Aside from being the coldest day of the year so far, the play was a real bust. The acting was great, but the plot was unremarkable. It didn’t help that I sat near David Gehring-lacrosse co-captain- who spent the whole play snoring. Not only was it annoying, it distracted from the theatre going experience for the rest of us.
Last year, my brother Wendell had been forced to tutor David at the behest of the lacrosse coach. Wendell described the lost cause by saying, “When I look at David, I know somewhere, a village is missing their idiot.”
The reason the Theatre Arts Curriculum had inherited David was his parents-painfully aware their souffle didn’t rise to the top-were trying everything they could to change their son’s friend group. This past summer, David had been busted smoking weed with the lacrosse team in Simmons Park-where all good things happened in town. After a trip to the magistrate and probation, David’s parents, worrying for their son’s safety and salvation began their mission to save him by bringing him to their mega church’s youth group. The Teens For The Testaments had a conversion program. For every new convert, Teens For The Testaments got a point and with enough points got a pizza party at the end of the month. Helping this cult fill their quota, Teens For the Testaments welcomed their newly converted wayward reprobate with open arms.
Another reason David was in theatre arts was his girlfriend, Bethany Kensington: Abstinence Queen Bee. The reason being was The Teens For the Testaments did plays and concerts to teach people about Jesus and she wanted David and his “movie star good looks” to be ready for his big role. Bethany was hard to take even on a good day with her big, vacant smile, scarecrow skinny frame, brown hair pulled back into a bun and crucifix front and center. Making it her mission to convert her classmates regardless of how much it made them uncomfortable she said, “Jesus has called me to save people and save people I will.”
Unlike David who risked not graduating, Bethany already knew what she wanted to do with her life. She had already applied early decision to Grove City, a Christian college where students had to sign a pledge not to have pre-martial sex, could be expelled for homosexuality and the parents of perspectives had to be interviewed to make sure they came from a Godly home. Bethany said, she wanted to, “Bring Christ to the pagan children of Africa.”
While Bethany, who viewed David as a project, could not have been more different than her boyfriend they agreed on one thing, instead of celebrating Halloween, the devil’s holiday, they had exchanged promise rings. Taking the abstinence pledge in front of their pastor and youth group, they swore to wait until they were married to have sex.
As we walked out of the theatre and boarded the bus, snow fell. I was being introduced to a new sensation, being genuinely pleased to return to school in time for math. Taking a seat close to the front of the bus I thought, “Damnit Mikki, your timing sucks.”
Turns out Mikki wasn’t the only one with craptacular timing. Taking the seat behind me was Alyssa Clayton, school super tramp. Alyssa had badly dyed jet black hair and skin that was an alien orangish color courtesy of Alta, the local tanning salon that was the home of the rest of the super tramp crowd. I could tell Alyssa dreamed of Miami Beach on this Pittsburgh winter day where the mix of snow and rain fell from the sky, but was she aware those dreams could give her skin cancer? Alyssa wore jeans that were three sizes too small, a shirt that could have probably fit one of my baby cousin it was so tight and frosty lip gloss. I felt a smell hit my nose and began to cough. Then I realized it was Alyssa’s perfume. Before we got on the bus she had snuck a cigarette and this was how she was going to disguise it, a scent so strong she could have killed a small animal. Alyssa’s sexual exploits were always the subject of rumor and intrigue. Or as it was said, “Alyssa Clayton was in bed all weekend but didn’t get much sleep.”
It would only make sense that Alyssa was a super tramp as her mother was known as the most super, duper tramp of the town. Mr. Clayton, a former school administrator, was known as a conservative hard ass. Her mom was the opposite. Darlene, who had her children and their friends refer to her by first name, a questionable parenting decision that negated all boundaries, taught yoga and pole dancing, carried healing crystals and made her children meditate daily. While the coupling was strange, their older son Eric was a star swimmer and got a full scholarship to Ohio State. When Eric went away to college, Darlene began to feel the pangs of empty nest and realized that she had fallen out of love with Mr. Clayton and had been in love with her son’s swim coach, Mr. Rendell, all along.
