A FICTION PIECE BY TRAVIS “NORMAN” HAIGHT
PLEASE NOTE: I do not own any of the rights to any of the music used in this piece, so if you’re looking for a quick buck’s worth of lawsuit money, then please leave me alone.
“Why am I seething in this animosity? I think you owe me a great big apology. Terrible lie!” sang the song in Benji’s CD shelf system from the album of choice of that and most other mornings, “Pretty Hate Machine” by Nine Inch Nails. As the album’s second track played on, Benji decided to switch it over to the album’s first track, “Head Like A Hole,” before walking over to his closet to select an ensemble of his usual attire to wear that day to Spanaway High, a place he didn’t exactly like going to.
It was never a feeling of Benji being an antisocial being or anything of that nature, but rather it was his fellow classmates that just treated him as if he were the scum of the universe. Benji was simply himself; jovial, funny, caring, and compassionate of nearly any person that he came in contact with. Then again, nobody at Spanaway High could ever see past the long black hair, black nail polish, heavy metal concert tee shirts, and extreme love for all things gothic and old and new heavy metal, and affection for books and poetry by authors such as Anne Rice, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. Certainly, it was not only a very superficial sub society, but these antagonists also especially loved to pester Benji by making accusations that he was guilty of labeling and stereotyping, whereas they were the only ones in reality that did do it.
That day, Benji chose a White Zombie shirt to compliment his usual pair of black Dickies and black steel toed boots. Once finally dressed, Benji headed out into the bathroom to apply a fresh coat of nail polish before heading out to grab a quick breakfast and head out to catch the transit bus at the stop just around the corner. As always, there was the usual crowd of neighborhood kids that were waiting to go to school, and also some of the local stoner types that were going out to get the first fix of their pot and shoot up for the day. For some bizarre reason or another, there were none of the preppie types at the bus stop waiting for the transit. Then again, it was strictly the head-up-your-rectum preppie types that were always pestering and ostracizing Benji because he was sixteen years of age, had his driver’s license, but then again was still taking the transit to school. Then, when Benji would try to justify why exactly that was, that would just make them last even more; Benji lived with only his loving father, Dennis, whom he had a really strong relationship (Benji’s mother passed away when he was 3), in a single wide green and white aluminum sided trailer because it was what was affordable. Dennis had a vehicle, but could not afford to get another one for Benji. Hence, the Spanaway High Abercrombie demographic, with their big houses, Acuras, and rap music, try to make their gothic classmate feel unwelcome, along with the rest of the “white trash.”
A couple of minutes before the transit was to come around the corner and pick up everybody at the stop, Benji set his black, patch-decorated backpack down to pull out his Sony CD player with Nine Inch Nails sticker on the front, a black, large pair of Koss studio-style headphones, and his Monster Magnet-Power Trip CD. As the bus finally pulled up to the curb that mild forty five degree morning, Benji was walking on with headphones on his head, and was listening to “Space Lord” as he went towards the back and sat down where few usually desired to go. Then again, a few of the stoner types sat down in the back; for some reason or another, Benji was clean and sober and abstinent, but always had found that musicians, writers and stoners were the ones that he could connect with the most on an intellectual level.
“Now give me the strength to spread the world in two, yeah. I ate all the rest and now I’m gonna eat you, yeah!” Benji hummed, stepping onto the transit. Amongst a couple of small conversations with the others in the back of the bus, Benji had his headphones on nearly the whole time and was somewhat tired, despite the fact that he had and was drinking from a tall thermos of coffee. At approximately seven thirty that morning, the transit stopped once again at another curb, though this time it was right at the beginning of the Spanaway High campus. When Benji had finally gotten off of the bright white bus with route number flashing on the front, he headed off to the cafeteria to get himself a can of coke and a couple of breakfast burritos before going to be on time and then some to his first hour English class.
At about eight that morning, the bell rang, signaling that the day had now begun, and class was now officially in session. For a couple of moments, Benji looked over to the seat just to the direct left of him to notice that it had then turned to eight ten after midnight, and his female friend, Nikki, hadn’t come in yet. “Damn! Eight ten. That’s really not going to be good for her grade!” Benji began to think inside of his head to himself. “Yeah, I know she drives herself everyday here from Lynwood, but this is just too friggin’ late.”
Finally, the clock struck at eight seventeen, when an ultra slender, blonde with red streaks in that hair, skin tight low rise jeans, red Tommy Hilfiger crop top exposing her belly button with pink barbell with butterfly on the end, and a neon green cast with a few signatures in black Sharpie visible already on her left arm just below a slue of cuts and bruises, walked into the place while class was barely being brought into session.
“Miss Morgan, you do realize that you’re seventeen minutes late to class?” started up Misses Lathim, the class’s first hour English teacher who just happened to be a very good friend of both Benji and his father. “Ten minutes is considered truant, so you surely better go over to the office and clear it all with them.” With that, Nikki dropped off her back pack and purse and headed over to the office only to return about fifteen minutes later. At the conclusion of the English class shortly thereafter, as he slipped on his headphones, Benji caught up with Nikki to walk her to her second period class that was just a couple of doors down.
“So, why were you late to class, dude?”
“Uh, I got here late, because my mom had to drive me to school.”
“Don’t you drive, though?”
“I did, though I got into a really bad wreck on Saturday, and my car’s totaled.”
“Oh, shoot. So that’s what the damage and cast are for?”
“Yeah. I was in the hospital forever, though luckily I was conscious.”
“I’ll say! So you still have your license and everything, right?”
“Of course. I would never do anything that stupid enough to lose it!”
“I know that. Though just be thankful that you’re still here to talk about it, and if everyone gives you any crap, then just keep in mind that they all have their heads up their butts.”
“Yeah, that’s true. Though I’ll see you around. Maybe lunch?”
“Cool. See you around.”
