Thursday, January 27, 2011

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Act V

Sometimes Terry had to remind himself that he still enjoyed the game.  Hockey had become such an aggravating routine that he periodically needed to refresh his interest by thoroughly ignoring his coach.  He dutifully participated in all the drills during practice and he worked out throughout the week as instructed, but he often found himself automatically nodding at whatever Coach was going on about while simultaneously thinking about something completely unrelated. 
During games he sometimes got a little violent, just for the fun of it.  Hockey was a violent game to begin with, so it wasn’t as though his aggression was unusual but sometimes he began fights completely unprovoked.  He was unofficially acknowledged as the enforcer for his team but sometimes he veered into pest territory and even sort of enjoyed it when his coach yelled at him during his penalties.  It was funny to see him blow a gasket. 
Throughout his hockey career, Terry had often been forbidden from acting as enforcer, since his coaches sometimes felt his talent was wasted in this area.  It was also sort of against the rules to fight in his hockey league but everyone mostly turned a blind eye to Terry’s excesses.  As much as spectators didn’t want to admit it, everyone loved a good fight, even parents, especially parents.  And as Terry got older it became clear that he would fight during games whether his coaches wanted him to or not, so he was grudgingly allowed to do so and as far as he was concerned, his games were all the more entertaining because of it.
One of the reasons Terry liked taking on this role is that he relished his reputation as a bad-ass.  He especially liked taking on guys from other teams with similar reputations.  They always let their anger get the best of them and fought irrationally, but Terry kept his cool and let them tire themselves out with their little punches before delivering his smackdowns.  He was known in the West Island for all the noses he’d broken.
Privately, Terry knew this made him a bad person.  Even though he enjoyed his bad-ass reputation and played it up in public, he was well aware that it kind of made him a jerk.  It made him his father’s son, which he hated.  Not that John had ever been violent, but his dad was a dick and Terry supposed he was one too.
That’s why he made himself stick to a strict rule of on-ice only violence.  Sure, he’d beaten up a few losers at school but that didn’t really count since he was always proving a point in those instances.  For example he’d once hit a kid for insulting a chick he was dating at the time, and once he’d taken down a dork who’d mocked jocks.  But he wouldn’t be violent just for the fun of it.  He needed a reason.  As much as he liked being seen as a bad-ass, Terry didn’t want to be perceived as a bully.  He didn’t want to be seen as stupid and he especially didn’t want people to be afraid of him.  Or rather, he didn’t want girls to be afraid of him. 
That Saturday afternoon, the Lakeshore Jaguars took on the Laval Patriotes.  As he sat in the penalty box, he thought about Cerise and what she might think of his violent nature.  She’d probably be horrified.  Of course, she had a bit of a temper herself.  Still, she’d be totally disgusted by his outbursts, not only because she wasn’t into hockey but because she was good.  Certainly she was too good for him.  Unless he were to change.  How hard would it be to simply stop fighting?
Once his penalty was over Terry flew back out onto the ice.  He deliberately forced himself to avoid fights and it worked out fine, though the game was fairly boring and his team lost.  Coach gave him an earful in the locker room, berating him for not being on his game and for allowing the other team to walk all over him.  It was true.  Being nice meant being weak.
Even though they lost, the Jaguars had a party afterwards.  They always had parties after their games.  If they won they needed to celebrate and if they lost they needed to unwind. 
The party was at Rob Townsend’s house.  He always threw the best hockey parties, since he knew a ton of puckbunny chicks.  These parties were hook-up heaven. 
Terry roughhoused with the guys for a while as they all blamed one another for the loss.  The hockey groupies assured them that they’d played a good game.  They only lost by one goal after all.  Terry surveyed the room, trying to decide which groupie to hook up with.  Usually he let the girls come to him, since it was a particular kind of chick who was attracted to the enforcer, although he’d also had much success with generic jock groupies who were simply interested in tall guys with muscles.  But today none of these chicks were really doing it for him. 
A girl with dark, curly hair wanted to know how much he could bench press and she practically swooned at the answer.  It would have been too easy to hook up with her so Terry moved on to a small girl with a short blonde hair.  She complimented him on his game and giggled as she touched his biceps, which he didn't even bother flexing.
