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Hell You Talmbout; Open! (CW: Racist Language)
Topic Started: Jan 7 2018, 07:23 PM (807 Views)
Laurels
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
EMEKA "MEKA" GIBSON: PREGAME START

Meka traced his pencil over the notebook in his hand. He moved it over each word on the page, counting each syllable on each line and tried to note where he had to emphasize and where he didn't. He had spent part of the break on the bleachers writing a new poem for his blog. It was a chilly January day, but it wasn't too cold to dissuade him from enjoying the fresh air. He preferred to work in a clear state.

"Okay, I think I got it," he muttered to himself.

Meka held his hand before him, moving it as he started to recite the poem on his page.

"They say I'm small, don't matter at all.
can't even find a carriage to the ball.
They say I'm loud, cover me in a shroud
trying to make me ashamed to be proud.
They want me silent, awash in a torrent
of detritus, waste, and vocal excrement.
They can't keep me down, cause I'm still around,
but I won't fall down, staying firm on the ground
as a proud black resident loud in the present."


Meka cleared his throat after reading the bit of poetry aloud. He grabbed the bottle of water by his side and took a sip. It was still a work in progress, but it was nice to hear his words aloud so he could see how he was going.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It astounded even Madison herself how frequently she found herself waiting for Connor; and while she was typically one to prefer the cold to heat, there were clearly some lines had to be drawn and some talks to be had. She pulled a woefully too short and fashion-foward winter jacket that made no attempt to try to keep her warm closer to her body, an aggravated sigh dissipating with a visible fog into the frozen air as she scanned her phone for the upteenth time in the last five minutes. You'd think she'd be used to him being late. It wasn't as if this was the first or second or tenth time.

Sorry, babe, I hit a rhythm.

I had to shower, babe, you don't want me to smell, do you?

Holy shit, babe, it's been an hour already?

And while he seemed to get a kick out of it, watching him flop around and grunt like some 'roided up muscle-head got pretty boring after the twentieth time. At least outside she wasn't being suffocated by the stench of sweat and self-gratification or forced to watch a bunch of jocks eye-fuck themselves in the mirror.

With another sigh, she reclined further backward and lamented as she gave up her previously warmed spot on the hood of Connor's car and became reintroduced to its cold chassis. It was a pretty car, a cherry red convertible that practically leapt out of the dreary grey Chattanooga backdrop. Impractical in the winter, but pretty.

He didn't like when she sat on the hood, but she didn't like when he was late.

Releasing herself to her boredom, Madison scanned the athletic fields in front of her. There were a couple GHH students dotted around, bundled up in their warmest, but most seemed to be tucked away in the warmth of the buildings and those that weren't seemed eager to get there. She flipped her hair to her other shoulder, smothing it out with a gloved hand as she spotted Meka Gibson alone on the bleachers, face buried in a notebook.

As per usual, she supposed. That was just about all she knew about him, aside from how in your face he was. For what it was worth, she gave him props for standing up for what he believed in and being passionate, but she couldn't pretend to understand it. She didn't really feel that way about things, at least not in any distinctly productive way.

At the mercy of her boredom and impatience, Madison checked her phone once more before pocketing it and removed herself from her perch, grabbing her purse from the ground as she scampered toward the bleachers, carefully stepping in previously implanted footsteps where she could. There was no telling how much longer Connor would be and maybe she was just a little bit curious. She followed a path in the snow under the bleachers, gloved hands grazing the frozen framework underneath as she pulled herself through unbroken snow until she heard Meka reciting his poetry aloud, not caring enough to pay much attention. It was probably good. Good for him.

With deliberate, hushed movements, she grabbed a frozen-over stick from the ground and stifled a grin as she began beating the bleachers above her with it.

“Careful, Eminem!” She warned, her husky voice just above a whisper as she ceased her assault once she was certain she'd gotten his attention, “This is where that hook-handed janitor lady watches you little boys from!”

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[ *  * ]
What the flying F-U-C-K was Madison Springer doing over there?

Keisha Higgins-Bell - PREGAME START

Like wow, the wind was gonna freeze her ass off, because she decided to wear something a bit less bulky today, and so she was pretty damn sure it was below zero degrees right now. Not just sure, no, but she knew it. She absolutely knew that the father was out to get her, and so, all she wanted to do right now was get to a Starbucks or something and prevent herself from dying of hypothermia right in GHH, because if she was going to die young, it was not going to be at her freaking high school.

