I didn’t have a lot going for me back then. My glasses were thick. I carried my lunch to school each day in a reusable nylon bag filled with Tupperware containers that I left in my locker to grow mold indefinitely. I wore sneakers on gym day no matter what the rest of my ensemble entailed, so that seeing me in a suede skirt, nylons and blue and white LA Gear high tops was not uncommon. My nickname was Binky, and I embraced it.
Mike O’Flannery was merciless. Each day on the bus he taunted me about things I have blocked from my memory. All I remember is the incessant soundtrack of high pitched mean. He sat in the back of the bus with Dave Wojowiczobrewski and Brutus LaTarte, all sporting the same Megadeth tee shirts and straight black jeans. He probably tried to trip me. Maybe he threw gum wrappers. What I know for sure is that all the little things added up.
The junior high fates conspired to stick us together in the cafeteria, too. It was no twisted desire of mine to sit next to him, and I am sure that it was not a schoolboy crush that placed his lethargic group of loners next to my near-sighted posse. It’s simply that he was freak fringe and I was nerd fringe, so there we sat in sad complicity at the table on the far end of a cavernous room, closest to the vile smell of processed chili emanating from the lunch line.
My friend Jessica ate Marshmallow Fluff. That’s important to the story. Her sandwich each day included that nauseating marshmallow product and some peanut butter. I must’ve told her it repulsed me. She must have agreed it was kind of gross. Somehow, a plot emerged. A plot to give Mike O’Flannery what was coming to him.
The day before we carried out my junior high school triumph, I got off at Jessica’s bus stop and we made our way to her kitchen.
Inside, Jessica was already on task. She reached into a high cabinet and pulled out the jar of Fluff. “Here.”
I held the jar in my suddenly shaking hands, not sure what to do. “How are we going to pull this off?” I asked. “I mean, should I put it on bread? Or should I bring the whole jar?”
“Just put it in this.” She handed me a Tupperware container like the one that held her sandwich each day, then she gave me a spoon.
“Oh, God. This is so disgusting.” I can still feel the nausea that overtook me as I dipped the spoon into the wide mouth of the jar and plopped several dollops of Fluff into the red plastic. I almost threw up more than once as the heaves lurched from my stomach to the base of my throat. Finally, I secured the lid on both containers and sat down at the kitchen table, contemplating what was to come. The anticipation was scary and new.
It seemed like the next day’s lunch period would never come, but of course it did. I sat next to Mike and stared at my lunch bag. Jessica looked at me from across the table. I tried to breathe. I had to focus on that normally innate response, lest my lungs ceased operation and I died. Or passed out.
Suddenly the lunchroom monitor called our table to the lunch line and Mike rose. My eyes widened. This was it. As he walked away, Jessica leaned in.
“Are you going to do it?”
“Yes,” I squeaked. Her face began to waver in front of me. I was not doing a good job of regulating my air intake.
“You look really pale,” she said.
I ignored her, and the ensuing minutes seemed like years. Years of more torment. Years of feeling like a dorky, suede-skirt-and-sneakers-wearing failure who couldn’t even run The Mile in less than 12 minutes. Years of reading books because that was where things happened.
I saw Mike returning with a tray of gelatinous beef. I leapt into motion, smearing a gaping pile of Fluff onto a piece of bread. The mixture spanned the entire width of the slice and rose at least two inches high.
He got closer. Without looking at me, he placed his tray on the table and began the descent into his seat. Life hit the slo-mo button. Before his black-jeaned butt made contact, I slid the bread onto the folding chair. My aim was right on. The smush of his scrawny frame spread sticky whiteness all over his death metal pants. The Fluff accentuated his non-existent ass. It was everywhere. I thought I’d stopped breathing for good.
He didn’t even look my way as he bolted upright and screamed “What the . . .?” Then he was off to the boy’s lav, and, as I would eventually find out, to the nurse’s office, where he called home to request a change of pants.
I was pale and triumphant. The rest of the fringe leaned in to find out what had happened.
“I can’t believe you did that!” said a girl named Christy as she looked me up and down. “Are you okay, though? You don’t look good at all.”
Jessica just giggled, all wide eyed and respectful. Her gaze darted from me, to the remaining Megadeth brothers, to the doors out of which Mike’s white ass disappeared.
Today's post is brought to you by the Parent Bloggers Network in conjunction with School Menu and its parental counterpart, Family Everyday. The latter two sites work together with School Food Services Directors to promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents.