The Blame

"This is at most, 30% my fault."

"What? How did you come up with that number?"

"All I said was, 'do you want to go play wiffle ball.' I didn't say anything more than that."

"Yea, but there's more than two people that play the game usually. How do you play this with just two people?"

"I see people do it all the time."

"Where? Here?"

"Well, usually it's two guys in their front yard."

"Yeah, a dad and his kid. Not people our age. This is embarrassing."

Despite the ever increasing shame Lauren was feeling, she assumed her batting stance as Beth pitched the ball to her.

"Swing, batta batta."

"Are you serious? You're not going to get competitive about this are you?"

"Are you trying to hurt my feelings? I've already accepted some blame."

"You need to accept all of the blame."

"Fine, let's call people. Where's Brittany Pike? I haven't heard from her or about her in a while."

"She's out of town. I think she's in LA or something. She's auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance."

"Really? I didn't know she could."

"She can't. And I told her that. She's trying to prove me wrong by making it on the show. Actually, she was going to audition for America's Best Dance Crew, but she couldn't assemble a group fast enough. And they didn't go for her idea of dancing on her own."

"Well it seems as though you've just been trying to hurt everyone lately."

At that moment Beth did her best to throw an MLB style fastball. Since it was a wiffle ball however, the ball barely went faster than when she tossed it underhand. Because of the force, both emotional and physical, behind the throw, the ball spiraled wildly out of control before coming into contact with Lauren's neck.

"I'm done."

"What, why?"

"Because you always do this. You turn into Brittany Pike whenever things get competitive."

"No I don't. Hey! There's my mom. We can get her to play."

Lauren looked over to see Beth's mom, Catie, walking through the park while she flailed her arms about her body.

"Oh my god! Does she need help?"

"With what?"

"It looks like she's being attacked by a bee or something. What should we do?"

"Oh, no, that's how she power walks. Her actual speed of walking doesn't change, but because she throws her arms around like that, she think's she's going faster. Hey mom!"

Catie looked over at Beth and Lauren and started power walking their way.

"Hey girls. Whatcha doin?"

"Playing wiffle ball," Beth responded.

"Just the two of you?"

"You know what? I'm going to go to the bathroom, collect my thoughts, and I'll be back soon." Beth threw down the bat and ran, holding back her tears, but not her ugly crying face, to the park restrooms.

Catie turned to Lauren. "Oh you know Beth. She can't handle anything competitive. So how's the sex life going L?"

"I'm sorry?"

"You know. You had any wild rumps in the sack lately?"

"Um, no. Wait, are you talking to me? Do you have a bluetooth in that I can't see?"

"What? Of course not silly. There is of course something somewhere that you can't see though if you know what I mean."

"Oh my god. Catie, why are you telling me this?"

"Oh come on, that's what us girls do. We gab. They didn't call me Chatty Cathy in high school for no reason. Actually they called me…"

"Oh I don't need to know."

''…Dirty Diana."

"Oh ok, that's not so bad."

"And that's because I reached my sexual peak when Michael Jackson was playing."

"Catie, this is only my second time being around you. I'm really not that comfortable with you saying these things."

"You're such a P.A.P."

"What is that?

"Oh I think you know."

"I really don't."

"Yes you do. Just think."

"Oh ok, now I remember."

This type of conversation continued for a few more minutes until Lauren spotted Beth, and with that, salvation.

"Look there's Beth!"

Beth came walking back at that moment looking refreshed and with a kickball in her arms.

"Well girls, I gotta keep my heart rate up. I wish I had another way to keep it up right now. Ciao!" With that, Catie flailed off into another area of the park.

"What is the matter with your mom?"

"You'll have to narrow the symptoms before I can tell you."

"She just started talking to me about all of this sexual stuff."

"Oh, a while ago she started to feel an age separation between us so now she's trying to talk the way she thinks we talk."

"I don't know anyone who talks like that."

"Well, she started watching Sex and the City, and because she finds Samantha the most offensive, she has decided to try to be the most like her."

"Weird, well she didn't drop any F bombs."

"She's watching the TBS version."

"What's a P.A.P."

"A Park Avenue Princess. You're lucky she didn't get to make a pun about anything. They're usually horrible and make no sense. But enough about that. Since you were so against wiffle ball, I found this kickball and thought we'd try that out instead."

"You stole it from a kid didn't you?"

"Not important."

"Ok, slow and bouncy."

At that moment Catie was circling back by and shouted 'that's what she said.' Lauren looked in her direction with a shocked expression. Beth, however, was casting an angry stare in Lauren's direction.

"Did you just try to order a style of roll from me? What is this, 3rd grade? You'll get what I give you."

"I quit."


Die Bank

"So then I looked at her and said 'listen, if you don't like the way I do things then you can just go to hell. Cause I run things around here and people do what I say. Aight? We good.' And then she didn't know what to say. She looked at me like she was gonna cry and I just looked back, then I said 'what, bitch?' I shut her down. "

"No you didn't. I was there. You didn't say any of that."

Beth stared into the air thinking for a moment after Lauren disputed her comments.

"Oh yeah. I forgot."

"How often do you make stuff like that up?"

"Honestly, I don't know. I've lost track. Anyway, how are things going with the gorillas?"

"Well I don't work with them...."

"Oh! What was the deal with that fight? I heard that the dad ripped off the baby's leg. Wait, so you didn't see the fight?"

"I saw it, I was there. That's the reason I don't work with the gorillas anymore. It's really complicated to explain and I don't want to say anymore than that. Ok?"

"No. Not ok. That's not an acceptable answer. Tell me what happened."

"All I feel like saying is that I no longer work with the gorillas. And I now work with the goats, donkeys, and tortoises in the petting zoo."

