Okarito - The Great Beynon
Logan woke in the morning, long before Lorne did. He was on his right side with his knees bent and Lorne spooned around his back with one arm draped over him. He lay there, quietly reliving what they'd done all weekend It had been a great and busy weekend, but the best times were like now – alone together and cuddled close.
He looked at the bedside clock-radio and up at the wall opposite him. There was a poster there, an old theater poster advertising a magic and variety show. It was definitely old, the paper was yellowed and the faded red and black text sung the praises of the Great Benyon – World Famous Magician and the World's Most Versatile Entertainer, along with his Vaudeville and Revue Company.
That was Lorne's granddad. World's most versatile entertainer? They were pretty big claims, but that was showmanship, he guessed. No poster was going to advertise an adequate magician and entertainer, naturally they'd claim that he was something special. Maybe he really was, his grandson was special.
Lorne moved, he peeled away from him and rolled on to his back. Logan turned over to look at him, his eyes were open, he was awake. "Hi," Logan smiled. "Sleep well?"
"Like a log," Lorne replied. "You?"
"Oh yeah, very well."
"Logan, it's a quarter to seven and it's time we were moving. Dad won't wait if we're late."
"Yeah. I guess the weekend's over – worse luck."
"It is, real bad luck. Do you want the first shower? I'll strip the bed and chuck everything in the laundry while I'm waiting."
"Okay, sure." Logan looked at the rumpled bed-clothes. "We made a mess, didn't we? Sorry about that."
"Don't be sorry, it was well worth it. Best time of my life! Anyway, I helped, half of this mess was mine."
"It was! Okay, I'm showering. Be back soon."
Logan hurried through the shower. It would've saved water, but probably not time, if they'd showered together, but they couldn't do that while Dan was there. He went back to the bedroom, wrapped in a modest towel, and Lorne went for his shower.
Logan pulled his school clothes out of his back-pack and stuffed the ones he'd worn all weekend in there. The jeans were still a bit damp, but – whatever. He dressed, combed his hair and sat on the bed waiting for Lorne.
When he came back in he was already in his clothes. He threw the towel and boxers at the laundry basket, and missed. "Come on. We'll get something to eat, and then we're gone."
Dan was at the table, in the living-room, shelling peas. "Good morning, Sleepy Heads. About time you appeared. You've got no time to cook anything. Toast, cereal, coffee and we're gone."
"No problems." Lorne filled two bowls with cereal and splashed some milk on them. He spooned in some segments of bottled Black Doris plums, sliced some bread and loaded the toaster. He handed a bowl to Logan and they sat down to eat.
As soon as he'd filled his mouth, Dan asked, "Did you have a good weekend, Logan?"
He gulped and swallowed. "Yes! I mean, yes thanks, Dan. I've had an excellent weekend. Thanks for letting me stay."
"Thanks for coming, and for setting the computer up – that would've been totally beyond us."
"It was fun. But, I'm sure you guys could've worked it out yourselves. Lorne's a bright boy."
"Not as bright as you," Lorne replied. "I wouldn't have known where to start."
"The instruction book is always a good place to start."
"Instruction books!" Dan snorted as he stood up. "Those things are more trouble than they're worth – bloody useless, most of them." He got three mugs down from the cupboard and poured drinks from the percolator.
"Oh good!" Logan grinned. "Real coffee. Thanks, Dan."
"I've got news for you, Boy, and it's all bad. That's not what you'd call real coffee, it's more of the erratz stuff."
"Dandelion roots? Oh well, it still tastes okay."
"Of course it does and I made it in the perc so, with a bit of luck, there'll be some caffeine in there."
"And that's good," Lorne nodded.
On the way into town, Logan sat in the middle in the truck, quietly thinking.
"You're very quiet, Logan," Dan said.
"Hmm? Oh, sorry. I was just thinking."
"Thinking about what?"
"That poster on the wall in Lorne's room. That's your granddad, right?"
"Yeah, that was him," Lorne replied.
"Well how come your surname is Beynon and he was the Great Benyon? Is that a misprint or something?"
"It's not a misprint. Granddad was called the Great Benyon. The manager of the London Coliseum changed it around when Granddad appeared there. He said that Benyon sounded better than Beynon."
