“What do you think of that one?”
Jack followed the upward lift of chin and eyebrows down the hall to an open locker on the other side. A group of girls was standing around it, chatting, while one of them seemed temporarily stalled in the act of putting something into the locker, or perhaps taking it out.
Deek Davidson tossed his thick blond curls and gestured with his chin again. He was too important to be bothered to point. “The brunette in the red tank top.”
“Nice,” Jack agreed automatically. “I’d tap that.”
“You’d tap anything that spread its legs for you,” Deek bumped him off balance with a shoulder. “Don’t lie. You’d do any one of them if you got the chance. You’d do fat-ass Maria ‘Pig’linski if you could find the right fold.”
Jack tried hard not to turn red. He laughed derisively and retorted, “Oh if only you knew!” What else could he say? He couldn’t deny that he was still a virgin, or Deek would have demanded details, a name, place, date, time, etc. details that he would have been unable to supply.
“But seriously, what do you think about the brunette?”
“Meh, she’s cute enough,” he adopted a tolerant, superior attitude. Oh yeah, she was fine. She was okay, if that was the best you could do. If you weren’t a 15-year-old sex god like he was.
“Yeah? Which one would you do?”
Actually, he secretly knew the brunette in the red tank top was the cutest of the bunch, but he felt rebellious. Why should Deek be right all the time? Which one was the next cutest? Not the little blond who looked like she was barely out of a training bra, and not the Asian chick who looked like a dude. Black girls? Hell no.
“I’d go with blue t-shirt.”
“I’d do her all night long.”
“She’s got no boobs!”
“She’s got great boobs. Nice little handfuls. And look at that ass!”
“She looks like a track chick, and those bitches be crazy.”
“She’s hot.” Okay, “hot” was stretching it. She was tall but petite, toned and athletic looking. He could see divisions in the muscles of her upper arms when she brushed a strand of hair away from her face. She wore jeans and a blue t-shirt, and her bra strap showed nicely through the back, but otherwise her outfit was not super revealing.
“Bullshit.” Deek snorted.
“Prove it! Go up and talk to her. Better yet, go up and grab her ass.”
“Do it or you don’t have a hair on your balls. Pussy!”
“Come on, man. I gotta get to class.”
“Don’t try to chicken out! You said her boobs were nice little handfuls, right? Go right up behind her and grab them. Chicks like that. They pretend they don’t but they really do. Why else would they dress like that?”
“No, man, this is stupid. I’m not doing it.”
“Chicken! Buck-buck-ba-buck! Pussy!”
Each syllable hit him like a sledgehammer across the head, beating him into submission. As Deek continued, getting louder and louder, Jack could feel eyes around the crowded hall turning to look at him.
“Screw you, man,” he said. His body turned in a rush. Quickly now, he had to get it over with before he thought it through. Make it seem like an accident. Or a joke. Laugh and walk away....
He was right behind her. An agonizing pause. This was dumb, just forget the whole thing, but he heard a soft hiss behind him, “Pussy!”
He stepped forward, reached around her from both sides and grabbed.
A thrill of triumph shot through him. Nevermind that he had missed with his right hand, and had mostly a handful of ribs, he had done it. His heart was in his mouth, and he was seeing the world through a red haze of victory, while his pulse pounded in his temples like a marching band and a thousand cheerleaders.
“KIAI!!!!” The back of an elbow connected with his temple and he saw stars. Backing off with his head in his hands and a knot of deprecating excuses tangling his tongue, he saw the girl pivot to face him with her right knee raised to the level of her ear, it seemed. Then POW! Her sneaker shot straight out like a hydraulic piston, like King Leonidas’ sandal, and plowed into his sternum.
“Back off, creep!” she yelled as he staggered back about six feet.
There she stood, eyes flashing, face burning with shame and anger, hands shaking and knotted in fists at her side. One leg was poised slightly behind the other, lightly on her toes, as if she was daring him to try again.
“What the hell is your problem?” she yelled.
“Hey, come on, chill bitch, it was just a joke,” he said reaching out to grab her. Why was he doing that?
He never got a hand on her. One hard little fist pummeled the inside of his forearm, batting it away, and she lunged forward with the other in a stiff arm to his chest, knocking him back again.
“I said, back off!” her voice was quieter now and she was unmistakably crouched in a martial arts stance.
“Come on, Jack, are you going to take that? Show that little bitch who’s boss,” Deek gave him a push from behind.
Jack reached out to grab her head with both hands but she was not there. She was behind him. A foot stomped on the back of his knee and it buckled. He threw his hands behind to catch himself, but she wrapped both of her arms around his head and twisted him around her hip. He spiraled face down on the ground and she dropped a hard, pointy knee into his back as he hit. He tried to roll over and grab her ankles but she bounced away.
“What the hell is your problem, dude?” The girl’s friends were surrounding her and a crowd had gathered, cellphones out like paparazzi cameras.
A pair of khakis pushed through the swarm of lenses. “What’s going on here?”
“Bitch went crazy!” The words tumbled out of Jack’s mouth.
“He grabbed me,” the girl retorted. He couldn’t tell if she was frightened or angry or both.
“That’s it! You, pick yourself up. Both of you follow me. Principle’s office, right now.”
Jack picked himself up and eyed the surrounding crowd. Cell-phones were still out snapping pictures right and left. He could practically hear the videos whirring. Perfect. This was probably going to be on youtube in five minutes. He didn’t know any of these kids.
Deek was nowhere to be seen.