There were a couple of girls at the party who were hockey players themselves and could be counted on for intelligent conversation but Terry had already hooked up with them in the past and didn’t feel like going back for seconds.
Feeling deflated, he walked outside and found his teammate Nick Morgan sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigarette.
“Hey dude, ‘sup?” said Terry, taking out a cigarette of his own.
“You better not be smoking, Trebichavsky!”  Morgan barked, imitating their coach.  “You’re athletes, act like it!  No drinking either!  Raaah!”
“Yes, coach!”  Terry laughed.  “What you doin’ out here?  Too much pussy in there for ya?”
Morgan chuckled.  “Yeah right, man.  Any good prospects?”
“I guess,” Terry shrugged.
“You don’t sound convinced.”
“I dunno fuck. Whatever dude, I’m so over it.”
“Over what?  Unlimited blowjobs?  What the fuck?”  Morgan laughed.
Terry laughed too.  “No man, I dunno.  There’s some hot chicks I guess.”
“But not your type?”  Morgan regarded Terry quizzically.
“Maybe my standards are higher lately.  All these bitches are boring.”
“Oh, it’s not enough they suck your cock, now they have to keep you entertained too?”
“Yeah, I’m crazy I guess,” Terry smirked.
“Nah man, it’s cool.  You want an actual girlfriend, right?”
“Yeah, I guess,” nodded Terry.
“But none of these chicks do it for you?” Morgan asked with genuine interest.
“Well, there’s a chick at school actually.”
“Oh!  You’ve got someone in mind.”
“Yeah man, she’s fucking intense.  She’s not like these fucking puckbunnies.  She’s like I dunno man.  She’s intense.”
“So what’s the fucking problem?  She already got a boyfriend?”
“No, it’s complicated.”
“Like how?”
Did Morgan actually want to know?  They’d never talked like this before.  Terry didn’t typically have real conversations with his teammates.  They usually kept things strictly business or pleasure.  The usual topics were the game, getting wasted and getting laid.
“Like I dunno, dude,” Terry shrugged.   “I fucked up.  I went out with her a couple times and both times she told me she never wanted to see me again.”
“Imagine that,” Morgan chuckled.  “And yet she still went out with you the second time.  So third time’s the charm, right?”
“If I can convince her to give me another chance.”
“Flash that fucking smile, bat those fucking eyelashes.”
Terry laughed and smirked at Morgan.  “The fuck?”
“I dunno, dude.  Chicks dig your eyelashes.  They actually like, talk about them.”
“Whatever, fuck!”
“I know, right?”  Morgan chuckled, seemingly embarrassed.
“What about you, man?  I’ve heard some chicks say they dig your style too.  How come you’re not in there getting your cock sucked?”
“I have a girlfriend,” Morgan shrugged.
“Oh, ok.”
“I’m thinking of breaking up with her though.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah, I really like her as a friend but I’m not really into her.  I kinda did a shitty thing tonight.”
“I uh, I guess I wanted to test if it was just her or me or what so I hooked up with some other chick and uh, I wasn’t really into that either.  Now I feel really bad for cheating on Chloe for no reason.”
“That sucks,” said Terry sympathetically.
Morgan looked up at Terry earnestly.  “Yeah.  What do you think I should do?”
“If you’re not into your girlfriend then you gotta break up with her.  ‘Cause there’s gotta be a chick out there you can dig for real.  Maybe she doesn’t come to these stupid parties but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist.  Don’t string your gf along for nothing if you’re not feeling it.” 
“Yeah,” Morgan nodded.  “Totally.”
“’Cause trust me man, cool chicks, they exist.”

            It was a bitterly cold day.  So cold that Terry had his hood up.  He didn’t mind the cold but he hoped it would get a little nicer for the grad ski trip.  It was only a week away.  He finished his morning cigarette and went to homeroom a bit earlier than usual.  He was stick of standing in the snow in his Vans, his feet were freezing. 