"Oh I bet that's awful."

"It is! You wouldn't believe how rough it gets there. The cliques, the battle to be the alpha. It's ridiculous. And Jezebel is always…"

"I was talking about having to deal with kids all day."

"Well… Why are you looking at everyone like that."

Beth and Lauren had been sitting in the waiting area of a bank for a while as Beth waited to meet with a manager. People streamed in and out and as they did Beth made aggressive contact with them.

"I'm just letting them know that I see them."


"In case they break any laws while they're here today."

"I think you're breaking some sort of harassment law whenever you look at them like that. Hey that's Hilary something…"


At that moment Hilary Gritton, Brittany Pike's nemesis, walked into the bank. Beth moved her eyes from Hilary to Lauren as Hilary walked by.

"Yeah, how do you know her? Brittany Pike hates her."

"I took ballet with her growing up."

"You were in ballet? I never pegged you for a graceful person."

"I'm not. But the only person that was worse than me was Hilary Gritton. She could barely stand up straight, let alone do any of the stances. But it wasn't a big deal because she was so quiet and sweet. All that changed whenever our old, french ballet instructor moved and our new teacher came. She changed everything, and she was especially hard on Hilary. She'd always scream 'niedriger, Hilary, niedriger!'"


'She was german. She kind of brought a military tone to the class. I ended up quitting, almost everyone did. But Hilary ended up thriving, and ultimately became the peer leader. Then Hilary started screaming at everyone. I remember, I quit the day that she told me 'Jesus wouldn't let a bad dancer enter Heaven.' We were 8. And she said it in German."

"Yeah, that sucks."

"Very much so."

At that moment, Hilary walked back by Beth and Lauren without looking at them. Beth, however, had her eyes all over Hilary. If it had been a cartoon, her eyes would have stretched from her face and analyzed every aspect of Hilary in the event she decided to rob the place. Once Hilary left the bank, Beth turned to Lauren.

"Why are we here anyway?"

"I don't know. I thought you wanted to come here."

"No I don't need anything." Beth started to rise from her seat. "Oh yeah, I need to get a new pin. And the 1-800 number offered no help."

"Why don't you just do it at the ATM."

"Because I don't want to."

"You have an awful memory. You need to start writing everything down on your hand."

"Ooo, speaking of which. Did you see that Sarah Palin was recently…"

"Wait, before you start, all those news channels lift whatever they want out of film or print so it sounds juicier than it really is. Everything sounds crazy and interesting when you can't see it in the big picture"

"If you say it you say it, that's just how it is. Putting it into context can't alter anything that drastically."

"Hell yes it can. I can't tell you how many Fefe Dobson songs I own because the thirty second preview on itunes sounded good."

"Ohhhh, I've been wondering about that."

"How do you know I have them."

"When you aren't in the room I go through your phone."

"Oh ok."

The Nemesis

“Bye girls! This was too fun, I love when we get together. And Hil-Cat, your hair is too cute!”

“Oh no.”

As Brittany Pike shouted her goodbyes to her friends, Beth knew of the impeding anger that was sure to come her way. Not only was Brittany Pike giving her friends nicknames that were the same syllabic length as their actual names, she was using the overly cheerily, high pitched voice she only brought out when she was highly upset.

“Well isn't this some bullshit!” Brittany Pike threw herself into the driver's seat and slammed the door.

“Well you should have told them the truth instead of making me act like it was my boyfriend.”

“Oh, so now this is all my fault?”

“Yes. This is all your fault. You have no one to be mad at but yourself. Don't try to deflect the blame here. You're the one that thinks Gary's addicted to porn. Why didn't you tell them instead of making me?”

“Well I didn't think they'd find you all relatable and stuff. They told you stuff that they've never told me. I should have come out looking like the champ just then. Why haven't you apologized yet?”

“For what?”

“Once you saw that you were a hit you should have told them the truth.”

“Absolutely not. I was going to take the hit if I looked like an asshole, so why would I give away the glory if that's what the result happened to be?”

“Because. That's what friends do.”

“Quit whipping crap like that out. Not once have you done anything that has benefited me or Lauren.”

“Then why do you guys hang out with me.”

“Because Lauren lives with you for practically nothing, and you make us feel good about ourselves.”

“I do do a great job at boosting people's moods. See I am a good friend.”

“What? No I mean... well forget it.”

Brittany Pike continued airing her grievances she drove aimlessly down the road, lacking a calm demeanor and basic social norms that one would apply to driving. She careened in and out of traffic, tailgated cars, ran several lights, all while she continued to vent.

“And I've never told you this, but I hate Hilary.”

“Oh, what'd Hil-Cat do?”

“Well, one day I was at the mall and I saw her with Kalee and Erin. So I call her from across the way...”

“Why would you do that? Why wouldn't you just go up to her?”

“Don't interrupt me. And because I was getting a massage.”

“In the middle of the mall? In one of those chairs, wasn't that awkward?”

“I said 'don't interrupt me.' So I call her, put the phone up to my ear and watch. This bitch looks at her phone, and says with a frown on her face, 'ugh, it's Brittany Pike,' then answers. So my voice started to crack and get all high pitched but I regained composure as always and did a good job of keeping it calm.”

“I'm sure. But what did you say to her once you saw her do that?”

“Well, I couldn't let her know that I was mad?”

“Why not?”

“Cause you keep your friends close, and your enemies...”

“Stop watching VH1. And can you chill out with this minivan. Oh-my-god... You've been tailgating them for like 2 minutes now.”

