* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Mary Sue

20 February 2003
Dan's narrative is off balance

I don't know quite how to express this, but it feels like there's one too many of us. Perhaps I'm just being silly. Maybe I'm resistant to change, and, yes, maybe I'm just jealous. All I'm asking is that you hear me out.

We used to fit together pretty well, the four of us. The cheerleader, the jock, the star student with a secret sorrow, and me. I know I didn't seem to bring much to the party, but after last year I believe I've justified my place in this little group. I really do. Cast your mind back to the events of last year if you're not so sure; it was my decision that got Joey out of prison on that false drugs rap, and my old friend from infant school who ended up confessing. That was all me, right? See, Joey's nodding. He knows the score.

So, sure, maybe she just has me on edge. Like there's some kind of last-in, first-out deal going on. But I don't think so. I trust you guys. Friends forever, yeah? Although we have been spending less time together recently, and when we do get together she's usually there. And you guys don't seem to be doing anything else; I know I'm not. We just seem to hang around the house waiting for the phone to ring.

OK, don't look at me like that, Cyndi. You know what I'm talking about better than any of us. How long did it take since she came to school this year for you and Donnie to split up? Three years together, planning to go to the prom together, planning to go to college together, every moment together, and within - what? - a week, maybe two he's telling you it isn't working. No trial separation, no working it out, just a one-way ticket to Dumpstown. And sure, you were behaving like a bitch, and nobody could understand why, but that doesn't explain shit.

A week later, he's hanging around her like a weapons inspector, and a week after that they turn up together at the Midwinter dance. But that's not what's confusing me. What's confusing me is that none of us minded. No closing ranks, no calling "skank", not even a charged exchange of views at the punch table.

What the fuck was up with that? What are we, French or something? This is not sane behaviour for highly-strung high-schoolers. Seriously. The next week, back at school, she was drinking with us at the water fountain, joining us for cappuccino and kvetching about the homework assignments Mr. Showalter gives us for AP Maths.

I don't understand it. I don't understand you, Pete. When your mother died you promised you'd have the highest GPA in the school every year. Two years ago you nearly ran yourself into the ground before it turned out that the new kid was cheating on his tests. Now, what's been happening lately? She turns up on a transfer, starts acing every assignment, acts modest about it and never seems to do any extra work, and you're playing racquetball with her and mooning after her whenever she heads off on a date with Donnie. It's out of character, man, and I don't care how beautiful she is. You're gay, remember?

And Jenny - how long have your eyes been blue for? It's all wrong, don't you see? Half the time it feels like I've forgotten something important, and then it comes back and it's something vital. Really vital, like Pete's mother or that time when Joey tried steroids. And I shouldn't be forgetting stuff like that, but what really scares me is the stuff that I don't remember forgetting. What don't I know about you any more? What don't I know about myself?

Sometimes I'm talking to my Dad, just acting natural, and I see something in his eyes like he's never met me before. I don't think it's my fault. It's that Carpenter flick, The Thing - she's making everybody scared of each other. Now I'm scared of myself. I think I'm meant to be in love with her too, and I really don't want to be. But she does things to people. Don't you ever get the feeling, when she's in the room and talking to someone else, that you're getting thinner and paler, 'til you barely exist? Or when she looks into your eyes and you can't stop talking like a twelve-year old. It's all charm rings and eternity and never knowing anyone like her before. And it's bullshit.

It's all bullshit. I've known dozens of people like her before. We spend our lives wading through people like her. Put on 60 pounds and she's just one of those fat kids with pictures of unicorns over her bed that nothing interesting ever happens to, and we never notice. Now she's dating Cyndi's boyfriend, and you know she's going to be homecoming queen, on the strength of two semesters here, and it's all just wrong. So wrong. We can't go to college like this, cheerleading for a perfect stranger. That's not living.

It's OK. We don't have to do anything about it. I didn't think you'd want to. I knew you wouldn't be able to. Just wanted to make sure you understood why I did it.

Everything's going to be fine again now. Everything's going to have a happy ending.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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