All People Meet

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve posted, you already know I have no problem calling out racism when I see it. Hell, I was told to go back to my “ancestral country” just last month, after commenting on the underrepresentation of minorities in American cinema. It was uncalled for, but it happens. It happens a lot, actually. I’ve been told to learn English and go back to my country time and again, and it’s always infuriating on countless levels. First, I studied languages in college. I speak four. English was my first, and I work pretty hard to improve upon my use of this particular language, since it’s the one I write in most often. Second, I’m American. This is my country, even if my parents were both born in Mexican towns no one has ever heard of or had a margarita in. Here’s the kicker, my parents and I are American as apple pie. Interestingly enough, that last part usually pisses people off.

When some folks hear me say I also consider myself Mexican, their indignation becomes instantly apparent. I can almost see the rage spark deep within their pupils once my words register. “Either you’re American or you’re Mexican; you can’t have it both ways,” they inform me. What they don’t know is that I can have it both ways because I am, in fact, both.

Sometimes when people look at me, they see an outsider, a toilet scrubber, a servant, cheap labor, the enemy. Those people don’t see an American. Oftentimes, I haven’t even gotten a word out before those same people start making some serious judgment calls about things like my character or ability to understand multisyllabic words. I live proudly with that reality. I say “proudly” because I take great pride in my Mexican heritage and dealing with those kinds of assumptions is a part of being a Mexican-American. It's annoying, insulting and hurtful, but my heritage means a lot to me. In fact, I find it odd to refer to my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends living in Mexico as part of some far-away heritage. They are part of my now--my reality. My family didn’t get on some Mayflower hundreds of years ago in search of the promise land because we didn't need to. We were already here. We're not outsiders and we've been "Americans" far longer than you.

Old Mexico Lives On – The Economist via Business Insider

Racism is awful stuff. In case you hadn’t noticed, it just made me fly into full Internet Rant Mode while attempting to compile the Monday news links for you. So, instead giving you your first News Links post of 2016, I give you just one news link, an infographic and this rant. I’m sorry.

Where White People Meet

Hopefully, we can at least agree that racism is bullshit, because that’s the easy part. Deciding what actually constitutes racism appears to be much more involved. To be clear, creating  a dating site designed for white folks to meet and hook up with other white folks, is not racist.

Founder of White People Meet: Don’t call me racist, ‘I dated a black woman once’ – The Washington Post

JDate, the dating website for Jewish singles isn’t racist and never was, right? Latinos have Amigos.com, Indians have DesiCrush.com and Black people have BlackCupid.com yet none of those are considered racist. If it’s not racist for us, then it’s not racist for them. WhitePeopleMeet.com may sound like the place to go if you need directions to the Aryan Nation, but in reality it’s just another map to pound town.

Christmas is Over

Image Source: Portlandia Tumblr Despite the fact that we still have one more holiday to go before “the holidays” officially come to a close. I think it’s safe to say that Christmas is most certainly over. People might still have their trees and twinkle lights up (Guilty!), but the most wonderful time of the year has ended. If you require confirmation of that sad reality, look no further.

Today, a grand jury decided not to bring charges against the cop who gunned down a twelve year old kid. For the record, Tamir Rice didn’t get his grand jury. What he got was a speedy trial and an execution by a skiddish cop with an itchy trigger finger. Remember that, because whatever argument you just formulated in your head, about the myriad ways I’m wrong, doesn’t matter. That kid’s dead, and the guy who killed him won’t even have to go on trial to prove what he did was a mistake.

A grand jury stopping just short of accountability isn’t an oversight, it’s obscene. Timothy J. McGinty, Cuyahoga County prosecutor, called the events that lead to Tamir’s death “a perfect storm of human error.” To Mr. McGinty I say, no sir. Those events were a tragedy, and this most recent development is a blatant example of police impunity and disregard for human life.