"Actually," Dan said. "Logan's probably right and it was originally a misprint. The guy probably had hundreds of posters, playbills and programmes printed with the wrong name on them and it would've cost too much to fix it, so Edgar Beynon became the Great Beynon. And that's how he stayed – he was never one to waste a dollar."
"And he played at the London Coliseum, in the real London? It must be right when it calls him world famous. Wow."
Dan said, "I don't know about world famous, but he did play in several countries around the globe. Yes, he played at the Coliseum, but he was just one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of acts who appeared there over the years. He made a living, but he didn't make a fortune."
"Granddad did all right!" Lorne protested. "Maybe he should've been born a hundred years earlier, before the movies killed vaudeville off, but he was still famous. Even Mrs. Carter, the Principal at school, remembers him. She said she was a big fan."
"I'm sure some people remember him fondly. He was a character and he was good at what he did, but he was never a giant, Lorne. He was just a little man really."
"He was a giant to me!"
"Sure he was, but you loved him and you were just a little boy. Now you're older and it's time you faced reality."
"Hmmph!" Lorne folded his arms and stared out of the window beside him.
The air in the truck had turned decidedly chilly and Logan was sorry he'd started it. He tried to calm things down.
"I think I would've liked him too. He was your father, Dan. Weren't you a fan as well?"
"Not much," Dan replied. "He was never around when I was a boy. He was far too busy touring and being famous. He was retired when he lived with us, so he had more time for Lorne than he ever did for me. Sometimes, when you grow up, you find that your idols have got feet of clay.
Do you want to go home, Logan, or do I drop you both off at school?"
"At school will be good, thanks. I've got all my gear here."
They stopped in the street outside the school and Lorne slid out. Logan paused when Dan spoke to him. "Well, it's been nice having you to stay. I know Lorne thought so too, and I hope you'll come again soon."
"I will! Thanks for everything, I've had a great weekend."
"That's good. Thanks again for your help – and now it's over. Out of here and go to school. I've got work to do."
He drove away with a toot and the usual 'bang!', trailing blue smoke. For once Lorne wasn't embarrassed by it all. He looked at Logan, their eyes met, they grinned, shrugged and headed in to school.
The day began normally enough, but soon went downhill. Outside their first class, they were stopped by a couple of girls who wanted to know where Logan was on Saturday night. There was a party at the Youth Center, everyone was there, but Logan was not. Why not?
"Sheesh, Girls! I was busy, okay? There's no law that says I have to be at every dogfight in town."
"There's not, but you're usually there anyway. You were conspicuous by your absence, Mr. Greene."
"So I had a weekend off. I stayed out at Lorne's place."
"All weekend? What were you doing out there?"
"Just goofing around. I helped Mr. Beynon buy a computer, and then went out to help set it up."
"Since when have you been an expert?"
"No-one said I was, but I knew more than they did. It's their first computer."
"Really? Wow. Welcome to the modern age, Lorne."
"Thanks, Carrie," Lorne laughed. "It's good to be here, I think."
Ruth frowned. "It didn't take you all weekend just to do that."
"Of course not, but it was too far to walk home," Logan said. "We just mucked around. Lorne showed me over their property, it's really cool – 150 hectares, would you believe?"
"150 hectares of scrub."
"There's more to it than that and there's a lot of history there. Lorne's dad took us fishing yesterday."
"Just one and it was small. But you should've seen the one that got away!"
They went inside and sat down together.
As soon as Logan sat down next to him, Lorne knew that that was a mistake. He looked around the room and, sure enough, there they were, sitting in the back row and looking scornfully at Logan and him – Graeme Stokes, Liam Hawkins and Ben Rodden – like it was a trial and they were the judges.
Damm. He'd wished that they'd never seen them playing around in the river, but they had – it was too late now. Logan was blissfully unaware of what was going on. Lorne was torn, should he tell him, or should he keep his mouth shut and hope that it all came to nothing?
There was a big match on, against a touring Highschool team. Lorne wasn't playing but Logan was, of course – he was a star player and they needed him.
