Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Act I

            Karine waited by Christina’s desk in Economics.  When Chrissy came in she ignored Karine and sat down with her back turned to her.
            “Chrissy, can we talk?”
            “I’m busy,” said Christina while examining her cell phone.
            “Look, I didn’t mean to tell Erica about the Terry doll.  I mean, I knew she’d get her bitch on.  But I just sort of freaked.  She was all on me and I like, I was like…”
            “Whatever.  It’s ok,” Christina sighed, still scrolling through her cell.
            “She never would have let me forget it.   I mean, it’s not my fault Terry was all bitching her out.  But she totally takes it out on me because she knows Terry doesn’t give a shit!”
            Christina snapped her phone shut.  “So why did you side with him if you knew she’d give you shit?”
            “I didn’t side with him, he was siding with me!  Terry’s right about Erica, she’s a fucking fat-ass bitch and she needs to shut the fuck up!  But don’t tell her I said that.”
            “I know, she’s so mean,” Christina finally looked at Karine.  “And I’m so sick of her always wearing leggings.  I mean, it’s like every day.”
            “I know!”  Karine agreed.  “It’s like, does she think she’s Lindsay Lohan?”
            “She wishes.  LiLo would never let herself get that fat.”
            “God, totally!  She’s like two pounds away from being Rosie O’Donnell.”
            “I know.”  Christina twirled a strand of hair in her fingers.  “So uh, what did Terry say once we left?”
            “Well, you know,” Karine considered which way she wanted to play this.  “He talked about you for a bit.”
            “Really?”  Christina perked up.
            “Yeah.  Actually, he was like, disappointed that you didn’t side with him.”
            “Oh my god!  I should have stayed!”
“Yeah maybe.”
“Oh my god, Karine!  Do you think I might still have a chance with him?”
Karine didn’t know what to say.  The answer was obviously no but Chrissy looked so happy, she couldn’t dash her dreams all over again.
“I don’t know,” Karine shrugged.  “But I mean maybe.  Like, maybe not, but you know.  Maybe.”

            “Hey Cerise, going on safari?”
            Cerise looked down at her shirt.  It was khaki and had four pockets on the front, along with a belt. 
            “Like I’m gonna take fashion advice from Mr. Grey shirt and brown cords.”  Cerise narrowed her eyes at Jay in mock annoyance.
            Jay insisted that his outfit was the height of fashion, or at least his mom had told him so when she’d picked out his clothes that morning.  Cerise giggled as Vani and Karl joined them in Enriched Math.
            “So there’s a Planet of the Apes marathon playing this Saturday,” said Jay.
            “You damn dirty ape!”  Cerise scowled and shook her fist. 
            “We were thinking we’d make a day of it.  You know, get together, drink the blood of the innocent.  Flog ourselves for drinking the blood of the innocent.  A little more blood, a little more flogging.  And you know, watching the marathon in there somewhere too.  We could all go to my place.”
            “Don’t we have to game?” wondered Cerise.
            Karl congratulated Cerise on her dedication and informed her that there would be plenty of time to game during the commercials and also during the movies, since they all sucked hardcore, just like everything else from the ‘70s and the remake sucked even harder.  Nevertheless they would convene at Jay’s house on Saturday morning and at least attempt to view the marathon, since wilfully engaging in painful activities is what separates men from monkeys and proves that they are the superior species.
            “Speaking of pain,” Karl went on.  “If we’re going to be subjecting ourselves to slow-paced movies featuring Charlton Heston, maybe we should try to lessen the agony by making sure Willy isn’t present.”
            “What do you mean?” Cerise wondered.
            “I’m getting so sick of him,” Karl complained. 
            “He’s not so bad,” said Jay.  “I mean besides the odour.”
            “He’s pain,” Vani sided with Karl.
            “You guys don’t like Willy anymore?”
            “Anymore?” Karl said.  “Like we ever did.  Surely you’ve noticed how… he is.”
            “Like how he exists to a high degree,” Vani tried to clarify.
            “He’s like, always around.”
            “We’re all always around,” Jay pointed out.
            “But Willy takes up more space than anyone else,” Vani noted while puffing out his cheeks.
            Cerise accused them of being mean but Vani defended his position by noting that he was nearly failing English because his assignments kept getting swallowed up by Willy’s massive ass crack, a black-hole like crevice in a celestial body that NASA had recently declared to be a dangerous asteroid.
            “You guys!  How can you be so mean?”  Cerise fought back her laughter.
            “Since when is honesty mean?”  Karl crossed his arms smugly.
            “Meanosity is necessary.  It keeps us sane,” said Vani.  “We’re supposed to put up with him and not vent every once in a while?”
            “But this is my point,” said Karl.  “Why put up with him at all?”
            “We need him around,” insisted Jay.  “If he wasn’t around, who would we hate?”
            “You!”  Karl and Vani high-fived each other.
            “Hilarious,” sulked Jay.
            “Funny ‘cause it’s true,” said Vani.  “We do need someone to hate.”
            “Why do you need someone to hate?” asked Cerise.
            “Everyone needs a little hate in their lives,” explained Karl.  “It keeps you balanced and gives your life meaning.  A hateless life is like a potato without a peel.”
            Cerise stared at Karl dubiously.
            Karl went on.  “Potatoes are a tasty treat and good for fighting famine but all the nutrients are in the skin.  Hate is the fibre of life.”
            “Karl, I assume you realize I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Cerise said.  “But my question to you is this:  do you even know what you’re talking about?”
            “If you peel the potato, all you can do is boil it.  Wouldn’t you rather have a baked potato, Cerise?  Think about it.”
            Terry walked into Economics after the bell had rung but Mrs. Kotner was cool and she never gave him a hard time about it.  She always took a while to gather her shit together so everyone always spent the first ten minutes of class goofing around. 
            As soon as Terry sat down, Christina and Karine joined him.  Chrissy was smiling shyly and Karine was looking hot as usual.  She had her striped blue tank top on, the one that always rode up and exposed her abdomen.  Her skin was smooth and tanned and her pierced navel was like a little button just waiting to be kissed.
            “Hey Terry,” Chrissy smiled.
            “Hey,” he responded neutrally. 
            Chrissy started saying something but Karine interrupted to talk about her new jeans or whatever and then Erica walked in behind some gross, oily chick.          