The person who called the cops on Tamir Rice specifically mentioned that he appeared to be a juvenile and indicated that they thought the gun was probably fake. Even though the 911 operator who took that call neglected to pass this information on to the cops, it should be noted. If that caller could see that Tamir Rice was just a kid, likely waving around a toy gun, then the police--who are trained at spotting and handling crimes--should have been able to discern that as well.

Image Source: Family Photo of Tamir Rice via the New York Times

What it comes down to is this: If you scare easily and you’ve got an itchy trigger finger, you should not be a police officer. You are not doing your job well when you kill innocent children. Finally, any system (i.e. grand jury) which lets cops like these off the hook, without so much as an indictment, is just as culpable as the cops themselves.

Cleveland Officer Will Not Face Charges in Tamir Rice Shooting Death – nytimes.com

What Ever Happened to that War on Terror?

Last Friday (November 27th) Robert Lewis Dear terrorized a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. He killed one police officer and two civilians. He was taken into custody alive and unhurt. That last part still blows my mind considering that people like Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner all ended up dead without so much as laying a hand on a cop. Robert L. Dear Jr., in a court appearance via video on Monday at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center in Colorado Springs. Credit Pool photo by Daniel Owen

I wasn’t sure what to say about the Planned Parenthood shooting because it’s become part of our American routine. Folks shoot up public places, we’re distraught for a day or maybe even a week and then we forget. It happens on a regular basis and much commentary is spewed and debated in the wake of these crimes. What's left to say that hasn’t been said before? I had nothing until I saw the clip below.

As Larry Wilmore so eloquently put it, Robert Lewis Dear isn’t the only one with blood on his hands. Wilmore is absolutely correct when he insinuates that intentionally misleading news outlets should share in the blood spatter. I couldn’t agree more and if you’re doubting me, watch this clip and formulate your argument.

Those of us that get our news from various sources and who like to verify what we’ve heard, knew from the start that Planned Parenthood was never dealing in black market baby parts. The educated among us understand that Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides women’s health care to the underserved. Planned Parenthood isn’t Abortion, Inc.

I went to Planned Parenthood, but it wasn't for an abortion - sheknows.com

What Robert Lewis Dear did was attack our freedom. Dear terrorized many, killed three and left nine others injured in his wake. Dear is a domestic terrorist and should be treated as such. Anything less would be an insult to the American way, much like every word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.

Before I go, I have some questions for Dear and for the other domestic terrorists that take lives and wreak havoc on innocent people:

Why do white dudes feel compelled to shoot up public places so often? What is wrong with y’all? I don’t know what’s going on with your kind, but it is officially time to ask for help. You guys have a problem. You can’t stop. Admit it. Look at the news; it’s almost always people that look just like you. Why do you hate freedom? Why must you terrorize your fellow Americans? It’s contrary to everything this great nation stands for and you should know that better than anyone because you benefit most from the American system.

Adam Lanza – biography.com

Dylann Roof – thedailybeast.com

James Holmes – biography.com

Jared Lee Loughner – biography

If that last paragraph up there sounds polarizing and somewhat offensive that’s because it is. It’s pretty shitty to have to bear the burden of your entire ethnicity's bad reputation, isn’t it? Think about that the next time you expect all Muslims to repent for the “sins” of a few or when you treat a Latino like a servant because you’re assuming his accent makes him an “illegal.”

There’s nothing left to say. There are no comforting words to pass on because this will happen again. That’s not pessimism, that’s reality. I thought a classroom full of dead kindergarteners would make a difference, but it didn’t--the shootings just kept coming. I’ve got nothing for you now but this mirror I’m holding up, which I refuse to put down.

Author lists on Twitter all the ‘acts of terrorism’ she lived through as a Planned Parenthood worker – rawstory.com

It's Alive

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote about how chivalry was dead. At the time, I declared us women responsible for that death. It was our fault. We were the ones that had stabbed it to death. We let the blood drain from its body and we watched as it went cold and stiff with the void. I tried looking up that old blog, but I forgot how to log into that online account. Then I remembered having archived all those old posts in a Word document somewhere. I searched for that file, but came away empty-handed. I looked in my computer, old social media profiles, ancient emails and my external hard drive. I even checked my cloud and found nothing. I got nothing. I looked for so long I forgot where I was going with this whole thing, and so I stopped. Instead of desperately typing key words into Finder for another hour, I’ll just get on with it.

