Skater boys by: Pent Ghelsburg
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this work are purely fictional. Any resemblance to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental. They are the original and rightful intellectual property of their creators. I use them with permission and respect. This work contains underaged content. You have been warned.
“You don't have to be great to get started but
you have to get started to be great.”
There are times when fear takes over the thought process. When you are so terrified that you cannot act. That you are so petrified by the utter horror of the moment, that sometimes your heart may skip a beat. Fear can be a driving factor and it can control you if you let it. It is a normal part of life and you must know how to deal with it when it rears its ugly head. But how does one cope with it, especially in the early parts of life? The best answer...is through friendship and guidance.
Ronny was a 12-year-old boy who lived in Michigan not far from the Canadian border. School had recently let out for the summer and had just graduated from his first year in middle school. He lived in a suburb called Sault Saint Marie where he was a mere stone's throw away from the International Bridge that topped the Saint Marie's river. As such the American boy had a number of Canadian friends and hung out with them on occasion when there was free time to be had.
Ronny's family was male-dominated, with his mother being the only female. All of them were dogs of the golden collie breed. Each with varying tones of brown, orange, white, and tan fur. You could easily tell they were related despite the obvious differences in patterns of fur between them. At the youngest of 3 boys, Ronny was considered the baby by his sometimes over-affectionate mother. Ronny didn't mind much since he craved the attention that he didn't always get from his father since the man was normally out on business.
Both of his mother and father worked. Dad worked for the port authority for a trading company that was contracted by the state government to do business with Canadian firms. As such the man's name to his family was “Salty” despite surrounding lakes and rivers to be all freshwater. His mother, on the other hand, was a lawyer who specialized in getting people across the border regularly. She was an immigration specialist and normally dealt with a fair share of both Canadians and Americans wanting to come in or out for longer than would be required by travel visa.
Because of this, she was always on the phone with Homeland Security. She technically worked as a liaison for the government but had no direct affiliation with either of the two federal governments she dealt with. But it didn't matter to her as it brought in revenue both at home as well as locally. The city had really bloomed lately and interest in border towns always generated some sort of tourism. Sault Saint Marie was no different and both parents benefited from the increased traffic.
Ronny had 2 brothers whom he got along with pretty well however they didn't regularly hang out due to the age gaps. The oldest of which was now in College and the Middle child was now halfway through high school. Ronny didn't mind much since Joey normally was around to help him when he needed help with homework. Blah was an average student but was more than willing to help his younger brother when he asked for assistance.
Ronny had many friends who he hung out with on regular occasion. Every few days he would call them up and did something with them. But every once and a while he came up short, finding himself in a predicament where he easily got bored. The most recent weekend was one of those weekends. Where all of his friends were busy with other things. When Ronny prompted his father about his problem, the man's solution was very simple.
“Go outside and play.” The father thought it to be easy enough and figured it to need no further explanation.
“But there is no one to play with...” Ronny look saddened and sullen.
“Go and make new friends then.” The older male suggested not really thinking much about the issue.
Ronny, of course, had thought of that possibility but he was one of those kids who didn't take to change easily. Even despite that he trecked outside. It was a beautiful spring day and it was brisk outside since it wasn't yet close enough to summer. The puppy heard no more about it and began to head outdoors. He stopped by the door in order to put his shoes on as he didn't want to get his paws dirty. Once he stepped from the house the relentless rays of the sun immediately pounded down upon him.
But it was no match for the puppy who still went outside anyways. Since he was wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts, it didn't bother him that much. Ronny began to walk in no particular direction. He didn't know where kids normally hung out but he did know that there was a park nearby. The boy figured it was the best place to start since he'd never been there. As with most kids his age, he was always keen to go to different places and try new things. He passed the place on the way to school every day so he was fully aware of where it was, despite never having been there before.
He began heading in the direction where he recalled it's location. Eventually, he passed by the entrance where he passed by the guard who paid him no attention. It was the weekend after all and kids were admitted free on the weekend. There wasn't much of a line but the place was full of trees and foliage. It created a cool and shaded atmosphere. Once Ronny was under the canopy of the brush above, he felt immediate relief. Eventually, the distant chatter of all sorts of people filled his ears and the puppy listened closely for kids.
Once the chatter became loud enough to distinguish words, Ronny began to walk toward it. Occasionally loud clangs of noise could be heard. They were sudden, short, and sometimes followed by cries of discomfort. Yet still the collie walked towards it undeterred in his mission to find its cause. Eventually, he happened upon a concrete jungle. Ramps and rails decorated it with occasional bumps and dips throughout the asphalt-covered area.
