When I was in 10th grade we went on a class field trip for some elective somewhere. It had been a long day since none of my other friends were in this particular class. The class was mixed with kids of all grades as it was an elective, so the array of people I wasn't friends with spanned all high school age groups. This was before the days of cellphones so I was not only alone but stranded without a companion to shoot the shit with. For the first time in my teenage life, I wanted an excuse to go back to school.
Like Robinson Caruso, I was stranded without companionship on a bus that bumped along the hills and valleys of Western PA. I had to pee and had a stomach ache. To make matters worse, Bethany McKendrick was sitting behind me. How did I know? Aside from the inane high pitched voice she always doused herself in way too much perfume. The odor was so pungent it could have killed a small rodent.
I nicknamed the smell in my mind Cum Dripping Slut because that was kind of her MO. At the beginning of the school year she had blown several football players behind the bleachers only to be busted by a PE teacher. To say she had a reputation was an understatement. Bethany looked the role of town skank too. She always wore a spray on orange tan regardless of the weather. Then there was the badly dyed jet black hair, and when it wasn’t jet black it was pineapple blonde with the roots showing. Her clothes were always two sizes too small, and sometimes she looked top heavy and at other times her stomach poked out like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Bethany always wore a frosty pink shade of gloss, which always made her look not only like she swung from a pole but got her paycheck in slimy quarters.
Bethany was the town skank and her family was equally as gnarly. Her dad was a bit of a womanizer who left his wife for his secretary. Mrs. McKendrick, not willing to take it lying down, burned his clothes on the front lawn. Always willing to skip on a bill, she tried to get my dad to represent her during the divorce. My dad said he didn’t practice divorce law, and admitted he would have helped her if she was anyone else but Betsy McKendrick liked free stuff and no thanks.
Bethany’s guidance counselor, taking pity upon the child, appointed my brother Wendell to tutor her. A scholar athlete who was doing his first year at Brown, Wendell tried to help his charge pass math. It was a lost cause as Bethany was hoping Wendell could get her dates with the football team. And when his only interest was helping her pull up her grades, she abandoned ship. But judging by her bleacher report, apparently she didn’t need Wendell anyway.
“Love you in that dress,” a familiar voice said. It was Chad Barker, the senior lacrosse captain. The dress was so tight anyone would suffocate but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
Chad Barker had also been tutored by Wendell. He had lasted slightly longer because he needed to be academically eligible to play lacrosse. Wendell lamented that Chad only had one braincell, whom he nicknamed Floyd. Chad also told Wendell he didn’t need to do math, he would make money on lacrosse. Oh what tangled webs we weave with the peroxide blonde hair and preppy clothes. Chad then said, “You know, Misty says I give the best head. Her clit gets real wet when I eat her out.”
McWhat? Was this his girlfriend Misty Davis? The Jesus Freak who bragged about going to Congo on a mission trip last summer, and who had dreams of converting the godless and would tell anyone who listened? The Misty Davis who wore a promise ring and led the prayer circle around the flag pole? The promise ring meant she promised to save herself, but it looked like a promise apparently broken.
“Isn’t she a complete Jesus freak?” Bethany was asking the question that had raced through my mind.
“Yeah, but those Jesus freaks are horny. She gave me a hand job during youth group.” Shiz! Then I remember Chad and Misty went to the same youth group. I didn’t understand the match up personally, as Misty wanted to do missionary work and Chad was just going because his parents made him. Then Chad added, “If I knew youth group would be this good I would have gone sooner.”
You and the whole world, Pal.
“This doesn’t sound like her. Misty is pretty serious about Jesus.” I had to agree with Bethany there.
“Yeah but those church chicks are off the chain. She fucked me when her parents were out of town in three rooms in their house and we even did it in their hot tub.”
Damn, The Book of Revelations suddenly had a whole new meaning. Now I had my popcorn and I was hooked. What was going to happen next. Bethany then said, “But what about the wet noodle effect?”
“Your dick goes soft in a hot tub.”
Chad said, “This dick didn’t go soft because 007 was on a mission. That’s the name of my dick.” I already thought lowly of Chad, but when I discovered he nicknamed his penis I thought even less of him. Bethany laughed with glee. Yuck.
Then he said, “But I am getting fed up with the youth group and God stuff. She wants to stop giving it to me. So I’m getting ready to dump her.”
And then as we pulled into school Chad said, “I really liked chilling with you today. Maybe you could come over next weekend. We won’t tell Misty.” I didn’t know what was worse, the fact someone like Chad Barker found someone to have sex with him. Or that in the end, a slut like Bethany McKendrick was about to win out. Either way, now I wanted to be off the bus because I was about to vomit for a whole new reason. If this was what it all came down to, I was okay dying alone.