Image Source: Phish.net

Chivalry isn’t dead. That old post was wrong. I was wrong. I’m an idiot, and I’m glad I grew out of that mindset. Don't worry; there are still people out there who are thoughtful, courteous, generous and charming. The knights of the chivalrous army exist and they’re here to remind us that some folks still have an enviable sophistication to them.

Today, I don't even define chivalry as a uniquely masculine concept. It's 2015 and women can be chivalrous too. We were born to be chivalrous. We’re expected to be polite, courteous and gracious the moment we shoot from the womb. Modern-day chivalry is unisex and rare.

Google defines it as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 9.04.51 PM

You’ll notice, nowhere in the above definition does it say “complimentary.” It’s not implied, listed or even mentioned. From what I gather, the men of this medieval knightly system did not appear obligated to give women compliments. What they were required to do was be gracious.

Compliments aren’t part of a noble code of conduct. They’re nice things we say about and to one another. They’re tricky and they aren’t usually invited. That’s not to say they’re all unwanted. It just means that folks don’t usually ask for them outright. They can be many things including alluring, charming, distracting and even creepy. And, when you’re working with a real peach of a person, they’re backhanded.

Despite the fact that chivalry and compliments are two very different things, I’ve heard many folks insist that by bluntly rejecting compliments, women are single-handedly killing chivalry. As mentioned, I used to be one of those people. I have since learned that sometimes giving a compliment is the least chivalrous thing one can do.

The ladies know what I’m talking about, but I must say, I did feel that collective masculine eye roll just now.

Image Source: lillythelengend.com

Last month Charlotte Proudman called out a LinkedIn connection for creepily commenting on her looks after accepting her request to connect.

Proudman told Alexander Carter-Silk, in no uncertain terms, that she’d been offended by his message. Yeah, she may have gone a tad overboard rebuffing his remarks, but she definitely got her point across.

When I shared this story with my husband, I told him I agreed with Proudman. The moment I said that, he shot me a pointed look, which seemed to ask if I’d lost my damn mind. My jaw hit the floor in disbelief the moment I caught sight of his reaction.

“Does that mean I shouldn’t compliment you anymore, since compliments are sexist now?” my husband asked. “That’s not what I meant,” I replied. Irritated, he snapped, “Christ! Chivalry is dead.”

I'd shared this same article on social media previously and had gotten the same kind of response from other folks. Lots of people saw Proudman's behavior as evidence that chivalry was either dead or dying. Even I used to think bitchy women coming down on nice guys for giving them compliments, was actively contributing to chivalry’s demise. Who was I to judge, right? Well, I’m older and wiser now and I’m Jane motherfucking Smith, that's who.

First of all, chivalry does not specifically involve giving compliments. I believe I’ve already established that. Second, it’s not so much that these compliments aren’t welcome. A beautiful, well-timed compliment is a work of art and always appreciated.

But alas, you are not Jack Nicholson, I am not Helen Hunt and this is not As Good as It Gets.

The actual problem is that people expect women to be grateful that someone found us (or one of our body parts) attractive enough to comment on openly. Did my careful wording fail me? This is probably one of those instances where it’s better to be direct, so let me rephrase.

What the fuck do I care what you think of my physical appearance? Better yet, what do any of us care what you think of our faces, lips, legs, ass, tits, eyes, profile pictures, hair cuts, outfits, etc.?

That's harsh. I know; I totally just pulled a Proudman. However, it has to be harsh because people are harsh. As women, we’re not usually running into positive, life-altering compliments like the one in the video above. Oh no, my friend. Most of the time we’re getting told what people would like to do to us. Other times strangers critique specific body parts. And sometimes we’re being told we’re ugly or unfukcable. None of it is welcome or appreciated. What’s more, oftentimes the “compliments” come out of left field, at inappropriate times and in inappropriate settings such as LinkedIn.

