When you’re a teenager it’s easy to be led astray. What’s hard is getting out of a bad situation.
Mature or distressing themes and strong language. This story deals with issues that are, unfortunately, true to life for some teens.
In keeping with our policy of not running from real life issues, we are hosting Bad Boy Gone Good with this advisory.
Jado woke up and at first he didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t remember. He looked at his clock radio. Crap, it was six thirty-five. How’d it get to be so late?
He yawned. He needed a toke. He tried to remember where he put his last dime bag. He blinked, then looked around.
‘Where the fuck I am?’ he wondered.
He shook his head, then it all came back. This was Greg’s house. After getting all of his stuff, he’d moved in here. After all that work and the stress he’d decided he needed a nap.
He grinned. Before he left his house he’d left his last dime bag in Pete’s bedroom. He didn’t know if the cops could read prints from the outside of a plastic baggie, so to make sure they wouldn’t find his prints he’d rubbed the outside of the bag to smudge any that might be there. Then he put it under the base of the lamp next to Pete’s bed, making sure he didn’t leave any fingerprints on the lamp. Stupid of Pete to have his own bedroom for sleeping and only go to Doris’s room to have sex. If the cops searched his room they’d find the bag. Pete could bitch and moan that the bag wasn’t his. As if the cops would believe him.
Not having any weed was going to be a problem. He was used to smoking a joint every few days, usually when things got… complicated, and he got stressed. Today things hadn’t been complicated, but he’d got stressed anyway.
He couldn’t ask Greg for a joint. He’d sort of promised him that he’d give it up. Well, probably more than sort of. Greg wouldn’t have one anyway.
Where was Greg? Maybe he fell asleep, too. Jado’s stomach growled. They hadn’t stopped for lunch and he was hungry. Screw having a joint. Time to find Greg and head out to get something to eat. It’d be his treat. He could afford it. He had over $875 saved up. Greg busted his balls helping pack and move everything to his folk’s house, and setting up a room for Jado, a room that would be his. Greg deserved a free meal. Maybe that taco place next to Habit. Mexican would be good.
Jado got up and walked across the hall to Greg’s room. He was in bed, sound asleep, snoring quietly. He felt bad about waking Greg, but both of them should be hungry.
Jado sat on the edge of Greg’s bed and rubbed his shoulder.
“Hey, Greg, time to wake up,” he said quietly.
Greg continued to sleep.
Jado leaned down and blew on Greg’s nose.
“Ummm!” Greg mumbled and opened his eyes. He squinted and saw Jado, his face within inches. He leaned up and kissed Jado on his nose.
Jado burst out laughing and pulled back.
“That’s what you get for blowing on my nose!”
“You asshole! You were awake all along!”
“Yup!” Greg grinned.
“Well, how about this then,” Jado said as he leaned down and kissed Greg on his lips, a soft kiss. Jado pulled back and grinned. “What do I get for that?”
Greg reached up, put his arms around Jado’s neck, and pulled him down until their lips met and Greg kissed him. This was a firm, long, and sultry kiss.
Jado tried to pull back, but Greg could tell he didn’t try very hard. Jado groaned and pushed his tongue against Greg’s lips. Greg opened his mouth and the kiss continued.
When he finally needed to take a breath Jado pulled back and stared at Greg, who continued to lie there and grin.
“What the fuck was that?” Jado asked.
“Hmm. Seems like we kissed each other. Twice. Did you like it?”
Greg’s question surprised Jado. Before his brain could start working he replied, “Yes!” automatically.
He sat there looking down at Greg and realized the import of what he’d just said, so he shouted, “No!”
“Which is it, Jado, yes or no?”
“Shit, I don’t know. This is so fucked up,” he said, then shook his head.
“Why is it fucked up?”
“I’m not… fuck.”
“You’re not what? Not gay? Not horny? Not hot for my sexy body? Not ready to jump my bones? Not in love with me?”
