(While mingling backstage during college plays, I would have everyone gather around or sit on my lap as I told these stories called “Two Weeks Later”. They were called that because all of them ended with someone dying two weeks later but you never knew who it would be. All of them were very politically incorrect and what I would call “so dark it’s funny”. I never wrote them down and I mostly made them up as I told them so I don’t remember most of them, but I still get comments now and then from people that enjoyed my “Two Weeks Later” stories. I got a few of those comments this week so here’s one of the stories I remember and I have to warn you that these stories are long.)
It was mid September in the year 2006, in the city of Kokomo, Indiana. Jeff had recently turned 14 and entered the 8th grade. He was destined to be a future homecoming king and football star, his future was perfectly aligned to receive all of the wonderful perks that childhood popularity provides. It was lunchtime and Jeff was sitting at the popular table where stories of exotic and pricey summer vacations were told, and innocent young sexual glances were shot back and forth across the table like a pinball game. The popular lunch table almost glowed from the bright futures of every young person sitting at it.
On the outskirts of the lunchroom, Rocky was sitting at a lunch table that didn’t shine so bright, if it even shined at all. This isolated table was often rumbling with unwarranted grunts, drooling lips, and thousand yard stares. At the moment the table was in an uproar over the rightful ownership of a loose Animal Cracker that had fallen out of Francine the Forehead’s mouth and landed in Nurp-Nurp Nate’s applesauce. Rocky reached for the cracker himself but he was quickly scolded with a snort and an attempted bite from Peanut Butter Paul. Rocky may have been lacking in the smarts department but Peanut Butter Paul was pants-on-head crazy. This all made for a common lunch period at Rocky’s table, because it was the Special Education table.
Sitting next to Rocky was his best friend in the entire world, Barnaby Swandance. Barnaby Swandance had been Rocky’s best friend since Rocky was 2 years old. He went everywhere with Rocky and Rocky always kept a seat next to him empty so Barnaby Swandance could sit with him. Rocky had to constantly grumble loud warning noises for people not to sit in Barnaby Swandance’s spot as well as warn them to not sit on Barnaby Swandance, because Barnaby Swandance was invisible to everyone but Rocky. In Rocky’s malformed mind Barnaby Swandance’s name was as clear as day, but the rest of the world knew his invisible friend as “Jarwock Fleep” because of the way Rocky pronounced it.
Everyone in the school knew to steer clear of the empty seat next to Rocky. The students did this partly out of respect for Rocky but mostly because Rocky was a 16-year-old 7th grader, about 6 foot 4, and weighed around 250. Rocky was a big boy and he lacked the ability to control his own strength.
On this day however, there was an unclaimed dare traveling around the popular table. The dare was to slam one’s lunch tray on the empty seat next to Rocky. To the popular kids it would be the simple act of making a loud noise by slamming an empty spot on a bench with a tray, but to Rocky it would be the assassination of the greatest rainbow colored alien fireman that he had ever known, it would be the death of Barnaby Swandance.
The dare made several trips around the table until everyone was staring at Jeff and his good friend Seth. Neither Seth nor Jeff wanted to do it, so it all came down to an arm wrestling match. The arm wrestling match was over before it started. Jeff was largely outmatched by Seth’s superior arm strength that had been developed through pitching for his summer baseball team and a hectic masturbation schedule forced upon him by recent puberty.
Jeff was already ashamed of what he was about to do, but he knew that he had no choice. In the 8th grade, being unable to insult or attack those that are lower in social status is a weakness that will leave the person wounded and cause them to be the prey of the popular kids that are not restrained by empathy. Jeff tried his best to hold a fake smile on his face while he slowly finished his lunch. Within 3 minutes, Jeff had taken the last bite of his tater tot casserole and was sitting in front of a lunch tray that was empty besides a scraped clean plate and an empty milk carton. Jeff continued to talk to those around him, hoping that the bell would ring before he was forced to murder Rocky’s dearest friend.
“Stop fucking being a pussy you fucking stupid pussy!” Seth chortled towards Jeff in his 8th grade lingo.
“Fuck dude, alright. I’m going man, just give me like a sec.” He replied.
Jeff stood up with his tray and looked around the lunchroom as he planned his prison movie-esque attack. He would walk directly to the trashcan, dump his milk carton, place his plate and silverware on the cleaning rack, but hold onto his tray and take the long walk around the right side of the room, where he would end up in the area known as the “Subderps”, where the Special Ed table was located. Jeff performed each of his preplanned actions and then found himself approaching Rocky and the empty spot on the bench next to him.
Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion to Jeff. He walked past the trailer park table, his eyes fixed on the empty seat. The entire weeaboo table stopped trading Pokemon cards to watch Jeff’s hesitant walk towards the Subderps. The static chatter of the lunchroom slowly quieted down as every student sensed that something mean and meaningless, but entertaining was about to happen.
Rocky turned his head and made eye contact with Jeff, but he was looking right through him. Jeff smiled and came to a stop at the right of Rocky, behind the empty space on the bench. With one swift move Jeff raised his empty tray above his head and then slapped it down as hard as he could on the empty bench space beside Rocky.
Rocky immediately looked to his right and saw Barnaby Swandance’s fireman’s hat shatter and then his head disappeared into his own body and the rest of him was smashed flat onto the bench. There was so much glowing rainbow blood everywhere; it was the most violent thing that Rocky had ever witnessed. In a fraction of a second Rocky’s entire soul was crushed and he shouted his beloved Barnaby Swandance’s name in anguish.
The lunchroom fell completely silent, and then it roared with laughter.
Rocky crouched over the pulverized corpse of Barnaby at a complete loss for words, though Rocky was always at a loss for words. He looked up at Jeff who was still standing there dumbstruck, holding the tray covered in invisible rainbow blood that had murdered his friend. Rocky stood up, towering over Jeff’s thin 5 foot 5 frame. All of the laughter stopped.
Rocky was absolutely livid. To this day, Amanda Kalhonik still swears that she saw actual smoke coming out of Rocky’s ears. Jeff was frozen in fear as Rocky grabbed Jeff’s head with his gigantic gorilla hands and in one awkward move he slammed him onto the ground, falling on top of him.
Rocky proceeded to pound Jeff’s face and chest with a potpourri of punches, slaps, and scratches. It took 3 handlers from the Special Ed department to pull Rocky off of Jeff and then they calmed him down with fish sticks and a Hershey’s bar. Jeff was sent to the school nurse where his minor wounds were treated and as soon as his nose stopped bleeding he was taken directly to the principal’s office.
Dr. Hinky was not happy to see Jeff in his office. Jeff began the argument saying that it was an accident, claiming that Rocky bumped into him and he dropped the tray on the bench as a result but Dr. Hinky wasn’t buying it. Eventually Jeff caved to Principal Hinky’s questioning and admitted that he was pressured into harming Rocky’s invisible friend. Jeff made a point to show that he was the only one that was injured and Rocky didn’t have a scratch on him but Dr. Hinky explained why Rocky could not be held accountable for his actions and he would not be punished. Principal Hinky understood the earth shattering weight of 8th grade peer pressure, but he had to punish Jeff to make sure that the uptown kids stayed out of the Subderps during lunchtime. So Jeff was sentenced to an immediate 3 day out of school suspension. Jeff’s parents were called and his father came to pick him up. Along with the suspension Jeff’s parents grounded him for an entire month, without allowance.
Jeff would spend a month in misery but Rocky had spiraled into a lifetime of lonely hell. Rocky had no one to sit next to him on the bus and discuss topics like the government’s discretionary spending or challenging each other to see who could look at the sun the longest. Rocky’s life was empty, but the space to his right was not. He no longer kept a seat open for Barnaby Swandance to sit in, because Barnaby was dead. Although students were now sitting next to Rocky on the bus and at the lunch table, he felt more isolated than ever.
Jeff spent his 3-day suspension playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and enjoyed the time in his bedroom more than he had expected. During the time alone in his bedroom, he realized how horrible he felt about what he had done to Rocky. He decided that once his suspension was finished, the following Monday he would take the bus to school so he could apologize to Rocky personally. He knew that Rocky had severe learning disabilities, but he was sure that all people could feel compassion and forgiveness, as those were instinctive emotions and not complex thoughts.
The following Monday, Jeff passed on his mother’s offer of a ride to school. Instead, Jeff walked to the nearest school bus stop and waited. When the bus arrived he entered and quickly looked around to find Rocky. He looked towards the back and there, in the second to last row, was Rocky sitting with his head down and a student sitting on his right.