Chivalry isn’t dead; it’s just misunderstood. The next time you want to grace some woman with your uninvited judgment of her physical appearance, ask yourself first if the chivalrous thing to do would be to keep your trap shut.

 

Note to husbands, boyfriends, manfriends, etc.: 

Compliment your woman. If you're already together, timing isn't really an issue for you. This is not some feminist double-edged sword to use as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Be sincere and don’t be a dick. Chicks dig that.

Expect Respect

People online really enjoy calling Nicki Minaj a whore. A lot of these folks don't approve of her being hypersexual. They don't like that her lyrics are vulgar and they certainly don't appreciate that her videos are about as steamy as soft-core porn.  I suppose I can understand the disapproval. Not everyone likes the same things, but why should this disapproval make her a whore? How does it convert her into trash that we’re supposed to despise? It's OK if you don't have any answers for me because I asked the Internet and this is what they told me. Yesterday while floating around social media, I came across this post in my Facebook feed:

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 7.50.50 PM

Photos Of Nicki Minaj's Wax Figure Being Defiled Are Anything But Funny – refinery29.com

For those of you unwilling to click the above, I’ll summarize the Refinery 29 post because I’m a giver and I respect you even if you’re too lazy to click the link and read it your damn self.

Apparently some folks took it upon themselves to pose suggestively with Nicki Minaj’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds. In the spirit of keeping it real, I’ll be honest. The pictures are kind of funny. The image of the guy pretending to do the wax figure doggy style (with a fist full of its hair wrapped around his hand) goes a bit too far, but I chuckled when I saw that one too.

To be completely clear, the pictures folks posted of themselves with Minaj’s figure didn’t really offend me. The way people reacted to the Refinery 29 post did.

The first commenter implied that Madame Tussauds could have depicted Minaj in a less suggestive pose. I hear ya, girl and so does Azalea Banks. The next person said this was the classiest pose they’ve ever seen Nicki Minaj in. After that one, the comments snowballed into an avalanche of hate. Eventually people began to righteously declare that if Nicki wanted respect she shouldn’t have put herself out there so suggestively. In essence, folks were pointing fingers at Minaj. Apparently this was all her fault. Nicki is the one who wears next to nothing in her videos. She’s the one crawling around on all fours. She’s the one with lyrics about anal sex and drug dealers. Why should anyone respect that?

If you’re nodding in agreement, fuck you. Go away. I’ve got nothing more to say to you. If you’re wondering where the hell I’m going with this, take my hand and let’s dive in together.

Minaj makes it a point to objectify herself and she does so spectacularly. In fact, she’s so good at it that it’s helped her break records, glass ceilings and make millions. To me, this makes her a savvy businesswoman, just like Kim Kardashian.

I can feel the disgust oozing from your face right now, but hear me out.

Women are objectified all day, every day in order to make a buck, right? I’m not saying it’s wrong or right. I’m just stating a fact. If you don’t believe me, here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

Dolce & Gabanna

Image Source: Suit Supply

Image Source: Suit Supply

This sort of imagery isn’t an uncommon sight when you flip through the pages of magazines. As a matter of fact, this brand of objectification is pretty standard, wouldn’t you agree?

My only question now is, why is it OK for big companies, fashion houses, and burger chains to utilize women’s bodies to make money, but it’s not OK when a woman does the exact same thing utilizing her own image? Minaj is a pop star. This woman’s sexuality was going to be used to sell records, that’s a given, but because she owns it like a boss, she’s trash? Kim Kardashian made a sex tape and became famous. Instead of hiding in shame, she flaunts the body that brought her success. She’s also built a million-dollar empire, helped develop her own $200 million app, built a globally recognized brand and is, for all intents and purposes, a social media icon. However, because we’ve seen her sex tape, naked ass and titties, we label her a do-nothing whore.