            Shauna rushed into class and stumbled on her way to her desk.  That cuntnugget, Erica Mackey walked past her while holding her nose.
            “God, someone needs the urge to herbal.  Grease is meant to be used in a car.  Not on your hair.  Fucking skank.”
            Everyone nearby laughed and Shauna hoped Erica Mackey would get cancer and all her hair would fall out and everyone would laugh at her ugly, hairless corpse at her funeral except no one would even go to the funeral ‘cause they all hated her so much ‘cause she was a fucking cuntnugget whore.

            “I can’t believe they even let people like her into the building.  I mean the rest of us might catch something.”  Erica joined Terry, Chrissy and Karine.
            Karine and Chrissy agreed that the oily chick was indeed disgusting and they hoped her disease wasn’t contagious. 
            “Yeah, that would suck,” Terry smirked.  “I mean there’s already a case of bitch going around.”
Erica gave Terry her meanest look but Terry didn’t care.  He winked at her in response and she flipped her hair at him as though telling him to fuck off.  Whatever, she’d get over herself soon enough and if she didn’t then so much the better.  All he had to do was convince the others to stop hanging out with her and they’d be set.  She could take Steven with her too if she wanted.
Mrs. Kotner finally got things going but she was talking about some sort of boring financial thing so Terry went back to examining Karine.  She sat diagonally from him so he had a good view of her back.  It was hot today and she kept lifting her hair off her neck and twisting it into a ponytail but she didn’t have an elastic so she’d let it drop down and then comb it out with her fingers. 
Chrissy sat next to Karine and she was gathering up her hair as well.  She actually had an elastic so she pulled her hair into a ponytail and then smoothed back a few stray strands.  She did have nice hair, he had to give her that.  And she had a nice neck.  And nice shoulders.  And nice everything else too.  She was basically made of nice. 
He really had been unnecessarily mean to her.  He could have let her down easy or just straight up explained that he didn’t want to go out with her anymore.  He didn’t need to be such an ass about it.  He shouldn’t have invited her over just to fuck her and then treated her like shit the next day.  That was the kind of dick move his father might pull and Terry had no intention of ending up like his father.
Terry was pretty sure his dad was having an affair.  John was always coming home late and taking a lot of mysterious phone calls, just like when he’d started cheating on Terry’s mom.  Terry couldn’t imagine why John would want to cheat on Vicky since she was so completely awesome but there it was. 
Terry pulled out his cell phone and started texting Christina. 
sorry iv bin so mean 2 u lately.  i just
didnt no how 2 break up w/ u w/out
being an ass.  Sorry.  Still friends?
            Chrissy jumped slightly, obviously reacting to the vibration in her pocket.  She pulled out her phone and flipped it open.  She turned around and flashed Terry a huge smile, nodding happily.  He smiled back.

