"Series": The Friend, 1/2
Prompt: #001, Beginnings
Word Count: ~1700
Rating: PG, for coarse language (gasp!)
Summary: In which Kit takes driver's ed, which takes a turn for the worse.
“That's it, I'm cursed, I refuse to ever drive anything ever again in my life. Sign me up for a bus pass right now.”
The instructor, being a veteran of the public school system and also a veteran of teaching driver's ed, didn't bother to respond, just began banging his head on the dashboard in a slow, rhythmic motion that had Otto Kowalski rather concerned about the man's current mental state. For that matter, Otto was also worried about his classmate's mental health. He leaned forward from where he was sitting in the middle of the backseat, ignoring the other two occupants of said seat who took the opportunity to start smacking each other again now that he wasn't directly between them. The part of him that was aware of them explained away their odd behavior by the idea that it was, after all, a Saturday night, when most teenagers went out and did – well, he wasn't sure what they did, but he was quite certain that it was something they would be upset about missing out on.
“Um, why?” he asked the boy in the driver's seat, sure there was some logical reasoning behind the statement. Not that those who believed in such superstitions as curses were often very rational, but in every other way his classmate seemed logical. “Your driving is not hazardous in any way, it's quite standard.”
“Because! Did you see that light?” the boy demanded, wildly gesturing in the vague direction of a street light they'd recently passed. Otto nodded, because he had seen it. “It went out! And it was the sixth one that went out just tonight while I was driving! Not a single one went out when any of you were driving, and a bunch went out when I was practicing driving with my foster dad, and with my other foster dad, and it's like how this one time when I went into my room I touched the light switch and the light bulb started glowing, and I saw this thing on TV the other night where it said you can drill a hole in a light bulb and fill it with gasoline and then put it back in, and then when they turn the lights on it'll blow up, and-” At this point, he realized he was rambling on, and shut his mouth with an audible snap – something that Otto had never realized could actually happen.
Otto stared at the boy for a long moment, before finally speaking. “I feel like I just had a frontal lobotomy performed with a graduated cylinder.”
It was a good thing that the boy had pulled over when he started his screeching about being cursed, because he whipped around to stare at Otto – and wound up smacking heads with him, since Otto was leaning forward in order to better facilitate the conversation.
“Ouch!” Otto yelped, disliking that he sounded like a kicked puppy but not really knowing how to change it. It was not as large a concern at the moment as it usually was, however, because he was preoccupied with the other boy's chosen exclamation of pain.
For the boy had, at the same time Otto yelped, cried out, “Sweet fancy Jesus!”, which was not a commonly used statement of blasphemy, to his knowledge.
Something in their shouts, however, roused the nearly comatose teacher from his state of drooling on the window (he had gotten quite tired with bashing his brains on the dashboard and had evolved into the next level of applying for special education treatment). His left eye was twitching in a rather disturbing manner, and his nostrils were flaring like those of the cartoon bull they'd watched yesterday during Spanish class.
“I QUIT!” he suddenly screamed into the silence of the car, before undoing his seatbelt, opening the car door, and running into the middle of the street, paying no heed to the cars that were trying to rightfully use it.
The girl to Otto's left sighed, and pulled out a cigarette. “He always does this,” she complained in a raspy voice, blowing the smoke to the far right with a particularly evil little smirk. And sure enough, the right side door slammed open and the girl who had been on that side of Otto stalked out and disappeared into the night.
“What do you mean, he always does this?” demanded the driver.
“Look, kid. There's a reason I'm still taking driver's ed at eighteen fucking years old,” she said. “And it ain't 'cause it's fun.” With that, she left the car as well, pulling out a cell phone as she started walking off. Which was a shame, because Otto hadn't yet had the opportunity to correct the girl's grammar usage.
The two boys left in the car sat there in silence for what seemed like an eternity to one of them, and seemed like exactly two minutes and thirty-three seconds to the other. Then they both came to the conclusion that neither of them could drive the car – if they could, they wouldn't be taking driver's ed, would they? – and that the teacher was definitely not coming back.
