Some Kind of Meaningful Moment

@eva

“Easy for you to say,” Ernie mutters. “You’re a girl and a jockette. You’ve got both categories to fall back on whenever your natural charm fails. What’s left for me but to assume my role as the loser of the group? Fat, flabby, gelatinous me against the Czech bodybuilder, his wrestler fangirl, and the aerobic computer programmer little brother.”

“Why are you so upset over this? So Theo’s fit. Good for him.”

“Eves, let me tell you what birthday parties are like from a fat kid’s point of view. You’re alone in the middle of a crowd of people who by merely existing make it a crime to not be as beautiful as they are. You may be interesting, funny, smart as fuck, good at ukulele, but fatness counts for ninety-percent of your grade. Fail that quiz, and you’re expelled. That’s why our gang’s social ratio is so important. See, people don’t hang out with you based on you, they hang out with you based on who’s already hanging out with you. Or who’s not hanging out with you. They see you alone—within or without a group—and they won’t touch you with a ten-foot pole because they think your solitude is contagious. As if you could catch friendlessness! Seriously! It’s solitude, bitches! Not ringworm! Whatever. Fuck the beautiful people. I was invited to this stupid party, and I’m going to enjoy myself. It’s not like any of these perky-bottomed tarts can touch any of the junk food.”

Without meaning to, I find myself chuckling. “Do you really think my party is stupid?”

“Are you having any fun?” Ernie asks. “Be honest.”

“Honestly? No.” I gesture at the huddle. “These are all Summer and Lily’s friends and training partners. I don’t know any of them.”

Ernie nods, hands me a Slim Jim. “Junior was talking like that.”

I take the Slim Jim. “Like what?”

“He said all your friends weren’t yours, and that you only smile when you’re with us. But don’t tell him I told you that.” Ernie reconsiders. “Second thought, fuck it. He’s stacked. He doesn’t need me or anyone else sugar-coating the truth for him.”

I stare thoughtfully at my Slim Jim. I feel like we’re having some kind of meaningful moment between us. I want to ask Ernie what other bits of wisdom Theo’s been dispensing this afternoon, but he cuts me off with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“What’s the deal with Planned Parenthood over there?” he asks.

“What?”

That over there. Who’s that?”

Oh, Mia—so-and-so’s pregnant older sister sitting by herself near the barbecue. “That’s Mia. One of the girls brought her.”

“Is she Mexican? You think she listens to banda music?”

“Ernie, don’t you dare go with this where I think you’re going.”

He’s not listening. He just keeps his eyes transfixed on Mia’s swollen belly as, painstakingly grasping his drenched, sopping-wet bath towel in place, he snail-trails sloppily out of the pool, mumbles something under his breath that sounds like, “Fucking hell, the real epidemic isn’t dosequisvirus, it’s El Cassetto…”

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El Cassetto: a SuperMegaNet novel by Jesse Gordon

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Dookie, a cheesy horror novel by Jesse Gordon

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.