For exchange of his shear and genuine compassion, Nikki then got a little closer to Benji to give him a hug before saying “You’re so sweet,” and heading into her second period class. With that, Benji himself strolled down a couple of doors in order to make it to his second period class on time. Throughout the entire day, in fact, Benji kept thinking of the kind deed he did and exactly how cool it would be to have someone like Nikki as a girlfriend. On the other hand, he still had to focus throughout his entire day, so then again he was doing all of his work with his usually tenacious work ethic with his hopeful significant other as a side thought. About half way through his study period, Benji had completed all of his homework for the day, though had no book with him, and the use of music systems was not allowed in the quiet classroom. So, in order to kill time in his last period of the day before he would be able to go home, Benji pulled out his blue three ring binder, flipped to the first clean sheet of notebook paper and proceeded to write a friendly, though not of the love type, note to Nikki to give her the next day before or after the first period.
I’M SITTING HERE IN STUDY HALL, BORED AS HELL, AND WE CAN’T USE OUR CD PLAYERS AND STUFF. SO, OF COURSE, BEING A WRITER AND ALL, AND DONE WITH MY HOMEWORK, FINALLY, I DECIDED THAT I WANTED TO TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE YOU A GOOD NOTE. I MUST FIRST OF ALL SAY THAT I AM GLAD THAT YOU ARE PART OF OUR CLASS, AND ALSO, ALTHOUGH THIS MAY COME OFF AS REALLY CORNY AT FIRST, BUT ALSO THAT YOU HAVE BEEN A PART OF MY CIRCLE OF FRIENDS SINCE THE SEVENTH GRADE. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE REALLY POPULAR AND ALL, THOUGH I DO SORT OF FIND A SENSE OF IRONY IN THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH SO MANY PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE OH SO COOL, INCLUDING ME, A LOT OF GIRLS DON’T REALLY CARE FOR YOU, AND BOTH GUYS AND GIRLS, AT LEAST OF WHAT I HAVE HEARD, THINK AND CONSTANTLY REFER TO YOU AS A BITCH. THEN AGAIN, TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST WITH YOU, I JUST THINK THAT THOSE A-HOLES ARE JUST COMPLETELY JEALOUS OF ALL OF THE GOOD ASSETS YOU HOLD AND SHARE ON THE INSIDE AND OUT. THIS COULD COME OFF AS PERVERTED, AND I APOLOGIZE IF YOU BELIEVE IT DOES, BUT IN MY HONEST OPINION, ON TOP OF BEING REALLY INTELLIGENT, SWEET, AND OPEN MINDED, YOU ARE EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE TO THE EYE AS WELL. THERE ARE A LOT OF GIRLS THAT ARE ATTRACTIVE AT SPANAWAY, THOUGH IT IS INTELLIGENCE ON TOP OF LOOKS THAT MAKES A GIRL ESPECIALLY HOT. AND, LIKE YOU PROBABLY GUESSED, FOR THOSE REASONS I BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ESPECIALLY HOT! I HAD A DREAM THE OTHER NIGHT THAT YOU REALLY WERE THE ONE FOR ME, IT ALL WORKED OUT, AND THE TWO OF US ENDED UP BEING THE MOST KILLER COUPLE AT SPANAWAY HIGH. OF COURSE, KNOWING MY LUCK, YOU ARE PROBABLY SITUATED WITH A BOYFRIEND AT THE MOMENT, AND WOULD NEVER WANT TO BE WITH SOMEBODY LIKE ME ANYWAY. I MEAN, IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF YOU WANTED TO BE WITH SOMEBODY LIKE ME, THOUGH KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE ONLY BEEN OUT WITH PEOPLE LIKE THE BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND THE OTHER REALLY POPULAR GUYS THAT DRIVE REALLY NICE CARS AND LIVE IN REALLY NICE HOUSES, IT WOULD PROBABLY BE ONE COLD DAY IN HELL BEFORE US BEING INTO THAT KIND OF A RELATIONSHIP SAW THE LIGHT OF DAY. ALTHOUGH I DO REMEMBER ONE TIME BACK WHEN YOU SAID THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD A THING FOR SMART ASSES. THEN AGAIN, PEOPLE WOULD PROBABLY BE IGNORANT ENOUGH TO LABEL YOU WHITE TRASH IF NEWS SPREAD OF HOW YOU WERE GOING OUT WITH SOME GUY WHO HAPPENED TO LIVE IN ONE OF THE CRAPPIEST TRAILER PARKS IN DOWNTOWN SPANAWAY. I WAS ALSO THINKING OF ALL OF THE SHIT I WOULD GET AND ESPECIALLY THE RUMORS THAT WOULD SPREAD AROUND REGARDING ME IF I WERE TO START GOING OUT WITH YOU. I SORT OF THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULDN’T BUY THE FACT THAT YOU WERE GOING OUT WITH WHITE TRASH, AND I WOULD PROBABLY GET A LOT OF INTERROGATION AND OSTRIFICATION DAY IN AND DAY OUT BY ESPECIALLY ALL OF THOSE POPULAR GUYS AND PEOPLE LIKE CHEERLEADERS BECAUSE I ‘CROSSED THE LINE’ SO TO SPEAK. THEN AGAIN, YOU KNOW WHAT I ALWAYS SAY—FUCK THEM ALL! I REALLY WOULD NOT CARE ONE BIT ABOUT ANY OF THE OBJECTIONS THEY MIGHT JUST HAVE IN THE EVENT OF YOU AND I BECOMING SIGNIFICANT OTHERS, SURELY BECAUSE ALL OF THEM ARE WALKING ABOUT WITH THEIR HEADS UP THEIR’S AND OTHER PEOPLE’S ASSES. THOUGH, LIKE I SAID, I HAVE NO IDEA IN THE WORLD IF YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED OR WOULD EVEN CONSIDER DATING THE LIKES OF ME, THOUGH IT DOES SEEM IN A WAY THAT WE ARE AND HAVE BEEN ON THE SAME LEVEL FOR A VERY LONG TIME. IF YOU HAVE THE FREE TIME EVER, DO FEEL FREE TO CALL ME OR FIND ME ON INSTANT MESSENGER. WELL, THE PERIOD IS JUST ABOUT OUT, AND I AM SURELY READY TO GO HOME. HOPE TO TALK TO YOU SOON. YOUR FRIEND, BENJI YARDLEY.”