            There were only a few kids in class but Cerise was one of them.  He caught her eye and smiled at her, holding her gaze as he walked up the aisle and past her desk.  He sat down and kept watching her.  She turned around and peered at him.  He raised an eyebrow.
            Nice.  She was getting up.  She sat down at the desk in front of his.  He leaned forward, putting his arms on his desk and smiling as charmingly as he could.
            “Why did you…” she spoke with hesitation.
            “Why did I what?”
            “Your debate in EMR.  It was improvised wasn’t it?  Why didn’t you write something for it beforehand?”
            Terry smiled to himself, privately amused that Cerise called MRE by the French acronym.  “Dude, there were like five topics.  I wasn’t about to research each one.”
            “Why not?”
            “Didn’t feel like it.”
            “But you could have done really well.”
            “I did do really well.  I got an 84 on it.”
            “But you could have done even better.  If you’d just done some research and like, prepared something it would have been really good ‘cause you would have known what you were talking about instead of just talking out of your ass which is what you were doing.”
            He shrugged.  “I actually did do a bit of research.  The stork statistic thing is a real thing.”
            “So how come you didn’t bring in proof?”
            “Whatever,” he shrugged.  “It’s just MRE.”
            “You could have done so well.  I mean your speech was still really good.  I mean you obviously have oral skills.”
            He couldn’t help smirking.  “So I’ve been told.”
            She rolled her eyes.  “Don’t be gross, Terry.  I mean you’re good at public speaking.”
            “Thanks,” he smiled.
            “If you just tried a little harder you could do really well in school.”
            “I do ok.”
            “But you could do even better.”
            He knew he shouldn’t push it and should just agree with her but she was starting to push his buttons.  “Why bother?  So I can be on the honour roll?”  It came out slightly more snarky than he’d intended.
            “What’s wrong with that?” she asked huffily.
            “Smacks of effort.”
            “Oh yeah.  God forbid you work for anything.  Wouldn’t want to break the shield of laid back, don’t give a shit cool.”
            Damn, she was cute.  He loved the way her lips pursed when she bitched him out.  And it was kind of sexy the way she narrowed her eyes whenever she got angry.
            “Why do you even care?” he asked with a grin.
            “I don’t,” she sighed.
            “Then why are we having this conversation?  I thought we weren’t supposed to talk to each other anymore,” he teased.
            “Because, Terry.  I just don’t like to see wasted potential.”
            He smiled kindly and reached out to her, gently taking her hand.  “Neither do I,” he said.
            She jerked her hand away and stood up, stomping back to her seat, but Terry kept smiling.  That had gone pretty well. 

            Andrew wasn’t sure if he should play Bottom like a complete retard, or just as a kind of clueless dick.  Should he be totally farcical or should he try to elicit a bit of sympathy for the character?  Weir said that Bottom is supposed to be a dude who really thinks he’s a good actor but is actually a total loser and is the butt of all the jokes.  Everyone joked around that Andrew had been typecast and he laughed along with them but what if it was true?  What if he really was a shitty actor and everyone was just laughing at him for even trying?
            Going into theatre hadn’t exactly been easy for him.  Terry and Steven had given him a lot of shit for going the drama fag route.  Not that he couldn’t take it.  He wasn’t some fucking pussy who couldn’t take a joke.  And everyone knew he could take down any asshole who tried to give him a hard time.  But were people cool with him because they thought he was cool or were they just afraid he’d beat them up? 
            Every time they did a play everyone fell all over themselves telling Karine how awesome she’d been but no one ever told him he was good.  It wasn’t fair.  Everything was so easy for chicks.  They could do whatever they wanted.  But he constantly had to worry that people would think he was a fag, just because he liked theatre.   
            He walked by that little ho Marla as he left the auditorium and he winked at her as he went.  She completely avoided his gaze.  What a fucking cunt.  She’d been all over him at Karine’s party and now she was ignoring him?  Not that he wanted her anymore; she was a totally frigid bitch who couldn’t suck dick properly if her life depended on it.
            Christina and Erica joined him as he left the auditorium. 
            “Hey,” he smiled.
