Karine hadn’t really reached a conclusion in her conversation with Terry. She’d been up all night thinking about it and only got a few hours of sleep and the next morning she was just as confused as ever.
For now she wouldn’t do anything. Jay was single and she’d see if he approached her, sort of knowing he was too much of a pussy to ever ask her out. If he proved her wrong then she’d go out with him but for now she wouldn’t make the first move. She’d simply see how she felt as time went on.
As usual she joined the gang in the bakery when her shift at the Bonne Glace was over. Janice had invited her to go out clubbing but she’d refused without even thinking about it. As she walked into the bakery and saw everyone munching on pizza as they did every night she realized how right Terry had been about both of them changing. A year ago she wouldn’t have hesitated to go downtown. What could possibly be more fun than clubbing and getting drunk and hooking up with some rando in a bar?
Well this was more fun. They never did anything, just sat around talking, eating junk food, drinking beer, sometimes playing cards. Jay and the nerds always snuck in a couple hours of playing their little game while the others listened to music or watched videos on Karl’s laptop. On paper it sounded boring as shit and high school her would have scoffed at such lameness but it was fun. It really was. It was chill and comfortable and it made her feel safe.
She sat down with Cerise and Terry and Sarah and Paul. The boys were rolling their dice at another table. Jay seemed perfectly content, seemingly over Cassie, who had obviously decided not to join them tonight. Karine ate the dregs of the pizza and was just about to suggest they order poutine when Furry Jenn walked in looking upset.
“Oh god,” moaned Willy. “Fuck off, Jenn!”
“You fuck off!” she spat back. “I’m not just gonna go away you asshole!”
Willy tore at his hair and raged, telling her to stop following him around, that they already had one stalker to deal with and didn’t need another.
“Like I would fucking stalk you. I just want the rest of the money you owe me.”
Willy lazily said he’d get it to her and she raged at him some more. The rest of them kept munching on their pizza crusts, engrossed by the show.
“Now just leave me the fuck alone! Get out!” Willy yelled.
“Why should I have to leave?” Jenn asked. “Why don’t you leave if you don’t wanna be with me?”
“Because everyone else here also wants you gone.” He didn’t even say it unkindly. It was more stated as a matter of fact.
Jenn screwed up her face in disbelief. “Really? Is that true, you guys? You’d rather hang out with him than me?”
Karine certainly had no particular love for Willy but this Jenn chick was way annoying. No one said anything. They all just shrugged and stared at Jenn until she started to cry. She accused them all of being assholes and then ran away.
“Oh god, I feel so bad for her,” said Cerise, letting out a breath she’d probably been holding the entire time.
“Yeah, me too,” nodded Sarah even though she didn’t look particularly sympathetic.
“I don’t,” admitted Karine. “That chick is fucking nuts. Anyone who would stalk Willy would have to have serious mental issues.”
“For once we agree,” said Karl.
“She is pretty fucking loco,” agreed Vani. “You know what? I declare it. I declare today to be Jenn Day! The first official Jenn Day!”
“Oh god, he’s got his scheming face on,” warned Jay.
“What’s Jenn Day?” asked Karine in amusement.
Vani stood up on a chair to answer. “Jenn Day is a day to celebrate the official expulsion of one Jennifer… I have no idea what her last name is. We’ll just call her Jennifer Furry Jenny Jenn Jenn. But beyond Jennifer Furry Jenny Jenn Jenn, today is a day to celebrate the getting rid of those who have no place in our society! Or at least, no place among us. Today is a day of pure hate my friends. Today is an extended two-minute hate. I say we begin!” He jumped off his chair and slammed his fist on the table, causing Karl’s dice to go flying.
“You fucking ‘tard!” Karl growled as he rushed after his dice.
“Well I’m always down with a good two-minute hate,” shrugged Jay.
“Let’s begin then,” said Karl, packing his dice away and then confiscating his laptop from Terry. He switched to Word and began typing. “Go ahead.” He looked at Vani expectantly.
