Chapter Four-

Saturday and Sunday passed without too much excitement. Not to say it was boring, just nothing too interesting happened; watched some TV, went for a drive in the El Camino. God, I hate that, I mean the Camino. El means the, so when I say the El Camino, I'm saying "the The Camino". Anyway, we went for a quick cruise. Dad showed me the school id be going to. Fuck it was huge!

Then it was Monday. I got up, had some cereal, packed up some sandwiches, all that exciting stuff before I packed my school bag and walked out the front door. I didn't know if dad had already left for work (if he worked) or if he was still in bed. I locked the door anyway. It was about a 45 second walk to the bus stop down on the corner. When I rocked up, there were already a few kids standing around. Most of them looked like they were a good 3 or 4 years younger than me and there was a dude about my age with what looked like his girlfriend; at least I hoped it was, because in my country we don't do that to our sisters.

One of the younger kids looked at me. "Are you new here?" he asked.

"Yeah" I nodded. At this sound, ol' mate and his girlfriend stopped snogging and had a look at me. I looked back.

"How are ya's?" I said with a little nod.

"What's your accent?" asked the girl.

"Australian" I answered

"What's your name?" asked one of the kids.

"Owen Finch" I said.

"Isn't that Irish?" asked the guy.

"My grandparents are Irish. I lived in Melbourne my whole life."

Then the bus pulled up. It was the whole big yellow thing like in the movies. One cool thing about America was that I didn't have to worry about a school uniform. I was wearing a 'Parkway Drive' (An Australian metal-core band) t-shirt, jeans and a pair of high top globes. There was a fair few kids on the bus and most of them were staring at me. I just found a seat and sat down. At one point I locked eyes with some tough looking guy who was looking at me like I just took a shit on his lawn. I winked at him with a little grin.

"How's it going champion?" I said before sitting down. I didn't give a fuck; I knew I could beat the fuck out of him if he tried the whole "pick on the new kid" thing.

After I got off the bus, I started walking towards the big school building with all the other kids. The tough guy from the bus knocked me with his shoulder as he went past.

"Watch it freak." He said. I've never been much for subtlety, and my pride wasn't about to allow me to let this slide.

"Eat my dick, ya cunt!" I yelled after him. He stopped and turned around.

"What did you just call me?" he said.

"You heard me Cunt." I said. "Now either step up, or jog the fuck on." He started walking back towards me. I slipped my bag off and let it fall to the ground behind me. All the kids from the bus had started crowding around and a few other kids from around the school had noticed and were looking on eagerly. I barely noticed a few kids pulling out their phones because about 95 kg's of pissed off tough cunt was moving quickly towards me.

"I'll show you, you little piece of shit." He said as he swung in with a big right hand. I ducked under the punch and kneed him in the guts. As he hunched over I planted my hands on his chest and pushed him back. He sprawled over backwards onto the bitumen. There was a big sound from the crowd; about half-way between a gasp and a cheer. 'Tough guy' went red in the face as he stood up; He looked pretty P.O'd. He came back again with another big swing. I palmed his punch to the side before I grabbed his collar with both hands and gave him a quick head-butt to the face; my forehead landed on the bridge of his nose. Textbook stun-shot; His eyes must have been watering big time and it would have been the perfect opportunity to K.O him with a big roundhouse to the head or a haymaker to the jaw. I could use as big a wind-up as I wanted because he couldn't see shit. I didn't though, because I wanted to give him the chance to back down. I knew he wouldn't; he would have way too much pride for it, but I wanted it to be his choice. It stopped me feeling so bad about turning this guy's face into a big puffy, swollen mess.

After a moment the guy had his eyes clear. He still looked really mad, but he had that look of recognition. He now knew what he had gotten himself into.

"Just walk away mate." I said, maybe a little too patronisingly. He charged again. Now it was time to stop going easy; He had made his bed, now it was time to slam him into it. I didn't give him the chance to try and hit me again. I started with an uppercut and then followed with a right cross. He was still coming at me so I dropped low, wrapped up his legs, waited for the momentum to take him over my back, then powered upwards with my legs and threw him up over the top. He did a little summersault in the air and slammed down on his back, behind me. I straightened up, dusted myself off, picked up my bag and walked past the crowd towards the school building without a backwards glance. The people in the crowd cheered as I walked past, but I decided it was heaps more bad-ass if I just ignored them and kept walking.

At first break, or "Recess" as they called it, Whatever; At lunch time I went into the big eating hall area, sat down at a table and whipped out my sandwiches in their little brown paper bag. If this was a movie, it would normally be about this point where some kid came and sat down next to me and in an incredibly over the top charismatic way, extended his friendship. Well I waited, and after a few minutes it became obvious that the kid must not exist in real life. What a shame. Oh well, I stood up and decided I was going to have to go out of my way and do the whole friendship thing myself. I saw a kid sitting by himself eating sandwiches out of a brown paper bag. I walked over and sat next to him.

"How's it goin' mate?" I asked.

"What?" he said.

"HELLO." I said slowly and clearly.

"Uh… Hi." He said.

"Mind if I sit here?" I asked.

"Sure, I guess. You're new right?" he asked

"Yeah" I nodded.

"Where did you come here from?" he asked.

"Melbourne" I said.

