I stood in the midst of what was once my “home”—or at least my home away from home for the school year. Everything was torn to ribbons; quite literally—as if the perpetrators were a regiment of renegade, pissed-off seamstresses with scissors in hand. Whoever did it wasn't seen by anybody—or maybe no one cared to get involved.
Every stitch of clothing we owned, destroyed.
Our books, sliced.
Everything else couldn't ’ be identified. I’d also have to tell Micheal that his laptop and my camera were gone; possibly pawned-off, smashed, or kept as some sort of trophy. I pondered calling Micheal; thinking that he wouldn’t be able to answer his phone anyway.
I called Danny instead.
“Holy hell,” he said as he walked into the room.
Campus security had left by then, after asking only a few questions and leaving me to wonder what was going to happen.
“Yeah, it’s as bad as it looks. Don’t bother to sugarcoat it to make me feel any better.”
“Any idea on who—“
“A few, but I can’t accuse on hunches.”
“Sure you can,” he replied as Dick walked up behind him.
“Kris?” Dickie’s voice was as cold as the Knoxville police earlier.
“Daniel Rollins, dorm advisor Richard Mannis.”
Danny looked at Richard for one moment and then turned back to me with an expression that read “who does this guy think he is?”
“You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to say this: You’re being evicted.”
“Mr. Nelson has been ordered to move out due to academic failure and you are to leave due to your difference in physiology.” He handed two envelopes over to me but Danny intercepted them.
“What’s your problem, man?”
“Their dorm room was broken into, they were robbed, one of her friends has been murdered and Mike’s in the hospital and you got the balls to come up here and act, no, you are a flippant asshole. Has anyone ever told that to your face?”
Richard tried to hold a smug look on his face.
Richard tried to hold onto his trademark smug look.
“What’s your major?” Danny asked in the most outright sarcastic tone I had ever heard.
“Of course it is. Do you enjoy being an ass?” Danny asked as he leaned on the wall and crossed his arms.
“You are to vacate the dorm hall immediately.”
“She’ll leave when she finds what little is left in her room.”
“Haven’t gotten to that chapter on human sexuality yet?”
Richard only glared at Danny. I did want to search for anything worth salvaging but I also really wanted to see how this would end.
“What is your major?” Richard asked.
“Annoying stuck-up assholes like you. Advanced class. ”
“You have fifteen minutes, Kris.”
“You have fifteen seconds, Dick, before I throw you out of this room. Down the hall and into the death trap of an elevator. Begone, foul demon!”
“Okay, I can go to the girls dorm and—“
Richard smiled and shook his head. “You’re not allowed at the girls dorm at this time.”
"She’ll stay with me," Danny glared at Dick. “Five seconds, man. Please give me a better reason to want to kick your ass other than I think you’re pathetic.” Danny stepped further into the room. "How do you guys fight the urge to deck this bozo?"
"Hey!" Rich interjected; he finally was losing his cool.
"Or would you prefer the term 'circus entertainer'?"
"It's not easy. But I've told Michael he's not worth the jail time," I replied as I found a pair of Mike's jeans that were not destroyed and the dress that was hidden in the lower drawer,
I got up from the wreckage and looked at Richard as he stepped back and into the hallway to allow us to leave.
"Good luck with those student loans," Danny remarked to Richard.
I looked back to see Ricard smile and close the door; it was like he relished in another's despair.
I took what was probably going to one of my last walks down the stairs. King Richard's "decree" stated that I could come back tomorrow to clear the room.
"I finished the banner you asked about."
"It's in the car," Danny replied as we walked down the stairs.
"I'm not sure how I'm going to get anyone to sign for it now, I-"
"We'll just sign it and then hang that bad boy in his room."
"Thanks again, Danny."
We stepped into the front room of the dorm and I had to stop at the door.
"I'm kind of going to miss this place."
"You'll be in a new room by tomorrow. You're a first year so they can't just kick you out with no place to go." Dan opened the front door for me as he continued: "And I pray to God that you report that mini-Hitler in there."
"We're on each other's hit lists, apparently."
"He just needs a little black armband and he's set."
I only nodded.
"Well, as I said, you can stay with me tonight--"
"I think I might stay with Mike tonight, he should have a room by now."
"If he hasn't walked out on his own."
The drive back to the hospital was quiet—I had everything going around in my mind, mostly about Heather and my thoughts that Amanda’s boyfriend, Jake had killed her. Yeah, it was like a plot from a Hitchcock book or from the mind of Poe—but at that moment it sounded more than plausible—it was the freaking absolute engine driving my train of thought.
Amanda and Heather plus a ex-boyfriend who can’t let go decides to stop anything from happening.
I took my cell phone out and pondered calling Amanda—sure, it was a little late, but-
I flipped the screen opened and called.
The phone rang two times before a voice came on the line.
“Hello?” A gruff, male voice answered.
“Is Amanda around?”
“Who is this?”
“Who is this?” I asked.
“You’re the one who called.”
“This is Kristi.”
The line then clicked off.
“I’m about to go on that hunch.”
“About Heather?” Danny asked as he pulled into the parking lot.
“Yeah, I just tried to call her and some guy picked it up instead.”
“Wrong number, maybe?”
I flipped the phone closed. “No, I’ve called it before when I got them together the other day, I-“
“Try calling it back.”
“I will, after we check on Micheal.”
Danny nodded as we pulled into one of the few spots left in the lot.
