Shermer High, or what Brian Johnson swore to be one of the nine
concentric circles of Hell, stood amongst its usual gloomy haze, the dull,
gray building matching the overhanging clouds. Wouldn't his mother be
proud? He smirked. Those Sunday School classes hadn't been a waste after
all. He grimaced at the thought of St. Charles Cathedral looming before
him, and the waste of the previous Sunday he'd spent there.
"I certainly can't do anything more to save you, Brian," his mother
had said, her nagging voice filling the small car as she'd pulled up in
front of the church,"So scoot." He'd spent the rest of yesterday scrubbing
the church floors and playing altar boy. He'd seen Claire once, briefly,
following silently behind her father with an all too familiar look of "I'd
rather be anywhere else." He'd waved and she'd given him a sympathetic
smile before settling back into her gloom in the pews. At five o'clock,
convinced that her son's soul had been saved enough for one day, Mrs.
Johnson had come to retrieve him. And that left him here, standing
hesitantly at the front doors of Sherman High, not willing to simply
shatter the spell the Breakfast Club had put over the place. This place,
that Saturday afternoon, had become his haven, but to charge back in to a
world where Jocks and Princesses reigned, it would once again become his
Hell. Larry Lerner hobbled up the steps next to him, limping in obvious
pain and humiliation. Brian held the door open for him and followed inside
- Hey, he mused, things could be worse.
Claire brooded silently on the school bus, holed up in the back seat,
wallowing in the humiliation of having to ride the "yellow wagon of shame,"
back to Shermer High. Her father had been less than pleased with the
"hoodlum" she'd been kissing on the front of his car, and even less pleased
with her missing earring. Diamonds, he'd felt the need to remind her, don't
grow on trees. And if she thought she was going to go around with that
piece of trailer trash, then she could have him pick her up in his pick-up
truck. Too proud to call anyone for a ride, she'd stalked down to the bus
stop this morning at 7 AM and nearly gave the other riders a heart-attack
as Prom Queen Claire sat amongst the "little people." Cat-calls rose up
throughout the bus, including shouts of "What's da mattah Claire? Did
Daddy's porsche break down?" or "If ain't da' poor little rich girl..."
The bus pulled into the schoolyard, and she was the last one off, slinking
down the steps.
"Hope the ride was comfortable enough for ya', Miss Beverly Hills,"
cracked the bus driver, tipping his hat and smirking a toothless grin.
Giving him a cold glare, she searched around the front steps for a familiar
face, but didn't know who she was looking for. Would the familiar face
belong to the Breakfast Club? Or be another princess?
Allison, slumped in the passenger seat, scowled at the passing
scenery. Somehow, without the dark circles around her eyes, it didn't bring
about the same effect. Pulling her arms deeper into Andy's blue sweatshirt,
she sunk lower in her seat. Would people notice the change? she wondered,
did she want them to? Her parents hadn't given her more than a second
glance this morning, but had she expected them to? Her younger siblings
darting around her, on and under the table, certainly hadn't noticed. The
only thing they noticed was whether or not there were enough marshmallows
in the cereal. She didn't particularly care though, there was only one
person's reaction she was really worried about. The color drained from her
face as she thought of the different scenarios. Number one, and most
prefered, he would notice, take her into his arms and...well, that's why it
was most prefered. Number two, he wouldn't notice, wouldn't even give her a
second glance, and he'd just be one more person to ignore her. She let out
a desperate squeak as the car pulled up in front of the school, her father,
with a grunt, letting her know that it was time to get out. The door barely
had a chance to close when the car sped off again, leaving her standing
akwardly in the parking lot, without the dark circles or unruly bangs to
"Go get 'em, Champ," his father had urged, pushing Andy out of the
car,"It's the Clark's time to shine!" The meet Sunday had gone as his
father expected, Andy coming out on top, as always, the other guy wallowing
in his defeat amongst his bruises. But the rage he channeled into his
wrestling had a new source. With every punch, hold, and slam he unleashed,
it was his father underneath him. He'd spent hours at the gym that Sunday,
giving the punching bag Hell, releasing his rage at the top of his lungs,
until his arms and legs refused to take the pain any longer. He collapsed
in his bed that night, too tired and sore to think, yet one constant image
racing through his mind. The approaching day was Monday, and Monday meant
Allison. Yet with Allison came a wealth of other problems and complications
- things he was too tired to address. Morning came abruptly, bringing with
it a "complete breakfast," spanning the entire table. Stuffed to his
father's satisfaction, he'd climbed into the truck and allowed himself to
be driven towards indecision. Would he be reigning jock once he reached
those front steps? Or a desperate fool in love? Slamming the truck door
behind him, he wanted to beat the shit out of whoever said he couldn't be
The football field was a longer distance than Bender had remembered,
crossing it in the cool morning, his long ragged coat blowing out behind
him in the wind. The cool breeze stung as it whipped around his newest
battle scar - a fresh black eye, courtesy of John Bender Sr. He pondered
the latest story he'd have to come up with for this one, for his adoring
fans. Let's see, he mused, the angry bikers beat me up last week after I
stole their ride. Before that there was the enraged policeman who's police
cruiser I "borrowed." And the week before that...Hell, I might as well tell
them the frickin' President beat the crap out of me, they're too doped up
to notice. He froze as the thought hit him - his friends may not notice,
but the whole god damn Breakfast Club would. He'd put on that lovely
reinactment of his family home life for them, and now they'd notice. He
should've known it was a bad idea to get those people involved in his life.
He didn't want their pity, so they'd better watch out if they tried to feel
sorry for him...