Cramped into the corner of THE OFFICE, wishing I was anywhere else, while the bloated secretary butchers my ears whistling showtunes, I await draconian punishment. Their words, not mine. A smarmy threat from the last time I was detained here after school:
—Third time being sent to the office this week, Mr. Morgan. You’ll be in for a draconian punishment next time, the thick, balding principal scolds. —Mr. Morgan, do you know what draconian means?
Yes, I fucking knows what draconian means, but I’m not the Oxford English, you condescending cunt. Like fuck if I’m giving you the satisfaction of hearing me stumble through a definition.
—You should look it up when you go home. At this rate you’ll be hearing it quite a bit, he says, slowly, like he’s enjoying the taste.
Some of ‘em are psychopaths here. Stunned bunch of psychopaths. No doubt, the whole lot of ’em barely got their degree, scraped through with such miserable grades that nowhere else but the Eastern School Board would hire ’em. Teachers and shit should be made to do psychological evaluations before they’re hired. I bet half of ‘em would be thrown in the Waterford for being fucking sadists if they did.
This day, today, I’m staring at the chalk-coloured door keeping me in. No lock. The bars on this door are bold streaks of black rubber, scars of kids brought in and taken from the room kicking and screaming. The door suddenly swings forward and our man, The Fat Prick Principal, wheezes in out of breath. With a tight grip on her forearm, he drags in a young one, looking like some sort of gothic clown, behind him. He throws her down into a chair beside me, leans against the counter in front of us and pretends not to huff and puff. He sucks in deep and sounds like a wetvac slurping up a spill. He coughs, then starts scolding with a self-righteousness available only to those with tenure. She don’t give him fuck all satisfaction though. She just scowls straight at the floor, a snarl drilled onto her pale and painted face. He’s taking advantage of this angle and eyeing her up too, the fucking pervert. She’s wearing a Misfits skull shirt with a ragged ‘v’ torn down the front. Our fair and just Fat Prick Principal is staring down it, trying to catch sight of nipples. See, there needs to be psychological examinations for these cunts.
Even through the hideous blue hair that hangs over her eyes, you can see a ferocity in her gaze at the ground. She can feel this figure of authority leering at her. Lurking over her and hungry like a hound. She looks like the type familiar with those kinds of looks. Her clothes are tight and ripped, her lips are black as pitch and match her mascara. She doesn’t even hear him when he talks. Don’t give a fuck. Now, me, I think she’s an angel. I think I’m sitting next to the most beautiful fucking badass I’ve ever seen. I mean, fuck, I’m terrified of her, thinking she’ll tear apart anyone with a look alone. I’m trying to place her. Wondering why she looks so familiar. Then I notice her scars. Pink pricks and prodding all over her pale arms. Red webs of ripped-apart skin splicing itself back together cell by cell. I remember hearing rumours about a girl with scars up and down her arms sucking cock for smokes on the back of the bus. From the fellas who sit smoking at the back of the bus and dare anyone to try and take their seat.
After the fat prick principal scurries back into his tiny office and presumably jerks off looking at school suspension lists and picturing her on his lap, I move to the chair next to her. She don’t even bother to look up.
—Ya hard up for a smoke or wha? I put on my best baritone brogue, hoping not to reveal my timid tenor around her.
—Always hard up for a smoke.
—I got a few if you wants one.
—I ain’t no charity case buddy. I works for me smokes
I suck back a smile that tries to spread from ear to ear. I nod and she motions her head ever so slightly for us to get out of there. My tentative nature comes out despite me keeping my jaw gripped tight. I’m nervous about getting into more trouble by just up and leaving the office, discovering an even more draconian punishment. She notices this sudden flicker of fear and her blood-shot, blue eyes are about to brush me off as all talk. Fuck that, no chance I’m letting this macabre angel slip away. I bolt up and give my chair a boot, sending it clear across the room where it lands with a hard smack against the wall. To this, she’s up and laughing like the devil, revelling in what she can make a stranger do. She grabs my collar and gives a tug, and we tear out of the room. I’m about to sprint out of the school when she grips me by the hand and drags me down the hall and into the girl’s bathroom. Her hands surprise me with their strength, and their calluses. Hands not used to a light touch.
