“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?”
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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
! Whither away?” Helena
“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!
’s self-loathing there was palpable! Well done.” Helena
Cerise smiled weakly and couldn’t help noticing Karine sitting in the audience, smirking knowingly.