Just as Benji finished up writing the last sentence of his note to Nikki, he noticed up above him that the clock read two twenty three past morning, two minutes before the school day would be out, and he would be free to walk out to the bus stop, get onto the bus, as routine, and head down town to his home, where his dad would also be due home in another hour or so after he set foot inside. So he wouldn’t have to wait any longer for the bus than he already had to, Benji tucked all of his books away in his decorated black Jansport, zipped it all up, and pulled out his CD player to replace the Monster Magnet album with the Nine Inch Nails album, The Downward Spiral. Just as he stood up with his back pack on, turned on his music and adjusted the volume, the school’s big bell rang from up above, saying to get out, head out, and go home. As he exited the premises, and was closer and closer to being off of the Spanaway High campus, Benji turned up the volume on track two, “Piggy,” as he also now approached the sign of black and white and small crowd of persons dressed in his similar attire, and half with headphones as well, signaling that he would have to be there to catch the next bus home.
“Black and blue and broken bones, you left me here, I’m all alone, my little piggy needed something new,” blared Benji’s headphones about midway through the transport, attempting to drown out the several deadpan conversations. Finally, at the conclusion to the lengthy transport downtown to the Grammercy Trailer Park, or at least of the beginning of the main road where was the closest that the transit system had went, Benji headed out of the rear entrance and was en route to him and his dad’s respective trailer that was luckily a mere hop, skip, and jump away. Upon his highly anticipated arrival at that precise destination, Benji went about three fourths of the way down the hall that was nicely decorated with hard rock posters and significant framed photos of the duo, not to mention an especially sedimental of Benji’s long deceased mother, and opened his bedroom door just across that of the bathroom and adjacent to the entrance to his father’s slightly larger personal domicile. The door, with a Slipknot poster well taped to its front side and one of Marilyn Manson on its opposite side, remained open as Benji set his necessary text and notebooks down on his twin size bed with a black and white plaid comforter and two pillows with matching cases, and fired up his seemingly custom decorated, by heavy metal stickers, Panasonic five CD system and once again began the play of Pretty Hate Machine, as he woke up to that morning.
“God money’s not looking for the cure. God money’s not concerned about the sick among the pure. God money let’s go dancing on the backs of the bruised. God money’s not one to choose,” started “Head Like A Hole”’s second verse as Benji picked up one of many of his spiral notebooks, this one with black cover and red and white writing, and continued writing on his current page, approximately half way down on the sixty seventh, where at the moment he was in the process of writing an extra curricular novella that was ficticious, though he was basing on his prior knowledge of what it was to really like to live in a trailer park in America, especially with the majority of the city’s population wealthy and looking down on him and his father for no other reason but that. This was the fourth month that Benji had been working on the piece, ominously dubbed The White Trash Story, after a label that his classmates had bestowed upon him early on. In the four month time period that he had been putting work into this biographically realistic piece, Benji had mapped out the hopefully future masterpiece’s full plot, knew exactly what was going to happen and in what order, and had established his characters in what their names were, what kind of personalities they all had, and so on and so forth. So he wouldn’t have to think too hard, and to make the piece especially easier to write, all of Benji’s characters were based on real people that he knew well, good and bad, with only the names altered to protect the innocent but not to piss off the beautiful people enough to file a defamation of character lawsuit. Eventually struck with a bit of writer’s block after about an hour and a half’s worth of writing, Benji decided to put that back in his back pack and go into the living room to watch the evening news on the big television, which had another good picture of Benji’s mother surrounded by their Kiss Alive action figures.
Just as the first commercial break began, Benji looked out the window when he heard a diesel engine get progressively louder and then click off. To his good surprise, it was Benji’s father, Dennis, coming out of his red Ford diesel F-250 that he had just driven home in from his job at the local transmission garage where he was the manager.
“Hey, dad,” Benji exclaimed, glad to see his father the first time that day, as he caught a bus about a half hour before Dennis was even awake.
“Oh. Hey, Benji. Was your day good?”
“Yeah. It was like the first time in a month that I actually was able to get all of my reading and crap done during study hall.”
“Really? Well, just don’t get too used to it, ‘cuz the minute that you think they’re reducing the load, they’ll hit you with a bunch of big projects and stuff.”
“Yeah, though instead of doing a whole load of reading and stuff, then I finally have the time to write now.”
“That’s good. You’re still working on your novella, right?”
“Yeah. I have a whole bunch done on it, though I just want to make it as detailed as possible though not make it too long winded.”
“Exactly. And that’s exactly the reason why you write and I don’t. Never was I very good, except for having to write term papers and stuff now and then. Though when it comes to writing fiction and poetry, you sure as hell got that gift from your mother!”
“Yeah. She was damn good, though I don’t know why she insisted on not publishing her work.”
“Well, Benji. I thought your mother’s work was really good, too, though she was always so pigheaded that she was always telling herself that she was really bad at it.”
“Sounds like me and athletics. Then again, I really do suck at them, and I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone who says otherwise is just doing a really good job of brown nosing.”
“Yeah. That’s a problem with a lot of society today; too many brown nosers. And it’s nothing to worry about if you’re not that good in the athletics department; I always was taken down, and everybody laughed their asses off when we did stuff in gym class like play basketball or football.”
“That just happened to me a few days ago.”
“Oh. Well with that said, you just need to realize that you are a bigger person than they, and in the long run, they aren’t going to amount to shit anyway.”
“Yeah. But for now, what are we going to do for dinner?”
“Uh, well, I am yet to do the grocery shopping for this week, so why don’t I order a pizza?”
With the conversation of routine status now concluded upon both of them being home, Dennis walked into the kitchen to check for pizza coupons and order dinner from the place that offered the best deal. Once that deed was done, and Benji was informed that a delivery man from Domino’s would be coming in about forty five minutes, Dennis then sat down in the living room on the opposite side, and joined his son in watching the local and national evening news. Both of the well-built white men noticed that the news being reported was rather redundant; in other words, same crap, different day. Certainly, with a threat of war on the verge, about half of the news was either Middle East or Post September Eleventh fodder in some way or another, and also brought worry to both Benji and Dennis alike that the president just might reinstate the draft for the first time in about a quarter of a century.
