Hello ladies and gentlemen! I figured what better way to kick off the new year than getting this new doozy up and running? Once again, Vermi and I promise a bumpy ride for everyone involved. And like I said before, we're going back to 1999 for this one. We be doing some Time Warp shit. I thought it made for some interesting times and I hope you all agree.
"Ohhhh fuck me fuck me fuck me…" James said under his breath as he eyed the stove like it was the worst thing in the entire universe. He had tried to cook himself and Cooper some hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for lunch. The good news were that the hot dogs seemed to be okay since he had cooked those in the microwave but the macaroni was uneatable. He had cooked it for too long so the noodles were too tough to eat.
"Jesus Christ Dad." Cooper was just shaking his head in disbelief. "How the hell do you fuck up macaroni and cheese? I mean really." He poked his with a fork and eyed it like it was going to start moving on its own accord. "All you have to do is follow the directions on the box."
"It's that stove," James said quickly, pointing to it and giving it the evil eye. "It-"
"Dad, I think it's been long established that the stove is not the problem." Cooper put down his fork and picked up his hotdog. "It's you. You go near that thing and major suckage happens." He took a bite and chewed it once before his eyes widened and he immediately spit it out.
"What?" James asked in confusion. "What is it?"
"Bad," Cooper managed to say as he gagged and grabbed a napkin to wipe his tongue off with.
"What do you mean bad?" James took a bite of his and immediately had to spit it out. The hot dog itself tasted fine but the bun was stale. "You said the buns should be good for like another three days!"
"That was three weeks ago," Cooper reminded him. "Remember?"
"Uh…" James didn't remember but Cooper was probably right anyway. "Well shit. Just eat the hot dog then. There's nothing wrong with it."
Cooper smirked. "There's never anything wrong with a wiener."
"Unless is has like syphilis or something."
Cooper froze in mid-bite and gave James a very exasperated look. "Way to take my subtle innuendo and smash it with a blunt instrument."
"What was so subtle about it? You're gay, you like dicks. Nothing subtle there."
"At least I didn't talk about syphilis."
"You just wish you did."
"No, I'm fairly certain I don't."
"Maybe you're just in denial."
Cooper took one of the macaroni noodles and threw it at James, who laughed and swatted it out of mid-air and on to the floor. It had been awhile since they had kidded around like this. It had been a couple of months since Cooper had finally come back home after a half a year of being a drug using runaway and James was trying to make life as normal as he possibly could. It wasn't easy. There were more than plenty of days where Cooper just laid in bed and refused to leave because he was so miserable. Other days he tried hard to act normal but his eyes had this angry look and the sarcasm he was using to mask his emotions was so biting and nasty he was hard to be around. This was one of the rare better days where Cooper seemed more relaxed and like himself again. Only difference was, his eyes had a deadness to them that hadn't been there before Joie died. James hated it but there was nothing he could really do about it. Unless Joie could be somehow brought back from the dead nothing could be done about it.
The phone rang and Cooper pushed his chair back so he could get up and answer it. "I've got it."
"It might be Mark," James warned him. He knew from past experience that Cooper and Mark on the phone together was a bad bad thing. "He's supposed to call."
Cooper snorted. "He's not going to call."
"Dad he's not going to call. Believe me, I'm the expert here." Cooper picked up the phone and smirked deviously. "I am Kim Long Duck John," he said in a very fake and stereotypical Asian voice. "Thank you for calling Kim Long Duck John's massage parlor. I offer you girls that suckey suckey you for five-oh, hi Miss Landau."
James winced. Shit. That was Connor's principal. Shit. She was pretty much calling on a weekly basis and it was never for anything good.
"Is Dad there? Uh yeah but don't you want to talk to me? I mean, don't you miss seeing my charming, smiling face every day?" She had been Cooper's principal too back in junior high and he himself had been more than familiar with her office. "What? Oh…well come on now don't-" he winced and James knew she was yelling. "Okay okay! We'll be there." Cooper quickly hung up and looked over at James.
"What?" James asked. "What now?"
"Connor's in trouble…again."
"Mr. Lawson…where do I even start this time?" Miss Landau was a fifty some year old woman with a mop of curly blonde hair, a worn, severe looking face that made her look even older and a chunky body that was stuffed into ridiculous business suits that just offended James's eyes every time he saw her.
"Maybe you should start by telling me why you called me here to begin with?" James wasn't really in the mood to do this right now. When they had come in he could see that Connor had clearly been roughed up, which had put him into a pretty nasty mood. Connor was a constant victim of bullying and the school never seemed to do anything, which pissed James off to no end.
"Well…Connor was in gym class and wandered off, like usual, instead of playing soccer like he was supposed to."
"So? He hates soccer. Is that why you called me? Because if-"
"No Mr. Lawson. Now let me finish. Mr. Starner went to go look for him and found him surrounded by a group of eighth graders who were uh…playing "Retard in the Middle" and-"
"Retard in the Middle?" James had a hell of a time choking that one out. "Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking-" The rest of the sentence was lost in trying to resist the urge to kill those eighth graders. As a rule he didn't target children but quite honestly, he wanted to kill them at the moment. He really really did.
"And before Mr. Starner could get over there Connor took a rock and smashed it into Billy Saul's face," Miss Landau finished. "Repeatedly I might add."