As much as he could, he kept an eye on the Three Stooges all morning. No-one said anything to him or Logan, but they didn't have to – he could see it in their eyes and the way they looked at them. They were constantly whispering to each other, and to other kids too. Whispering and passing notes. The story was spreading like wildfire and everyone was looking now. Damm.
At lunchtime, Lorne sat alone at the back of the school watching the warm-up game swirling around out on the field and thinking.
He hadn't heard the whispers and he hadn't seen the notes but he didn't have to, he knew exactly what was in them. He could see it in their eyes. Double Damm!
What was he going to do? What could he do? He didn't care so much for himself. It didn't matter what happened to him, he'd never really been a part of things anyway. If everyone rejected him, well – so what?He had nothing to lose, it would only be more of the same. He could look after himself if things got physical. He still had a trick or two up his sleeve – literally up his sleeve! If that didn't work, he didn't care, he'd survive.
But Logan? Logan had a lot to lose. He had a place here in this school, in this town. He had a top place – he'd earnt it and he deserved it. He didn't deserve to lose it all for the sake of a loser..
He sat and watched the game – watched Logan really. He didn't have a clue what anyone else was doing and didn't care. Logan was such a great guy – simply the best. He was good-looking, but there was far more to him than just that. His beauty was not skin-deep, it went all the way through him right down to his heart.
He was a top athlete, popular and good at everything he did. ('And I do mean everything,' Lorne smiled a little.) But he was never pushy or big-headed with it. He was always the first to lend a hand when someone needed it and everyone liked him – until now.
Lorne sighed and he made a decision. He knew what he had to do.
Lunch Hour was almost over. The players packed it in, finished the game and they were walking back in. Logan was laughing and talking to a couple of guys, and he was headed straight towards him. Lorne quickly packed up his stuff and went back inside, to lock himself in a cubicle in the bogs and hide.
He waited until after the bell had signalled the start of the afternoon and went into class late. Logan looked around and smiled and nodded at the empty seat next to him. Lorne went the other way and sat next to Sarah Meates, on the far side of the room.
Sarah was a nice girl, but definitely not a 'good' girl. She had a reputation, but she was always friendly enough, especially lately. "Hi, Sarah. How's it?"
"It's good," she smiled. "It's always good." She slid her pen in and out of her pursed lips, winked and smiled.
He grinned back. "That's good that it's good."
"Good that you think that it's good that it's good."
"Well, good!" They both laughed until the teacher shut them up.
He saw Logan looking at him and deliberately looked the other way.
There were only two classes after lunch and he stayed in the same seat, next to Sarah, for both of them. He left before the end of the second class – just packed up his books, went up to the teacher and told her that he had to go.
He knew it wouldn't be a problem. Miss Bennett always tried so hard to be popular, so she was easy to get around. He told her that he had to meet his dad, for an appointment, and he left without looking back. Logan had a practice after school, so he knew he wouldn't be looking for him.
He walked across town to where his dad was working, got into the truck, sat down on the floor where he wouldn't be seen, and cried. He did not want to do this, but he had to.
When he came out and drove home, Dan looked hard at him several times, but he didn't say anything. Lorne couldn't see his own face, but he hoped his eyes weren't too red – he didn't want his dad to know that he'd been crying. Dan already thought that he was too soft and he definitely didn't want to explain his tears.
The first thing he did when they got home was to quietly turn the power off on the phone. It would still work, but it wouldn't ring and he didn't want any calls. He didn't turn the computer on – said he couldn't be bothered with it.
After the chores and dinner were out of the way, he went out for a walk.
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere really. I just want to get some fresh air and time to myself."
"Fair enough. Don't be too late and stay on the paths."
"See you later, Dad."
He returned, well after dark. Dan was sitting at the computer and he looked around. "About time too. I was thinking about organising a search party. Logan rang looking for you. Funny really, the phone didn't ring. I picked it up to make a call, and there he was. He wants you to call him back."
"Not now," Lorne shrugged. "I'll see him tomorrow."
"Suit yourself. Do you want the computer for a while?"
"No, you have it. I've got some homework to do."
"You don't need the 'puter for that?"
"No, it's just revision. I'll be in my room. G'night, Dad."
"Good night then." Dan turned back to the video clip he was watching, Lorne went to his room and closed the door.
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