“Tap tap tap!” sang the door just as the national news ended and the local was starting up again. With that signal to the ears, Benji jumped up from his recliner, and opened the door, thanking himself that it was a blonde-haired female of about twenty years in a red, white and blue Domino’s uniform and was wielding a piping hot cardboard box containing their pizza.
“That’ll be eleven seventy,” stated the slender delivery girl, as Benji grabbed a ten and two one dollar bills off of the end table just to the right of his recliner and handed it over in exchange for their instant dinner in a box, so to speak. Over the time that the two ate their extra cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pizza, Benji got up from his seat after a few minutes in order to grab a couple of Pepsis from the refrigerator that were already chilled for a good while. Concluding dinner, as Dennis decided to watch a movie that he didn’t care for, Benji opted to head back down the hall to his bedroom to write In his journal, as he hadn’t done so in about four days and had a lot of thoughts on his mind. So he wouldn’t disturb Dennis, though still could hear him when just in case he needed him for the living room, Benji stuck the hook up connector in the respective jack for his headphones, put the large black Koss headphones on his head and once again began Pretty Hate Machine, his favorite Nine Inch Nails album, which at that point, he was finding morbidly biographical, though couldn’t exactly grasp in what sense that was just yet.
“I’ll cross my heart and hope to die, but the needle’s already in my eye. And all the world’s weight is on my back and I don’t even know why. And what I used to think was me was just a fading memory. I looked him right in the eye and said goodbye. I was up above it. Now I’m down in it.” Just for the first few, or the first three to be precise, tracks, Benji was having a mental brainstorming session as to gather ideas on how to write his journal entry. Finally, as his system reached a certain verse in “Down In It,” he had finally commenced his brain drain on paper.
IT WAS KIND OF A MESSED UP DAY AT SCHOOL, BUT SURELY I CAN SAY IT WAS THE SAME OLD SHIT BUT DIFFERENT DAY. IT WAS WEIRD, BECAUSE DURING THE FIRST HALF HOUR OF ENGLISH CLASS, NIKKI WAS REALLY LATE. I MEAN, SHE DRIVES EVERYDAY HERE FROM LYNWOOD, THOUGH SHE ENDED UP BEING ONE FULL HALF HOUR LATE AND HAD TO GO CHECK IN AT THE OFFICE BECAUSE THEY MADE THE ACCUSATION THAT SHE WAS CUTTING CLASS. WHEN I ASKED HER WHY THE HELL SHE WAS SO LATE, I WAS SHOCKED TO DISCOVER THAT DURING THE PAST WEEKEND, SHE HAD GOTTEN INTO A REALLY BAD CAR ACCIDENT. OF COURSE, WITH ME BEING COMPASSIONATE AND ALL, I TRIED TO REALLY SHOW HER THAT SHE IS STILL IN MY PRAYERS, AND THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH SHIT EVERYONE ELSE IN THE SCHOOL GIVES HER, SHE CAN BE ASSURED THAT SHE ALWAYS HAS A FRIEND IN ME. THEN AGAIN, I HAVE BEEN THINKING FOR A WHILE THAT IT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY FRIGGIN’ COOL TO BE IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER, BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND RELATIONSHIP WITH NIKKI. COMPARED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND THIS PLACE, NIKKI IS THE ONLY PERSON BESIDES MY DAD THAT I CAN TALK TO FOR REAL. I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS LIKE TWO YEARS OLD I WOULD TALK TO MY MOM A WHOLE LOT. NOW, IT SEEMS AS IF NIKKI IS ONE OF THOSE FIGURES IN MY LIFE. LIKE MY MOM WAS AND STILL IS TODAY AS SHE IS UP ABOVE AND WATCHING ALL OF THE MOVES AND CRAP THAT I MAKE, NIKKI IS LIKE A GOD TO ME. SHE IS JUST LIKE THAT ONE THAT HAS ALWAYS KEPT MY HORMONES IN CHECK, AND REALLY IS THE ONLY GIRL OF MY AGE WHO CAN RELATE TO ALL OF THE GOOD STUFF AND THE REALLY BAD CRAP THAT I GO THROUGH. SURELY, IF OUR FRIENDSHIP BLOSSOMED INTO ANYTHING MORE, THEN I WOULD WELCOME IT AND HER WITH MY WIDE OPEN ARMS. IT IS KINDA WEIRD, THOUGH, BECAUSE I HAVE FOUND MYSELF LISTENING TO THE PRETTY HATE MACHINE ALBUM BY NINE INCH NAILS A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT, AND IN SOME WAY, EVERY SINGLE TIME I LISTEN TO IT, SOMETHING REALLY CLOSE TO HOME HITS, THOUGH I REALLY JUST DON’T KNOW HOW JUST YET. I JUST HOPE LIKE HELL I CAN FIGURE OUT EXACTLY HOW IT IS PRETTY SOON, BECAUSE IT IS SORTA DRIVING ME CRAZY.”
At the tail end of the session, Benji tucked the personal black book of his under his bed, turned up the volume, and lay in bed hoping to fall sleepy in the next few hours as he absorbed such verse from “Kinda I Want To” such as “I can’t shake this feeling from my head, there’s a devil sleeping in my bed. He’s watching you from across the way. I cannot make this feeling go away.”
“Yeah, I’m feeling good, though this cast is an absolute pain in the ass!”
“How long do you have to have the thing on?”
“Uh, well, the doctor said that it is going be at least five weeks, though he also said if something goes wrong, it can be as much as three months.”
“That sucks. I would go frickin’ nuts not being able to drive for three months. I forgot what it’s like having to have our parents drive us around!”
“Yeah, and my mom left so damn late, I was late coming to school by like a friggin’ half hour.”
“That is screwed up!”
