CONTENT WARNING; STRONG LANGUAGE, SEX SCENES
“11 minutes sir, until impact, that’s what CNN says.”
Sir cowers on all fours, placing his desk between him and the nuclear warhead that is now minutes away from turning our school into a barbecue pit. He pokes his phone’s darkened screen hard with his index finger, tap, tap, tap. He’s trying to call his wife or kids or something; I doubt he has a mistress, not Sir. He’s going to tell them he loves them, apologise for being a lousy dad and a crap husband, sorry yet again for having erectile dysfunction or something stupid like that. That’s what married dudes do when the world is about to end, right?”
How the fuck would I know? I’m a school kid, right?
“Uh ch…ache..ar..ye…." Sir stutters. Moron.
“It’s Acharya sir, my surname. Pronounced, uh cha nee uh.”
Sir looks up from under his desk. My parents had a dog, a lazy fat labrador. It lay under my father's desk, farting, saliva everywhere, skin covered in warts and boils. My mother had found it. Anyway, it was kinda gross. That’s what Sir reminds me of right now, a dumbass dog in need of rescuing.
That mutt is dead now.
According to CNN, Sir is too, in about 10 minutes. And me, and everyone else in the fucking country. I'm watching the live news feed on my phone. One news anchor said today was a "historic day". No shit, that's what he said.
“10 minutes Sir.”
“Get under your desk! And put that phone away. You know the rules.”
"Yes sir!" I thought about saluting, but that’s taking it too far, right? I mean, Sir is having a breakdown or something, right?
There are five of us in this classroom, plus Sir. All but two of us are sheltering under desks. Seriously. School finished like 30 minutes ago, but we're in detention. And you won't believe my fucking luck but guess who is here? Gunner Dawson. Can you believe it? He's a cliché right, like in those stupid movies from the 80s that sometimes pop to life on TikTok, girls doing their best Molly Ringwald lip-synch, shit like that. Gunner is the school jock, captain of the football team, dating a cheerleader, and dumb as a hedgehog. See cliche. And he's fucking drop-dead gorgeous, did I mention that?
Five minutes with him, and I'd happily let the world end.
“Get back under your desk, now!” Sir calls out, to me again, I think, or to Gunner, who, like me, is straddling his desk, eyes glued to his phone. “Remember the drill, duck and cover.”
It’s hard to keep a straight face when Sir speaks. Teachers right? They’re all so fucking stupid. Dumber than parents, yeah? (Okay, I swear a lot. I'm trying not to, same with vaping and my other vice, but more of that later.)
So, if you are like, “oh hang on, not all adults are as thick as a breakfast stack from iHop, just ask yourself this: ‘Why is there only nine minutes left before the world ends?’”
Which reminds me: “Nine minutes sir!”
That shut you up, right? We are about to have our arses blown off our backsides by those fuckers and their arsenal of nuclear weapons all because Madame President didn’t bow properly or some horse-shit like that. Then, she called them names when she should have apologised. But being President doesn't save you from being a dumbass, right? Look at her dad. You can't fix stupid. (That's not my line, right? I saw it printed on a t-shirt or something, last time I was in Manhattan, visiting my parents.)
“Sir, Fox News says 14 minutes.”
Gunner fucking spoke.
Now, you would think that since we attend the same school, we would hang out, right? Fat chance. He's all white and gorgeous and muscular like someone chiselled him from a slab of marble. I mean, you could carve a turkey on his abs, right? He hangs with all the other white, gorgeous, muscular kids, and I ride with all the kids who aren't white, gorgeous and muscular.
I always knew Gunner was as dumb as a hedgehog or some other cute furry thing. He's in one of my classes and never raises his hand to answer a question, not once. And that name. Who calls themselves "Gunner?" Still, Fox News? That takes the fucking cake.
"Does it matter, Dawson,? Sir deadpans. He sounds a little frustrated, don't you reckon? I figure the last place Sir pictured dying when the world ends is here in a classroom of delinquents.
When we heard about the impending end, detention had started; otherwise, I reckon, Sir might have said for us to go back to our dorms. (This is one of those snobby private boarding schools, right? And yeah, my parents are loaded, well dad is, not sure my mother does shit.) Some kid raised his hand and asked if we could be excused, but Sir was like, no, no. "We're probably safest here," he said, straight-faced and looking pale, his brow awash with sweat. See, adults are stupid.
I’m in detention for two reasons.
