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Josh's Secret (1)

Warning: Inappropriate language.
Whoa, he's strange-looking.

That was my first thought when I saw the new kid. The door was wide open as he swung it freely with no care at all and he had strolled into the classroom like he owned it. He's got the brightest green eyes I've ever seen, which complements his tanned skin, and he's got a huge dragon tattoo on his neck. He's wearing a snap-back hat, a golden chain and he's got a diamond piercing -- all of which our school frowns upon. He's also wearing bright-white converses which the school has banned and he's chewing bubblegum (again, breaking school policy).

Our art teacher raised her head from marking the papers and she flashed a smile at the new kid, revealing her pearly-white teeth.

"Hey, you must be Joshua," Mrs. Waters said in her soft-spoken voice.

"Josh," the boy replied flatly. Surprisingly, he wasn't looking at her, which was strange as she is very attractive (in a fake blonde, fake eyelashes, extremely tanned, petite way). Instead, the boy was scanning the classroom, looking straight into everyone's eyes, like we were the ones on display and not him.

"Oh? Isn't Josh short for Joshua?" Mrs. Waters asked, as she tilted her head and batted her eyelashes innocuously. Honestly, she looked no older than the girls in our class.

"Born Josh. Birth certificate proves it," the boy responded in a monotone voice. I had a nagging feeling that he had to repeat this explanation several times in his life. That's probably why it sounded so scripted.

Mrs. Water giggled like a typical schoolgirl. "Oh, how interesting. Well, make yourself comfortable, Josh," she purred, as she cupped her chin while bending down to reveal some cleavage. I always knew she liked flirting with the boys in our class, yet my sister refuses to believe me when I tell her so.

"He's cute," my gay friend, Tom whispered. He was sitting opposite me across the wooden table.

"He seems like an asshole," my emo friend, Jerry remarked. He was always quick to judge others.

Suddenly, a black rucksack flew across the room and it crashed on our table, making us jump in surprise. Josh walked over to us, plopped down on the empty seat next to me, slammed his bag on the floor and he whipped his phone out.

My friends and I looked at each other hesitantly. Eventually, I spoke up.

"H-hey, I'm Luke," I mumbled. I hate introductions.

"And I'm Tom," my friend added. Then he gestured to his left, "and this is Jerry. It's a pleasure to meet you," he said, sounding more confident and flirty than I ever could.

"Yo, wassup my niggas," Josh said, still not taking his green eyes off his phone screen.

My friends and I looked at each other again. Tom's mouth was open in shock and Jerry was blinking in disbelief. I just felt confused.

We were white...

"That Oompa Lumpa can pass for a page girl, know what I mean?" Josh continued, clearly unfazed by our shocked reactions. Our eyes widened even further by his observation.

My friends and I exchanged yet another look between us, as if to say, how does he know?

"She used to be one actually. Fully nude," Jerry spoke up, as he glanced at Mrs. Waters who was busy flirting with some other boys. "I dunno how she ended up working with kids though... and how it was even possible for her."

"Probably slept with the headteacher for this job," Tom replied, sniffing in distaste.

"Our school is clearly shit," I added quietly.

"Yeah, it's the shit!" Josh said more enthusiastically. "Better than the last."

"What school did you go to before?" Jerry asked, raising his shapely pierced eyebrow.

"Kingswood," Josh said. "Got expelled."

"Why?" I asked, intrigued. I suspected that he got into too many fights or missed too many lessons or he was too cheeky with the teachers, but I could have never prepared myself for his answer.

"Blew up the science lab, innit."

I don't know how many times my friends and I stared at each other in shock. Josh was grinning like he still didn't care at all.

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Lunch time. The food sucks, the line sucks, the small cafeteria where the entire school population is forced to squeeze into absolutely sucks. This was the time of day where I usually hate everyone. However, on this particular occasion, my mind was buzzing with everything Josh told us.

He blew up the lab by mixing chemicals together, even though his teacher repeatedly warned him not to. In another school, he almost set the entire building on fire since he befriended a pyromaniac. One time, he released rats in his classroom 'just for fun' (his words). Teachers would yell at him, but he'll smash their car windows and graffiti the school walls. His parents got so sick of him that he was sent to a strict camp school. Even that 'prison hell-hole' (his words again) kicked him out since he started a riot with animals. Yes, there were cats, dogs, a box of frogs, rats (typically) and even a goat that he and his friends released in that place!

After hearing his crazy stories, Jerry grabbed my arm. "Are we really gonna let him hang out with us?" He hissed. "This guy spells trouble."

I pulled my arm away from his grip. "I don't know," I sighed. On one hand, while Josh does seem... a bit much, he does spice up our boring lives. On the other hand, we are generally boring guys and we like it that way. Being with Josh means that we'll have to deal with other people and our group is far too introverted for that.

"The food here though!" Josh said, whistling at his tray of fish fingers and chips that are smothered in ketchup and his jacket potato which is covered in beans. He's helped himself to two big chocolate-chipped muffins and an ice-cream Twister.

