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The Guy Next Door. by starlight

JUSTIN


“Why not put the statues in front of each person's house?” Emmett asked.


“Riley got sort of drunk one night and ended up having a four-hour conversation with the Sheriff’s statue we put in front of the police station. Everyone sort of watched the video at every party we threw. The next year after we placed them, Riley moved them all, saying it would be fun for people to run into themselves in places they wouldn’t normally be found.” Blake tells him.


“Yeah, I really thought it would be funny to have the sheriff hiding in the woods where all the kids like to do everything your parents never need to know about. It was funny.” Riley tells them.


“Yeah, but you know, the teens that toilet papered your house thought that was funny too,” I tell him.


“We decided after that to save ourselves the time and change the way we did it. I suggested letting people find themselves.” Ben tells us.


“What’s in the envelopes?” Ted asks.


“Just small things, the one with the sheriff is for his honeymoon. He wanted to go up north and show Denise where he came from. I just gave them an invitation to use my house in Maine. Tobey’s is from the guys who used to work with his dad. They are offering to take Tobey on a ride and show him what his dad did.” I tell them.


“So no expensive trips to Hawaii or anything?” Brian asks.


“While I’m sure everyone would be thrilled with something like that, all of us wanted to be included on the gifts. Which meant they had to be something we could do. Ben told us to think of something people would appreciate more. The senior center likes when we cook dinner for them, so they get invitations to my house when they want to come for dinner. Blake offers nights out where he’ll watch the kids. Ben offers to show up and help people with projects. And Riley, being the lazy ass he is, gives gift certificates for restaurants in town.” I tell them.


“Hey, I also offer to go with them,” Riley says, defending his lazy ass.


“Only if they get the ones for the restaurants you like,” Blake tells him.


“Why do it at all? I mean the prizes.” Emmett asks.


“It’s a way for people to not feel like they owe anyone. Dinner at my house isn’t something people consider out of the ordinary. Ben always helps around town when people need it and Blake is always watching the kids when they’re out where we are. Gran says it just lets people know that we appreciate them watching out for us too.” I tell him.


“So you pick a theme and run with it?” Ted asks.


“Normally the themes center around what Justin’s planning for his sand art. It gives them clues to what he plans.” Riley tells us.


“This year it’s Time Bender,” Blake tells us.


“I need to get the last statue on the beach. Which means all of you need to go find something to do.” I tell them all.


“He never lets us peek.” Riley pouts.


“I want everyone to see it when it’s done,” I tell them, taking off with Brian.


“Wait, you're taking Brian with you?” Riley yells, acting hurt.


“He won’t tell everyone, the way you will,” I yell back.


“Why am I coming with you?” Brian asks.


“Because the box I sealed it up in needs more than just me to lift it,” I tell him.


“I don’t get to see it do I?” He asks me.


“Nope. In fact, I asked that only the judges see me build it this year. Normally I let everyone watch, but for the first time I don’t care if I win.” I tell him.


“What do you win?” He asks me.


“They give cash prizes and they put the winners in the brochures for tourists to see what we do,” I tell him.


“Why do you do it? Because I can’t see you caring about any of that.” He asks me.


“I watched the first competition and thought it looked like something that I could do to relax. I started messing with the sand and found out it was fun too. The kids like helping me dig up everything.” I tell him.


“You like spending time with kids?” He asks me.


“I really do. They show you that life doesn’t have to be complicated.” I tell him.


Brian helped me get the box to the front of my house, and went inside when I asked him to. I pulled open the front of the box and stared at the face that would bring me out of the vortex. I put my hand up to the hand that would be reaching for me when I was finished tomorrow. Then I closed it up and went into the house to the real thing.


BRIAN


I left Justin sleeping, it’s something I know he doesn’t get enough of. I grabbed a cup and made some coffee before sitting outside in the dark, looking at the water. Jen came out and sat beside me.


“It’s really peaceful here, isn’t it?” She asks me.


“I get why Justin likes it here,” I tell her.


“He told me once that it was the first place where he could sleep.” She tells me.


“I noticed he doesn’t tend to do much of that,” I tell her.


“He normally has to be exhausted to sleep. I remember waking up finding that he'd been on his computer all night because he thought up a way to do something he saw in his head. Until it was done he couldn’t stop.” She tells me.


“You don’t sound like it worried you,” I tell her.


“It was hard, trust me, but it’s just a part of what makes him who he is.” She tells me.


“I thought he was just a rich kid with too much time on his hands,” I tell her.


“He was born never having to do anything if he didn’t want to. My mother would have given him or Molly anything if they wanted it. He loves her too much to take advantage of things being handed to him.” She tells me.


“I want him in my life. He makes life more... everything.” I tell her.


“You do the same for him, according to my mother.” She tells me. “I think I’ll get some sleep, but I really just wanted to talk to you without the hooligans around. Goodnight.” She tells me, going in.


I drank the rest of my coffee and went back in. I was actually hungry and this is one place where food was never a problem.


MICHAEL


I woke up, looking around and trying to remember where I was. It hit me like a ton of bricks that they drugged me. I was still dressed in the clothes I wore when I got here. I ran to the door trying to open it but it was locked. I noticed a tray with food and a drink, but I wasn’t touching the shit. As soon as I got out of here I was calling the police, these assholes kidnapped me.


I was in the bathroom when someone came in. The old woman and two guys were standing there when I got out.


“Now Isaac, we need to talk about how to help you.” She says, looking at me.


“My name is Michael. My family and boyfriend are going to be looking for me.” I tell her.


“Isaac, we are here to help you see the way. You were born to love women, not men.” She tells me.


“I’m gay, and nothing will change that I am. I hope you like jail because that’s where you’re going when I get out of here. You can’t drug me and tell me what you want me to feel. I like DICK!” I yell at her.


“You need to see that what we want for you is the right thing for your eternal soul.” She tells me.


“What part of ‘I’M GAY’ are you not understanding?” I ask her.


“Any of it. We were made by God to love the opposite sex, and I’m going to save you from the perversion that your life is. You’ll see what we are doing is what you really want.” She tells me.


“Just because you think you're right doesn’t make it true,” I tell her.


“I'll leave you some reading material. You’ll see that what you’ve been brainwashed to think, isn’t the life you want. We want to offer you a chance to love the right way. Trust me to help you see that you couldn’t love men, but women.” She tells me.


I wanted out of here, so when she handed me the books I threw it at her and the guys. I got to the door but felt a sting and was dragged back to the bed. I looked up at the bitch who was smiling.


“You’ll understand eventually.” She tells me.

 

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