She could already see the headlines: LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLER FOUND DEAD IN SNOW, CLUTCHING CUP OF COFFEE. Gaaaaaah. Winter was the worst, and it wasn’t just that that made Keisha feel as if the whole entire world was plotting against her at that very moment, like she was Tonya Harding or some other sort of pariah. She knew she was just gonna have to go on and grumble her way through it, which did nothing but make it all like a thousand times worse, but yeah. She could keep on trudging through the snow in her boots, marching through as if it was the last thing she was going to do, and so she was going to do it damn well. So, yeah, maybe it was deep shit, but when she got in the shit, she was not just gonna go up and stop right there. No, no, no.

Keisha Higgins-Bell was not a motherfucking quitter, and she was not going to start now.

Would've been great if her freaking legs got the message as well, but she could do it. Obviously.

While she knew she probably could have managed to drag herself to the Starbucks on sheer willpower alone, taking just a tiny break to go and sit down for a bit also seemed like an amazing idea, and so she decided maybe that warm cup of coffee could hold down for just a little bit. She had decided to wear somewhat cooler tones today - mainly purples and blues, but sh also had the [great idea of deciding to wear a sweater and leggings, and so yeah, sitting down was going to be the best idea she had ever had in the past 24 hours of her life. She was going to totally knockout the next 24 as well, but just one good motion to set the dominoes down.

Of course, this momentary good cheer had to be interrupted by the sharp sounds of wood hitting metal, as well as the sight of two very familiar figures. Like, uncomfortably familiar. So, mmm, maybe this day wasn't gonna turn out all that hot after all.

First things first, Madison Springer, which she knew if only because of those freakishly long gazelle legs, was a crazy ass biatch. Like honestly, Keisha wasn't sure how the other girl had managed to not be checked into a psych ward at least one time in her life, but she also had to admit her antics were pretty entertaining. Besides, if for nothing else, she had a surprising talent for managing to discover groundbreaking celebrity gossip. Like, Beyonce's pregnancy? She was swerving on that shit, like it was unreal. Still, she thought as she began making her way towards the bleachers, Madison was not exactly stable. Meka, on the other hand, was like hella stable, and could debate with her about intersectionality the whole night if he wanted to, but sometimes, she honestly had it up to here with his confusion about her gossip. Like, the people had the right to know about all the shady shit, didn't they? All. Of. It.

She clutched her bag tightly as she began to wave her hand in greeting, if only because she had to see what had been going on earlier.

"So, hey bishes, been up to something around here?" Keisha asked, eyebrow tilted curiously. Her voice seemed a touch higher than it usually was, laced with discomfort from the cold if nothing else, but chatting. Yeah, she was up for it.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Meka looked over the paper in his hand. He wanted to at least get another stanza out before he tried to perform again. The first stanza was abstract, and now he needed to move to the specific. There were plenty of examples in his life that could demonstrate how he was being pushed down, or at least how his privilege created issues with his identity. That was always important to consider, especially for any of those trolls who thought he had no place to complain due to his parents' status.

Meka began to write the first things that came to mind when he suddenly heard a loud rattling sound. He jumped a bit in his seat and looked out, muttering an obscenity under his breath. He then heard a voice bellow call out for Eminem and how some janitor lady watches boys from under the bleachers. He looked down and could make out Madison Springer through the steps.

"Of course," he muttered.

He didn't really like Madison that much. The girl was as unstable as most reality TV contestants, and while that could be fun for TV, it was obnoxious in real life. Anything could set her off and kill any mood in an attempt to draw more attention to herself. Meka honestly found it easier to ignore her than even bother with that kind of drama vortex. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, Madison pulled him in like Charybdis pulling in Odysseus' ship.

As he made a mental note to remember that metaphor, he heard a much pleasant voice on the horizon. Now, Keisha, she was cool. She was dope as hell in Meka's eyes. She was the exact kind of conteymporary he longed for at Hunter High, and she made so many discussions on discourse and other social matters so engaging. Plus, she was someone cool to bounce ideas off for slam pieces.