“Yeah, especially cuz, like, the people in the office so have their heads up their butts, and like, jumped to a conclusion that just because of one time when I got an MIP at a party and was caught with a dime bag in a pair of jeans I was borrowing from Courtney, they thought I was, like, going out and getting high!”
“That is bull, though wouldn’t it be so cool to smoke a bowl before first hour? Class just might be interesting!”
“Yeah, and it would be a whole lot easier to get through classes, and maybe I could not like get annoyed when Benji talks to me!”
“Ah. I thought that you told that little white trash bastard off a long time ago!”
“No, not yet! Though I just have to think of some way to break it to him that I think he’s an annoying little asshole and that he should find some fat girl in the special ed class to chase, like that one that lives in the motor home on the side of the highway to Lynwood.”
“Yeah. Doesn’t he know better that he doesn’t belong with people like us?”
“I just guess he is really screwed up in the head!”
“Yep. So, did you go to Husein and get the X for that rave in Seattle on Saturday?”
“Yeah. I could use some of that shit right about now, but I’ll save it for Saturday. Though is it cool if I stay the night at your place, ‘cuz my mom is a real bitch when I come home late.”
“Sure. Not a problem. I’ll get a dime bag from Husein, too, and we can have some of my dad’s Everclear he’s got in the attic; he doesn’t give a fuck, as long as we leave some for him!”
Soon thereafter, once her Roxy pink clock read eleven thirty past morning, Nikki finally hung up the phone, for her conversation with her best friend of several years, Trisha, was now over. Trisha and her met when they were going to rival middle schools a few years back; at that time, Trisha was going to Tacoma Junior High, and Nikki was going to Lynwood Junior High. Both hung in little cliques that very near resembled two gangs, though just didn’t go as far as to be that. Many times over, Trisha and Nikki would be getting into fights and going to parties, where they would often cross each other’s paths as well. Then, as they got ready to finish up the eighth grade and prepare for high school, Nikki was expelled from Lynwood because the security officers found an ounce of pot in her purse, and had to transfer to Tacoma for her last quarter, meaning that she was spending much more “quality” time with Trisha, her somewhat new found best friend. As they did this, along with spent much of their time getting drunk and especially stoned together, from that day forward, the two became virtually inseparable.
“Got everything in my mama’s name. But I’m hood rich...la da dada,” sang Nikki’s little speakers to wake her up at six in the morning, though didn’t take effect until about six and five past, when she finally peeled the sheets off of her. Sitting atop her messy bed with tie dyed comforter in a white tank top and black thong underwear, Nikki reached into a little box on her night stand and produced a half dime bag full of weed, and then reached for a pipe in the pocket of her friend’s borrowed low rise jeans that she had been lent a couple of nights beforehand. Nikki then proceeded to load the bowl and then lit it with her Zippo lighter with cannibus leaf on the front, all with hopes that it would kick in before she would have to be in first period.
“Nikki! Hurry up! We’re leaving at seven!” shouted her mother from the other side, completely aware of, but not caring about her daughter’s marijuana use. As six forty five neared closer and closer by the second, Nikki finally stripped down to hop in the shower, and clean herself up for the day, on the outside at least. As her mother called out her usual ten minute warning, Nikki was under the water and soaping her body up with her bright pink body sponge. Finally, she finished, dressed in her usual somewhat revealing Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie and Fitch attire, and came upstairs where she then walked with her mom out to the car, a dark blue Chevrolet Lumina (her mom’s) which was parked right next to her still mangled white Volkswagen Jetta.
Like every time that the two ever rode in the car together, the music played between them, but there was absolutely no conversing between them for the entire duration of the commute from Lynwood to Spanaway. Finally, at around seven fifty three, two minutes before the first class was to begin, Nikki was dropped off, and was running as if it were the end of the world up to the classroom. For once in a long time, although just barely, Nikki was actually on time, and there was no need to write her up like had happened all along before.
That day in class, the assignment was an in class essay that was to span the entire week and was to be performed silently. However, the class teacher, Misses Lathim, did permit everyone to use their music systems if they first of all weren’t playing their music too loud and second as long as everyone was doing their (own) work and had the intent of turning in a real quality final product. As that period became under way, everyone in the class reached in their packs and binders to get their work from one day when they had just begun the process of writing the week long allotted composition, along with their writing instruments of choice, mp3 and/or CD players and the software to go into them. As Nikki reached into her pack for the rap mix that Trisha had burnt for her, she could barely make out, as Benji was sitting directly next to her in the next row to her left, his studio phones singing “in this place it seems like such a shame, though it all looks different now, I know it’s still the same everywhere I look you’re all I see, just a fading fucking reminder of who I used to be.” Taking a moment to think about it, Nikki then came to her senses and remembered a couple of Nine Inch Nails MP3s on her computer’s hard drive. Seconds later, as she could put a sound with a name, she came to realize it was “Something I Can Never Have” that the five and a half plus foot goth guy dressed in black Dickies and black Metallica “Master of Puppets” tee shirt outlined by chrome chain chokers was listening to.
Throughout the good portion of the quiet independent work time, Nikki spent the time thinking of not only how she was going to get money to get another dime bag, but also how she was going to finally break her feelings to Benji once and for all, for there was another guy around the school of whom she had her own eye on for a long time not only because he was popular, “so hot,” and had a steady supply of weed, but also because he was easy.
“Geez! Was that a pain in the ass or what, dude?” Benji inquired, attempting to strike up a conversation with his ultra-slender friend. “Ya know, I love to write, but when it comes to when I’m forced to write about something and am given a time limit, that’s when I tense up!”
“Yeah. I still don’t know all of the ideas that I want to put into mine, but Misses Lathim is a bitch and is gonna fail me if I don’t write at least something!”
“Well, you at least have a topic, don’t you?”
“Yeah. I got that, but Misses Lathim is such a bitch about having shit to back up your ideas, and that’s exactly where I am stuck on the paper!”
“Oh, well, I was meaning to ask if you were doing anything on Friday night.”
“Uh, I usually go to some club or rave with Trisha on Fridays and Saturdays, but I don’t have to. Why?”