First time I was ever in the girl’s bathroom. It’s blindingly pink and stinks of cheap perfume, like it’s been soaked with the overwhelming stench of that aisle at Shopper’s. Toilet paper and trash are strewn about everyone. Paper towels and glistening empty chip bags are wadded up and stuffed into the sink. The place is in a fucking state. She leers at me without saying a word and stands there sizing me up with a hard stare. I give my best glare back, but I know I’m an open book right now. Adrenaline is surging through me and I’m too excited to stay as grimaced as I know I should. I’m trying to be carved at of granite, but there’s an electricity when she’s looking at me that makes my spine shiver.
—You fancy yourself some tough fucker. Where you from? she asks.
A tiny, hopefully imperceptible shake goes up and down my leg as I answer, —Seal Cove.
—Jesus b’y, there’s only drug dealers and pedophiles there. Which one are you? She gives a coarse smirk and I’m tongue-tied. She must see me looking confused. —I’m only fucking with ya. I’ve seen you around the school. Auditioning for school plays and shit.
—Yeah, but I’m not a…
—Shut up, b’y. It’s deadly. I likes that. Art and all. Acting and pretending you’re different than you actually are. What was that one you auditioned for last semester?
—The lov—romanc—sex, kinda dark one?
—Yeah, the one where they both dies for each other at the end. Gives it all up because it wasn’t worth being alone. You didn’t get that did ya?
—No, fucking Terry Murphy got that. The fucking teacher’s son.
—See, I thought you shoulda got that. Terry’s shite at acting, and he’s got a tiny dick too. I heard he fucks his mother with it. She loves it though, bless her heart. That’s how he got that role, she said while I stood there stunned, looking like a fucking moron. Mouth agape at her. —Sure, I’m just fucking kidding. Jesus, take a compliment!
She starts looking around, checking to see if we’re in the bathroom alone. She goes to the last stall and peers in, and then stops and reads something scrawled into the stall wall. Her face goes twisted and her eyes are big and wet. I expect her to let out a sob, but a low guttural “cunt” comes out instead. The stall door slams with metallic thuds, while the angry “cunts” intensify. She’s mumbling to herself, asking something to herself over and over, uttering an accusation inwards. A hard smack shakes the stalls, as her big, black military boots make a racket against the rickety walls. Then nothing. I look in, because I’m dying to see what she’s breaking down about.
“LORALEI IS A RETARDED GASH” is carved on the stall in jagged letters. Newly named Loralei is in profile sitting on the toilet. She runs her hands through her hair and I catch sight of bruising up and down her neck. Deep purple and black stains on her ashen skin like a huge hand had grabbed her hard. I was about to ask about ’em when she stuck her hand down her frayed and shredded jeans. Her fist comes back up wrapped around a bloody tampon.
She takes the bleeding brush and smears it on the stall door, writing CUNTS in bold block letters that bleed down. Leaping up, she pounces towards the cracked bathroom mirror. Pressing her hand hard against it, she paints on a faint anarchy symbol in her own rag blood. She throws the empty instrument at the wall, and her chest throbs with swallowed sobs. She doesn’t turn back to me and tries to hide it, but I can see the odd tear being brushed away. After a moment she looks up at me with tender and teary eyes:
—Do you still want me to suck you off?
I mean, I spose it’s wrong of me after all that but my cock is so fucking hard for some reason. I’ve never seen emotion so intense and honest. I’m overwhelmed with her, even with the smell of her in the air, hanging over the cheap perfume. Like a pungent kind of rotten iron smell, but it’s so fucking sexy and I can’t say no. She gives a little nod and I drop my pants and boxers as she moves to her knees and stares at my cock.
—You’ve got a nice dick.
—You’ve got a nice cock.
—Oh. Is it big? Like bigger than other fellas’?
—What do you want to know about other fellas’ fucking cocks for? Would you rather be here with Terry Murphy, or wha?