This was not the end of this dramatic tale but the mere rising action. The next day, in the hall, on my way to my third period class, above the hustle and bustle of students talking, slamming lockers and gossiping, I heard a high pitched voice yell, “How could you lie! How could you lie about me!” The voice was all too familiar. It was Misty Davis!
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the familiar almond colored pony tail, stud earrings, and cross she always wore. She screamed, “You said you were okay with me saving myself! Instead you lie to everyone and say we were having the sex we werent! I HATE YOU!”
Tears rolled down her face. Chad stood there, his hands in his pockets. His one braincell Floyd was trying to get out of this one as 007 had clearly failed his mission. He said, “Baby, you know Bethany McKendrick likes to lie. She’s a real slut.”
This was a plot twist if I ever saw one. All this time I had thought Bethany McKendrick would do anything that walked. Apparently she not only had standards, but did the right thing by ratting this weasel out. At that moment I realized Bethany McKendrick wasn’t the slut, but in fact Chad Barker was.
“Maybe she strayed from God, but she’s been my friend since elementary school. She would never hurt me and when she told me what you said and did......” Misty burst into tears. This was as if we were on Springer and it was all going down. As her crying grew louder, the whole hallway stopped. Sure, Misty could be annoying but she didn’t deserve this. And the more the story unfolded, the more Bethany was a hero. I not only felt bad that Misty was shedding tears over the waste that stood before her, but I felt bad for judging Bethany so harshly.
“IT’S OVER!” Misty, who always said she spoke directly to Jesus and asked what he would do, closed her eyes, took a breath, lifted her right hand, the one with the promise ring, and took a swing. When they said turn the other cheek, they never talked about when the promise ring becomes a weapon and the Jesus freak has a wicked George Forman hook. Chad was knocked to the ground yelping in pain. There was shocked laughter, gasps, and even some scattered applause. While Misty preached the word of God, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
As Chad yelped, Mr. Donnelly came out into the hall. A stocky man who coached ninth grade football he said, “Alright everyone, get to class. The excitement is over.”
Chad, still down for the count said, “Mr. Donnelly, Misty hit me. Make her go to time out!”
Mr. Donnelly shook his head, “Son, I have been hearing you run your mouth all week about the action you aren’t getting. And you are lucky that this was all you got. If this was my sister, your teeth would be missing right now, Pal. Now get up and go to whatever class you are barely passing.” I had no idea if the God Missy Davis prayed to existed, but if there was any God/Godess/Diety, He/She/They hated the same things the rest of us did.
From that point onward, I made it my business to defend Bethany McKendrick against shitty rumors regarding her sexual behavior. Maybe she was more expressive and adventurous than the rest of us, but at the end of the day she didn’t hurt the people she cared about and there was a lot to be said for that. And I got to know her a little bit and yes, she was actually an alright person. It’s amazing how you make a friend when you stop being an asshole.
As for Misty, while her Jesus stuff still annoyed me I respected her for sticking to her guns about what was important to her, and that right hook is still emblazoned in my memory.
Chad hung his head low for the rest of the year and graduated by the skin of his teeth and went to play lacrosse at a small school. He would later flunk out because apparently this was too much for Floyd. After two years at Junior College, he went to some state school and graduated. He found some girl to marry him. Either her self esteem was low or he morphed into a subhuman who wasn’t brazen enough to nickname his dick 007. I hope he changed for his sake, I really do.
Misty went to a Christian college, met her husband and became a missionary. She’s still just as annoying and admitted to voting for Trump to “save the babies.” But she’s sincere which you got to give credit where credit is due. And maybe she is intense, but she truly does believe she helps people. I just hope she doesn’t become convinced she can go to a remote island and help people, but that might be her husband’s exit strategy if the right hooks become too much.
Bethany took her interest in tanning and hair dye, for better or for worse, and turned it into a business. She went to beauty school and now has a salon where she lives close to Harrisburg with her husband. She overcame a shitty homelife and the even shittier label of town slut. Maybe she needed to find her niche so she would stop hurting herself behind the bleachers with dudes who clearly werent worth it. And she is making the world a beautiful place and is making people feel good about themselves, just like she did with Misty all those years ago.
As for me, I am still a weirdo who listens in on people’s conversations. And now I just use them for blogs and scripts. Sometimes I judge people harshly, but these days I know it’s my shit that makes that shiteous behavior possible. We all grow up, and that process is gradual. Just like Bethany, Chad, and Misty were works in progress, I was one too. I still am.