To Hear Your Voice
A fanfic from the slightly disturbed mind of the Californian who hates California.
Chapter 1: Rivals
I sat down at my desk just as the bell rang for third period. Stan who sat next to me in our English 3 Honors class, leaned in his seat towards me, "Kyle," he whispered, "What the hell was last night's anthology reading about?"
I shook my head and laughed a little, "Too busy to do your homework again, Stan?"
"Just tell me the basics. I don't wanna get busted, Dude."
"Short story. Main character's name is Miss Emily. She's an old lady that lives by herself and one day she dies. When they find her dead, they discover the dead body of her ex-boyfriend in her house. Written in third person limited."
"Alright, alright," Ms. Elliot, our teacher, said walking up to her podium, "Everyone take your seats."
"Thanks," Stan whispered before turning in his desk. Stan was smart, but he was the laziest person I knew, except when it came to Football of course. He and Kenny were able to wedge their way into honors because of their talent in athletics, unlike me who was the traditional geek.
"I trust that everyone read A Rose for Emily like I assigned." The class laughed a little. Even in honors, a teacher could never expect every student to actually do their homework. "I was going to write you a quiz. Don't be too disappointed that I decided against it. Let's just have a literary discussion today, yes? Now... themes?"
I raised my hand.
"Good." Ms. Elliot looked to the other side of the room, where Eric Cartman sat with his hand raised. He grinned diabolically at me, as always. "Yes, Eric?"
Without taking his evil, little stare off me, "Society's negative influence."
"Very good," Ms. Elliot replied, causing Cartman's evil smile to widen. Why was it that he only tried to do well in the classes that I shared with him? He just loved to beat me at everything.
"Any more?" Ms. Elliot looked throughout the room.
I raised my hand again, "Fear?"
"Very good, Kyle. What was it that Miss Emily feared?"
"Um, being alone forever..." I answered a little uncertain.
Cartman's hand shot up, "I think she feared what everyone thought about her," he said in a boasting tone, "In those days women who didn't marry were freaks. She was afraid people would think she was weird and that society would outcast her and that's what in turn lead her to kill her boyfriend who was afraid to commit."
Ms. Elliot nodded at him, "Very nice, Eric."
I glared at him and he wore a satisfied smile. So he wanted to play? So be it. I raised my hand, "But being afraid of what society thought wasn't Miss Emily's concern at all. She was the richest women in the town and was too proud to go out of her way to simply go get her own groceries. Even when the town talked about how strange she was not to ever leave her house, she didn't care. She did what she pleased."
"But," Cartman suddenly said, not bothering to raise his hand, "This story is from the modern era. That era's literature concerning change. Obviously as the world around her changed, so did Miss Emily. Maybe she wasn't afraid of society in the beginning, but in the end she was."
"This story isn't from the modern era," I argued, forgetting to raise my own hand, and only concerned in proving the fat ass wrong, whether or not I believed in what I was arguing myself, "It's a realist story."
"It's modernism. You can tell from the constant mentioning of Miss Emily's rotting old house. Symbolism, Broflovski. Symbolism," Cartman's eyes narrowed.
I subconsciously pounded my fists on the desk, "I know what symbolism is, and I know what realism is when I read it. This is realism."
"Alright, alright, Boys," Ms. Elliot interrupted, "This story has been labeled as both realism and modernism, so you're both correct."
I relaxed a little in my seat, but kept my glare on Cartman, but only because he kept his on me. He was always doing this. Trying to prove me wrong in everything. That's the way things have always been between us. There was this unspoken rivalry between us two. He knew that I knew that he knew he was always trying to beat me, and I trying to beat him. It was a game. Constantly.
I don't know why I cared. It was really stupid once you thought about it. Who cares if that boring ass story was modernism or realism? It was just one of the things Cartman was so easily capable of doing to me. Making me give a damn about stupid shit. Making me work my ass off just to spite him. I had to. If he beat me, he'd throw it in my face and brag about it for eternity.
And sometimes he'd fuck me over big time. He'd act like he cared about me and I actually would believe him. He would act like an actual friend for once and then it'd turn out to be completely fake. I remember when he screwed me over the biggest he ever had when the two of us were just freshmen in high school.
