Zach left the office with a yellow note, which he crumpled as soon as he entered the GSA meeting room. He wordlessly sat down, a shaky pride in his slightly smirking lips and gleaming eyes. He looked like the cat who had eaten the canary, and was quietly choking on it.
“Hey Zach.” Mikey spoke up, “We were just talking about you. Did you go all the way with Gentry?”
Zach glanced at him, resting his head on the long sleeves of his heavy black pullover.
“Ask him.” He murmured testily, closing his eyes only to open them a moment later when he felt the other boy’s hot breath on his neck.
“I’m asking you.”
“Then you’re a coward.”
“Don’t give me your attitude, I’m just asking.” Mikey sat back with a strained expression on his face.
He was an attractive boy, and Zach idly noticed he cut his hair. It looked good, smooth and brown. Kind of like Gentry’s, now that he thought about it. But he wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Good job on the win, by the way. Gentry looked really pissed. It’s cool that you made it onto the Senior Swim team and still come to meetings here.”
Just then, Casey sashayed in and eased into his chair, plopping down his lunch tray and peeling the plastic wrap off his macaroni and cheese.
“Hey Mikey, hey Zach, hey Felix. Sorry I’m late.” He lisped, “I was helping out with the Literature Costume party. Are you going, Zach?”
“No. I’m boycotting the school.”
“It’s worth it.” Said Mikey, “You basically go and pretend to have fun. Then your teachers will think you’re passionate about their subject and raise your grade.”
“… It raises your grade? Oh, right, then sacrificing my beliefs is worth it.”
“Honk Honk! It’s the pretentious bus!” Casey yowled, “Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s only a party.”
Felix softly added, “It’s free. And going there raises your grade.”
Zach rolled his eyes, “When is it?”
“After school, room 608.” Said Casey, “And you have to dress appropriately.”
“What’s the point of having a costume party if you have a dress code?”
“Because it’s a school party?” Mikey drawled impatiently, grinning at Zach.
“Well that’s why school parties fail. Not only do you have to stay AT school AFTER school, WITH teachers, but the school dictates everything you can do. That’s not a party, that’s a class without homework. You can’t have a party if you control too many things.”
Mikey blinked, “Okay…?”
Casey rolled his eyes, “Fight for your right to party? Please, if I wanted to party, I wouldn’t be going to school.”
“Aren’t costumes a form of expression, too? Isn’t that the point of dressing up, to BREAK the rules? Isn’t it like art? You can’t just control art and freedom of spee---”
“In school you can, mkay?” snapped Casey, “And by the way. I heard they’re planning a new dress code. They’re finally getting rid of baggy clothes.”
Zach eyed him listlessly and Mikey laughed.
“Well, Zach,” Mikey beamed, “you’ll finally have to start dressing like everyone else.”
“You will.” Casey grinned, “It’ll be nice to see you in clothes that don’t make you look like a gay drug dealer.”
“Yeah,” Mikey spoke up, “Zach, why do you always wear those baggy clothes? I saw you at swim practice several times, and you don’t have anything to hide, haha.”
“I like baggy clothes, wearing them feels good.” Zach said defensively, “I’m not changing them just because people don’t like them.”
“Yeah, but you look like a gangster.”
“This whole school is cliquish and full of gangs. I never ganged up on anyone.”
“Yeah, but it’s a professional environment.” Stressed Casey, “School prepares you for work.”
“It’s a learning environment.” Said Zach, “People always tell us to be ourselves and accept different people. Shouldn’t we exchange ideas instead of forcing everyone to be the same? Not everyone has to like what you wear, but why do we need a dress code which forces us to conform to one standard?”
“Your clothes STILL make you look like a gangster.” Mikey pointed out.
“But I’m not a gangster. Other people here act like gangsters, no matter what they wear. Whatever happened to not judging a book by its cover?”
“Whatever,” Casey shrugged, taking a bite of his macaroni and cheese, “don’t freak out. I’m over this and I’d rather enjoy my lunch.”