbling down every word the teacher said so they could spew it back to him on a test and then forget it 2 seconds later. What was the use of this? He let his mind drift to what he had done this morning. Kicker 41. Kicker41. It just kept repeating in his head like some kind of litany. He had the oddest feeling about 'the seeker'. He was half excited and half petrified. He would talk to him IF he answered. That was the big IF. Danny was scared to death that he WOULD answer and equally scared he wouldn't.

Greg Franks leaned over to tie his shoe and his t-shirt crept up, letting the band of his underwear show. 'Haynes. Good choice there, Greg,' Danny thought to himself. 'Not too cheap, not too showy.' He stared at the marked difference between the white of the band and the tan of Greg's back. He knew that Greg was a surfer and he settled back in his chair to create a little mini-fantasy about the wind, the sun, the sand and tan lines above white baggies.


Jordan finished his chores. He finished his homework. He asked his mama if she needed him to do anything. She looked at him like he was crazy and even did the 'mom' thing, putting her hand on his forehead. "No, Jordan. Whatever it is you're avoiding, go do it."

'Lord, Mama, if you only knew,' he thought as he choked back a half hysterical giggle. He pictured her bringing him cookies on visitor's day. He walked slowly up the stairs, flipped on his CD player and eased into his chair.

Jordan went to the story site message board and hesitantly looked for his post. His eyes widened as he saw that he had like 10 replies. Reading through them, most were glad to have you, feel free to talk anytime; one was a bit weird and then there was one, one that drew his attention. Someone calling himself 'LionsDen' had answered with just 2 words, "I will." Jordan felt an odd shiver run down his spine and a hand grab his heart. Those 2 words, "I will" said more than all the 'glad to have you heres' in the world.

"Daniel !" he smiled to himself. "Gotta be named Daniel with a username of LionsDen. Wonder how old he is?"

"Okay, Jordan, my man. It's time," he said outloud. He pulled up his e-mail compose screen and sat, fingers hovering above the keys. Should he be funny? Should he go for angst? Was this nothing? Was this something? Was this everything? Oh dear God ! His hands just lay on the keys.

Finally, he typed in the email address on the message board ....theRedpill@. Hmm, he was either a total stoner or way into the Matrix, Jordan's all time favorite movie. He sat and tried to think of a subject. "Hey Dude" "What's Up?" "Wazzzz happnin?" Shit, he sounded like a fool. He'd have to think about this. Jordan never jumped into anything. He pulled his mouse up to the top right corner and, knowing he was being a chickenshit, hit the little X. Maybe tomorrow night.


Danny ate dinner, watched FoxNews til he decided that soon, if the world wasn't careful, everyone would be dead and tried to talk to his dad. Not able to put it off any longer, he found his way to his room at the back of the house, clicked on the Christmas lights he'd hung all around his computer and turned the machine on.

"Hello, Danny," his e-mail friend spoke out cheerily.

"Hey yourself," he muttered. "Okay, I've got the blank screen. I've got ten fingers. Type something, dickweed." He typed kicker41@ and stared at it for what seemed hours. Blinking his eyes, he came to subject. "Gotta be like happy," he thought. "Who wants to talk to a moron?"

'What Are You Seeking?' NO! 'Can I Help?' Jeeezzz, he'll think I HAVE answers.

Finally, he pulled his mouse to the top right hand corner of the screen and hovered above the X....maybe tomorrow night. His hand shook. NO! He was always hiding..........always pretending.............always letting things slip away.

Danny clicked back on the subject box and typed: "I WILL listen".

He moved to the message box and slowly began to lay his heart on the page.

"I need a friend too. I need someone to talk to. If you really were serious, just reply to this mail."

D

He sat and stared at the message and then in a quick 'what the hell' move, he

hit 'send'.


Jordan lay on his bed, ankles crossed, hands behind his head; his usual thinking position, his body lean and slender, his skin almost hot from the thoughts that were skidding through his mind. It was so easy to just reach down and take care of his problems but it was getting more difficult every day to keep his mind still. At first, the boarding, the surfing, his horses took the edge off but it seemed like more and more recently, it wasn't enough. Nothing was enough. Everything put him on edge. The music, the girls, his dad...nothing seemed to fit right anymore. There had to be something that would fit him. Deciding to talk to Griff on MSN, Jordan swung himself back into his chair.

Just for the hell of it, he checked his mailbox.

'OH GOD!' He had mail. The Red pill@ had answered his post. He suddenly felt about six years old, almost as if the computer screen could see him and was laughing at his panic. Should he answer? That frozen feeling started to take over.

Then, without warning, the metallic taste of Miguel's cross flooded his mouth. His body reacted and he sat, glued to the chair, sweat breaking out across his forehead. Damn ! He could either reach down in his lap like he always did or he could hit that reply button.

Click! He watched the reply screen download. He reread the words that LionsDen had typed: "I need a friend too. I need someone to talk to. If you're serious..........."

Jordan had never been more serious in his life. He typed carefully:

"Hey LionsDen,

Thanks for answering. I really need to talk to someone and it looks like maybe you do too. I need to tell you that I'm only 15 though. I don't know much of anything about anything and really JUST need a friend. If you're still interested, reply.

Ps...the RedPill thing? The Matrix, I hope?

J

He read it, reread it and read it one more time. It wasn't sexy. He didn't want it to be. It was just friendly. Well, here goes ! Jordan did something he wasn't known for........he acted on impulse. He hit 'send'.


'Maybe he's a day person,' Danny thought. 'Maybe he only comes online once a day, once a week, once a millennium............' He read a story by a new writer, wasn't impressed and decided to give it a day. See if he answered tomorrow.

He wondered if anyone ever admitted to anyone else how they wait for someone to reply. How it hurts when they don't? How you feel like a fool caring what a stranger might say. He reached for the mouse to click the Start button to shut down.

'Whoaaa!' He had mail............from Kicker41. Thank You, God !!!! He clicked on the mailbox screen and then was too scared to read the message. He went and got a soda, decided he needed to pee, checked his backpack to make sure he'd put his homework in and then ran out of avoidance moves. Clicking on the Kicker41 address, he squenched his eyes almost shut to avoid being able to read the words. Looking with one eye, he read: 'only 15...JUST need a friend.......Matrix??'

Danny opened his eyes and read it over and over. 'He doesn't know I'm 15 too,' he thought. 'Oh Lord. He thinks I'm a druggie.' Forgetting his shyness, forgetting he wasn't supposed to get excited ever again, Danny hit reply and flung words on the screen:

"Hi,

I'm only 15 too. You think YOU know nothing? I know ten million times less than nothing squared. And, yes, it's the Matrix. Down the rabbit hole.........."

D

He sat back in the chair and hit 'send'. This time, he waited. This time, he felt like he'd get an answer. Maybe he'd found a friend.

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