They were both laughing by the time Greg finished with his list of questions.
“None of the above!” Jado replied.
“Do you realize what you just said?” Greg asked.
“Of course. I said I’m not any of what you said.”
“But what you said is actually a double negative, which is a positive. I asked, ‘You’re not what?’ and then listed off the things you’re not, like not gay, not horny, and so on. You said ‘none of the above.’ So that’s like saying you’re not not gay which means you are gay, you’re not not horny which means you are horny, and so on.”
“You’re making my brain ache. So let me be clear. I’m not gay, I’m not hot for your sexy body, I’m not going to jump your bones.”
“So you are horny?” Greg asked, not mentioning that Jado had also left out the ‘Not in love with me’ part.
“Of course. I’m seventeen years old. I’m always fucking horny!” Jado wiggled his eyebrows.
“Yeah, me too,” Greg responded.
“So, are we gonna help each other out?” Jado asked.
“Are you serious?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“Wow! I’m not sure I know how to reply to that,” Greg said.
“Why not? Are you gay?” Jado asked.
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Okay, I don’t think I am, either,” Jado said, though he felt conflicted for some reason.
“So what do you have in mind?” Greg asked.
“If we both get naked and I get in bed with you we can see if anything develops.” Jado started taking his clothes off.
Greg watched for a few seconds, took off his boxer briefs under the covers, then pulled them out and threw them at Jado. That made Jado laugh.
When Jado got naked he looked at Greg. “Move over, make room for me.”
Greg complied, lifting the covers so Jado could get into the bed.
They just lay there facing each other about a foot apart for a few minutes. Greg made the first move, reaching out and lightly stroking Jado’s arm. Jado scooted closer and pulled Greg to him. Now they were pressed together.
“Is this okay?” Jado asked, softly.
“Yes,” Greg replied, his voice husky sounding, “it is very much okay.”
Jado could see Greg’s clock radio on the nightstand on the other side of the bed. It was almost seven thirty. His stomach rumbled.
“You awake?” he asked.
“Yeah, awake and hungry,” Greg replied. “I’ve been lying here watching you sleep. Now how ‘bout we get up and get something to eat?”
“I think I need a shower first.”
Greg lifted the covers and sniffed. “I think we both need a shower first.” He grinned.
Jado smiled. “Okay. Together or separate?”
“I’d prefer together, but so we can eat before it’s bedtime you go shower and I’ll go downstairs and put some food into the microwave. Do you like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas? And garlic bread?”
“Sounds wonderful. Should I use your bathroom?”
“Why don’t you use yours, then I’ll come up and use mine. I think if we both used mine at the same time we’d be… distracted.”
Jado grinned. “Yeah, with that I can agree.” He got out of Greg’s bed and walked to the door, then turned around. “We won’t be able to do this when your folks are here.”
“They’ll be taking off for another business trip real soon.”
“Good.” With that Jado walked out and Greg got up and, without putting any clothes on, went downstairs and put the frozen meatloaf with mashed potatoes in the microwave, frozen peas in a pan with some water on the stove, and the frozen garlic bread in the toaster oven, then went back upstairs to shower.
Jado was showered, dressed, and in the kitchen making a salad when Greg came downstairs, similarly showered and dressed.
“I thought we’d like a salad to go with,” he said.
“I didn’t know you were a cook,” Greg said.
“I had to fix my own meals. Doris and Pete went out to drink and eat almost all the time. She’s not a cook, and he’s a lazy shit. He’d get home before I did and they’d go out somewhere to booze up and then eat dinner if they weren’t too drunk.”
“You never offered to cook for them, then?”
“Never. If I had offered I knew they would’ve had me fixing dinner for them all the time. Besides, if they ate at home then they’d get drunk at home. Screw that! It’s not something I’d want to be around.”
“So what’d you cook? And eat?”
