Mayfield Titans

Chapter 18-The Cobras

Aiden plopped himself next to Kalie on the bus. He was feeling great. The weekend at Nolan’s had been amazing, his night in bed with his dads had calmed him down, and Kalie remained in the window seat on the morning bus, which meant her wandering hands were not going to find their way to his crotch.
“Morning, Kalie. How did your soccer game go?” Aiden asked after he took his seat. The Mayfield Lightning had played the Monte Bulldogs on Saturday.
“We won 4-1. We’re still undefeated,” Kalie replied.
“We’ll be playing a loser out game on Thursday. And if you guys are set up like us you’ll play somebody on Saturday.”
“We’ll play the winner of one of the Thursday games. I guess our playoffs are like yours.”
Aiden nodded. “We have practice on Tuesday. How about you?”
“I wonder who’d win if we played each other?”
“We’d kick your sorry asses,” Kalie grinned. She enjoyed sounding like a blowhard boy.
“I wouldn’t bet on it. I know you guys don’t have anybody as good as Gordy.”
“That don’t matter. Gordy’s gonna play for us because he’s my boyfriend.”
“He’s my teammate, and in soccer that’s more important than being somebody’s boyfriend.”
“Unless he’s your boyfriend. Oh, I forgot, he doesn’t live in Mayfield. Did you guys have fun?”
“Did you do IT?”
“I’ll let you guess, and I won’t tell you if you’re right or not.”
“I’d love to get naked alone with him. He is so fine.” Kalie had seen Nolan naked in the backhouse when a group of Aiden’s and Kalie’s friends got naked together.
“No chance of that. You’ll need to get naked with the two of us together.”
“Oh? Is that, like, a serious suggestion?”
Aiden realized he’s stuck his foot into his mouth. “No, I’m just saying you won’t get either one of us to get naked alone together,” he said lamely.
“It happened before, so it could happen again. But I think the next time you get naked with a girl it will be with Heather.”
“Dang, Kalie, you really know how to mess up a good morning.”
“I’m just telling you what she told me.”
Aiden sighed and kept quiet as the bus pulled into the bus area at the school. “Gage is going to be ten on Saturday,” Mrs. Emerson told Aiden as he started out the door.
“I got invited, but I hope to have a soccer game Saturday.”
“Skip will be there,” she grinned. Aiden left the bus wondering how much Mrs. Emerson really knew about what he had done with her grandson, Skip.
The weather that evening was cold and drizzly, but the Cobras practiced hard despite the conditions. Aiden was a bundle of energy, encouraging his teammates and getting himself thoroughly wet and muddy, as did most of his teammates.
When Phil came to pick up Aiden, he anticipated the mess and brought the pickup. He had plastic sheets laid out on the back seat and a beach towel on the front passenger seat. He also brought a supply of towels for the boys to use.
Gordy, Miles, and Mason joined Aiden, who took the front seat. Not surprisingly, Mason was the dirtiest, although Aiden was close. Gordy and Miles did their best not to slide and stomp through the muddy parts, but the grass was slick, and it was easy to end up sliding on it.
“Just think how bad it would be if it was raining instead of this drizzle stuff,” Aiden said.
“It would be even BETTER if it was raining,” Mason giggled. “Then everything would be muddy.”
“You’re just saying that because Muddy is your boyfriend,” Miles said. That caught Phil’s attention. He knew Mason and Muddy were good friends, but never thought of them as boyfriends.
“Instead of waiting for the ball in a drill, Muddy rolled all over the place and got soaked and muddy,” Gordy told Phil.
“And was singing while he was doing it,” Aiden added.
“Row, row, row, your boat, wildly through the mud,” Mason sang, his boy soprano sounding beautiful even when he was playing around.
When they pulled up to Gordy’s house, they were met by Gordy’s mother who directed her son to the mudroom at the back of the house. “And take EVERYTHING off,” she called to him.
“Ohhh, Gordy’s gonna love that,” Aiden laughed as they pulled away from Gordy’s house.
“I might as well be ready for that,” Mason said, and he promptly took off his hoodie and his soaked practice clothes. “If I peed in my underpants right now, nobody would notice,” Mason giggled.
“Don’t you dare,” Phil called back.
“Don’t worry, I’m taking them off.” Mason removed his red briefs and then dried himself with one of the towels.
They then stopped in front of Miles’ house. Miles had taken his hoodie and shirt off and dried his torso before putting the mostly dry hoodie back on. He hopped out of the truck, waved goodbye, and ran off to his backyard.
