Okarito - The Great Beynon
They spent recess togther, leaning on a wall and watching the rough and tumble of the touch-rugby game flowing around the sportsfield. Normally Logan would've been out there with them, but not today. He was more than happy where he was. They were oblivious to them, but there were many eyes watching them.
"Logan Greene with the Beynon kid? What the hell's he doing?'
At lunchtime, things didn't go so good. Lorne was held up by Ms. Bloody Bennett, who was as curious as anyone about what had happened to him. By the time he got free of her Logan had been dragged away and involved in a softball game.
Lorne looked around, everyone was being busy. He saw where Logan was and went back inside to get a book. He usually sat alone, reading, while he ate his sandwiches. Coming back out of the locker room, his way was blocked by four wanna-be tough guys.
"All alone, Fag? What the hell's going on with you and Greene?"
Lorne had always tried to fade into the background and go unnoticed, but no more. It was a small school and he knew these creeps by their reputation, which wasn't good.
Always in a pack and egging each other on, they were notorious bullies and nasty with it. At the end of last year, they put Lucas Ruffino in hospital with a broken arm and cracked ribs. There were lots of people around, but no-one admitted seeing anything, they were all scared of them.
There was no-one at all around now and Lorne had always feared that this day would come. However, he wasn't scared at all and he was ready for them.
"Nothing's going on. We've just been talking, like normal people do."
"Normal? What the fuck would you know about normal people? Greene has been panting around you like a dog after a bitch on heat."
"Greene's never showed any signs of being queer before. What've you done to him?"
"Yeah. Are you on heat, Bitch? Or is he already fucking you?"
"Why?" Lorne flexed his hands down by his sides. "Jealous, are you?"
"What?? You dirty little . . ." One of them lunged at him, but stopped when Lorne stepped back and, with an evil little grin, raised both hands and pointed 'puffers' at him. (Inhalation Aerosols, used by asthmatics etc.)
"I wouldn't if I was you," he said quietly.
"Why?" The Tough hesitated. He was a bit uncertain now, this kid wasn't playing by the rules. He should be terrified, not standing there grinning at them. "What're you going to do, blow us away?"
"No, just this." He pointed a puffer at the wooden door-frame and sprayed a quick zig-zag along it.
They all stood and stared as the old enamel paint blistered and bubbled, smoked and flaked off leaving a bare 'Z' shape on the wood.
"Whoah!" The puffers now seemed like threatening gun barrels pointing at them.
Lorne nodded. "It does that to old paint, think about what it'll do to your skin. Be quite painful, having your face fall off, don't you think?"
They did think, they quietly backed-off and walked away. Lorne went outside to sit, read and eat his lunch.
Back in for the first class of the afternoon, (Algebra!), Logan sat next to Lorne. "Did something happen at lunchtime?"
"Lots of things happened, probably. Why?"
"Everyone's looking at you again, and they're all talking."
"Maybe they're jealous that you want to sit next to me."
"I don't think so. I don't know what, but I know that something's up. Did you kill somebody?"
"What?? Lorne, what's going on?"
The only answer he got was a shrug. The teacher's arrival put a stop to the conversations in the room. "Lorne Beynon?"
Mr. Lawson stood at the front and scanned around the room. He obviously didn't know which one Lorne was.
"Here, Mr. Lawson." Lorne raised a hand.
"Ah, right. There you are. You are to go to the Principal's office. Mrs. Carter wants a word with you."
"I'll bet she does," Lorne muttered. He gathered-up his books, stood and left the room. Mr. Lawson had to slap his desk and yell to quell the outburst of speculative talking.
He arrived at the office, near the main entrance, and looked around. There was no-one in sight except for the School Secretary who was talking on the 'phone and busily ignoring him.. He knocked on Mrs. Carter's door.
A voice inside said, "Sit. Wait."
He sat on the 'naughty chair', by the door and waited. He wasn't concerned, really, but couldn't help worrying a bit. Was he in trouble or what?
After a few long minutes, the door opened and Mrs. Carter came out and looked at him. He rose to his feet and all she said was, "Come with me." He started walking and followed, wondering where they were going.
