Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 14: Part 5

Zach never heard a speech ramble on so long. Speeches always seemed to last longer when you were waiting for your turn. But this pointless dribble, coupled with shallow lies and incompetent assertions… Zach just waited for someone to jump on the desk and shout “Bullshit!”
But he knew that wouldn’t happen, because those kinds of things never happened when they needed to. One minute turned to five, five to ten, until finally she squeaked out that a Vote for Kylie was a vote for free pizza.
“Ok!” Casey spoke up, strutting to the front of the room amidst the bustling assembly, “Everyone just close your eyes…”
“---What about me?”
“Oh, right. Zach. Go, hurry up, you’ve only got one minute….”
“One minute!” he exhaled as he pulled out of his seat, and stared back at the crowd.
“Hi!” he inhaled, breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of the seconds pound away, “Yeah, ok, my name is Zach. I didn’t just show up to every meeting but I hung up over one thousand posters, and I was always up for doing anything---”
“Could you please talk a bit slower?” Kylie asked with a drawl.
Zach fumed. He continued, there was no time for a comeback.
Like, when the club needed popcorn for the movie night, I brought it. I never HAD any position in this club, so---”
The bell rang, interrupting him.
“Ok!” Casey spoke up, to the bustle of people already packing up, “Everyone close your eyes…”
“Raise your hand if you vote for Mikey…”
The door slammed open and shut as people left the meeting.
Zach closed his eyes tightly and raised his hand into the air. His heart pounded in his chest and a cold sweat built on his forehead. Nervous shivers coursed up and down his spine, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on edge.
“Raise your hand if you vote for Zach!”
It was so close… so close…
The door creaked open, slammed shut…
One, two, three seconds…
Shut, open, shut…
“Okay! Open your eyes…”
“---Did I win?” Zach gasped out, eyes opening to the near-empty room before him.
Mikey gave a sheepish look to Casey, who looked at Kylie, then back at Zach.
Felix shrugged.
“Well, no. Mikey got the most votes and you lost to Kylie by one vote. Good job, though.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 14: Part 4

“My name is Mikey. You might know me because I was vice president of this club during my sophomore year. I also attend every meeting and hung up a lot of the posters you might’ve seen around school.” He switched off the lights, “This year, this club encouraged me to come out to my parents and to have the courage to show you this picture. Some hateful people beat me up, but as you can see, love always beats hate. A lot of people would see this picture of me and my boyfriend, Zach, and be hateful. They might notice that he’s black or that we’re gay, or that we’re Americans--- and they might hate us. But I believe in change. I’m glad that this club has grown so large, and that so many people, like you and me, believe in love and acceptance. The GSA is not just about gays and straights--- it’s about everyday people. Vote me as your Club President, and I’ll continue to further this love and acceptance!”
Mikey strode back to his seat amidst the respectfully applauding crowd.
The meeting-room was packed --- at least thirty people were talking, eating, sitting and waiting. Zach regarded them with a mix of pride and fear--- those posters worked, all right; there had never been a larger turnout. He mutely took his seat and glanced at Mikey, watching him slide the photo out of the projector.
“Great speech.”
Mikey tensed and looked back at Zach, “Oh. Hey. You made it.”
“I did.”
“Didn’t you have that swim team meeting?”
“Nahhh, I ditched it.”
“Yeah, yeah, they were pissed. But this is more important.”
“Are these new people here just because of the posters?”
“You know what? I think they’re just for the positions.” he said half-jokingly to Mikey, who in turn gave a curt nod and asked “Are you running, too?”
“Yeah. I’m running for President, but aiming to score Vice President. There are two slots for that---”
“--- Actually, just one is open for running right now. The other one isn’t approved until we get more regular members.”
“Oh. Well, no problem. I’ll hang up more posters. But just vote for me, all right? Hey Casey,” said Zach, “when do I go up?”
“You’re running? I thought you had a swim team meeting.”
“No, I ditched that.”
“Well,” Casey gnawed on his lower lip, then flicked out his tongue and said, “you are late, so you’ll have to go last. Kylie’s up first. Hey Kylie! You’re up.”
Kylie smiled at him, and patted down her skirt as she glided to the front of the room.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 14: Part 3

Something was brewing in the air today.
Wednesday, being in the middle of the week, always had that potential of being a very good day or a very bad day.
And today, something was brewing.

