Thursday, January 21, 2021

Fiction: "An Agent of Chaos" by Jeremy Void

"An Agent of Chaos"
Fiction by Jeremy Void

I was 18 and I was dating Samantha; this was very early on in our ten-year stint together. I went down to Beverly, MA, which was where she’d grown up, even though currently she lived in a dorm room for college in Boston.
We chilled all day long, met up with her two best friends, Brett and Loren, who seemed joined at the hip, what with the fact that they were practically insepara¬ble—they were a package deal, in a way—and both of whom were my friends, as well, since they frequented the Punk rocks shows in Boston that Saman¬tha and I went to. We got someone to buy us booze and we went down to the Dane Street Beach, where we met up with some of her friends from what they re¬ferred to as the Dane Street Crew—a group of teenage delinquents, drug addicts, drunks, and peddlers that frequented the Dane Street Beach…. Now, this was a fairly big deal cuz this was Samantha’s first night in Bev¬erly since moving into her dorm last fall, and the whole crew assembled rather quickly following our sur¬prise ap¬pearance, and before long we were shrouded by teenagers of the metalhead/stoner/skater variety except for me, Samantha, Loren, and Brett, of course, the four of us bringing forth a Punk rock edge to the scene tonight. I didn’t know anybody other than Sa¬mantha and her two best friends, Loren and Brett; and it started to get rowdy very fast. We were drinking; I didn’t know anybody’s name. We were smoking weed; I stuck by Samantha’s side as she introduced me to all of her peeps, name after name after name completely forgotten in a drunken, delirious haze….
Soon enough, BJ himself showed up on the scene, a big dude who I found out was 22, which rendered him clearly older than the rest; and I hopped inside Sa¬mantha’s car as she drove it behind a bunch of oth¬ers, with Brett and Loren at our rear, a line of four or five or six cars staggering up and down side streets, completely out of sync with one another—side to side, left to right, back and forth. We purred softly in a drunken, belligerent state…. The whole crew was out tonight, and to them I was just a face¬less nobody who dated the queen of the evening.
I lowered the raging volume that projected Punk rock through small, tinny speakers and asked, or more like slurred, “Where are we going?”
“You’ll see,” Samantha said, with a devious grin that made me love her all the more.
I watched the cars in front of us slide left and right as we followed them down more side streets, then we cut a sudden right and the road got bumpy all of a sudden for another five minutes, before the cars in front of us scattered like marbles all being re¬leased at once and Samantha pulled the car to a stop. She shut off the en¬gine, and I could barely see any-thing around us, what with the abrupt lack of headlights that previously showed me wilderness, miles af¬ter miles of it. But now we were cast into com¬plete black¬ness, until the first round light flick¬ered and flashed and connected with the dirt and gravel like a miniature spotlight, and within minutes we had six or seven flashlights leading us up a dirt road that was blocked off to the flow of traffic by a horizontal pole. I stood beside Sa¬mantha; neither of us had a flashlight on hand- - -we just let the inertia pull us up through the dark woods that curved and rose higher as we delved deeper and deeper into the woods. Brett and Loren followed suit, maybe five or six strides be¬hind us. The walk took about ten to fifteen minutes, during which not too much chatter was exchanged be¬tween us—we were all just relentless on getting to the top, or to wherever it was that we were heading.
Up ahead I saw a flickering glimmer of light. As we got nearer to the source, it grew in volume and in brightness and slowly the flashlights started to cut out.
The fire had already been started by a few who had come up here earlier, and there were a few thirty racks of PBR sitting there for the taking, all ready for our arrival at this dilapidated shack set here in the middle of the woods, with a makeshift firepit in the middle. I guess BJ was re¬sponsible for bringing the beer, I was told later on, as that was his job when the Dane Street Crew got together, since he was the oldest, the only one, in fact, even old enough to buy. BJ made me shortly after our arrival; he approached me and Samantha and told me his name and held out his hand to shake.
I said, “St. Chaos.”
I took his hand in my own, and he just held it there for a moment.
“St. Chaos?” he responded back to me, with a playful smirk.
“Well, it’s Jeremy, actually,” I added. “St. Chaos is just what they call me in the city.”
Then BJ shook my hand, even though my own was dead in his grip—I was just too drunk to give a shit about a proper, firm handshake by this point.