            Now Chrissy, she was a good lay.  Fucking tight pussy, nice dick sucking lips.  And Erica was good too.  No one knew it but he and Erica had fucked a few times when they’d gotten crazy drunk.  He actually didn’t really remember if she was any good but he was pretty sure she was, based on her reputation.  For sure he’d have to try her again sometime when he was sober.
            “Wanna join us for a smoke?” asked Erica.
            “Yep, I’m just gonna go take a leak first,” he replied.
            “Ok well…” mumbled Christina, following him.
            Erica was also following.  He stopped and looked at them.  “You guys coming with me?”
            “We’ll be outside,” said Erica.
            “I could wait here if you want,” smiled Chrissy.
            “That’s ok,” he smirked.  Shit, Terry had warned him about how clingy she got.
            “You sure?”
            “Yeah, Chrissy, I’m sure.  But you could come in and hold my dick for me if you want.  I know how much you like that.”
            Erica laughed while Chrissy blushed in embarrassment.  Andrew chuckled as he stepped into the bathroom.  Fucking chicks, they were all little hos.  Didn’t matter if people thought he was a drama fag, he could still bag as many bitches as he wanted. 

            When Andrew came out to join them for a cigarette, Erica and Christina both leapt to his side.  What was up with those two fighting over him?  Like there weren’t better guys to go after than Andrew?  Sure, he was cute enough but Karine had never been into him.  Maybe ‘cause he was such a man whore.  Not that Terry was much better.  Where was Terry anyway? 
            Karine said her goodbyes but instead of leaving, she went to check out the parking lot.  Sure enough, Terry’s car was still there.  She texted him and he said he was under the overpass.  
            “What you doing here?” she asked as she joined him.
            “Dunno,” he shrugged.  “Just felt like being alone.”
            “Want me to go?”
            “No, it’s ok.”
            “What’s wrong?  Still bored?”
            Terry smiled. “I’m fine, Karine.”
            “You seem pensive lately.  Listen, Terry, I’m gonna give you some advice you gave me once upon a time.”
            “Oh yeah?”
            “Yeah.  Don’t think so much.  Just chill.”
            “Good advice,” he chuckled.
            “I didn’t think so at the time.”
            “And now?”
            “Still don’t.”
            He laughed boisterously.  “So what’s your real advice?”
            “What’s your real problem?  Come on, you can talk to me.  Dr. Karine is here to help.”
            “Yeah I bet.”
            “No really, I’m a good listener.”
            “Yeah I know.  You should go into psychology,” he suggested.  He seemed serious.
            “I’ve actually thought about it.  But I also wanna do theatre.”
            “So do both.”
            “I dunno.  I have all these stupid ambitions but I can’t do everything you know?  And who says I can even do anything?  I mean, there’s always someone better, you know?”
            “Karine Cavalière!  Insecure?”
            “Oh shut up!” she swatted his arm and he chuckled.
            “I’ve never known you to doubt yourself.”
            “Well I am human you know.”
            “Yeah well anyway, back to you…”
            “So you think about how you suck?”
            “Shut up loser!  No!  Well I mean, except you know, yeah.  Of course.  Sometimes I wonder you know, about the future and stuff.  And what’s gonna happen.”
            “Hey, you know what?”
            “I was right!  You shouldn’t think so much.  Just chill,” he grinned.
            She swatted him again.  “Oh my god!  I hate you!  You act so superiour.  You’re the one who’s always being all moody all the time.  Obviously you’ve got something going on in that pretty little head of yours.”
            He shrugged and smirked.  Those were basically the two states of Terry.  Shrugging and smirking.  And yet he made those simple, dismissive gestures look so hot.  Karine knew exactly what it was that had been bothering him lately.  He wasn’t that deep after all. 
            “You know, ever since Cherry the Raspberry came along you’ve been totally out of it.”
            He sighed heavily and tossed away the butt of his cigarette.  “Can we not?”
            “Just admit you’re totally far gone on her!”
            “Why should I admit it?  So you can shit all over me?”
            “Since when do you care about my opinion?”
            He looked at her briefly as though in pain.  “You know I care,” he said, staring down at his feet.