That soon became apparent when she led him into and through the locker room and stopped in the far-side doorway. They both looked at the 'Z' shaped bare patch on the door-frame.
"Well? Do you want to tell me what happened here?"
"Not really," he shrugged.
"I'll bet you don't, but I want to know. What did you do to this paintwork?"
"I, umm, I burnt a bit off."
"As a warning. A bunch of bullies were giving me a hard time. I showed them what could happen to their faces if they didn't stop it."
"Just as I thought. Bloody Bullies! I'm sick of them. Thank you for your honesty. Come back to the office now."
She led him back there, sat at her desk and waved him to a chair. "Sit down, Lorne. Relax, you're not in as much trouble as you think you are."
"I can't tell you who they were, Mrs. Carter."
"I didn't expect that you would, but I have my suspicions."
"There were four of them, all bigger than me and all out for trouble. I had to do something, so I did."
"You certainly did. I've never seen anything like that. What did you spray on the doorframe?"
"I, ah . . I'd rather not say. It was just something of my granddad's."
"Your granddad. That would be the Great Benyon," she smiled.
"Wow." Lorne was impressed. "How do you know that?"
"You'd be surprised at what I know."
"I am surprised. Granddad was the Great Benyon, but he retired a long time ago. He died two years ago."
"I know that. I was at his funeral."
"Really? Did you know Granddad, Mrs. Carter?"
"I didn't really know him, but when I was a little girl, I was a big fan."
"So was I," Lorne nodded. "I was a huge fan."
"Yes, well. That's not what we're here to talk about. We can't have you getting around burning the paint off the walls."
"I'll pay for the damage. Dad could probably come in and fix it."
"He probably could, but we won't worry about it. That whole area is due for repainting anyway. It can stay as it is, for now. The point is, Lorne, I can sympathise with what you did and I understand your reasons, but I can't approve of it. Whatever that stuff was, it was obviously highly corrosive and far too dangerous for you to be carrying around in the school. I hate to think what would happen if it got on someone's skin."
"That was kind-of the point."
"A point well made. Show me the inhalers, please."
He closed his hands, opened them again showing the two blue inhalers and put them on the desk between them.
"Uh huh. You've learnt some of your granddad's tricks, I see. Lorne, you can't be carrying these things around with you."
"They're just puffers. I need them, sometimes, for my breathing. It's getting better, but I was a bad asthmatic when I was younger."
"But you not carrying them to help your breathing."
"Yes I am." He scooped them up and put one, and then the other, into his mouth, puffed and inhaled.
"Lorne!" She protested, then relaxed when she saw that he wasn't hurting himself. "Don't do that. You frightened the life out of me."
"Sorry," he grinned. He closed his hands around them, raised his fists and twisted them around. He opened his fingers again and small columns of flame danced on his palms, the inhalers were gone. He closed his hands to snuff the flames, opened them and showed his unburnt skin.
"Wow. Now who's impressed? Your grandfather taught you well. All right then. We'll say no more about it, but you've been warned. There is to be no repeat of today's incident and you are not to bring dangerous goods into the school again. If you do, there will be consequences. Do I make myself clear?"
"Perfectly clear. Thank you, Mrs. Carter."
"Thank you, Mr. Beynon. You can go back to your class now."
He went back and slipped quietly into his seat. Logan looked at him, quizically. He couldn't talk, he just smiled and nodded. Anything else would have to wait.
They left school together, walking home to Logan's place. As they went, Lorne answered some, but not all, of Logan's hundreds of questions. He told him what had happened, there were already dozens of stories in circulation, but he wouldn't say how he'd done what he did.
There were almost there when their way was blocked by the same four bullies he'd run into at lunchtime, along with a couple more. Lorne sighed, slipped his bag off his shoulder and held it, by the straps, in his left hand. His right hand went into the top of the bag, under the flap.
"You can fuck off, Greene," one of them growled. "It's your boyfriend here we want, not you."
"I'm staying right here," Logan tried to keep the quiver out of his voice. He was no great shakes as a fight, but he wasn't a quitter either. He wasn't running away and leaving Lorne to face the goons on his own.