“We should probably exit the vehicle and try to find a pay phone,” Otto suggested after it became clear that the other boy didn't have a cell phone either, and that neither of the girls was likely, based on their previously exhibited behavior, to help them out in any way.
“Yeah, I was thinking that. Although-” he leaned forward and squinted at the nearest road sign, and then paled a bit. Or Otto though, at least, that he paled. Truthfully it was rather hard to tell, as it was dark out and the street light that had been lit up above them had gone out a few seconds ago – he tactfully did not point this out to the other boy. Who he really ought to get the name of at some point.
“My name is Otto.” Well, it's not like there was a logical reason to wait.
“I'm Kit,” the boy said after a short pause where he was probably scrambling to catch up with the rapid shift in conversation. Or wondering why he'd been trapped in the middle of some suburb with a complete weirdo, as Otto's older brother often complained whenever they were stuck together.
“Let us go and find a pay phone, then,” Otto said, somehow managing to get out of the backseat without falling completely on his face, although it was a near thing. Kit sort of jumped out of the driver's seat, belatedly remembering the keys, to try and catch him. Otto waved him off and got to his feet as Kit made sure the car was locked up – what, exactly, was going to be done to it in a nice suburb like this, Otto did not know, but chose not to ask Kit as the other boy's face had become tense and little nauseous looking.
“C'mon, the closest pay phone's at Delgado's Deli,” he muttered, pocketing the keys and hunching his shoulders as he walked down the street.
Otto trailed after him. “You know the area?” he asked politely.
“I used to live here.”
Ah, that would explain the familiarity with the surroundings he was showing. Otto nodded to himself, satisfied, and followed Kit in a way that it would not be inaccurate to refer to as puppy-dog-like, if one was given to such descriptions.
The phone was actually within sight when Otto felt a sinking in his stomach that he normally didn't pay much attention to, except that now his logical observations were giving him good reasons to: first, while the phone was in sight, not a single living soul was, at least not outside; second, a club on the street was blasting music loud enough to block noise (such as screams) to all but those within a few feet of the source; and third, a shadow was looming out of the alley way directly in front of them.
Truthfully, Otto might not have noticed any of this if Kit hadn't stopped dead in his tracks, causing a dreamy-eyed Otto to run into him. He gave a curious glance to the other boy, whose eyes had gone wide and scared, and in all looked rather like a sixth grader who'd accidentally dented the high school basketball captain's new ride (not that Otto had much personal experience in that area; one occurrence could not be classified as anything conclusive).
“Well, if it isn't the Kitty-cat,” the shadow said, and Otto adjusted his glasses and squinted through the darkness punctuated by the few street lights Kit hadn't yet cursed to go out, to form a man out of the shadow. A tall man, near if not fully six feet tall, a decent build but not overly muscular, in his late forties with a buzz-cut and sharp blue eyes. Yes, he decided, definite feeling of unease here. “You have any idea how much trouble you caused me?” he demanded suddenly, seemingly not noticing Otto. Kit seemed frozen in place, and this just enraged the man. “Answer me, brat!” Kit managed a quick, nervous shake of the head. “A whole hell of a lot, that's how much,” snarled the man, and then he raised a heavily callused fist.
When he looked on it later, Otto could quite clearly tell his actions had been highly irrational. The route that should have been taken was that of running to one of the stores that was open and getting an adult to handle the situation. But in the middle of the situation, Otto hadn't been thinking rationally – a truly unique situation for him.
But the fact remained, Otto didn't act according to principles of rational behavior and thought. Instead, he shoved Kit aside and delivered a right hook to the man with the sharp eyes that Otto had finally placed – they were the eyes in every schoolyard bully that had ever beat him up.
And as the guy went down with just that one punch, Otto amended the though. Like all the schoolyard bullies that had beat him up before he started boxing competitively.