The story came about in interesting fashion. I had joked with my roommate about something irrelevant, and finished with the phrase that would become the title to the story. I wondered what reasons might there be to 'keep someone around' and in my own twisted fashion, asked how can I make that into a scary story. As I was writing it, I had come across a call for submissions for an anthology, School Days: Tales with an Edge. I decided the story would fit well, and it helped define the overall tone of "I Knew we Kept you Around for a Reason".
For your Halloween pleasure, I present to you the beginning of "I Knew we Kept you Around for a Reason"...
“They are way too cool to be your friends.” Eugene’s older brother, Randy, really does love his brother, but it’s in that older brother kind of love that only manifests when he’s drunk, or when the two are older and able to share such emotions freely. However, there is truth in the jest. Eugene is a dork, a nerd on his better days, but the star quarterback and head cheerleader just invited him to a party tonight.
Earlier in the day, on his way to remedial math, Shawn dropped his cell phone in the hallway. Eugene was behind him heading to the adjacent class, AP calculus, and saw the phone. “Shawn, hey you dropped this.”
“Oh shit man, thanks. My girl woulda killed me if I lost this. It’s got pics of me n her… Never mind, it’s Eugene, right?”
“You know my name? Wow super!”
“Course I know your name bro, we’ve gone to the same school for ten years.”
Still bewildered by the notoriety, “Yeah, but we never spoke before. I mean, I’ve only seen you with the other football players and cheerleaders.”
“Never mind all that, you did me a solid, n I won’t forget.”
“So just like that, the most popular kid in school invites you to the hottest party of the year? Must have been some nasty pictures on that phone.” Still not believing his little brother was invited to a party Randy himself would have gone to during his high school years.
Not fully knowing who his new friend really is, Eugene defends Shawn, “No way, that’s not what he meant, Shawn wouldn’t do that.”
“Are you kidding me? Remember, I was a senior when you guys were freshman, and even back then I heard stories about him and girls in my class.”
During this Shawn was having a conversation of his own. “Babe, I’m tellin you, your plan worked perfectly. Seriously, the loser picked up the phone before it even stopped spinning.”
Pleased with herself, Lillian’s also surprised with Shawn, “I’m just glad you were able to remember his name. Do you think he’ll come tonight?”
Shawn barely hears the question of his cheerleader girlfriend as he watches her get ready for the party. “Huh? Oh, it doesn’t matter. He thinks we’re friends now. I hope he doesn’t show up, don’t think I could deal with him geeking up the party.”
“Honey, listen to me, we only have three months to make him trust you completely by prom night or it won’t work.”
“Little bro, I don’t think you should go to the party.” Randy stands in fron of Eugene, blocking the door. “Haven’t you seen ‘Carrie’.” He walks away laughing. At least change your shirt.” He calls over his shoulder.
Eugene turns around and heads upstairs thinking, They should like this shirt. Little does he know, no one would have found the humor that is “Geeks do it 22.”
“What the hell are you doing here, loser?” The center lineman has his giant hand pressed against Eugene’s chest, crushing his Star Trek intercom logo that he wears around his neck.
Shawn comes rushing down the stairs, “Back off Box, the los… he’s not a loser. Eugene’s with me.” Getting in between the two, Shawn puts his arm around Eugene’s shoulders.
“Whatever you say cap’n.” Box walks away confused, but more interested in getting back to his drink.
“So Eugene…” Shawn has to mentally fight off the awkwardness of the moment. “Glad you could make it. You want a drink or something?”
“Thanks, but I don’t drink.”
“Sure you do, here you go.” He hands Eugene his own drink of Hennessy and coke. “Go mingle, I’m going up to Lillian, I’ll be back in a while.”
Eugene wakes up the following morning, with the room spinning, and a t-shirts worth of cotton in his mouth. He’s lying on top of his retro Voltron blanket completely naked. “Am I still a virgin?”
To find out whether or not poor Eugene is still a virgin or not, you can purchase School Days: Tales with an Edge here at amazon.com and stay tuned for more from AzarRising