Kyle had found these ones sifting through a box of junk at Father Maxi's yard sale. Kenny had been beside him, fervently digging through a box of old clothes, desperate to find himself an old frock and collar. He knew the shit he could get up to with a frock and collar. He knew how many stupid things he could do. He knew how many people he could upset. How many people he could offend. How many unsuspecting women he could flash.
Kyle had been humouring him, playing along with the joke, faking smiles and faking laughs. But he didn't really care. Kenny would always find a way of getting himself into trouble. He didn't need to masquerade as a priest to kick up a riot. He certainly didn't need a frock and collar to go flashing in the park. He'd proved that much already.
Nevertheless, Kyle had had nothing better to do that day. He'd already finished his homework. He was fucking sick of SAT prep. He'd refused point blank to drive Ike to his friend's house. He'd had nothing better to do then allow himself to be swept away by Kenny's quick, mischievous grinning, his rudimentary planning and stupid intentions. He'd allowed himself to be dragged off his computer, dragged out of his house, dragged down the street, hastily yanked across the block to Father Maxi's house. To the mass of dust and boxes in Father Maxi's front yard. Kenny had immediately dived on the piles of old clothes, tearing through them as though his life depended on it. Kyle had just sighed, rubbing his face with the palm of his hand as Kenny got to work.
He'd been kneeling on the grass, thinking of calculus equations, petulantly pushing aside some sad, chintzy little ornaments, a flowery cat with a chipped ear, several dusty, cracked Hummel figurines, wading through the suspiciously unlabelled DVD's, the tangles of cords and cables that were connected to nothing, and wham, he'd found them. All stacked up in a neat little Perspex storage case. All unlabelled. All uncracked. All perfect. Seven floppy disks.
He blinked and picked them up. It was rare he found so many. Usually he only ever came across one, maybe two, left loose and forgotten in a corner somewhere. Scraping around the bottom of a draw, rattling around in the bottom of an old briefcase. But a nice little bunch like this, kept whole and safe in a neat little box, well, that really was a treat. Of course, Kyle knew they could be empty. They could all be blanks. Usually when Kyle found a bunch of them, a bunch like this, a bunch of neat, perfect, unlabelled ones, they turned out to be blanks. Brand new and unsullied. The ones that had become obsolete, useless before their first use. But it was always a chance he was willing to take. He'd buy a million blanks for the chance of a live one.
Glancing around, he'd scooped up a couple of the unlabelled DVD's, placed the floppy disks on top of them, and wandered over to where Father Maxi was resting, lounging back in an old, dusty lawn chair. They'd made polite, awkward conversation, Kyle had forked over a couple of dollars, and Father Maxi had given such a look, Kyle was certain the unlabelled DVD's were pornos. He was certain he'd just brought porn from a priest. Not that he cared. He didn't really want the DVD's, maybe they were re-writable, maybe he could use them to record shit, but they probably weren't. They were probably useless. They were probably Kenny's next Birthday present.
Still, he'd learnt long ago people ask questions when you just try to buy just the floppy disks. They get all curious and interested. They ask too many invasive and boring questions. You have to cut them with something to stop it looking too suspicious. Sometimes you just have to buy the fucking porn.
Kenny joined him a minute later, clutching an armful of suspiciously black, suspiciously bulky clothes. He was grinning like a Cheshire cat, fumbling around in his back pocket. He too forked over a handful of dollars, he smiled sweetly at the priest, made some light conversation, then he clutched Kyle's arm, and he pulled him out the yard.
Kenny had wanted to go to the park immediately, but Kyle had refused. Sheer boredom might push him into dancing along to Kenny's stupid ideas, but he wouldn't follow him when he had something better to do. He wouldn't follow anyone when there were floppies to be read. That was something Kenny had learnt years ago.
It was a quick goodbye, a quick parting, a quick walk home. He'd thrown the pornos on his bed, he'd deal with them later. He didn't care about them. They were purely accidental. He discarded then unlabelled DVD boxes, toed on his computer's power switch, and plugged in his external disk drive. He'd sat down, he'd tried to ignore the incredibly lame fact that his heartbeat had just increased, that his breathing had quickened, he tried to pretend he wasn't so painfully sad he got genuinely excited about old floppy disk. He failed, somewhat spectacularly. He gave up trying to delude himself and inwardly accepted he was a loser. And doing what losers do, he carefully clicked open the Perspex case, he carefully exposed the floppies. Sliding one disk out, he pressed it against the slot, and slid it into the reader.
Kyle frowned; he was disappointed. It was always such a let-down. They were nudes, nudes of some woman he didn't know. He hated it when they had nudes on them. Nudes were so tedious. Nudes were boring. They might have been fun the first time, maybe even the second. But by now, nudes did nothing for him. Blank disks and nudes were the bane of his floppy disk loving life. Wrinkling his nose, he flicked through the pictures, frowning at the woman, judging her, her ugly hair and stupid smile, before clicking the disk out. He slid in another, and rolled his eyes. For a man in cloth, Father Maxi really did have a fuckload of porn.