I can't comprehend that because no one runs around telling men they're whores when they pose nude…

Image Source:@justinbieber via Instagram

Image Source: OK Magazine

Or otherwise profit from their sexuality.

Image Source: The Berry via Giphy

Nevertheless, we almost always do it to women. Why?

I suppose what I’m getting at is that owning one’s sexuality doesn't have to look any one way in particular. What's trashy to one person might not be to another. Sure, Nicki Minaj’s lyrics are as sexualized as her image, but that doesn't make her a whore. After all, DMX barked and growled in almost all of his songs and that didn't make him a pit bull.

So to all the folks that spent all day attempting to explain to me why Nicki Minaj doesn't deserve respect, I only have one thing to say to you. We should all expect respect, always, no matter what we wear or don't.

No Personal Attacks

Image Source: Schoklee I have a “no personal attacks” rule that I try to stick to on the Internet and it fucking sucks. I think this actually might be why I curse so much right now. You see, long ago I used to be one of those “tell it like it is” people. Way back when, on *MySpace, I even documented this inability to argue without attacking, in my blog. This incarnation of me would bust in guns blazing, on all manner of occasions. It was too much, it was superficial and it was annoying. Sure, it was kind of funny, but almost always at someone else’s expense.

It didn’t really matter that I was insulting people in the news or that I knew in real life, either. I just wrote the first thoughts that came into my mind when reacting to something I’d read or experienced. Granted, I’d take the time to write the stories out the best I could. I worked to make them read well, make sense, and provoke reactions. All I wanted to do was make people laugh, so I figured no harm, no foul.

Welp, I was wrong. I realize now that what I was doing was feeding into the troll mentality. When you add your voice to the ether and you give it a troll’s intonation, you’re broadcasting that it’s OK to be somewhat verbally abusive. Being mean is acceptable, so long as there’s a punch line or a point. That's not to say that I’m clutching pearls over here. I realize that in comedy, people make fun of things all the time. I get it; that’s comedy, that’s comedy writing. Comments on the Internet, however, are not the same goddamn thing.

Image Source: No, YOU’RE out of order!!!

I used to work in an open office. What that means is that there are no walls separating employees. No one has a real office and there are no doors. We were to see one another as equals, not rungs on some metaphorical ladder. Even the conference rooms were made of glass. Transparency was for everyone in this office and it was horrifying. It took a while, but eventually I got over the fact that everyone could hear and see me at all times. Looking back, I’m unsure as to why I was so uncomfortable with this setting. After all, I’m an Internet nerd. This is where I live, and here, you’re always being watched, especially when you make comments on posts.

Back at this open-office gig, my colleagues and I would take great delight in peering awkwardly into conference rooms. We liked to do this whenever we caught our friends looking up from an infinitely boring meeting that was running predictably long. If we could get them to laugh quietly to themselves, we’d consider it a win. If they LOL-ed we’d scurry away, so we wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire of disapproving glances of objection, shot amongst the Big Dogs in the room.

Similarly, we’re all watching when your comment appears beneath a news article or some media outlet’s Facebook post. Most people won’t care about what you’re saying, some will agree, and lots will be combative. Think of comments more like conversations you’re having with other human beings in conference rooms with glass walls, because that’s essentially what they are.

Image Source: mofowithclass.tumblr.com

The best part about working in an office with transparent conference rooms? Whenever two people would take their heated conversations into one of those spaces and proceed to have it out. Granted, this was an important office and these were all important people--not me, everyone else--so they almost always maintained decorum. Those of us on the outside, though, we all knew how to read the reactions. Every eye roll, shrug, and darting glance registered. We could plainly see when things were spinning out of control.  Watching those "meetings" crash & burn was an office perk on the level of the free catered food. In addition to free office food, everyone likes a good soap opera, even fancy people in fancy clothes, doing fancy business.

What I’m getting at is that your comment wars are the soap operas of the Internet, guys. Everyone’s watching. Do you really want to be the irrational asshole that can’t get their argument straight and who devolved into a pile of personal attacks within the first two exchanges?