That shut me up and she’s suddenly sucking. But, I realize now it’s not gonna be good. Because all I feel now is that she doesn’t want to be at it, that I’ve got her on a technicality. I’m not enjoying it that much and sort of try to push her away, but she redoubles the efforts like she has to fulfil some sort of internal obligation. She keeps spitting on the floor. Not like I’m disgusting her, but like there’s some other taste in her mouth from before me that she wants to get out. It doesn’t take me long to cum. I grab her hair and stare down at her eyes rimmed with thick black makeup, filled with an intense anger, a cold bitterness. She looks so fucking tough. The smell too, the smell of her is growing stronger and stronger, filling the room and lingering on my tongue and it makes me gag and cum at the same time. She swallows, then spits in the sink and looks at me expectantly. I pull out the pack a smokes and hand one to her. We light up in the bathroom leaning against a sink stained with tiny drops of her. An anarchy symbol smudged in period blood drying behind us. We stay silent for a while and I’m thinking about kissing her. I even stare at her for a while willing her to look in my direction, lock eyes so I can give her a quick wink and go in for it. She’s all the sudden nervous though, and keeping her eyes to the ground. I’m desperate to touch her now, and I try to give her a little hug, but when I come close she spooks and slides away. The smoke is starting to turn sickening, and after one more long drag, I toss the butt into the clogged sink. I can’t think of anything to say or do and the smell of the blood and cum is growing putrid. I head towards the door
—I ain’t fucking stupid, you know, she mumbles softly.
—I ain’t fucking stupid. I’m not. And I’m not fucking retarded even though they put me in classes with all the spazzy kids and shit. I’m not. So, you can fuck off if you think I’m stupid and dumb, because I’m not. I’m fucking not.
She looks up from the floor and her black lips are pursed tight. The snarl slips away from her face. I can feel an emptiness, like the undertow of a dark sea weighing her down and drowning her. I want to consume her and save her at the same time. Be a part of her and her salvation and have us both float away. But, I feel the same weight in me. The same feeling of rotting in my gut. The same strong tide from the same cold ocean towing me away from everything.
—Give us another smoke before ya goes, hey? Thanks. I hope you gets a part this year. You’re half decent. Murphy’s fucking shit on stage.
With as little crinkling as I can, I take out the packet of smokes and lay the whole thing down on the bathroom sink. I’m not craving another smoke. I’m not craving anything anymore. Her coal lips part and just as sound is about to escape, I turn, and exit out the bathroom door.
I ended up getting suspended for batting the chair at the wall. Mom was some disappointed, asking me all kinds a questions and implying that she thought I had some anger issue. The old man didn’t give a fuck though. Told me to smarten up and next time he’d bat me against the wall. I had to see the guidance counselor too. Who is another person who should have their fucking head checked. Always asking about all manner of sexual depravities. If a stranger ever touched me or if I’d been doing anything with girls my own age. Hoping I’ll tell him a story so he can go home and jerk off to it later. Fuck that. Move to Seal Cove, buddy, you’ll fit right in. I never told him a thing though, about me and my goth-girl angel. When I got back to school I asked around but apparently she’d been expelled. Something about writing profanity in blood on the bathroom mirror. People could hardly believe it, it was a big fucking scandal for a month or two. I got some kick out of that. I missed her though.
I been thinking she’s my soulmate, if such a thing exists. I think she’s the woman who saves me and I save her and we both live happily ever after and shit. I fucking do. I think about her all the time, mostly when I’m jerking off, but still. Whenever I’m done, whenever I’m lying there all jizzed out, I hope she’s alright. Tough girl like that must be though. She wouldn’t take shit from no one.
Darren Ivany is an actor, writer, and director from Seal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador. As an actor, he has toured provincially and internationally with numerous theatre companies, including a performance of Joel Thomas Hynes’ Say Nothing, Saw Wood in London, England. Ivany has also appeared in various short films, and CBC’s Republic of Doyle. As a writer, Ivany has been published twice in Paragon Journal, received a provincial Arts and Letters award for poetry in the junior division, and has been selected twice for the Nickel Screenplay Series.