The fishbowl was a room across from the head office.  Its walls were made of glass but they were covered in posters and announcements so it wasn’t quite as easy to see into the room as the name might suggest.  It was the student lounge and it contained some very old, decrepit furniture along with a few vending machines and for some reason, a ping-pong table. 
Karine usually spent her free periods in the fishbowl, after going outside for a smoke.  Christina entered the room excitedly and rushed to Karine’s side.
“Terry texted me to apologize for being so mean!”
“That’s great!”
“Wasn’t that sweet of him?  What do you think I should do?”
“I dunno,” Karine sighed.  “I really don’t know what to do about Terry.  He’s like…”
“So cute.” Chrissy sank down into the couch that desperately needed to be reupholstered, and repadded, and thrown out.
“Yeah,” nodded Karine.
“Do you think he still likes me?”
“I dunno, Chrissy.  Who knows who he likes?  It’s so hard to tell with him.  I mean he might be liking someone else by now.  And I mean, even if he is liking someone else, how long is that gonna last?  Is he gonna keep liking them or just ditch them after two seconds?”
“You think he’s into someone else?”  Chrissy looked mildly alarmed, though not really surprised.
“I don’t know Chrissy.  I really, really, really don’t know.”
Both Karine and Christina sighed and slumped down in their thoroughly uncomfortable seats.
Karine thought long and hard about the situation, just as she had been doing every day since Terry had asked her out.  Or had he only asked to hook up?  Maybe she could just fool around with him behind Steven’s back and that way she wouldn’t lose anything.  And then if Terry decided he wanted to actually be in a relationship she could ditch Steve at that point.  For sure Terry would be good in bed.  Everyone he’d been with had good things to say about his technique.
The first time Karine did it with Steven it was awkward and weird.  They were both fifteen-year-old virgins and while Steven had probably wanted to do the deed in order to catch up with Andrew and Terry’s sexploits, Karine had wanted to do it just to get it over with.  She knew she’d have to do it eventually and Steven was the perfect candidate because he was kind and sweet and gentle and really cared about her.  He’d even told her he loved her.  She’d said it back even though she wasn’t sure she meant it.  She was almost positive she didn’t mean it, but she liked him a lot and that was good enough.
They had been in her room on one of the nights that Steven told his parents he was sleeping at Andrew’s house.  As usual, Karine’s mother was away on a trip.  It wasn’t spontaneous; they’d booked the date well in advance.  They’d fooled around before so it wasn’t like sexual acts were new to them, but going all the way was an important step.  Steven had purchased condoms at the pharmacy, choosing a brand recommended by Terry and Andrew. 
Steven had been on top and he’d used his hand to get his penis into position.  He pushed himself in very suddenly and Karine had gasped from the pain.  Steven had pulled out immediately, horrified that he’d hurt her but she’d insisted she was fine.  She’d helped him get back into position and after a few thrusts it was over.  He’d rolled over and they both stared at the ceiling for a long while until finally he apologized for the quickness of the event.  Karine had laughed and at first Steven was insulted and embarrassed but finally she’d convinced him that it was ok.  In truth it was pretty hilarious.  Sex was built up to be this huge thing but in reality it was totally boring and lame. 
Fortunately things gradually got better until they eventually found their groove and Karine actually began enjoying it.  She’d started taking the pill and losing the condoms helped matters a lot.  She preferred the sensation of skin on skin.  And Steven’s abilities improved as well.  He learned to last longer and to delay his own gratification by pleasing Karine first with his tongue.  Now they’d been together long enough that they knew each other’s bodies and desires as well as their own.  Steven was able to satisfy Karine every time.
Still though, she had to wonder why she stayed with him.  He was so dull.  He was super nice to her and always willing to help out with the house stuff, in fact he pretty much did whatever she wanted, but god, all he ever talked about was sports and his stupid, perfect family.
Terry was much more interesting.  Terry liked sports too but at least he had other interests, like playing pool and bitching about his dad.  He even seemed to enjoy clubbing with the girls; he wasn’t embarrassed to dance and he was tall and strong and had nice hair and pretty eyes and his shoulders were broad and he always listened to Karine no matter how many times she reiterated the same complaints about her missing mother and the stupid upstairs faucet that always leaked.
But Terry was a player and Christina was totally in love with him.  She couldn’t steal the guy her best friend was obsessed with.  Besides, autumn was on the way and she’d need Steve’s help raking the leaves. 

It was after dinner and Jay was out on his driveway shooting baskets.  Or at least trying to.  He wasn’t very good but that somehow made him even cuter and more endearing.  Julie was about to take out the trash but Cerise intercepted her and said she’d do it.  Julie shrugged indifferently and Cerise dragged the garbage out to the curb.
“Hey!” Jay called to her.
She casually waved back and then walked over to him.  “Whatcha doin’?”
“Building a boat,” he smiled while twirling the basketball in his hands.
“Ok, stupid question,” she admitted.
“No really,” he went on.  “My plan is to toss around the ball until it grows exponentially, eventually becoming a floatation device, much like Data in Insurrection.  The only problem is how do I stop the growth once it’s started?  I’m still working out the kinks.”
Cerise wished him good luck with his plan and he asked her if she wanted to play.  She claimed not to be any good at basketball and he admitted he wasn’t either.  He demonstrated by throwing the ball at the basket nailed to the roof of his garage.  The ball missed by a lot and bounced to the ground.
“See?  But I live in eternal hope.  One day I will be a real boy.”
Cerise laughed and picked up the ball.  She threw it and also missed.  They took turns shooting and neither one of them managed to make a basket.
“We suck!” Cerise declared.
“You suck worse than me.”
“Don’t kid yourself,” Cerise snarked.  “You exhibit a pretty high degree of suck.”
“At least when I miss I do it with style.”
“You call that style?” 
Cerise threw the ball at Jay and he caught it.  He threw it back at her and she dodged out of the way. 
“At least I can catch!” Jay laughed.
“At least I can hit!”
Cerise grabbed the ball and ran over to Jay, hitting him with it and then running off with the ball.  He chased after her, both of them laughing.  When he caught her he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her up while she shrieked.  A surge of heat swelled up in her chest when he touched her and she dropped the ball.  He let her down, reaching for the ball.  She ran to her house and lifted her hands up just as he was about to throw the ball in her direction.
“There’s a forcefield!” she gasped, her heart beating quickly, more from his touch than the exercise.
Jay stopped in his tracks and dropped the ball.  He stuck out a finger and then drew back as though shocked.
“Damn you,” he fumed, shaking his fists. 
Cerise ran back to her house and waved at him from her door.
“Goodnight m’lady.”  Jay bowed, his right arm outstretched.  “May your dreams be full of mirth and merriment… and marshmallow cream pies.”
Cerise giggled as she entered her house and rushed up to her room to collapse on the bed.  Jay had totally touched her and it had been awesome.  It was so weird how sometimes life didn’t suck. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Prologue