“Ok, since I think we can all agree that Jennifer Furry Jenny Jenn Jenn is our biggest collective hate we’ll save her for the end. In the meantime, we should make a list of everyone else we hate,” suggested Vani.
“Cool,” smiled Jay. “Every year we shall reconvene on this date to check if our hates have changed.”
“We are of one mind,” nodded Vani sagely. “But first we take the oath.”
“There’s an oath?” asked Paul, looking a little shell shocked.
Sarah patted his arm protectively. “This is gonna be like SOIF isn’t it? Are we gonna have to memorize booklets and shit?”
Karine leaned over to Terry and murmured in his ear. “And you were the one saying these people aren’t fucked up.”
“I agree they’re fucked up. But so are we in our own way,” he shrugged and they grinned at each other.
“This sounds like it’s gonna be really mean,” complained Cerise.
“Yeah, thanks for catching on, Cherry,” said Vani, eliciting a chirp of laughter from Karine. She shrugged at Cerise apologetically after getting the Cherry death glare.
“Ok, the oath,” Vani went on. “Everyone raise their right hand and repeat after me.”
They all obeyed, even Sarah and Paul.
“On my honour, I promise to do my best, to do my duty,” dictated Vani and they all repeated his words. “I will promote callousness, the pushing of social limits. Leaving no weakness unexploited, no insult unspoken, and no individual unjudged.”
“So you know how you were saying I should be nicer?” Karine whispered to Terry with a giggle.
“Yeah and you were saying how you’re so different from these guys?” he asked with a raised brown.
She giggled and kept repeating Vani’s words. “I will work towards a utopian society, removing the unworthy from our midst. Strengthening the people we love and turning the weak away. Amen. Well, not amen, but the secular equivalent. Um, huzzah.”
“Huzzah,” they chorused.
“You are such a strange little boy, Vani,” Sarah giggled.
“That’s a good oath,” said Jay.
“So the list of those we hate,” said Karl, who’d been typing everything Vani had dictated.
“Well Porta-potty chick I suppose,” suggested Vani.
“Her name is Shauna Darren,” said Cerise impatiently. “And I don’t hate her.”
“I hate her,” said Terry with a pointed look at Cerise.
“Good, who else?”
“Trista,” said Cerise.
“Jojo!” spat Willy.
“Erica!” said Terry.
Karine sighed. “And Andrew.”
“I thought you were friends with them,” said Sarah.
“I have better friends now,” smiled Karine.
“Aww! Puppies and rainbows!” Willy squealed, clapping his hands. “Back to the hate!”
Vani grinned at Karine. “That was some good love, Krainy Krainy Kay Kay, but indeed, back to the hate.”
“Ok well um,” Jay piped up. “I mean no offense or anything but maybe like a little bit, you know… Janice?”
“Oh my god, totally!” said Sarah as Terry nodded assent.
“For the sake of Jay, Cassie?” suggested Karine.
“No, I like Cassie!” protested Cerise.
“But she can be grating sometimes,” said Vani. “She takes over the game and yes, I know that’s ironic coming from me. Let’s put her down as a maybe.”
Karl nodded and kept typing.
“Lee,” said Sarah.
“You hate Lee?” asked Karl.
“I’ve felt irritation towards him,” she shrugged.
Karine had forgotten all about Lee. Didn’t he still work here? He was always gone by the time Karine showed up. Myles too most of the time.
“God, fuck, Brown. Mega triple omega Brown,” said Terry. “And maybe a bit Myles too.”
“What’s wrong with Myles?” asked Vani
“Meh, I dunno,” shrugged Terry. “He’s just weird. Ok, fine I don’t hate him but I mean, does a bit of irritation count? Like can I put Tom on the list?”
“Hey, no hating Tom!” exclaimed Cerise. “But Jeff yes.”
“Ok, good list,” said Karl. “I’ll just add Willy and it’s complete.”
They all laughed and Vani went on to ask for criteria. “We need reasons for our hate. It can’t just be willy-nilly.”
“Not willy-nilly,” nodded Karl. “But nearly Willy. If they have anything in common with Willy, we expulse.”
