"What's up, fags?!"
This is how Patrick enters a room. The floor shakes, the furniture rattles, and there's Patrick's middle finger, "What's up, fags?!"
Patrick's brother Daniel--not Dan, and never Danny to anyone but his stupid older brother and a few stupid teachers--wears a bright green hockey jersey: unexpected, as Daniel's strategy for surviving high school involves not wearing any color other than black for four solid years. It was his idea to watch Deep Blue Sea at the mall tonight, but Daniel's parents took away his car keys after he failed a geometry test. It goes without saying they're also upset he never wears anything but black, and no one wants to admit the real inspiration for his punishment is suspected homosexuality.
Jared could not be more excited about the movie. His strategy for surviving high school involves a sickening enthusiasm for everything. He plays three varsity sports, has dated the five prettiest girls in our class, and gets away with drinking alcohol at school functions. He has no drivers' license this month because he enjoys speeding.
I do not want to see this movie at all. My strategy for surviving high school involves a seething hatred for everything. I hate school. I hate teachers, who won't stop giving me As. I hate girls, who ignore me. Some days, I hate my friends and myself. I don't have a car tonight because the Chrysler Corporation has a policy forbidding the manufacture of a working automobile transmission.
(This seat is empty.*)
Patrick, an out-of-state college student, is in town this weekend to see his fifteen-year-old girlfriend, Tina. Daniel talked him into driving us tonight.
In Patrick's Nissan, Jared lists the reasons he believes we are going to see an incredible movie. "Number One: LL Cool J. Ladies Love Cool James. Number Two: SL Jackson. Bad Motherfucker in any movie. Number Three: Sharks."
He gives fourteen reasons, mostly variations on there apparently being sharks in this movie. We pick up Tina, and for her benefit Jared recites the list again, from the beginning, in its entirety.
At the mall, we eat dinner at Diamond Dave's. Patrick makes jokes like, "I wonder if that chicken sandwich is made with breast meat. I need to get my hands on that chicken sandwich. Maybe I should squeeze the buns before I put my mouth on the breast." followed by groping, followed by Tina pretending to object, followed by gross kissing.
Jared is still talking about sharks.
Daniel doesn't say much. He won't take his eyes off a family in the corner booth: Mother, father, happy blond daughter, dark-haired son with black clothing and sad eyes. The son looks back sometimes, but not for very long and never when his family is looking at him.
I don't give this much thought. I'm too busy hating Patrick, Tina, our waitress, Diamond Dave's, and sharks.
Deep Blue Sea is an inexcusably bad movie. Get your friends together and rent it. You'll thank me.
After the movie, three of us wait in the car for half an hour while Patrick dry-humps his illegally underaged victim on the porch of her parents' house. Daniel finally explains what happened tonight.
We knew he'd been dating someone from a different high school, someone in his vampire role-playing group. That's all we knew, because keeping things private is part of Daniel's survival strategy.
When you check yourself into the psych ward, or when your homophobic parents read your diary and decide you should check yourself into the psych ward, you disappear. Your friends can't see or call you. Your boyfriend, who understands everything you can't explain to your family or your doctors, can only wait. He will wait for you to convince your doctors and family you're ready to check yourself out, wait for one three-minute phone call, wait for your parents to bring you into public, even if they won't let you out of their sight. He'll wear an ugly green hockey jersey so you won't miss him. He'll make his friends late for an awful movie so if the two of you can't touch or speak you can at least look at each other across a dim restaurant.
Eventually, Patrick drives us home.
Jared enumerates the ways in which Deep Blue Sea has exceeded his expectations, "Number One: LL Cool J."
Daniel takes the front seat, and I hear what Patrick says when he thinks I'm listening to Jared. "That was her, right? The blond girl at Diamond Dave's? She's cute. I'm sorry her parents are pricks." He gives a nudge that looks like a punch but feels like a hug, "Danny, don't cry. It'll be okay."
*This line was added for the sake of my "chair dance" blocking: I pushed around four chairs to indicate the couch, seats in the Nissan, Diamond Dave's, etc. I jumped from chair to chair for the descriptions and dialogue of different characters, and this line justified the fourth chair with three seated characters. With different blocking, this line is disposable.