I released Teardrop Road on June 23, 2021. I think it was a Thursday. It was pretty devastating to put it out in the world on the big stage. Having your secrets on a blog is one thing. The worldwide stage opens up doubts and fears that I expected but could never prepare myself for. However, this release is a win. It’s a win for me. It’s a win for my family. For mental health in general. And I hope if you’re in pain and you’re going through anything, any kind of abuse, any kind of loss, I hope this book can help you and that you can see it as a win. I’m celebrating the release of Teardrop with another blog blast. These are chapters of the second volume of Reality of the Unreal Mind, called Normal Street. I’m releasing a chapter from that book every two hours and fifteen minutes. This is the story of Hollow Man. This is the story of how I figured out love through a series of heartaches and confusing episodes. Because love is not easy to navigate for anyone, and it’s almost impossible for a shattered mind to prepare for their soulmate. Here is Hollow Man 9: Lip Part 2.
Rose knocked twice and entered.
She did that a lot. It was as if she had no idea how gross and horny the average teenage boy was. She just knocked one time and marched right in. Luckily this time, I was just lying in bed listening to music thinking about sex instead of lying in bed partaking in sad, lonely—well, you get my point.
Anyway, she stuck her head in and said, “You have a phone call.” She looked at me and added, “It’s a man.”
“A man?” I thought about it, and I had a few guesses on who it could be. But nothing solid. “You’re sure it’s a man?”
Rose waved me toward the phone with a “check for yourself” kind of wave and I picked up the receiver.
“This is Jesse.”
“Jesse, it’s Trucks.” He sounded furious, and I knew why.
“Hello, sir, how are you?” I whispered to my mother. “It’s Lip’s dad.”
“I’m not doing good, Jesse. I am not doing good at all.” He growled a bit and said, “I’m pretty fuckin mad, to be honest.”
“What does he want?” Rose said. And you are asking yourself that same question. This is why you should never write manic, on too much coffee, and with no sleep. You tell the story out of focus and out of beat. Let’s back up a space and I’ll show you why this cat is so fucking furious, and you might understand why his first call was to me.
When I saw Lip at church a week after meeting her father, she was giggly and smiley. More than usual. More than could be expected from her. Usually she was kind of droll. Usually, you could count on her to be frowning, or have a pissed look stretched across her face. She was not a happy go lucky girl. But she was that day.
I didn’t ask. I let it play out, and finally she could not hold it back anymore.
“There is a new boy at school,” she said.
Think back to Allenton and Slinger middle school, the mullets and the pokey haired boys. Well, just like them, the kids at her school had all been together for their entire lives. There was a new kid now and he was flirting with her. She said his name was Hotty. I knew that name instantly.
Hotty was a boy who used to go to Waynesville Middle School. He was a tall white guy who really, really wanted to be Vanilla Ice. For those of you who don’t know who that is, try to imagine a guy trying way too hard to be cool. Wearing clothes he can’t pull off and colors he does not look good in, talking the talk of a badass and walking the strut of a badass.
Hotty was known to be untrustworthy, known to be a thief. He had stolen from a guy in Waynesville and the guy had beat him so bad that Hotty never came back to school. Now, his parents had shipped him to a tiny school out in the sticks to try again. Hotty was flirting with her and she was enjoying it.
Servant came out. The rest of us left. We knew what was coming. We knew the relationship was over. But Servant wanted to hold her hand this one last time. Wanted to hear her talk about this boy she liked and hurt for her. He wanted to ache as she got around to breaking up with him.
“He is so funny,” she said. “He walks around all day singing that song to me. You know the one it goes,. ‘All I want to do is run my zooma, zoom, zoom in your boom, boom.’ He sings it to me all day.” She laughed and Servant looked at her and shook his head.
“You know what that song means, right?”
“No, what does it mean?”
“The song is about a guy that is saying to a girl that all he wants to do to her is fuck her,” Servant said. “That is the only use he has for that girl. It’s not a romantic song.”
“Oh, he is just being silly.” She hummed the song and Servant held her hand and pined for her.
