The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 15, 1994
Tristam sat near the back of the study hall trying to read his history textbook. As usual it was no use, he’d read and reread but still couldn’t remember a single fact. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. For all the sleeping he was doing he still felt tired, and not just regular tired, he felt painfully tired. Exhaustion was a constant ache; it was the price for he was paying for his out of body experiences. Not that Tristam cared, not after all he had seen since Saturday night. Nothing could hurt as bad as seeing Monique let Evan do things to her that he had only dreamt of.
A trio of girls glanced back at him and snickered. Tristam looked back down at his book and smiled. Let them laugh, let them throw their spitwads and insults. They didn’t know how vulnerable they were, they didn’t know that he could see all of them any time he wanted, that he could learn all their secrets. That was how he’d spent the day yesterday. He’d told his mother he was sick, and he’d performed the part so well that she had stayed home from work out of concern. Under a blanket on the couch he had self-sedated himself with a double dose of Nyquil. Free from his body he’d gone where he never dared before, the girl’s locker room.
There he’d seen a show that rivaled anything the Booby Hatch had to offer. It was strange in a way, Ariel and the other dancers knew men were looking at them and by the third song of their set they always ended up topless and gyrating to some power ballad or another. The girls of Blessed Heart were only stripping down to their underwear but for Tristam there was something undeniably sexy about the fact they didn’t know a boy was watching them- especially a boy they reviled. Greedily he flitted from girl to girl, delighting in the parade of flesh. The dancers of the Booby Hatch all pretty much looked alike but here in the locker room he saw short girls, thin girls, fat girls, skinny girls, girls who looked like they were twelve and girls that looked like they were twenty-one. He’d even seen his sister and Drew, and had been amused to note that they almost had the exact same shape. Tristam made note of who had the most intriguing birthmarks and who had the most risqué underwear- or, in the case of Linda Kaspary, who had no underwear at all.
And more entertaining than all the skin was the gossip; already he had learned more about the inner workings of the school’s ruling class then he ever had by being a member. Between shows he would soar through the school. That was how he had discovered Evan’s little side business and a few other things as well. He knew the student that was robbing the nuns on the school’s upper level out of sheer malice. He had spied on freshman and a senior sneak into the room set aside for band practice and have sex on the tile floor, their hall passes still clutched in their hands. Flitting from office to office, he had watched the teaching staff use their free time to work, sleep, drink and read. He had paused to listen to his science professor talk on the phone with his wife, the conversation beginning civilly enough but ending with the man shrieking and teary-eyed. Sometimes he would hover just above a congested hallway and watch the students flowing to and from class.
By the time the last bell had rung and the cold medicine had worn off, he had explored every corner of the school. The only places that he wasn’t comfortable in were the convent in the old building’s upper floor and the tiny cemetery and it’s ruined chapel.
That was all right though, he didn’t find those places particularly interesting anyway.
There was more mocking laughter, the girls were glancing furtively back at him. Tristam made a note to learn their home addresses.
Maybe someday soon... He thought smugly, You’ll shower with the Dog-Boy and not even know it.