"Please yourself," the spokesman sneered. A bat-sized lump of wood came out from behind his back. A couple of the others did the same. "Any sign of those puffer things and we'll break every bone in your hands."
"I don't think so." Lorne brought his hand out of the bag and there was a gun in it – a shiny silver-gray Luger.
None of them there had ever seen a pistol, they weren't that common and carrying one was highly illegal, but they'd seen movies and had no doubt about what it was. The bullies all took a step back.
"What the fuck?"
"It's a beauty, isn't it?" Lorne grinned. "It's a Luger – World War Two, army surplus. Hundreds of them were smuggled home by returning soldiers, as souvenirs. Most of them are history now, but not this one. Nasty little things too. The bullets are grooved so they explode on impact and blow great holes in human bodies. Not accurate at long range, but deadly close-up."
He scanned it along, pointing at each of them in turn.
"Who wants to try it first? I've got 6 shots."
They all took another step back. One of them dropped his bat. "Fuck!"
"That's not real, it can't be. He wouldn't be walking around with a loaded gun."
"Wouldn't he?" Lorne fired up into the flowering magnolia tree looming above the fence next to them. The shot sounded awfully loud in the quiet street. Birds squawked and fled and a shower of pink and white petals cascaded down.
"I've got 5 shots." Lorne looked along the frightened faces. He was not grinning.
"Fuck this! I'm outta here." Another bat hit the ground and its erstwhile owner turned and fled up the street, closely followed by all the others.
"That ends that then," Lorne nodded. "Let's go." They carried on walking.
"You shouldn't have done it, but thanks for standing with me, Logan."
"I'll always stand by you, but – shit Lorne! You can't go walking around with a loaded gun. You could get into all sorts of trouble."
"Trouble?" He lifted the gun, pointed it at his own head and pulled the trigger. A small flame flared and burnt at the end of the barrel. "For carrying a fancy cigarette lighter?"
"But . . . you . . . how did you do that?"
"Magic," he grinned. "Great, isn't it?"
"It bloody is!" Logan grinned back.
At his house, Logan unlocked the front door ands he raced inside. "Busting for a leak! Help yourself to a drink. There's coke in the fridge, I think."
He returned from the bathroom feeling greatly relieved, Lorne was looking out of the kitchen window.
"You're not having a drink? I am, it's what I do when I get home." He opened the fridge and looked. "Damm. No coke! Those blasted kids must've got into it, there was plenty there last night. It'll have to be fruit juice then. Would you like some blackcurrant juice?"
"Yeah. That sounds good, thanks."
Logan poured two glasses full and they took them in to sit in the living room.
"Don't spill it or Mum will kill me. Blackcurrant juice stains really bad."
"I'll try not to do that then." Lorne drank a mouthful, and then another. He held the glass up to look at the light from the windows through it.
"Something wrong, Lorne?"
"No. Not wrong exactly, but this is not blackcurrant juice."
"Sure it is. It says so on the bottle."
"Maybe it does, but it's wrong. We make our own juice at home and it tastes nothing like this."
"So this is not home-made. Don't you like it?"
"I think I do. It's just not what I was expecting. This is much sweeter than the real thing, it must be loaded with sugar."
"And that's bad?"
"Not bad, different."
"I guess there's currants in your gardens. You guys have got huge gardens out there."
"They're big. Between the gardens, kai moana, fishing and hunting sometimes, we're pretty much self-sufficient in food. All we need to buy is sugar, flour and that sort of stuff."
"The gardens must be a lot of work."
"They're not really. They were well designed and laid out on permaculture principles, with companion planting and organic pest control. They're nowhere near as random as they look. We spend more time harvesting than anything else."
"That's good planning." Logan put his drink on the cluttered coffee table. "Speaking of plans – what I did the other day, the sex stuff, that was not planned. I got way too carried away, I was wrong and I'm really sorry."
"Yeah. You said. Don't beat yourself up, Logan. You've already apologised and it's over."
"So we're good?"
"We are very good."
"I've learnt my lesson, I won't get carried away again."
"Hey." Lorne put his drink down next to Logan's. "It's okay to get a bit carried away. You've earned that." He kissed him.