With thinly veiled discontent, Zach noticed that his locker had been raided and everything in it now lay soaking in the showers.
The heavy steam pressed against his cheeks, water noisily splashing against soggy paper, notebooks and running shoes.


But he wasn’t about to get mad. Well, visibly mad. No… that’s what they wanted. Some Knights these were. Rules were rules, vandalism was vandalism, but only if you were caught. The coach always promised he’d punish the culprit, but that never happened. It was too much trouble to penetrate a team that stuck together so closely. Every now and then Zach fought the urge to jump on the table and yell this was wrong, shout it so the whole school could hear.
But that wouldn’t work either. The school was selectively deaf.
Gentry was talking by some lockers, but it was evident that he wasn’t listening to Sydney, Ethan, and the others just as much as they weren’t listening to him. They talked past each other, exchanging meaningless and half-assed conversation for the sake of reminding each other that they were, in fact, a team; and if they ever needed to, they could turn to each other.
Zach felt a tingle of temptation to throw a soggy book at them and remind them what kind of a team they were. But he didn’t.
Instead, he grimly reasoned that beating up Mikey was the best thing Gentry could have done to endear himself to the so-called team, and assure them of the fact that he was not gay. Now they hailed him as their homophobic hero, suspended for defending his right not to get gay cooties.

It was disturbing how people could get a situation so wrong.

As a consequence, and a misplaced show of support or possibly an excuse to give into darker temptations, homophobia was more dominant than before.
“Swim team meeting, come on, sit down,” Gentry called in his low-voiced monotone, holding open the door to the pool. Sunlight flooded in, and the team flowed out. Zach trailed after them, wishing for just one moment he could give in to Casey’s desire to rig the diving board.
Rig it, just do it.
Give them a taste of their own medicine.

Smart tactics there, repeating it every fucking day. Zach scoffed at this suggestion--- he wouldn’t do that, of course, no matter how much that gang of chest-thumping homophobes deserved it. It wasn’t right to use those tactics, and he couldn’t give into the temptation of employing them.
Oh, but today… today was particularily tempting.
Today was the once-weekly team meeting, and Zach nervously eyed the big white clock behind the coach’s head. Time for another wonderful speech about “stepping on the enemy’s goggles” and other ways to demoralize them without breaking the rules during Nationals. Gentry leaned against the table beside the coach, standing like a wax candle in the sweltering sunlight. He was getting a sunburn and looked positively ill, but that didn’t stop him from brashly adding tough-guy suggestions, such as how you could “accidentally” kick their swim bags into the pool or slip laxatives into the drinking water. At times he seemed to be joking, but the coach didn’t pick up on it.
“Shove them into the water when no one’s looking.”
“Choke them with your bare hands.”
“Yes. See team, you have to completely demoralize them if you wanted to win, declare total war…”
Heil Coach.
“Gentry, do you have any other suggestions?”
“Piss on anything they leave in the locker room.”
The team laughed loudly at Gentry’s suggestion, save for Zach. He promptly stood up, and Gentry immediately fell silent.
“Zach?” the coach said sternly, glaring him down. The team followed his lead.
“Where are you going?” It was not a question. It was a demand to sit down.
“GSA is holding their officer elections. I’m a lover, not a fighter. Have fun with your total war.” he replied, pulling his swim bag over his shoulder.
The team groaned and booed, but Zach ignored them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 14: Part 2

Note: Mikey is not Mike. Mike is a member of the swim team who is crushing on Kylie, while Mikey is a member of the GSA as well as Zach's current boyfriend. Sorry for using such similar names!

