before the mardi gras
Vaucluse High. Annual gift giving night. Graduation.
Handsome lad. Overbuilt. Aggressive in the surf and abusive in nature. Homophobic and beguiling. His cream sunk to the bottom.
He gathered us around him in the darkness behind the bigger buildings as he taught his gospel this night. There must have been a tuckshop dump nearby because he had a couple of wooden fruit boxes at hand that he used as an example of the punishing power of his righteousness.
Hard-fisted, he smashed the boxes sentence by sentence – THIS is what they are, THIS is what we must do, THIS is their punishment.
So much easier to see what is illuminated when viewed from the darker shadows.
All of us were about seventeen years old and stupid beyond measure – and all of us full of the frightful power of muscled youth; the fruit of years of hard sport and ruthless competition. We were taught to hurt each other in the field and the boxing ring, we were taught to win and beat down our opponents. They were less than us. The schools that we beat year upon year were tagged as girls – Physical strenght was defined as a dominion of sexuality, and therefore its master.
Here be the demons.
Jeff H. would go alone to Kings Cross on weekends, alone to drink in the back street hotels where solitary men gathered and he would seduce one or two of them with his boyish charm and when they were alone in a room, somewhere, he would beat them senseless – Then he would take all their money away. Young or old, they all bled and fell to the floor and their betrayed passion was for his profit, and pleasure.
These were the stories this boy told us from time to time before he was drawn into the whirlpool of life that consumed him – I watched him the last time he sat amongst us, bragging about his latest assault, he was older then – more subdued – and he wiped his eyes often as he spoke, though they were no longer tears of rage.
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.