            Shauna opened her locker and several empty juice boxes rained down on her.  She had a tendency to throw the remains of her lunch up on the top shelf instead of going to the trouble of bringing her trash to a garbage can.  She picked up the boxes and stuffed them back in their place.  The girl with the locker next to her snickered while Shauna tried to get everything to fit.  
            Shauna wasn’t the most observant person in the world but she’d managed to pick up on the fact that the girl’s name was Wendy and she and her two friends, Ben and Mike were known as the Glue Sniffers.  Probably because they sniffed glue.  Wendy was tall and lanky and she had a tendency to wear sweat pants tucked into high tops.  She also had a penchant for scarves and her hair was cropped short and bleached almost white.  She had several piercings in her face and her ears were stretched.  Ben also had ear stretchings and while most of his head was shaved, the front was long and more or less covered his face.  He dressed like he was in Fall Out Boy but Mike looked like a Rastafarian, with dreads perpetually topped by a knit cap.  They weren’t allowed to wear hats in class so Shauna could only assume he had to remove it sometimes, but she’d never seen him without it.  His clothes were very baggy and long, so much so that his feet weren’t even visible under his oversized jeans.
            The two guys joined Wendy and she pulled a paper bag out of her locker with a flourish.  She opened the bag and the boys seemed very impressed by what was inside.  Shauna tried to sneak a peek but couldn’t manage it.
            “Where did you find it?” Mike wondered.
            “My neighbour’s yard.  It’s like a fucking pet cemetery.  I swear, he goes around killing all the cats in the neighbourhood and then he like, buries them in his yard.”
            “Maybe he like, eats them first,” mused Mike.
            “Gross!  I bet he does though.  He’s a total freak.”
            “Cool,” Ben drawled.
            Mike suggested Wendy bring it to the bio lab so they could compare it to the other animal skulls.  Ben thought this was a very cool idea and Wendy agreed.  The first morning bell rang and Ben and Mike walked off, promising to see Wendy at lunch. 
            “It’s a cat skull,” said Wendy, turning to Shauna.
            Shauna looked at Wendy.  The bag was hidden in her arms.
            “Wanna see it?”
            “Ok,” Shauna shrugged.
            “Cat attack!” Wendy yelled and shoved the skull into Shauna’s face. 
Shauna gasped and instinctively jerked backwards.  Laughing wildly, Wendy tucked the skull back into her locker and slammed it shut.
“Relax!  It’s just a cat skull.  It can’t hurt you!”  Wendy walked away backwards and waved her fingers at Shauna.  “Oooh!  Watch out for dead cats!” 
Shauna gathered her books and went to class.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Act V

            Cerise was happy to skip past her house and follow the boys into Jay’s place.  His house was nice, if a bit quaintly decorated.  They all trudged down to the basement, where there were two old couches flanking a wooden coffee table.  One sofa was plaid while the other was floral and the walls were covered in wood panelling.  It was very ‘70s, very tacky and borderline creepy.  Clearly the basement was where they relegated all the household junk, which apparently included Jay and his friends.
            “Welcome to Vermont,” Karl swept his arms around the room.
            “Check it out,” said Vani, pointing out a shelf lined with animal figurines.  “Little farm animals.”
            Cerise noticed that the cow figurine had mounted the goat figurine. 
            “Maple syrup,” Willy announced, indicating a few tin cans stacked up against a wall along with some preserves.
            “Are you like, actually from Vermont?” Cerise asked Jay with a giggle.
            “No!” Jay insisted.  “Made in Quebec.”  He picked up a can of maple syrup and pointed out the label. 
            “More like made in the Tdot,” snickered Karl.
            Cerise asked for clarification and while Jay rolled his eyes in annoyance the boys told her that Jay was from Toronto.  All his extended family was still there and he’d only moved to Montreal when he was in primary school. 
            “He’s a total Torontonian,” Karl said in a conspiratorial whisper.  “He was even born there.”
            Vani joined in.  “Sometimes at night the homing signal activates and he gets a craving for Tim Hortons and a Leafs game.”
            “That’s why we have the restraints,” said Willy, pulling a woollen scarf out from under a couch cushion. 
            “When he starts to yearn for traffic jams and gangster rap we have to tie him down,” explained Karl.
            “Oh my god!” Cerise said in mock shock.  “You’re practically American!”
            “Exactly!”  Karl nodded.
            “Are we done?” Jay sighed and reclined on a couch. 
            “It’s ok, Jay,” Cerise sat next to him and patted his knee.  “We’re here for you.  If you start to feel the Big Smoke calling you home, just let us know and we’ll help you through it.  You don’t have to go through this alone.”
            Karl snickered and Vani patted Jay’s shoulder, assuring him there was probably a twelve step program he could join.  “We won’t let the Tdot take you away from us!” 
Vani grabbed Jay’s shoulders and shook him violently.  Karl and Willy joined in and they all shook Jay like a rag doll while insisting they would protect him.  Cerise jumped out of the way while the boys tussled on the couch.
            While they rolled around in a big mass, Cerise sat on the floor and examined the room.  On the table were some dice and a few books with cover art depicting monsters and robots.  They were all titled Rifts, with various subtitles.  Cerise flipped through one of the books and realized it was a role-playing manual.  Hence the dice.  Wow, old school.  Totally ‘80s.
            Suddenly Cerise realized that the boys were no longer fighting.  They were all staring at her with horrified expressions. 
            “What?” she asked.
            “Nothing,” Jay said slowly.
            “Let’s write down some more SOIF ideas,” suggested Karl, gently taking the book away from Cerise.  “Can I use this to write on?” he asked.
            Vani was slowly removing the books from the table and hiding them under the plaid couch.  Willy was stuffing the dice under the floral couch cushions. 
            “Very subtle you guys,” Cerise smiled in amusement.
            She scooted over to Vani’s side and reached under the couch.  His leg shot out, trying to push her away but she overpowered him and pulled one of the books out. 
            “It’s a table-top RPG?  Like Dungeons & Dragons?
            “No!” Karl yelled much too loudly.  “Not like Dungeons and frakking Dragons!”
            “Only losers play D&D!”  Vani pouted.
            “Rifts is different,” Jay insisted.  “It’s not like dragons and wizards and swords and crap.”
            “Yeah,” Vani nodded.  “It’s like guns, and body armour and… guns and crap.”
            Cerise chuckled and said it sounded cool.  “Can I play?” she asked.
            The boys all peered at her suspiciously.
            “Well it’s not like we even play that much,” Vani shrugged.
            “Yeah, we were thinking of giving it up.”  Willy looked worried.
            “You actually wanna play?” Jay smiled eagerly.
            “Why not?” Cerise asked.
            Willy asked if she didn’t think it was stupid but she said it sounded fun.
            Jay beemed happily.  “See?  I told you guys she’d be cool about it.”