They all groaned and Willy asked if Karl would ever get sick of that joke.
“Really and truly, no,” said Karl.
“Ok, criteria, people,” insisted Vani.
“My criteria are two-fold,” said Cerise. “If they make fun of my fruity name, I hate them. And ironically, if they themselves are fruity, I hate them.”
“Fruitiness, check,” nodded Vani as Karl typed away. “Anyone who can commune telepathically with tree or tree derivatives shall be shunned.”
“Excessive enthusiasm,” said Jay.
“Excessive hypocrisy you mean,” smirked Vani. “But indeed, yes, excessive enthusiasm is a curse as it goes against the core of repetition, sloth and depravity we must cling to.”
“Emotional fragility,” said Karl. “Any display of emotion really.”
Vani nodded. “As feelings are the ultimate form of weakness, and not to be tolerated.”
“Ok, you know what my damage always was with Janice?” said Cerise. “She’d always trash us and then continue to hang with us.”
“I know!” agreed Sarah.
“Indeed hypocrisy,” said Vani. “Or two-facedness. Those who cannot accept the debauchery that is the rut of the group should not be allowed to partake in it.”
“But she was also so presumptuous,” argued Cerise. “She just like, assumes she’s welcome.”
“Mmm, presumptuousness. For those with seniority have earned it through years of hate and toil.”
“It’s gotta be said,” Jay spoke almost apologetically. “People who just aren’t nerdy.”
Karine smiled as Terry looked at her pointedly.
“Of course,” nodded Vani. “Popularity and image must be abandoned if one is to become part of the group. With notable exceptions made of course for Terry and Karine.”
“Of course,” agreed Jay, eliciting a blush from Karine.
“But also, excessively nerdy is bad,” said Sarah.
“Indeed. That was Jojo’s sin. Excessive nerdyness. Such an attribute, whether genetic or acquired, is despicable. He who cannot live for a moment without his nerdism cannot live for a moment among us.”
“Stupidity,” said Karl.
“Agreed. Stupidity. For we cannot stand explaining to the feeble what they will never understand.”
“I hate people who are all cutesy,” Karl went on.
“Cassie was cutesy,” said Jay.
“Strong as the rut has made our stomachs, we still cannot stomach the sight of this,” shrugged Vani.
“Well, people who stalk. I mean I guess just people who are fucking insane,” said Terry as Cerise sighed loudly.
“Insanity. Stalking and porta-potty love will not be tolerated.”
Karine wanted to join in the fun so she said that the deal with Jenn is that she was needy and slutty.
“Needy. For we have no love in our hearts to dispense upon the deprived souls of others. And slutty. With exceptions made, of course, for sufficiently attractive females.”
“Of course,” nodded all the guys in the room.
“And just, the worst thing of all,” said Jay dramatically. They all waited for him to go on. “Boring.”
“Correct!” exclaimed Vani. “Such is El Sin Grandé. No person shall ever, under any circumstances, be permitted to remain in the company of the group if they are boring. This, the ultimate sin, can never be forgiven, and shall never be tolerated.”
“Good work,” said Karl.
“Indeed. This is an excellent list. May the bashing begin!”
“Didn’t we just do that?” asked Sarah.
“That was just the preliminaries,” Vani explained.
“You guys are fucked up,” said Paul but he smiled as he said it.
“Ahh, Popo, you don’t understand. And you Sarah, have always had such a soft heart. Such a soft, soft heart. It must be crushed!”
Karine had more to say. “But the other thing about Jenn is she was just so clueless! Just so, so out of it. I mean, she just had no idea of how to behave.”
“Yeah, she reeked of desperation,” agreed Terry. “It was sad.”
“She was probably lonely,” said Cerise. “Probably has a shitty home life.”
“She was crazy!” insisted Vani. “Insanity is on the list!”
“At first she was normal,” said Willy. “But then she went totally nuts. Seriously, she went fucking ballistic when she got pregnant.”
No one had anything to say. They just stared at Willy and his stupid, asshole face.