When they dropped Mason off, he was naked except for his shoes and socks. He exited the truck and held his clothes under his right arm.
Phil opened the window. “What’s your mother going to say about this?”
“Unless my nosy neighbors are looking out their window, she won’t know. She’s at some church thingie. And if she was home, I’d just say I was so wet I had to do something and I’ll tell her that you yelled at me for getting naked in your truck so she won’t get mad at you. See ya in school tomorrow,” he yelled at Aiden as he rushed to his house.
“He’s crazier than I am,” Aiden said as they drove away.
“That’s saying a lot,” Phil chuckled.
“I’m glad you have the heat up high.” Aiden then proceeded to take off his hoodie and pull off his practice jersey.
“Don’t you dare,” Phil said again.
“I’m wet and cold. Mason had the right idea. You don’t have to be crazy to want to be warm and dry.” Aiden was soon as naked as Mason had been. “And I won’t have to be naked with anybody maybe watching because I’ll be in the garage faster than lightning.”
“And you’re going to take a nice hot shower in the basement shower room.”
“I don’t have any clothes down there.”
“Since when has not having clothes been a problem for you?”
Aiden gave Phil a thumbs up as they pulled into the driveway.
At lunch Mac Dixon, Russell, Barry Bender, and Roger sat on the side of the lunchroom where the eighth graders congregated. Russell was a seventh grader, but because he sat with friends, his presence was accepted.
“The seventh graders were like a bunch of babies in practice, yesterday,” Roger complained. “You could get wet without rolling around in the water and the mud like Aiden and his dorky brothers.”
“And fucking little Mason and Muddy was singing when he was doing it,” Mac added.
“To make it worse, Coach Bill was laughing about it.”
“I told my dad about it and he said Coach Bill was trying to keep us loose for the game. Since it was too wet to have a good practice, we might as well have fun,” Barry told them.
“Like Roger said, we got wet enough just being there,” Mac said.
“And it was just drizzling.”
“But it did rain in the morning,” Russell reminded them.
“He should have cancelled practice,” Mac said. “But the worst part was fucking Aiden thinking he was so cool yelling and hollering and pretending like he was slipping on the grass. He’s such a baby. I’d rather have Gordy be our captain. He might not know how to have fun, but at least he isn’t an asshole like Aiden is.”
“Are you still planning a team party?” Russell asked Mac.
“Yep, the Friday before Thanksgiving break, unless the football team is still in the playoffs and play Friday. Then it will be Saturday.”
“Is there gonna be beer?” Roger asked.
“Yeah, my old man is gonna buy a keg. It will be my first kegger since back in September. He said that I needed to be sober for soccer, which didn’t stop him from giving me a couple of beers sometimes. Or he let me have a rum and Coke once—shit, I got a major buzz on one drink of that. I wanted more.”
“But it won’t be a real team party because not everybody can come,” Barry pointed out. “I know I can’t.”
“That’s what the team banquet is for. And I still think there’s a way to sneak you into my party. The best thing is it will keep Aiden and Mason away.”
“I thought you wanted to get Aiden drunk.”
“Oh, I do, and I’m gonna work hard to get him to come, but if he’s not going to drink then I don’t want him there. Gordy would be fun to watch get drunk, but I know Aiden would get drunk before Gordy ever took a sip of beer.”
“Mason acts like he’s drunk all the time anyway,” Russell giggled.
“All of you but Barry will be able to come, right?” Mac asked.
“Me and Roger will figure it out, and I hope we can get Barry there.”
“Muddy will be there. He said he’d try to get Mason there and get him drunk.”
“Yonder’s coming, right?” Roger asked.
“He said he’d be there. He’d be with us right now if it wasn’t for stupid Lila. You’d think those two were married as much as they do the nasty together. But he asked if he could bring her and I said he could, which would be fun.”
“Speaking of married, check out the asshole table,” Roger said. “Heather is all over Aiden again.”
“She a hot girl,” Russell said. “Too bad she likes Aiden so much.”
“He sure doesn’t like her,” Barry noted.
“He will when she puts out for him,” Mac smirked.
The cabal went back to talking about who else on the team could come to the kegger and who they could invite who wasn’t on the team—especially females.
“Can I sit with you guys?” Heather asked. She sat next to Aiden without asking permission.
“This is the soccer table,” Mason informed her.
“So? I play soccer.”
“I know, but you’re a girl.”
“Kalie sits here a lot and sometimes Brittany sits with her.”
“Kalie is Gordy’s girlfriend,” Miles said, “and Brittany is her friend.”