Father Maxi: Female Nudes. Kyle labelled them all neatly. One after the other. He'd file them away later, slot them into place in the "Nudes: Female" box. File them away with the other disks he didn't give a shit about.
Sighing, he picked up the last one and slid it in. Then he blinked, and frowned. Just like the proceeding floppies, a line of photos had popped up. A line of dirty photos. A line of Clyde Donovan's mother, naked on the screen. She was posing with all manner of bizarre objects, twisted herself into all manner of painful looking poses. Kyle supposed she'd been attempting sexy, but sexy was one of the few things these photos weren't. He couldn't imagine a Donovan ever actually managing to pull off sexy. Now he didn't have to imagine a Donovan fail at it.
He swallowed. There was something tragically hilarious about these photos. In one, Mrs. Donovan was wrapped up in a rug, just her toes and head popping out. Like a mafia corpse or something. In another, she was sprawled on the bed, arms and legs awkwardly thrust either side of her, hanging limp like a broken doll. She clutching a handful of the animal fur bedspread, arching her back, a look of pain scrawled across her face. In one of them, the one Kyle subconsciously decided was his favourite, she was straddling a kitchen chair, doing something obscene with what looked like one of Clyde's old toy Apatosaurus.
Kyle cleared his throat nervously. These pictures must be old, really, really old. Mrs. Donovan had been dead for years now. He still remembered the fuss that had followed her unsavoury death, the TSA and the sue-ance. There was something wholly uncomfortable about seeing her like this, no matter how funny the photos might be. He felt intrusive, dirty. And he hardly ever felt dirty, not anymore. After knowing Kenny for sixteen fucking years, after experiencing his porn collection, Kyle had grown immune to the dirty feeling.
Still, this made him feel dirty. He was eavesdropping on the scandalous little secrets of the long, long dead. Pulling a face, Kyle pressed the button on the front of the floppy drive, pulling out the disk. He wasn't sure what to do with it. He had a feeling he should give it to Clyde, but he knew that wasn't a good idea. Once Clyde saw what was on it, he would probably either cry, or track Kyle down punch him in the crotch. His dad would probably do the same. No, his dad would probably just cry. If they could read it, that is. Not many people nowadays could actually read floppy disks, not unless they were Kenny with a computer as old as sin, or they were Kyle with his specialist external equipment. No, most people couldn't read them anymore. Not unless they really, really wanted too.
If he gave it to Clyde there was a very good chance he'd never actually see what was on it. He'd just throw in a corner somewhere, and in a couple of years' time, chances were it'd end up back in this room, back in Kyle's external floppy disk drive. Back making Kyle feel oh-so dirty, all over again.
No, he didn't want to give it back to Clyde. He didn't want to upset him. He didn't want to give away the floppy either. He was oddly protective of his floppy disks. Biting his lip, he pulled out a sheet of white labels. He didn't want to label it what it was. It just seemed way too brutish to write Clyde Donovan's mothers name on this, to label her shame and embarrassment. He was tempted to label it Female Nudes: Anonymous, and just add it to the box, but he knew Kenny stole the nude ones. Kyle might not give a shit about them, but Kenny did. Kenny stole them, uploaded them to his computer, uploaded them into the internet, and tried to sneak them back. He didn't think Kyle knew, but Kyle had known for years. He'd realised his filing system had been messed with the day after it had happened. He'd stumbled across Kenny's secret webpage a couple of weeks later.
He didn't want Kenny uploading photos of Clyde Donovan's dead mother, hell, he didn't even want Kenny seeing photos of Clyde Donovan's dead mother. He didn't want anyone to see them. He was actually beginning to wish he hadn't seen them. The dirty little secret of a dirty old priest and a long dead housewife. His friend's mother. Well, not his friend, really. They weren't friends. Clyde was just a kid he knew. A kid he'd used to play make-believe with. They weren't anything more than that.
Some things were better left dead and buried. That was a lesson he's learnt long ago.
Exhaling, he leant back, shutting his eyes. He decided to label the disk Father Maxi: Dead. He'd add it to the box of dead disks, hide it amongst the disks that no longer worked, the disks with the corrupted files, the shattered components and broken, cracked casing. The empty shells with only ghosts of data on them. No one looked in that box, no one ever went through it. They were the disks that lay in peace, that lay in pieces. He'd bury her all over again, bury the dead back with her kind.
He'd let her rest in peace.
A/N – Holahola, and I'm back. And it's going to be a Style story again. Stand alone, not connected to the others. Not sure how this will go (because fuck, floppy disks and different settings) or how often I can update (yes it will be multichaptered, this isn't just it). I have a job at the minute, and it's pretty hard, time consuming work. Still, I was itching to get keyboarding again, so hey ho candyfloss. Style.