Last week, we heard the first part of Justin Huertas’ original source material for Lizard Boy. Miss Part I? Read it here! Now find out what happens when the reptilian high school student becomes a hero—with a little help from his friends.
Anytime I had a crush on a boy, I told Annelih about it. I got to be a normal horny teenager FINALLY – I remember feeling like I missed the boat on being able to share real crushes with friends. Being able to say, that boy is cute, I liked Robin in Batman & Robin, my TYPE is this, etc. It was liberating. As time went on, I feel like everyone could guess what my deal was but they didn’t want to force anything – all my friends respected me in that way. They wanted to let me come to them. And I did eventually. I came out to Kristina in my junior year of high school while we were driving home from an orchestra concert. She was happy about it. Not surprising to her. Kristina and I have known each other since 4th grade, so she had to have known. (She and I are still best friends – we lived together in college and will be living together again when this tour is over.)
I went on a couple dates with a boy! My first for dating. And boys. It was Doug, a classmate, and he was shy as hell. We were talking on the phone and he kept asking me if I was Canadian, saying that he had to think about it but he realized he definitely was Canadian. I kept saying, “No, Doug, I was born in Tacoma.” Took me a while to realize he was using “Canadian” in place of “gay”. Once I figured it out, I said that I WAS Canadian and that we should date. It was only like 2 dates though, he was nervous to take me anywhere because he was paranoid his brother would show up, see us, and tell his parents.
At that point I went through that phase of wearing bracelets and wristbands almost up to my elbows. It was this skater look that I was trying to emulate. I probably wanted to be Avril Lavigne. But it all served a purpose – those green rashes started lasting for longer – and it was no longer tough skin. It was scaly. Reptilian. I covered it all up by accessorizing.
By senior year, I had joined choir and it started trickling out that I was gay. I only assumed that because on choir tours or retreats, girls would ask me without hesitation whether or not I thought whatever boy that we’re talking about was cute. I wouldn’t be in the conversation but Jill would turn around and say, “Andy’s cute, right? You think Andy’s cute?” I’d say, “Um, yeah I guess.” Truth, of course, being that I thought Andy was dreamy. Andy was the boy who would become my first boyfriend. I was starting to become comfortable in my scaly skin and he actually liked it. He thought I was hot with the green scales, which had started to spread up my arms and across my chest. And he liked the fire a lot. As it turned out, he had an ability too. He was like an Ice Man. He could change the temperature in the room to freezing and use the moisture to make snow and ice. The catch was that he had to look at himself in a mirror to recharge whenever his powers grew weak. So, he was looking in a lot of mirrors. I think he’s a model now.
The time came when I sat my parents down to tell them I was turning into a lizard. By then, the scales covered my hands – I had claws that I had to trim daily so I could keep playing cello. My dad’s response seemed almost rehearsed, “Well, we love ya no matter what, so…” My mom, on the other hand, looking at my claws: “It’ll probably go away. You just need to see a doctor.”
I tried to explain that I didn’t want it to go away, that I started to like it, and that it might prove useful. She just shook her head and asked how Andy was doing. Well, I dumped him. Thanks, Mom.
By the end of senior year, I was an out gay man and a full-blown dragon-lizard-person-humanoid thing. I didn’t have that many friends but I couldn’t decide which thing was the reason why. Lizard or gay? Then I saw my locker had been vandalized. In red Sharpie, someone wrote, “Now, figure out how to blend in like a chameleon so we don’t have to look at your ugly face.” I think it was the lizard thing. High school is hard enough (Hello? Has anyone seen Glee?) but try being a fire-breathing dragon person. No, really. Try it.
I was getting ready to run away. I had a few true and wonderful friends but having people not just treat you as invisible but WISH you WERE invisible was tough tough tough. I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for The Day of the Lock-Down. That’s the name of it. They called it that in the Mukilteo Beacon. It makes me think of Snick on Nickelodeon – the show “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” and the kids around a campfire with the storyteller throwing some flammable dust stuff into the fire while saying, “Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story ‘The Day of the Lock-Down’….” That show was awesome.