Apparently Mr. Rendell, the twice divorced men’s coach with a winning record and even more winning toupee collection, felt the same way. The two began an illicit affair that went on for months. However, they were busted when they were discovered after hours when Bob the Janitor, afraid the school had been broken by unruly teens, followed protocol and called the police. What Bob the janitor and the cops discovered was not unruly teens but Darlene and Mr. Rendell doing some very X rated dry land exercises closeted in the kickboard room.
Angered that he had been cuckolded, Mr. Clayton was merciless during the divorce. Darlene, citing what she termed years of emotional distress, attempted to retain my father so she could begin her life with Mr. Rendell. Darlene and my father had creative differences: he wanted paid and she wanted him to work for free. Suffice to say, it seemed the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
As the last of the students came on the bus I heard a voice say, “Is this seat taken?” It was David Gehring, my most unfavorite theatre ruining peroxide bottle blonde.
Alyssa said nothing as David slid in. When the bus pulled away David said, “What you think of the play? I thought it was lame.” How would you know, Sir? You slept through the whole thing!
Alyssa said, “It was alright, I got out of my math test. I’m failing anyway.” Eye roll, of course she was. Wendell was tutoring her now too. While she was another lost cause she was a better student than David. Then again, who wasn’t?
David said, “The entire show, I kept dreaming of you on top of me.” David remembered his dreams, nice. Too bad he couldn’t remember to dream quietly.
Alyssa said, “What about Bethany? Didn’t you exchange promise rings? You can’t have sex or even talk about it and stuff, right?”
David said, “Nah, that’s more her thing. My parents just make me go to that weirdo cult because I got busted smoking weed with the guys. But you see, the Promise Ring…..we haven’t been keeping the promise if you catch my drift.” Holy mother of God, Jesus take the wheel!
Alyssa said, “That doesn’t sound like Bethany.”
David said, “Nope, the God girl is a front to keep her parents happy. Bethany’s a nympho. I went to her house when her parents were gone and she answers the door naked. Before I can talk, she just tackles me. We did it in every room of her house. She even nicknamed my dick 007 because he’s the spy that loved her.” I faced front pretending not to listen but wow, this was some good scoop. Bethany Kensington, the ultimate God girl, was a slut on the low. Move over, Super Tramp, you have been dethroned.
Alyssa giggled, intrigued. David continued, “We didn’t just do it there but in the pew of the church one day after youth group and in the hot tub.”
I didn’t want to bring up the episode of Seinfeld about shrinkage as Alyssa giggled again with that familiar, super tramp giggle. David said, “Those church chicks are off the chain. I am telling you. But I am sick of her and those church weirdos. I want someone like you. I am settling for someone with a flat chest but what I really want is someone like you because a man needs something he can grab on to.” Bethany Kensington was irritating, Alyssa was a super tramp who was currently suffocating me and David had destroyed my theater going experience. I wanted to vomit. Alyssa giggled again as David said, “I could just eat you out if you so desire. Do you want my digits so we can get down?” Sigh, now I knew who and what she would be doing this weekend. David and Alyssa then exchanged numbers.
Cheating was trashy but so was Alyssa. David deserved garbage. These two were a perfect match. However, Bethany being a slut on the low was something I couldn’t keep to myself for too long. Gosh, I could not wait to tell Mikki! The promise ring had been promised, and the promise had been broken. Oh what tangled webs we weave. As I exited the bus I thought, “Damnit, Mikki, your timing sucks.”
The next day on my way to third period, I saw a crowd gathered in a circle in the hallway. This could only mean one thing, a fight. The day was young and had been rather uneventful and Mikki was not back to school yet. Risking a tardy but wanting to see what dumpster fire was taking place, I inched my way in to get a peep.
In the center of the circle was Bethany Kensington. She had tears streaming down her face, and David on the defensive, “Baby, you know Alyssa is a lying slut just like her mom.”
Bethany said, “Maybe Alyssa hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ into her life and her mother broke the commandment about adultery but she was one of my best friends in middle school and is still a good person which is more than I can say for you! And lying is against the Bible too!!” While I didn’t agree with Bethany on practically everything, it was clear those tears streaming down her face were real and the tales David told about her being a slut on the low were vicious fiction.
