Click One

It was funny; the ideas people came up with to amuse themselves. She was sure though that throwing popcorn down someone's pants wasn't on the top ten of those ideas. For a bunch of freshmen though, it was enough to make them laugh later on just thinking about it. Justin was handing her a piece of popcorn. Smiling, she took it from him and aimed at Gilbert's pants. Aiming, she tossed. It wasn't a hard enough throw and the popcorn fell several feet away. Shrugging her shoulders she stepped back and let Adrienne in, who'd been shouldering her way into the crowd the last few minutes.

As Jamie looked around she felt suddenly alone. The group of kids she hung with after school all stood around Gilbert with the exception of Chrissy and Joyce who were sitting outside doing their homework. Jamie slipped her purse off her shoulder and opened it. She rummaged around for a few seconds before her fingers closed around the soft case that enclosed her iPod. Tugging the headphones out she untangled them and pushed the plastic pieces in her ears. She attached the headphones to the iPod and flipped the 'hold' button. Her artist play list lit up. Jamie scrolled to the bottom, and then back to the top and then down again. After several scrolls she came to Rise Against. Click once, click twice. She scrolled down the list of songs till she came to "Roadside". Click once. She started off down the hall. Despite the tackiness she lip sang along. "Tell me what I'm suppose to do, with all these leftover feelings of you cause I don't know." She stopped abruptly as she rounded the corner. Game day, concussion stand, people. The usual group of rowdy boys sat around the table. Popcorn littered the floor and several chip bags lay empty on the table. Jamie lowered her head and slipped her iPod out of the back pocket of her jeans. She needed something to look at, to distract her attention.

She passed by the gym quick enough and was soon heading down D hall. D hall was where her locker was. She was still scrolling her iPod. Scrolling, one click, two clicks to Goddamn Electric Bill. The song she had was "Lost in the Zoo", was a DJ Egadz remix with lyrics. She only liked the songs with lyrics; this was their only song with lyrics. It was their only song she liked. Jamie's shoes squished on the floor. She couldn't hear them, but she knew they were. They always squished. Squished and squeaked as if she had some sort of rodent attached to the bottom of her feet. She was halfway down the hall. She was approaching a girl, a sophomore girl. The sophomore sat on the floor, writing frantically on a piece of paper. A biology text was open next to her; she kept glancing at it and then back at her paper but she didn't stop writing. She kept writing, frantically writing. "Maybe you're already in that cage, you built it yourself." Jamie didn't know the girl; Jamie didn't know what she or her life was like. And yet she could picture and define the girl almost. Homework, sport, home, school, homework, sport, home, a never ending cycle of the same thing. The same cage that she paced in repeatedly day after day, year after year.

The girl didn't look up as Jamie passed by, she just kept writing. It was funny; how much thought you can put to a person and then how quickly you passed by. It was only in your mind that you really got to evaluate them, because just passing by was much too quick to judge.

Jamie was at the end of the hall. Two senior girls sat on the floor, books open on their laps. They wore running clothes but even in their sweat they looked perfect. They were 'those girls'. The kind that became your friend only to rip you apart later. You didn't need to know them; you only had to look in their eyes. A look was all it took. Jamie reached back and withdrew her iPod. Scroll, don't look, scroll down, don't look, click once, click twice to The Juliana Theory. Jamie turned down the main hall. It was deserted. It was almost five, and on game day, the halls should have been alive with people coming to watch the game. The desertedness calmed her. A peace that she could relax in. The phrase "you always say goodnight" rang in her ears as Brett Detar broke from softly singing to a harsher tone.

As Jamie approached the end of the main hall she looked up at the clock. Five on the dot. Her mother would be there any minute. Jamie turned and went back down the hall at a speedier pace. She passed the two girls, not looking, and to her locker. The sophomore girl was gone. Jamie twisted the locker to 7 turned to 12 and another turn to 23. The lock tugged open and she pulled the lever to open her locker. She had a neat locker; binders and text on the bottom, books on the second shelf and her backpack on the third. She took her green backpack out and shook it open. She packed her English binder, and the novel they were reading in class. And then she was off, slamming the locker closed and walking quickly down the hall. She reached the front doors at five after five. Jamie stood at the door for five minutes, and then after that sat down. Soon a black car like hers pulled up to the curb and she stood up, reaching down for her backpack. She wasn't even out the door though before a boy came running down the hall. He pushed the door open and ran out to the car, pulling open the passenger door. Jamie's heart sank. She sat back down. The clock soon had rounded from five after to forty after. It was times like this when she wished she had a cell phone. After five forty-five she stood up and went out the front doors. Even though it was late November she hadn't worn a coat to school. The sunlight had faded away and street lights were scattered sparsely around. Sighing Jamie began toward the school parking lot and then on to the busy street. She pulled her iPod out as the song ended and scrolled. Finally she settled on Damien Rice's "9 Crimes". It was a quiet song, beautiful but quiet and she had to turn the sound up all the way.

As she walked Jamie reached up and grabbed some of her hair. She tugged on some strands. She was angry. It was the fifteenth time her mother had forgotten her. She felt like she was in the movies. Beautiful, sad song playing to an angry, sad girl. She was the character everyone was rooting for to become popular and get all the friends; but instead was turning out to be the one you wanted to hate but couldn't out of pity. Jamie stopped under one the cameras. They had cameras in the parking lot to make sure nothing happened. The song ended. She restarted it. It was a black empty face, the camera. Was someone watching her? Were they judging her? For a moment the camera seemed to be the world. Seemed to be how she felt. Everybody was watching, and everybody was laughing. Laughing and jeering and tearing her down until all she had to hang onto was that perhaps she would get a ride home; until that slim hope of maybe someone remembering her was all that was left.

"Gimme your money!" A hooded figure stood behind her. Jamie couldn't hear him. She was too busy, too busy trying to see the people that were staring at her. "Hey! Gimme your money!" She still didn't hear. She was on the brink of something. Perhaps they stare because they could sense her. They could smell her fear and they wanted a piece of it. But maybe it wasn't everyone; maybe it was just those girls. Perhaps the others were just staring, just begging for her…for her to release them from their cage. But was she free herself? Was she not stuck just like them? "It's the wrong time, she's pulling me through. It's a small crime and I've got no excuse." Maybe she was just giving herself an excuse to think someone might need her. "I ain't gonna say it again! Gimme your money!" Jamie closed her eyes. She could smell the dead trees, the smell of leaves fallen and shriveled. She could smell winter, it was bitter and sharp. The gun shook in the hooded figure's hand. Maybe he'd just hit her, knock her out. His chin shook and he lowered his hand. "Give my gun away when its loaded, is that alright? If you don't shoot it how am I suppose to hold it?" She wasn't sure how long she'd been standing there, but she couldn't seem to move. Her surrounding seemed to be pulling her in, enclosing her and reviving her. He turned away and his shoulders shook. It was silent. For him it was the sound of weakness. For her, the renewal of hope and hope in people. He turned, the gun raised. His face was twisted, he was no coward. He did not fear. Jamie looked up at the camera and gave a little smile. The sound of the shot rang through the air and she heard it above the music. It speared her in the chest and ripped into her, tearing away the renewal that was only temporary, that she would never really embrace. A choked sob ran out her mouth and the sound of the shot soaked her tee-shirt. "Is that alright? Give my gun away when it's loaded? Is that alright?"