So the entire school was in lock-down because there were some scary people on campus with guns – people said they were students or former students looking for revenge on… something – I don’t know, I’d never seen them before. I was locked in my European History cla–oh, excuse me–my A.P. European History class (suck on that) on the 3rd floor and I saw these three guys from the window. They were outside in a stand-off against the police. So these scary people – they were Marvels too (my new word that I’ve adopted from Marvel comics to describe people with powers). They could move things with their minds – they took all the cops’ weapons and dropped them in a pile between them. Just then, I saw Annelih rocking out to her headphones walking outside having no idea that there was even a lock-down. I saw the bad guys see her. I saw her see them seeing her. I had to do something I didn’t know what. My instincts said to jump out of the window to her rescue, but that seemed dumb because I was on the third floor.
So I jumped out the window, not knowing what was going to happen or what I would do next. This was nuts: so, I flew. I didn’t know I could do that. But I should have guessed, right? I mean, I was bitten by an ancient Chinese dragon. Of course, I can fly. I landed in front of Annelih to shield her – I landed pretty hard, but my feet were dragon claws, so it’s safe to say I was good. The bad guys saw me as a threat because I was all green and scaly and I had superpowers too, so they each grabbed a gun and started walking slowly in our direction. (I remember the detail about them walking slowly because it reminded me of a movie and how, even though the villains were walking slowly toward me, I still felt that I was in immediate danger.) I lit my hands on fire to show I wasn’t afraid – kind of like the spitting dinosaur in Jurassic Park. That just made them stop walking and cock their guns. (Where are the police during this? No idea. They probably got freaked out by this Marvel-versus-Marvel situation.) They were going to shoot, and I could shoot fire at them first if I wanted to but not before a bullet hits me in the head. “Follow my lead,” I hear Annelih say from right behind me. Uh, wha?? What lead? You’re just a normal–she reaches her arms forward under my arms so her hands are in front of me, palms facing the bad guys, and her hands in an instant emit this bright flash. Like BLINDING. The bad guys turn away, a couple guns hit the ground and one shoots the roof. As they’re disoriented, Annelih pushes me to the ground.
Holy whatthewhat. Annelih has powers too.
One of the bad guys says, “Pick up another gun.” They all three start B-lining to the pile of guns they’ve accumulated and, in almost a Tazmanian Devil whirlwind, the guns are shredded. Things are moving so fast that I can’t see what’s shredding them. The commotion settles and Kristina is standing in the middle, waving hello with these Hands – from the tips of all of her fingers were thin metal blades, like sharp sharp long long sharp claws. Holy crap. My best friends were Marvels too, and I had no idea. Annelih slipped on some sunglasses and her hands began to glow. Kristina rubbed her claws together, making that “shing!” sound. And I growled as I levitated into the air. The entire school was watching out the windows as we took down these telekinetic tools. (Ah! Like that? Alliteration.) Annelih shot bursts of light to disorient them, Kristina threw them up in the air but not before giving them a few scratches, and I POOMED them to the ground. Pooming is like a comic-book punch that goes downward. POOM!
They were all hospitalized (some scratches and burns) and put in jail. And us? Well, we had detention for like two weeks, grounded for longer because we were fined for all the property we destroyed (including the police weapons Kristina shattered), and everyone loved us for saving the day. We made front page news on the Mukilteo Beacon. Famous. And I’m perfectly content with my scales. There are men out there that I’ve found who think I’m beautiful. And I’ve met several more Marvels, but that’s another story.
THE END. Cue the credits with the Nickelback song.
The superhero thing was a tribute to the late Perry Moore who wrote a sweet novel about a gay teen superhero. The first of its kind. And an inspiration to many young gay people.
And even though this is a “coming out story,” this story wasn’t really about being gay. But that’s probably because My Life isn’t really about being gay. I just Am.
Lizard Boy is playing on the Leo K stage until May 2, 2015.