"Well fucking good for him!" James said, glancing back towards the door. Connor was with Cooper by the secretary's desk, just waiting to be taken home. "What the fuck else was he supposed to do? Fucking let them keep doing that shit?"
"Mr. Lawson, Billy had to be taken to the hospital." Miss Landau's eyes were narrowed angrily. "His parents could sue. Technically, that was assault and I could have had Connor sent to the juvenile delinquent center-"
"For defending himself?" James leaned forward and glared at her angrily. "Really? How could you-"
"But I didn't because I know that it wouldn't solve the issues that need to be addressed," Miss Landau interrupted. "The issues that YOU need to come to terms with."
"Mr. Lawson, I've talked to the principal and teachers at Connor's elementary school. I talked to my teachers here. Connor has severe behavior and emotional problems along with a learning disability that makes it impossible for him to be able to function in a normal classroom environment."
"He cannot sit still for more than five seconds, which disrupts every class he's in. He can't seem to read above a first grade level, he can barely spell his own name, addition and subtraction is about as far as his math goes, he acts like he's five years old-"
"Mr. Lawson, I could go on and on and on but the point is, he should have been put in special ed classes YEARS ago but you refused to sign the necessary paperwork for it! Your utter blindness to the severity of Connor's situation-"
"Connor is fine!" James insisted. "He is! School just bores him so he acts up."
"Mr. Lawson, implementing the ostrich syndrome here is not going to fly with me."
James stared at her blankly. "What the fuck does that mean?"
"It means your sticking your head in the sand and hoping this clearly obvious problem will go away but it won't! It won't happen and you need to understand-"
"I understand things perfectly fine," James snapped. "I understand that my son gets tormented on a daily basis and nobody cares."
"Well he don't exactly endear himself to anybody."
"So it's his fault now?"
James didn't want to hear it. He was done. "I'm done. He's done. This school-and YOU especially-can kiss my fucking ass." He got up to his feet and stormed out of the office. He wanted to just kill her but he couldn't. There was no way to get away with it right now. So out he went and without looking at anyone else he went straight to Connor, who perked right up when he saw him.
James grinned and ruffled Connor's recently cut hair. Every time he looked at him he was reminded just how hard it was to even do that. Cooper had to basically hold him down while James took the scissors to him. Cooper had bite marks on his arm for weeks and even now you could still see the worst of them. "Hey buddy. You okay?"
Connor shook his head. "No. They were mean to me Daddy. Mean mean mean MEAN!"
Cooper winced a bit. "Ow, my ears…"
"You don't have to worry about the meanies anymore," James promised. "You don't have to ever come back here, okay?"
"I don't?" Connor looked happy as hell to hear that.
"Nope. I'll hire tutors for you and they'll home school you-"
"Can I have ice cream now?" Connor didn't care to hear the home schooling details. If he could have his way, he would put a quick end to THAT nonsense. "Please please pleaseeeeeeeee Daddy?"
James chuckled. "Yeah. We'll stop at Dairy Queen on the way home."
Cooper sighed and shook his head as they left. "Yeah, because that's what his hyper ass needs right now. Ice cream."
"Why didn't you call?" James asked later that night. He had retreated into his office while Connor and Cooper watched TV in the living room. "You were supposed to call."
Mark let out an annoyed sigh on the other end. "I said I would call if I had time."
"No, you promised that you would call before your show tonight," James corrected. "But you didn't."
"So you had to call and nag?"
"I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
James pouted his lips. He could tell by Mark's tone that this call had completely irritated him. But what else had he been supposed to do? Mark himself had promised to call and he didn't. Was he supposed to just sit at home by the phone, worrying and waiting for a fucking call. "When are you coming home?"
"Lawson don't start that."
"What? Don't start what? It was just a question."
"I'll get there when I get there. Unlike you, I actually work."
"At a stupid job."
"I like it just fine. You're the only one with a problem."
"Because you're always gone! And you don't ever care."
"Jesus Christ, you sound like a woman."
James bit his tongue and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was trying to see if he could hear anything suspicious in the background. Mark was notorious for boozing it up and keeping the company of more than his share of women but it wasn't supposed to be like that anymore. Mark had promised that the drinking and other women were done and things were going to be on track with them again. But lately, the old patterns were coming up once again. Mark wasn't calling when he said he would, he wouldn't always answer his phone when James called him, he started being evasive on when he was even going to come home…major red flags were there but James was trying to will himself to ignore them.
"Let me come out on the road with you."
Mark was twitching on the other line. "What?"
"Let me come out on the road with you," James repeated.
"But I want to."
"I don't care."
"Why? You're supposed to care."
"Do you have ANY idea how much trouble I let you do that? No. No way. I still have heat with McMahon from the last stunt you pulled."
"I'll be good this time," James promised. "I will Marky I'll-"
"NO Lawson. I-" The faint sound of a woman laughing in the background caught James's ear and he felt his heart drop somewhere down to his stomach. "I gotta go Lawson."
"Mark-" Too late. Mark had hung up without another word. "Fuck!" He hung up his phone and put it down on his desk. He sat there for a few minutes, chewing on his lower lip before getting up to his feet. He didn't care what Mark said. He was going out there. He was going to prove a point. He could damn well be good backstage if he tried. He'd be so good nobody would even know he was there. Yeah. That was a good idea. It was.
He left his office and went upstairs to pack, thinking about all the ways to be completely incognito while trying not to think about what Mark could be up to behind his back once again.