            Once home, Karine flopped down in front of the TV and turned to MuchMusic.  They were repeating one of those contests where you got to win the chance to meet the Jonas Brothers.  Karine didn’t even like the Jonas Brothers but it was still annoying that residents of Quebec weren’t eligible for MuchMusic contests.  They could only participate in the MusiquePlus contests, which was good she supposed since the chances of winning were higher in a smaller population but still, she wanted to apply for the English versions.  She was much more Anglo now that her dad was gone.
            Karine’s father had been Francophone and pretty hardcore Quebecois at that.  He’d even voted Yes in the referendum of ’95.  Karine was of course too young to remember it but her dad had spoken of it often, always disappointed that Quebec hadn’t achieved sovereignty.  He’d often ranted about how Anglos and immigrants were ruining their culture.  It was only now that Karine was older that she realized her dad had been kind of racist.  But she still missed him. 
She wondered what her life would be like if her father was still alive.  She’d done all her primary schooling in French and he’d been very angry when Karine had opted to go to English high school, but since her mother had gone to school in English, Karine  was legally allowed to do the same.  She was in French Immersion of course, taking half of her courses in French but that hadn’t been enough for papa.  He’d always wanted her to switch to a French school and maybe she eventually would have for his sake.  She’d always been closer to papa than to her mother.
But then he’d died when Karine was only thirteen.  Killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve, as though her life were a Degrassi episode.  Everything had been darkness for a long time.  She’d taken a whole month off school and when she’d returned everyone was weird with her.  Only two of her friends had stayed by her side, Terry and Steven.  Steve had encouraged her to talk about her feelings and he listened to all her complaints about how her mother had shut down and was like a ghost in the house.  But Terry had been even better.  He just sat with her for hours, listening to music or sometimes complete silence.  He never made her talk about it but every time she cried he held her and never asked her to stop.  Steven would always shush her and say it was ok but Terry let her cry it out. 
Terry had always been such a good friend and he was still the person she felt closest to, next to Steven.  She could have so easily ended up dating Terry instead of Steve.  But one night, about six months after her father’s death her mother had disappeared for two whole days.  Karine had called Terry but he was away on a hockey tournament so Steven was the one who’d come over to comfort her.  He’d slept over that night and even though they hadn’t done anything, in the morning it was somehow clear to them both that they’d become a couple.
            What if Terry hadn’t been away playing hockey?  What if he’d come over that night?  Would they have started dating?  Would he still be her boyfriend?  Steven was unwaveringly loyal; they’d been a couple for over two years now.  Would Terry have lasted that long?  Probably not, judging by his track record.
            But now it seemed he wanted to go out with her.  All she had to do was break up with Steven and give him a try.  But what if he screwed her over like he’d done to Christina?  Terry was a good friend but could she really trust him?  He wasn’t exactly known for his commitment to relationships.
            Karine walked to the kitchen and fixed herself a snack.  Her mother had eventually returned from wherever the hell she’d been that night, but she’d never been the same after losing her husband.  She poured herself into her work and now she always went away on extended business trips.  And even when she was home, which wasn’t often, she was somehow absent.  Karine knew she was the envy of all her friends, constantly having her house all to herself but it was a big space for just one person.  And she got tired of always having to do the groceries and make her own meals and do her own laundry and shovel the walk in the winter and rake the leaves in the fall.  She’d even had to deal with some city official when it was decided that a tree in her backyard had to be cut down because of expanding roots. 
            Karine knew her mother’s bank passwords so she could pay the bills from her online account and she also knew her mother’s credit card numbers.  She’d bought a few things online before and her mother never said anything about it but Karine still kept a part-time job at the mall.  It was nice to get out of the house a few days a week and interact with people. 
            As she looked out the kitchen window she saw Steven biking down the street.  He jumped off his bike and dropped it onto the grass, bounding up the walk to Karine’s house.  There was a knock at the door and then she heard it open.
            “Hey,” Steve called out.
            Karine went to join him in the hall and she fed him the remains of her pop tart.  They walked to the TV room together and collapsed onto the couch. 

            “Why were you guys trying to hide this from me?” Cerise asked.
            “It’s our secret shame!” Vani exclaimed.
            Cerise giggled but Vani insisted that he was quite serious.  She couldn’t go telling anyone about it.  Cerise assured them that no one would care and it’s not like she had anyone to tell anyway. 
            “What about that girl who’s always following you around?” wondered Karl.
Everyone looked at Karl in confusion.
            “You guys didn’t notice?”  Karl was surprised.  “That girl.  I don’t know what her damage is but she’s like, always lurking around us.   She’s always looking at Cerise.”
            “You mean Shauna,” Cerise guessed.
            “I don’t know her name.  She has stringy brown hair that’s always in her face.  She’s like Willy’s twin, except less fat.  Still kinda fat though.  And gross.  She smokes.”
            “And she’s following me?  Are you serious?”
            “She’s like always around,” Karl shrugged.  “Hiding behind trees and crap.  It’s insaniac.  Like we can’t see her.  She’s not exactly stealthy.  I think she’s gonna have to give up her dream of joining SD-6.”
            Vani laughed.  “Whoa!  You have a stalker?  Cool!  I wish I had a stalker.”
            “She’s not stalking me!” Cerise spurted.  “She’s just like, out of it.  She thinks we’re friends.  But I mean I don’t even like her.”
            “Oh we know the pain,” said Vani.  “Losers are always trying to be friends with us.”
            Like Jojo,” frowned Willy.
            “Yeah,” noddd Karl.  “I bet he plays D&D.”