He was very eager to show me all of his scars from his days as a back¬yard wrestler. “Got this one from barbed wire,” he said, directing me to the jagged line running down his shoulder blade. “This one from when I got a wooden chair smashed across my back,” he said, lifting his shirt a few inches to show me the haphazard assortment of cuts and welts running across his lower back. He was big and fat folded over his belt line, but not in a way that suggested he was out of shape, though, for the fat seemed fairly locked in place by the muscles that ran beneath.
I just nodded and said, “Cool,” even though it didn’t really faze me that much. I figured this must be just a rite of passage to hang out with their crew, so that before I could join in it must be known to me that BJ was a badass who should not be reckoned with….
So I just nodded and feigned an interest. When he got done proving him¬self to me, he shouted: “Hey, Sa-mantha!” Samantha snapped to attention at the sound of his voice. He directed to the woods with his head, and said, “Come help me gather firewood.”
“Sure thing,” she said, and off they went, vanishing into the dark¬ness. I grabbed myself a beer and sat beside this wiry kid in a gray T-shirt. Eventually a bowl was being passed around and I took a hit. Then passed it on to the next person who wanted it. The wiry kid said to me, looking straight ahead, not even making an attempt to face me while he spoke—he said: “You know, BJ’s gonna fuck your girl¬friend.”
I smirked. Didn’t know how I should react.
“I’m not kidding,” the kid said, deadpan serious, still staring off in the distance. “He fucks all of our girlfriends.”
I said to him: “I’m not worried about it,” even though I was, very much so. Never even occurred to me until after he had said it, but once he did, the thought wouldn’t leave me alone.
“I’m not trying to scare you or anything; it’s just a fact.”
“Whatever, dude,” I said, trying to play it cool as he got up and van¬ished into the teeming masses sur¬round¬ing the fire.
I took a swig of the PBR in my hand, hoping to relin¬quish this growing anxiety creeping into my head. Nah, Samantha’s not gonna fuck him, she’s not that kind of a chick.
But then again, how much do I really know about her, anyway?
She and BJ returned with a heaping pile of firewood and Saman¬tha had a great big drunken smile plastered to her face: these were her people and she was having a blast—it was good to see her so happy; I’m glad she felt so free and uninhibited.
So free and uninhibited….
So Free and Uninhibited….
This wasn’t gonna end well, I knew. I smoked more, drank more, trying to escape the lingering fear that just wouldn’t go away. I saw the wiry kid in the gray T-shirt get into an argument with BJ. Without wasting any time BJ slugged him across the face. He stumbled back and nearly fell. Regained his compo¬sure and, with his head bowed, walked away. Guy ap¬proached me from behind and said, “BJ’s such a prick. We only let him chill with us because he’s old enough to buy us booze. I just wish some¬body would stand up to him for once.” I looked away from where BJ had punched the kid and made eye contact with the guy be¬side me, who had long, flowing black hair. He said, “Don’t look at me, dude.” Then turned around and helped himself to another beer.
When the fire started to die down again, he and Sa¬man¬tha went back out into the woods to fetch some more firewood.
They were gone much longer this time and those relent¬less worries started to overtake me again. I searched the crowd for my two other comrades, that is Loren and Brett, but when I didn’t see them amid the sea of faces I wondered where they had gone to. Must have ducked out early, I mused; probably to go fuck each other senseless.
Samantha and BJ emerged from their gathering of firewood and I grabbed Samantha and laid on her a drunken kiss that persisted for a few moments longer, and then when our lips came apart I asked her the trou¬ble¬some question that had been spinning spi¬derwebs of doubt all throughout my mind whenever she had gone into the woods with BJ: “What’s your relationship with BJ?”
“We’re just friends,” she told me.
“Yeah, really,” she assured me.
“He’s never tried to fuck you before?”
“Only once, years ago,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me drive home, said I was too drunk, and tried to lead me to his own bed to sleep it off—or so he said—but I took off anyway.” I flashed her a fear-soaked grin, which I could tell she picked up on right away, be¬cause she added quickly: “Re¬ally, you’ve got noth¬ing to worry about.” Then she leaned in and laid a hard kiss on me, even harder than the one I had laid on her.
She went off on only one more firewood gathering mission before the party started to die down and we decided to leave. On the walk back down the dirt road her mood seemed to have changed drasti¬cally and I picked up on it right away.
“You all right?”
“Yeah I’m fine!”
“You sure?”
