TITLE: Side Out
I look to make sure it’s not Mom and breathe a sigh of relief when I realize it’s just my twin brother, T.J., heading to the bathroom. Mom doesn’t want me checking the video stats. She thinks the fact that I’m transferring schools will make this whole video mess go away. For someone who’s a college professor, Mom really doesn’t get it. Things on the internet aren’t like socks in the dryer. They don’t just disappear when you’re not paying attention.
T.J. closes the door. He then breaks out into his signature chorus of catch phrases. “ Richard Simmons!” He draws the name out like a sportscaster. “Go Richard! Go Richard! Sweat….Richard Simmons shaves his legs!”
I rock my head back and groan. I so don’t care about Richard Simmons’ hygiene right now, or ever, but especially not now.
Reta—my finger hovers over the “r” key, but I don’t need to press it. The browser has made its suggestions. The first is “Retard Fire Drill.” 2,921 views in three months. A wave of hurt rushes over me, making my heart squeeze inside my chest. I click.
In the video, T.J. runs down the dimly lit hallway, hands pressed tightly against his ears, wading his way through the sea of students that finally parts to let him swim upstream. His terrified screams punctuate the silences between the blaring EEERRR, EEERRR, EEERRR, EEERRR wails of the fire alarm. His special ed. aide can’t get to him. That’s when Video Me shouts his name and bolts out of my single-file class line to help. A speech bubble appears over video T.J.’s head, “Save me, Sasquatch!” Video Me doesn’t know it, but the hours that follow turn out to be the Worst. Day. Ever.
The curved arrow on the laptop screen asks me if I want to play the video again. Now it’s at 2,922 hits. The most recent comments jump out at me.
Zach226: How tall is that girl? Like 6’2”?????
CarlyB808: That poor boy.
CeezyT2T04: This vid made my day. <3 Retard Fire Drill
RachIsAmazing: I’d so hate to be them. Like for real hate it.
JDogg32: Glad someone got this on vid.
CeezyT2T04: Me too. Heard Sasquatch isn’t comin back this year. 2 bad. She was actually pretty good at basketball.
Kevster808: Bet she’s too scared to show her fat face!
Those are the tame comments. Feeling faint, I curl my fingers around my laptop to resist the urge to throw it out the window. No, CeezyT2T04, I’m not going back to that stupid school. And Kevster808, what about your face? I seem to remember you getting an overhand serve rocketed at your nose after you did your impersonation of T.J. That was the one blip of good during the Worst. Day. Ever. Until that moment, sinking a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer was the coolest thing I’d ever done, but giving Kevin Ziegler a nosebleed was totally better.