Now, back to the pissed off giant and the first guy he called.
“She broke up with you. I told her not to, but I couldn’t stop her. You know I couldn’t stop her.”
“Well, did you hear what happened?”
I had heard what happened. My boy Hornet had told me all about it. He was dating someone from that school, and he had heard that Hotty had asked Lip out, dated her for a week, fucked her, then immediately broke up with her before he had his pants zipped. He had laughed at her and told the entire school. Everyone was calling her a slut. Everyone was laughing at her. And now every guy was walking up to her singing, “All I want to do is run my zooma zoom zoom in your boom boom.”
“I heard what happened, Trucks.”
“Does it piss you off?”
Guardian had come to the front as soon as he heard Trucks’ voice and he answered the man flatly. “It does.”
“I can’t do anything about it, but she didn’t even go to school today. She is a laughing stock and she is so stupid for breaking up with you and I know you don’t want to get involved but—”
“There is where you are wrong, sir. I would love to get involved,” Guardian said.
“I can’t rip him apart myself. If I touch him, I go to prison. He knows I can’t touch him, and if I go to threaten him and he calls my bluff—”
“Well, I know how bad you are at bluffing.”
Trucks laughed. “Can you take care of this for me?”
“Consider it done. Make sure she goes to school tomorrow. Tell her to stay out of my way,” Guardian said. He had seen too many times where he had gone in to stop a girl from being hurt and she had defended the one he was after.
“I will tell her to do exactly what you say,” Trucks said. “Thanks, Jesse.”
“Yeah. You’ll hear a story tomorrow after school.”
So, I called Hornet. He answered the phone, and when I told him we were going out to Laquey school after ours let out the next day, he laughed.
“You’re going to kick his ass!” Hornet laughed. “This will be great!”
“I’m going to need everyone. Can you gather them?”
“They will all be there,” he said. “No question.”
“I need Tick’s Mustang. And the Demon.”
“Got it man, fuck, I said they would all be there.” Hornet laughed. “I can’t wait to see this.”
The next day the boys, I will call The Vermin, and I ran to Tick’s Mustang and Maniac’s Demon as soon as the bell rang. Waynesville High got out about half an hour before Laquey. We had to get all the way across three tiny cities before they got out.
Well, Tick’s Mustang was a beast, but not as wild as the Demon. Demon was a white Monte Carlo with a monster under the hood and a lunatic behind the wheel. I sat in the back seat of Demon and while Maniac drove, he howled and punched his steering wheel. He cursed and punched the roof.
Over in Tick’s Mustang, Hornet had his head out the window on the highway screaming. The Vermin were headed out to break it up and burn it down and every one of them was ready to crush something.
This was my new crew. D was dating Aimes at this time. My sister had been kicked out of the house. I was alone, furious all the time, and I was with The Vermin. We cornered kids at school and if I didn’t beat on them, I watched them get stomped into the ground. We went to other school’s sports functions just to cheer for the other team and fight whoever came after us. We were violent and hateful, and we desperately wanted pain and blood. We wanted to slam into something and feel it break.
We pulled into the parking lot of Laquey, and everyone exploded from the car. We had a rule. If you called for a fight, you fought it by yourself, until a second person jumped in to get involved on the enemy’s behalf. When that happened, The Vermin would explode.
Fight one of us, and we will watch and laugh. But two of you jump any of us, and you fight us all.
“We are after Hotty.”
“The yellow and white guy?” Maniac said.
Hotty had not worn any set of colors the entire time he was in Waynesville except yellow and white. Usually it was parachute pants and a muscle shirt, and he had the body to pull off the muscle shirt. He was a big kid, with long arms and wide shoulders. I was not sure if I could bring him down, but I wanted to so badly.
When the bell went off, the school popped like a pimple and kids ran everywhere.
“Hornet, find her,” I said as my eyes sought out the trademark yellow and white.
Hornet came back gripping Lip by the elbow. She was struggling until she saw me. She walked up to me and opened her arms to hug me.