Zach moved past Gentry, and they exchanged glares. Sydney walked in pace with Gentry, and
Mike shuffled a bit to keep up. Mikey limply pulled Zach into an embrace, and sniped one look at Gentry, who swiftly dodged it by looking the other way.
Ms.Nasty strut past them, gave Zach a lookover, then stopped dead in her tracks and snapped her fingers.
Zach looked to Mikey, then pulled away and sauntered to her.
“That outfit is very appropriate.”
Gentry leaned over to Mike and murmured, “Unlike her attitude.”
Mike shrugged it off, so Gentry reverted to stony silence as he scuttled past. Mike watched them sulkily, and Sydney tore off a GSA poster as he walked past. Zach licked his lower lip and replied,
“Thank you.”
“This is what I mean by an appropriate outfit. Do I make myself understood?”
Zach balked, “No.”
“What is there not to understand?”
“It’s hard to understand how you’re focusing on what I'm wearing when there are people with real problems in this school. Fixing the fashion won’t fix stress, depression, racism, elitism, or discrimination. Yet you’re out here everyday playing fashion police while the GSA posters are getting ripped down.”
“You will continue to wear appropriate clothes. If you can’t, I will see you in my office.”
“What the hell, you don’t even listen!”
Gentry overheard the conversation, and couldn’t help but crack a smile. Different clothes, same old Zach. He hoped Mikey shit his pants.
“Zach,” Mikey mewled, discreetly tugging on Zach’s arm, “come on, let’s go…”
“No.” Zach replied as he shoved him away and fixed his gaze on Nasty, “I’m not going anywhere and I’m not going to dress to fit your whims. Your priorities are out of order!”
“Then I’ll see you in detention.”
Out of earshot, Gentry marveled to Sydney,
“I didn’t know you could even get detention for dressing appropriately.”
Sydney snorted in contempt, then took a look at Zach and grumbled ‘faggot.’
Gentry reverted back to disenchanted silence, and Mike hollered a greeting to Kylie as she passed; But, she didn’t hear it because she was gawking wide-eyed at Zach’s latest debaucle. Mike glowered and cursed “faggot” under his breath, just as the principal walked by.
Ms.Nasty turned briskly at first glance of The Principal, who strode through the court successfully avoiding eye contact with the lower subjects. He wore beige creased pants to be important, and a “fun” Hawaiian tie in honor of the upcoming cultural festival. Fun and important were two very important things to be, and the more he told himself that the clothes made the man, the more he liked his reflection. Fun and important.
Nasty’s low-heels clicked on the pavement as she paced up to him and grin through a firm-faced hello.
The Principal took a wide-mouthed bite of his Danish. The Spanish teacher waddled past in a tight skirt, raven-black hair blowing in the wind.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 14: Part 1

“What. The. Hell.”
“Look at the library!”
“I’m looking at it---”
“Half GSA, half swim team. That’s nuts.”
“That makes me hungry. I like nuts.”
“Haha you said nuts!”
“Fuck you man! I’m not a faggot.”
“No disrespect… but now you won’t eat nuts anymore, Syd?”
“No… Just… stop talking about it.”

“… Wow, the library is half/half…”
“What an amazing show of diversity. If only real life was like this library. Yes, I always said people were like a crayonbox. Seperate colors, but equal.”
“Yeah, Casey, I agree with you.”
“Woah. What the--- Those posters look horrible together!”
“Hey Felix.”
“All that red, gray, and rainbow! It’s not working. They should have at least color-coordinated.”
“Yeah, some colors look better together than others.”