"Oh, hey Kei," Meka said, choosing to give Keisha attention over Madison. "I'm just working on some poetry on this chilly day. Unfortunately, Madisonwise the Dancing Clown wants to invite me into her sewer, so I'm a little distracted at the moment."

Meka looked between the rows of bleachers at the girl beneath him.

"Sorry, I don't want a balloon, and I don't believe your mom would be able to hold down a janitorial job here with her hook hands, so you can move along."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Keisha became a non-entity quickly, eaten alive by the achromatic scenery as Meka became the entirety of Madison's world, little more than a greeting sent Keisha's way before red hot fury battled the chill in the air over control of her body. Scarlet painted her face, a painful amalgamation of the frigid weather and her own embarrassment. She could feel her fist tightening around the frozen stick in her hand, cold beginning to penetrate the thin fabric of her gloves.

Where did he get off? It wasn't like she rolled up on him shaking his dead cat at him and laughing. She scared him a little, whoop-de-doo, get a backbone if that's what sets you off. It would have been different if it was just she and Meka alone, maybe she'd be able to shrug and laugh it off and be on her way, but to do it in front of Keisha was humiliating.

Infuriating.

They weren't close, but Madison liked her. Maybe she thought Madison deserved it, too.

There was no thinking, no stopping herself as her emotions took control of her body, a looming shadow guiding her hand. With a grunt, she whipped the stick in her hand in Meka's direction, blinded by rage and desire. She wanted it to hit him, willed it in her mind to peg him square in his smug face and make him feel as small as she felt, but she knew it wouldn't, not from behind the framework of the bleachers. So she didn't know why she did it. She just did. It hit the back of the underside with an unsatisfying clunk, only managing to knock loose a small amount of packed snow before falling back to ground.

“You're a fucking prick,” Venom coated her voice and she lingered for a moment. She felt dumb for even thinking his poem might be good, for giving him that benefit, for giving him credit when it was obvious how poorly he viewed her. But she didn't make the same mistake twice and the line was drawn in the sand as far as she was concerned. She could go just as hard.

“And your rap sucks. Don't quit your day job,

Nigger.”

She broke eye contact almost immediately and she didn't dare look at Keisha, the world quiet for the briefest of moments before the ringing of rage pounded once more against her eardrums as she made her departure, walking with far more purpose than she had on the way down should Meka decide to follow her. She didn't look back, anything they said after her lost in the audible thumping of her heart and the oppressive buzz of her thoughts.

Her face was still twisted in anger as she made her way back up hill to the student parking lot, the athletic fields a fair distance behind her now. Her blood hadn't cooled even a degree by the time she reached Connor's car, opening the door with fervor before practically throwing herself into the cold leather of the seat.

She didn't care about the cold anymore. Everything was hot and she didn't have the capacity to focus on it.

It wasn't okay. She knew that, but it wasn't fair if she was the only hurt.

Crossing her arms at odds with herself, she rested her forehead against the cool glass of the window in hopes to gather clarity that she knew wouldn't come for some time. It never did.

Instead she saw the gray car parked next to her. It was nice enough, definitely a hand-me-down, not the sort of car someone bought themselves, decorated with various political stickers that shone even through the layer of salt residue. She swore she'd seen Meka driving it. Probably.

There was no clarity.

With a heave, Madison swung the door of Connor's convertible open as hard as she could, lip meeting teeth as a dull metallic thud protested. She stepped out of the car, breathe coming in broken heaves. A cherry red streak punctuated a deep dent in the other car. She already knew the convertible wouldn't escape unscathed either, so there was no point in even looking.

Simply, with purpose, Madison gathered her purse once more and took another ragged breathe before retreating once more through the parking lot and back into the school building.


** Madison Springer, continued in...Let Me Borrow That Top

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[ *  * ]
Usually, Keisha was not someone was easily shocked by things. As a self-proclaimed gossip hound, she had seen her fair share of weird-ass stuff, and sure, maybe she feigned surprise at times so people didn't know how much she didn't care about their problems, but seriously, she had seen it all. Most of it, really, and while arguments were always fun, hadn't she made that promise to Belle? That one about how she was going to be less of a "impetuous teenager", or whatever, and she had no idea where her sister learned those kinds of big words, but yeah. Easily fazed? That wasn't her style.