I was gay and he found out some how. He bugged the shit out of me for days, trying to get me to admit it. I still don't know how he figured it out. "Come on, Kyle. Trust me," he said, "You can tell me, buddy. We've been friends all our lives and I know that you really need to get this off your chest."
I remember looking into his eyes and thinking that I saw his sincerity. I remember thinking that he truly did care and that he wanted to help in some way. And then I sighed and admitted, "I think I'm in love with Kenny..."
And then he laughed. I remember feeling my heart physically break right then. His laughter was the cruelest thing I ever experienced. I hated him so much.
But as much as I hated him, I couldn't help but appreciate the little kindness he showed. He never told Kenny about my crush on him. He didn't tell anyone, but then again he didn't waist anytime in telling the world that I was a big Jew fag either. But the fact was that he didn't exploit my biggest secret of all. And as much as an asshole he was, he did deserve some credit for that.
Kenny was possibly the hottest guy in South Park High. If you liked guys, you liked Kenny. And he loved it. He was a constant flirt and never single. He always had an arm around some girl's waist, and sometimes two. He wasn't looking for love. He was looking for somewhere to put his dick. I guess that's why I gave up on the thought of the two of us.
I ignored anything that I thought what could be love, telling myself that it was just teenage hormones. Kenny, although just a friend, flirted with me just as much he would with anyone else. He only did it because he knew I was gay and liked to mess with me because of it. He'd tell me to stop checking out guys that I wasn't even looking at, and grabbed my ass when he said it. I'd glare at him, although I did enjoy it to be completely honest.
"Dude, thank God we didn't have a quiz on that shit. It would've killed my grade," Stan said shoving his books into his locker after school that day.
"You did get lucky again," I said pulling out my history book and shoving it in my backpack. I threw my backpack over my shoulder and slammed my locker shut, double checking to see if it locked right. I leaned on my locker waiting for Stan to finish packing up.
I felt a big tug on my backpack, almost causing me to fall backwards, "Ready, Jew?" Cartman said standing beside me.
"Fuck you," I replied as always.
"You guys got Debate again?" Stan asked jamming a few books into his backpack.
"Yeah," I answered, "Unfortunately," I cocked my head in Cartman's direction and Stan and I laughed.
"Whatever," Carman muttered.
Stan and I continued to laugh until I felt that familiar hand on my ass, "Back off, Marsh. Broflovski's mine," Kenny said grinning at me and throwing an arm around my shoulder.
"Man, fuck off," I said pushing him away.
Kenny just smiled at me and then turned his attention to Stan, "Dude, double date tomorrow night."
"With who?" Stan asked throwing his backpack on.
"Wendy and Bebe."
"Dude, I'm not going out with Wendy again."
"Who said anything about you taking Wendy? Her fine, sweet ass is mine. You can have Bebe."
"I dunno, Kenny..."
Cartman let out an annoyed sigh, "Come on, we're already late," he rolled his eyes at me. He started to walk away and I waved at Stan and Kenny and followed him.
The two of us were on the school's debate and speech team. For nearly a month now, the two of us had been preparing for our next competition that was just a week away. Cartman and I were the only ones competing in this contest in particular. It was the regionals for the Annual NMA American Enterprise Speech Contest. Only two students from every school were allowed to enter and Mrs. Carlen, our debate coach, picked us.
We got to Mrs. Carlen's room and she was already waiting for us. Cartman was quick to blame me, "Sorry Mrs. Carlen, but Kyle here is on Jew time."
I just glared at him.
"That's fine, that's fine," She said opening her drawer in her desk to retrieve a stop watch, "I've only got enough time to hear one of you run through your speeches today and then I gotta run to a faculty meeting. I'll listen to the other one tomorrow." She sat down at her desk, "Kyle, why don't you go first?"
I nodded and walked to the other end of the room where the podium was and stood behind it, placing my three page long speech in front of me.
"Now Eric, I want you to take mental notes on what Kyle does well and what he needs to improve on, okay?" She looked at me holding up the stop watch, "Ready, Kyle?"
I took a deep breath and gave her a nod.
"Who really runs the runs the American Enterprise System? The government? Most would say that, but the government's solitary role in the economy is to look out for every American. Like the caring parents of the nation, the government ensures the safety of the people..." I could feel my heart thumping inside my chest, and my voice shake a little. I wasn't too good at talking in front of people. It was always hard to start, but once I was about half a minute into one of my speeches, my nerves usually calmed.