My eyes were saucers.
No, they were like giant skillets, complete with the handles.
The nurse at the waiting room area looked at me with stone, cold eyes.
“He was transferred to Nashville.”
“We do not have the surgeon on staff to perform the procedure at this time.”
“What’s happened. I mean I thought it was just a straight cut?”
“Who are you?” The nurse asked.
Danny cut into the conversation. “She’s his fiancé, I’m his cousin. Why we’re we not informed?”
“We had called his family in Nashville and they agreed to the transfer.”
I stepped away from the station and walked over to the wall. Maybe to cry, but more so that I wouldn’t jump and attack the nurse.
“Okay, so what’s the situation then?” Danny asked.
“I can let you speak with the charge nurse, if you will take a seat in the waiting room.”
“Thank you. We will.”
I lightly pressed my hand against the wall even though I so wanted to slam my fist through it.
I really wanted to hit something but Richard wasn’t around and my father was about four hundreds miles away.
The thought of hitting either of them cheered me up a little.
Danny sat in the chair next to me as I turned around and slid my back down the wall and sat on the floor.
“Huh? No, it’s nothing. This is all all growing pains; it’s all normal.”
“Has Mike told you anything about my family?”
“No, well, I mean—he did say something your dad but—“
“Whatever he said, I probably told him about it.”
“Like how you’re-“
“Yep. Named after my brother.” I replied as I stared ahead at the blank space between myself and some guy who was sleeping in the strangest position in the chairs in front of us.
“You’re named after your brother?”
“Genital reconstructive surgery before the age of seven.”
“Wait, but don’t you have-“
“They tried a little rewiring. Didn't work out very well. That’s why dodgeball was so easy.” I said with a slight laugh.
“You should have, you know, come out back then.”
“At a private school?”
“Yeah, you’re right. Dumb idea.”
“Not dumb, but you know how other people are—especially to the weaker ones.”
“I mean look at what's happened now.”
“No of any of that’s your fault, you know that, right?”
"Not what my father used to tell me. He’d say ‘Kristopher, you are different, young man. And you are a young man. No matter what that doctor’—My dad had switched my doctor because one of them started listening to me and how I felt about who I really was and that no amount of hormones, conditioning or mutilations was going to make me feel any different. They would have to brainwash me—and the next doctor started me on that.”
“Brainwashing?” Danny asked as the man in the chair across form us roused from his sleep.
“Yeah. Imagine being this little kid with a massive hormone condition wrecking havoc with on their body and some person in suit telling you that you’re a special little boy. A boy with a genetic defect—that defect being some external parts but its all “wrong” on the inside. It wasn't wrong. It was fine. It became wrong when they went inside and tried to snip everything in there.”
I was crying by then; I’m not even sure if Danny understood me.
“I was saved from it all by a doctor who refused to do anymore alternations until I was older and by then I just played my part of a son so my parents wouldn’t have to say they had some freaky mutation kid or explain why I had dresses in my closet. Just two people understood me. My grandmother and Micheal and now—now I can’t see him when I need him the most.”
Danny got out of his chair and kneeled down in front of me. “Hey, just say the word and I will drive you to him.”
“I can’t ask you—“
“Don’t ask. Otherwise, I’ll have to throw you in the trunk and drive you there anywhere. But the front seat’s more comfortable.”
“Thanks, Danny. You’re not like who I thought you were.”
“Yes I was. Still am, but—but I’ve gained a heart, and you’ve gained courage.”
“Why are you dropping “Oz” references?”
“We have a perfect candidate for the witch.”
“I know of two,” I replied.
“Can I be one of the munchkins?” The old man in the chair asked.
“Kristi Novoselic?” A woman’s voice shouted from the other end of room.
We stood next to a larger large woman who looked like she loved her job but could use an IV in arm of coffee-and it was only a bit after eleven.
“We had him transferred to our center in Nashville as we do not have an attending here who could perform the surgery.”
“What kind of surgery?”
“Amputation of the arm. There was a lot metal in the muscle tissue and bone.”
“He’ll loose his arm?” I felt like dying at that moment.
“It would appear so.”
“When did he leave?”
“Almost three hours ago.”
“Do you want to go out there, tonight?” Danny asked.
“They wouldn’t let us in in the middle of the night.”
The nurse nodded in agreement.
“Thank you,” I replied to her and closed my eyes. “I want to go out there now, but—But he’d tell me that he’s okay and that I’m worrying about him for nothing. Tell me some Nashvill-ian saying to go with it.”
“Then I’d have to tell him about the dorm room and Heather and—“
“Then we’ll wait until morning.”
“I can’t skip my classes again.”
“I thought you were dropping out?”
“We’re not dropping out; just moving on.”
“So, what's the problem with going in the morning?”
It didn’t take me long to come to a decision. He was right. What did it matter if I failed to show up…at least to Mrs. Peterson’s class—it would make both of our lives easier if we never saw each other again!
I left the hospital with Danny and we went to his apartment building. He asked if I’d prefer taking his room or the couch and I chose the couch—even though we both knew it was incredibly uncomfortable—along with a lot of blankets to buffer against the nearly squashed cushions. It wasn't my own room or the dorm but it was okay for the night: to feel a b it of comfort from the outside world and how it felt so crushing. I wanted to think that it would be the same if I was just “Kris” but I knew it wouldn’t be. For one, Karen Anne would never had let me go to UT.
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