“Doris did the grocery shopping and was pretty cheap about buying food for me. She bought those little one-person frozen meals, the ones at Safeway that are always on sale for five dinners for ten dollars. I called them ‘two dollar dinners’ because that’s what they cost. There wasn’t much to eat, they mostly weighed only eight or nine ounces each, but they tasted pretty good.
“Mostly what I cooked from scratch was pasta. I’d go to the store and buy myself a couple kinds of pasta and pasta sauce, some hamburger meat, some cooked chicken strips, an onion, and a can of mushrooms. Then a few veggies like zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, and carrots. I’d cook up enough spaghetti or noodles with hamburger or chicken and pasta sauce for one meal for me. I’d have a veggie and a salad. It was pretty good. I made sure there were never any leftovers. If they commented about the smell I said it was one of the two dollar dinners. I kept cookies and chips locked in my room so Pete couldn’t get at them. If I wanted something like ice cream I’d go to The Creamery and eat it there.”
“Didn’t they eat your lettuce and veggies themselves?”
“Nah. Doris never wanted to cook and Pete couldn’t or wouldn’t. They were safe in the refrigerator. Do you do any cooking? Or do you use frozen stuff like the lasagna?”
“Mostly frozen stuff. When my folks are home my mom will buy lots of frozen stuff, meals and veggies. I’d fix a frozen meal and veggie or two most nights. I’d order in pizza a couple times a month.”
“You didn’t get tired of that?”
“No. It was all mostly good. Once in a while there’d be one of the frozen meals I didn’t like, so I tell my mom and she wouldn’t buy that one anymore.”
“Well, I gotta tell you, Greg, this meatloaf and the mashed potatoes and peas are real good. And so’s the garlic bread.”
“Thanks, thanks! After slaving over a hot microwave all day it’s nice to be appreciated.”
Jado laughed. “Your cooking is definitely appreciated. It’s nice eating a meal at home with someone. Someone I actually like. You know, I’m enjoying being here.”
“I’m enjoying it too. Mostly I’ve been coming home to an empty house and eating by myself. It’s really nice having you here, Jado. Oh, and your salad is great. I see you found the blue cheese dressing. It’s my favorite.”
Jado sat and thought for a few minutes as he munched on some salad. Then he looked up.
“Greg, would you do me a favor?”
“Start calling me Jay instead of Jado. Jado is who I was. Jay is who I am now.”
“You got it. From now on you’re Jay.”
“Let’s talk about tomorrow. My folks get home around two, so we’ll still be in school. I’ll email my dad tonight and explain that you’re here and why without going into all the details.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea? Shouldn’t we be here when they get home?”
“They’ll be a lot happier when I tell them we’ll be at school and we’ll see them around… how long did it usually take you to drive to school?”
“Usually under ten minutes. How about you?”
“I usually take the bus. It takes about thirty-five minutes. Sometimes I’d have to ride my bike if I was late and missed the bus.”
“Do you realize that I can drive the two of us to school from now on? It'll take a few minutes more than from my… from where I lived, maybe fifteen minutes? From here drive to Skyline and take a right, take that to Sneath, hang a left and in a couple minutes we’re at Aston High. Piece a cake! I’ll bet you never realized that my moving in here would get you about twenty minutes more sleep every morning. Well, just the mornings when you have to go to school.”
“See, there’s another great reason I can give my folks for you to live here.”
“Yeah, maybe. I just wonder what they think when we tell them I have an emergency protective order to keep Pete away from me, and from you, too.”
“My folks are used to restraining orders. They are in the legal services business.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Honestly, I’m not real sure. They do billing and collections for law firms, take care of making sure documents are filed on time, and have servers for backups of everything a law firm does on paper and online.”
“So they really are attorneys?”
“Yes and no. My dad and mom have law degrees and are certified or registered or whatever it’s called to do lawyering in California. But they don’t do any legal work themselves anymore. It helps their business knowing what attorneys do and how they have to do it, and it means they know what kind of services they need. They sell those services to law firms and individual attorneys.”