Image Source: professorx.tumblr

No one wants to be the raving lunatic because no one listens to crazy. Sure, you can verbally spar with some nimrod that’s either baiting you into it or completely oblivious, but where's the point in that? After it’s over, all you’ll have left is a record of how easily you can lose your cool, available online. It'll be there forever unless you delete it, but that would just make you a coward. So you see, you’re screwed either way.

This is not to say that posting jerk remarks will be easy to avoid. Spewing personal attacks at complete strangers is easy, especially when they don’t agree with what you’re trying to get across. As a matter of fact, nothing feels simpler when you’re sitting safely behind a keyboard and glowing screen. It can also be fun, I know. It’s exciting to fling out a burn at some asshole that’s just attempted to shut you down. Sometimes, it can even feel downright exhilarating to shut somebody up in no uncertain terms, but save your energy instead.

What good is it to shut the bad guy down if you become the asshole in the process? What are you, Donald Trump? You don’t wanna be Trump. I don’t even think Trump wants to be Trump. Sure the money must be nice, but let's be real for a minute here; no one gets that bitter by living a happy and fulfilling life.

Besides, insults are the easy way out. They’re the smoke bombs of the Internet. You fling a little mud, you distract from the conversation, and you’re out. It doesn’t matter what you were saying prior to that moment. Your views could have been valid or thought provoking, but you've just nullified all of that with a personal attack. You are now the troll and you know what they say about trolls: Online Trolls are literally losers according to study – wmur.com

Ultimately, you’re going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person and they’re either going to ruin your day, or you’re going to regret something you've said. Trust me. You will go entirely too far one day and the world will be just outside your glass conference room, watching as you crash and burn. Hell, I’ll probably be in the stands. Don't worry. I’ll let out a loud “woooooooooooo,” so you know it’s me.

Image Source: Reddit

I’m going to be honest with you. When someone shoots you down, it’s going to hurt. The takedown wont feel good, but the burns will heal. Contrastingly, when you’ve said something you regret, it sticks around much longer. It can ruin friendships and even jobs and you won’t even have made your point because, as I said earlier, no one listens to crazy.

If your objective online is just to harass people, you’re a miserable dick, plain and simple. (That’s not trolling, that’s just me being my usual abrasive and direct self.) Alternatively, if your objective is to actually connect with people, discuss issues, and gain perspective, then you might want to consider laying off the insults.

It bears mentioning that while it’s true that we should never feed the trolls, there’s nothing wrong with refuting their nonsense before exiting the show. No, there will be no winning, but someone will come along after you’ve gone, they’ll read your response, and they’ll know to ignore that idiot too. If someone disrespects you, address it if necessary, but tread ever so deftly. The battle for the Internet rages in every comment section, every day and we all become warriors the moment we toss our words into the ring. And Finally, here's my plea: Get on the good side and help us crush the bitter net of the 90s because if Skynet doesn’t get us, the asshole trolls will.

**

*Oh hell yes! Call me old like you think it’s gonna matter. I’ve survived enough close calls to appreciate being given time. Perspective, bitches.

**No, the irony of using a Mel Gibson clip in a post about not being a dick to people, is not lost on me.

Dirty Little Secret

A Story by Dawn Del Sontro

NE HikingImage Source: Herb Swanson via Discover New England 

 “Don’t touch that!” he shrieked at me his frightened voice many octaves higher than my normal voice. I barely managed to refrain from laughing at his terror and tried to avoid looking at him as I busied myself by brushing at the wet leaves stuck to my knees and shins.

“Oh, God Troy, don’t be such a baby,” I told him. I turned my back away from where he cowered and hunched down to inspect what we’d found on our adventure in the woods. He’d brought me, the resident school nerd and well-rounded dork, out here to do dirty things to me so that no one would know that he liked me. When I say liked me, I mean liked to have crazy naughty sex with me because I let him do things to me…and did things to him…things that his perfect little girlfriend wouldn’t ever do in her lifetime.

