Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Dating Game
Joe’s meeting with Principal Patrias had gone much worse than expected. He was now the principal’s target, and the principal wanted him gone. One good thing was accomplished because of the meeting though. It had taken up so much time that Joe’s English class had ended and it was now time for lunch, or rather Fleez and Dozz happy hour. He didn’t think he could stomach whatever cruel game they had planned for today. He wanted to skip lunch altogether, but he was hungry, and if he was going to stay awake in class he’d need a lot more energy. Most of all, he needed to be there for Mod.
Once he grabbed his lunch and strolled to his usual seat, he saw no sign of Mod. That’s mighty smart of him, thought Joe. No sign of Fleez and Dozz either, and that lifted the weight from the pit of Joe’s stomach. He was able to eat half his lunch of ravioli and steamed buttery broccoli, which wasn’t half as bad as it looked.
Fleez and Dozz walked in theatrically about twenty minutes later. They looked sad and sullen, but in an overacted sort of way. They joined Joe near his mostly empty table and gave him more of their sad and piteous looks. Joe tried, but failed to ignore them. Mod isn’t here, so what will they do? he wondered. There were a few other kids to pick on at the table, but Joe couldn’t really call them his friends. Maybe Fleez and Dozz would actually direct their wrath towards him. Joe would welcome it, since he was the one deserving of it anyway. Maybe I should just join their stupid club, he thought.
Fleez: “Excuse me, all, if I could get your attention! Womenfolk and gentler men, all eyes over here!”
It was another performance and it made Joe uneasy.
Fleez: “Well, it seems that even though we put on a great show yesterday, our red-headed guest wants no part in the joy that we bring to the masses, to our loving fans and subjects. We have been searching for him since this lunch hour—which is also his lunch hour—began.”
Again, they poured on the fake sadness.
Dozz: “Unfortunately, the show for today is cancelled…”
Boos echoed throughout the lunchroom.
Fleez: “Is what Dozz would’ve said if I didn’t have our loyal minion, Byron rox-yer-sox, marching Mod to this very lunchroom.”
Cheers rang out louder than the boos this time. Mr. Serano was nowhere in sight to even keep the noise level in check. Fleez smiled like a madman and took a bow. He rose and took another one on his other side.
Mod was brought in and didn’t seem to be offering any resistance to his captor, the humanoid gorilla, Byron. Byron was roughly the size of three Mods put together, not in height, but in stone weight. He was taller than Mod, but one really couldn’t say he had anything but average height. His arms, legs, head, and belly were all wide. He had a head full of dark brown hair that had likely not come into contact with a comb in some time. His black eyes were small and beady, but looked even smaller hidden behind the excess of his fleshy cheeks and brow. He escorted Mod to where Fleez and Dozz were standing. Once they arrived, the kids cheered louder.
Fleez: “Now that the gang’s here, how about a bit of history, kids? We can actually thank good old Joe for all this fun. These great lunchroom games are a direct cause of him deciding not to join team Badd Azz. Let’s have a big round of applause for Joe. I think he likes this more than all of us.”
The kids of the lunchroom applauded and Fleez savored the moment. He grinned and motioned for Byron to bring Mod over.
Fleez: “Hiya, Modrick! Sorry for your loss.”
Mod: “What loss?”
Fleez: “The loss of your dignity yesterday. That must’ve stung the ol’ ego, aye? It got a little out of hand, I’ll admit, and the mess we caused was catastrophic. How long did it take you to clean all that pukeball crud up?”
Joe noticed that Mod looked like he was suppressing a grin. Fleez noticed as well, and seemed surprised by it.
Mod: “Not long. As you can see I’m looking and smelling very clean today.”
Fleez: “That’s good. Yesterday Dozz and I were just having a bit of fun. Today is serious business though. You see, Modrick, we want to help you.”
Mod's near grin was replaced by shock and confusion. Something about the way Fleez said that made Mod uneasy. Fleez turned his attention from Mod to the crowd.
Fleez: “We’re here today to help this poor soul find happiness.”
Neither Mod nor Joe knew what the heck to expect next.
Fleez: “So, Mod, let’s take a little time to get to know you. Sure, we bonded a bunch yesterday, but we still need to learn the particulars. Now, I’ve been told that your parents are from a land called Limeyville, where they have Lobsterbacks”
Mod: “Yeah, but I was born in the States”
Fleez: “Tsk tsk tsk, Modrick. Mind your manners now. You should never interrupt a man when he’s talking. Haven’t your Limey parents taught you that? Now, you’ve been in Orangetown a while, but no one knows who you are. That’s pretty sad, pal.”
The crowd reacted with an audible round of “Awww,” as if they were the audience in some nineties’ sitcom. That stung at Mod a bit, Joe could tell.
Fleez: “That’s okay, though. That’s why Dozz and I are here — oh, and Byron too — sorry Byron! We’re gonna hook you up, man. Big time. Aint that right, boys?”
Dozz and Byron nodded their heads. Both were smirking and clearly enjoying the spectacle.
Fleez: “Now, Dozz, would you care to explain the rules of our hook-up challenge?”
Dozz: “Certainly, Fleez. You see there’s a science and an art to hooking up. The theory is that men and women attract studs and studesses that are as hot and rich as themselves. We call this a person’s ‘league.’”
He used air quotes every time he said the word “league.”
Dozz: “Whenever you fellas see a girl too hot for you and you walk away: that’s you recognizing that she’s out of your ‘league’ and you walk away to protect yourself from soul-crushing rejection. So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Mod’s traits and have calculated which girls are in his ‘league.’ I’m happy to say that we’ve found a match.”
