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american gothic redux: stairway to heaven
by robert a. melos
6.14.03
writing

“Todd, we can’t,” Amber Leigh Krakowitz said. A giggle escaped her lips, as her boyfriend led her into the boy’s locker room of Taft High School.

“It’ll be okay,” Todd Benzinger assured the bubbly cheerleader. “Practice still has a few minutes to go. No one will miss us.”

Amber allowed herself to be led through the rows of lockers and showers, and then out the backdoor to the stairwell leading to the storage room above. She felt safe in Todd’s arms, as he pinned her against the stair railing and pressed his body to hers. “Todd, you’re all sweaty from practice,” she chided. She inhaled his scent. “Yummy!”

“And you’ve got me all hot and bothered, girl.” He said, slipping his hand under her tight spandex uniform sweater. “Hey, you’re wearing a bra.”

“Yeah,” Amber sighed. “Miss Danzig gave me a private lecture on the importance of proper support while doing cheers. I think she’s just jealous because my boobies aren’t sagging like hers must at her age.” She stuck her hands down the back of Todd’s light blue basketball uniform shorts, and squeezed his butt.

“I just love a jockstrap,” she cooed. “They are so accessible.” She brought her hands around his waist, and slipped his shorts to his knees. “Do me before the practice is over.” She ordered, and pressed her mouth against his.

Todd leaned his taunt body into hers again, and broke their kiss. “We’ve only got about three minutes.”

“Then hurry.” She hissed through her clenched teeth, as Todd fiddled with the snaps on her bra.

The door behind them swung opened and coach Tom Richmond glared at his star player and the cheerleader. “Mr. Benzinger! And Miss Krakowitz! I just knew I’d find you in here.”

“Uh, coach!” Todd gasped, releasing Amber from his grip. She fell and stumbled on the steps, her panties tangled around her ankles.

“Oh my God! Coach Richmond!” Amber shrieked. “I’m so embarrassed.”

Tom Richmond took a deep breath, feeling the pounding at his temples. “Save it for your mother, Amber. Oh you are in big trouble, young lady.” He turned to Todd. “And you! You should be ashamed of yourself. Cavorting with a cheerleader in a stairwell. For God’s sake, pull you pants up!”

“Coach, I can explain,” Todd said. He stooped to retrieve his shorts from around his ankles and hit his head on the stair rail. “Ouch! Dammit!”

“Get over it, boy,” Tom said. “And save your explanations for your parents.”

“Coach, please,” Amber begged. “Please don’t tell my mother. She’ll freak if she knows I’m still seeing Todd.”

“You should’ve thought if that before you lured him into the stairwell,” Tom said.

“No, it wasn’t her,” Todd interrupted. “It was all me. I brought her here.”

Tom’s eyes met Todd’s and he could see the truth. “What kind of children have your parents raised? What examples are being set for you? Certainly Miss Danzig and myself have tried to lead you children to be beyond this type of behavior. What would lead you to think of seducing a cheerleader in a stairwell when you should be out on the court practicing? We’ve got a big game coming up Friday. Have you no sense of priority?” Tom asked, the pounding at his temples increasing.

“Coach—“ Todd tried to interrupt again.

“Save it, Benzinger! I had such hopes for you, but you’re just like you father was back when I was his coach. You Benzinger boys all think with your dicks!” Tom was shouting. He hadn’t felt this angry since his drive to work ten hours earlier, when he was forced to sit in traffic and deal with the new condo construction nearby. He turned to Amber, who was staring at him. “What’s your problem missy? Afraid your mother will find out you’re just like she was as well?”

“No Coach—“

“Oh I remember your mother very well,” Tom continued. “She was also a cheerleader. Always prancing around in her tight sweaters, getting noticed by all the boys and the male faculty. Oh she was a fast one that Joy Benicki.”

“Coach, your nose is bleeding,” Amber said. She stared at the blood running from his nostrils and down his chin.

Tom paused and touched his face. He thought something felt strange. He cast his eyes downward and saw the blood beginning to stain his white T-shirt. “Damn,” he said. Suddenly he saw the floor rising up to meet him.

Amber screamed.

“Coach!” Todd shouted. He knelt by the old man’s side. “Coach! Are you all right?”

The two teens stood dumbstruck as they watched Tom Richmond begin to convulse and then vomit blood.

“Todd! Do something!” Amber screamed. “He’s – he’s dying!” She brought her hand to her mouth as she watched more and more blood oozing from Tom Richmond’s mouth and nose. “Oh God! Todd! Help him!”

Todd stood up. “Go get Coach Phillips! I’ll stay here.” Amber turned and ran back into the locker room.

Tom Richmond looked up at his star player, lurched forward, and spewed blood on the young man.

Todd reeled back in horror. The man he admired and trusted more than he trusted anyone else was vomiting blood on him. This wasn’t supposed to be happening, he thought. All I wanted was a quickie with Amber, and now I’ve got to deal with blood. He looked down at the limp body of Coach Richmond. Maybe, by the time the ambulance arrives, he’ll forget all about catching Amber and I doing it.


ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS

Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos

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