I felt him behind me, his legs almost touching my back as he cautiously approached me. He shivered but not from being cold. It was a nice autumn day. I hid my face so as not to let him see me trying to stifle my laughter at his fear.

“Don’t poke at it!” he shrieked again. God, what a sissy!

“You are such a wuss.” Again I poked the bloody covered clump of…something…with a stick. It’s not what I’d expected to see. I leaned close to try to figure out exactly what I was looking at.

It was a huge chunk of what looked like raw prime rib, the ends jagged and mangled like ground beef.

“It looks like…a part of a leg or an arm,” he whispered, beside me now, finally building up enough courage to crouch beside me, he leaned close enough to me that I could feel his hot minty breath on my face.

His stink of his breath and his tangible terror annoyed me that I needed to move away from him before I couldn’t stop myself from slapping him in the face.  After I could breath without the smell of gum, I poked at it again. He was right. It was a thick section a thigh, about six inches of flesh, muscle and bone. Eerily resembling a rib eye steak, only made out human instead of, you know, a different kind of animal.

The slab was covered with dried blood, leaves, dirt, and grass. We wouldn’t have seen it except for the fact that we were lying almost right on top of it. I was busy with other things when Mr. Football Star screamed, jerked away and almost lost his dick as my surprise changed my mouth from soft and sweet to shock and teeth.

“We need to go and, um…tell someone,” he whispered. I stifled my snorting laugh.

“Why are you whispering?” My voice was loud in the silence of the woods. It’s like all the animals and birds were holding their breath for something.

“Shhhh!”

“Why? What’s going to happen? We wake up the chunk of meat and have it scold us?”

He looked at me with his mouth open, eyes wide, shocked at my flippant words. “God, Sara, you are so fucking strange.”

“Strange? I’m not strange enough that you won’t fuck me now am I?” I snapped at him. “Your little hot girlfriend would be so disappointed with you before she moved on to the next football player.”

He turned away to look back at the meat, but he didn’t deny my words. My anger came fast. I knew this was our relationship when we started. This is exactly what I had wanted but up until now I hadn’t realized that I cared as much as I did. Since he’d started dating her, I was just something he used when she was too busy for him. I was the smart freak that let him do things that the sweet innocent preacher’s daughter wouldn’t.

I stood quickly, my vision darkening for just a moment as my head adjusted to the change in height and my burst of fury. My fists clenched, the stick digging into my hand.

He followed more slowly, stepping back a little to give me room or maybe to move away from the thigh.

“Hey, listen. Don’t be mad. It’s just that, well you know. You didn’t want anyone to know about me either and now with Kimberlee around…well, you know how it is.”

He was right about me not wanting to be seen with him but not for the reason he thought. When we’d first gotten together I felt like his special secret, now I didn’t feel special. I just felt dirty.

Had he made any effort to treat me like a person I might have thought a little better of him and changed my mind. The past five minutes just solidified my opinion of him and cemented my decision.

Kimberlee. God, I hated her. I hated her blonde hair, too white smile and pretentious way of telling everyone that she was not Kim, but Kim-BER-LEE. Kim (poke me on the nose) BER (poke on the forehead) LEE (her high-pitched laughter as she walked away).

Obsessed Image Source: Giphy

             When I didn’t say anything he pulled his phone from his back pocket, dialed, frowned, and walked away from me. Signal strength out here was horrible. I should know since I searched for hours for this particular spot. A girl doesn’t want an unwanted call when she’s misbehaving with the local football hero. It’s a horrible mood breaker. Today, it would have ruined everything.

“No luck?” I asked innocently, actually batting my eyelashes at him for effect. He missed my effort of playing helpless damsel in distress, shook his head at my question and tried again.

With no connection, he snapped the phone shut and turned to me, “Let’s hike back to the road, I’ll keep trying and you keep track of where the…uh…that…is.”

I didn’t reply, but looked at my watch. A snap and crunch of leaves behind me made me smile.