She had returned Meka's greeting with a grin, but then stood back and watched as he decided to poke the sleeping tiger that was Madison's temper. Whatever, whenever, you name it, it was probably gonna flare up at either you or someone else, and so she was mainly just happy that she'd never been the target of the other girl's ire before. Besides, it was sort of entertaining to watch the two go at it, even if she knew that a more morally upstanding person would've tried to go and break up the fight.

It was a dog-eat-dog world anyways, and while both of the people arguing in front of her were at least sort of her friend, she was not going to get herself in deep shit over something like this, because she was going to be calmer this year, going to be smarter, going to be -

"The hell you said, bitch!?"

Even in the cold, she felt the red hot rush of color to her cheeks, to her face, in her blood, raring, pumping, when Madison said that one fucking word, like the little psycho she was, and nope. Nope nope nope. Keisha would not let bygones be bygones, see this life pass her by when one little racist decided to say shit to someone she actually sort-of liked. Not now. Not ever.

"Come back here and say it!" She screamed at Madison's departing figure, even as she knew that the girl was no going to be returning there at least for a while. She needed to shout it out at someone, lay it all on the fucking table, because she was not going to lose this. She was not going to let it simmer and boil. No, she was about to let it all cook at the highest temperature possible, and maybe she would burn but she could take someone else down with her. "It's so easy to do it! N-I-G-G-E-R. See?"

Then, the red abated, if only for a bit, and it was instead replaced by the purple of her sweater.

Oh, fuck. She was an idiot. Little Miss Racist had already fucked off somewhere else, leaving her here with Meka and the rapidly ebbing-away anger within, instead replaced by the steady hum of irritation through her veins. She had done nothing, changed nothing, only shouted out a few choice words before retreating back to the sidelines. It was still cold, too, but now she wasn't sure if that was the most biting part of the day.

The silence between her and Meka felt as if it could last forever, really, but Keisha didn't want that. Didn't want this thing to stretch out forever like a rubber band around the entire planet. Deep breaths, deep breaths. There were no more flames on the side of her face, only words from her mouth.

"...Well, we've got to do something, right?"

Maybe it sounded like a question, but it really was an order. It had to be.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
For a moment, Meka had assumed that Madison's skin was tougher than tissue paper. That was why he felt comfortable replying to her taunt about him getting molested by a pedophile by comparing her to a movie villain and her mom to a blue collar worker. It may not have been the most mature move, but he thought he at least balanced her extremity out with one of his own.

That's when she decided to tip the scale by slamming her fist on one end. Suddenly, he was the bad one. He was the one whose entire identity and actions were lesser and worthless. In all of her pathetic, impotent rage, she had even thrown the stick at him, only for it to fall back down with no change to his position. He could handle all of that

That's when she said that word.

The cowardly, thin-skinned girl decided the best retort was to throw out a slur. Meka was no stranger to it; obviously, living in the south meant he heard it from pockmarked white middle schoolers who were listening to the hip-hop radio station or people marching down the street waving the flag of a nation that lasted five years and lost the one war they were in. Hell, he had heard it thrown his way before from people who wanted to trash him online or for participating in Black Lives Matter events.

Meka remained in place as Madison huffed away and Keisha let loose on her. Meka closed his eyes and quietly breathed in. There was a lot to process, and the last thing he wanted was to do anything that could get the school involved. He decided the best thing to do would be to wait until Madison was far away and Keisha was done with her response.

When Keisha asked what they were going to do next, Meka opened is eyes and looked at her. He then glanced down at the poem in his hand.

"Well, I now realized this poem is inadequate," he said. "If I'm to confront her racist ass, I'm going to at least do it after processing this properly."

Meka patted the part on the bleacher next to him.

"So, you feel like some poetic vigilante justice?"
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Poetic justice. Indeed, that was the term, meant to be the one to light Keisha's fire from within, get her burning with all of that righteous fury, to do something, to be something. Be the one to be uncovering the truth behind it all, but right now? That spark was dead and cold, like there was a bunch of snow shovelled on top of it and all. It should've been easy to agree with Meka, go after justice in the way that felt most appropriate, but maybe she just needed to psyche herself up a bit.