“YESSSS!” she snapped at me, and that definitely did not satisfy my na¬ture which was to wanna help and talk to my friends who were strug¬gling.
We arrived at her car and got in. Once inside it all spilled out of her.
“Why, what happened??” I said, hoping maybe I could cheer her up by talking to her about it and then maybe she’d feel a little bit better.
“He forced himself on me!”
“Wait.. what??”
“Yeah, he kept trying to kiss me and I kept saying No and then the last run for firewood he grabbed me and fuckin forced himself on me!”
“WHAT THE FUCK????” I shouted.
I ran down my options in my head—the guy had said somebody needed to stand up to him———but no, I was too small, too weak, and I lacked the necessary fighting skills. I needed a weapon, is all. I just couldn’t let him get away with this.
Then it hit me that a few weeks earlier Samantha had gotten some¬thing lodged in between the seats of her car and she needed to use a steak knife to retrieve the item, and the steak knife was still in the car, just shoved between the two front seats. I reached my hand between the seats, and just as I thought, it was still there. I retrieved it and hurried back into the woods.
From behind me I heard: “JEREMY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DO¬ING????”
Now, a little farther away and quieter: “JEREMY, YOU’RE GONNA GET YOURSELF KILLED!!!”
Now, even farther: “JEREMY, I’M NOT GONNA ATTEND YOUR FUN——!”
The voice cut out and I caught sight of the ebbing flame. It was getting closer, and then I arrived back on the scene, and there were only a few kids left, BJ himself included.
BJ spat: “Kid, what the fuck are you doing back out here??”
“What the fuuuck is your problem, dude?” The knife was hidden up my sleeve.
“Kid, you better get the fuck out of here before I kick your fuckin ass.” He chuckled, then turned to the few kids left out here. “Can someone walk this fuckin kid outta here before I kick his fuckin ass.”
“BJ!” I spat at him. “You’re a fuckin prick!”
He said, “WHAT!!!”
His whole body whirled and out came his fist clenched and ca¬reening straight for my face. I stepped back, let the fist pass me by; it brushed past me mere inches from my face and out came the knife and I lunged at him and jammed the knife in his neck, just above his collar bone. He fell back flailing and I mounted him and continued to swing and stab and slash and punch. Then I no¬ticed I was holding only the handle of the knife in my hand and the blade was no¬where to be found. I dismounted him and tossed the handle into the woods.
Made a B-line back down the dirt road.
From behind me I heard a gentle voice call out from the dark¬ness: “Hey, kid, wait up.” The voice was soft but still I thought it might be BJ’s. I whipped around, ready for more, when I saw a short, somewhat chubby kid hurrying out of the darkness. When he reached me, short of breath, he said, “Holy shit, dude! That was badass! I’ve never seen anyone stand up to BJ like that. That was fuckin crazy!”
I shrugged and my anxiety and my rage started to settle down.
“Hey, you!” I heard then.
My head swung around and a fist crashed into my face. I stumbled backwards and then another fist came and I dropped to my back.
BJ said: “I better never fuckin see you out here again!!!”
He walked away and disappeared into the darkness. I had no fight left in me at that point. The chubby kid helped me up and walked me back to Samantha’s car.
He said one last time: “Dude, that was fuckin crazy!”
I got into Samantha’s car and she was absolutely frantic. “I thought he fuckin killed you!” she shouted, more out of concern than anything else. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“I’m fine!” I told her, wiping away the thin line of blood dripping out of my nose.
She said: “I didn’t know what to fuckin do! I even called your mom!”
Shit! I thought.
We started out of there and she gave me a ride back to my hometown, Newton, MA.
About a quarter of the way there she received a phone call.
“Hello?” she said into the receiver.
Silence. She was listening.
Then she turned to me and said: “Did you stab BJ in the neck?”
I blushed and said nothing.
“He’s being rushed to the hospital. He lost a lot of blood. What the hell were you thinking??”
I said nothing and the tenseness festered for the rest of the ride.
I found out later that BJ had lived. The knife had gotten lodged in his neck to stop the bleeding some.
Although that didn’t last for very long though, as a few years later he was stabbed to death for forcing himself on the wrong dude’s girlfriend. The kid who had done the stabbing is still in jail, last I checked. To think, that could have been me….


For years after the event, kids would come up to Sa¬mantha at the mall—kids she didn’t even know herself—and say: “Hey, aren’t you the girl who dated that crazy guy from that one night? Your boy¬friend’s hero.” Although I never really felt like a hero—just an agent of chaos, is all.

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