Earworm: Part 31 — The Specter

EarwormContinued from: Earworm: Part 30 — The Green Eyed Monster

Joel stuffed his school clothes into his gym locker and sat on the bench to tie his sneakers. Guard was hovering over him, impatient to get going. “You ready, man?”

“Yeah, just let me tie this shoe, will ya?”

“Your shoelaces don’t need to be perfect, you anal-retentive-prick.”

Bobby Milner, getting changed beside them, said, “Guard, like you know what anal-retentive means.”

“I know it has something to do with what you like to do with guys,” Guard said.

“Oh, yeah, tough guy?” Bobby said, he and Guard beginning to shadowbox, Guard blocking Bobby’s feigned hits. Bobby saying, “So, Joel,” as he ducked a swat from Guard, “what is taking you so long? You sitting here, wondering why you can’t score with Hope Ferretti?”

“Who says I haven’t?” Joel said, finishing the loop of his shoelace.

“I surely would have heard if Hope Ferretti was deflowered,” Bobby said. He landed a touch shot on Guard’s cheek.

“Oh, you’re dead for that one,” Guard said, lumbering toward Bobby. He landed a hard shot on Bobby’s chin. “Ha,” Guard said, “Like Hope’s a virgin.”

“Can we not discuss my woman like this?” Joel said.

Bobby faked a jab to Guard’s ribs and came up with a crackling slap across his cheek.

“Ah,” Guard called, his eyes flaring with anger.

“All right, all right, we’re even now,” Bobby said. He stopped bobbing and held up his hands in surrender. He turned to face Joel. “Okay then,” Bobby said, “surely I would have heard if you’d been deflowered.”

“Yeah right,” Guard said, rubbing his cheek, “Joel’s been deflowered so much, he’s… an empty garden.”

“That’s the dumbest analogy I’ve ever heard,” Bobby said, looking at Guard.

“Yeah, well, I’ll stuff that anala-whatever up your ass,” Guard said.

Bobby burst out laughing. “You’re gonna give me an anal-analogy? First you need to be able to say it, shithead.” Bobby turned and looked at Joel. “All right there, ladies-man, who’s the last chick you banged?”

“Fitchy banged Tara Larson on Labor Day,” Guard said.

“Really? Larson?” Bobby said, raising his eyebrows.

“Yeah,” Joel said with a reluctant shrug.

“Not bad.”

“Wait’ll he gets all knee-deep in a little Ferretti action,” Guard said.

“Think you’ll part that sea, Fitchy?” Bobby said, glancing at Joel. Joel offered another reluctant shrug. Bobby saying, “Aw, c’mon.”

Joel smiled. “I don’t know, Milner, I tend to be pretty irresistible.”

“Yeah, all right there, Moses,” Bobby said.

“Guys,” Mr. Marnet called from the locker room’s door, “let’s go, time for gym.”

Guard and Bobby walked off toward the gym, Guard saying to Bobby, “He’ll have scored with Ferretti by New Years.”

“2030, maybe,” Bobby laughed.

Joel shut his locker and turned to find William Knight standing behind him, staring at him in disgusted shock, as if William had just witnessed Joel taking a dump on the floor or something. Joel felt exposed in that glare, but he didn’t know why.

“You want something?” Joel said to him.

William didn’t answer. Instead, he wandered away like a specter in a ghost story.

Continued in: Earworm: Part 32 — Pretty Cool Trick

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