Reason A: I am smarter than anyone at this school, teachers included. I know I sound full of it, but trust me when I say this, I'm not. I'm just one of those kids. There's one in every school, right? Well, at this school, I am that kid. Don't believe me? Here's an example. I'll keep it simple because, well, I don't want to sound too uppity, right? So I was in physics class last week, discussing nuclear physics (which isn't ironic, although a lot of you dumbasses are thinking that, considering we are under a nuclear attack and everything. It's coincidental. Got it?) when Sir told us the wrong equation for calculating relative molecular mass. Now that formula is the easiest thing in nuclear physics, you don't need to be Einstien to figure that out. I politely raised my hand and pointed this out to him. I wasn't impertinent, nor was I being a smart arse (you know they mean the same thing, right?) I just gracefully explained where he got it wrong, and he told me to sit down and shut up. Of course, he mispronounced my name, which pissed me off, so I let him have it. I told him he had no right teaching us if he was too dumb to work out a simple nuclear physics equation. Before you know it, I'm in the principal's office, and my parents are being called. What a jackass. I mean, how could you not know the equation?
Reason B: Remember earlier, I said I had another vice? Well, I like watching porn. Who doesn't, right? I mean, that's what the internet was fucking invented for, right? And besides, if I can't learn anything in class, I need something to pass the time, right? Now get this. I reckon if I was watching some breeder porn, you know, some girl taking it from some guy or even some chick-on-chick action, I guess I might have got off (no pun intended) with just a slap on the wrist. But nope, I was watching some hard-core gay porn with some beefed-up muscle daddies, a sling, and a box full of toys. It was hot. Here's the thing, right. When you watch two muscle studs giving it to each other, and you're watching this in the classroom of a private, all-boys Catholic boarding school, the shit is going to hit the proverbial fan.
Dad says I was lucky not to get expelled.
Mom says I am going through a phase, and I’ll grow out of it.
Okay, so there's like eight minutes (or 13) left until the world goes up like a toasted marshmallow at a Boy scout Jamboree, and it's the only reason I grow a pair and do this, right? Here it goes; I will go and say hi to Gunner. He's across the room, still looking at his phone. He's probably trying to hook up on Tinder or something. As I said, dumb as a hedgehog. Nothing to lose, right?
Hang on, here's the thing, right. When you are as fucking smart as I am, you gotta try and play it cool, especially with a dumbass like Gunner, right? So Veer, that's me - you are just going to be a little nonchalant. Here watch.
"Fox news really says 13 minutes, not eight. That's awesome?" I hate the word "awesome". Cheesy as.
Gunner looks up. Wow. I'm mean, we've all been left breathless by someone, right? You know, some dude you see on the subway or in an underwear ad, and you think, how the fuck can someone be that beautiful, well that's me right now. Excuse me while I gush. I've never been this close to him before, and he is even more fucking gorgeous than I imagined. I just want to touch him, right? But I don't, of course. This guy is like 50 pounds bigger than me, and it's all muscle.
Hang on, did he just smile?
“Sir won’t take it serious. A lot can happen in five minutes,” he says.
He has puppy dog eyes.
Should I pat him?
Instead, I sit next to him. Don't confuse me with that kid with big balls. That's not me. I am a fucking Nancy-boy wimp. I mean, my palms are sweating right now, and my mouth is so fucking dry my tongue feels like the sole of my shoe.
“Maybe we should see what the other channels say,” I say, “see who’s reporting what?”
Gunner turns those baby blues right onto me and smiles. "My dad says if it isn't on Fox news, then it's not to be trusted."
It's tough, like right now, to take him seriously. Did he just say that? Still, he's sexy right?
You should know this about Gunner’s dad. He was all over the internet. You may have seen him. He's some prominent oil executive and was lambasted on Facebook last summer after he shot a fucking lion on a hunting trip in Africa. It was pretty sick. Everyone was pissed. There was even a petition asking Gunner not to return to school in the Autumn. I didn't sign, and by the time school did start again, everyone had moved on. Here's the thing. What sucked for Gunner is that everyone is so fucking stupid they can't see the big picture. These big wealthy game hunters pay a small fortune to shoot some lame lion that's about to die anyway, and then the African government (I know Africa is a continent, not a country, I'm just keeping things simple, right?) use that money to save all the other lions. (That, by the way, is ironic.) But as I keep saying to anyone who isn't, everyone's a dumbass.
“Eight minutes sir!”
“13 minutes actually sir!”
Gunner giggles and grins at me. I grin back. His knee touches mine. I think of shifting or something, it's a little awkward, but I don’t, and Gunner presses a little harder. I push back, and there our knees stay. I think I'm about to pass out, cardiac arrest. If anything, I'm suffering from arrhythmia. (That's an irregular heartbeat, my dad's a cardiologist, I didn't really know what that was either, I had to look it up.)
“My name is Veer,” I tell him. I wait for him to move his knee, but he doesn't.
“We’re in physics together, you don’t see me sitting down the back.”
Of course I fucking see him sitting down the back. What does he think I am, fucking blind or something.
“Oh yeah, I didn’t notice.” Nonchalant.
He looks a little, what, disappointed I said that?