"Yeah," she said as she walked up to join Meka on the bleachers, feeling a little bit of the ice within her veins dissipate with each step she took. "Yeah," she repeated, as if saying the word again would really manage to cement it deep within her soul. "I'd totally be up for that shit."

The smile on her face didn't really reach her eyes, but she knew what she had to do now. Had to grab this whole fucking thing by the balls, because none of this was really her fault, right? Only Meka's and Madison's, really, for going ahead and escalating the situation, as she stood back and watched it all happen. There was no need for the pit within her stomach, no good and logical reason for it really, so yeah! No more guilty feelings. Just had to let them come and go like how the flames wavered and wobbled, but always kept burning. She was helping Meka, yeah, but that was going to be because it was the right thing to do.

No girl that looked like Madison had the right to say that word, and so maybe a poem was the only thing they could do for now. Just had to let the pit fill back up again just breathe, and then she'd be ready for everything.

She had agreed earlier for the whole revenge poem stuff, but that still meant she had to actually go and help with making a poem, which was definitely not her forte, but improvisation was always an important life skill. Were they just trying to hit her where it hurt, or try to really make a change at school, no matter how preposterous it sounded? A few hours ago, Keisha would've definitely known which she was going to go for, but now, maybe things were different.

"We've gotta start this thing off right, then." Keisha stated with a serious look, absently tapping her boot on the bleacher below her.

Or, maybe they weren't.
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Meka flipped his notebook to a blank page as Keisha sat near him. As he stared at the page, a poem came to his mind. He suddenly remembered a poem he read a few years ago by a Harlem Renaissance poet named Countee Cullen called "Incident." It was a short poem about how Cullen, as a boy, visited Baltimore and all he remembered was when a racist white guy uttered the word Madison with absolutely no prompting whatsoever. Cullen's point was that the racist term clouded what was a fantastic period in his childhood. This was a blight on Meka's day, but he could still create some art from it.

Meka began to write some terms down on the paper.

"So, I'm thinking that I start by saying this happened to me, and then maybe add some analogies and symbolism."

Meka held the notebook closer to Keisha.

"Here's what I think we should consider:"

* Refer to the event - Don't use Madison's name
* Pennywise metaphor (additional Stephen King references?)
* Stick as symbol (aggression, violence, slavery)
* Janitor as symbol (black bodies under threat)
* Odysseus metaphor (Scylla and Charybdis?)
* Winter and environment (Richard Wright "Native Son" parallel?)


"Any thoughts?"
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Keisha leaned in even closer to peer at the notebook, hoping that by staring at the words intently, she would be able to glean some sort of additional information from them. As much as she loathed to admit it, poetry was pretty far from being her thing. Like, next galaxy level far away. Individually, she got most of Meka's notes, but all together, she wasn't exactly sure how it would all come together in order to create a poem that would set the record straight.

"I definitely agree on the first point," she nodded. As much as a part of her really wanted to really go low with this shit, she also knew that getting into trouble over something like this was going to be plenty stupid. Maybe it would have been better feeling angry than how she did now, but the point still stood. "No reason to get in trouble for this."

As soon as the words left her mouth, she knew that she could have added more to them, given them some more meaning, or actually offered some kind of fucking insight into her thoughts on the poem. Now, though, the opportunity to add anything like that smoothly was gone, and so there was only one thing to do. Just take it like a woman, and go and say her piece her thoughts on everything.

"Mmm, I was just thinking, but maybe we could add a reference to an Angelou piece or something? Like, Human Family?"

She still greatly preferred prose to poetry, but there was no time like now to begin learning.

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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Aw, no, no, no! Son of a BITCH!"

Now that was a gash if Connor Lorenzen had ever seen one before - and the car that owned it happened to belong to him.

Or rather - his father.

Uh-oh.

((Connor continued from Yours If You Want It))

Cleaning himself off after his workout hadn't taken very long, a brief shower and washing off of his hair was all that he'd allowed for, as his longer hair demanded a little bit more attention than he was willing to give in the school change rooms. Besides, he'd been running late, and a few quick sprays of the Murcielago would obscure any residual workout smell. All in all, he'd made good time, and as he walked out towards the parking lot, his mind was already crafting a story to justify his lateness to Madison. Football: he'd blame a meeting with Coach. That usually worked.