“Well, there’s this new punk rock club that just opened up in Tacoma that’s all ages, and 800 Octane is playing on Friday, and I was wondering if you wanted to check it out with me.”
“Um, sure! That would be great! And I can drive, too, ‘cuz the cast won’t affect that.”
“Well, that’s good. Can you pick me up at eight thirty so we can grab a quick bite before hand? It starts at ten.”
“Okay. I seriously doubt that Trish is gonna mind.”
“Nah, she’s pretty cool!”
“Yeah. We’re like, inseperable.”
Now really happy that somebody he genuinely cared about had accepted an offer to head out on the town with him, Benji grinned from ear to ear as he turned up the volume on the song that was now playing, “Sin,” as he said goodbye to Nikki and headed off to use the bathroom before he had to be in second period.
“It comes down to this, your kiss, your fist, and your strain, it gets under my skin, within, take in the extent of my sin,” Benji sang along to as he strolled in just in time to his second period geometry class with Mister Perry. Knowing Mister Perry was very anal retentive about making sure that nobody was dozing off and not paying attention to the lesson he was presenting, Benji shut off his Sony and kept his headphones still around his neck for the entire duration of the lesson. Although paying good attention to the lesson and making sure to take good notes for future reference, let alone to be able to actually do the lesson, Benji was still hovering over his fact of luck in how Nikki actually accepted his offer to hang with him on Friday night and go to the 800 Octane show at The Burning Amp, an all ages punk club recently opened up in Tacoma where the anti drug and alcohol code of ethics was very strongly enforced.
The equivalent of two periods later, it was finally time for a lunch break. As it seemed as if Pretty Hate Machine was permanently lodged in at least a couple of his music systems, Benji hit play and started the album back at where it had left off; the eighth track, “That’s What I Get.” Leaving the five hundreds wing where his third hour biology class was held, he cranked up the volume nearly all the way and made it down the path to the cafeteria, located in the direct center of the campus.
“Just when everything was making sense, you took away all my self confidence, now all that I’ve been hearing must be true, I guess I’m not the only boy for you,” rang out the sultry gothic voice of Trent Reznor as Benji opened one of the bright orange cafeteria doors and walked in past the somewhat long row of blue Pepsi machines. Walking in, he noticed Nikki at one of the back tables with a significant chunk of Spanaway High’s Abercrombie demographic including Trisha and a few others decked out in very similar skin tight and midriff revealing (sexy) attire. Because he knew that he had talked to her for a good amount of time that day, and didn’t want to sound as if he was trying to become obsessed over her, Benji decided to just let her be with her friends and not try to interrupt Nikki’s limited time with them.
“I swear, I’m fucked, Trish!”
“Why, Nikki? Did the security guard search your car again and find your pipe in the glove compartment?”
“No. They did that once to me, and I think they’re laying off now, ‘cuz they think I’m improving.”
“Oh, well, that’s good.”
“Yeah, but it’s fuckin’ Benji again! He won’t fuckin’ leave me alone, and he asked me out!”
“Oh, where did he ask you to go with him to? The welfare office to pick up his food stamps?”
“No, though he still is a cheap ass. He asked me to go see 800 Octane with him on Friday night at this new punk club in Tacoma. The Burning Amp, or The Flaming Amp, or some shit.”
“Shit! Doesn’t he even know that we don’t even like that music? I mean, I have never heard of them, and they probably do suck.”
“Yeah. And we’re going to that rave in Seattle on Friday. Why the hell didn’t you tell him that?”
“I don’t know, Trish. He was being really nice, but then I couldn’t just tell him no then.”
“Nikki! You don’t belong with little fuckers like that that don’t even live with the rest of us in the city. That little fucker Benji is white trash, and you sure as hell deserve better than that! The guy’s so poor that he can’t even afford to drive himself to school. He’s no good for you!”
“Maybe you’re right, Trish, but Benji is really nice. And even if he doesn’t live in a big house like Joseph or drive in a Lexus like him, too, he’s cool.”
“Nikki, honey. I swear that you’re fucking delusional! You know you want joseph. He’s the one for you, and he’s nice, too. At least you don’t have to worry about having to pay for much when you’re out with him, either.”
“Yeah, I see your point, Trish, and you’re right. I don’t belong with Benji. He’s just being nice to hope that everyone forgets that he really doesn’t have a pot to piss in, and also of the fact that he never has and probably never will get laid. And even if he did, it wouldn’t be good even if I were drunk.”
“Good. Now, when we go to the rave on Friday, I invited Joseph along, and he’s going to take us both. Looks like that’s the time that you’ll wanna do what you gotta do!”
“Okay, cool! You’re the best, Trish!”
“Yeah. I kinda knew, ‘cuz I try.”
As Trish nearly finished up her conversation with her friend, Nikki was focusing on Trish with one eye and watching Benji, getting into his music, walking at a medium pace now out of the cafeteria. Now with nothing better to do, Benji opted to head off to his classes’ mixing area to sit down and wait for his fourth period to begin. With about five minutes before the first warning bell was to ring, Benji was nonchalantly approached by one of the most popular girls in the school, Lindsay. Decked out in her full Spanaway High cheerleader’s uniform, and toting her Gucci purse type backpack of the brightest shade of red, Lindsay was curious about certain matters and attempted to start up a conversation with Benji as if she really were his best friend.
“Hey, Benji. What’cha doin’?”
“Uh, not that much at all. Just ate lunch and am waiting here ‘till fourth hour starts.”
“Oh. Did you have a good lunch?”
“Well, it tasted like junk like usual, but there’s not much I can do.”
“Yeah. So, I saw you with Nikki the other day. You guys sure do talk about each other a whole lot.”
“Yeah, we do. We are pretty good friends and I think she’s pretty darn cool!”
“That’s cool. She’s told me that you’re pretty cool, as if you guys are like together and going out or something.”
“Well, I really don’t know why she would be giving you any of those kinds of signals, ‘cuz we’re just good friends.”
“Yeah, but you guys cam still do stuff together and everything else.”
