The Bloodless Flame
Klyde was different than everyone else. For one, he didn't play any of the sports that everyone else played. He didn't use a bike to get around. He used his skateboard. He didn't listen to Migos or Tekashi 6ix9ine as everyone else did. He listened to Pearl Jam, Van Halen, and Pink Floyd. He didn't appreciate modern music.
Klyde rode his board to the park with Mason Smith--Flea for short. People called him Flea because he had a tiny build; 4'10" and 92 pounds. When they had arrived at the park, they went straight to the Volcano. The vVolcano was the second smallest ramp there, besides the Kicker. Klyde and Flea had run up and were at the top. They went down several times.
"Flea you should wear a helmet," Klyde said. Klyde new how to land the right way, so a helmet wasn't a big deal to him. Flea, on the other hand, would fall however he went down. Flea would put the full impact on one part of his body as opposed to rolling. "Flea watch me go down the Wave." The Wave was a seven foot medium size ramp. The Wave was considered a vertical ramp. Klyde had gone down the Wave so much that Flea started to feel bad about himself.
"Watch out Klyde!" Flea said as he ran up the ramp.
"Flea, you really should learn how to bail before you do this."
"Shut up, Klyde!" Those were the last words Klyde heard before Flea was hospitalized with a concussion. He had landed with his hands up which caused his forearm to rip out where his elbow should be.
When Flea hit the ground, he was unconscious. Klyde was in a state of shock. He finally mustered up the courage to take the phone out of Flea's bloodsoaked hand.
"911, What is your emergency?" the operator said.
"My friend fell trying to go down a ramp at the skatepark but didn't commit, h-he's unconscious, I do-," Klyde had a lump in his throat the size of a lemon, and he couldn't spit any more words out. He puked up the McDonald's he had eaten after school.
"Hello, can you repeat what you said?" Klyde was unable to hear what the operator said. "We're sending an ambulance over there now."
"T-thank you," Klyde said.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Klyde had passed out from hyperventilating. One of the paramedics gently tapped him to wake him up. The first thing he noticed was Flea's body was slightly twitching and he was making hiccup sounds. That's all he heard before he passed out again.
"Klyde, get up for school!" Beth, Klyde’s mom, had shouted from across the house. Klyde was deeply confused and in stress. He didn't know if Flea's incident was just one big dream or if he had really passed out.
Klyde got up, very uneasily. When Klyde had gone downstairs he noticed his mom had made his favorite breakfast--an egg in the middle of a slice of toasted bread. "Eggs in a nest," Klyde thought. "This day seems suspiciously happy," … "M-mom, what happened to Mason," Klyde said with a distressed look on his face.
"Mason's not doing well, Klyde," Beth said. Klyde was nervous but shook off his fear and decided he would ask people at his school what had happened to Flea.
The bus had picked up Klyde. Flea was not on it. Few of the teens gave him uneasy or aggressive looks. Klyde sat in the very back of the bus today, not where the losers sat, but not where the regular kids were either. Klyde took out his phone and messaged Flea through social media, asking him what had happened. No response. Bus 147 had pulled a sharp turn into the school parking lot. Klyde, anxiously looking down at his phone, didn't realize until the bus driver scolded him and told him to get off.
Once Klyde entered the main building everything seemed a parallax, or different then it should be. People were silent as he walked through the halls.
"Hey, look who it is!" Francis, the school bully had shouted. "Well, well, well. Seems like the little Flea's been crushed."
"Shut up and get out of my way Francis, I don’t have time for this!" Klyde said with a defensive attitude. Klyde wasn't in control of himself because of sheer adrenaline and didn't realize what he had done to Francis until he looked up.
Francis' nose was bloody and he had a look of shock on his face. "You're over twerp!" he screamed. Klyde had bolted towards the front door as Francis came through, violently trucking everyone in his path. There was no hope for Klyde, forcefully shoved to the ground from Francis behind him, violently beating on him. None of the students or teachers would interfere, scared of the 240-pound pure muscle freshman in front of them. Klyde wasn't fighting back either because of pure shock. He wanted the pain and fighting to stop earlier.
Finally, Coach Drew saw what was happening and intervened. Coach Drew had pushed Klyde out of the way to avoid getting beat anymore. He grabbed them and brought them both to the principal's office.
Principal Matthews looked at the two boys, troubled with what to do. Klyde had been beaten up far more than Francis. Klyde’s eyes and cheeks were beaten in with bruises and redness covering them.
"Boys, we have a zero tolerance policy, both of you will be suspended for three days, no questions asked!"
"Klyde! What's your problem, you went from a straight-A kid to a violent, fighting, skateboarding one!"
Klyde looked up slowly, "Skateboarding is not bad, mom." That was the last thing Klyde said on the way home.
Once Beth had dropped off Klyde at home, she went back to work. Klyde, obviously wanting to relax and get everything off his mind, grabbed his board and headed to the park. There seemed to be a tournament there. Klyde, making an impulse decision, signed up immediately. The tournament was supposed to start in an hour. In the meantime, Klyde had walked around the park and had practiced his grinding and his ollies.
"Alright, alright, alright! Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, today we have the first Phoenix, Arizona tournament! I am your host, Chankee Fresh from Zumiez!" The speakers boomed as the excited announcer screamed into the mic. "First up we're going to have Lance Strider.”
A man, apparently named Lance Strider, dropped into the 5-foot bowl. Pumping edges and gaining speed, he soon jumped up and out of the bowl. He did a three-sixty degree aerial and landed back into the bowl. Lance did aerial tricks for the two minutes he was up.
"Strider was up with some incredible aerials," said the announcer. "Next up is Aaron Fetty!" Aaron Fetty looked like the type to pose, but surprisingly he was pretty good. He had dropped in and grinding the coping. "Fetty is up shredding that coping. What's he about to do? Oh my, oh my gosh! Oh, wait, he just Rocked to Fakied, that's all."
"Our final contestant is, wait, who is this, Klyde Doughbrick?" Klyde didn't understand what the announcer was saying. He dropped in the bowl and started gathering speed. He completed an aerial off the bowl and did a five hundred before coming back in. He wondered why there was a rail in the middle of a bowl like this but realized he could use it to his advantage. Klyde quickly ollied up and pulled off a nosegrind on the rail, going extremely fast. With the speed he had built up, he went back up the ramp and slid into the coping, grinding halfway around the bowl before dropping back in and completing one more grind, this time a 50-50 grind on the rail.
"There's something we haven't told you yet," said the announcer.
"Winner of this small tournament gets five thousand dollars and will be sponsored by Girl Skateboards!"
The people sitting in the crowd had cast their votes. When Klyde heard his name called out he jumped happily in the air. Not because he was going to spend this money, or because he was now sponsored by Girl Distribution Company, but because he could use his earnings to help Flea.
In the next few months, Klyde had donated his money to Flea to help him recover from his injuries, given one of his decks from his sponsor, and had bought him new wheels, trucks, and bearings.