What Daniel Did Wrong

Daniel’s eyes are forced closed by big bright beams of light tearing between cheap white shades and effortlessly reaching his eyes. Daniel is a kid like any other and he planned to keep it this way, but it was going to prove particularly difficult going into this new school. It’s Daniel’s sophomore year in high school and he’s starting it at a new school. After a struggle to rush the entire morning by and getting to school late as a result of the failure to do so, he settled into class. Unnoticed, but observant, he spends the first couple of weeks in this new school a ghost.

“My friends call me Scythe,” says the first person to speak to Daniel other than a teacher, a month into the school year. “You knew around here?”

Daniel was the kind of shy where he struggled to make new friends, but once they are considered friends he can’t seem to shut the fuck up. You know that kind? He’s that times a million.

At first he would be brief and short with Scythe, but over the course of the first couple of days hanging out with him and getting to know some of Scythe’s friends he opened up. Scythe was funny, quirky, and generally a pretty good hearted guy to be around. Daniel was new to the making friends “thing” so he was a relatively uninfluenced person when it came to peers. This lack of experience also made him more susceptible to the pressures that came with friendship.

Enter Scythe’s friends, Cross and Prodigy.

Scythe, having known these guys for long enough, was completely comfortable with their way of being and didn’t find anything particularly strange or wrong with either of them, not that there was.

Prodigy was the school genius, the star athlete, the kind guy always willing to help and resourceful enough always to help and do it effortlessly. He’s the guy the 4.0 students wanted to be, and the one every athlete envied for his skills and abilities. All other teachers and students loved his company and wanted his friendship. He always knew what to say and when to say it. When people had a problem he always had a fix.

Cross was his polar opposite. He was equally genius, but on the other side of the fence. A criminal mastermind, openly a bad influence, and a ladies man. He raced the streets illegally at night on his spare time, played music in his band, was regularly in fights he won, and was a specific kind of blunt and direct. Political correctness was not part of this person’s language. Emotions were always an afterthought.

When Daniel first met the two of them, he was a bit taken back by the two opposing extremes in this three-way friendship he’d walked into. Prodigy welcomed Daniel’s friendship with open hands and treated him as if he’d known him his whole life. Cross told Daniel how he found him a coward and pathetic, but this did not mean he didn’t need someone to constantly insult and humiliate and that’d be enough reason to tolerate him.

Daniel spent most of his time with Scythe, getting to better understand Prodigy and struggling to get any read on Cross. He complained regularly to Scythe about Cross. “Don’t worry about it, man. He treats me the same way, he’s a bit of an acquired taste. Just deal with it for a while and soon enough he’ll warm up to you,” Scythe told Daniel, “If he doesn’t, maybe you’re just fucked and he doesn’t like you, like really not like you.”

Daniel pushed through and forced himself to spend more time with Cross, constantly being humiliated and told how his presence wasn’t welcome. Almost as if forcing himself to develop Stockholm syndrome he began to tolerate Cross more and more until he couldn’t tell the difference in behavior from that of Prodigy who showed nothing but confidence and respect in Daniel since the day they met.

“I wouldn’t trust me too much. Don’t believe the things Scythe tells you about me, he’s delusional with kindness. Not everyone has good in them and the little I did have I strangled with my bare hands,” Cross tells Daniel. “If you trust me enough I’ll take the opportunity to screw you over, just for fun in all probability.”

“Why would you do something like that, though? What have I done to you?” Daniel asks.

“Nothing. You didn’t have to do anything to me. I just don’t like you. I don’t need a reason to dislike someone. My reality, my rules, buddy.”

“Why not Scythe or Prodigy?”

“Well, I respect both of them. I find you some sort of parasitic waste of oxygen. It’s a shame you’re the sperm that made it, dude. One of your fellow bothers should have taken your ass out midstream and been born instead.”

“Shit, dude, that’s harsh!” Daniel recoils to the severity of the comment.

“Yep. Hate you that much. One day the guys will see what I mean. I tell them all the time that you’re no good and they should bench your ass along with your friendship, but they refuse for now. I don’t tend to be wrong about things like this. I promise they’ll see you as a problem soon enough and kick you to the curb as a result.”

“Damn, dude. Fuck you, man.”

“You are too ugly to fuck, bro. So, please don’t fuck me. Go bang your mom or something, she’s the only lady that’s had you in her pussy, and maybe she’ll consider a round two. I mean, she was irrational enough to keep you around after seeing what you look like, so maybe she’s irrational enough to fuck you. Not because you’re her son though. She didn’t seem to mind when I was fucking her and telling her to call me Daniel. I mean exclusively based on your face, your own mother will reconsider connecting with you in any fashion,” Cross smirks, “She said she wished she would have swallowed you instead of birthing you.”

“Fuck this, I’m out of here,” Daniel storms out.

“Alright, peace out, man. Let’s do this again sometime, fag.”

The next couple of days are spent with Prodigy learning how to better function in school, joining sports and making friends other than Cross.

Insert the girl, Katherine.

Katherine was Scythe’s crush in school. Had been for some time. Daniel, instantly upon seeing her began to develop a crush on her. Scythe hadn’t made a single move to speak to Katherine, but once Daniel had confessed his feelings to her and gotten turned down he proceeded to do the same. Conflict arose when Katherine didn’t give Scythe a direct answer. She told him she appreciated his emotions, and maybe could share them in return, but needed time to “process everything”, time to “think”.