            She’d never been more attracted to him than at that moment.  But she knew what she had to do to really be his friend.  “You know Terry, you have my permission to hook up with her.”
            He looked up, smirking.  “You’re such a shit.”
            “You’re welcome,” she smirked back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Act IV

            “So did you hand in your permission slip?” Cerise asked Jay when he joined her at lunch.
            “Not yet, but I will.”
            “The deadline is coming up fast, Jay, better get on it.”
            “I know, I know!  I keep forgetting.”
            “Deadline for what?” asked Vani as he settled into his seat.
            Jay didn’t say anything so Cerise told them it was for the grad ski trip. 
            “There’s a grad ski trip?” asked Willy when he sat down, causing the entire table to shake in his wake.
            “We’re not going,” said Karl.
            “Well, I am,” said Cerise, looking at Jay.
            “Ok well have fun there, lamebot,” laughed Vani.
            Cerise looked at Jay expectantly but he said nothing.  Was he really going to be this big of a baby about it?
            “Jay!  Just tell them!”
            “Tell us what?” asked Vani.
            “Jay’s going too,” Cerise explained.
            The boys all laughed.
            “Yeah right!  Jay on skis?  Can you imagine?  He’d kill himself! Or someone else,” chortled Willy.
            “Seriously, even Willy’s more coordinated than you,” agreed Vani.
            “You’re not going,” scoffed Karl.  “There exists no universe in which any of us would ever go on a school sanctioned trip to anywhere.”
            “Sarah’s going,” said Cerise.
            “Undoubtedly,” replied Karl.
            “Well Jay and I are going.”
            “You may be going.  Your Warrior dance routine proved that you may have some degree of hand-eye coordination capabilities.  Enough to not completely humiliate yourself on the slopes of high school high jinks, but Jay most certainly will not be accompanying you,” stated Karl.  “If only for the simple reason that the school will be a ghost town during the trip, seeing as how over half the graduating class will go.  This will be a prime opportunity for us to make progress in the Tok’ra campaign.”
            “Mmm, good point,” nodded Vani in agreement.  “I’ve almost got those Tok’ra fother-muckers right where I want them.”
            “You don’t actually but that’s exactly why we can’t lose Jay for that week.  Progress must be made.”
            “Jay, tell them!”
            Jay sat silently, slowly munching on his shepherd’s pie. 
            “Jay!” she pleaded.
            “No Jay!  No!” said Karl as though disciplining a dog.
            “Well, it could be fun,” he said meekly.
            “Don’t be ridiculous,” scoffed Vani. “What sounds like more fun?  Falling down an icy mountain and ending up with a dislocated shoulder, you know how sensitive your shoulders are, or a full week of hardcore gaming on company time?”
            “Well yeah I mean, yeah, gaming would be more fun, but doing grad stuff could be fun too.  We’re grads so we should do grad stuff…”
            “Silence, minion!” shouted Vani, prompting a few kids from other tables to turn around in amusement. 
            “Are you actually, seriously thinking about going?” asked Karl incredulously.
            “Well obviously not,” shrugged Jay.  “It’s just a stupid ski trip.”
            Unbelievable.  Cerise picked up the remains of her lunch and got up from the table, storming out of the cafeteria in anger.
            “What’s her damage?  She on the rag?” she heard Willy say as she left.
            What a bunch of complete assholes!  Jay was a total coward, not even trying to stand up to those jerks!  And they hadn’t even tried to get her to stay.  They seemed perfectly happy to have their week long gaming session without her.  It didn’t matter how much she did in the game and it didn’t matter how often she hung out with them, she would never be considered part of the gang.  Either because she was a girl or because they were too xenophobic to ever let anyone new into their insular little hive.
            How dare Jay completely disregard her like that?  Why even ask her to go in the first place if he was just going to back out?  Had he just asked her to go to set her up or something?  Was it all a joke at her expense?  She’d been so incredibly delusional to think he might actually be into her.  Obviously he didn’t care about her at all.  He was just a big massive jerk, just like all guys.