Perfect timing. Troy jumped and spun to look to the direction of the sound, his phone held in front of him like some kind of a pathetic weapon.

His eyes widened in surprise before his shoulders relaxed and his hands dropped to his sides.

“Fuck, Luke. You scared the shit out of me. What the hell are you doing out here?” He let out a deep sigh and then suddenly tensed up again when he realized that he’d just been caught with his pants down, with the school freak. He looked from me to Luke and back to me again. He opened his mouth to speak, but Luke beat him to it.

“What the hell are you doing out here with Science Sara?” Luke didn’t bother to look at me and I ignored him. Science Sara. Better than an over-pronounced name for a Barbie.

“Uh, well, see…DUDE, we found a body part!” Tory shouted pointing at the mess a few feet away. He looked happy to have something to pull his teammate’s attention from me.

Too bad Luke was more interested in the two of us. “A body part? Like your dick, man?” Luke asked and then laughed at his own joke.

Troy let out an uncomfortable chuckle before realizing that after we made our discovery, he’d never paused to zip up. He hastily fastened his pants.

I walked to my discarded backpack and unzipped it before walking past Troy. He didn’t even try to stop me. No “Sara, wait, let me walk with you.” No “We just found a body part, it might not be safe out here.” He just let me go. Discarded me without a second thought or moment of hesitation.

It wasn’t until Luke said “So, how’s Kimberlee?” did I stop to turn.

Troy bent his head in shame and cleared his throat. He didn’t get to answer the question because I seized that moment to pull my knife from my pack and shove it into his back as far as I could.

Poetic justice really. He stabs his friends in the back, so that was the best he deserved.

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            Poor Troy fell to his knees with a gasp of pain and a hoarse cry. He reached forward to his friend, his raspy voice pleading almost to soft to hear, “Help me.”

Luke came forward, still ignoring me, and grabbed his friend’s hand. With his free hand he reached around and grasped the knife, shoving it in even further. Blood bubbled from Troy’s mouth, his hands white-knuckled clutched at Luke’s hand.

With a laugh Luke yanked his hand free and shoved Troy to the ground. Then Luke held out his hand to me and smiled. I put my bloody hand in his and smiled. His pressed his lips to mine. I leaned in and tried to wrap myself around him, through him. His arms engulfed me, crushing me against him. The smell of his skin mixed with the scent of warm blood made me crave him.

Being in his arms made me remember why Troy had stopped being useful to me.

“Wait Sara,” he said against my lips. “We need to finish this,” he motioned at Troy, “before we get carried away.”

I nodded and extracted myself from his arms. The breathy groans from the ground drew my attention. “Still alive?” I asked, mildly surprised.

“Wow. I’m impressed. Kim died almost immediately,” Luke said.

“Don’t you mean Kim-ber-lee?” I enunciated each syllable to in a manner so Kimberlee like that I actually annoyed myself a little. “And speaking of the dead bitch, you were supposed to leave something a little more human looking. That slab of her thigh, that was pretty obscure,” I scolded.

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 Luke smiled sheepishly. “Sorry about that. I was going to bring a hand or foot or something, but I ran out of time. I got stuck at work and then my mom made me help her. I grabbed whatever I could find.”

I sighed but let it go. At least he had a good excuse. “That’s ok. He still freaked out once he realized that it was human. You should have heard him scream.” As we laughed Luke pulled my pack from my hands and placed it gently on the ground.

He yanked it open and pulled out my knives and handsaw. “Let’s see if we can get him to scream like that again,” he said as I looked into the quarterback’s eyes.

I picked up saw and turned it on for dramatic effect and held it so Troy could see it spin, it’s blade a blur but still stained with good old Kim-ber-lee’s blood. “Do you want to start or should I?” I asked.

Luke didn’t hesitate. “You. He’s been fucking you more ways than one. All he did to me was take my girlfriend.”

I smiled, “That gives me an idea.” Then I lowered the saw to Troy’s groin.

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