"It has come to my attention that some of your friends over in the Drama department are performing a play."

I turn to face Gueermo, my mind already trying to narrow down the list of motives he has for bringing the obvious to my attention when I was supposed to be auditioning for a solo. I'm the one who should be making noise, not him. "Um... yes, I hear they do that a lot."

"Why they aren't performing a musical is beyond me, but, alas, it isn't my decision." His tone grows dramatic and his eyes wander far into the distance.

Time to reel this gay fish back in. "...I thought this was about a solo?"

"In a way, it is. Are you planning to audition for this play?"

Oh yeah, he wants something. But I know playing dumb is the best move right now. "Um... I've thought about it and all, but, I mean, I have work and practice and homework—"

"What if I let you... shall I say... skip practice whenever you need to go to their rehearsal — that is, granted, if you get the part." He has his fingers neatly knitted together and his voice adopts that tone Cartman's gets whenever he feels the need to work persuasive magic to get what he wants. Gueermo's almost as good as Fatass, too. The word "skip" has me totally enchanted.

"Uh... wow. Um..."

"But, you have to do me the smallest of favors when you do."

"Uh...?" And here's the catch.

"Check to see if they're not tampering with our set pieces. Or our costumes. And if they aren't tampering... well... you people already have an inherent desire to vandalize public property, do you not?"

"...You people?"

"Poor people. White trash. Violent alcoholic ruffians."

The spell is breaking faster than my parents' condoms. "What if I say no?"

"Well... I'll simply have to let the Admissions Board at Brigham Young know about your other extracurricular activities..."

"Like...?" He can't possibly know about my side business. He hasn't got shit on me.

"Particular illegal substances you may or may not have on your person at this very moment?"

What the hell. This man is a necromancer and I'm a fucking cursed newborn offering to his twisted God.

But I can still make this worth my while I won't go down without a fight. It's time to counter his black bribery with my black market street smarts. "And what if I do accept? Will I get a solo? And not the extra high notes in the middle of ‘Kiss The Girl?' 'Cause I swear to God, if it's one of those again, I'm not doing shit for you."

"What about... ‘You've Got a Friend in Me?'"

"No, please, anything but Randy Newman."

"Fine..." He looks at his list of potential Disney songs to perform this year. (Of course this year's theme is Disney; that mouse has inadvertently killed me once and he's gotten a taste for causing me misery now, I'll bet) "‘God Help the Outcasts?'"

"Is that supposed to be a joke? Everyone knows the only good song from Hunchback is ‘Hellfire' and that's, like, an octave lower than my range." Admittedly, Damien may have slanted my opinion on the matter, but it sounded legit.

"Damn..." He goes back to his list until he points at a song and says, "Ah! ‘I'll Make a Man Out of You,' and that's my final offer."

Resisting the urge to make a joke out of that song title, I stick my hand out for him to shake and reply, "Okay. Deal." How can I say no to Donny Osmond? Mormons may be against most of the things I hold dear in this world (drugs, pre-marital sex, caffeine) but they're so damn nice about it I don't really mind I'm about to live an entire state of Osmonds. Maybe.

He turns to go and leads me with an amicable pat on my shoulder. "Good." As we head towards the door, I feel him slip something small into my hoodie pocket. "I'm glad we've come to an understanding, McCormick." So maybe Gueermo is a little more street savvy than I thought. He can do more than pull a devil rabbit out of a hat.

The puzzled look on my face is only met with a quiet "Shh."

I wait until Gueermo's out of sight before reaching inside my hoodie and feeling what exactly it was he put in there, even though I already have a strong suspicion as to what it was.

And my suspicion is right.

It's money.

Still, I don't know what kind of bill it is. And pulling it out in the middle of the hallway especially if it happens to be a big bill is a giant rookie mistake.

So I find the nearest bathroom, lock myself in the Handicapped stall, promptly pull the cash out of my pocket, and hold it up to the light above me.

Benjamin Franklin triumphantly stares down at me, as does his watermark.


"You can't possibly think of actually doing this."

"Okay, then how the fuck am I going to get out of this shithole otherwise?" I take a sip of my water. "He's gonna fucking narc on me if I flake out. One word from him and it's goodbye, college." Then I say what's really bothering me. "And, like, what if he does something to Karen?"

"Report him!" Kyle gives his nearly frozen peaches an extra vicious stab. "Go to the office! No, fuck that, go to the cops, dude!"