            “I have practice tomorrow.  You wanna come watch?”
            Karine looked at Steven incredulously and asked what he was talking about.  She never went to his practices.  He said that it might be fun and she complained that it was bad enough she went to his games.  Watching his practice would just be lame.
            “What the hell is so lame about it?”
            “Like I don’t have better things to do?”
            “Oh, well excuse me for interfering with your busy life.  For some reason I thought we were going out but I guess not.”
            Karine rolled her eyes impatiently and assured him that she loved him but she was working tomorrow anyway so she couldn’t go his practice even if she wanted to.  And it wasn’t that she didn’t want to, it was just that she had a lot of responsibilities since she had to keep the house clean all by herself and pay the bills and whatnot. 
            “Hey, if you need help all you have to do is ask,” Steven said with concern.
            “I know,” Karine smiled.
            “What can I do?”
            “You could make spaghetti for dinner,” she suggested.  “I’m in the mood for pasta.”
            Steven nodded happily and rushed off to the kitchen to boil some water.

            Karl was the Game Master so he ran the game while the others were players.  He was showing Cerise how to roll for her attributes, which were to be her player’s characteristics.  She had to roll 3 die 6 and then add up the total for each attribute. 

            While the boys enjoyed the tactile sensation of real dice, when at school they used the dice rolling feature on their ipods or smart phones to play the game.  Cerise didn’t have an ipod or a cell phone but Jay assured her she could use his for rolling purposes.  Cerise was surprised to learn that now that she was being initiated into the secret cult, she’d have to spend a lot of her time playing the game.  At least half an hour during lunch and an hour after school.  On weekends they often had marathon sessions, stopping only to eat and play the occasional video game.  If Jay’s mother was paying attention she usually forced them to go outside for some exercise at some point during the day but they could easily continue the game outdoors.  They were clearly pretty intense about it.
            Cerise wasn’t having much luck with the dice.  All her attributes were low.  Jay wasn’t very impressed and suggested she roll again.  She couldn’t pick and choose her scores but if one rolling session produced inadequate results she could roll for everything all over again.
            “What does PP stand for again?” she asked.
            “Physical prowess,” Jay answered.
            Cerise rolled and wrote down her scores on a sheet of loose leaf.  She had chosen to be a Coalition power armour pilot, and while she didn’t exactly know what that meant, it sounded cool and the boys had seemed impressed. 
            “Man, my attributes suck,” Cerise complained.  “What’s PB again?”
            “Physical beauty,” Jay said.
            “This sucks,” Cerise whined.  “I have a high IQ but low PS and low PB.  That’s no fun.  It’s just like in real life.”
            “Yeah, I guess,” Jay nodded while examining Cerise’s score sheet.  “You can roll again.”
            Nice of him not to disagree with her, thought Cerise.  She decided not to roll again and simply accepted her crappy scores.  Obviously it didn’t matter how many times she rolled, she always got bad scores, because it was always her rolling. 
Karl gave Cerise a quick run down of what had happened in the game so far and Cerise was stunned to learn that they’d been playing the same campaign since grade 9.  The storyline was rich and complex but she caught on quickly because they’d integrated Stargate aliens into their imaginary universe so the context was familiar to her.  
            Vani was obviously the star of the show and he often got up and acted out his character’s physical movements.  Cerise had expected the storyline to be violent but was surprised to find that violence spilling over to real life.  It seemed the boys didn’t need much of an excuse to roughhouse and slap each other around.  Fortunately they never tried to include her in any of their melees, though in the game her character was fair play and thanks to some bad rolling on her part and good rolling on Vani’s part she got her ass kicked.
            It was fun to play with the guys but eventually the game wore thin.  It consisted mostly of shooting people and blowing things up.  The boys all seemed to love it and Jay was completely caught up in the action, ignoring her unless her character was doing something significant.  She wondered why she’d been so eager to hang out with the boys after school.  Had she known they mostly used the time to beat each other up, she might not have bothered.  Looking at her watch and making the excuse that she had homework to attend to, she excused herself and let herself out. 

            Willy watched Cerise walk away and wondered aloud if she had been freaked out.
            “Yeah, of course.  She’s a girl,” reasoned Vani.
            “I dunno, she seemed pretty into it,” thought Jay.
            “Why’d she leave then?”  Willy looked out the window, managing to catch a glimpse of Cerise’s legs walking across the lawn of her house.
            “Maybe she had to keep an appointment with her stalker,” mused Karl.  “I hear they can be real sticklers for scheduled meetings.”
            “She thinks we’re losers!” wailed Willy.
            “No she doesn’t,” insisted Jay.
            “How could she not?  She’s a girl!” Vani insisted.
            “She’s not like other girls.  She’s cool.  She’s normal.  Or, I mean, not normal.  You know what I mean.  She’s like us,” stammered Jay.
            “I guess so,” said Karl.  “I mean she did pick a pretty cool character.”
            “She didn’t play much,” noted Willy.
            “How could she get the chance?”  Jay scoffed.  “Vani always takes over the game!”
            “Hey, just ‘cause I have more dedication than you is no reason to get all pissed off.  If you can’t keep up that’s your damage!”
            This prompted Jay to push Vani’s face down into the couch, at which point Willy jumped on his back and Karl smacked Willy repeatedly with the book Machinations of Doom.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Act IV