"...Unlike a socialist economy, which is ran strictly by the government, our nation's economy allows for many freedoms in the world of business. Not only does the success of the economy lie within the hands of the consumer, but also within the hands of the voter..." I tried to remember every little hand gesture I had strategically planned while writing the speech and the emphases on certain words. But as always, I was half way into the thing and I forgot at least half of the crap.
My eyes wandered over to the clock. Shit, I was ending the damn speech way too early. "...I believe Dwight D. Eisenhower best described the faults of socialism when he said, 'If you want total security, go to prison. There you are fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking," cue dramatic pause, "is freedom.' Thank you." I cringed knowing what I was about to hear.
"Way too short, Kyle," Mrs. Carlen said shaking her head at the stop watch in her hands, "Way too short."
"I know," I said stepping away from the podium.
"Just under four minutes. You need at least four and a half to qualify. Five minutes is what the judges ask for, and if you don't have it, you're not going to win."
"I know," I said again, "Its just... well, it's the American Enterprise System...its pretty treacherous."
Mrs. Carlen laughed a little, standing up from her seat. She, Cartman, and I walked to the door of the classroom, "I have to get to that meeting now. Eric, you tell Kyle what he needs to work on and maybe a few suggestions on how to lengthen his speech, okay?"
Cartman nodded, "Sure thing, Mrs. Carlen."
Cartman and I stood side by side and watched our coach disappear down the hall. Cartman looked at me sideways, "Doing anything?"
"Wanna work on our speeches at my place then?"
I nodded and the two of us headed to the school parking lot. I waited and waited for Cartman to say what I knew what was coming. "You're speech is too short."
"I know," I said a little annoyed. He had to point out the obvious, didn't he?
"And," he said just as we came to his car, "You researched the wrong shit." He opened the door and slid into the driver's seat.
I got into the passenger seat and slammed the door shut, "What the fuck do you mean I researched the wrong shit?"
Cartman pulled on his seatbelt and I did the same, "Yeah, you got that bunch of crap about the Enterprise System and all those numbers and shit, but that's not what you need."
He pulled out of the parking lot and we were on the road to his house, "And what is it that I need, Fat Ass?"
"Why the fuck should I tell you? I want that five hundred dollar check, Jew boy."
I rolled my eyes and then stared down at my speech that I still held in my hands. I wasn't missing anything in this speech. He was just trying to make me feel stupid. Him make me feel stupid? I couldn't help but laugh.
"You researched the American Enterprise System. You should've researched the old geezers that are going to be judging this shit contest."
I stared at him.
"You need to learn how to suck up some more in your speeches. Do a little ass kissing. Stop talking all these facts and figures and shit and throw in some retarded poem to get them to like you."
"A poem?" I laughed, "You're not serious, are you?"
"As serious as ever, Jew. Poems. They eat that shit up."
We arrived at his house and were immediately greeted by Mrs. Cartman with a plate full of chocolate chip cookies. "Would you like one, Kyle?"
I shook my head, "Nah, no thanks, Mrs. Cartman. I'm not hungry..."
One of Mrs. Cartman's boyfriends at the time showed up behind her and snatched a cookie off the plate, giving Cartman's mom a slap on the ass just before he walked away. I looked at Cartman who glared at the guy and then continued on up to his room, and I followed.
When we got to his room, he right away turned around and snapped, "Fuck you, Jew!"
I blinked at him. He must've thought I was about to call his mom a whore or something. Well, I honestly was, so I kept my mouth shut. I threw my backpack onto the floor and sat down on his bed with my speech in my hands. "You really think a poem would work?" I couldn't believe I was actually considering it.
Cartman smiled at me, showing an evil satisfaction, believing that he had convinced me that he was right about my speech. He wandered over to a hamster cage on his night stand, "Stupid rat..." he muttered to himself as he poured hamster feed into the rodent's food bin. The white and brown spotted hamster came out from the wheel it was running in to eat. Cartman turned around and faced me, "Poem or bullshit about freedom, I'd say." He pulled out his computer chair from his desk and sat in it backwards, facing me.
"Your not just trying to trick me into putting something completely stupid into my speech so that I'd lose, are you?"
Cartman laughed a little and shook his head, "Trust me, Dude."