The place was out in the open. Sun streamed through the opening in the trees making the whole area rather humid since the light bounced off the black and gray pavement. Ronny watched as kids and teens of various ages cruised through all of the various obstacles with ease. Some of them were on scooters, others were on roller blades, but the majority of them were on skateboards. The most outstanding of which was performing all sorts of tricks, as the puppy watched another boy hop into the sky and plummet back down on his board all in a single motion.
The other boy's crowd clapped as the fox got off the board and picked it up with his paws. By looking at him, the puppy could tell the other cub couldn't be any more than his own age. The kit had all-white fur, wearing some baggy beige cargo shorts and was shirtless. His whole chest was matted down from sweat. The boy began to walk over to where Ronny was watching. The dog figured this was his chance to try and make another friend.
The kit walked right past him, at first not paying him any mind, right towards where the water fountain is. Ronny watched as he wet his whistle and was careful not to stare. Before long he ended his drinking session and looked back. The fox was slightly taller than the other boy, even without shoes, though the puppy certainly didn't have to elevate his head much.
“Hiya, that was a really cool trick you just did.” The dog complimented the fox in order to break the ice.
“Thanks, I've never seen you around here before. Are you local?” The fox asked as he was apparently a regular to the place.
“Well, I've been to the park before but never to this part of it.” Ronny hadn't really explored the place much but had been there with his parents in the past.
“Cool, well grab a board and come join us.” The kit didn't think twice to even verify if the smaller cub had a skateboard of his own.
“Uh...I don't have one.” The puppy was a little bit embarrassed to admit that.
“It's alright you can borrow mine. What's your name?” The fox was glad there was someone else around that looked to be his own age.
“My name is Ronny, what's yours?” The smaller boy smiled warmly now that he had found someone to hang out with.
“My name is Pent.” The kit held out his board which seemed old and beat up.
“Erm...well I've never skateboarded before.” Ronny knew the sport was potentially dangerous and didn't want to start out the relationship with a lie.
“No problem, let me get my rollerblades on and I'll guide you around the skate park.” Pent always brought both with him.
The fox handed his new friend the board which Ronny took with a little hesitation. Pent led to the other side of the park where there were some benches.
The wooden bench had all sorts of bags on it with the fox going to the end of the line to retrieve his own. He didn't go through it and instead sat down to take off his shoes. The boy's socks were moist but not dirty. Eventually, he put on his skates and laced them up, now the boy was even taller due to the wheels offering some lift from the ground level.
“Here's my helmet. It's better than wearing nothing and I'm not afraid of falling.” The kit took off his red plastic headwear and handed it to the dog.
Ronny took it and fastened it to his head. It had virtually identical mechanics to his bike helmet at home, so he found it rather easy to put on.
“I'm ready...” The cub forgot all about actually putting down the board on the floor.
“Don't be nervous, I will catch you if you fall. I will be behind you.” The fox softly snatched the board and placed it on the flat surface of the ground.
Pent got on his knees and looked up at the Collie expectantly.
“On you go, the board won't move since it's wedged between my knees.” The larger cub tried to reassure the smaller one of his safety.
Slowly but surely Ronny put one foot on the board. The board didn't shift at all, so he soon followed with the other.
“Alright, I'm going to let go and you can hold onto my body as I get back up so you don't go rolling off.” The fox very slowly got up as the other boy did as he was told.
Eventually, the kit was standing at full stature once again. He shifted his right foot in front of the board so it didn't go anywhere.
“Now, before I teach you how to push, I'm going to guide you one time around the perimeter of the park. Don't let go of me and use me to keep yourself balanced and if at any time you feel like you're going to fall then try to fall towards me.” Pent put his arms out so that the two were joined by the waist side.
The fox removed his front foot from the board and shifted his body slightly so that he was facing in the direction he wanted to go. One by one the kit pushed off and allowed his powerful strides to take him forward. The other cub felt the brush of the wind push into his face as he began to move, watching as the park around him slowly rotated around him. Some of the patrons stared as he passed them, but Ronny didn't seem to care since he had someone to show him the ropes. After the single circuit was done, the fox suddenly stopped and put his foot in the front of the board again.
“Now, you're going to take your left foot and put it on the floor.” Pent waited until the other boy gradually did as he was told.
Pent shifted around so that he was on the backside of the boy.
“Release the weight on your right paw.” The kit's plan was to position the appendage in the correct spot on the board.
Ronny lifted it a bit and hovered a bit so it would seem like it was mostly weightless. The fox took hold of it and placed it between the two bolts on the front of the board. Continuing he got up again and rotated around the other boy's body while still allowing him to hold on to Pent for support.