The minivan they were behind went on as Brittany Pike veered on to the freeway on ramp. As she passed the automobile she glanced into their car to see that she was receiving a certain gesture that is common in high stress road situations. Beth expected this much from the car. However, she didn't expect Brittany Pike's retaliation gesture which differed in so many ways from the one she had just received.

“What was that!?”

“That was me putting that soccer mom in her place.”

“By doing that? That seemed more like an invitation to a trucker.”

“What? No, that was me telling her to fuck off.”

“How? You were acting out stuff that the kids in her back seat shouldn't have seen.”

“Well I had to give her a piece of my mind.”

“I thought you quit saying that. Honestly, your entire vocabulary comes straight from an episode of 'Rock of Love.'”

“One time I missed a final because a marathon of that was on. Well, almost missed. I ran across campus and made it just in the nick of time. I was kind of sweaty though. And that bitch Hilary was in class with me and she kept giving me a weird look.”

“Was this after you called her at the mall, too?”

“Yeah. This is all Hilary's fault.”

The Horror, The Horror

“I still remember that day. The air was hot and thick in such a way that my steering wheel was covered by a fine layer of dirt. The only thing I wanted to do was lay on the couch, with the air conditioner blasting, watching a movie. Maybe Mary Poppins. Or maybe even A Home of Our Own. But I had made a promise to myself. And I had to keep it.

“I grabbed the bags out of the backseat of my car and began walking to my destination. A collection of guys had assembled outside a nearby establishment. I knew what they were thinking. 'Look at her. So confident, so powerful.' They wished I were their girlfriends. Or that there girlfriends were like me. I threw my head around to toss my hair since the weather wouldn't cooperate and give me the elements I needed.

“The door flew open and that familiar 'ding' that one associates with small hometown stores rang out. Moments of my childhood flashed before my eyes. I remembered walking into little boutiques with my parents, the store owners knew our names. They would always hand me a sucker, and talk to my parents as I ran through the store hiding from my brothers and sisters beneath the racks of clothing. But this was neither that time, nor that place.

“She said, 'welcome to Plato's Closet.' And I felt welcomed. I felt so welcomed. I walked towards the girl with a smile on my face and heaved with all my might the two garbage bags stuffed to total capacity with clothing from years past. 'I'd like to sell these,' I told her. She started rummaging through the collection as I began to wonder around the store to kill the time. I seemed to float through the aisles, gently grazing all of the clothing that hung from the seemingly endless racks. The outfit of my dreams was waiting for me, at Express.

“I floated back to the counter as the girl and her boss seemed to be finishing up with my clothes. The girl looked at me. She... She looked at me and said, 'we don't want any of this.' I was shocked. Perplexed. Stunned. Was there something wrong with my LEI jeans? Were those Baby Phat boots not good enough for them? Was I not good enough for them?

“I did what I could to keep the red out of my face and make things seem as cool as they were when I came in. 'Oh no problem, you can just give them to Goodwill or whatever.' I wanted to stay in control. I didn't want to lose the last shred of dignity I had left. But they robbed me of it. 'Oh, we don't do that.'
They were telling me that not only did they not like me. But they wanted me to pick myself and get out of there.

“How could I face those guys again. I was there goddess. They held me on such a pedestal and here I was. A fallen woman. How could I summon the confidence than I held when I entered this place. This place that accepts 'gently used clothes' of all kinds. My ass. I hated them for not giving me the money I wanted. I hated them for making me carry my stuff back out. But I mainly hated them for the shame they instilled in me, and the fear, the horror, that I now felt.

“The garbage bag strings pulled on my hands. The weight of their contents seemed to mirror the weight of the world that now seemed to be on my shoulders. The plastic cut into the palms of my hands in an effort to create a new line. The three I had were fine. But maybe this day held a new plan for me. A new path that I should follow. A new...”

“Excuse me Beth, can I see you in the kitchen for a moment.”

Beth stood up and walked with Brittany Pike into the kitchen.

“What in the hell is going on in there. You're supposed to be asking for advice on what to do if your boyfriend is addicted to porn.”

“Calm down, I'm going to. I can't launch into that question when I'm asked why I won't host a yard sale." Beth starts staring into a void intensely. "I wish it was for the same reason as others. I don't like used stuff. It's too hot outside. But no..."

“Stop it! Why do you keep doing that?”


“Staring intensely at nothing whenever you talk. You look like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice. This isn't some deep secret you've been festering over for years.”

“Yes it is! Besides, when did I do that.”

“The entire time you were telling that stupid story.”

“Take it back!”

“Ok, sorry. Just focus. We have a mission here. Get back in there.”

The Favor

Lauren and Beth walked into Lauren and Brittany Pike's apartment to find Brittany Pike hunched over her computer trying to log in to her gmail account. From all the expletives erupting from her mouth it was clear she was having difficulty.

“You know you can just hit, 'forgot password,' and it will help you remember what your password is,” Lauren informed.

“This is Gary's account, not mine,” Pike said as her typing progressed more towards punishing the keyboard than actually cracking the code.

Beth sat down next to her, suddenly invested in the situation. “What's his mom's maiden name.”

“Obama. I give up.” Brittany Pike closed the laptop.

“Obama? You don't believe that do you?”

“Forget it, I actually need to talk to you.” Brittany Pike turned to face Beth and looked very serious.

“Why, what? Is this about him getting sick?”

“No, I think Gary's addicted to Porn.”

Lauren broke in, “Okay, why are you sticking with a guy named Gary Obama who's addicted to porn?”

Brittany Pike stood up, her lip quivering and stormed to her bedroom and slammed the door. Lauren turned to Beth.

“So why would you think that this has something to do with him being sick?”

Beth looked around and brought her voice down to a whisper.