“And they do this all over the country? And in Canada too?”
“Not all over yet, but they’re expanding. That’s why they travel all the time and I’m left here on my own, and that sucks. Or more correctly, it sucked. It doesn’t any more now that you’re living here.”
“Well, their business got you a really nice house to live in. It’s large and the rooms are big. And I really like living here with you. Do you have a pool?”
“Yeah. We have an indoor pool outside.” Greg grinned. “You want to see it?”
Jay laughed. “Exactly what is an indoor pool outside?”
“Follow me and all will be revealed, grasshopper!” Greg could tell from Jay’s bewildered expression the he wasn’t into watching old movies.
“Okay. Should I bring my Speedo?”
“Nope, you won’t need it.”
“Hey Greg, hold up! You asked how long it will take us to go between your house and school. Figure fifteen minutes in the morning depending on traffic, maybe more coming home from school. We’ll have to go to our lockers and pick up some of our books and leave others. Sometimes it’s a bitch getting out of the parking lot. We get out at three twenty so it’s safe to say we’ll be at your house by three forty-five.”
“Okay, I’ll let my folks know what time we’ll be home in the email I send my dad.”
“Why not text him?”
“He graduated from law school. He doesn’t know how to text. Stop grinning! It’s true. He prefers that I phone him. You know, an actual voice call. I think it’s better to send him an email. I prefer email because that way he can’t claim I never told him something.”
“He forgets stuff you tell him?”
“It’s embarrassing to admit, but yes, sometimes he forgets what I tell him during a phone call. Mom says it’s because he’s distracted because he’s so wrapped up in the business. So whenever I tell him something important during a call I’ll also email it to him.”
“God, it’s going to be awful getting old and forgetful, isn’t it.”
“Afraid so. Okay, here we are at the pool house.”
Jay looked around the back yard. “You have a pool house but no pool? That’s way weird.”
“Well, come on in.”
Jay got one foot inside the pool house and he saw the pool.
“Fuckin’ A!” he exclaimed.
“That’s a lap pool, an indoor lap pool, right?”
“Yeah. It’s not regulation length, but it’s about three-quarters. It’s not for competition racing, just for exercise and fun.”
“No diving though, right?”
“Yup, no diving. The pool at school is open on the weekends for swimming and you can go diving there.”
Jay bent down and put his hand in the water.
“Whoa, that’s cold!”
“Yeah. I didn’t turn on the pool heater because I don’t use the pool that often. Now that you’re here maybe we’ll start using it. That is, if you like to swim.”
“I love to swim, to be in the water. I thought about going out for the swim team when I was a freshman, but that’s around the time my dad died and I guess I lost interest.”
“I’ll turn on the pool heater and you can use the pool any time you want. It should be warmed up to about eighty-two degrees by tomorrow night.”
Greg walked to a door and opened it. Jay saw it was the pool equipment room. Greg pressed a couple buttons and returned. The pool cover began moving across the pool.
“Two questions. First, why do you use a pool cover when this is an indoor pool? Second, why did you pull the pool cover over the pool when we’ll be using the pool tomorrow?”
“There’s one answer for both of your questions. The pool cover helps contain the heat and the water will heat up much faster and it won’t cool down as fast. It also saves a lot of gas so our PG&E bill won't be astronomical.”
“Okay, that was two answers, keeping the water warm and saving money. They both make sense,” Jay said, chuckling.
“Dufus!” Greg responded, and grinned.
They returned to the house and sat down in the family room.
“So, we’re going to school tomorrow. We’re gonna have our asses reamed for ditching four days,” Jay said.
“Nope. If you look in the papers that you got when you were discharged from the hospital there’s a form for the school. You have four days of excused absence because you were sick in the hospital. It doesn’t say anything about smoking a joint or what got you sick. That’s privileged information, and the school can’t ask you that either.”
“Doris got the discharge papers, but then she gave them to me. I kept them, but now I don’t know where they’d be.”