Once a deposit had been made it was unrefundable.  She couldn’t even back out now and she had no one to go with!  Not that she would have been able to room with Jay anyway since he was a boy but now she really would be completely alone on that stupid trip.  Sarah and Mel and Steph were going but she hadn’t discussed it with them.  Could she just tag along with them?  They were all probably expert skiers and wouldn’t want her dragging them down. 
            She joined the Green Girls in student union, where they were working on yet another environmental poster.  It was sort of ironic how much paper they used in their environmental projects. 
            “You guys are going on the grad ski trip, right?”
            “Of course!” said Sarah.  “It’s gonna be so much fun.  Besides, I’m photographer for the yearbook so I have to go to all these events you know?”
            “All of them?”
            “Of course!  Plus they’re all super fun.  Except the dances.  I knew I should have joined the dance committee this year.  But I’m on so many committees, it was just too much!”
            “Oh my god, Sarah, don’t feel bad!” said Mel.
            “Totally, oh my god,” agreed Steph.  “You did your best.  I mean you totally told them that they should have a theme for the dances.”
            “Yeah seriously, I mean come on,” nodded Mel.
            “Yeah but I’m class president.  I should be involved with everything,” sighed Sarah.  “And I really dropped the ball with the dance committee.”
            “Oh my god, come on!  That’s totally not your fault!  Besides, no one goes to those stupid dances anyway!”
            “Yeah seriously, I mean come on.  The real parties are always at Karine’s house anyway.”
            “Yeah seriously.  Come on.”
            “Yeah, I guess you guys are right,” smiled Sarah.  “Besides, I’ve been so busy with lacrosse and volleyball and the play, I don’t have time for that stupid committee.”
            “I know, Right?  Totally.”
            “Which is probably why our environmental campaign is so pathetic this year.  I mean you guys, we totally have to try harder!”
            “I know!  Totally!”
            “Oh my god, I know!”
            “Um, so anyway,” interrupted Cerise.  “I guess you guys are all rooming together?  On the ski trip?”
            “Yeah totally.”
            “Of course, duh.  Totally.”
            “Why, are you coming?” asked Sarah.  “That’s wicked.  Are Karl and them coming too?”
            “No, they vetoed that idea pretty fast.”
            “I’m not surprised.  Karl and them never wanna do school related stuff.  They’re probably not even gonna go to prom.”
            “You think?”
            “They’ve never been to one dance or one sporting event or joined any club.  I mean, not even the computer club which you’d think they’d be into.”
            “Well, it’s like they already have their own club.”
            “Yeah, the immature asshole club.”
            “Exactly.  Um, so can I room with you guys?  On the trip?”
            “I dunno, how many people can you be in one room?”
            “Oh my god, I totally don’t know.”
            “I know, right?  Me neither.  I totally don’t know.”
            “I’m sure we can squeeze you in,” smiled Sarah.  “And even if we can’t I’m sure you’ll find someone to bunk with.  There are always stragglers.”

            Shauna reluctantly handed in her permission slip to her homeroom teacher.  It was a sign of her nearly delusional desperation that she actually hoped Wendy might be going on the trip so she’d have someone to room with.  But it was also a sign of her healthy progression towards sanity that she realized even if Cerise went, there was no way she’d want to room with Shauna.  They’d been back at school now for nearly a month and Cerise had avoided her like she was an ugly, pathetic, porta-pottied loser with no friends and no hope of ever making any. 
            Shauna had taken to carrying her razor blade around with her, hidden in the lining of her boot.  She often took it out during class and carved things into the desks.  She’d gotten many cuts on her fingers this way.  She was proud of these cuts.  They were like war wounds.  Badges of honour for having survived another day.

            “Hello, fair Helena.”
            “Demetrius, my love,” smiled Cerise.
            Sean was standing fairly close to her.  What was his deal?
            “So, you busy this weekend?” he asked.
            Oh.  Well that explained it.  Cerise supposed she was especially dense for not having picked up on it before.  Did she like Sean?  Well, he was certainly better than Jay, that stupid jerk.  She might as well go out with him.  Before she could answer, Mr. Weir ordered Sean on stage and he smiled at her as he walked away.  Cerise went to join Mel and Steph, who were sitting far up in the audience.  She passed by Marla as she went.