            The waitress had cleared the table but Terry and Karine stayed seated next to each other in the booth.  Their next class would start in about ten minutes but neither of them made any motions to leave.
            “You know she really likes you,” said Karine.
            “Who, Erica?”
            “No, Chrissy.”  Karine rolled her eyes. 
            “Yeah well, can you blame her?”  His eyes twinkled.
            “I’m serious, Terry.”
            “I know,” he sighed.  “But she’s just so annoying.  And she’s so boring.  I just can’t stand her anymore.”
            Karine balked at this paltry excuse and went on to explain that Christina had true feelings for Terry and that he’d really hurt her.  Terry fidgeted with his hands and almost seemed remorseful for a moment but then he grinned and claimed that he couldn’t help it.  He was an asshole after all.
            Karine chuckled.  “Yeah, no shit.”
            “So you did say I’m an asshole?  Erica wasn’t just making stuff up?”
            “Yeah Terry,” Karine exclaimed.  “You made Chrissy cry and I was comforting her, so yeah I called you an ass.  Because you are one!”
            “It’s part of my charm,” Terry smirked and leaned back in the booth, seemingly self-satisfied.
            “Yeah, you’re just so fucking irresistible.  No wonder all the girls love you.”  Karine rolled her eyes.
            “Even you?” Terry grinned.
            “Oh of course,” Karine said sarcastically.  “I can barely keep my hands to myself.”
            “So dump what’s-his-face and hook up with me.”
            Was he serious?  Terry looked at Karine and smiled.  It wasn’t his usual smirk, it was a real smile.  His eyes looked hopeful.  But she couldn’t take him seriously.  Terry was a player, everyone knew it.
            “Only in my wildest dreams, Romeo,” she laughed.
            “No, but for real, Karine.”  He touched her hand with his.  “How come we never got together?”
            Karine wasn’t sure how to respond.  It seemed that he really was serious.  But this was Terry, one of her best friends.   They’d known each other since Sec 1.    
            “’Cause you’re an asshole, remember?” she said with a nervous smile.
            “Is that really why?” he asked sincerely.  “You seriously think I’m an asshole?”
            He actually seemed hurt. 
            “No, Terry,” she squeezed his hand.  “It’s the opposite. We’re friends!  And uh, we actually like each other.”
            “So you can only go out with someone you don’t like?”
            “Exactly,” Karine giggled.  “How else do you explain Steven?”
            Terry guffawed.  “Nice.  How do you explain him?”
            “Come on, he’s a good guy.”
            “You can do better.  Steve’s just a dork.  I mean he plays rugby or whatever.”
            Karine laughed.  “What the fuck?  You play hockey!”
            “That’s completely different,” Terry insisted.  “I don’t play for a school team.”
            “Karine!” Terry seemed exasperated.  “If the point I was trying to make made any sense at all then you’d understand what I’m trying to say.”
            Karine laughed.  “Which is?”
            “That Steve is so one-dimensional he’s practically American!  I mean come on.  He’s totally bland and ordinary and you’re all intense and shit.  And you know what?  Like seriously, lately it seems like you don’t even like him that much.”
            Could he really be so observant?  It was true that she’d grown a bit bored of Steven recently but she wasn’t aware that her disinterest had been evident.  Terry pressed her for reasons that she was staying with him and she finally admitted that it was partly because of Erica.  Terry didn’t get it, but Karine explained that it was the one thing she had over Erica.  She had a boyfriend and Erica didn’t.  No matter how much shit Erica threw at her, she always had that trump card, the fact that she was in a long-term relationship.
            “That’s retarded!”  Terry scoffed.  “First of all, you have plenty of stuff Erica doesn’t.  For one thing, you’re hot and she’s like, a cow.  And you have the ability to not be a complete bitch, like, constantly.”
            “You know what I mean though.  I need something I can rub in her face.  Something I have that she’s never been able to get.  She talks so much shit about not even wanting a boyfriend but I know she’s full of it.  She’s not actually satisfied with being a one-night-stand club slut.  She is so jealous of me and Steve.  And I kinda need that you know?”
            “Is it worth it?”
            “Oh come on!  You act like being with Steve is a fate worse than death.  He’s a good guy, Terry.  And uh, last time I checked you guys were friends so like, the hell?”
            “Hey,” Terry shrugged.  “It’s nothing against Steve.  I’m just letting you know you have options.”
            “I’ll keep that in mind,” said Karine, actually meaning it. 

            Steven stood next to Terry’s car, unsure of what to do.  He could start walking back to school, which would only take a million years.  Or he could text Karine and insist she come outside.  Or he could text Terry and ask if he was ready to go.  Or he could go back into the restaurant and tell them that they were late for class.  Or he could just die of embarrassment right then and there.  Christ, Karine could be such a bitch sometimes!  It was one thing when she ditched out on him to hang out with the girls but to tell him to fuck off so she could hang with Terry?  What the fucking hell?
Just when he’d decided to walk back to school, Karine and Terry emerged from the diner. He wanted to be angry with her but wasn’t sure if she was angry with him.  It was true that he hadn’t defended her from Erica’s attack.  Steven spent enough time with Karine to know that she wasn’t actually anorexic or whatever, so Erica’s comments had been pretty unwarranted.  But where did Terry get off playing the white knight?  Karine didn’t need defending and Terry needed to mind his own business. 
Fortunately Steven didn’t need to say anything because Karine walked right up to him and kissed him.  They climbed into Terry’s car and drove back to school. 