"Where is that? Like somewhere in the UK?" he asked.

"Australia." I said.

"Why'd you move?" he asked.

"Got in trouble with the Cops one too many times" I laughed.

"Doing what?" he asked.

"I was in this big illegal fight-club" I said. "Plus, I tried to fight like 6 cops. They hit me with a TASER in the end. It was either here or Juvy."

"I take it Brett didn't know that when he tried to fight you this-morning." laughed the kid.

"Oh, you saw that did you?" I laughed.

"Not first hand. Josh showed me on his phone in class." He said.

"Oh. So I can take it that the whole school knows by now?" I inquired.

"Yeah, pretty much." He laughed.

"Right… So what's the go around here? You reckon ill get in shit for it?" I asked.

"You obviously haven't been here long." He said.

"Three days so far." I said.

"Well with moves like that, I think you're gonna like what I'm about to tell you." He grinned.

"What?" I asked.

"In this town, we're all about brawling. Pretty much every guy and half the chicks at this school know MMA. You go out to a party; there'll be some organised brawling happening out back." He said.

"For real?" I gasped.

"Dude, There's a big party on this weekend, and after that little display I'm betting everyone's gonna want to know what the new kid's got." He said.

"Hell yeah, ill totally be up for that!" I said. "I don't think I got your name though man."

"It's Brian." He said. "Yours?"

"Owen" I said.

"Irish, that's cool man…" he nodded.

That afternoon I caught the bus back to the corner and walked home. Some of the kids from this-morning were walking the same way as me. Most of them had heard about the fight that I had gotten into and asked if I would be fighting at the party on the weekend.

"Sure will mate, wouldn't miss a comp for the world." I nodded.

Then I got to the complex where my house was, and turned to walk up the driveway.

"See ya's later, eh?" I nodded at them.

"See you tomorrow." One said back. I walked up to my dad's place and went inside. The car was there and I only noticed then that it had been missing that morning.

So my dad does have a job after all… I thought. As I opened the door, the smell of pot hit me in the face. The T.V. sits beside the door, which means that the first thing you see as you walk inside is the couch and the hallway that begins right beside the couch; opposite the door.

The first thing I saw was my dad sitting on the couch, surrounded by a cloud of smoke. A big curvy glass bong sat in front of him on the coffee table beside a few lighters and a bag of weed.

"Hey Owen." said my dad with a dopey little grin. His eyes were red and bagged and judging by the amount of smoke in the room, he was well into his baggie.

"Hey dad…" I said. I walked past him and dumped my bag in my room. I already had assumed that my dad smoked weed, and from what I'd heard at school, so did most of America. I didn't know why walking in on my dad and his bong had been such a shock, I guess it had just been a surprise and I had assumed that he was going to be really discreet about it and only do it when I wasn't around. I mean, I didn't really care that he did it; it was his choice, he wasn't hurting anybody. I mean, I've smoked weed a few times before with my mates back in Australia, but only as a group activity. I've never bought weed, I don't think I would ever do it alone and I made a point not to do it too regularly. I guess I was cool with it. It had just been a shock was all… to walk in on it right after school while I was thinking about other stuff.

I was sitting on my bed, thinking all this over when dad opened the door.

"You alright mate?" he asked.

"Yeah, fine." I said, smiling at him.

"Look, I'm sorry you had to find out this way…" he said.

"Nah, I had already guessed it." I said.

"Really? How?" he asked.

"Well, this whole house smells like reefer, You seem really calm and relaxed, like a stoner, and I guess the car kinda clued me in too…" I said.

"The car?" he asked.

"Chevrolet El Camino? I mean, its even the 70's model, dad; Its totally a stoner car. Its right up there with the VW Kombi" I laughed.

"Are you ok with it? Like, does it upset you to know I do it?" he asked.

"Nah dad, I'm cool with it. Like, you're not hurting anybody, and I get the idea that it's fairly common around here." I said "like, its not as if the cops are gonna kick in the door because you smoke a 50 bag here and there."

"Ha ha, yeah, true." He said.

"But if you're growing out back, you better tell me now." I joked.

"No, nothing like that" he laughed. "I buy it from a guy down the street."

We talked for a little while longer before he went back out to the lounge room and after a while, I went out a joined him. Not smoking, just watching T.V. he smoked another couple of cone-loads before he packed it up and leaned back on the couch. My dad was a good laugh while he was stoned; we joked about all kinds of shit while we watched some crappy show on TV. I think I could get used to having a pot-head for a dad; he seemed way more relaxed than mum and when he was high, I feel like I could have asked permission to do anything and gotten away with it:

"Hey dad, I'm gonna invite some mates around for a few drinks."

"Go for it."

"I might just take your car for a spin."

"Sure, why not."

"Mind if I throw that bong through the TV screen and punch you in the face?"

"Nah, please yourself."

After a while grunted his way off the couch and slowly made his way into the kitchen. Oh god I thought, Munchies time.

"Agh, where do we keep all the yummy food!" he said in mock-anger. "This fridge is full of crap!"

"boil a cup of noodles." I said.

"Ah ha!" he yelled. "Good thinking." Then he opened the cupboard and pulled out four noodle cups.

"Oh, I don't want any" I said, thinking some were for me. My father turned to face me in disgust;

"Get your own damn food." He laughed.