The Cast: Myself (of course, the protagonist), Cindy (the girl I’m trying to impress), Rachel (Cindy’s best friend and the antagonist), Other friends (names are not important, but there were at least three others, yes Erich was there).
Boys are stupid and girls are mean. That’s right, boys are stupid and girls are mean. Boys are constantly trying to figure out ways to impress girls and they don’t know how to do it, so they do stupid stuff. The girls laugh, so the boys think it has worked and then the boys repeat the stupid. The girls don’t tell the boys that what they did was stupid, and that’s just mean. And even if the girls do tell, they do it in a mean way and the boys don’t believe them. Because, boys are stupid and girls are mean.
We all have that person in our group of friends that we don’t get along with. You know, that person that we tolerate because they are a friend of a friend. If they come over, with someone, you won’t turn them away but you won’t do them any favors either. Not an enemy, not a frenemy, but not a friend either. You know who I mean? Of course you do. You’re probably thinking of that person right now, and that’s alright. Mine happened to be Rachel. I don’t really know why, but we didn’t get along. I can’t recall how it started, but you can’t hate a girl’s best friend if you want to have a chance of dating said girl. So, I tried.
Now Cindy had access to one of those vans that you could fit a fraternity in. You know the kind I’m talking about. Bigger than a family van but smaller than a Greyhound. We called it “The Beast”. It was big, old, orange and had room to spare. We could pack almost everybody in it. Sooo much fun. Well, one night a group of us were driving around and we decided to stop at a local burger place for ice cream cones. Cindy’s treat.
If you read And Then I Saw Her Face. Now I’m a Believer. you already know that I was in love with Cindy, but we hadn’t started dating yet and I thought I needed to impress her, win her over. So when our little group walked into that burger joint late that night and Cindy offered to buy everyone a round of ice cream cones I said, “No thank you.” I had no money and no job and felt very embarrassed about it around her. I thought maybe if I turned down the ice cream cone it might earn some points, somehow. Stupid, I know.
The cones were served and we all sat down in a booth. I was trying to situate myself to be seated next to Cindy but ended up next to Rachel, but across from Cindy (not too bad). We sat, talked and joked around, just having some fun. The banter turned to jokes. Jokes turned to teasing. Teasing turned to veiled insults. Veiled insults lead to mild anger. That lead to…
To be clear, this last bit was between Rachel and myself. I cannot recall who started it, or why it started, but it was getting ugly. One of us would say something and the other one had to take it to the next level. Like when your buddy hits you in the shoulder playfully and then you hit them back harder, then they hit you back harder, and so on, until you’re rolling around on the floor yelling and punching each other in the face. It was like that, but with words. I was trying really hard to not go to far, because Cindy was right there, but her friend was really pushing my buttons—mean. I wanted to score points with Cindy but I also wanted to win this stupid argument/fight/whatever it was.
I warned Rachel to stop. She responded with something like, “Ooo. Or what?” I tried again. I warned her to stop. “Like I’m scared.” was the response. That did it! I had had it! So I reached over and took her cone right out of her hand and put the whole thing in my mouth. All of it. The ice cream. The cone. All of it. In my mouth. At once. Without stopping. One smooth motion. Nothing but net. It was gone before anyone fully realized what happened. Cindy was stunned. Erich laughed, others did too. Rachel almost cried—literally. “You ate my whole ice cream cone!” The indignation!
I quickly chewed it up, swallowed it, then replied with, “I warned you.”
Cindy said to me, “I was willing to buy you your own.”
“It wasn’t about the cone. I warned her.” I said cooly. She looked and Rachel and told her that she would buy her another cone.
Rachel and I get along now. We should after all, it’s been 27 years, and we don’t talk.