I blinked at him, "I dunno..." He had to be tricking me again.
"Fine. Forget it. You don't want my help, fine."
I was quiet as I looked down at the speech in my hands, trying to decipher whether or not I could take Cartman's word on this.
"You also need to work on eye contact."
I looked up at the fatty, "What?"
"You didn't make any eye contact with me while you gave your speech."
"Sure I did."
He shook his head, "You looked at me, but not directly in the eyes." He paused for a while, "Go on and read your speech again. Look me in the eyes when you do it, though."
I sat up a little and Cartman wheeled his chair over in front of me. I cleared my throat to begin.
"And," Cartman said before I could start, "If you take your eyes off of mine for even a split second, I'll have to kick you square in the balls."
"What?" I yelled, "What if I forget a line and have to look down at my paper?"
"Then skip the line, or be kicked in the nuts. Your choice."
I glared at him. I cleared my throat and began, "Who really runs the American Enterprise System?..." I kept my stare on Cartman. My green eyes locked with his brown ones. It felt so awkward to be so close to each other, staring into each other's eyes like that. And the fat ass never seemed to blink either. He stared, looking absorbed and actually listening to what I was saying. He looked like he was actually listening. Did he really care about helping me? He couldn't. No, he was just waiting for me to screw up and look somewhere else so he could kick me in the balls. What an asshole.
"...In the 1990s the United States accounted for about five percent of the world's population, but it was in turn responsible for..." Shit. I forgot. "It was responsible for... for..."
Without tearing his eyes from mine, Cartman wheeled his chair closer, so that our faces were only maybe two inches apart, "Don't even think about it." I felt him snatch the speech from my hands.
"Uh..." Damn, he was so close. It was only making me forget even more. "It was... uh... it was responsible for... for..." Keep your eyes on his. Keep them there. "It was responsible for..." I couldn't do it. This was impossible. "Uh... Cartman, do you think you could scoot back just a little?"
Cartman's eyes narrowed and an evil smile swept his face. He scooted closer so that our noses practically touched.
I glared at him. He was not going to beat me. "In the 1990s the United States accounted for about five percent of the world's population, but it was in turn responsible for more than twenty-five percent of the world's economic output..." I got it. I continued with my speech, not allowing myself to forget a single word. I had to show Cartman wrong. And as I continued talking, I saw Cartman's devilish smile only increase, causing me to talk louder and louder for some reason. I guess it was because I thought that he thought that I thought that he was beating me again.
"...I believe Dwight D. Eisenhower best described the faults of socialism when he said, 'If you want total security, go to prison. There you are fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.'"
Cartman never blinked and his face never moved. He sat there just grinning at me for quite some time as I breathed heavily after rushing through the last minute of that speech so quickly. I felt my face a little red because of the awkwardness of our position.
"I still say you need a poem," Cartman grinned.
He smiled at me even more. Why were our eyes still locked when my speech was over? Why were we still so close? Why wasn't he moving? ...Why wasn't I moving? I felt my face blush even more, despite the fact that I was scowling angrily at Eric.
Just then the two of us jumped a little as we heard something clash and break downstairs.
"God dammit! Look what you made me do!" I heard Eric's mother's boyfriend yell from downstairs.
"Look what I made you do? Get the hell out of my house!"
"Fine, whore!" A door slammed.
I blinked at the door for a while and then at Eric who had finally backed up a little. He simply threw my speech at me, "Let's go through it again."
"What about your mom? Shouldn't we make sure everything's--"
I stared at him for a long time. "Okay..." I looked down at my speech and pretended to look like I was reading it over in my head, but I was really thinking about Eric. I felt a little sorry for him and the whole thing with his mom. I then remembered how close we were just before the screaming happened and I felt myself blush again. Why the fuck was I blushing? I shook my thoughts from my head, "I think I'm gonna have to rewrite this a bit tonight," I said flipping through the pages. I looked up at him, "How 'bout you do your speech for me now, Eric?"
He blinked at me, "Did you just call me Eric?"
I paused, "I... guess I did..."
He raised an eyebrow at me and then stood up to retrieve his backpack from the floor. He took out a notebook and pulled out some wrinkly papers, and then sat back down in his chair. He grinned at me, "Listen, Kyle. Listen and learn."
I glared at him. I hated him so much.