David said, “Baby, c’mon….you know I love you and took that abstinence pledge for real.” Sigh, as a silent witness I knew he had not.
David moved into hug Bethany but she swatted him away, “Liar! I told you how important this was for me, for us, and you agreed! When you tried to pressure me, I told you I wanted to wait until we were married because that was what God would want and you said you loved me and understood! Instead, you lie and tell everyone I had s-e-x with you because you were mad I wouldn’t put out as you guys say. And what…..you claimed I named you THING!!!! 007! You broke a promise to God and now you will have to think about where you want to spend eternity!”
I disliked Bethany most of the time, but I understood her anger because David’s behavior had been wrong. As revenge for her not putting out he had lied about them breaking their abstinence promise to sound cool and then tried to cheat with Alyssa. When Alyssa turned on him, he tried to use Alyssa’s sexual history and her mother’s infidelity as weapons. Bethany was right. David was a jerk face.
Bethany was now angry. Her voice being replaced by that similar to the possessed Linda Blair from The Exorcist, “MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!”
David, trying desperately to control the situation said, “C’mon, Baby, you sound crazy.”
David was about to learn the 13th commandment, thou shalt not call an upset woman crazy. Winding up, Bethany decked David right across the face with the hand that had her promise ring and knocked him down. Impressed by her right hook, the crowd applauded. The promise was broken, and now the promise ring had become a weapon. David fell to the ground knocked down by Goliath sized rage. Hell hath no fury like a God Girl scorned.
As David lay whimpering on the ground it became apparent that Alyssa might have made some mistakes but she was never trash. He was. Instead of sleeping with David and creating a situation that resulted in a catfight she told her former middle school friend the truth and now the real villain lay on the ground suffering. However, I felt like trash for judging Alyssa as badly as I did, especially without knowing her. The peanut gallery of our peers had determined her reputation, but her character was pure gold.
Bethany, victorious, wiped her tears away and made a dramatic exit like a boxer who had just won a prize match. Sure, her beliefs were outside of the realm of my understanding, but she wasn’t letting David pressure or humiliate her which I respected. On her victory walk, Bethany received high fives from people who shared my sentiment and were also surprised she had that much of a swing, myself included.
The bell rang and the portly history teacher, Mr. Donotelli, who doubled as the JV football coach said, “Okay everyone, break it up. Get to class. Show’s over.”
David, who was still on the ground said, “Mr. Donotelli, she cold cocked me on the hand with the promise ring. That thing is gonna leave a scratch. Send her to time out or my parents will sue.”
The students who were dispersing booed David, and Mr. Donotelli said, “Son, you are lucky that is all you got. The way you have been running your mouth if this was my sister, you wouldn’t have any teeth. Get to class.” David and his injured pride picked themselves off the ground and skulked away.
I finally spoke to Mikki that night who’s health was on the mend. She said, “Damnit April. Is it just me or does my timing suck?”I told her it did, but she could make it up to me by getting back to school pronto as our was more rife with drama than an English countryside on a BBC murder show.
After Bethany dumped David, she received the happy news she had been accepted early decision to Grove City. Not only did she thrive at Grove City, but met her future husband and married him shortly before graduating. The two became missionaries that traveled around the globe before settling in Texas. Bethany voted for Trump, is pro-life, anti-vaxx and Christian home schools her four kids. I would tell her that her views suck on facebook but I have seen her right hook.
Alyssa, with the aid of my brother Wendell’s tutoring, brought her math grade up from a D to a C. She graduated from high school, got her cosmetology license, moved to Ohio and married a biker. Alyssa, by all appearances on facebook, looks like she mastered hair dye and the proper use of the tanning bed, now owns a full service salon that is highly rated. She looks happy and I am glad, because it makes me feel good when okay people are happy.
As for David, he ended up playing lacrosse at a party school who’s name escapes me, flunked out and pretty much fell off the map. I don’t know if David still calls his dick 007, but unlike David, Bond was a true gentlemen. Taking his martini shaken and not stirred and always getting the girls even at the peril of the security of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he knows a true spy never lies let alone kisses and tells.
That’s all folks.
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