“So now what you're going to try to do is push back using your left leg. You then need to either bring your left leg on the back of the board or...you can simply just dangle it for now.” Pent let go of him entirely but still allowed the other boy to use him as a crutch.
The Collie kicked his left foot back as the board gained a little momentum. After mere centimeters, the thing came to a stop.
“Good, but you need to try to put more strength into it. Try again.” The fox continued instructing him while keeping him on a straight path.
Ronny tried a second and then continued after. Each successive try lead to increased movement on the board.
“Great, your making progress. Now you need to try to switch from pushing to a stationary position.” Pent knew from learning himself that stability and confidence were key to growth in the sport.
The fox helped him off the board and picked it up before leading over to a grassy area. Pent then sat down and removed his skates so that all he had on was socks.
“Watch me.” Pent imitated the movements that were muscle memory for him from pushing to cruise control, back and forth.
Pent then went onto the asphalt grid again and showed him the moves in physical practice.
“Get it? You're going to try now.” Pent jumped off casually as the board catapulted into the grass.
The fox put on his skates again and re-laced up. As like before he continued to be the moving support that the other boy needed to get started up.
Ronny wasn't saying much due to the fact that he was nervous about falling. He continued to comply with instructions and placed the board on the pavement. He held onto Pent once again as he tried to repeat the movements that the fox had just showed him. At first, he was able to do one transition but after a few tries, he was able to go from one end of the skate park to the other without stopping or messing up the switching between pushing and cruising.
“Sweet, you're doing great. Now...I'm going to let go and skate behind you. You can't rely on me as a guide all the time.”
The puppy felt his body tighten up once he let go of Pent. He didn't want to move at first, looking around to see the other kids still doing tricks and paying him no mind. He looked back and saw Pent smiling and waiting for him to start up.
“Come on, I promise you won't fall. You're only going straight, it's not like your shifting your weight.” The fox tried to reassure him and coax him into coasting ahead.
It took a few minutes of mental preparation before Ronny could muster the courage to get up and go. The kit kept behind just in case he fell, though Pent wasn't entirely sure he could catch the boy in time should he fall.
Sure enough, the puppy managed to go from one side to the other without a whole lot of difficulty. He only stopped once to rotate his board since he didn't know how to turn. Ronny managed not to fall, though his footing did get screwed up after he changed directions since he had to accommodate to no longer having a crutch while on the board.
“Now, in order to turn you need to shift the weight on your feet slightly in the direction, you want to go.” Pent got close enough to Ronny once he stopped and guided his body back in forth in a motion similar to what he was used to.
“I want you to try to go entirely around the skate park, at least once, without stopping to rotate your board to go in the other direction.”
Ronny looked over at Pent who was still close behind him and tried to mimic the shift in weight he'd just experienced. Going forward was simple enough but as he came to the turn, he panicked and fell off his board.
“Ow...” The dog scrapped his knee as Pent hurried over to aid him.
The kit felt bad he wasn't able to catch him.
“Here, put some water over it and clean it up.” The larger cub pulled a water bottle from his back pocket.
Some blood emerged to the knee of his pants. The puppy grabbed the bottle and poured it over the wound. It didn't make it feel any better, though
“Try again.” In Pent's mind failure was not an option.
The fox held out his paw and Ronny grasped it. Though he was still bleeding, he shook it off as it were no big ordeal and tried again.
The second round went much better, even if the Collie was initially hesitant to try again. Pent followed closely the first time around and was happy to see progress made, then slowed himself to allow the other boy to have independence. Round after round the cub was able to skateboard normally without any real difficulty. Gradually he got the hang of it. Once they were done Pent shared his water bottle with his new friend. Ronny didn't take it to his lips and instead poured it into his maw.
“So want to be friends?” Ronny asked just to be certain, wiping his mouth of the wet residue left by the crestfallen water.
“Aren't we all ready?” Pent felt like the question was rhetorical and silly.
“Yeah, I guess.” The puppy just wanted the verbal reassurance.
“Don't be silly, of course, we are.” The fox put his arm around the other boy.
Pent took his skates off and put his shoes back on.
“You can keep the board. I'll get another.” Pent offered the present to Ronny.
“Really? Thanks, dude.” The boy was tempted to hug the other but held back being overly emotional about it.
The two walked into the distance as it was getting close to lunchtime and both were hungry. Ronny treated Pent to a hot dog and the fox opted for chili instead. Since they were a sweaty mess, they decided to retire from skateboarding for the day and instead go to the parks swimming area. Neither boy swam, so instead, they chatted for a while before returning home. Both happy and tails wagging as the sunset, glad that they had made a friend and shared an interest in the sport.