“I just would never go very far with anything like it sounds like you’re trying to describe, because I’m not about to mess up a really good friendship!”
“Oh. Have you guys done it yet?”
“Of course not! What, do you think that I, like, sleep around or something?”
“No, but that’s what I do with my friends. Like, I went over to Joseph’s house on Saturday night, and it was a really fun time!”
“Well, that sounds like those kind of things are your bag, but they surely aren’t mine!”
“Have you hugged her?”
“Well, that is something that I am all for, because that and high fives and stuff are the kinds of things I give to and receive from all of my good friends.”
“That’s cool. Have you guys kissed?”
“What the hell is this, Lindsay? Friggin’ criminal investigation?”
“No. It’s just something that I ask everybody about when it comes to their relationships.”
“Oh, really? Well, I think you’re full of yourself, ‘cuz you hang with all of your cheerleader friends, and you never stick your nose in any of their business.”
“I ask them about their boyfriends, and they don’t mind!”
“Okay. Well, you may ask your friends questions like that, but frankly, I don’t give a crap! Then again, just for your information, Nikki is not my girlfriend, and I don’t appreciate you making those kinds of statements, let alone asking me for every little juicy detail, which I would still be uncomfortable with even if she was my girlfriend, because I don’t want to be made out as some guy whose life is worthy to be portrayed on the Playboy channel! Got it?”
“Yeah. Shit! You don’t have to be such an ass!”
“Oh. Well, if you think that I’m being an ass now, just keep going around and telling everyone about my personal business based on your own little accusations. Then again, I surely wouldn’t recommend that, because you surely don’t want to see me reach my epiphany of being an asshole!”
Still somewhat frothing at the mouth, Benji turned his music back on and walked away from the seemingly exclusive clique consisting strictly of jocks and cheerleaders that was quickly growing by the minute as the end of lunch break was nearing closer and closer.
“But this is the only time I really feel alive, this is the only time I really feel alive, I swear, I just found everything I need,” continued to the end Pretty Hate Machine’s second to last track, “The Only Time” as Benji then found his seat close to the back row in his American literature class that was now to begin a couple of minutes from then. When it finally did begin to go underway, Benji’s now current teacher, Misses Hamilton, mozied in to continue an entire class discussion on the book they were reading, To Kill A Mockingbird. In order to rack up the participation points that were somewhat of a challenge to obtain from Misses Hamilton in the first place, Benji made sure to contribute tenaciously, which some, as always, got certain classmates thinking he was just doing that to earn a lot of brownie points only to have insurance in getting an A grade.
“Well, you’ve got me working so hard lately, working my hands until they bleed, If I was twice the man I could be, I’d still be half of what you need,” played the first verse of “Ringfinger,” as Benji took advantage of the in-class time to begin that night’s reading assignment of a couple of the final chapters. As he read, Benji also reminisced on a time in junior high when he knew a jock that would always pick on him and get popularity and friendship from his “cronies” by regularly beating the crap out of Benji. To him, especially now, the first verse meant a lot, as he kept on thinking uplifting thoughts to himself such as “yeah, you may have twice the brute strength as me, but I’m twice a person as you, ‘cuz I have twice the intelligence as you will ever have.” Eventually, Benji came to realize that Pretty Hate Machine was biographical in that sense, but there was still another way that he was still yet to decipher.
The end of another rather routine day soon came to an end another two periods later, as Benji concluded the first half of his biology reading of which he would have to finish up when he did get home. On his also routine half hour bus ride downtown to Grammercy, Benji wrote some more, at least a couple of pages of The White Trash Story while he switched Pretty Hate Machine to one of his other favorite tracks, “Sanctified.” Just as he was putting his notebook away, the transit turned the corner, and inched closer and closer to the entrance of Grammercy. “Heaven’s just a rumor she’ll dispel as she walks me through the nicest parts of hell,” Benji lip-synched as he put the other strap of his backpack on and produced his set of keys from the left side pocket of his Dickies. The song’s chorus played as he fumbled with his key ring with chain that read “take your head out of your ass and think outside the box” for his key to open the front door of his trailer.
“Hey Benji, are you up?” sounded from the opposite side of Benji’s poster and especially sticker riddled door. Pulling off the covers a couple of minutes before his alarm was set to go off, Benji recognized the ever familiar voice of Dennis, and promptly responded. “Good. You’ll like today, because today is my day off, and you can take the truck to school.”
“Alright! Great! Thanks, dad!” Benji replied back enthusiastically, as he took the moment to tuck a few ends of his bed covers in and make it look immaculate while going through his typical morning routine. During this time, about half of his copy of Sisters of Mercy’s First and Last and Always played through before Benji grabbed his everlastingly loaded backpack and keys then headed outside to his chariot for the day. Still somewhat excited that he didn’t have to worry about catching public transportation, Benji opened up the passenger side door to stick his backpack down, while still making sure not to touch the shift stick just yet. With that, he then climbed in the driver’s side of the red Ford F250’s cockpit, strapped in, then turned the key in the ignition in order to fire up the rather noisy Power Stroke Diesel engine. While waiting for the engine to warm up, Benji took a moment to browse through all of the FM stations that would pick up on the dial, only to discover that everything being played really sucked. So, in order to prevent having to put up with crappy tunes for the entire duration of his drive, Benji pulled Pretty Hate Machine out of his portable Sony CD player then inserted it into the F250’s stereo system. Once started, he then switched over to track six only to commence spouting out such lyrics as “I can’t shake this feeling from my head. There’s a devil sleeping in my bed. He’s watching you from across the way. I cannot make this feeling go away.” Putting the large truck into gear as he continued to step down with his left foot onto the clutch, Benji also continued to sing every last lyric of “Kinda I Want To” as he was en route to and getting closer by the second to the Spanaway High campus.
Upon his destination finally being reached, Benji climbed out of the cab with the aide of the chrome step just below him, and made sure to lock everything once he had his backpack and was ready to head inside the main building. Once inside, Benji’s first intent was to just hang in the mixing area where his friends usually grouped before the first bell. Upon his arrival, he didn’t see any of them, though opted to sit down there anyway just in case they were to show up in the next few minutes.