“Don't tell Brittany Pike this, but whenever her and Gary were over at my place last week I was pretty sick. I felt like I was gonna die but I don't have insurance so I couldn't do anything about it. Gary however, does. So whenever no one was in the room I took a drink of his 2 liter of root beer. Then once he got sick, I got my diagnosis through him.”

“That's the worst thing I've ever heard. What'd you have?”

“He wouldn't say. I'm terrified it's AIDS.”

“Why would it be AIDS? And do you really think you could give it to him through drinking after one another?”

Brittany Pike walked back in with a shockingly happy look on her face.

“So Lauren, how's everything going at the zoo?”

“Oh. Umm... pretty good so far. Actually, it's weird. When I'm around the gorillas for too long I get this overwhelming desire to start dominating everyone around me.”

Brittany Pike's smile was slowly fading. Beth asked, “what does that mean.”

“Well, I guess it's because I'm around all of these animals who kind of live that way. So I just get wrapped up in it. I keep finding myself talking about Ultimate Fighting Championships and calling everyone a bitch.”

“So that's why your status update yesterday said 'Lauren Scott is putting punk bitches in their place.”

“Yeah, I actually got a write-up over that. This five year old girl kept trying to act like she knew everything about the gorillas so I had to correct her. I don't know what's wrong with me.”

Brittany Pike, now angry, broke in.

“How did we get on this subject in the first place!?”

“You brought it up bitch.”

Beth tried to pacify the situation. “Lauren, calm down. There are no gorillas here.”

Brittany Pike finished, “If you guys were my real friends you would have known that I was just being polite, and you guys, being polite should have probed me further about Gary's porn obsession.”

Beth began, “Well..”

Brittany Pike broke in again, “Forget it, here's what I want. Beth, tomorrow I need you to go with me tomorrow to lunch with my friends and talk to them about it like it's your problem. That way I can hear what they say, and since they don't know you they'll definitely be honest about it.

“Oh I'm sure.”

“I would have asked Lauren, but she's single, and these friends are serious fact checkers.”


The Snow


Brittany Pike walked into the apartment and threw a loaf of bread against the couch.

“What happened? Where's the ham?” Lauren was genuinely concerned, but also pretty hungry. Winter was in full effect, and with it, the hysteria associated with snow. Brittany Pike had journeyed to the grocery to get a couple of basic things that her and Lauren needed for their apartment. Looking exhausted she collapsed onto the couch beside the bread.

“It was chaos there. The shelves were pretty much empty of everything we wanted. I couldn't look for a lot though, there was just so much going on I had to get what I could and leave. I had to take this bread out of someones cart.”


“No, it was fine. She had her back turned and even if she had started to turn around, she was using a walker so it would have taken a minute.”

“That is unacceptable.”

“No, whats unacceptable is people around here freaking out whenever four inches of snow is forecast. It's only four inches. No ones going to starve in that matter of what, hours, that it's unsafe to drive? But what's really unacceptable is that fear-mongering Kevin Harned. If it weren't for him and all his, 'will it or won't it' crap, people wouldn't get so worked up. I hate him!”

“Well, that sucks, but calm down. Just relax for a minute then we can run back to the grocery and get some ham and all that other stuff.”

“WE? What do you mean we?!”

“Fine, geez. I'll go by myself. You need to quit watching so many soap operas.”

Brittany grabbed her laptop and jerked it over on to her stomach. “I'm sending him a message.”

“Who? Kevin Harned?”

“Yep, that bitch is gonna get a piece of my mind.”

“Stop saying people are gonna get a 'piece of your mind.'”


“It's like when someone says 'psyche' or 'negative' or something. It was annoying in the nineties, and its maintained its annoying status even though it's left the mainstream way of talking.”

Brittany Pike started replying under her breath while typing with severity, “I'm about to give you a piece of my mind if you don't...”

“Alright, forget it! I'll be back.”

Lauren grabbed her keys and left for the grocery. She returned in the early evening, just in time for the news. Brittany Pike was in the restroom and walked out as Lauren turned on the tv.

“What are you going to watch?”

“The news. You were freaked out, plus everyone at Kroger did seem to know something I didn't. So I thought I'd see exactly what was being said.”

“I think that Kroger and the meteorologist in this town have some sort of deal. Kevin Harned and company get everyone worked up so they run to the grocery and buy up stuff they don't need. They could be giving kickbacks to the meteorologist. They've gotta be! Doesn't that make everything seem more rational?”

“What happened on General Hospital today?”

“Oh! Well Jax found the tape of Claudia putting a hit out on Sonny...”

Lauren turned the volume up to a point that Brittany Pike couldn't be heard. Kevin Harned stood in front of the map of the United States. His mood was much more somber than usual.

“Well it looks as though we'll get some snow tonight... It shouldn't be too much though... I mean weather can.. is sometimes so unpredictable that you can never know exactly what's going to happen until it's happening. It will definitely get colder tonight. I can't give you an exact estimate of how cold though... And it's going to snow... well it should snow, but you never know. I mean I wouldn't bet my life on it or anything... ummm...”

“Brittany! What did you send to him?!”

With her hands perched triumphantly behind her head she said, “I just told him that he needed to get his facts straight before he whipped people into these frenzies.”

“That's it? Why does he seem so sad?”

“I may have used a couple of curse words. And made an ironic joke.”

“Let me read it.”

Brittany grabbed her computer and slid it over to Lauren, who was shocked to find out that the messaging had happened on Facebook.

“You're friends with him on Facebook? Why did he add you?”

“I added him.”


“I don't know, just read it if you're gonna.”

After scanning the message she slowly closed the computer.

“I can't believe you are cyber bullying Kevin Harned.”

“What are you talking about? Did you even read what I wrote? You must have not gotten the joke.”

