Swimming with bro's

by James

Danial’s tummy was roiling inside as he gritted his teeth against the dark and the swarming biting insects and the pitch black going underfoot that threatened to make each step an ankle breaker. All his real friends were tucked up safe and warm inside their computers, and where was he? Climbing some stupid mountain in the dark because the cool kids had asked him.

But this was better, right? Now he was accepted. Now he was no longer gay because he wouldn’t let Ian copy his math homework, and nor was he screaming faggot because he’d gone into the changing rooms at just that precise moment when Duncan was doing his nude strut to the showers.

There were seven of them climbing that dark mountainside with their beers and their cigarettes and their inappropriate footwear. It was crazy – beers and night-time swimming, how could that ever end well? The grouped crested the hill and emerged from the dark of the trees upon the shore of the pool lit by moonlight. Everyone began to whoop and holler. Beers were cracked and spilled and drunk. Teenage boys pranced and threw cans, and through it all Danial could only stare at the pool of water and think of the horror stories he had of idiot teens taking night-time dips in bottomless pools.

Duncan tore off his t-shirt and tossed it aside. ‘It’s swim time. Who’s up for it?’

Everyone began to shed their clothes, but Danial shook his head, and muttered that he didn’t have a costume. Duncan began to laugh. ‘Who needs costumes? It’s all guys together.’

Beer cans were drained then crushed, and then the naked mass of youth began the charge for the water. Danial risked a look up from the ground. Duncan had not run into the water. He posed, full frontal in the moonlight, hands on his hips.

‘Knew I was right about you, poof.’ He began to gyrate his hips languidly. ‘Good enough look yet?’

Danial sat down on the shore and Duncan ran into the water. Danial smiled a tiny bit as he thought of his too late comeback – you’re swimming naked with a bunch of dudes and you’re calling me gay?

He listened to their shouts and hollers, and all their bro calls.

Daniel’s mouth crooked into a smile.

Losers they were, all of them, with their daddy’s cars and their back of the class what the hell do I need to study attitude.

Well. They were finding out, for there was a witch who lurked in the depths of this devil’s pool, but not a witch of crooked finger and evil eyes was she. He wondered if it would come back to them, when they were lying in their hospital beds, that geography lesson when Mrs Richards lectured them long and hard about the limestone that leached into the mountain pools and turned them alkali. Like swimming in bleach, she said.