“No, you go to that car right there. You get in the back seat and you wait for me. Do not come out for any reason. Do not argue with me now. Do what I tell you to do and I will fix this mess,” Guardian said.
Her eyes flared. Her body churned as she looked at me taking charge. I could see lust in her gaze, but Guardian was not interested in her. She could have walked off and never looked back for all he cared. He was not here for her. The only reason Guardian had come across three cities to get her was for her father.
“There he is, there is that mutha fucker,” Tick yelled, pointing.
“Go to the car!” Guardian said to her.
He stomped out with The Vermin following.
“He has friends with him!” Maniac growled.
“Let’s hope they are loyal,” Hornet said.
“Hey Hotty,” Guardian said. “Get over here.”
Hotty looked up and laughed.
“Get your Vanilla Ice looking ass over here and deal with me,” Guardian said.
“Man, fuck you and your little bitches.” He turned around to walk away, and as he turned, I grabbed the braided tail coming off the back of his head and pulled him back. I stepped out of the way and he stumbled, almost falling. The Vermin fell in around us with their backs to us, their rage pointing out.
Hotty looked at me and I saw his fear. As big as he was, as bold, he was terrified. “What do you want?” he said.
Guardian answered no questions. He walked over to Hotty and dropped an immense punch to the boy’s face.
Hotty dropped like a stone. He stared up dazed with a broken nose and tear-filled eyes. “That was for Trucks,” Guardian said. “This one is for Lip.” I kicked him in the nuts as hard as my leg would fly and as hard as my boot would pound. The boy doubled over and screamed.
I looked over my shoulder to see The Vermin begging Hotty’s friends to jump in. “Please, just one of you pussies come in here. He is right back there, getting his ass stomped. He is right there. Please go help him so we can bite off pieces of your body and spit them in a pile. Please jump in. Please give us a reason,” Maniac said.
But there were no takers.
Hotty rolled over on his stomach and started crawling.
“You have done this before, haven’t you? Flirt with them, make them laugh, fuck them and drop them? How many has there been?” Guardian said.
Shadow screamed. There was something back there. Something dark that had scarred him that this line of questioning was bringing forward. He screamed and pulled back.
Guardian grabbed the tail of hair coming off Hotty’s head again and lifted his head up. “How many girls have you fucked over? Flirted with, stolen the virginity of, and dropped? How many have you humiliated publicly and laughed about? How many?”
“I’m sorry, just please let me go. I’m sorry,” Hotty said.
Guardian slammed Hotty’s head on the gravel. “Answer me, or I will guess high.”
“Five,” Hotty said.
“That sounds low, but I’ll go with it.” Guardian dropped five heavy kidney punches to Hotty’s body before stepping over him.
“We are done here,” Guardian snapped.
The Vermin pulled back snarling and howled their way back to the car. I squeezed into the back of Demon and Lip crawled on my lap. Guardian vanished. Shadow swung out and kissed her. She rode in our lap and we took her home. Maniac did not want to stay long enough for me to talk to Trucks. He had a shift at work, and had to be there in twenty minutes. Best case he was going to be a half an hour late.
We dropped off Lip and she kissed me again. It was a long time before I saw a girl so charged with lust again.
We got back together when she came to church the next Sunday and begged me to take her back. We stayed together for about a month before she came to me with wild, flaming eyes and said there was a kid at her school who was flirting with her and she wanted me to go to his house and kick his ass.
Shadow had almost agreed when Guardian stepped out.
“Has he touched you?”
“No, but he is really creepy.”
“Has he threatened you?”
“No, he is a coward.”
“Has he spread rumors about you?” Guardian asked.
“No, not yet.”
“Has this boy done you any dishonor at all?” Guardian asked.
“No, but he is a total ass and he needs to be put in his place,” she said.
Hornet looked at me and said, “Let’s call the guys.” He looked almost high.
“Not unless he actually does some harm to her. I’m not kicking his ass because she is bored.”
About an hour after I got home, she called and broke up with me.
I’m sure Trucks was devastated.