            “Oh my god, Cerise, did you hear about Marla?” asked Mel in a whisper.
            “No, what?”
            “Just that she’s a complete and total slut,” said Steph.
            “It’s like, known, Cerise.”
            “Seriously, Cerise.  It’s like, known.”
            “She totally went down on Andrew Lester at Karine’s New Year’s party.”
            “I heard Andrew talking about it.  She totally swallowed, ok?  I’m serious.”
            “Eww,” said Cerise, scrunching up her face.
            “I know, right?  And like, Andrew doesn’t even like her.  He was totally using her.”
            “That’s so mean!” said Cerise. “I hate Andrew Lester!  He’s such an asshole.”
            “And yet Marla is still hungry for his dick,” smirked Steph.
            “She’s sucked every cock in this school!” hissed Mel.
            “I doubt that,” said Cerise, rolling her eyes.
            “It’s totally true!  Did you see her blog?  She lists all the guys she’s fucked.”
            “Are you serious?” Cerise asked skeptically.
            “Seriously and like, her life’s goal is to be a stripper.”
            “No way.”
            “Way!  She’s already done it at like, amateur night at Club Super Sex or something.”
            “Marla?” Cerise looked down at the stage where Marla was reciting her lines.  “I don’t know.”
            “It’s true, Cerise.  Like seriously.”
            “Seriously Cerise, it’s totally true.”
            “Terry and…” Mr. Taffenberg picked another piece of paper out of his hat.  “Jonah.”
            Jojo happily walked up to the front of the class, carrying a gigantic folder full of papers.  Terry joined him lazily, his empty hands stuck in his jeans pockets. 
            “And the topic is…” Taffy dug into a different hat.  “Gambling.  Terry you’ll be for and Jonah, you’re against.”
            Jojo searched through his papers until he found what he wanted and waited for his prompt.  As he rattled on about whatever, Cerise watched Terry.  He didn’t even seem to be listening but when Taffy’s watch alarm rang and it was Terry’s turn to speak, he surprised her.  He talked about how gambling could be a fun and profitable activity if enjoyed responsibly and that it was a source of much needed revenue for every civilized society, pointing out that even cities that didn’t have legalized gambling still had the lottery, which was another form of gambling and a crucial source of revenue for governments.  His tone was much more casual and conversational than Jonah’s but he was infinitely more charismatic. 
            He was quite a sight up there, looming over Jojo.  Jonah was seriously short, shorter even than Vani.  Maybe even as short as Christina Penna.  Terry was over a foot taller than him and Jojo barely reached his chest.  Terry was taking full advantage of this comical height discrepancy and puffed himself up when he spoke, often looking down at Jojo with an intimidating smirk. 
            Jojo pulled out graphs when it was his turn for a rebuttal.  “It’s undeniable, the statistics speak for themselves.  Even when the gambling is government sanctioned it still leads to several ills in society.  More depression, more suicide, more divorces, more mental breakdowns, which leads to people using up medicare resources by seeking professional help.  All you really have to do is look at the numbers, and the numbers prove…”
            It was Terry’s turn again.  “Ok, dude, don’t even bring up statistics.  Statistics are bullshit. I mean bullcrap.  I mean like, misleading.  You can manipulate them to say anything.  Like there’s a statistic that says the birthrate is higher in a place with lots of storks.  So a retard would like, I mean like a stupid person would be all like, oh, storks bring babies.  But dude, it’s ‘cause storks live in the boons and so do rednecks who like, constantly spawn all over the place.”
            The class chuckled while Jonah looked annoyed.
            “So it’s just a coincidence but the statistics are manipulated to make it seem like a correlation or even causation.  Thing is dude, you can read anything into anything if you interpret it in a certain way.  And all that crap you were saying about gambling making people depressed and whatever, gimme a break.  If they get depressed so easily they were prone to it to begin with.  And more suicides?  Yeah, big loss, a couple dead gamblers.  The planet’s overpopulated anyway.  And more divorces?  Who cares?  Who says marriages are supposed to last forever?  That’s a totally separate issue.  And that stuff about gambling addicts mooching off medicare?  Ok, who do you think pays for medicare in the first place?  Loto-Quebec, dude.  Without the lottery, there would be no medicare.”
