GCSPrank Is Here

For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Kent and Jeannie

He was quiet, a rangy athletic type with a fade-in-the-walls demeanor. She was almost as tall as he, with shoulders that gave his a run for their money and was about as quiet as a frat party.

They sat together in English Lit, usually one or two spots removed from where I sat. After the first week of class, Jeannie figured out I was breezing and made sure she sat next to me, to ask me questions, and of course, boyfriend Kent sat where she told him to.

The class was engaging enough to have me drop in more than half the time and the show was often Kent and Jeannie. Although tall, blonde and pretty in the way sharp knives are, Jeannie was no Barbie, so seeing Kent as “Ken” was difficult until you realized both only spoke when spoken for.

Any questions directed at Kent were answered by Jeannie. On the rare occasions when Kent proffered an answer or even an opinion, Jeannie would immediately counter with “What Kent means is…” and proceed to mangle whatever he said.

At one point, during a pop quiz, with an essay question about the role of irony in Hamlet, Jeannie asked me for an example of irony in the play. The professor noticed and the three of us pretended this was normal. I told her irony was dripping all over “the play within the play.” She turned to Kent, smacked him on the shoulder as if she had to break through armor to get to his skin and said out loud “Don’t write about the play ‘cause that’s my answer.” Kent kept writing.

To say that Jeannie was physical was like calling a tornado windy. She pushed, pulled, yanked, smacked, slapped, bumped and otherwise beat you senseless if you stayed within arm’s reach. At the oddest moments, she would grab Kent and hug him so hard his feet would dangle. His expression at those moments was a blend of chagrin, affection, physical discomfort and deer-in-headlights awareness.

One day she grabbed my arm and said “You wouldn’t last ten seconds in a fight with me. You’re too scrawny to put up a good fight.” Kent rolled his eyes slightly. I pulled my arm out of her grasp because I relished blood circulating through it and replied “I’d never fight you.”

She cocked her head at me. “Why not?”

“I might like it and then what will I do? You’d never leave Kent for scrawny ol’ me.”

She laughed like I’d done a whole Three Stooges routine and then whacked me so hard even Kent winced.

The last day of English Lit, Jeannie came into the room with reddened eyes, her usually vibrant face a tragic mask. Kent was not with her. I leaned over and asked her what was wrong, knowing a direct question would get an answer. “We broke up,” she said quietly.

“Just now?”

She nodded, her eyes watering. I figured this would work. “Just tell him. Don’t beat him up because you can’t say the words.”

Her jaw dropped. I waited until she looked at me. “It won’t kill you to say what you feel.”

Jeannie was puzzled. I sighed. “Stop pushing him around and tell him you love him,” I said. “Beating up the poor guy is a sorry excuse for true love.”

She actually blushed. I could barely believe it. “How’d you guess?”

I waved a hand at the room. “Everybody can see it,” I lied. “So go tell him.”

She grabbed her books, aimed a swinging slap at my back that I almost dodged, tossed a “You’re a good guy!” over her shoulder and blew down the hallway.

They got back together and I saw them a few times more. But I wonder if clinging to Kent like a barnacle was any better than whacking him.


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