Chapter III

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The pain from Brandon's slap on his buttocks disappeared as Brian walked into the shop. He wished that the same could be said of his thighs. He legs throbbed with pain where he had been hit and he was sure there were a couple of bruises forming. Though Brian was no stranger to bruises and welts. He had lost count a long ago of how many he had received over the years. He would not be surprised if it was around fifty.

And there were more to come he thought as he rubbed his left thigh which hurt him the most. It was unavoidable no matter how hard he tried. He had often heard the expression that there were only two certainties in life death and taxes. He would say there death, taxes, and getting a beating when you are a teen boy in a small town. That was just a fact of life.

Death, taxes, and beatings they were the three inevitabilities of life. And computer crashes he thought those too. They will always happen.

He then pushed the thoughts out of his mind as he made his way to the counter. A broad smile crossed his face as he saw the teen who was working behind it. The boy had finished an order with a customer and then saw him. He waved at him and then turned his attention to the next customer in line.

Brian's father had been married twice and had several girlfriends which produced multiple offsprings. He was not sure the exact number of children his father had but it did not seem like he could go anywhere in the county let alone their small town without running it one of his half siblings. He thought how he had eight half brothers and five half sisters who went to high school with him and he suspected that there were a lot more.

Heck that little jerk that teased me outside could very well be one of my half brothers he mused.

Butch was the son of his father's first wife when they briefly reconciled their relationship despite his dad being married to his mom. Their affair had been short and his father claimed to have broken it off after Butch's birth but rumor had it that was not so. Not even Butch or Ben were certain about it. After all their parents were not the most trustworthy people.

Butch was three months older than him and attended a Catholic school in the next town that his step father worked at. He stood six one, was muscular built, and had curly brown hair that covered the tops of his ears. He also had warm brown eyes like both him and Brandon did.

Brian walked to the counter and Butch said "Hey Buddy."

"Hey Butch." He found himself rubbing his leg once again as it screamed in pain.

"I'm surprised to see you here bro." Brian was normally taken straight home where he stayed until his parents came home. He usually went out after dinner until his ten thirty curfew.

"Brandon is getting a haircut and I have to wait here for him." he said. "Is there a place where I can do my home work?"

"Yeah over in the corner." He pointed at the far corner.

A burly man in his late fifties walked behind Butch and said in a gruff tone. "He is going to order right."

"Yes, yes he will." Butch seemed to shrink before the older man. Brian could not help but feel a twinge of fear towards the man himself. "What will you have Buddy?" He asked with nervousness etched in his voice.

"A chocolate shake." He said.

The man then coughed and he could feel Butch's anxiety begin to rise. "Would you like some waffle fries with that?" His eyes then pleaded with him to say yes.

"Yes." He said.

Butch shot his brother a look of immense gratitude.

"Why don't you go sit down and I will bring you, your food in a couple of minutes."

"Thanks." Brian said. His eyes then met the older man's who scowled at him. He quickly turned around and made his way to the corner. A couple of customers smirked as they walked past him. Evidently they had witness his beating in the parking lot. He felt a rush of anger towards them and wanted to yell at them for taking such joy in his pain. But he resisted the temptation not wanting to get into more trouble with Brandon.

He sat down at the table and rubbed his leg again and then got his books out. A few minutes later Butch walked over carrying a red tray which had his fries and shake on it. Brian was still rubbing his leg when he came over and asked "What happened to your leg?"

"I got in trouble with Brandon."

His eyes then widened. "You were the one who got the beating in the parking lot."

"Yes." He said nodding his head and his cheek began to turn red again. "I refused to give Brandon my phone and he punished me for it."

"Sorry man." He said shooting him a look of sympathy.

"It's okay. I deserved it, I just wish it was not so public." Brian told him.

"Public beatings are the worse." Butch said as a wave of embarrassment overcame him from the last one he got. "All those eyes on you as its happening, people taking pleasure in it, egging the person beating you on. It's humiliating."

"Yes it is." He then thought about the young teen who had cheered Brandon on. "Do you know a kid with short black hair, in early teens."

"Wearing a white shirt and black cap."

"Yeah that's the one."

"I hate that kid." Butch said with frustration in his voice.

"Do you know his name?"

"His name is Tommy but I don't know his last name. I don't think he is from around here." Butch said. "The kid is a brat."

"Yes he is."

"Are you going to work or stand around all day talking." A voice bellowed from behind them. Brian then saw the older man marching towards them, his face twisted and red and a look of murder was in his eyes.

Butch stood ramrod straight and fear crossed his face as he said "Getting back to work sir." He then walked quickly past the man who gave Butch as slap across the back of the head as he past by him.

He then jabbed his finger at Brian and said "You better stop distracting my employees boy before I plant my foot up your backside."

Brian then stuttered a yes sir and quickly looked at his text book. He looked up a few seconds later to see the man give Butch a hard slap across his back. His brother winced in pain and then took the order of another customer.

Death, taxes and beating the only certainties of life he thought as he returned to his studies.

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