“Yes. Not only was that joke not ironic, it was also far from funny.”

“Yes it was.”

“No it's not, you use ironic where most people would use the word 'weird.' They're too very different things. And joking about a weatherman dying in a snowstorm... that's not very funny. That's creepy.”

“Oh well, he needed to be taken down a peg or two.”

“No, you need to. Did you even read his response?”


“It says 'Brittany Pike, I'm sorry that I disappointed you. Thanks for being my friend.'”

Brittany Pike's face seemed to register some remorse. Her anger had changed to concern. She slowly reached over to take the computer from Lauren's lap. Lauren watching her, was proud to see her roommate calm down and see the error of her ways. She placed both her hands on her heart as if she were watching a touching moment in a movie. Brittany Pike just sat looking at the computer for a moment deciding her next course of action as Lauren watched on. Then finally, she took action, clicking as severely as she had typed before.


The Trip: Part 2

“You're just a little bitch aren't you? How's that seat feel bitch? You cozy up there bitch? If I had a bitch ass like you I'd be comfortable up there too. Awww, am I hurting your feelings bitch? Can you not handle this? Huh, what do I care if the kid behind me is listening, he's a bitch too. Turn around bitch, I don't want to see your face.”

What had I done to deserve this lashing, from Lauren of all people? Why I took the front seat on the roller coaster that she had been hoping to get herself. In my defense I was standing in front of her in the line, and Brittany Pike and I had already stated our desire for that seat as well. So naturally when it was our turn to get on we sprinted to it to claim our spot, and exert our dominance. We were foolish to think Lauren would take this lying down. Lauren was a different person outside of town. We liked to refer to her as 'Travel Lauren.' Anything could set her off, and you could always tell the rage was coming by how big her eyes were.

The day had started as amazing as it seems in the movies. The sun was out, birds were chirping, smiles on everyones faces. He strolled at a leisure pace through the park. There was no hurry, we had plenty of time, and besides, we were on vacation. We were all so comfortable with one another that there were times when we could go several minutes without saying a word to one another. On one occasion I had zoned out in our 'comfort silence' moment to see Beth prodding her piece of chicken with a finger as Lauren admired herself in her personal mirror.

I said, “Me and Lauren want to ride the ride that Ellen narrates.”

Then Brittany Pike said, “Oh, well I'm going to go look for this bakery I read about in the park.”

Then Beth said, “Ooooo, me too.”

We all agreed to part ways, but little did we know this is what would be our downfall. In continuing with our movie perfect day, the time Lauren and I spent together would have been perfectly suited for a movie montage. Perky music playing as one activity bested the one before it. Nothing had put a damper on our time together. Then my phone rang. It was Beth.

She said, “Where are you?”

I said, “Why, what do you want?” I could detect tension on her end of the line.

She said, “We want to meet back up. This has been awful, Brittany Pike didn't know where she was going, but she insisted she did, and we just kept walking around for hours. At one point she ran ahead of me and jumped on a monorail as the doors were closing and I was left behind at the station. I'm just ready to meet back up.”

Then I said, “Oh, that sucks. Well we're over by the big pond, just look for the tree, alright gotta get off here, talk to you soon.”

“Oh no Lauren, they want to ruin our day! They want to meet back up and they're both annoyed with one another. What do we do?”

At that moment Brittany Pike called Lauren.

Brittany Pike said, “Now where exactly are you, those directions were vague.”

Then Lauren said, “We're by the big pond, and then there's a big tree over here too.”

Then I said quietly so only Lauren could hear, “Yeah, keep it broad and general so they can't find us.”

Then Brittany Pike said, “Well we want to meet back up. This has been awful, it took me longer to find the place than I thought, and Beth was always a step behind me and I was in a hurry. At one point we had to catch the monorail and she was walking and texting so when I got on she wasn't paying attention so she missed it. I'm just ready to meet back up so she can follow you guys around.”

Then Lauren said, “Well we don't have to meet up, you guys can do your own thing, we're in no rush.”

Then Brittany Pike said, “Oh we see you,” and hung up the phone.

Lauren said to me, “Damn it, what do we do? They're going to erase the greatness that was this day.”

And they did. As a result of their bad moods ours were brought down too. As we exited a ride I apologized for how mediocre it was.

I said, “Sorry you guys, it wasn't as fun as I remembered it. I thought there was a little more action.”

The Lauren said, “Oh like when you made me watch all of Sister Act 2 last week because you were waiting for the action to start?”

Then I said, “Oh yeah? Well did you conveniently forget just minutes ago when you made me ride the Carousel of Progress? You certainly talked that up and I kept looking for ways to get out of there the whole time!”

Then Lauren said quietly to me, “Wait, we've got to stop. This is just what they wanted.”

And we stopped. And we got along perfectly. For the next seven minutes. At that point I sat in the spot she wanted on a roller coaster. An awful one at that.

The Trip: Part 1

“Here put this in. This is a great movie. It's hilarious. Besides it will help driving through Atlanta go by faster.”

Within moments of this suggestion I passed out. I slept all the way through the traffic jam in Atlanta, and all the way through I Heart Huckabees. I honestly didn't think it was hilarious. I thought some parts were okay, mainly Lily Tomlin jumping into a car, but I didn't really get it. So since I didn't understand what was happening, I just assumed it must be clever. When I woke up the movie's credits were rolling and no one looked happy.

“That was horrible,” Beth said. “And how can you just fall asleep immediately after making us watch it?”

I looked to Lauren who was usually the calm, reasonable one of the group for some assurance. Her eyes were as wide open as I have ever seen them. The reason for this being the unorthodox driving style of Brittany Pike. Traffic combined with construction never created a great scenario so the constant stop and go was getting to Lauren. We finally developed a good pace so everyone's anxieties seemed to ease. For a moment anyway.