As he walked towards the red Corvette that stood out in the parking lot amidst the shitty sedans and trucks, Connor mused to himself about his choice of wheels. Truly, Connor wasn't really the biggest fan of the sports car, but it looked sleek and a certain someone always fluttered her eyes when he'd pull up to give her a ride to school in it. His father was something of a collector of various sports cars, but this one had a little bit of sentimental value to the elder Lorenzen. The first time he'd taken it out he'd virtually had to write a thesis paper on what he'd gain out of it, but his father had seen right through his carefully worded argument, taken a sip of his brandy, and told him that he'd better impress the girl with safe driving as well.

So when his eyes rested upon the large gash in the side of his passenger door (that, he noted, seemed to match an equally large dent in the sedan beside it), his eyes went wide and he gulped down a flood of panic.

His father was going to be pisse-

No, even worse. Connor could hear it now. He would be so disappointed.

"Fuck."

Muttering a few other choice obscenities under his breath, Connor scanned the vicinity for anyone who might have seen what happened. Having at least some sort of an explanation for his father would be better than nothing. The last thing he wanted to be accused of was being negligent. That wouldn't reflect well upon him. Thankfully, his eyes laid down on a familiar face sitting on the bleachers, so he jogged over.

"Hey Keisha, how y'all doin'?"

Being a cheerleader, Keisha Higgins-Bell was someone who he'd occasionally socialized with, they tended to run in many of the same circles. A bit of a magnet for conflict, Connor had managed to have a front-row seat for a few of her prior scuffles. She was definitely not someone who was afraid of speaking her mind. Much like Wyatt, he found her antics privately amusing, but she usually added to the rooms she entered.

He didn't know the boy sitting beside her, but nodded at him with a smile. Had he seen him before? Connor was unsure.

"I'm sorry to interrupt you two, but I just finished up at the gym, and..." He glanced back at his car with a grimace. "I can't help but notice someone's done a real number on the door. You two wouldn't happen to have seen anything, now?"

Connor wore a friendly yet sheepish expression on his face. The money to fix the door wasn't the issue, but he really wanted to know who had been so damned careless.
---
The Future

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"Yeah, Angelou would be a good reference," Meka told Keisha. "I'm already reminded of Countee Cullen, so I think that would probably factor in."

Meka added * Think Angelou/Cullen to his list. He then tapped his pencil to his lips and hummed to himself. He couldn't say he ever really tried to work on a poem with anyone else before. It was kind of cool to bounce ideas off someone who got it as much as Keisha did. She knew all the references and all the emotions that came up with such an event.

Before Meka could think of anything else, someone called out to Keisha. The guy was asking about his car. Meka shrugged. The bleachers were facing away from the parking lot, so Meka wouldn't have seen any key scratching or any sideview mirrors getting knocked off or whatever "number" was done to this guy's car in the last half hour or so.

"Sorry. We haven't seen anything," Meka said.

Meka looked back down to the list in his hand. He started to see dots connecting, then turned to Keisha.

"Hey, what do you think about making Pennywise the Clown a symbol for white supremacy and modern racism? Is that too much of a stretch?"

He hoped it wouldn't.
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Somersault
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i'm a boss ass bitch (bitch bitch)
[ *  * ]
She could only shrug at Connor's question, although she hoped that the small smile on her face would help pave the way for a friendly conversation. Connor was chill, at least for a football guy, considering that someone definitely had to be in order to persevere with Madison who could be a definite hell bitch at the worst of times, but as long as it worked for him -

Keisha's smile became a little more plastered onto her face, just a bit more fake, but she tried not to let it show. Oh fuuuuck. He was Madison's boyfriend. Like, the Madison that ended up screaming invectives at them, and the one who she had ended up screaming at right back.

So, yeah. That was definitely gonna be a problem. At least she could go and just nod in agreement with Meka's answer, which she promptly did because she was not exactly sure what else she could do in that moment. While it would have been nice to think of like, a better way to get out of this hella awkward position, there wasn't exactly anything that popped into her mind at the moment, so shutting her mouth and nodding just a bit too enthusiastically seemed like the way to go.