“Where do you think you’d have put them? When you got home from the hospital.”
“Lemme think. There’s a filing drawer in my desk. There’s a medical folder. I probably put the papers in there.”
“I packed your desk. The files from your desk went into a file box. It’s white. It’ll be in the spare bedroom.”
They found the box and the papers were there, including the form, signed by Doris Oron-Medrano.”
“Oron-Medrano? What’s that shit?”
Jay grinned. “Don’t swear.” Then he continued, “Doris married my dad and became Doris Oron. Then she married that asshole Pete. She decided to go with the hyphenated last name.”
“Don’t swear,” Greg said, then started laughing.
“I wasn’t swearing! That’s Pete’s actual name, Asshole Peter Medrano.” The name made Greg laugh.
“Let’s go online and see what assignments we’ve missed,” Greg said. “Then we can figure which homework is the most important and talk to those teachers tomorrow.”
“Uh… wait a minute,” Greg said. “I just thought of something. There’s a PT form…” Jay started laughing. “…don’t be a dork, it means Physical Therapy, not prick teaser. Anyway, Doctor Jenkins told me he had the PT guy come up with an exercise plan that I’m to give my PE teacher.”
“My doctor wasn’t Doctor Jenkins. I had Doctor Lee,” Jay said.
“Let’s see if he worked up an exercise plan for you to give your PE teacher. Yeah, here it is. You’re good to go. Or not to go where you’d have to do a lot of heavy-duty exercises or play soccer or other regular PE stuff.”
“I think it’s good to go slow. I’ve been feeling more tired than usual.”
“Me too. I think it’s that stuff that was on the joints. It only took a couple tokes and I was sick as hell. Did you tell Officer Lowenthal who sold you that shit?”
“I want to make a correction. It’s that shit that I put on the joints. Me. I did it. And I did tell Officer Lowenthal who sold me that shit. Doctor Lee told me that you and I could have died but they got a handle on what it was.”
“Doctor Jenkins told me that I almost died. He also told me what that shit was made from. I memorized it. It’s a designer drug made from baclofen and l-deprenyl.”
“Let’s Google them and see what they are,” Jay said.
They walked into Greg’s bedroom and he woke up his laptop. He keyed in ‘baclofen’ and pressed Enter.
“It’s a muscle relaxer. This says it’s used to treat muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Let’s see the side effects. Dizziness. Yeah, that I can believe. Trouble breathing. Headache. Nausea. Confusion. Depression. Constipation. Rash. Swelling. Itching. Now let’s take a look at the other lovely ingredient.”
Greg keyed in ‘l-deprenyl’ and pressed Enter.
“Okay, it says this is a drug used for the treatment of early-stage Parkinson's disease. Side effects include depression, anxiety, restlessness, confusion, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fluctuating heartbeat, high blood pressure, headaches, and muscle weakness. There are more, but those are the most important.”
“Sounds like these two make a really dangerous combination together,” Jay said. “Thing is, what else did they add when they combined them into a designer drug?”
Greg laughed. “Wait until you hear this use of l-deprenyl. ‘Deprenyl has a very specific sexuality-enhancing effect, including hypersexuality. It will work or not work, depending on the sexual parameters that one aims to participate in.’ Hypersexuality? Sexuality-enhancing? This sounds like a load of crap to me.”
“Yeah. The last thing I wanted after taking a couple tokes of that joint was to have sex. All I wanted to do was hurl,” Jay said.
Greg rubbed his temples. “I thought my head was about to explode. That stuff was really bad.”
“I want to see the guy who sold it to me go to jail,” Jay said. “That’s why I gave his name to the police.”
“Jeez, look at the time. I need to email my dad and tell him you’re here and why. Then I want to look at what assignments are sitting there waiting for me. Then I want to go to bed. We’ve got school tomorrow.”
“Me too. The checking on assignments and going to sleep parts. What time should we get up?”