“Hey, Benji,” called out a voice that sounded familiar, but made him curious, especially for the fact that it was a female voice. Looking up, Benji was caught off guard by discovering that the mysterious voice belonged to Nikki’s friend, Trisha, who was approaching Benji closer and closer amongst the large and eclectic crowd of their peers that were situated there at that given time as well.
“Yeah. Hi, Trisha. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Did you have a good night last night?”
“Yeah. And a really good day especially.”
“Why is that?” “Well, let’s see. I decided to sack up already
and finally see if Nikki wanted to do something sometime, and I
am so happy ‘cuz she accepted!”
“Really? Where did you ask her to go with you to?”
“Burning Amp in Tacoma. 800 Octane’s playing there on Friday
night, and now she’s gonna pick me up at my house and we’re
gonna see it together.”
“Uh, she didn’t tell you that her and I are going to a rave in
Seattle on Friday, and that we planned it a long time before
“Well, I heard about a rave from her, and the fact that you guys
usually do go out to those kinds of things on Friday nights, but
then she also said that she was going to go to the show in
Tacoma with me instead.”
“Okay. Well, surely, she forgot and accidentally double booked,
but her, me, and Joseph are driving out for sure to the rave in
Seattle on Friday.”
“Who is Joseph, if I may inquire.”
“Joseph is a guy that Nikki has a big crush on, and is pushing to
get into a relationship with. As in, he’s virtually Nikki’s
“She never told me about this dude!”
“Well, I’m shocked that she also hasn’t told you off!”
“What? How do you mean that?”
“Can’t you get the fuckin’ picture, Benji? There is absolutely
nothing going on between you and Nikki! She doesn’t like you
at all. In fact, to put it really bluntly, she’s made her
feelings out to me as she nearly hates you. She’s told me that
you’re suffocating, annoying, and she doesn’t want to go out
with your fucking broke ass!”
“That is nothing like what she told me, and I seriously think
that you’re full of yourself. And besides, April Fools day
isn’t for another few months.”
“It isn’t any joke. And she also told me to tell you to quit
calling, don’t touch her, and stay the fuck away from her!”
Benji now had two contradictory stories and personalities to tell of his situation with his assumed friend, Nikki. However, the truth finally kicked in, and he broke down to depression on the inside, though held it all back enough so he could avoid making a scene in public. In order to perhaps begin his personal healing process, Benji decided that he was going to confront his now antagonist, look her in the eye, and assertively, yet maturely, not only because everything she had said to him about her true affection was a fallacy but also because she had driven her friend Trisha to humiliate Benji in front of scores of their classmates that just happened to be in that general area at the time. Then again, still almost on the verge of tearing up on the exterior though holding back, when Benji arrived at his classroom for English class, Nikki was nowhere to be found. In fact, what especially got Benji was that she was absent for the entire period, then the entire day; a feat that was rather akward, even for the likes of somebody such as her.
All six periods of Benji’s school day and especially his lunch break sped by like a locomotive on the fast track. When that final bell did ring, Benji headed out to the parking lot, though almost forgot that he didn’t need to worry about the transit that day, and got himself situated once again inside the F250’s ever comfortable cab. It was then, as well, that when the key turned on the ignition and Pretty Hate Machine continued its play, that Benji was struck with a huge spurt of insight to solve one of his long unsolved personal mysteries.
“Hey, God. Why are you doing this to me? Am I not living up to what I’m supposed to be? Why am I seething with this animosity? Hey God, I think you owe me a great big apology. Terrible lie,” played out, while Benji still mourned over the fact that he had now been betrayed greatly by someone that he had shown genuine affection for. “Oh, man!” he then thought out loud, slightly turning down the music’s volume. “This is the song I was thinking of all along!” He then wanted to see how many more of the ever emotional lyrics he could relate to, so Benji continued listening until he made the turn off into Grammercy Trailer Park and then prepared to turn into the driveway.
Finally turning the corner to get to his house, Benji parked next to a vehicle he had never seen before; a nineties model Pontiac Sunbird four door. Looking inside the dark blue sedan without a single solitary scratch on it, Benji noticed that the interior was extremely clean, it had an automatic transmission, and there was a CD player installed beforehand.
“Dad, who’s here visiting?” Benji inquired, expecting at that time a special guest somewhere in the house.
“No one, of course. Why would I have anyone over without giving you fair warning first?” Dennis replied back, as he walked out from the absolute back of the hallway.
“Then what’s that blue Pontiac doing there? I mean, whose is that?”
“Uh, that would just happen to be yours!”
“How? You can’t afford to get a really nice car like that!”
“Uh, I can’t, but just consider it a gift from your mom! See, when she died, I got a whole lot of her inheritance money, but then put it in a savings account so I would have the funds not only for your college education, but also for something big that just might come in great handy. And obviously, I did this, because I consider your own car something that will come in great handy!”
“Oh, killer! Thank you so much, dad!”
“Ah, not a problem!”
With that, along with a big hug for Dennis, Benji lugged his load from the day down the hall to his small but comfortable bedroom to do his chapter of reading for a couple of his classes and to take some time to do some more writing. Right in the midst of it all, Benji logged on to talk to a couple of friends. In that conversation, he learned that the real reason that Nikki had been absent that day was because she was caught with a fair amount of marijuana and paraphernalia for the umpteenth time, and had been put in juvenile detention. It was then at that moment that Benji had thought up the perfect revenge.
“KISW Tacoma and Seattle. Welcome back, and thanks for listening, peoples, to the Western Washington region’s best home for all alternative and hardcore music. It is now five past the morning, and that means it’s time for the daily request hour. Our first request comes from a Benji from Spanaway, making a somewhat long distance dedication to Nikki in the Western Washington Juvenile Department of Corrections. Benji wants to let you know, Nikki, that he really liked you more than you said that you had affection for him. But now he’s seething in the animosity of your terrible lie. So going out to you, Nikki, from Benji, here’s Nine Inch Nails with “Terrible Lie.”