Nov 5, 2007


“Eff you,” Christine whispered, looking at me over the pages of War and Peace. She was hiding some random goth comic book behind it, reading of some random vampire or pasty white chick who solves crimes and shit. We were in Study Hall, also known as Shut the Fuck Up and Don’t Bug the Adults time.

I cocked my eyebrows as best I could. I had offended her sensibilities by daring to share the information that a cat on the football team had made it known that he was in hot pursuit of her affections. On top of that, I insinuated, he was out to get them draws. Jokingly, I had merely added my opinion that she had better get up on that.

Chris knew shit about me I simply couldn’t tell B. I was probably a bigger geek than even I allowed. she called me “chivalrous,” which I had to look up and find that it was basically the knight-in-shining-Nikes shit I am with Ang. She could compliment me and call me on my bullshit. couldn’t understand how we couldn’t say fuck it and just start going together, but we couldn’t take that step.

In the environment we were in, fellas and chicks couldn’t just be friends. That was impossible, because, inevitably a dick would pop out, a tittie would get sucked, and it was game over. Friendship dissolved. And once friends started doing the girlfriend/boyfriend thing, shit would change for the worse. Random people would come out of the woodwork and claim infidelity. One or the other would act out in public and get chin-checked by the other, anxious to maintain some sense of mastery. That’s what the relationship shit eventually ended up being, trying to exert power over someone else. It wasn’t hard to see that a lot of motherfuckers with shitty home lives treated their relationships like shit. Of course, there were exceptions, but that shit was long odds.

I didn’t want a relationship with Chris like that; only thing we weren’t really doing was fucking, really. She came to me about shit, I came to her about shit I didn’t think B would be that interested in, like this big project I was gonna spring on Novacs later this year and the trials and tribulations of illogical womenfolk. I suppose I was blessed with a good relationship with three women who were logical: Mom, Ang, and Christine. They were all good listeners, and weren’t emotional and shit. One thing I couldn’t stand: emotional-ass muthafuckas. Yeesh.

Don’t be mad at me, I said. I’m just reporting. You just may wanna get your game tight, is all. This cat got plans that involve your unmentionables, and you may wanna be ready.

She returned my cocked eyebrow look. And what say you got in where my unmentionables go?

I threw up my hands in exaggerated disgust, drawing the attention of the teacher assigned to watch us. I looked at her and shrugged. Her eyes went back to her book.

I appreciate your concern, but I think I’ll be fine, she said, flipping a page in War and Peace to make the farce look good. My draws are safe until a rough and tough character charms me out of em. Meanwhile, I hear that you got freshmen catching feelings. Sup with all of that?

She got that right. Mrs. Mick had me help out a freshman seminar-welcome kinda thing in her English class, and I guess I was a hit. I heard about it later on the school gossip line, and had no idea, except for one chica who stared at me the whole damned time. Like I said, I’m not an ugly motherfucker, so I can at least feel good about that. Thing is, these chicks were a year older than Ang, and I just couldn’t bring myself to go there.

It ain’t nuttin, I said, puffing up and assuming the cape of being the MUTHAFUCKIN MAN, I just be chilling. I ain’t even do nothin.

You are so full of it, she shook her head and laughed. A bit of perfume made its way over to me. Perfume? Chris never put perfume on. So I asked her about it.

So? She stopped her reading and focused her full attention on me. With the high beams on me, I withered. Nothing, I muttered, going back to my writing.

I felt the heat of her glare on the top of my head and dared not look up. What had I done? We talked about shit like this all of the time. She laughed at the inept attempts of dudes trying to get with her, and laughed herself silly at her female compatriots whose issues made it impossible to do much more than get a nut off. We were tight like that, but I had apparently stepped on a mine in what I thought was clear territory.

She sighed and pushed her chair back, taking her War and Peace with her, and headed back to the stacks. Against my wishes, I watched her ass move. She was well put together, and ass is ass, and hers was nice. I stopped myself before my brain could transmit to my dick how nice the ass was. I was almost successful.

I was subtly readjusting when she came back, looking at me funny. My discomfort may have been showing on my face, but I guess she thought it was because of my obviously inappropriate line of questioning a minute before, not my fight to get my nether regions in a comfy position.

Look, I’m sorry, she whispered, moving her seat over to me at the large round table, pockmarked with etched graffiti. I should have told you that we’re supposed to go to a movie after school. I didn’t want you to worry or anything.

Worry? I took on the offended persona, while my inside voice was screaming. What was she keeping this shit secret for? I’m just concerned. I ain’t trying to get all up in your business. Hell, I continued, fearing what was coming, I don’t care if you’re gonna fuck him, just be cool.

Her eyebrow twitched, I swear it did.

But, I continued, I hope he has enough sense not to fuck up a good thing. I scanned my memory of dealing with dude, a skill position player with college aspirations. He was good enough to make it, but not good enough to be a superstar or anything. He seemed cool, and now, it seemed, he was gonna win the Christine lottery. But how did I feel about it?

Chris was in my fucking mind. Again. “How do you feel about it?”

Fuck, woman, I was flustered. I don’t know. Do what you feel. You’re my homegirl. I got no claim to you. I don’t wanna see you hurt if dude decides to be a dick, that’s all. Did I really feel that way? I didn't wanna see her hurt, because I don’t exactly have the army to go after dude and break his shit if he did some ill shit.

She stared at me a long time, hours, ages, eons. I don't know what she was looking for, and I don’t know if she found it. She eventually got up without a word, got her shit, and left. The teacher looked up from her book, watched Chris leave, and locked eyes with me. I shrugged.

I looked back down at my notebook, where I’d been idly writing shit for the past half hour or so. None of what I saw made any damned sense. While I was trying to decipher a particularly stupid sentence, the door opened again, and Christine walked in and strode right at me. The teacher peeked over her book; the rest of the room watched as she came back over to where I was. The last time she had that look on her face, she decked a chick who had the ovaries to call her fat to her face. I had done nothing to warrant an in-public ass-whuppin, had I?

She came right up to me, leaned over, and amidst the cloud of perfume, kissed me on the forehead with a loud smack. The room tittered. She straightened back up, turned around, and promptly went out the way she came in. The teacher watched her go.

I swear she smiled at me before she put her nose back in her book.


Nato said...

Great work, Troy! The characters are complex and interesting, and the dialogue's got a nice, playful snap to it. I'm enjoying it!

Bigmouth said...

I'm enjoying it, too, although it takes my rural, midwestern brain an extra second or 2 to translate as I read. :)