Matt and Ryker from The Swedish Effect by Elektrisk

During adolescence, life swears its hatred for you.
Consequently, you are sent on many emotional roller coasters.
Is there anything you can do about it?


Chapter 3


To be honest, Sunday went by a lot quicker than I would’ve liked. My anxiety was slightly alleviated by getting to spend the night at Matt’s, surprisingly, but it was still there. Have you ever been in a spelling bee? Or perhaps you were expecting someone to start a fight with you the next day. That’s how I was feeling, because we honestly didn’t have a way of knowing if the whole school knew we were gay yet or not.

I knew that the reason Matt wasn’t as angsty as I was because he felt like he had to stay calm in front of me. Why? I mean, he knows that I know he’s human, right? Whatever. I kind of wanted the day to come already, but not really. Nevertheless, at about midnight, we finally fell asleep.

~~~<<>>~~~

Despite only getting six hours of sleep, we didn’t feel tired at all the next morning. “Do you feel as apprehensive as you look?” he asked me.

“You have no idea.”

“I might.”

“Feel like getting to school early?”

“Hold on speedy. It’s only six AM.”

“I know kids who get there at five.”

“Well, you see, we have brains,” I said.

“Okay. What’re you doing?”

“Going to check my MySpace, duh.”

“Who the hell uses MySpace?” Matt smirked.

“Cool people.”

“I don’t think so; everyone has one.”

“Well, not everyone is a pessimist.”

“Okay. You win.”

“I always do.” That got him a punch in the shoulder.

“Ow, you’re already starting on me!”

“I’m preparing you for today.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.” he said bitterly. “What the hell is this guy’s problem?”

“Who?”

“I don’t really know him.”

“Wow, he looks depressing; ‘life is pointless’?”

“I guess if I looked like that, I’d think the same thing.”

“Haha, you’re such a dick.” Just then my phone buzzed. “Hey, look; Lily just texted me.”

“Yeah? What’s she got to say?”

“It says, ‘Omigod, d’y’all see Lee’s status? What the hell is up with that?’”

“Is that his name?”

“Oh my god, wait! I recognize him! He’s in the same Art class as Alister and me!”

“Oh well, it’s not like he matters. Come on, let’s get to school.”

My mom courteously gave us a ride to school, but I wish we would’ve walked instead. Right as we got out, stares met us. I felt my throat sink to my stomach, and it wasn’t a nice feeling. In the distance, I could see Alister and some jock sophomores whom I had never seen in my life scoffing at us. What was his deal?

Rachel, Anna, her friend Ariel, and Lily approached us. “Hey… it’s like we’re at a graveyard or something…,” Lily said quietly. It was, too. Everyone had kind of stopped the chatter to stare at us. What the hell did they take us for, exhibitions? It was really annoying.

“Can we HELP you guys with anything?” Rachel said in annoyed tone to no one in particular. They all kind of just shrugged and turned around.

“I feel like we don’t belong here.” I said randomly. Why was it still so quiet?

“You don’t!” said one of the sophomores that were hanging out with Alister. Matt looked up. “Yeah, y’all! Get the hell out of here!” the sophomore yelled again.

To everyone’s surprise, Anna started towards them. I was also surprised that Matt didn’t stop her.

“You foul bigot! How dare you say that!” she screamed angrily as she approached the guy. He was a lot taller than any of us, but that didn’t stop her from doing what she did next. SMACK. Yes, she’d just slapped him across the face.

“What the FUCK?” he sounded angry and confused at the same time. “You stupid BITCH!”

“Hey! Watch your fucking mouth!” Matt yelled. Irony at its best.

“Or what? You jackass.”

“Oh now I’m the jackass? Burn in hell.” he growled, approaching the guy at alarming speed.

“Dude chill.” The sophomore backed up, fast.

“Matt, what do you think you’re doing?” Alister sounded bored.

“You. Don’t talk to me.” I tried not to laugh. One would’ve thought they were discussing the weather by the tones in which they were speaking.

“No, really.” He stepped in front of Matt.

“Do you mind moving?” Matt said.

“Yes.”

“That sucks.” Matt grabbed him and kneed him in the ribs so fast that it was a blur. People in the on looking crowd gasped in shock.

“Matt!” Anna gasped.

