Idol Prize Fight | Week 7 | ~1200 words
I'd known Marcy Jacobs since I was eleven years old. We hadn't killed each other yet but there was a first time for everything, so no promises. Maybe later tonight? Right now, it was only nine o'clock.
And we were hiding in the bushes outside an apartment building like a pair of Peeping Toms.
"This is a terrible idea," I said. "What are you hoping to gain here?"
"Ammunition," Marcy whispered.
"Oh, come on. You could always let it go…"
"Hah!" she said.
A dog barked somewhere close by. "Shhh!"
"You shhh!" she said, jabbing me with her elbow. "You're the one that's talking…"
"Talking, but not yelling," I hissed.
"Will you shut up!"
Tonight was a fairly typical Marcy-type excursion: semi-crazy and under-planned, with a non-zero chance of getting into trouble. But for Marcy, it was all justified in the name of revenge.
Specifically, revenge for Barry Bickle's pronouncement that Marcy was very much Not All That. Those were the words Marcy used, anyway—I wasn't saying they were good ones. Also, Barry Bickle was a total jerk.
The bushes were scratching my arms. "How much longer are we going to wait here? I have class in the morning."
"He can't stay out forever," Marcy said.
"But as soon as he comes home, he'll probably shut the drapes, so we won't be able to see anything anyway."
I could practically feel Marcy pouting. "Maybe. I guess we should be doing this in daylight…" she said.
We edged back out of the bushes and walked home.
The next day, we met up outside a Starbucks on the edge of campus. We were both dressed for spy work, aka trying not to look like ourselves. Unfortunately, Marcy's idea of a disguise was big sunglasses, a pink baseball cap, and a ponytail. She still looked exactly like Marcy, partly because half of what she owned was pink. Marcy was many things, but subtle was not one of them.
"At least hide your hair," I said.
"I look terrible with short hair," Marcy said. "He already insulted me once—I'm not going to run around looking ugly for him."
"Fine," I said.
"I mean, if you want to keep channeling your inner lumberjack, Linda, go right ahead."
"Shut up! At least I'm trying to look different."
Marcy shrugged. "Barry never pays attention to anyone but himself. He won't see us."
"Well if that's true, why do you care what he says about you? You hardly even dated him."
Marcy used the reflection from a store window to put on lip gloss, then practiced looking mysterious. "I care that other people listen to him…"
We split up and went to our first location separately. Courtesy of one of Marcy's roommates, we knew that Barry liked to go to the Quad on Tuesdays and Thursdays after class to hang out with some of the other business majors. Most of them were preppy-looking assholes who had wet dreams about short sales and IPOs, and called each other 'dude.'
I got there first and sat at a table in the shade, pulling out a pen and notepad and pretending to work. Marcy slipped in a few minutes later, nearly giving me a giggle fit when she sneaked her way through the landscaping to hide behind a tree like Mata Hari moving through enemy territory. A few seconds later, I got a text.
Linda loo! Your boyfriend from freshman econ is here.
Dont call me that. And he wasnt my bf, I replied, while in reality I was already trying to catch a glimpse of Steve Evans, the unrequited center of the first six months of my college universe. There, at the edge of the fountain! God, still so cute… I'd never really gotten over him, I'd just basically given up.
Mindy moo! Focus! Marcy texted.
"Hey!" I said out loud. Oh, great, way to be stealthy.
U want to do this on ur own? Cuz I have other places 2b, I texted back. I still questioned the wisdom of this plan. I mean, Marcy had way more experience with boys than I did, but I didn't think spying on Barry was the best way to deal with this particular problem. We already knew he was a jerk and that he didn't care, so what could we do to him?
I went with you and held your hand last week while you chopped your hair off, Marcy texted.
Mistake!!! I look lk a disney duck
I warned you. Oh- he's here.
I looked up. Yeah, there was Barry, coming out of the student union with a couple of his buds. I had no idea what Marcy ever saw in him. He wasn't even that cute.
One of Barry's friends leaned over and said something to him, and Barry immediately turned and looked right at Marcy.
Oh, crap! I thought.
"Seriously?" Barry said loudly. "What, are you spying on me now? I'll bet your weird friend is around here somewhere, too."
Marcy stiffened, and then looked off to the side as if she was searching for someone. I couldn't hear what she said, but her body language was trying for casual and not doing a bad job of it.
"Yeah, right!" Barry's friend said, just as Marcy flashed a huge smile and rushed over to a guy from her English Lit class.
Ooh, lucky break—the guy totally had a crush on her and he was pretty laid back, so he didn't even blink when she grabbed his arm. Smooth getaway.
Barry frowned and shook his head, but he turned away slowly and started walking again.
Then he spotted me.
"Hold up." He came striding over, his friends hustling after him. "You!" he said.
"What." I tried to look bored.
"I knew it. You and Marcy are on one of your little missions."
"Is she here?" I asked, looking around nonchalantly. "Well, it doesn't matter, I've got homework."
"Riiiiight." Barry snatched my notepad off the table. "These squiggles here—those'll rock your GPA sky high."
Great. I couldn't wiggle out of this. How could I make it less bad than it already was? I decided to fall on my sword.
"This is all on me," I said. "Marcy couldn't care less what you and these other 'Chads' are up to, but I don't like it when people insult my friends."
Barry rolled his eyes. "Like she's so special."
I glared at him and grabbed my notepad back and stuffed it in my backpack. "She's loyal and she's never boring, and frankly, she can do a lot better than you."
"Please," Barry said. "She's cute and all, but Planet Marcy is a pretty strange place. And the weird-friend factor doesn't help."
I got up slowly and pulled my backpack over my shoulder, glancing at the pathetic assortment of polo shirts and hair product surrounding me. "At least her friends are real."
"Lame," one of Barry's friends snorted as I started to walk away. I turned and gave them all a pitying smile.
"Dude," I added and kept walking.
I probably looked like an idiot and our spy mission was a total failure, but I'd laid down some insults and possibly even planted a few festering seeds of doubt.
I think Marcy would have been proud.
(Linda and Marcy first appeared in an earlier Idol story back in 2013)
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