Being For The Benefit Of Paramount Kites
Author: Sega Parks

Chapter 15
Game Over

  Carter trudged through his house along with his football buddies. All of them reeked with body odor, they were covered in dirt, and covered in bruises and blisters. Carter felt as if he had been walking through a desert for twelve hours. Football practice had been a hassle and he was ready to fall onto the couch.
 His mother Marcia came in and saw the boys. Her eyes widened with annoyance when she saw that they were trailing dirt in her just-cleaned home. They then transformed into alarm when she saw how tired Carter looked.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"Just your everyday football." he said, flopping onto the leather couch.
"Well, I'll get you boys some drinks." she said, walking back into the kitchen.

Hugh sat next to him, grabbing the remote off of the coffee table.

"No sports, please." groaned Aaron, taking a seat in the chair across from them. "I'm done with sports for the day."

Carter nodded in agreement. For two and a half hours they had been running through the grass nonstop for football practice. Their football coach was on their butts yelling at them at every chance he got. By the time it was over with, Carter's legs felt like jello. Usually football practice was fun, but considering how hot it was, it wasn't an easy routine. He now understood how Andy felt when he was complaining about soccer practice.

Marcia walked back in with the drinks on a tray.

"Here you go." she said, handing one of the glasses to Carter.

"Thanks, Aunt Marcia." Hugh said, taking the glass from the tray.
"Oh, come on," Tommy White said, absently texting someone on his cell phone, "it wasn't that bad."

"I think he's high." Damien said, looking back at Carter who was laughing.

"Tommy lives for football." said Carter. "What do you expect."

Tommy took a swig from his water before speaking. "Look who's talking. You're the one running around the field like a madman at the last football game. You injured one of the opposing teammates."

Carter smiled. Football came easy to him whenever he was in the spirit. It was one of the many things that people admired him for. He had been playing football for as long as he could remember. His dad had played for a college football team back when he was young and wanted Carter to follow in his footsteps.

When his dad first gave him a football, Carter didn't know what to do with it. It was a hot summer day in nineteen ninety-eight. Carter was five at the time and already knew what football was. His father had taken him and his then-puppy Able to the park to toss a football around. Gregory Atkins had a giant smile on his face when Carter grabbed the ball as it was in mid-flight. Seeing how fast and a great catcher he was, Gregory immediately signed up his son for football.

Football was the very thing that brought Carter and his dad close.

"I'm going to homecoming with Jen." Aaron said triumphantly.

"Nice." congratulated Carter. "She's beautiful."
"Come on Carter," Tommy said, rolling his gray eyes. "It's pure knowledge. We all know Jen's hot. Asian girls are hot, and that's that."
"She's a natural beauty." Aaron said, focusing his eyes on Reggie Bush on the television screen. "And I heard you're going with Holly, T-money."

"She asked me because she finally broke up with Peter."
"Well, it's about time." Carter sighed. "Holly can't make up her mind sometimes."

 Holly was like a little sister to him and he wanted to see her happy. If she wasn't happy or someone was bothering her, he would stick up for her. The first time he met Holly it was in April of seventh grade. Holly had been expelled from the previous school for punching a girl in the mouth so hard that she had loosened the braces in her mouth. Carter had found Holly sitting all by herself at lunch on the first looking dejected.

"Is everything alright?" he had asked, walking up to her. "I think I heard of you before? Holly Drake?"

Holly looked at him with an intensified glare. "Yeah, the psycho bitch who punched the braces off of Lara Moody."

Her face was red and blotchy. She had been crying. Carter smiled sympathetically and pulled up a chair next to her. He sat down and put andarm around her shoulder.

"Moody Lara?" he asked. "She's the psycho! I know her. I have bible school with her and she's a total nutcase."
"Really?" Holly asked, sniffling. 

"Of course. You see, we were sitting in class talking about the Pharaoh killing the male babies in Egypt and she's like 'Good. Boys suck! They deserve to die!'."

Holly giggled. "I hate her so much. I punched her because I came to school in a pretty skirt and she said I looked like a slut."

"Don't mind her. She's a prude."

Holly wiped her face with her hands and smiled. "What's your name?"

"Carter Atkins."

"I think you've been to my church a couple of times. Does your Aunt go to St. Vincent's Church?"

"Yeah! I have see you there before. You're the girl who was freaking out at a model of Jesus on a cross."

"I was seven and didn't understand what was going on."" she said defensively. 

"I am just like that." he said, leaning over to hug her.

To this day they were best friends.

"Hey, Atkins?" Damien asked. "How come you're not taking that new girl to homecoming? The black chick."

"Savannah Ripley? Because I already have a date."
"Okay, Atkins," Aaron began. "Usually when a hot girl likes you, you take them to the dance not your buddy you've known forever."

"Yeah, Jamie could just easily dance with Darien at the dance," added Tommy. "her mom wouldn't have any idea. And then you're free to dance with that other girl."

Carter felt like the biggest idiot on the planet. That was something as simple as screwing in a light-bulb. Jamie may have found him attractive, but she clearly wanted to go with Darien. If Darien would just call off the date with his ex-girlfriend, he and Jamie could meet each other at the homecoming dance.

"I love you, Tommy." he said, grinning elatedly.
"It wasn't that hard to figure out, dummy." said Tommy, taking another sip from his glass.

Carter's dog Able walked in, looking tired. He was 16 years old and was on his last leg. Carter beckoned him over, helping him onto the couch.

"What's up, Able ol' buddy?" Hugh asked, scratching the dog behind its ears.

"He's been sick for a while." Carter said, petting Able.

Able licked Carter's hand affectionately.

Carter looked at the old dog. He was a little bit bloated and he didn't have enough enery anymore. He had had him since he was born. It was only a matter of time before the dog passed. He tried not to think about it.

"The game's tomorrow." said Aaron.

"I know," Hugh said. "And my big cousin is going to lead us to victory."

"I thought that was Trey Edwards?" Carter commented.

"He may be the quarterback, but he's not the fastest runner on the team." Hugh said matter-of-factly.

Tommy punched Carter in the shoulders. "Yeah, man. You're scary out there. Spectators can hardly see you out there because you're so fast."

He laughed. "That's how I do."

"Hey, let's get on Facebook and talk to one of the girls." suggested Hugh. "It'll be funny."

"Nah, it's not the same without Andy." said Carter.

For some reason girls confided in Andy about their sexual experiences.


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