The principal looked outside his window, as he so often did, and marveled at how the two posters existed side by side.
How diverse! What a good principal he was!
He sent the mass e-mail out to the parents to remind them about fundraising and the Diversity & Cultural Festival, and then forwarded a memo to all janitors that they must take down the GSA posters in exactly one week--- right before the Festival.
He leaned back in his chair, hands balled in his lap, and decided that he liked gays, as long as they were lesbians. He would very much like to see that Spanish teacher, the one with the firm butt, kiss the English Literature teacher with the perky smile.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 10

Zach’s mouth dropped open then slammed shut again, swallowing a cold mouthful of air. A cold beat of sweat trickeled down his neck, and his tongue felt dry in his mouth.
“You’re not sorry?” he sputtered out in a voice unfamilarily shrill to his own ears.
“You should be!”
“Good-fucking-lord,” Gentry grumbled in reply, “when did you become such a drama queen?”
“I’m not a drama queen, you’re causing me drama! Things got worse because of what you did! No one would talk to me now now if it weren’t for the GSA and Mikey; I’d have no one.”
“---Stop fooling yourself. People didn’t like you before this happened, and they still don’t like you now. Look. It’s obvious that Nilla didn’t sleep with you. Anyone with half a brain could figure that out. You did.”
“---The e-mail didn’t read like Nilla, the picture was so blurry you couldn’t make anything out, and if he was into anything it was bestiality. It’s obvious, Zach, obvious as hell! I get it! You figured it out! Get a medal!” Gentry shouted, before pulling back into his silent shell, back to the smooth, quiet drawl that was all at once loathsome and attractive.
“But people aren’t interested in the truth… They’d rather talk about your problems than theirs. You don’t matter to them, and never did. They talk to you to making something out of nothing, and the only thing Mikey did was make you notorious. He’s exploiting this bullshit for publicity, and my only regret is that I didn’t punch him harder.”
Zach couldn’t take his eyes off him, as he gathered his thoughts together before selecting an answer.
“You knew what you were doing.”
“I didn’t do it to hurt you---”
“But you did.”
“---it wasn’t my goal.”
“Then set it straight.”
“Did anyone try to set things straight for me?”
“Don’t bullshit me.” Zach snarled, “I never hurt you, it was always the other way around. And you can’t bitch about people not doing the right thing for you if you don’t do the right thing for anyone.”
“You’re the last person to tell me about doing the right thing. When things really start going wrong for you, then you can tell me.” Gentry murmured derisively.
“I can’t believe you. I’m not a drama queen, you are!” Zach snapped, “But you’re not the only one with problems; I have problems, too---”
“With problems like yours, you don’t need solutions.”
“Just because I don’t have your problems doesn’t mean I don’t have any; and this still has absolutely nothing to do with doing the right thing.”
“Is it right that I got kicked out of my house for being born this way? That I have to forfeit Nationals because of some bullshit area code loophole?”
“---I didn’t do any of that to you---”
“---Is it right you gave my picture to the police? Is it right that fathers fuck their sons and no one does anything?”
“You’re bringing in too many things, and I’m trying to do something so that no one should have to go through what you went through----”
“Yeah, God forbid there are more fucked up people like me running around! Everything is wrong with me; yet somehow, I still turn you on!”
Zach flushed red in the face, a shade so furious it even showed through the darkness of his skin.
“This has nothing to do with what you started. The only reason that you did what you did is because you’re selfish.”
“It’s not that simple. Gods Zach, sometimes you’re so--- It’s not that simple.” he exhaled and turned to him, gently cupping Zach’s wide-eyed face in his hands and leaning in, “Listen to me. I’m not saying I was right or wrong. It’s not always always that clear, and you’re an idiot if you think in absolutes. If you hate me for what I did, I can live with that. But I did what I had to, and I’m not sorry.”
“That just proves what I said, you’re selfish. And you’re alone now because you don’t think about anyone besides yourself!”
Gentry let him go with a disgraceful shove.
“You aren’t getting it. If I don’t protect myself, no one will, Zach. Not even you. And you might not get this either, but I care about you enough to warn you--- don’t count on Mikey. He will let you down.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 9