Rocky looked more lost than he had ever looked before, and that’s really saying something. Rocky was struggling to find a reason to go on with the suffering of the slings and arrows of life and Jeff hated himself for causing another person to be in such pain. Jeff approached Rocky’s seat near the back. He looked at the girl that was nervously sitting on Rocky’s right and politely asked her if she would mind moving and allowing him to sit there. She quickly jumped out of the seat and sat elsewhere, Jeff sat down next to Rocky where Barnaby Swandance had sat for the previous 14 years. Rocky silently leered at the floor without noticing Jeff sitting next to him. Jeff whipped up a sentimental smile and gently tapped on Rocky’s shoulder. Rocky raised his head and looked at Jeff.
“Hey, Rocky. Look, I’m really really sorry about what I did, man. I mean, it was just a joke and I know you don’t really understand it now, but like, maybe someday you will. But hey, I was just wondering if we could let bygones be bygones and you know, maybe I’ll even let you sit at the cool table with me. I mean it, I’m really sor-“
Rocky once again placed his gorilla hands on both sides of Jeff’s head and took him to the ground. Only this time Rocky was repeatedly slamming Jeff’s head onto the floor of the bus.
None of the students on the bus knew what to do. The bus driver, Marigold Skolnick, radioed for assistance and then ran to the back of the bus to pull Rocky off of Jeff.
Marigold pulled on Rocky’s shoulders and his Handy Manny t-shirt but Rocky’s grip on Jeff’s head was impenetrable. She could see that Jeff was unconscious and she feared for his life. Marigold looked around and saw a hardcover version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy resting on a young boy’s lap. She grabbed the book, raised it over her head, and slammed it down on the back of Rocky’s head. Rocky went limp and heaved over onto the unconscious Jeff beneath him.
The aftermath of this incident was a sad one. Jeff suffered severe brain damage that he would never fully recover from. Maybe it was a cruel and odd case of poetic justice that Jeff would now find himself sitting at the Special Ed table during lunchtime and he was now facing the same future that Rocky once faced. Rocky was hit in the back of the head so hard that it caused him to be permanently blind. His brain damage may have been more severe but little change was seen in his behavior other than being blind.
As for the bus driver, Marigold Skolnick, her life was left in shambles. The incident was recorded on the bus video camera and despite Principal Hinky’s efforts it was quickly leaked to Fox News where it was shown every 20 to 45 minutes for nearly 2 weeks. At first, the school defended Marigold’s actions but the general public was outraged. The city of Kokomo demanded that Marigold’s job as a bus driver be terminated and that she should face criminal charges for assaulting a minor. Principal Hinky gave Marigold his sincerest apologies but he told her that his back was against the wall and he had to fire her. She understood and left quietly with tears in her eyes.
Marigold Skolnick was 52 years old and very unemployable. She had been divorced for 18 years and her only son was serving 22 years in the Ohio penitentiary for selling 11 kilos of Sudafed to a methamphetamine drug lord. She had nobody to support her, she was not yet old enough for social security, and it was impossible for her to find a job due to being nationally known as the bus driver that ruined the lives of 2 children.
She got down to her last 20 dollar bill, and she used it to buy a 1.75 liter bottle of Barton’s vodka and a bottle of generic Unisom sleeping pills. Marigold wrote a heartfelt suicide note detailing how deeply sorry she was for what she had done, but also arguing that she had no choice and believed that she had been wronged. She took the entire bottle of generic Unisom with 8 shots of cheap vodka while sitting in a lawn chair on her porch. She was unaware that her regular use of Benadryl and sipping cheap vodka before bed would render this suicide attempt useless because of her immunity to antihistamines and crappy booze. After about 20 minutes, Marigold decided to go into her house and lay herself down in her bed downstairs for her final sleep. She was feeling very groggy as she walked into the house. She came to the stairs leading down to her bedroom and upon taking the first step she fell down the entire flight of twelve carpeted cement stairs. Her right femur broke and she had a crack in her hip. She yelled for help but since she was the most hated woman in America at the time, nobody came close enough to her house to hear her. She tried to dial 911 on her cellphone but the battery was dead because she was unable to pay her electric bill for 3 weeks and was unable to charge her phone nor pay the cellphone bill.
Marigold managed to stay alive a while longer with her broken bones at the bottom of the stairs because she had 5 Werther’s Original candies in the left pocket of her bathrobe. But two weeks later, she died.