Now, Meka was asking her if she agreed with Pennywise being a symbol of oppression or something, and so that was good. Not oppression, no, but him speaking to her. Meant that she could keep her mind off of things for just a bit more.

"Depends on how we frame it, but it could work, I think."

Yeah, happy thoughts. Yes, those ones, the ones that would keep her from throttling Madison during cheer practice. Still, though, she had to say something to Connor, something more substantial than a smile, which was an awkward at that.

Turning back to Connor, she pursed her lips in concentration, a concerned look evident. "But, yeah, don't really know what to do. Need any help with it, though?"

Just enough to make things less awkward. Just enough.
here's my v7 planning thread or whatever
C-H-A-T-T-A-N-O-O-G-A

V7 HERE WE COME

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Let Them Fly Free
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I'm a Cactus
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do you want to go to war, balakay?
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Connor's shoulders sagged. Crap. His afternoon had just become that much more difficult. Explaining away a smashed-up door to his father was near the bottom of his list of enjoyable activities. It would probably be at least a couple of weeks before he could take the 'Vette out again. As he nodded at Keisha, he couldn't help but notice a flicker of... something.

What was that? Annoyance? Anger? Anxiety? Perhaps a mixture of the three? Connor couldn't be certain; the look was gone as soon as he'd noticed it. Strange. He dismissed it, and smiled defeatedly at Keisha and the other boy as she asked him if she could be of any further assistance.

"Aww, damn it." He thought for a moment and shook his head. "I don't think so, I was just hoping y'all might've heard something. It's no big deal, don't worry 'bout it."

Feeling his phone vibrate in his pocket, Connor glanced down at his Fitbit. Now he was even later than he'd been at the gym.

"I won't keep you two any longer. Y'all enjoy the rest of your afternoon, now. See you later, Keisha."

He didn't address the other boy - Connor didn't know his name, and since the kid hadn't introduced himself, he hadn't really cared. If he were a friend of Keisha's, though, he was probably a nice enough guy, so after the fact, he paused and gave him a nod.

He'd learned by proxy that being nice to Keisha's friends was generally a smart thing to do. Nobody wanted that girl's wrath after you. Turning back towards the car, Connor took the phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. Oh - it hadn't been Madison. It was his mother.

Even better.

Sighing, he pounded back a quick reply with an affirmative. Apparently there was now some corporate lunch he'd have to attend with his parents on Sunday. Such was the life, he supposed, as he reached his car. Functions like this weren't out of the ordinary, and now that colleges were starting to come knocking, rubbing elbows with those in high society wasn't a terrible idea. One good impression could breed another, and then perhaps a recommendation, and maybe that recommendation turned into an offer. It was all a game, his father often said, and one never needed to feel bad about playing it, lest one get played.

Just once though, it'd be nice to get a day to sleep in.

Climbing in to the Corvette, Connor fished the keys out of his pocket and turned over the engine. While he was partial to his truck, it really did make one hell of a noise. Allowing himself a smile, he thumbed through his iPhone for a good driving song. Of course: if someone couldn't enjoy a little Keith Urban now and then, what kind of man were they? Pressing play, Connor guided the sports-car out of the parking spot and out in to the city limits.

((Connor Lorenzen continued in Future Loves Me))
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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Laurels
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Meka started writing some keywords down on the paper as Keisha and the other guy chatted. He had an idea, and now he just needed to roll with it to see if he could come up with something creative. He was already starting to feel slightly better about what happened with Madison. All he had to do was keep working and maybe he'd transform whatever remained of Madison's racist mewling into something actually worth putting out into the world.

"Okay, I think I've written down everything of note from It that can go into a poem about racism," Meka said.

He held the paper towards Keisha.

* Murderous clown
* Small town
* Racism
* Sexism
* Slut Shaming
* Anti-Semetism
* Fat shaming
* Kidnapping
* Missing Persons cases
* Violence
* Hypochondria
* Placebos
* Sewers
* Knives
* Guns
* Baseball bats
* Balloons
* Libraries
* Abandoned property
* Boats
* Inhalers
* Sinks
* Child abuse
* Pedophilia
* Arson
* Curses
* End of childhood
* Blood oaths
* Turtles
* Raincoats
* Nature
* Bikes

"Think I missed anything?"
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