“I loved how you called Sir out the other day, for getting that equation wrong. Everyone knows how to calculate relative molecular mass hey?”
"Multiply the number of atoms of element A…." I start.
“By the relative mass of element A,” Gunner continues.
"Apply the same equation to element B."
“And add the two together.”
“Simple,” we say in unison.
I wonder what he'd wear if we lived long enough to marry. I imagine him in a beautiful sky blue shirt and khaki pants, tight, so I can see his bulge.
“I was too gutless to say anything,” Gunner admits. “I never raise my hand.”
You, too gutless? You are like the school’s superhero.
I didn't say this, of course. Nonchalant, remember?
"So, um, what did you get detention for?" I ask, distracted by his knee that is rubbing mine. And I have a boner.
“Promise not to judge me?”
With only minutes left, I'd promise him anything he wanted.
“Me, I’m the last person who’d judge,” I tell him.
He looks down at his phone briefly. "12 minutes, sir!"
Are we playing with each other, or are we playing with Sir? He smiles again. “I was watching porn, in class.”
“No way,’ I shriek. ”So was I!”
He now slid in closer, so our kneecaps touch. He places his hands on my thighs. “Do you like the proper stuff, you know, studio porn or the home-made stuff, like they have on Twitter and Only Fans?” He asks.
I feel like I’ve lost my mind. Have I slipped into an alternate dimension where I am conversing with the hottest guy in the universe about the nuances, styles and genres of pornography?
“A bit of both, right? I usually save the good stuff for when I’m at home, on my MacBook, you know what I mean?”
"Yeah," he gives me a wink like he knows what I mean. "I'm glad you came over and said hi."
Is he? "You are?"
“Boys get under the desk now!”
“Sir,” I respond, “with all due respect.”
Gunner grabs hold of my arm. “Come on, let’s duck and cover,” he says and pulls me to the ground.
We sit facing each other. His legs stretch out, and so do mine. They touch, just.
“Here,” he says, reaching forward, “let me undo your tie.”
Seriously I am hallucinating, right? Some sort of shocked psychosis from the world ending and all. I mean, Gunner Dawson has his hands around my neck, undoing my tie. "There, better?"
Can you fucking believe it? I'm speechless.
He undoes his tie and the top button to his shirt.
He has a ridge running to his Adam apple, from under his shirt, a canyon between pecs that you could rappel into. He looks down at his phone, our legs, our knees, all touching.
“Here check this out,” Gunner thrusts his phone towards me. “The Fox news anchors have pissed off, too scared to stay till the end.”
I look down at mine. “The CNN guys are still there, looking worried. Four minutes sir.”
We think we are so fucking funny, we can’t stop laughing.
“What sort of porn do you like?” he asks.
“You know, don’t you?”
“I want you to say it.”
“Because I wasn’t sure, so I want to hear you say it.”
Here we go. He’s fucking with me, right? This is that cliched scene where I tell him I'm gay, and he secretly films it with his phone, and suddenly I'm on TikTok, and everyone is laughing, right? This is that moment. So now who is the stupid one? Me, right? And here I was, thinking…what the fuck was I thinking?"
Three minutes or eight.
I don’t have anything to lose. I swallow. I brace myself for impact. The bomb is about to detonate; "I watch gay porn."
Gunner’s eyes remain fixed on mine. I imagine this is the same line of sight his old man held when shooting that lion. Was I really that lame? You tell me. I mean, Gunner is hunting, right?”
Two or seven.
He stays silent. I can only hear Sir whimpering. Gunner looks at his phone and taps at the screen. I'm not sure what he's doing, but the expression on his face turns from steely silent to a smirk of mischievousness. I know what's coming.
"One minute, sir!" I yell, trying to change the mood, break the silence, be a circuit breaker, something, just to get Gunner to do whatever the fuck he's going to do. Come on, dude."
“Curry kid, shut up will you, for Christ’s sake.”
Jesus that was a bit much.
“Born is the U S of A, sir! Eat burgers sir.” I kinda laugh at Sir’s ignorance, but not his racism.
This whole exchange occurs, and Gunner remains glued to his phone. "Found it. Here, this is what I like to watch." He turns the phone around, and I see two big muscle daddies, a sling and a box full of toys. It’s the same porn I was caught watching. I look up from the screen.
“Dude, I’ve been checking you out all year, how haven’t you noticed you dumbass? Don’t you realise how hot you are. Jesus.”
I thought he kept staring because I was the only brown kid in the class.
Gunner grabs hold of my face, pulls me in close and drives his tongue deep down my throat. Now I know I’m full-on rainbow pride and shit, but I'm only 16, and this is the first time I've actually kissed a guy. It's fucking unreal. My hands grip his muscular shoulders as I sink into him, refusing to let go.
I never want this to end.
CNN is wrong. We have five more minutes.
Thank you, God. Thanks, an awful lot.