Let me tell you a little bit about the situation, if you didn’t already know. The human ribcage is comprised of bones; not muscles. Therefore, even though Alister’s body was nothing to scoff at, his ribcage was just as strong as mine. The knee, however, DOES have exercisable muscles in it, so you can imagine the loud THUMP we heard as Alister hit the ground, clutching the right side of his ribcage.

“You rude little bastard,” Matt said, rather calmly as he approached the sophomore. Just then, he started to run; I don’t blame him, either. However, I wish I could have given him my notes: ‘don’t try to outrun Matt.

“Don’t run away from me!” Matt yelled, angrier than before. Needless to say, he caught up with the sophomore quickly.

Meanwhile, Alyson approached Alister. “Are you okay??” she asked worriedly.

“My rib… it’s broken!” he cried out, lifting up his shirt. This may be totally inappropriate, but he had some hot abs. In any case, it was not pretty. The area around where Matt had kicked him was so red it wasn’t even funny.

“Matt!” Anna yelled for him to stop. Funny thing, that, because he had the guy in a triangle hold. The sophomore was tapping Matt’s calves in hopes that Matt would let him up, but to no avail.

“Matt, you’ll kill him!” Rachel yelled.

“Dude, get off of him!” another sophomore yelled, although apparently too taken aback by the whole situation to approach him. I realized that I had to do something, so I reluctantly ran towards him.

“Matt let him go,” I said quietly.

“No, he’s going to….”

“Matt, let him go please,” I repeated. To my relief, he looked at me and complied. He released the guy who fell on his back, gasping in hopes to restore oxygen to his brain.

“You fool! I hope you’re fucking happy, jackass!” Alyson screamed as we came back to where they were.

“It’s funny that you should say that.” Matt said darkly. “I’m sorry.” he added to Alister.

“Do not talk to me, you… you filthy bug.” Alister retorted. Wow, he was cool. Seriously, ‘bug’?

“Mr. and Miss Hästö! Come with me, immediately!” The principal, who had apparently been summoned, yelled at Matt and Anna. To nobody’s surprise, he mispronounced their last name. “You too Mr. Vlahos! You’ll need to see a doctor!”

I felt gloomy was they walked away; it just wasn’t fair. Okay, so Anna had slapped some guy, and Matt beat the guy up; did the school not see that they were provoked? Or were we to face homophobic authority as well?

“Alyson, what the hell is your problem?” Rachel said once the principal was out of earshot.

“And what the hell is yours?” Alyson said.

“Well, I don’t know if you’re blind, or just stupid, but I’ll explain anyway. Your fucking friend just got Anna and Matt in trouble!”

“Tristan did nothing wrong.”

“Oh, is that what he’s going to tell the court when we sue his ass for discrimination?”

“What are you, a dyke?”

I felt myself getting angry. “Alyson, are you three years old, or just immature?” I asked, not expecting an anwer.

“There’s nothing immature about it!” she said rather loudly. “Rachel, Lily; you’re ruining our friendship because those two guys went fruity on us.”

“Yeah? Well we’re glad that your true colors are starting to show. If you think that Matt and Ryker should have to hide who they are, then you’re twisted.”

“They can be whatever the hell they want; I’m just not going to be a part of it!”

“Alyson, the only reason you’re so pissed is because you love Matt!”

“No I don’t!” her voice wavered mid-sentence.

“Fine, you know what? You and Alister can go wallow around in self-pity! When you guys realize you’re being dickheads, THEN come back to us!” the girls yelled, turning on their heels and walking away. I soon followed, leaving Alyson and the speechless sophomores behind.

Before either of the girls had a chance to rant, the unnecessarily loud first hour bell rang through the area. I felt really uncomfortable walking the halls without Matt, like I was really vulnerable or something. It sounds silly, but I also felt kind of paranoid. Every time someone said ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’, I’d look around, thinking they were talking about me. I’ve said it before, but my life is never smooth sailing, and that was proven by someone butterflying my lock. I’d never know who had done it, so I saw no point in investigating.

First hour was not so bad, because I had Lily in that class, and she helped me in shooting menacing looks towards the people with staring problems. However, second hour was a different story. Half way through the period, I got called to the principal’s office. Naturally, this isn’t a good thing. However, in this case, it did have a plus side; I got to escape the torment from other students. That thought soon left my mind when I reached his office.