“So? I’m Aiden’s girlfriend.”
“ACK!” Aiden came close to choking on his ham sandwich. He had been trying to stay out of the argument, but Heather had managed to drop it right in his lap. Aiden swallowed his mouthful and took a long gulp of milk. “I have an official announcement to make,” he finally managed to get out.
“Oh? You mean it’s true?” Gordy asked. Everyone leaned in close to hear Aiden’s announcement.
“No, my announcement is that Heather is full of kaka.” Aiden understood it would be bad manners to say that Heather was full of shit, even though he believed it to be true. If she were a boy, he would have fired a full broadside, just like his hero, Horatio Hornblower.
“You are my boyfriend,” Heather replied without missing a beat. “But he just doesn’t know it yet,” she told the rest of the table.
“Well, do me a favor Heather, and keep it a secret.”
“And don’t tell me you have a boyfriend, because I don’t care. You’re going to have a girlfriend and dump that boyfriend once you decide it’s what you really want, and I’m going to be that girlfriend.” Heather looked around the table. “You’re the only person here who has a boyfriend. What do you think of that?”
“I think you’re wrong,” Mason piped up. “I have a boyfriend.”
“It’s a secret,” he said, even though everybody at the table knew it was Muddy.
“I almost have one,” Lance said. “We’re still thinking about it, but it’s close.” That was news to everybody at the table except Lenny and Grant.
“I have a boyfriend, too,” Lenny confessed. “He is from Kentburg.” The twins had been trying to eat and stay out of the cesspool Heather was creating, but wordlessly agreed to come to the rescue of their best friend, Aiden.
Grant gave Lance a look that said, we’ll be boyfriends before we know it. Lance smiled at Grant and felt his cocklet start to get hard.
“Well, I can tell when I’m not welcome,” Heather huffed. No shit, Aiden thought. “But I told this to Kalie and I’m going to tell this to you. Aiden and me are going to be making out naked together before the new year starts.”
“In your dreams, Heather, in your dreams,” Aiden mumbled as Heather picked up her tray and left the table in a huff.
“I thought she was your friend last year,” Gordy said,
“She was. And then, as you guys all know, she thought friend meant girlfriend and then, well, we weren’t friends anymore.”
Mac saw Heather get up and leave the table. “Looks like she got nowhere with Aiden the fag,” he told his friends.
“Maybe she should be invited to the kegger,” Roger said.
“Why? You know she won’t drink and she sure won’t put out. There’s plenty of girls to invite who’ll do both.”
Back at Aiden’s table the boys agreed that they wished Heather hadn’t sat with them. “It’s not like we told her she could,” Mason reminded them.
“We were going to talk about soccer,” Aiden said. “We still have time. Tomorrow’s game is loser out so we gotta win.”
“It’s supposed to rain tomorrow,” Gordy said.
“After yesterday’s practice, I think we’re ready to play in the rain,” Aiden giggled. Everyone agreed with him and agreed they would be ready to play an awesome game no matter what the weather was like.
When Aiden arrived home after school, he discovered there was a message for him on the home phone. It was from Mrs. Polk, Gage’s mother. “This is Mary Polk calling for Aiden. Gage’s team has a championship soccer game on Saturday afternoon. He has let his school friends and teammates know that his party has been changed to Saturday the 15th.  I hope you can still come—please let me know as soon as you can.”
Since Aiden had never accepted his first invitation, he wondered why Gage’s mother thought he might be coming to the rescheduled party. He decided to take the same strategy as before and ignore the invitation, even though he probably wouldn’t have a soccer game as an excuse since this was the last weekend of the soccer season.
That night, Aiden worked to start getting his mind into a zone. He got naked and lay on his back with Horace on his chest. He stared at the ceiling and went into the behaviors he had learned from Marty, Espowyes, and his dads designed to put his brain into a zone. The game the next day was going to be one of the biggest games of his life and he wanted to be at his best.
“Good luck to you guys today,” Kalie said when Aiden sat next to her. I wish I could see the game.”
“I can see if pop can take you. I know Gordy would love to see you there,” Aiden said.
“Or I could text Gordy’s mom. I’ll do that right now.” Kalie pulled out her phone and sent a text. In less than a minute, her phone dinged. “Oh, I got a reply already.” She glanced at her phone and grinned. “She says her and Gordy’s dad will pick me up. Now I just have to text my mom that I’m going.”
“Are you sure she’ll say yes?”
“I’m positive.”