Gentry pulled away in disgust, though at what he wasn’t sure. Zach let him slip away, then restlessly pounded another poster to the wall.
“You like me.” Gentry said softly, yet with such easy certainty that Zach only scoff and reply,
“I’d like you more if you had a black eye.”
“Then punch me.”
An old French-fry container rolled along the pavement; Carried by the wind, rolling along the pavement like an awkward passerby.
Zach apathetically watched it tumble by, as Gentry shifted to another part of the wall.
Assuming his position on the pavement, against the rays of the setting sun, the red-headed fiend kept silent and soundless save for the pacing of his footsteps accross the dusty ground. A soft, serpentine rhythm honed by years of watching every step. It was more than likely that he was avoiding the cracks, watching his feet and wondering whether or not to turn around and saunter off into the setting sun. Nah, Zach thought. He wouldn’t leave.
Things were just getting started.
“Why would the GSA want to associate gays with our school mascot?”
Zach knew it. He just knew he’d ask something. He had counted all 63 seconds. He counted 36 more seconds before replying:
“Why would the Swim Team?”
“Because we’re officially part of Kennedy?”
Zach snorted contemptuously and allowed himself to glance derisively at the tidy stack of Swim Team posters Gentry now held in his arms.
“The GSA is as official as the Swim Team.”
“The GSA is only a club, not a team.”
“A team and a club are the exact same thing.”
“They’re not.”
They weren’t anything special: A stylized picture of a knight against the bright red background of the cheap paper. “Nationals 6/18” loomed as the headline, printed in large gothic typeface that took in half the poster.
“Whatever, you’re not hanging these up here. I have permission from the office to hang up---“
Gentry ripped off one rainbow-colored GSA poster and pushed his to the bricks before Zach’s wide-eyed scorn, “Give it up already.” Zach grabbed Gentry’s wrist, “Don’t rip off my posters.”
Gentry easily shook him off, “Watch it faggot, you’re still part of the swim team. You should know that we have permission to hang these up for Nationals.”
Another moment of silence crept through the empty schoolyard. The sun came down and the dusk rose up, clouding the view in its hazy, unclear splendor.
“Fine.” Zach’s voice shot through the quiet, “But you only get half of the library, because I have a form that gives me permission to put posters anywhere on the library.”
“I also put dates on all the posters to mark when they get ripped off. And according to school rules, approved posters can stay up for at least a week; So don’t try anything.”
“Wow, Zach. Dates. If that won’t kill homophobia, nothing will.”
“Don’t mock me.”
“You’re mocking yourself. You’re the one who said you’d be a faggot and a swimmer, and no one could make you choose. But now you’re last place in the team and hanging up posters for no credit in the GSA. You can’t expect to gain from wasting your time, except mockery.”
Zach didn’t reply, glowering with muted indignation as Gentry removed the posters from his half of the library and hung up the Knight ones. The sound of double-sided ductape smacking off the rough red bricks made him cringe. It went on for about a minute, and the rage simmered until he just had to shoot his mouth off,
“I make sacrifices, but you have to if you want to stand for something. I don’t need credit or crap like that, I’m doing this because I believe in it. And someone in this school needs to be dedicated to something, not just do it to pad their College applications.”
“Why you?”
“Because I can.”
“You need to fight for your interests. Jesus ended up Crucified.”
“He also ended up with a large following.”
“Yeah, but you’re not Jesus. You’re black and gay.”
“Half black, and it’s none of your business what I want to do with my time. I’m not Jesus, I’m Zach, and there’s life after high school which I am not going to spend fitting into other peoples’ standards and expectations.” Zach replied tirelessly, as Gentry pounded another poster to the bricks.
“Ok. Whatever you say, Zach.”
“I’ll do what’s right and needs to be done, no matter who thinks it’s wrong.”
In response Gentry just furrowed his brows, rolled his eyes and forcefully exhaled all at once.
“Also, hanging up posters gives me time to think things through. That’s how I figured out what you did to Nilla. You wanted him out because he had something on you, right? Casey thinks you were kicked out, and, if that’s true, you probably don’t live in the district. If that was discovered by someone like Nilla, you would have been transferred to another school and not been able to swim in Nationals. According to the school rules, senior privilege would be up to Nilla to decide. He decided against you, so, you chose to kick him out. But you didn’t plan for your dad to replace him. Yet, even that worked out in your favor because he can’t kick you out without looking bad.” He paused, reaching for a reply then irritably grumbling on when none came, “But you aren’t as slick as you think. It wasn’t planning, it was luck that Kylie left her cellphone in the office.”
Gentry took in the explanation, then gave a curt nod, “So?”
So. What kind of answer was that?
Zach pushed another poster to the bricks and leered at him, grudgingly probing further,
“Are you proud of yourself?”
But not too far, he didn’t want to give him undeserved attention.
“You talk too much.”
“Answer me. Was it worth it?”
“Was it or wasn’t it? Make up your mind.”
“You made it up for me. You think I did something horrible, I can’t force you to think differently. And I don’t want to, because I’m not sorry for what I did.”