In a “man to man” conversation, Scythe asks Daniel to back off, to let him have his chance with Katherine, “as a friend, please!” he pleaded. Daniel agreed and told him he’d back off. Prodigy and Cross watched in the sidelines as the events unfolded. Both Scythe and Daniel came to Cross and Prodigy for advice on how to move forward without destroying their friendship.

Prodigy always responded the same. “If it makes you happy, go for it. She’s not worth it, but if you really believe it’s what you need then don’t hold back. Let nothing stop you, but also come clean about it. Talk to Scythe/Daniel about what you plan to do.”

Cross always came from a disturbed and malicious angle, “Take the girl, lose the loser, and be happy. The end. Don’t get me wrong, that girl is a bit of a whore, like I think she actually took money for sex, but I might be making that up out of boredom. She’s not worth it is my point,” he’d tell Scythe. “Do whatever gets you hit by a car sooner and gets my dick into your mother’s mouth fastest. Nothing else matters. Kill yourself and go away,” to Daniel.

Although Daniel was slowly but surely losing tolerance for Cross, he decided to spend some time with him and learn how he was so successful with the girls inside and outside the school. Cross agreed to invite him to one of the parties he planned to attend for the week. Once there, Daniel took note of one thing all the girls seem to adore about Cross, the way he did whatever he wanted even when it meant he’d be doing something bad or morally incorrect. Cross didn’t seem to care for social norms and the girls were attracted to this attribute. Daniel decided to do the same and make his move on Katherine regardless of what he told Scythe. He figured playing the bad boy would get her to crack and finally want him in returned. At school this manifested itself as trying to kiss Katherine out of the blue. By now, Katherine and Scythe had advanced to a potential girlfriend and boyfriend position, but had not yet told anyone about the incoming possibilities. Not knowing Scythe was across the lunch room, Daniel made his move and kissed Katherine as Scythe watched. Katherine indulged and went along for the ride.

After Katherine kissed Daniel back and pushed him off, telling him that this didn’t mean she wanted to date him, he left the lunchroom disappointed. Scythe pulled Katherine to the side. “What the fuck was that?” he asks.

“Look, dude. We’re not together and I’m not your girlfriend. When we are, which can happen anytime soon, you’ll have the right to question whatever, but right now you need to get over it,” she responds.

“Are you serious?” Scythe asks. “You know what? Never mind. Go date whoever because it won’t be me,” he says and leaves the lunchroom.

Later that same day Scythe goes to Cross and Prodigy and tells them both what happened.

“Some people just see things differently. She has a different understanding of what the stages prior to a relationship are than you do. You just need to move on. You’ll find someone! You’re a great guy!” The motivating words of Prodigy.

“That little bitch is a no good player, dude. Fuck that shit, be grimy to her. Throw that fat fuck Daniel under a bus for revenge. I’ll get revenge for you. You know exactly how I’ll get it over with.” The insightful words from Cross.

Prodigy didn’t agree with Cross’s solution, but he was open minded and understanding enough to see how it could come off as appealing. “Go with that if you want,” he says.

“I will,” Scythe responds.

“I’m on it,” Cross says and leaves the room.

Over the next couple of days, Cross proceeds to tell Daniel that Katherine is interested in him, and no longer having Scythe to give her attention she turns to Daniel and they quickly begin the flirting stages. A couple of weeks in, Daniel and Katherine are right where Scythe and Katherine were when Daniel ruined it for them.

Cross asks Katherine to spend some time with her. It being the first time she’s seen him acknowledge her presence she agrees to join him. A couple of days of secretly hanging out behind Daniel’s back, and taking pictures as proof, he decides it’s time to close the deal. When his parents went away to visit family in another country he brought Katherine over to stay a night. They made out, watched TV and got touchy towards the later hours of the night. One thing became another and before long Cross had taken Katherine’s virginity, with picture and audio proof.

When Katherine left, Cross uploaded a picture of him and Katherine making out, Katherine in nothing but her underwear, at his house, while on the background was a new episode of a popular show Cross knew Daniel watched regularly. “It’s done,” Cross tells Scythe and Prodigy over a three way phone call.

“Thanks, man!” says Scythe.

“Dark stuff, guys. Intriguing, nevertheless,” Prodigy says.

The next day, Daniel scrolling through his social media comes across the picture and enters a fit of rage. He goes to Cross’s house and confront him about it. “I told you I don’t like you, dude. Banging your girlfriend is the best feeling I could have ever had knowing how little I like you. Let’s call it even for screwing Scythe over. Your mom isn’t payback though, I do that one for fun,” Cross says.

Daniel can’t believe what’s going on and he tries to tell Scythe what happened, but Scythe explains how he saw what Daniel did, and how he no longer wanted Daniel in his life.

With only Prodigy left Daniel turns to him. “I don’t want you around either. Scythe was your closest friend and you did him dirty, man. I can’t even imagine what you plan to do to me,” Prodigy says.

Soon enough Daniel finds himself with no friends and no girl. He was right back where he started, and just like before he vanished into the background away from Scythe, Prodigy, and Cross.

“I’m never wrong,” Cross says in a conversation with Prodigy and Scythe.

“I see,” says Prodigy.

“I see,” says Scythe.

“Now I just need to go fuck that douche’s mom.”

By Jack Thomas