Allison is in love with me.
“So what are you going to do?” Snow White asks me.
I’m isolated in Mrs. Garcia’s sewing room, with a shelf is lined with Barbies all dressed like Disney characters. Eric’s mom sews doll costumes in her spare time. You may laugh, but the money she earned from making these specialty items put Eric’s brother through college. With their wide eyes and painted smiles, they’re waiting for an answer from me.
“Well? What are you going to do?”
Allison is in love with me.
Fuuuuuuck. This is huge.
Where the hell is Eric? He’s my voice of reason, the one who’ll steer me straight.
This is ridiculous. I should be out there having a good time.
But what if I see her?
The door flings open. “Get your pants on! This room is off limits!”
“Oh, it’s you,” he says, changing his tone from pissed to cordial.
“Dude,” I say, “shut the door.”
He gives me a look. “You know there’s a party out here, right? Listen, Run-DMC.”
Eric shakes his head and closes the door. “Waste of a perfectly good song.”
“You can hear it any time, you own the damn record!” I snap. “I’m dealing with something serious in here.”
He replies, “What is it, herpes? Genital warts?”
I whip Cinderella Barbie at him. Eric catches it with a sudden move. “Careful, this is tuition for my first semester of college.”
“Gwen told me that Allison loves me, and it’s got me all messed up.”
“Why?” he asks.
“What do you mean, ‘why?’”
“It’s not like you didn’t know this information.”
“What? Of course I didn’t! I mean, Allison and I are friends. We kissed, yes, but it was just one kiss.”
“You really have to stop saying that.”
“But it was.”
“Okay, fine, it was one kiss, but it had significance. C’mon, you’re smarter than me. You get that, right?”
“Dude, this is a good thing. You should be stoked instead of hiding out in here with my mom’s creepy dolls.”
“I have a girlfriend.”
“Yes. Yes, you do.”
Eric spins some yarn around his fingers.
“What if Gwen’s wrong?” I ask.
“Well I doubt that. Gwen knows Allison better than anyone.”
“I’m freaking out here, Eric.”
“The fact that you’re freaking out indicates that you have some important decisions facing you. You love Kate, and she’s your girlfriend. But, the girl you’ve pined for since junior high, the one you kissed, who kissed you back, that girl is in love with you. Heavy stuff, man.”
“I know! What should I do?”
“You’re asking me? I can barely talk to Michelle Ito without getting tongue tied like Porky Pig. Savor the knowledge the Allison’s in love with you. It’s not like anything’s gonna happen in the next twenty-four hours to force you to make any decisions. Enjoy the fiesta, mi hermano.”
“So I should just not make a decision.”
“I’m pretty good at that.”
“Okay, thanks, man.”
“Now come on, these dolls really freak me out.
Eric opens the door, and it’s like a wall of noise in the family room. Those two trumpet players are lounging on the couch discussing who is better, Eddie Murphy or Bill Murray. In the kitchen, a group of jocks, led by this dumbass, Rick Chalmers, are acting obnoxious, playing quarters and pulling girls to their laps. The house is packed. The room is hot and stifling.
We’re approached by Chris Mueller, a preppy, muscle bound guy who is heading to West Point in the fall. Chris is dressed like he’s stepped out of a John Hughes movie: pink golf shirt with the collar up, plaid shorts and loafers, no socks.
“My God,” Chris says with disdain, “look at all of these freshmen. I can’t believe you let them come, Eric.”
Eric breathes through his nose, a slow burn. He thinks Chris is a stuck up jerk. I’m able to tolerate his huge ego.
“Yeah,” Eric replies, “but if they weren’t here, how would they bask in the glow of your presence?”
Chris narrows his eyes and purses his lips. Before he can say anything else, Eric runs off to clean up a spilled beer near the television.
“Dude,” I say, “need I remind you that you’re returning to the status of low man on the totem pole.”
“That’s different. I’m a graduate,” Chris says, brushing off my observation. “Where’s your beer? You need to drink up!”
I left my beer in Mrs. Garcia’s craft room. Chris leans over to the six-pack of imported beers at his feet and hands me one. He asks about Kate, and I feed him the same bull about the two of us doing fine and that she’s off hanging around with Andrea. He brings up the subject of this summer. I explain about her horse camp and how cool it is for her. He looks surprised.
“You’re not worried?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I respond, nervously.
“If you think Kate is going to remain faithful, you’re being naïve. The first hunky guy who flexes his muscles and compliments her hair will have her riding his horse, if you know what I mean.”
“Watch it, Chris.”
I grip the neck of the skunky imported beer Chris handed me. For the first time in a while I’m ready to defend my girlfriend.
“Just fuckin’ with ya, dude.” Chris says this while placing his hand on my shoulder. He gives it a little squeeze. “Hey, I hear Tom Meany is here.”
“So?” I respond, carefully.
“Brian, it’s pretty well known that Tom has a thing for Kate. He’s been asking around about her, wondering if you two are having problems.”
Tom Meany? Really? I’ve never liked that guy.
My blood sizzles. I cool off with a gulp of skunky German beer. I never thought I could be territorial, but here I am, looking around for that asshole, Meany. Ha! What am I going to do, start a fight?
“You know, if Meany tries anything, you can rely on me. I mean, I don’t want you to get your ass kicked or anything.”
Chris flexes his muscles, sipping from his beer. Chris likes to beat up people. I now wonder if Meany was even asking about Kate or if Chris didn’t make it up so he could have another opportunity to prove his manhood. I should have walked away with Eric.
It takes a few seconds to clear my mind of anger. Then that thought comes back to me.
Allison is in love with me.
I’m back to being confused and, well, thrilled.
Today’s artwork was by Patrick O’Connor. Patrick is a cartoonist living in Los Angeles. For more information about him visit www.oconnorcartoons.com
Run-D.M.C.’s song, “It’s Tricky,” is found on their 1986 album, Raising Hell.
Previous Chapters: Chapter 17, Chapter 16, Chapter 15, Chapter 14, Chapter 13, Chapter 12, Chapter 11, Chapter 10, Chapter 9, Chapter 8, Chapter 7, Chapter 6, Chapter 5, Chapter 4, Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, Introduction
Read Chapter 19 of Legendary.