"Since when the fuck have they done anything?" I pause to take a bite out of my chicken sandwich. "I mean, it's a wonder they don't all come into work every day with their underwear on their heads screaming, ‘Help! The sun's gone out! We're all gonna die!'"

Stan snorts at the last bit, which prompts Kyle to turn from his lunch and face him. "What do you think about this?"

"Uh..." He stirs his peas around for a moment while Kyle waits for him to spit out whatever he's going to say. And knowing Stan, he's going to say something stupid like his honest opinion. "I mean, it sucks and stuff, but... it's not really our problem, dude."

Hoo, boy. Way to shove some sand up that vagina — Stan's in the doghouse now.

"What do you mean, ‘it's not our problem?!'" Kyle shouts. "Of course it is! Why do you think he went to us? We're, like, his moral compass!"

"You're his moral compass." Stan looks the other way before he starts to mutter, "You're everyone's moral compass—"

"Well, somebody has to be! If I wasn't here, you'd still be drunk off your ass and—"

"Um, guys?" I interrupt their couples' squabble. "Not helping."

"Oh. Sorry."

"Um..." Stan tries to come up with something to get himself back into Kyle's good graces. "What about you lie to him?"


Stan's eyes light up and I know he's actually got a really solid idea. "Tell him there's no amount of screwing up you can do because they already suck so bad," he points his fork at me. "Tell him the drama kids can't act worth a shit and that fact alone is going to drive everyone away from seeing their show."

"Hmm..." I wonder. "Maybe. Are you guys even going to this thing tomorrow?"

"Sure, I guess," Stan shrugs. "It's not like I have anything better to do."

"Um, homework?" Kyle condescendingly suggests before turning back to me. "Becca really wants to go on Wednesday since Jazz Band got cancelled, but I dunno. I think I might just try out for one of the extras or something." He pauses. "My parents are already worried I have too many distractions as it is."

"But admissions boards eat that shit up, you know. The more extracurriculars, the better. It's not like they're going to suddenly change their mind and say ‘you can't go to our school' if you're Villager Number One in some little play." If Stan and Kyle are in it with me, it'll give me more time to hang out with them and maybe Craig can find out firsthand they're not the giant assholes he thinks they are. He hasn't really hung out with them since sixth grade, when he decided they (and Cartman) were the singular cause of unnecessary bullshit in his life and quit inviting them to all his sleepovers and whatnot. (I still think he's only halfway decent to me 'cause a.) I'm his dealer and b.) Karen spends more time at his house than our own.) "So drama's not really a big distraction. And if Becca's there with you, even better. Tell ‘em it's three birds, one stone."

"I think they were talking about Becca."

Oh. "Dude."

"I know. And, like, her parents already sent Chicago a check and everything."

So Kyle's been obsessed with getting into Northwestern ever since he and his parents visited his uncle in Illinois last summer. And now that he's gotten an early admission he's been trying to push Stan into sending a tape to Notre Dame so they'd at least be within 150 miles of each other if he were accepted. Stan, on the other hand, has absolutely no idea what he wants to do with his life, and the fact that everyone he knows is so fixated on graduating and going off to college isn't really helping.

Kyle pushes his tray forward a little and puts his chin in his hands. "They can't expect me to just break up with her. I mean, we've been going out for, like, two and a half years. That's like fifty in high school time."

"I dunno what to say, man."

"Yeah, I know you don't. I'm just venting, I guess." Kyle looks down at his watch. "Hey, I'm gonna go to the library. I'll... I'll see you guys in class." He takes his tray over to the trashcan near the door and shows his Hall Pass to the Algebra teacher with the surprisingly nice tits guarding the exit.

I notice that Stan's looking a little down, so I attempt to change the subject. "So, like..." I look around trying to find something to talk about, and somehow the aforementioned Algebra teacher makes me think of something I haven't mentioned to anyone since it happened. "I ran into Bebe a couple days ago."

"Oh..." his eyes get a little wide. "Jeez."


"Was this before or after she hung up on you?" he asks.

"It was... I think it was Thursday when it happened, so after?"

"Ah," he nods. "I bet that was interesting."

"Oh, definitely." I finish the rest of my water. "The best part was when she told me to go fuck myself."

"As if you don't already do that enough," Stan says with a chuckle.