Lanes began shifting around due to the construction on the interstate. This however should not reflect a speed change in the mind of Brittany Pike. Rather than slow down as we weaved back and forth through lanes she maintained her brisk pace. As Beth and I engaged in an ad lib in the back of the van, we suddenly started swaying back and forth, each sway harder until we had to put up our hands to keep from slamming into the windows. We all shouted “BRITTANY,” simultaneously followed by a not nearly as loud “Pike” from Beth.

The stress of the construction led us to an IHOP to eat away our worry. Beth wanted to sleep in the car rather than go in so she asked me to get her French toast with any fruit besides strawberries.

“No problem!”

Twenty minutes later as I returned to the van with strawberry pancakes, not sure what happened there, I stepped in a suspicious looking substance in the parking lot. I wiped what I could onto the pavement then got in the car. This time around Lauren would be driving. Though I smelled nothing, it only took a moment for a group 'what's that smell?' I was the last one to get in the car so the blame rested entirely on my lap. We made it about thirty more miles down the road before Lauren exited the interstate to run into a gas station to vomit. She insisted that she was nauseated due to the IHOP, but I couldn't help but feel self conscious.

Beth began driving for the night portion of the trip. Despite the GPS system that told her the next move she found herself in a panic as we turned and went up and down hills because she couldn't see the road miles ahead of her. This led to Beth constantly flashing her bright lights to the darkness in front of us, despite the flow of traffic on the other side of the interstate. The darkness of the night was just the first problem. Around two that morning deer started approaching the interstate on all sides which added break pumping to the light flashing.

Also around this time Beth tried to break the tension by saying/singing “Jesus take the wheel.” She laughed to herself and thought 'how clever.' She noticed however, that no one in the car seemed to enjoy her pun as much as she did. In fact no one acknowledged it. She was embarrassed, but at the same time she knew her joke should have killed so she waited around for another chance to employ it. After passing the eighth bloody spot on the road, and the third semi truck with a deer carcass in its front, Beth once again attempted “Jesus take the wheel.” Again, nothing. This time embarrassment gave way to anger and Beth pulled off the interstate to quit her shift prematurely.

The Visitors

“Is there any way we could talk you in to coming down here instead? We're both having crappy days and don't really feel like coming up there.”
“Oh, is this because Laura lost to Radar the Weather Dog in the fan vote for Bowling Green's favorite TV personality?”
“No, she's having relationship problems and I just don't feel very well.”
“Oh. Well no, come up here anyway, we'll have more fun.”

Two of my friends from high school, Kalena and Laura, were coming up to hang out since it'd been quite a while since I'd seen them. The last time being on Kalena's birthday when we rode around in an obnoxious 'party bus' which was an old firetruck that we stood on while it blasted music to the disdain of everyone on the street. That night Laura had the flu so she literally stood in one spot on the bus with her arms crossed. The only time she moved is when the bus had to stop and everyone went crashing to the floor.

Once they made it up we set out for food because Laura was hungry. The plans were pretty grand in theory. We were gonna meet up with another friend from high school, Ben, go to a baseball game, then head to the casino for a night of gambling. Before though, we thought we'd get some sort of alcohol to have a drink before we go. We made it to Mid City Mall and sent Laura to McDonald's so she could eat her emotions. Kalena and I headed to the liquor store to find something to get the night going.

After lurking in the store for approximately ten minutes we left empty handed because nothing really stood out to us. Also we felt really uncomfortable because the store was the size of a small bedroom and there was no one in there other than us and the cashier. At this point we stood by the car waiting for Laura to return. Cars flew by us on all sides as we stood there. Finally Laura came skulking back with a couple of cheeseburgers. Rather than get in the car and leave though, we stayed in the parking lot because we were waiting for Ben to call so we could go pick him up. There was no point in going back to my house then getting back in the car and leaving and going somewhere else. Well that was my logic anyway. A few minutes passed and we stood in the parking lot as Laura ate her cheeseburgers. Man do I know how to show visitors a good time.

We picked up Ben and headed to the game. On the way Laura explained her relationship woes to the group...

“He only calls me like once a day and when he does we only talk for a few minutes. He doesn't really give me any attention and I feel like he doesn't like me almost. I mean, sometimes I go days without seeing him and it just really bothers me.”

We responded with...

“Well what did he say? Is he mad at you or something?

Then she informed us...

“I haven't talked to him about it.”

And then we said...

“WHAT!? Are you serious? You're laying around crying and being depressed about how bad things are going with your boyfriend, meanwhile he's cruising around Bowling Green thinking everything's solid? That makes no sense.”

She rebutted with...

Nothing. Though, at this point she decided to drop the bomb on us that in the depression of her day, she carelessly forgot to bring her ID with her.

We made it to the game and snuck Laura beer. Oh to be 17 again. At that point though I was buying tickets to movies for friends who couldn't get into the ones rated R. Maybe it was the sun, or maybe it was us, but whatever it was Laura finally started to cheer up. So cheery in fact that she felt that some photo ops needed to happen. She took one of, Kalena, Ben, and me and said 'Oh that's a good one.' Kalena took the camera and her expression read otherwise.

“This is a horrible picture. I look like I'm posing for my senior picture, Ben looks like he's a King being painted, and Jared looks like a hunchback.”

After the game we went back to my place to decide what to do next. 'Just go without me,' Laura insisted on several occasions. She was apparently under the impression that we were in an apocalyptic movie and she was performing a heroic act. But we weren't, and we didn't. So the night ended around 10 PM, 9:30 for Laura.