“Quarter to seven sound okay? That gives us a half hour to shower and get dressed, then grab some breakfast. If fifteen minutes is enough for you to drive us to school that’ll give us a half hour to talk to the admissions office and get the four days we were out covered as an excused absence before homeroom starts at seven fifty-five.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Jay agreed.
Composing the email took Greg almost a half hour. He wanted to word it so his folks would understand and be ready to accept Jay once they met him and heard the whole story of what he’d gone through. After sending the email, he was surprised to find that he wasn’t as far behind in most of his classes as he’d assumed. Pre-Calc had the most homework he needed to make up, and AP Chemistry had experiments he’d have to complete. The only homework in his other classes were reading assignments. There were two quizzes he’d have to make up. They were in AP U.S. History and Spanish 3 and he’d already done the homework and reading for those classes.
Then there was that stupid high school exit exam they wanted him to take. He decided he’d insist on seeing his counselor to get out of taking it a second time.
‘If they give me the run-around again I’ll tell them that my father, who’s an attorney, will come to school with me on Tuesday to find out why I haven’t been able to see a counselor since I started at Aston High. That ought to get their attention,’ he thought. ‘They won’t want some parent threatening to sue them.’
Greg finally got to bed at eleven fifteen. He fell asleep almost as soon as he closed his eyes.
Jay had more classwork problems than Greg. He was seriously behind in four classes with homework overdue and quizzes and one major test that needed to be made up. He’d have to work out a schedule with his teachers. He got to bed at eleven thirty and, like Greg, fell asleep right away.
A few minutes from Greg’s house Doris and Pete were talking about Jaydon.
“Forget the son of a bitch,” Pete said. “He’s moved out and we don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
“He owns this house and he could have us thrown out if he goes to a lawyer. Why did you have to beat him up and kick him out of a house that’s in his name? Sometimes you can be really stupid,” Doris retorted.
“Don’t fucking call me stupid!” Pete hollered. He raised his fist like he was about to hit Doris.
“You touch me and I’ll cut your balls and peter off. And don’t think I won’t do it!”
“Don’t threaten me, babe, I’m bigger and stronger than you.”
“Then I suggest you either start making some sense of our situation or you can forget about your conjugal visits to my bedroom.”
“As if! You like my peter too much to lock me out.”
“Then come up with some ideas about how we can protect ourselves. If the cops come here because he’s reported how you beat on him then you’re in big trouble.”
“I oughta find the little shit and take care of him for good.”
“Oh, yeah, great thinking. Off the kid after he’s probably been to the cops. That doesn’t make any sense. You gotta come up with something about how he attacked you and you were defending yourself.”
“How’s anyone going to believe that little pansy attacked me?”
“If you were sleeping on the couch in the living room and he came at you with a baseball bat that would give you enough reason to defend yourself. Then he moved out because he was afraid you’d go to the cops.”
“Okay, where are my injuries that he did with his baseball bat?”
“Bang your head into the wall in the garage. Make some bruises that you can show the cops.”
“I’m not going to do that.”
“Okay, how about we say he threatened you with his baseball bat and you got it away from him and he started hitting you and kicked you in the nuts and you were fighting him off trying to stop him. I could say I saw and heard the whole thing. The cops will believe me even if they wouldn’t believe you.”
“I like that. I could even go to the doctor tomorrow and complain about my balls hurting where he kicked me. Then we’ve got a record of it with the doctor.”
“Now, that’s a good plan. But I don’t see any reason to wait until tomorrow when you’d have to take time off work. Go to urgent care right now and complain about your balls still hurting.”
“How about I give my balls a good workout with you first? Maybe you can nibble on ‘em the way you like to do. Then I’ll have some real injuries to show the doctor.”
“Now that’s an even better plan. Come on, big boy, let’s get started.”
‘And if this plan doesn’t work,’ Pete thought, ‘I can still come up with a way to off the little shit.’
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing Bad Boy Gone Good
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