They fell back to lie along the couch together, face to face, crotch to crotch, and kissed. Logan was instantly hard and he could feel that Lorne was too.Whatever else he was, this was one damm sexy boy!
He pushed his groin against him. It felt so good. He knew that he shouldn't, his brain was saying no but his body wasn't listening – like it had a mind of its own. He made thrusting, rubbing, circular movements with his hips, rubbing his hard and confined dick against Lorne's.
'So good! So, so . . so wrong! Damm.' He was doing it again. Did he want to drive this boy away, or what? Egg!
He pulled back away from him and rolled off to lie on his back with a crooked arm covering his flushed face.
"Sorry. I'm sorry, Lorne. Really I am."
"Sorry? For what?"
"I'm doing it again – the sex stuff. I know I shouldn't. I know that we can't do that, but I . . . I can't help myself. I'm so stupid! Sorry. I really . ."
His words were cut off when his mouth was covered by Lorne's. He lifted his head and grinned down at Logan.
"Nothing to be sorry for. Last time was then; this is now." He kissed him.
It's hard to kiss someone when you're grinning as widely as Logan was, so he stopped smiling. They had less than 2 hours before Logan's mother and brothers were due home. They made the most of the time they had.
When Mrs. Greene walked into the kitchen Logan and his friend were sitting opposite each other with drinks and their school bags on the table between them. It all looked totally innocent and she wasn't fooled for a minute, it was too innocent. She was a teenager herself once.
"Hello Logan. Who's your friend?"
"Hey Mum. Have a good day? This is Lorne – Lorne Beynon."
"Of course it is! We've been hearing about no-one else for days now. Hello Lorne, nice to meet you at last. I'm the mother – Karen Greene."
She extended a hand and Lorne stood up to take it. " Hey Mrs. Greene. Nice to meet you too."
"Call me Karen, Kid. These are my other monsters, that's Jack and this is Brad. Say hello, Boys."
"Hello Boys!" the two younger boys chorused and Lorne grinned.
The boys headed through to the TV, they weren't that interested in their brother's new friend – nothing to do with them. The mother was interested though.
"So, Lorne, have you got any brothers?"
"Nope. I've often wished I did, but I've got no brothers."
"No, none of them either. There's just Dad and I, no-one else."
"You must have a quiet house. Logan said that you live away out of town, by the Waitangi River."
"Waitangitanoa River. Yes, we do. I was born there and we've never moved."
"Just you and your Dad. Where is your mother?"
"I really don't know -she moved."
"And left you behind."
"Yes. I don't remember her at all, I was just a baby. My parents were never married or anything. I think they were basically friends who got a bit too close one drunken night and I happened. She stayed around for a few months after I was born, and then decided that she didn't want to be a mother, and left."
"I suppose it was. I don't remember. Luckily, Dad wanted me and he kept me and raised me. My grandfather, Dad's father, lived with us for a while, but he died two years ago so now there's just us."
"Well, it seems like your father has done a pretty good job of raising you. It's not easy being a solo-parent, that much I know."
"You've done a good job too, Mrs. Greene – an excellent job. Raising three boys can't have been easy."
"We've had our moments and it's not finished yet, but they're good kids really – I quite like them."
"I'm sure they like you too. Logan does, he told me so."
"Did he just? I wish he'd tell me sometimes."
"Quiet, Logan. We're talking about you not to you."
She made herself an instant coffee and they sat and talked, until Lorne noticed the clock on the wall.
"Whoah! Is that the right time?" He rose to his feet.
"More or less," she replied. "I think it's right, I hope so. I set my watch by it."
"Bugger! Sorry, I mean, Blast! I've gotta go, I'm late. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Greene. See you tomorrow, Logan. 'Bye."
He grabbed his bag and headed for the door, pausing there to put his shoes on.
"What's the panic, Lorne?" Logan followed him. "Your dad will wait if you're a few minutes late, won't he?"
"No, he won't. That is the problem, he won't wait at all. The deal is if I'm not there he goes without me."
"Really?" Logan followed him out to the street. "But what would you do then? It's a bloody long walk home."
"It is, it's too far. I've done it before and by the time I got there, it was nearly time to come back again. I'm not doing that again."