The Seventeenth of March

“Oh I'm so chill when I drink. I just like to relax, have a good time, hang out, you know? Hey look at at these pictures of me on facebook. Here we're at a bar, we had so much fun that night. Oh, and this girl that's passed out, I don't know her, but do you remember that girl that has the big case going to trial because of her multiple DUI's? Well that's her, and she was at the bar we were at, and it was just such a chill night and she was there, so we all started taking pictures around her, and it was so much fun. Did I mention how chill I am when I drink?”

I'd never been to the local St. Patrick's day parade and since it ventured down the street adjacent to my apartment, I thought I'd check it out. Brittany Pike, the 'chill' girl whose antics in life require that she be referred to not only by her first name, but her surname as well, accompanied me to the festivity.

The streets were packed with people on all sides so I had to stand behind Brittany Pike who had positioned herself on the front row in order to get as much as stuff as she could. Once we had established ourselves and let everyone know we weren't moving, the parade got underway, and by parade, I mean drunk people of all ages transporting themselves down the street using various means.

As the beads and other useless items that we all desperately hope to catch flew from the street the competition began. Brittany Pike began hurling herself at every time that came within a four foot radius of her. Her hair became more disheveled and her face more red. After ten minutes or so she finally turned around to me and asked to change spots. Her lack of success at getting items had started to take a hit on her self esteem.

Once we switched I finally understood what she was talking about. I felt the pressure to be extremely quick and not only get as much crap as I could, but get so much that I humiliate everyone around me, including the children. The only thing standing in my way was that all of the other people lining the streets had the exact same goal in mind. They were also more uninhibited than I was because they were either children, or inebriated adults.

The chaos that ensued should have been indicative of what was to happen for the remainder of the day. One man lost control of the go-cart, yes the go-cart he was driving at maybe 4 miles per hour, and slammed into some pedestrians that had to be taken to the hospital. I later found out that I had a friend that knew the victims. (They're fine by the way.) Later a guy was on the roof of a building and throwing crap down on to the people below. Once he saw that authorities were on their way to apprehend him he started performing karate chops in mid air as if to say 'bring it on'. At that point I turned to ask if Brittany Pike if she had witnessed this. When I turned back around and pointed to where he was, he was no longer there. He vanished... like a ninja.

Later that night, a newly single Beth, decided to go to a bar with us. Usually I'm not crazy about going to bars and stuff, especially on a Tuesday, but when I passed the Irish area of town around four in the afternoon it was littered with people all decked out in their green attire and I immediately felt jealous and left out. Brittany Pike lived up to her statements about being chill and relaxed when going out. At least for the first eight minutes of the walk there. Somehow in that time she went from completely sober to a drunken mess.

Once in Flanagan's Brittany Pike nabbed a cigarette from somewhere, and started smoking/stumbling her way through the bar. At one point she slammed into some guy which caused the cigarette to fall out of her mouth and on the ground. She pushed the guy she walked into him and kind of yelled at him for it, then later explained this was her method for getting drinks. If only the night had ended there I would have been been. Annoyed, yet fine. But no. Brittany Pike later managed to get into an altercation with some other guy who actually pushed her, which caused Beth to pounce like a puma out of no where and punch him. At this point I grabbed Brittany Pike and pushed her out of the bar to the house.

She passed out quickly on my couch to my relief so I started doing laundry for whatever reason. When she awoke the next morning she had no recollection of the previous night's events.

“You were awful, you are the furthest thing from chill when you drink. You picked up some cigarette that had been stepped on and put it on your mouth, how gross is that? And then you kept getting into arguments with people and sneaking drinks. You were too much to handle, and I was only closely babysitting because if you got beat up and had to go to the hospital I would have to take you. I'm never going out with you again. You wanna go to McDonald's? Ok, after that you need to go.”

The Commute

Ms. Wardle said she would make her boyfriend by the pizza for her.

The day was coming to a close as she battled the evening rush hour. There weren't many things to do for the rest of the day other than sleep and eat. Beth Wardle would do the sleeping and the eating with the assist from her boyfriend. She called him to inform him of his duties that he would be expected to perform but rather than him answering the phone at her home, her sister did.

Her sister visited frequently so it was no surprise that she answered her phone, in fact, Ms. Wardle would have preferred to have her sister deliver the news rather than herself. Before ending the call Beth jokingly told her sister that they should to have sex so a child could be conceived using a majority of the same genes. Beth was unable to bear another child but yearned for another. She turned off the phone and continued the journey home.

She laughed to herself as she sat on the highway. Her joke had been a hit with both her boyfriend and her sister. They had always found ways of amusing one another, and that is what kept their relationship so fresh. They laughed at this joke just as they had laughed at all of her others. This one even more so than the others. Maybe a little too much in fact.

Could they have been forcing those laughs because Beth had said something that rang too close to comfort for them? Had an affair been going on behind her back this whole time? Her sister was closer than anyone else besides herself. In fact, Beth's sister often reminded her that it was his birthday and she needed to obtain a present for him. Her sister must have planned this. She gave Beth little notice of the birthday so she had to scramble to give a good gift. Beth's feelings were constantly hurt when he used her sister's gift, an IPOD, more often than her own, a copy of the book Love Me or I'll Kill You. He'd always been a fan of the true crime section, so why did this book not entertain him in the way all the other true crime books did?

Beth picked the phone back up and called the house again. Her boyfriend answered this time sounding distant, like his mind was elsewhere.
“I was joking you know!”
“The two of you better not be having sex!”
“What? What are you talking about? Crazy.”
“Am I?”
With that she hung up the phone and picked up the speed in her car, weaving in and out of traffic. She was going to get there and catch them in the act. Beth's mission had never been more clear in her life. This must be the reason that her sister always enjoyed showing Beth's baby picture to everyone. She knew Beth hated it. Her mother had left her hair undone and let her rub all over her face to create a monstrous looking child. Her mother must have been in on it too! All of these facts were coming together and Beth felt like an animal in a cage waiting to be unleashed.

