Rock’s phone buzzed on the locker room bench and he picked it up and looked at it. He texted something, hit send, and put it back down.
“Is that the girl you’ve been seeing?” Jacob asked, tying his shoes, which is something I’ve heard people like to do before gym class.
“The black girl? Yeah, well, kind of,” Rock said, responding to another text. “We aren’t really seeing each other. We’re still in the feeling each other out phase.”
“I see,” Jacob said. “You should probably refer to her by her name. Not ‘the black girl’.”
“Why? It’s not like we’re dating yet,” Rock said, answering another text.
“That isn’t really the point,” Jacob said as Rock typed away. “Dude, this is a pretty intense conversation. What’s she want?”
“She wants me to call her.”
“Are you going to?”
“Nah, I don’t feel like talking. I just told her I don’t have my phone on me,” Rock said, standing up. “You ready to head to the gym?”
“Yeah. Well, no. We’re not in the gym today. We have to go outside. The girls’ class is in the gym.”
“What? That’s bullshit. Why do they get to use the gym and we have to go stand outside in the cold like a bunch of jabronis?”
“Rock, it’s like 75 degrees out.”
“Whatever. Still bullshit,” Rock said. He shook his head for a moment, then his eyes lit up. “You know what would be hilarious? You know that cart we use to wheel out the tables when we set up for bingo?”
“Sure. What about it?”
“We should have someone go out and ride the thing across the gym. We can stand on the the front of it, like a recreation of Washington Crossing the Delaware. It’ll be awesome.”
“I’m a little surprised that’s the reference you went with. I’d have said Leo in Titanic.”
“Yeah, dude. We can scream ‘I’m the king of the world’ as we do it. The girls will be all like ‘whaaat’.”
“Well, your plan is solid,” Jacob said of Rock’s very shaky, very bizarre plan as he look over the cart that was conveniently left near the back of the gym. “The problem is these things are not very stable. Someone could get hurt, or we could get in a lot of trouble.”
“We’ll cover our faces. And we’ll get someone else to stand on the front and yell. You and I will just propel the cart from our locker room, across the back of the gym and out the door on the other side. There’s absolutely no risk. To us.”
“Right, but who the hell is going to agree to something like that?”
“What about Dylan? He’s been pretty impressionable lately.”
“Yeah, dude. That’s because his parents just got divorced and he’s going through a pretty rough time. Only a complete monster would take advantage of someone in such a difficult position.” Jacob looked across the locker room. “Hey, Dylan, you want to do something stupid and reckless that will get you attention, and though we’ll be more laughing at you than with you, you won’t figure that out until you’re in your mid-30s?”
Dylan shrugged. “What did you have in mind?” They explained the plan to Dylan, which I’m not going to repeat because I’ve already done it, and reiterating it would be boring, so fuck that shit. After Dylan heard the plan, he shook his head. “I don’t know. Sounds kind of dangerous.”
“No, dude, check it out. This is the type of shit they’re always doing on those stunt shows you watch,” Jacob said.
“I don’t watch those. I’m pretty sure nobody does. What made you think I like those?”
“I assume all unlovable fuckups watch them. Now, are you going to ride our cart or not?”
“Not. Besides, those shows all have disclaimers telling you not to try this at home.”
Rock put his hand on Dylan’s shoulder. “Those only apply to kids people care about. For kids like you, they want you to try them at home. If you get hurt, it doesn’t matter, because your parents can always make another you. Or at least they would have been able to if you hadn’t been such a rotten child that they had to go get a divorce. And then your mom killed herself. All because of you.”
“Fine. I’ll do it,” Dylan said.
Rock and Jacob bumped fists. “Way to bring up the mom’s suicide to close the deal. Nicely done.”
“Guys, this feels really unstable,” Dylan said, standing on the handles of the cart.
“That’s because it is. But don’t worry, it’ll be fine as long as we’re either holding onto it or standing on the back to counterbalance your weight,” Jacob said, using his obvious foreshadowing tone of voice. “Ready?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Dylan said. They went out into the gym, and after a running start, Rock and Jacob jumped on the back. Dylan, per the plan, yelled, “I am the king of the…”
“Shit, it’s Ms. Walters,” Rock said as the girls’ gym teacher walked in. “Run.”
Jacob and Rock hopped off the back of the cart, predictably, and even more predictably, Dylan screamed and the cart toppled over forward, sending him headfirst into the wall. After Jacob and Rock had retreated to the safety of the locker, they looked out at the chaos unfolding in the gym.
“Well, that didn’t go as planned,” Rock said. “Oh, well. At least we tried, but I guess that wasn’t as funny as we thought it would be.”
“Yeah. Well, I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Jacob said, pointing at the girls’ gym class. “They seem to think it’s pretty funny.”