Dregs, Chapter 1
edited: Friday, June 27, 2008
By Barri L Bumgarner
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, June 27, 2008
Become a Fan
What's it like to be at the bottom? To see popularity from the outside and know something isn't right? Benson Schmidt is a lowly seventh grader and a dreg but his older brother Colin is a superstar--in the halls, on the court, in life. But Benson discovers that even the haves aren't satisfied with status quo. Some are even willing to kill to avoid becoming a have-not. Better to die than become a dreg.
Benson Schmidt hated his older brother more than lima beans rolled in spinach and sprinkled with cow manure. Even without the manure, he'd hate Colin.
"Ah, poor Bennie, you're such a girl. When I was in seventh grade, I..." Colin cocked his head, grinning. The blond hair, dimples, and bright blue eyes lured the girls, but to Benson, it meant nothing but trouble. And being his mirror image just made it worse.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, you were stud quarterback, hotshot point guard, and Mr. All-America. And I'm not. God, I'm so SICK of hearing that crap!" Benson fought the tears, lying on the floor with Colin straddling him, a serious case of Indian torture pending.
It's the way every afternoon worked after Colin's football practice during the hour before their mom got home from the firm. The season determined Colin's aggression--the sophomore phenom tackled and tortured during football, bounced Benson off furniture picks throughout basketball, and hurled hostile projectiles during baseball.
"Truth hurts, weenie-breath." Colin rolled up his sleeves and flexed his bulging biceps, giving Benson just the opportunity he needed to squirm out from under his brother.
Even if Colin was three years older, Benson wasn't the geek he pretended to be at school. Maybe it made him a poser, but he'd rather hang out in the shadows than be compared to Colin in the spotlight.
He ducked the pillow before it pummeled him, and raced up the stairs to his bedroom. He slammed and locked the door, panting as he leaned against it.
"I hope you throw twenty interceptions Friday night!" Benson screamed, then wished he hadn't. Egging Colin on was the worst thing to do, even if Mom should be home any time. He held his breath for a solid thirty seconds before realizing Colin wasn't coming to beat him senseless.
I hate you! Benson wanted to scream, but why bother?
Without a weapon, he was no match for his brother. Colin outweighed him, out-muscled him, out-everythinged him. Benson could never measure up, so he had stopped trying. Other than soccer, he had no unique skills of his own. It all tied back to something his mother, father, or brother did first--and better. So he ditched sports on principle. Even soccer.
His best friend Ryan possessed a more callous disregard for put-downs and had lots more practice at it, given his runt stature. And so could Benson, at school. But Colin brought out the evil in him.
His chest hurt from the Indian torture, and he was so frustrated he wanted to cry. There wouldn't be any point in tattling. It had never helped in the past. Besides, how would he fit that into dinner conversation?
Yep, scouts're gonna be watchin' Colin go for the single season rushing record Friday night and, by the way, he beat me up again today.
He dropped onto his bed, resigned to his menial existence as Colin's shadow. Grabbing the phone, he hit speed dial one. Ryan would have insight, would give him a boost, and perhaps have ideas on how he could off Colin once and for all.
Murder wasn't out of the question, was it?
"What's up, Bennie? I got loads of homework ... Sorry. I'm down to a 95% in Algebra." Ryan sighed.
"Oooooh, gonna blow that straight A honor roll. What's up with that?" Benson let out a half-hearted laugh. "I swear, Ryan, when I get his size, I'm gonna plow him every chance I get."
Benson sat up so he could see his reflection in the mirror, flexing and inspecting his small ball of bicep.
"By the time you're his size, Ben, he'll be playin' for the Packers." Ryan snickered, then started babbling about the math assignment. Benson couldn't deal with homework now. He was still pissed. His stud brother had the whole school, town, and especially their parents, completely snowed. They would eat dog poop out of the palm of his hand if he told them it was chocolate pudding. That riled Benson more than the daily taunts and beatings.
"I'll vent about him in my journal. You get yours done yet?"
"Yeah, but I'm gonna run out of the things to say pretty quick. I'm not the writer you are. More money in math and science."
"Geek," Benson challenged.
"Loser," Ryan countered. It was a game that could go on for several minutes until the slurs got too vulgar or one of them ran out.
"Well, I gotta go. Mom's cookin' dinner, and I'm thinking I might help her." Benson sat up and stared at his reflection in the mirror. He finger-combed his hair while studying a new crop of zits. He'd tackle those after dinner.
"Must be cooking something good, huh?"
"Ah, and you're going to set the table while you eat a drumstick before Colin gets them all." Ryan chuckled, and it amazed Benson how well his best friend knew him.
"Exactly. See you tomorrow, and don't forget to bring your science homework. I might need to look at it." Benson intended to give it an attempt, but why bother when Ryan's was as good as an answer key?
"No problem, man, but you owe me. As always."
Who had time for science when he had murders to plot?