            Karl was grinning from ear to ear so Sarah was immediately suspicious.  Madame Roptin’s class was organized alphabetically so William Watts, Karl Weber and Sarah Wong were seated one next to the other in the back row.         
            William was reading something in a black duo-tang and she could see that Jason Harris and Vani Ameeriar also had duo-tangs.  They’d been reading them outside of student union at lunch when Karl had freaked out and ordered them to abort.  Something was definitely up. 
            Vani was looking back at Willy and making some sort of hand signal, which prompted Willy to laugh.  Madame Roptin asked him if he had a problem and he said no in English.  Madame Roptin told him to answer in French but he just snickered and so did Vani, Jay and Karl.  Cerise put up her hand and Madame Roptin called on her.
            “J’ai soif,” she said.
            Karl was obviously suppressing laughter and so were his friends.
            “Il y a quelque chose de drôle?” asked Madame Roptin.
            No, nothing’s funny, Karl responded.
            “En Français!” Madame Roptin ordered.
            Karl and his friends all laughed and Cerise once again asked if she could go get a drink of water.  Madame Roptin let her go and when she left she was grinning like a cat who’d just caught a mouse. 
            By now most of the class was laughing even though most of them probably didn’t know what the joke was.  But Sarah was smart enough to catch on.  They were baiting Madame Roptin and speaking in English was part of it.  Knowing Karl it was probably a competitive game of some sort, like whoever could make Roptin quit her job would win or something.  Sounded like a fun game actually.

            Karine went out to the smoking wall after school, though she knew to be cautious about it.  Sure enough Erica still had her bitch on.
            “Oh hi Karine,” she snarled.  “I see you’ve managed to tear yourself away from your BFF, Terry.”
            “Gimme a break, Erica.  You can dish it but you can’t take it?”
            “Fuck off, bitch, we’re trying to have a conversation.”
            Christina shrugged apologetically while Erica shot Karine death glares.
            “Whatever,” Karine casually lit a cigarette.  “Like he even meant it.  He just had a bug up his ass or something.  It was like, issues much?”
            “Hmm,” Erica hummed condescendingly.  “What are his issues, Karine?  ‘Cause you spent enough time with him today.  I mean, maybe you should go find him now ‘cause we’re a little busy.”
            “God, whatevs!” Karine exclaimed.  “It was just Terry being Terry.  You were right, he’s an ass.  That’s not news.”
            “Seriously, Karine!  Just fuck off!  We’re busy!” snarled Erica, turning her back on Karine.
This sucked.  Karine knew Erica well enough to realize that she wasn’t going to get over this easily.  Karine had to do something.  “I mean Chrissy’s the one who still likes him,” she said, trying not to feel bad for dragging poor Chrissy into this.
            “Well,” Christina began but was cut off by Erica.
            “And yet she’s not the one who took a spaz.”
            “She made a fucking Terry doll!”  Karine said desperately.
            Christina looked horrified but finally Erica looked at Karine with interest.
            “She made a voodoo doll of Terry!  Show her, Chrissy!”
            Looking panicked, Christina defended herself, insisting she’d just done it as a joke.  Erica kept pressing and finally Chrissy pulled the doll out of her bag.  Erica grabbed it and immediately howled with laughter. 
            “Oh my god!  Oh my fucking god!  You are so on crack!  You are so out of it. I knew it!  I knew you weren’t over him.  Oh my god!  You fucking loser!”
            Once again Christina looked like she might cry.  Terry was right, her oversensitivity really was kind of annoying.  It wasn’t Karine’s fault she was being mocked by Erica.  Chrissy really just needed to stop being such a dork. 
“Oh my god, Chrissy!”  Erica snorted.  “This is too fucking funny!  God, you’re so lame!  Oh my god, I have to show Andrew and everyone!”
            “No!” Chrissy yelled, startling both Karine and Erica.  “It was just a stupid joke!”  She snatched the doll away from Erica and stomped off in a rage.
            Erica kept laughing about how Chrissy was retarded and Karine joined in, pushing down any guilt she might have felt for deflecting Erica’s bitchiness towards Christina.
            Andrew’s laughter could be heard ringing through the hallway.  He joined Terry at his locker, with Steven not far behind. 
            “Erica was so pissed.  The whole drive back to school she couldn’t shut up about it.  She was all like, where does Terry get off?  It was so classic.  You totally ripped her a new one.  She hates you now!”
            “Whatever,” Terry rolled his eyes.  “Who gives a shit about Erica?  She’s so nothing.”
            Steven narrowed his eyes at Terry.  “Sounds like you think all chicks are nothing.  Is anyone something?”
            “I’ll keep you posted,” Terry promised with a sly grin.

            Cerise laughed along with the boys.  They all walked out of the school together, declaring today’s French class to be the best ever.  Karl even awarded Cerise the winner for the day, as she had racked up the most points.  And Willy had also done surprisingly well.  They all decided they should add more things to the list, like when Rotten said y-a t’il un problème, since she seemed to say it fairly often.  Willy pointed out that she said it mostly to him and he was still fairly sure that she had it out for him specifically.  He always seemed to get in trouble the most, even when others were the instigators.  Karl agreed and thought they should be able to rack up points if they managed to get Willy in trouble. 
            “We should be writing this stuff down,” Karl declared.
            “Ok, let’s go to my house to work on it,” Jay suggested.
            They all agreed and started walking towards the overpass.  Cerise walked behind them, unsure of whether or not she was meant to follow. 
            “Cerise, you coming?” asked Jay.
            Cerise smiled and caught up to them.