Short Stories - So Sayeth Paul

I want to stop before I begin and let everyone know that what I'm about to tell you was not in any way shape or form my fault. I may have been involved, but for the first time in my life, I can honestly say I was not the instigator.

Ok, maybe not honestly, because I was there and I could have stopped her. But be damned well assured that I am the innocent party!

That said, I can now tell you what happened.

It was Friday night. Unlike every Friday night that I've ever been in existence for, this time, I was doing something. Yes, amazing, isn't it? Rather than sitting on my kiester holding up the walls with my dazed and drooling stare, I was with people. Living breathing people. Lying on my back with several others in a small room. Holding up the ceiling with my dazed and drooling stare.

But I was doing something! My mother had bitched her last bitch about me doing nothing by myself on Friday nights. So I was doing something with several other people: creating a masterpiece of lifeless bodies.

There were three of us: Jessie, Tyrone, and me. We were in Ty's basement. His little sister kept running down the stairs and begging me, " Paul? Paul, when you guys go out, can I come too?" And as the appointed Best Friend in Charge of Bratty Baby Sisters, I promptly answered, "Only if you pay," each and every time. For this was a practiced and foolproof response: Gini had no job. Gini was only twelve and therefore too young to get a job. Gini wouldn't have that kind of dough until Jess, Ty, and myself were safe at college or elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the mother unit was on to our rouse, and half an hour after it began, the munchkin was bounding down the stairs again, begging me to come. For, lo!, her ever loving mother had given her forty dollars. For shame, Ty was being kicked out of the house by the ever nagging parental units who were trying to impose a social life on all of us.

But all was not lost, for now we had cash. And all was good.

Actually, this is where things started going downhill. It is well known that Gini is convinced that she and I are going to get married, do the two-story/picket fence thing and grow old together. As a side effect to this delusion, she will do whatever I ask her to, without hesitation. I can't seem to get it into the pipsqueak's thick red head that I don't plan to grow old. Living forever doesn't entail getting old. Getting old means dying. Thus, I shall not grow old.

Anyways, we piled into the back of Jessie's VW piece of scrap metal, painted fashionably in various tones of rust and duct tape, and set out for the local 7-11. Once I'd securely hogtied myself into the back seat with the decimated remains of a seatbelt, Gini began her latest barrage of questions, all "cleverly" thought up by the girls in her seventh grade class. This installment featured "where are you going this summer", "are you going to college out of state afterwards-please don't tell me you're going out of state", and, of course, "what's your girlfriend like?"

Being the nice guy I am, I answered her questions nicely, and as gentlemanly as possible. "Nothing", "yes", and "she's tall with big boobs".

Tyrone, being the loving big brother he is, told her to can it. When she ignored him, Tyrone looked me straight in the eye and told me to tell her to can it. And I did. And the brat was quiet.

Within minutes, we reached our destination. And the pipsqueak started up again. As she skipped towards the junk food aisle, frolicking like a turnip bobbing on the water before the endless rows of chocolate and processed potato, Jessie and Tyrone decided it was time to have some fun with the brat.

And lo!, Gini finally had a purpose in life. And it was good, for we would use her to the greatest advantage our bored teenaged minds could envision.

And her great, all-incredible purpose for existence on this planet, was to act as a decoy while Ty and Jessie shoved as many candy bars in Jess's purse as possible, thus allowing us to dispose of the pipsqueak at home and go theatre hopping with the cash.

Summoning the munchkin, I gave her my all-intensive-extra-nice-guy smile, which had landed me my big boobied girlfriend and my acceptance to said out of state college.

And she was jelly in my hands.

But I repeat that this was not my fault-there is nothing so terrifying as peer pressure, except for maybe getting kicked in the jewels Tyrone's steel-toed work boots and run over by the scrap heap while lying in the fetal position on the ground. I would rather have "devoured alive by mystery meat" than "killed by VW Bug" on my tombstone. Thus, I relented. And told the pipsqueak I needed her to do something for me.

And she did. But what she did was not my doing at all. I was expecting her to walk up and distract the guy looking at Playboy behind the counter. But no! For the pipsqueak walked straight to the freezer case and started pulling out pints of ice cream. And as if searching for the holy grail of Ben and Jerry's, she dug through the rows, flinging the cartons behind her. And blocks of frozen yogurt and milk came crashing down from the heavens with delicious squelches, breaking free from their cardboard confinement to meet their ultimate demise on the tile floor. A bath of funky, Technicolored blood, peppered with chocolate phish and dried cherries.

And we stood there and watched in horror, watched as our plans came to a shuddering halt. From the back of the store, I heard my partners in crime flinging candy bars back onto shelves as Mr. Playboy hurled his magazine on the floor and vaulted over the counter, moving to tackle the decoy.

I still don't understand how we escaped with our lives. It was all a sticky blur, a mess of sliding through that primordial sea from which to ice cream had gone, grabbing the girl and making it back out through the doors, slipping and falling, fleeing with our sanity and covered in several different flavors of shame, throwing the money behind us as we fled.

Much was the swearing on the part of my comrades and the clerk as we made our get away.

Our flight led us here, to you, my almighty stepfather. And now you know why we have arrived, covered in a sticky concoction of ice creams and smelling of dairy products. For you see, as we are, we cannot return to Tyrone's basement. Which is why I have been sent as a representative for those guilty who sit in that rusting bucket of junk in your driveway. For you, the almighty stepfather, have a washing machine. One that could free us of these sticky clothes and explaining to Ty's mother why her daughter felt compelled to destroy several pints of ice cream.

So I kneel before you, covered in the lactose of our sins, and beg for the mercy that I know that you, my almighty stepfather, can bestow upon us. And as the representative of my comrades, I speak for all of us when I say:

Please, oh please, Bill, you've gotta let us use the washing machine! Please! I don't wanna die! And Tyrone's mom will kill us! Please!