Anna, Alister, Alyson, Lily, Rachel, and the sophomore were all in the main office in the waiting chairs. The principal led me into his own office and told me to sit.

“Now, I’m sure you’re aware of why you are here.” he said. Honestly, I didn’t, so I just stared at him. If he was going to try to make me feel scared, then I was going to make this very difficult — that’s teenage logic for you.

“You are here because you are a witness of the cruel acts of violence that took place this morning,” he said. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Are you aware of the meaning of ‘cruel’?” I asked, somewhat smartly.

“Please cooperate. So, tell me what happened.”

“Well, that sophomore —” I emphasized the word ‘sophomore’ with disgust, “— Tristan told us we were not welcome on school grounds. So, Anna Hästö walked up to him and slapped him, who in return, he called her a bitch.” He looked somewhat surprised at my non-censorship, but whatever. You hear worse in the hallways.

“And then?”

“Then, Matt Hästö, Anna’s brother, naturally became angry at the way that his sister was being treated, so he —”

“Assaulted Mr. Vlahos,”

“— walked up to Alister Vlahos, who stood in his path to Tristan, and after he wouldn’t move, Matt kneed him in the ribs —”

“Thus breaking one,”

“Excuse me, sir, but are you telling the story or am I?” Wow, that sounded a lot ruder than I meant for it to, but seriously, who did he think he was fooling?

“That’s enough. Stay here.” he said, getting up from his desk. I formed a very mean face and began to stare him down; he ignored me.

“Mr. and Miss Hästö, Miss Bargar, and Miss Davison; come into my office.” So, there came Matt, Anna, Rachel, and Lily, one by one, with the principal following close behind.

Shutting the door at last, he spoke, “First off, Mr. Hästö, you are off the soccer team. The coach has agreed that it’s best —”

“What!?” Matt exclaimed in shock.

“— and you will have a month of before-school detention.” Matt got up and headed for the door, but I grabbed his arm.

“You’ll just get in more trouble,” I whispered. Complying with my unspoken wishes, he sat down.

“Now, all five of you will be suspended for two days —”

“That’s outrageous!” Rachel stood up, taking no mind to keep her voice down. “I will not comply with a biased school’s wishes!”

“Miss Bargar, you can kick and scream all you want —”

“If you think this is a joke, then you’re dead wrong. I’ll see you in court.” She was being serious.

“Miss Bargar, if you walk out of this room then you will not step foot in this school for the rest of the year —”

“Mr. Stevens,” she spat out ‘Mr.’ as I had ‘sir’, “If you don’t revoke our punishments, then you will not see a penny of any of your future paychecks. If you don’t revoke our punishments, you’ll also find your school’s name on the headlines of every newspaper in the state!”

“You know,” he started, standing up. “For such a powerless student, your words are quite big. But you WILL SIT DOWN AND LISTEN,” he yelled, then grabbed her arm.

SNAP! “Oh this is so sweet,” Anna said, almost lustfully as she held her Blackberry up at the scene. “Wait until the judge sees this picture.” she grinned gleefully.

“Get OFF of me!” Rachel yelled, yanking back her arm. “I’m leaving. This school is run by psychos,” she said.

But the principal had a much larger problem on his hands than Rachel’s bitter complaints. Anna’s picture was all we needed to get this guy thrown in jail. “We can compromise,” he said hastily.

“No, we can’t,” Rachel said. We all then stood and opened the door, walking into the main office where Alister and Alyson still sat.

“You five! If you walk out now, then you’ll be in so much trouble!” he yelled fruitlessly. I didn’t think he believed that his words held much authority any longer.

“So sue us, you creep!” Lily yelled for the first time. I thought that the situation was rather comical. So sure, Matt had broken Alister’s rib, but what can one do when people won’t even listen to you? I’d love to see the faces on the school’s staff if we explained that we were gay and the attacks were homophobic. Oh man….

“How mature of y’all,” Alyson said as we walked past.

“How ironic that you would say that!” Lily cackled like an insane woman. Wow, I think the state of euphoria was getting to us all. Nevertheless, we ran out of the school. It was pretty crazy, actually. I was considering putting this in a blog on MySpace, but that’d be kind of silly, so I decided against it.

“Let’s go to our house; we need to explain this to our mom,” Matt said, talking for both Anna and himself. So we all piled into Lily’s car and started to discuss the ridiculousness of the situation.

“He was being totally irrational!” Rachel said.

“Yeah; when he was interrogating me, he wouldn’t even listen!” Anna said.

“Same with me. It’s preposterous. Seriously, y’all will most likely have to pay a hospital bill for Alister, but that’ll be nothing compared to what the principal will get,” I said.

“It’s just mind-boggling how all this happened on the first day,” Matt said.

“Well now that the school knows you’re a psycho, they probably won’t say much,” Lily joked.

“The school can go…” “That was rude, Matt,” I interjected to drown out his word, “…themselves! I can’t even play soccer anymore, oh my god!” He sounded like a kid who couldn’t find his video game.

“You think mom will get mad?” Anna asked Matt.

“No.” He didn’t sound so sure. We were about to find out, because we pulled up to the Hästö’s big yellow house.

“Mamma!” Anna called out. Her mom came in from the kitchen, wearing a pink apron. She was slightly taken aback by all of the children in her house, but Anna and Matt allowed her no time to collect herself. After what seemed like hours of Swedish explanation, Matt and Anna finally stopped talking. When their mother spoke, she didn’t sound too frustrated.

Matt and Anna eventually turned to us. “She’s going to call our lawyer, and Anna’s going to upload and print the picture on our computer,” Matt said. “According to her, we don’t have to pay anything unless the Vlahos contact us.”

“What about our suspension? Do we go to school or not?” I asked.

“Well, she said yes, but I don’t really know if we can just blatantly disobey the school like that,” he said.

“We already have,” Lily pointed out.

“You’re correct… I guess,” Matt said.

“Well, since we’ve got all that figured out, Rachel and I are going to go home so we can look up the state law on child abuse.” Lily winked. In all honesty, what the principal did wasn’t that severe, but it’s times like these that one becomes happy that such wide parameters exist. So, even though I didn’t think it was that severe, it was still apparently child abuse. If the principal hadn’t grabbed Rachel like that, then we would have little to no argument in court. But now we, figuratively speaking, had the firepower of the country’s army on our side.

Later that night, Anna, Matt, and I got to talking. It was one of those emotional talks, you know? Where you feel like you just want to cry, but you don’t, because other people are there.

“It’s just not fair,” Matt said hollowly.

“I know, Matt. You know I love you for sticking up for me like that, don’t you?” Anna asked.

“I’m your brother; that’s what I’m here for.”

“But still… it’s not right that we have to succumb to such acts in the first place. Just because we can’t fit in with the cookie cutter society of this town, we have to be subjected to such violence?” I sighed.

“Justice will prevail; it always does, even in the Bible Belt,” Anna said softly.

“But even so… do you honestly expect us to feel truly safe when armed bible thumpers are allowed to wander the streets? I asked.

“I guess I can’t say that I do,” she replied.

“I wish we were in Sweden,” Matt said, his voice cracking.

“I do too.” Anna hugged her brother lightly before getting up. “I’m going to go to bed.”

Matt quickly rose to his feet and looked at his sister. “Don’t lose sleep over this. Our friends are here with us through the thick and thin,” he said seriously.

“I won’t. Good night, guys.” She turned off the light and walked out of the room, leaving Matt and me laying on his bed.

“Got any good proverbs for this situation?” I asked bitterly.

“Yes, actually. One you already know, yet it still applies to this situation.”

“Oh?”

“A bee has a sting, but honey too,” he recalled.

“How does that apply to our predicament?”

“We are experiencing the homophobia from this situation, the sting, but good is sure to follow, the honey. Don’t frown; it only brings down the mood.”

“What shall I do then?”

“You could try laughing.”

“Not in the mood.”

I should’ve kept my mouth shut, because he began to relentlessly tickle me. “See? You are in the mood!” he said.

“So what does this tell us?” I laughed.

“That a shadow cannot exist without light.”

I kept his words in my brain all night as I drifted into rather emotionless dreams. One was rather disturbing, though: I dreamt of a large, metal object lying in the middle of the main hallway at school, and I could hear Alyson screaming from afar. It was only until the next day that I would truly know the meaning of this nightmare.


Continued…


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This story is Copyright © 2008-2022 by Elektrisk. The included image is Copyright © 2016-2022 by Colin Kelly; the original image is Copyright © 2009 by Edler von Rabenstein | Dollar Photo Club #19191122. They cannot be reproduced without express written consent. Codey's World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.

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