I was sitting directly opposite of Josh, so I had a good view of him. He was happily shoving the food into his mouth using his bare hands. The way he ate is the most disgusting sight I've ever seen in my life. And I've seen my baby brother's blood-stained poop.

"Still think he's cute?" I heard Jerry asking Tom.

"Hey-o, my homie!"

"There you are, bro!"

"Man, whatchu doin' here with these saddos?"

The most annoying crew had arrived, also known as the popular guys. These guys consisted of dumb jocks, wannabe rude and cheeky ghetto kids, selfish players, and immature guys that love to wind people up. Their leader (or the guy who acts like it) is the worst, narcissistic douchebag I've ever met in my life: Liam Tyrant.

"'Sup, dawg? Why you chillin' with the trash bags? Come join us," Liam said in his usual bossy tone, while snaking a muscular arm around Josh's tattooed neck.

"Fine here," Josh replied with a mouthful. I could see the mashed up food resting on his pink tongue. I looked away, feeling sick.

"You sure?" Liam demanded. His tone was slightly harsh, as he probably wasn't used to being turned down.

Josh nodded. Then he casually snatched the chocolate bar off Liam's hand and he bit into it. Liam definitely looked shocked.

"Hoi! Long time no see, brother!" Deijon Wilkins hollered, appearing from nowhere and slapping Josh's back.

"Miss me, cracka?" Josh said, winking at the black boy. I was confused at first with his remark. Then my mind clicked. Josh was deliberately switching our racial labels.

"You two know each other?" Liam asked dryly, as he glared at Deijon in hatred. Those two were in competition with each other. One is the captain of the football team, while the other is the head of the entertainment club (both of which, in my opinion, suck). To be honest, they're both no better than bitchy schoolgirls in rivalry.

"Hell yeah, we do. Deji was my go-to pimp. Always went to him to buy the finest hoes," Josh said casually, taking another bite into Liam's chocolate bar.

We all stared at Deijon in shock, apart from Liam who snorted with laughter.

"Ain't surprised by your shady shit," Liam retorted.

The black boy laughed nervously and he nudged Josh hardly in the ribs. "Man, this fucker is a right joker," Deijon said, shaking his head.

"I'm done with these idiots," my emo friend whispered to me.

I nodded in agreement. I couldn't stand being with the shallow popular crew any longer. These very assholes mocked and bullied Tom for being gay and Jerry for his emo lifestyle. Heck, they even bullied me just because I'm friends with the outcasts. These guys were the reason we felt like rejects for so long. Still, as much as I hated to admit it, Josh would be better off with them, as looked like he belonged in the popular crew, and not with us - the 'loser trio' (as that asshat, Liam titled us).

"Leggo," I said, getting up from my seat. Tom and Jerry stood up and we were all heading to a place that the popular kids rarely stepped foot in -- the library.

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Josh is strange. We wanted to ditch him with the assholes, yet he managed to drift in between different groups. Sometimes he will hang out with us and we'll talk about his crazy life. Other times, he'll be with the popular crew (usually playing sports) and he'll even chill with the nerdy guys (mostly out of fascination). He got on well with everyone for the most part which, in my book, is a true example of popularity.

"Yo... is that a rocket?" Josh asked, eyeing the mini machinery in front of him. We had stopped to visit the science lab (which Jerry insisted that we should avoid taking Josh).

"Y-yes," David the awkward geek replied. He was shakily holding onto what appeared to be a controller. His other friend, Samad was biting his lip while looking at Josh fearfully. I think he was worried that our new friend would break the device or something.

"That's awesome," Josh said, taking the two nerds by surprise. I guess the poor guys were not used to genuine compliments for their hard work, especially praises from a popular individual.

"Th-thanks," David said, looking down while his cheeks were glowing pink.

"How long did that take?" Josh asked, seeming intrigued.

"Um... three... four... months to build," David answered uncertainly.

"Whoa," Josh breathed out. "Can this thing fly?"

"We haven't properly tested it out yet," Samad spoke up, pushing his glasses up.

"We're gonna blast fireworks at Danny's. Come test it then!" Josh exclaimed, his green eyes twinkling with a child-like joy.

Danny is the most richest guy in our school. He holds a lot of power since his parents are the school's main benefactors, which earns Danny a lot of respect from both the teachers and the students. Thanks to Danny (and his parents), our trips are cheap, we have a gumball machine, two snooker tables, and we recently ordered iPads. Heck, Danny's reputation is further boosted by the legendary parties that he hosts (which I had never seen for myself until Josh came into the picture).

"Erm... uh, well... we weren't invited..." Samad explained, as he was fidgeting with his fingers nervously.

"Who cares, bro? I'm inviting you now!" Josh said in a dismissive tone. "Bring all your mates if you want. There's gonna be great food, DJ Kimol and his sick beats, a huge ass pool, and strippers. It's gonna be lit! Don't miss it."