Beth pulled up to the house and stormed to the door. Throwing it open so hard that the springs nearly maxed themselves out. When she stepped inside her boyfriend and sister were playing Mario. She walked over to her boyfriend and proclaimed “I knew it!” as she slapped him across the face.

The Babysitters

“Ross was always my favorite.”
“Really? Ross was like third or fourth for me depending on the season. Phoebe held the top spot the entire time though?”
“She wasn't very smart though.”
“Lauren, she just had a different way of thinking, I wouldn't classify it as dumb. Joey was dumb.”
“Awwww, I love Joey.”
“Well he does add to the ensemble quite well, but he's unfortunately my least favorite of everyone.”
“I think Phoebe might be my least favorite actually.”
“WHAT!? She was the funniest person on the show. When she was pregnant she was hilarious.”
“Rachel was pretty funny when she was pregnant too.”
“Later on we should watch some episodes.”
“Yeah we should. I really like the episode where the girls go to the strip club with Chandler.”
“I think my favorite is...”

At roughly that same moment the tree limb Caliyah, (the seven year old daughter of Beth, who Lauren and I were entrusted to watch while Beth was at work and not stare idly at other children play while discussing Friends,) was standing on snapped and she was dangling from a branch crying. Rather than state her favorite episode Lauren snapped back into babysitting mode and ran to save the helpless child hovering inches off the ground.

Instead of letting that ruin our day, we decided to rent one of the classic Disney movies so Caliyah could get wrapped up in the wonder like we would in nostalgia. I was pushing for The Sword and the Stone or Robin Hood, while Lauren liked the idea of getting Sleeping Beauty or Beauty and the Beast. Caliyah on the other hand was all about a Bratz movie but we refused to listen. After some serious negotiations we finally settled on Robin Hood, and left satisfied.
“Alright, let's go,” and Lauren led the way out of the bustling movie store. She followed that up with “Oh my god, Caliyah!”
Once Lauren ran back inside and retrieved Caliyah we headed to the car.
“I'll race you to the car,” Caliyah proposed. Lauren started to say 'absolutely not,' but mid statement I sprinted across the parking lot. My heart was racing as I looked back with a smile. I was determined to win and no one could stand in my way. When my hand touched the trunk a surge of energy poured through my veins. When I turned to see the look of disappointment on their faces I was greeted by a different look on Lauren's. Though she scolded me for participating, I basked in the glory of my victory all the way home.

At the house we started to settle down as I put in the movie and Caliyah and Lauren played with one of those fortune telling paper things. It's where you say a number, and the person with their index finger and thumb in the cleverly folded paper, moves the areas back and forth said amount of times and this all continues until you have your fortune told. I turn the movie on and Caliyah lays in the floor with her value pack of twizzlers and Lauren comes to sit by me.
“I'm really freaked out,” she tells me.
“Well I know it's stupid, but the one I picked said 'you die'”
“Oh, that is kind of creepy.”
“Yeah especially considering the other options were, 'you become president, you get a barbie, and you go to Disney world.”
“Well still, it's just a kid, the death prediction was probably the last thing she could think of, I wouldn't worry about it.”
“Well I know I shouldn't be creeped out, but I can't help it. I'm really anxious.”
"It's just a stupid fortune. You've gotta calm down."
"You wouldn't be saying that if it had been you that picked it."
"You're right."

The Pilot

The dogs were fighting. The tension that we had created had spilled over to them. Phrases like, "Get off of me," and "Just stay away from me were repeated throughout the night. It even made it to the point that we were questioning who we were. Hate never made its way out of anyones mouth, but we knew that it was there. I hated her for not believing in us, and she hated me for not giving up. The hate was only temporary, but it existed. It was there. After what seemed like countless hours and dogfights I finally gave in, I couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. I handed the controller to Beth's boyfriend so he and Beth's daughter could defeat Koopa, and in turn, the game.

I crossed my arms bitterly and hoped they would lose. And when Mario and Toad continued to fall into the lava, just as they had done with me, satisfaction replaced the bitterness. Did I realize it was petty to feel that way about a video game I was playing with a nine year old? Of course. At that moment however, I chose to be bitter rather than sensible.

When the game had finally been conquered, without the help of me or the nine year old, Beth and I set out for donuts at Krispy Kreme. This desire developed through watching The Real World: DC's episode about a girl's battle with an eating disorder. Once the donut transaction had been placed I was surprised to discover that our journey was not over. Beth felt nachos from Taco Bell would perfectly compliment her raspberry filled donut.

While waiting in line behind the other cars craving Grade D beef, I decided I couldn't hold out any longer and had to eat some of my donut. However, at the moment the donut advanced towards my mouth, the line moved and we made our way to the first window. The look the cashier gave us was both bewilderment and pity. Her expression made it clear that she was thinking 'Damn, aren't donuts enough for you?'

Later that evening I went to the restroom and when I returned, Beth was cleaning up her living room that we had trashed through all the Wii playing and food binging. It was at this moment that she confessed to something that had clearly been weighing on her heavily. She told me that not only had she taken part in the 'Taco Bell Win $1000 Survey,' she had also been denied a second entry into the sweepstakes because she had maxed out the number of times Taco Bell allows someone to enter in a six month period. With that in mind, our night ended and I walked over to the door and grabbed it by the edge to pull it open, because the doorknow had fallen off, and walked to my car and headed home.