At lunch, Aiden and his friends were surprised when Mac and Barry sat at their table. Aiden greeted them. “Hi guys. This is cool—you’re eating lunch with us,” he said as sincerely as possible.
“Look, I know you and me don’t always get along, but we are teammates and we do have a gigantically huge game today. I thought it would be cool if we sat together like teammates. There’s not enough room for all of us to sit together here, but me and Barry wanted to do the team thing.”
“Mac is right,” Barry confirmed. “We talked about it before school and thought you guys would like it. Eighth graders, seventh graders, whatever. It won’t matter tonight.”
“Hey, don’t forget sixth graders,” Lenny reminded him.
“Yeah, and sixth graders.”
Aiden believed them. They had no other reason to bring their lunches over. He knew he and Mac could never be friends, but ever since Coach Bill talked to him about his attitude, he at least wasn’t a total asshole anymore. And this was a big game, just like Saturday would be if they won.
“We’re going to win, you know,” Aiden told his teammates. “There’s no doubt about that.”
“Because we’re better,” Mac agreed.
“Damned straight we’re better,” Mason said emphatically.
Aiden didn’t want to say why, but he really was confident they would win, and the biggest reason he thought so was that everybody on the team was on the same page. That was confirmed when Russell, Roger, Muddy, and Yonder came over to the table.
“I know there’s not enough room for us to sit, but we just came over to say that the Cobras rule and are going to kick ass tonight,” Roger said. Trent and Collin had been sitting at a different table from the rest, and they came over, too.
Normally, the lunch supervisor would break up a conclave like the Cobras had put together, but Mrs. Emerson was the supervisor that day and knew what the big gathering was about. Like everyone in the lunchroom and on the school staff, she was rooting whole-heartedly for the Cobras.
The grass on the main field of the Centralia Sports complex was in much better shape than the middle school field the Cobras had practiced on Tuesday evening. A big reason was that it was used for games only; teams did not practice on it.
The game was scheduled to start at seven. The Cobras and the Longview Rams were anxious to play much earlier than that. The rain had stopped around noon, but the grass was damp. During warmups the players were pleased that while the grass was wet, it wasn’t very slippery. There was a good-sized contingent of parents and townspeople seated in the stands and in lawn chairs at field level.
Coach Bill gave his team a quick pep talk, telling them he was impressed with their mix of concentration and emotion during pregame warmups. “I think we’re ready for a great game,” he said in his usual understated manner. Coach Bill wasn’t a cheerleader type coach; he left the cheerleading to the players, when appropriate. What he wanted from his players was the ICE formula that worked so well in Mayfield sports: Intensity, Concentration, and Execution.
The big game ended up being anticlimactic. The Rams scored two minutes into the game when Lance slipped on a wet spot he hadn’t detected. He was certain he had made a thorough inspection of the goal area and was mad at himself for missing it. But that was all the Rams would get as Lance played his usual stellar game in the goal in a 6-1 Cobra win. Aiden, Mac, Gordy, and Collin each scored a goal and Mason amazed teammates and fans alike by scoring two goals. It was as if his playing in the mud at practice had given him slip proof feet. He twice made it around a defenseman and found himself wide open for a shot, both times faking out the keeper. Aiden, Miles, and Barry each ended up with an assist.
Their next game would be Saturday against the Centralia Timberwolves. Aiden was disappointed that they wouldn’t be playing Nolan’s team, who was in the other bracket and would be playing Kalama in the other Saturday game.
Now that he had a perfect excuse to skip Gage’s birthday party, the party had been changed to the following Saturday, and he had to think about what to do all over again. And yet, even though he had made up his mind not to go as soon as he received the invitation, he wasn’t sure how he felt about not going. He felt good about it because he didn’t want to go to a party with a bunch of fourth and fifth graders. He felt bad about not going because Skip would be there, and Aiden really liked Skip and thought he was sexy cute. He liked Gage, too, and thought he was cute, but he didn’t think of Gage as being sexy.
That night Aiden’s dads tucked him in. The nightly tucks had become less and less frequent. They happened only at Aiden’s invitation. Aiden had felt the need for some comforting and simply told his dads to come to his room and tuck him in.
As Larry told his son, he had worked hard physically and especially mentally for this game. “You once again showed what you can do when you put yourself into the proper frame of mind.” He kissed Aiden on his forehead. “I’m proud of you, not just because the Cobras won the game, but mainly because you showed what a great young man you’re becoming.”
Aiden fell asleep with Horace tucked under the blankets with him and a smile on his face.
Next: Veteran’s Day Weekend (1)