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 8

Note: Yes, I know, things seem nasty. But there's a point to this, and it's coming up very soon. I promise ^_~

The silence settled again. A dividing force that pulled them apart; a force which let the heat of their union in love and in battle sear their memories. The first shots were fired, and now it was time to reload. Rethink. Restratagize. At times he wondered what the point of this was, when nothing could be won or changed. No one would or could emerge vicotorious, yet despite this revelation, he raised his head up and ears open when Gentry started to speak.
“If I won’t become Valedictorian, Mikey will. He’ll accept the position in exchange for staying quiet. Then, he’ll write about gay discrimination and overcoming adversity in his college application. You probably figured it already--- he’s going to whine about his black eye for the next fifty years.”
“---He’s not going to whine.” Zach replied defensively, “But even if he does, he has every right to. There is a lot of homophobia here, at least he isn’t promoting it. And, also, unlike you, he isn’t a bully.”
He finished flushed in the face, seething with irritation as Gentry let himself fall against the wall and into his view. Clear blue met murky amber, those dark holes that could so easily pull in their subject. Bend time and space with a blink.
“Fine, I’m a bully. Is that all that’s wrong with me?”
The tension balled up in his shoulders first. His dry lips were pasted together, tasting of dried blood and weak salt. Where there would have been tension there was now uneasy awkwardness. Discomfort so thick a knife could hardly cut through it. Yet he just kept rubbing against the blades, enjoying every minute; watching and waiting for--- daring--- a reply. And when it came it shot out aimlessly:
“Everything’s wrong with you.”
It had been dropped like so many other blunt truths, yet one look at Gentry’s face made him avert his eyes. This was not brutal honesty--- it was simply brutal. A cheap shot that preyed on a weakness he’d already known was there. Zach’s heart panged regret inside him, as he looked away and Gentry murmured,
“I’m not a homophobe, Zach. We both know that.”
“No, you’re not. You’re everything and nothing at the same time.”

Friday, April 4, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 7

“Rainbow knights again?”
“Yes.” Zach slapped the poster on the bricks and taped down the corners, “I’m winning. You and your homophobes are getting demotivated. I figured out that every time you tear down one poster, I hang up two more.”
“Who said I was behind this?”
“You aren’t doing anything to stop them.”
“Because it’s not my place. I’m captain of the swim team, not protector of the faggots.”
“Coming from one, that’s pathetic. Don’t team leaders have to set the example?”
“No.” Came the dismissive reply.
“Just fuck off, all right? What you did to Mikey was wrong, and I’m more than tempted to beat you up.”
“Go ahead, give in to temptation.” Gentry leaned against the handicap rail by the library door, picking up a poster.
“Is anyone else hanging these up?”
“Yeah,” Zach drawled irritably, “in fact, Mikey---”
“---left three hours ago. Thought you’d want to know.”
“You thought wrong. I don’t care.”
“You should.” Gentry interjected, “He’s going to take credit.”
“Why do you care, Protector of the Homophobes?”
A strong arm hooked around his waist and hot breath tickled his ear, “Because there are better things you could be doing.”
“None of them include doing you.” Zach murmured as he shoved him away.
That wouldn’t bring anything, and he knew it. You couldn’t end a shoot-out through a shove anymore than you could stop a war with a bullet or love with a kiss. But despite understanding this and predicting what would follow, he fumed inwardly as he sensed Gentry leisurely walking along the side of the library, watching, scrutinizing with those smoldering dark eyes of his. Irritating. Like the nagging feeling in his gut and the heavy-as-lead thumping of his heart.