The two nerds were staring at him in surprise. Their shocked expressions mirrored our reactions for when we first talked to Josh.

There was something else that I had noticed. Josh had only been here for four days and there was already a change in the atmosphere. Usually you can distinguish between the different groups: the popular crew practically owned the playground, the sports facilities and the parking lot (don't ask); the nerds hid in the classrooms or joined the clubs (chess, Maths, IT etc.) while the introverted freaks (us) roamed around in our own worlds. However, Josh was somehow bringing us all closer together without us even realizing it, and all these different groups were being merged into one.

"Dude, you gotta snake tattoo?" Jimmy Chung asked, pointing to Josh's left arm.

We were all in the playground. I was sitting down on the red bench with Tom and Jerry. Admittedly, it felt weird sitting down here since this bench is dedicated to Mr Griffin, our music teacher who had passed away. Still, I enjoyed being out here, feeling the cool breeze and finally getting some fresh air.

"Yup. Neat, huh?" Josh said, showing off his tattooed arm in pride. I looked at the long and intricate design, which was bright with colors, decorated with fire and blood. Overall, the tattoo was aesthetically pleasing, but I would never permanently ink that on my skin.

Jimmy pulled a face. "I dunno, man. Snakes creep me out..." he said. I found his confession rather funny as Jimmy is the toughest fighter in our school (no surprise since he's Asian). He's the reason why our school is number one when it comes to wrestling. This is basically the only thing our school is known for since it pretty much sucks for everything else.

"You oughta confront your fears, mate," Josh said with a little smirk.

Jimmy looked at him with a puzzled expression. "How?"

"Kiss a snake, innit," Josh automatically replied.

Jimmy's eyes immediately widened in disbelief. "Yeah right! Quit gassing, fool," he spluttered out. Then he shuddered in disgust. I'm guessing that he was mentally picturing a snake.

Suddenly, Josh holds onto his stomach and he's doubling-over like he's in pain. "I don't feel so good..." He groaned. His face was paler than usual and he kept making retching noises as if he was going to vomit. Before I could run to the school nurse, a greeny-yellow object was dangling from his mouth. Josh pulled it out from him like a string and our eyes widened when we saw the long, slender body in his hands. It had two black beady eyes. At first I thought it was fake, but then I caught a glimpse of the reptilian's small pink tongue.

It was alive.

How in the world did he do that?

And how long had he been carrying that with him?!

"S-s-snake...!" Jimmy stuttered out, horrified.

"Kiss her," Josh said calmly, as he stepped closer to the Asian boy. The snake had wrapped itself around Josh's right arm and it was hissing at Jimmy.

The boy jumped in fright. "No way, man! You're fucking insane!" Jimmy cried out, as he slowly backed away.

"C'mon, don't be a pussy. She's trained," Josh replied. With a snap of his fingers, the snake jumped from his right arm to his left arm. I found myself jumping too from the sudden movement of the reptilian.

Seriously, how the heck was he doing that?

I swear to god, Josh must be an expert when it comes to snakes... and illusions (because, you know, I don't think he would eat an alive snake just to pull it out when it's convenient. I hope so anyway.)

Jimmy stumbled and fell back. He staggered himself to his feet and he was going to run away, but Josh pinned him against the brick wall. The snake was moving closer to Jimmy's face. My own heart was thudding heavily for the petrified Asian boy, who was shaking terribly. His face was turning red and sweaty, just like it always does when he's fighting.

Just then, heads were turning in our direction. It was the first time I ever heard Jimmy scream. It was a very, very high-pitched scream that could burst eardrums. A foreign noise. I was pretty sure that the teachers would hear his bloodcurdling scream and come running over anytime soon.

Josh let go of the screaming boy and he laughed lightheartedly.

"Calm your tits. I ain't gonna force you to kiss him," he said, as he wrapped the snake around his neck like a scarf.

"Him?" Jimmy screeched, looking bewildered.

Josh smirked in response.

Jimmy glared furiously at the grinning boy. "You're fucking mental! Crazy bastard!" He spat out, balling up his fists and looking ready to kick ass.

Josh laughed carelessly again. "And you scream like a little bitch. Louder than any whore I've piped," he said with a wink.

Jimmy flushed in embarrassment while the other guys were laughing now. As much as I felt sorry for the poor Asian guy, I couldn't stop myself from laughing too. It's amusing to see Jimmy's masculinity (which is clearly precious to him) being demeaned by a little snake. Heck, if it was anyone else but Josh, this might have been considered bullying, but somehow the boy pulled it off. Even Jimmy couldn't stay mad at him for long and he ended up laughing too.

That's the thing about Josh. He got away with a lot of things just because... well, he's Josh. He's strange.

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Author's Note:

Want Part 2? Leave a comment.
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Published: 12/5/2016
Bouquets and Brickbats | What Others Said
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