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Topic Started: Jul 3 2016, 06:36 PM (566 Views)
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Wouldn't this have been a sweet thread?

Two Cochise students, let down by the promises of others and scorned by the burdens of social custom, perhaps finding an unusual friendship forming over their shared fate.

At worst, perhaps, it would have been awkward. Clumsy attempts at icebreakers, an unintended personality clash, some perceived slight bubbling over into a simmering tension that would have added a nasty denouement to an already unenviable day. Alice's current shy vulnerability and Georgia's duplicitous attempts at keeping her Tinder life secret from her classmates did not, perhaps, create the safest combination, especially when it was only luck and circumstance that the two currently had in common. Even then, though, this whole affair descending into anything worse than passive aggressive eye-rolling would have been unlikely.

At least, that's how Bradley saw things. There would be no chaos, no drama, nothing but fraudulent and insincere chumminess. He viewed what he did as a public service.

Bradley had left the dance early. There was no great story there. He had seen the options available, and noticed that it would be slightly too hard to smuggle in actual good booze. Not worth the hassle. Nah. He could wet his palate far easier on the outside, without having teachers watching his every move.

So he had left.

And went to a restaurant.

As (his) luck would have it, there were two faces he recognised there. Bradley made sure he recognised faces. Knew people well. Something of a social butterfly.

Well, a social moth.

"Ladies!"

He strode across the room to them as he entered.

"You both look wonderful today, if I may so!"

Hopefully one of them would be one of those feminazis who didn't like being complimented. That'd be fun. He could roll with that. Get a fun night out of it, whatever happened.
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Why, ladies, I want nothing!"

He pulled up a chair, so he could join the two.

Cochise students had to stick together, that much should be beyond debate. Regardless of what personal squabbles they had, or petty disagreements, or trivial personality clashes, out in public, there should be an obligation to stand by your classmates, to grin and bear it, to put up with even those at the school who had unique and trailblazing personalities. Loyalty and commonality should not be undermined by mere petty personality clashes. If that made him an unrealistic idealist, then he was proud to be such!

Bradley didn't actually believe that. But it made a good excuse, were he to be confronted by them! The ties that bind, what unites is greater, blah blah blah, all that feel-good hippie Obama shit.

"I just wanted to know you two felt about the prom! Any good anecdotes? Anyone get fingered behind the school, or caught imbibing precious liquor in the toilets, or anything fun like that?" He asked with a sincere smile, no shame diluting his exuberance, no appreciation for any issues others might have with his loudly-proclaimed illicit choices in conversation topic.

He spread his legs out, brushing against theirs beneath the table, and slumped down in the chair. His shirt rode up as a result of his lethargic seating position, revealing his belly flab to the two ladies. He placed his hands contentedly on his stomach, and burped. He had to force the burp out, but it was worth it.
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Georgia Lee was right on one thing, and that was that, when it came to his "humour", he was something of a vulture. He had an acute sense for determining where opportunities might flourish, where his talents might see the most maximal use, where he could shatter the most taboos and burst the most bubbles of pretension and prudishness. But, yes, starved enough, he would drift away, to play on his phone and shitpost on Facebook, or go hang out with one of his friends who (from the point of view of many) inexplicably appreciated his idiosyncratic behaviours.

But he was also patient.

And even the most perfunctory, the most fleeting, the most transient hints that his presence was noticed? That was enough to sustain him. The tangible rigidness that had formed in the conversation, the palpable disdain for his presence, the occasional glance, almost fearful (but not quite fearful - Bradley knew it was folly for someone to be fearful of little old him), was enough to keep his attention secured.

And hell. Georgia Lee made a big mistake, when she insulted Bradley without saying his name. He knew she was referring to him, her pointed refusal to look at him only reinforcing that impression. Bradley had settled on his target. Alice seemed relatively meek, coy, not that fun to harass. Cruel, even. Her reaffirmation of Georgia Lee's insult wasn't exactly the most bold, after all. But Georgia Lee? She could give as good as she took, and Bradley appreciated that. Made her an all the more appealing target.

He felt good though. Giving the two girls something to bond over. And people said he never did anything for the world.

Straightening up in the chair, the only sign he intended to open his mouth, Bradley finally spoke.

"Well, Georgia, if we head over to New Mexico now, we don't need to wait until then."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
This was why he had targeted Georgia Lee over Alice. To mock Alice was cruel, mean, unrewarding - it was boring when there was no fight back, and it was a coarseness that crossed the line into straight bullying, rather than what Bradley saw as his own eclectic brand of witty and daring banter. He pushed boundaries, but he wasn't actively sadistic.

She had replied with a barb. Not a sharp one, not a painful one, definitely not one that conveyed much original wit or wordplay or insight. But hey, it was a good effort.

B-, he'd grade it.

"Nah, Georgia Lee, New Mexico is a pretty godawful place. They have a town called Truth or Consequences, y'know?" He turned to Alice for this aside, almost jarringly conversational and amiable. "Named for a radio show competition. Any state that names its towns after a radio show, Georgia Lee, is not a good place for you to get delivered to sexual heaven by yours truly."
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Georgia was amusing. Not amusing in the way she intended, Bradley reckoned, but amusing nonetheless. And that's what mattered. Bradley was a consequentialist in that sense.

"Well, if you don't wanna look at me, I can always go in from behind. That's an option." He smirked. "Glad we've reached an agreement."

He pulled out his phone, pretending to write a message or a status. "Georgia Lee is..." He spoke as he feigned typing. "Into anal. Who knew?"
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Bradley, of course, knew what she was saying was false. Not everybody disliked Bradley. He had that on good authority. Of course, some people really did dislike him. He was cool with that. You can't please everyone. Having enemies meant you stood up for something, that you changed something. Einstein or Gandhi probably said that. They were always saying things like that. Was a talent of theirs. And they definitely made enemies - the Brits in Gandhi's case, the church (probably) in Einstein's case.

He wished he had something to eat in that moment. Nothing would have agitated her more than calmly chewing on a tiny square of steak, nonchalantly masticating, during her tirade. Alas, he had no props, so just sat there, crossed arms, smile unflagging and unfaltering in the face of her unjustified abuse.

And hell, he'd had women before, so that final concluding statement was provably false. Not that he rushed to correct her. He knew that dissecting her remarks would be perceived as defensive, would be to grant her a win. "Bye babe" was all he said, and blew her a kiss, grin not breaking.

"Well." He turned to Alice, and smiled, hoping Georgia Lee would hear his parting remarks, but not too worried either way. "Looks like I'm the bigger man. Not to say she's a man." He stood up. "Would explain why she'd prefer I go in from behind." He paused, as if seriously contemplating that quandary. "Good day, Alice."

And with that, he left.

((Bradley continued on the island.))
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