“God, Gentry, when did you become bipolar? One day you threaten to break my face, the next you’re like this.”

“I get bored of always doing the same thing.”
“You should be schizophrenic, then; not OCD. Why aren’t you expelled?”
“Why so many questions?”
“According to the school rulebook, physical violence should get you expelled. You used physical violence on Mikey.”
“You don’t seem that torn up about it.”
“I am.” Zach insisted, his voice growing more strained with each word, “But that doesn’t matter, school rules aren’t based on whether or not I’m torn up. Rules should be followed, especially since someone got hurt.”
“I was suspended.”
“You should be happy Mikey didn’t sue you.”
“I’m not.”
“You won’t become Valedictorian now.”
“I know.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 13: Part 6

Just wanted to thank you for the comments ^^

“Nigga puleeeese!”
“Please don’t use the N word.” Drawled Casey.
“Why?” Felix laughed, “Zach’s not here.”
“I am of the opinion that we should ban the N word. Calling African Americans that is just giving people reasons to put down the South and making the Southern stereotype stronger. Not all blacks are bad...most, yeah. But not all.”
“Isn’t that racist, too?”
“No. Most blacks are bad because they live in the ghetto and don’t have the same opportunities we do. But there is no need to further ghetto culture. We need to encourage them to learn from us---”
At that moment, Zach flounced in, laughing and snickering with Mikey.
“Oh my God you two, you are SO late!” Casey snapped at them, clucking his tongue disapprovingly. There were more people at this meeting than was the norm, and now ten sets of eyes scrutinized the latecomers before some other distraction commanded their interest.
“I’m sorry,” said Zach, flush-faced as he took his seat, “I was hanging up posters. There are now posters in the girls’ bathroom, too. And inside the Senior Swim team lockers.”
“I helped.” Mikey added with a grin.
“Well. There are a lot of new visitors here,” Casey noted, as he eased his portly figure into his seat and passed around the sign-in sheet, “And that’s good. It’s always good to get support. Now, you might have seen the new posters Zach and Mikey put up, the ones advertising club positions? Yeah. We’re voting for two vice presidents and one club president in about a week. Now, you all know that I will be graduating this year…”
“We’ll miss you!” interrupted Kylie.
Casey grinned from ear to ear, “Yeah. Well. We’re voting for that, too. So, just prepare a little speech and bring it on Monday, mkay? Today, we’re making new posters. There’s butcher paper over there in the corner, next to the markers and art supplies.”
Zach’s hand shot into the air, “What’s on the poster?”
“I’m getting to that. We’ll be writing statistics of gay teen suicide, printing outsome posters on rainbow paper, and printing out pictures of the Kennedy mascot and coloring it rainbow.”
Zach’s shoulders slumped in disappointment, “That’s the same as last year. We always do that.”
“Well,” Casey furrowed his brow, “Do you have any better ideas?”
“We could just find pictures, or draw them, of people who don’t look typically gay. Like you know, teachers, firefights, everyday people. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I mean, people already get the rainbow thing since it’s been done so many times. And people already know we kill ourselves, and other depressive things. I think we come off as freaks because that’s all people see---”
“Get to the point.”
“I’m just saying we should find pictures of everyday people and put the GSA logo on the poster, maybe with one statistic or something like that. The diversity will shift attention away from gay stereotypes by showing that anyone can be gay and we’re still part of this society and like everyone else. It’ll also represent the straights in our club.”
The whole room fell silent, and then Casey groaned.
“Naaah. Too complicated.”
“It just is.”
Zach felt a twinge of frustration. That answer was not satisfactory, did not compute.
“But hey, let’s vote on it,” Casey drawled easily. “Whoever agrees with Zach, raise your hand.”
The room fell silent, and Zach noticed with awkward anger that his hand was alone in its cause.