11
Jul
15

Todd’s Secret – a short story


TODD TRAVEL

My eyes opened for just long enough to see my mother’s face and just long enough to hear her say with a crying sob, `Todd is dead’. Then, the next I knew, I awoke in my room, in my bed.

My name is Jake. At the time of writing this I just turned twenty-seven but what happened took place about a year ago. It has taken me this long to deal with what I am about to tell you. Why I am here and Todd, my best friend, is dead.

I’ve known Todd all my life it seems. But it wasn’t always that way. What I mean is after graduating from high school Todd and I went our separate ways and well, time, money and great distance can break-up the best of friendships. What brought us together once again was just the combination of a falling economy and coincidence, really.

Like I said, after high school I may have seen Todd the odd holiday but for the better part of four or five years, we never saw each other until that fateful day.

I may not have mentioned it but, after graduating from university majoring in the humanities, there were few jobs around and becoming desperate, I went to the Employment Center in hopes of finding a temporary job at minimum wage even. So there I was in line with about a dozen other desperate souls when this guy bumps into me and would you know it, it was Todd.

The funny thing about seeing him, in that moment, was; it’s as though the years apart were suddenly erased and somehow, I could sense Todd felt the same way.

I was first to get through the process but I anxiously waited until Todd came out into the center hall, I waved him down and suggested we go for coffee to catch up.

Todd looked as good as the last time I saw him, just before leaving for university. He’s kept the same crew cut, spiked at the front and he had obviously just been in the tropics because his tanned skin made him that much blonder with those thick, bushy eyebrows and crystal blue eyes that joyfully twinkled when he smiled. I am and always have been in love with Todd, beautiful Todd.

We must have talked for hours given it was bright sunshine when we arrived and it was now pitch black outside. He told me about his college years and his on and off again love affairs and once graduated, he got a good job with an investment firm. Todd got his degree in economics and it landed him a job in the Bahamas hence the tan and sun-blonde hair. But then, unfortunately, it was a Ponzi-scheme setup and it got busted. Fortunately for him he was so low on the totem pole that he was not criminally involved but nonetheless, unemployed with no benefits hence, being at the Employment Center. Then fate took its course.

Over the ensuing weeks, Todd and I got together nearly every day each, mutually interested to get back into the groove of our old friendship. We both laughed and cried at how, while still in high school, we would fantasize about what great, important and high-paying jobs we were going to have by going to university and here we were; me at twenty-five and Todd being one year younger, we were both unemployed and living in our parents’ basements. It was then we made a pack to the effect: if the system didn’t want us then, WE DON’T WANT THE SYSTEM! Then committed to getting organized to tread the globe far and as wide as we can make it.

I don’t honestly know how we did it but between the two of us, we were able to scrounge up about five thousand bucks that, along with getting odd jobs along the way, we figured we should be able to go pretty far. And far we did get.

Let me say one thing: beauty begets! Being in the company of Todd given his good looks, calm demeanor and, boyish charm; it goes a long way. Now that is not to say I am a slouch in the looks department, I am a ok looking but, next to Todd, everyone is diminished in the looks department and not just if you are a guy. Yes, he was that good looking.

Well we weren’t one month into our travels from home in Cleveland that we had already gotten to Costa Rica. Beautiful and exotic Costa Rica with its miles of white sandy beaches with some of the most powerful white-foaming surf slamming hard against the shore. And what got us there was Todd’s infectious smile.

From across the room in this small bar in Tepic Mexico were a young guy and girl in their early twenties; we later came to know them as Kenny and Melissa, Mel for short. They were brother and sister. Let me rephrase that introduction; they were spoiled rich brother and sister who decided, not unlike Todd and I, to travel the world but unlike Todd and I, were doing it as lavishly as their Black American Express could take them. I told Todd I thought they were phony’s and the credit card didn’t exist, that Platinum was the card rich people carried. Todd said I was only partly right; only the super-rich had the black card. He learned that fact from his days working for the shysters running the Ponzi scheme.

It was obvious from the start that Kenny and Mel were both infatuated with Todd and they insisted he, we, joy them on their dime to where ever we wanted. And without a second breath they both screamed out Costa Rica with a flutter of their tongues.

We were met at the airport by a chauffeured Land Rover and taken to a resort situated in the tropical rain forest. It was absolutely exquisite replete with every conceivable convenience of the best quality ruggedly set with bamboo cabanas, lush hammocks suspended between huge, luscious Queen Palms and the constant natural and magical cries of wildlife emanating from the jungle. It truly was paradise. I said it was the Garden of Eden re-manifested just for the four of us, as there were no other guests. The only other people were the resort’s staff who were more than discrete. I learned only later; Kenny and Mel paid out the resort for as long as we wanted to stay. These guys were obviously very, very rich. And unfortunately, as it turns out, that can be a bad thing.

After the second week of just lounging I started to get a bit bored and wanted to move on but the others including Todd wanted to hang on for a while longer. I think he was having sex with both of them but from what I could gather neither Kenny nor Mel seemed to know it. Todd was playing both of them and it would be an understatement to say I was jealous of the two of them for coming between Todd and I. In the end I decided, reluctantly, to move on, on my own, with plans to meet up again in Guatemala City. Although I was super mad and angry with Todd, I didn’t let him know it. I wanted to part on good terms in hopes that when we meet up again in a couple of weeks, things will get back to normal. I should probably make it known that although I love Todd a whole hell of a lot, and he is Gay, I’m not. At least not on a sexual sense, I just love Todd and being with him. If that makes me Gay, well then I am Gay too.

I have to admit those two weeks that followed by leaving were the longest; loneliest I had spent in a long time. All I could do was think about Todd and what he might be doing with Kenny and Mel or, they with him, and where they might be.

Before I left we planned that Todd was to send me an update on things, when and where he’d be joining up with me. He was to send a fax to the American Express office in Guatemala City before the end of the second week from when I left him. I went to that office every day for the whole week and nothing. I was both disappointed and confused because I didn’t know what next to do. Do I just sit there in the city and wait? What if he never writes, what if I never see him again? All of a sudden I was feeling very lonely both for him and for myself.

Another week went by with no news from Todd. I was getting desperate hoping something bad had not happened to him. Those two spoiled self-indulgent brats. Just the thought of them again makes me so angry. I was having enough of Guatemala City by now especially given that I was feeling almost sick with worry for Todd. As a last ditch effort I decide to try the American Express office one last time then, if no news I was probably just going to head back home. The joy of travel has been bled from me.

When I approached the front service counter the young Guatemalan girl who knew me well by now jumped with joy and a smile waving a piece of paper. She gleefully said in English that my long awaited fax had arrived. I could not believe it. The relief was over whelming. I quickly reached for it over the counter and read it feverishly.

Todd was still in Costa Rica. He had a bad parting of ways with Kenny and Mel to which he would tell me later, happened because Mel finally caught he and Kenny going at it heavy in the swimming pool late one night when she was supposed to have been in a alcohol and drug induced coma. Frankly I don’t know how he managed to keep up the rouse for as long as he did. Things couldn’t have been that bad in their parting at the airport in San Jose, they left him with two, prepaid, first-class, round the world, open tickets as gesture to the fun they did have together. I was to fly to San Jose a.s.a.p. then we’d fly out, together, from there. What made me forget all the bad things I felt about Todd over those three weeks alone was his closing remark: `I’m sorry buddy! See you soon. Love Todd.’

(To be continued….maybe?)

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