Fleez: “Yes, indeed we have, folks, but we can’t have our bachelor seeing her before he gets to know her. We here at Badd Azz Hook-ups pride ourselves on helping others find deeper connections that go beyond physical attraction. And so ... we will blindfold our bachelor as he and our bachelorette get to know one another. So bachelorette number one, MBH, please come on down.”
As she rose from her seat, Joe recognized MBH as Meribeth Hilday. She was a freshman like Mod, but Joe knew her from middle school and elementary school. She used to be very spirited and rambunctious and full of jokes, but had mellowed over the years into the quiet and timid girl that she was now. As she walked over to team Badd Azz, she was visibly nervous. They pulled chairs for both of them and sat her back-to-back with Mod. She looked at Fleez sheepishly, and waited for whatever he had planned for her. Fleez himself flashed her a big grin and winked at her. The crowd laughed when she sat down, and that seemed to make her more self-conscious.
She wasn’t what you’d call a small girl, but Joe thought it was wrong to call her fat, not morally wrong but logically wrong. She was reasonably tall, just under Kate, but had a much thicker waistline, thicker arms and legs, along with wider hips. She had a squat sort of shape to her, which made her look much bigger than what she was, along with a humongous set of breasts and a big round butt. Her sandy blonde hair was always tied into a knot or a ponytail, she had a large hooked nose on her face, and her eyes a dark brown look to them. Though she wasn’t the standard type of “beautiful girl” that the region was known for, Joe still found her to be attractive. The only major turn-off that he could find was the outbreak of acne that pocked her face with a multitude of tiny red dots. She was cute elsewise.
Joe was confused as to why she was humoring these two. Is it something as simple as fear, he wondered.
Fleez: “Now we shall help the love birds get to know one another. Mod’s gonna be in for a HUGE surprise.”
The crowd laughed at that, and Meribeth flushed red.
Fleez: “Now, Dozz, take it away with the introductions.”
Dozz: “Will do, Fleez! First we have our very lovely bachelorette here who loves moonlit walks to KFC and Dairy Queen, except without the walking. Her favorite place to shop is the dollar menu, and not because she likes to save money — no, it’s because she lives by the motto: “Quantity over quality.” Her favorite physical activity is something exotic called no-nay. Whoops, sorry! I believe I have mispronounced that, her favorite physical activity is actually “none.” Yes, none, folks. Dislikes for her include cooking — because there’s a wait involved — and not being loved. Her favorite date spot is the drive-in, which is pretty romantic — whoops again! I misread that. It looks like her favorite date spot is actually the drive thru. It doesn’t specify which one, so I assume that means any and possibly all drive thrus. What a catch! She doesn’t discriminate and is easy to please. On Saturday nights she likes to splash around wearing the bikini that she bought for that special day when she’d make some friends and they could all hang out by the pool. Hey, we all have our dreams. Stop laughing! She also spends most of Saturday pretending to play slurpy-face with rad boys, especially ones with rad red hair. What a catch, aye guys?”
Hoots, laughs, and whistles came from the crowd, along with a bit of foot stamping and there was still no sign of Mr. Serano or even Mr. Zero Tolerance Patrias. The faculty picked the wrong time to decide not to do their jobs. Joe had seen enough. He walked up to Fleez and asked him to end it.
Fleez: “It’s out of my hands, Joe-bro. This is Dozz’s show now.”
Dozz was too busy reveling in this spectacle to notice Joe.
Dozz: “Now for the man of the hour. The down-on-his-luck bachelor, Modicum Malington.”
Cheers erupted from the crowd, and Joe could swear that he saw the beginnings of a smile cross Mod’s face. Joe himself was feeling embarrassed, and he wasn’t the one being humiliated. How could Mod even slightly enjoy this?
Dozz: “Now Modicum’s likes include pretending to be Ronald Weasley, wishing he was Fleez and Dozz and sometimes Byron, girls he can’t have, and an unreachable popularity status. His dislikes include himself, life, not feasting on souls, you, his haircut, his evil soulless ginger body, and having friends that won’t join team Badd Azz. His favorite date spot is his mom and dad’s room cuz that’s where all the magic happens. On his Saturday nights, he likes to make out with his elbows, which is a talent really. You ever try that? It’s very difficult to do. He also builds Taylor Swift idols with his Lego collection, prays for popularity, and watches whole seasons of Glee that he’s personally recorded and sings to. What insane girl here doesn’t want to friend-zone that?”
A roar of laughter went up from around the lunchroom. That was it, Joe had to get him out of there. He left Fleez where he stood laughing and walked towards Mod’s chair. He looked to his right and saw Kate stomping towards the scene just like yesterday, except this time much angrier. She looked at Joe with murder in her eyes, shook her head, and grabbed her brother by the arm, pulling him from the chair.
Kate: “What are you doing? Get up!”
Dozz: “Hey, chicky! We were in the middle of a hook-up here.”
Kate: “You two can do that just fine without my brother. Let’s go, Mod!”
She pulled and he followed. Joe ran after them this time. Boos reverberated around the lunchroom as they dashed towards the exit.
Fleez: “It looks like big sister red didn’t approve of you, Meribeth, and if she doesn’t approve then we don’t approve. Sorry, Meribeth, but it looks like you’ve been dumped before you even got to go on a date. Harsh.”
“Awwww,” offered the crowd.
Fleez: “Now that was…”
Fleez and Dozz: “Off the hook!”
Joe looked back just in time to see Meribeth Hilday break down into tears.