"Damm!" Logan was hobbling along on his bare feet but he wasn't giving up. He was worried about him now. "I can't believe he'd go without you. That's really hard."
"I guess. That's the way it is. Dad's a hard man and he sticks by the rules."
Around another corner, he looked up the street.
"Damm! He's gone. He was working at the Thomas' place and the truck's not there. I've missed him."
"Bugger. What are you supposed to do now?"
"If I miss him, I'm meant to go and stay at his friend's place – at Shane Jones' house. I'm not doing that – no way!"
"Why not if he's your dad's friend.?"
"He's dad's friend, not mine. I don't know why Dad likes him, but he does. I don't. He's a horrible creepy old man and I'm not sleeping there ever again. Last time I did, I woke up and he was climbing into the bed with me."
"With you? Why would he do that?"
"Why do you think, Logan? He'd like to fuck me and "I'm not doing that. No way."
"What did you do?"
"I ran away and I spent the night sitting under a tree in nothing but my underwear. It was bloody cold and I'm not doing that again."
"What are you going to do? Come back with me and you can stay the night at our place."
"I can't. Your mum has got more than enough boys as it is. No, I'm better prepared this time. I've got a block of land, on the Forks Road at the edge of town. I'll stay there."
"You have got a block of land?"
"I have. It's about a hectare and it's all in bush, on the hill above the road. Granddad was going to build a house there, but he never did and it's all mine now."
"Wow. You know, Lorne Jackson, you must be the richest kid in town. But if there's no house there, where are you going to sleep? Under a tree again?"
"Well, sort of. I've made a bit of a shelter. It's rough but it's good enough. I'll sleep there."
"No! You can't do that. You'll freeze your butt off. You don't have to sleep there, you've got your own friend in town now. Come back and sleep with me. I've got a huge bed, there's plenty of room for two and it'll be fun."
"Fun? You just want to get me into your bed to have sex with me?"
"Yeah, sure. I'd like that, but only if you want to, we don't have to. No-one's going to make you do anything that you don't want to. Just being together will be fun. So, will you? Please?"
"Oh, yes please!" Lorne grinned. "I'd love to do that, but only if it's all right with your mum."
"It will be fine with her. Come on, let's go tell her that she's got another mouth to feed.
Karen had no problem with Lorne's staying the night with Logan. She told him that he was welcome and that she'd far prefer him to be there and not sitting under a tree.
"He has done that before," Logan said.
"Well he's not doing it again. I think it's terrible that your father would go home without you and, if I see him around, I'll tell him that too."
"Please don't, Mrs. . . umm, Karen. I knew the rules and that's the way it is. He doesn't wait and if I'm late it's my problem."
"It shouldn't be. You're just a boy and he's far too hard."
"He is," Logan agreed. "When Jeffrey took me out the other day, he said that if I was late he'd go without me, but I don't think he really would. Your dad does."
"If he says he's going to do something, he does it. It's just the way he is."
"Lorne, before you sit down, phone your dad and tell him that you're here for the night."
"Umm, thanks, but I can't do that."
"Why not? Oh, won't he be home yet?"
"Makes no difference if he is or not," Logan said. "They haven't got the phone on out there and no internet either. Incredible, eh?"
"It is! I didn't know anyone still lived like that."
"We do," Lorne said. "We've never had the phone on. Dad's got a cellphone, for his work, but it only works in town. There's no coverage out at home."
"Amazing. Well, set up the table, Boys. Tell the little ones to clean up and we'll eat."
They had a great evening together. Logan got out of washing the dishes because he had a visitor, which was good. They played a game on the computer and watched some TV together. (Yes, Lorne had a TV at home. Of course they did, they weren't totally primitive.)
Neither of them had any homework, nothing that couldn't wait anyway. Which was good. They showered, separately, and climbed into bed together. That was good too, that was really good! They had a great night.
Lorne woke in the morning in the unfamiliar bed. He lay quietly smiling and thinking about the night before. He rolled over and Logan was looking at him.
"What're you thinking?"
"You really want to know? Okay, I'll tell you. I think I love you, Lorne."
"Yeah?" he grinned widely. "I think I love you too." He kissed him.
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