            The alarm went off and the debate was over.  Cerise was pretty impressed by Terry’s speech.  She was surprised he’d used so many big words.  The part about correlation and causation was pretty good. 
            Taffy was impressed too and he congratulated them both on a job well done.  The winner would be declared through applause.  It must have been quite humiliating for Jojo when not a single person clapped for him.  Terry, on the other hand, elicited a thundering round of applause.  Kids even hollered and banged their desks.  Cerise clapped for him as well and couldn’t stop a small grin from forming on her lips as she watched him greet the applause with nothing more than a shrug and a smile.  He even shook Jojo’s hand. 
            Mr. Taffenberg joined them at the front of the class.  “Well, according to the class Terry wins.  And I really want to agree with them, Terry.  You were very persuasive, if not always appropriate with your choice of language.  But the fact is Jonah was simply more prepared.  He did research and he had facts to back up his case.  The point you made about the stork statistics was fascinating but you should have brought concrete evidence of such a survey.  You needed proof of all your points.  They were good points but you relied on your wit and delivery to make them.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s half the battle when it comes to debating but it just isn’t enough.  I can’t give you as good a grade on this as I want to because you simply weren’t as prepared as you should have been.”
            “Plus he said a bad word,” sulked Jojo.
            Terry rolled his eyes and the class chuckled.  He strolled back to his seat and Cerise fought hard not to look back at him as he passed her.  It bothered her that she was still attracted to him.  Why couldn’t she find a nice guy to like?  Not that nice guys even existed.  Jay was proof of that.  He was supposed to be her friend but he’d turned out to be just as much of a jerk as Terry. 
            Jay joined her at her locker at the end of the day.  She slammed it as she saw him approach.
            “Hey, aren’t you going home?”
            “I have rehearsal,” she said, walking away.
            He followed her.  “Hey uh, still pissed about the grad ski trip thing?”
            She glared at him.  “Why did you say you were gonna go if you weren’t really?”
            “I dunno.  I wanted to go.”
            “But now you don’t just ‘cause the guys won’t let you?”
            “I dunno.  It was stupid of me to wanna go in the first place. I only wanted to ‘cause Karine is going.  But I guess that’s dumb.”
            Of course.  It should have been obvious from the start.  “Yes, that is dumb!” she spat out while quickening her pace.
            “Yeah, I know.  I guess I’m just retarded.  Girls don’t like me.”
            “No, they don’t!” said Cerise as she walked into the auditorium, leaving that moron behind.
            There was Sean sitting in the audience.  She sat next to him.
            “Hey Sean.”
            “Hey, ‘sup?”
            “Um, nothing.  So…”
            Sean perked up as Marla walked down the aisle towards the stage.  He quickly bounded out of his seat and pursued her.  “Hey, Marla!”
            Typical.  Seans’s jerkiness was further evidenced when she overheard him talking to Lysander in the wings a while later, all saying how Marla was into freaky shit and her blog was totally kinky and how he was totally gonna bang her brains out.
            God, whatever.  Cerise didn’t even like Sean anyway.  And poor Marla, everyone was being so mean to her.  Cerise had been to her supposed blog and it obviously wasn’t actually made by Marla.  Why was everyone in the world such a freaking asshole?  Cerise tried to focus on the play and joined Sarah on stage.
            “God speed fair Helena!  Whither away?”
            “Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.  Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair! Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air  More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,  When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear. Sickness is catching: O, were favour so, Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,  My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.  Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,  The rest I’d give to be to you translated. O, teach me how you look, and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.”
            “Nicely done, Cerise!” said Mr. Weir.  “That’s what I want to see, everyone!  Passion!  Helena’s self-loathing there was palpable!  Well done.”
            Cerise smiled weakly and couldn’t help noticing Karine sitting in the audience, smirking knowingly.