It was a typical Friday afternoon, the recess after lunch. Nine year old Stan Marsh headed into the boys bathroom, taking a break from yet another football game on the playground. As he entered he noted a piece of paper attached to the wall and after finishing his business went in for a closer look. The first thing he noticed was the stupid paper was held against the wall by chewed up bubble gum, gross! The second thing he noticed is that was another stupid list. The third thing he noticed was it's his name at the bottom of this new list. He rolled his eyes.
"Most exciting, really?"
Stan's voice echoed in the empty bathroom. Well, he would prevent anyone dying, getting arrested or trying to burn down the school this time. He grabbed a paper towel and gingerly unstuck the piece of paper from the wall. He wasn't as grossed out by bodily fluids as Kyle was, but still it was pretty unsanitary by boy's bathroom standards. Stan ripped the page in half, and then again and again until it was in tiny little pieces. He tossed the sticky pieces into the toilet. He would have pissed on them if he'd seen the page earlier. He considered his options as he washed his hands. He wouldn't flip out or do anything rash. He'd talk to Wendy. She was a girl, she was on his side, she would know what to do. He definitely wouldn't speak of this to any of his guy-friends. He didn't want to start any disasters that could easily be prevented.
The playground was usually divided during the half hour recess. The boys had taken the empty field, which had been covered with the snow from last night. Now, the field was tracked with muddy foot prints as the boys played football. Stan ignored his friends calling him back and headed closer to the school to the playground equipment, to that old merry go round.
The Girl's Territory.
Bebe Stevens, Rebecca "Red" Tucker and the lovely Miss Wendy Testaburger were gathered on the merry go round. Red was in the middle of some kind of intense story, shaking her head and clenching her fists. Wendy sympathetically patted her on the shoulder as Bebe looked up at him, narrowing her eyes as she put a stick of gum into her mouth. He gave a small smile and wave as he approached the girls as casually as he could. Sure, all girls were insane, except for Wendy of course. But he still had to make a good impression on her friends.
"Wendy, could I talk to you, just for a minute."
Wendy broke away from her clique and took her boyfriend's hand. She squeezed his gloved hand in her own and a warm feeling filled Stan as he tried to hold back his gag reflex. It felt good to be this close to her but he had business to take care of. He took a deep breath, still trying to look cool in front of her.
She smiled at him. That one smile from her and his stomach turned. God, what was wrong with him? Stan tried to swallow back his nausea and focus.
"Another list was stuck to the boy's bathroom wall."
"Really? How did it get there? What did it say this time?"
"Most exciting boy in the class? What is that even supposed to mean? I was on the bottom, by the way."
Wendy stifled a laugh. "So, you're the least exciting boy in class? Oh boy, Bebe is really running out of ideas for Girls Council."
He broke away from her and crossed his arms, for her sake considering how his stomach was feeling. "How can you laugh at this, Wendy?"
"And how can you get upset at this, Stan?" She laughed back, mimicking his serious tone. "Look, this is why the boys aren't allowed to see the list. You remember the mess from last time as much as I do. I don't want you to go psycho over it, you can be better than that!"
"I'm not going to burn down the school, if that's what you're thinking. But still it's a bad feeling. Even Cartman is ahead of me on that list."
"Well, that's the thing about Cartman. He's fat, racist, misogynistic and sociopathic. All bad qualities but I guess that still makes him interesting. Now I'm curious, who is number one?"
Wendy stopped laughing and pinched the bridge of her nose, a habit she picked up from Stan. "See? This is why I left the girl's council. Their lists seem to be horribly corrupted and not accurate these days."
"You're not a part of them anymore?"
"I left ages ago, and honestly if I had any part of making this list you would have ranked a lot higher. I wouldn't worry about it."
So he was overreacting as usual when it came to matters of him and his girlfriend."Really, Wendy?"
Wendy smiled in that certain way and his stomach twisted violently. Stan could always try to be cool in front of her but when she smiled it shook him to the core. Stan tried to turn away from her so she wouldn't be in projectile range. Wendy noticed him blushing and took this as a sign of something she had wanted to try for a while. Something she saw on TV all the time. She wrapped her arms around his neck and went in for a stereotypical smooch. But this was not some movie star Wendy was about to kiss, this was Stan Marsh. So, needless to say, the typical reaction happened.
Wendy blinked and pulled back, wiping her face and the front of her coat, now covered in what they had for lunch not even half an hour ago.
Stan wiped his own mouth, looking down to see his own clothing was still clean. "Sorry, Wendy. "
Wendy backed away from him, trying not to get sick herself over the mess. "No, no, it's my fault as usual. I should know not to get to close to you. You still can't handle it at times. I need a change of clothes right now!"
"Wendy! I said I was sorry!"
Wendy pushed Stan away from her and stomped across the playground, feeling sticky and disgusting, annoyed that she was expected to get used to the smell of vomit by now. She had to talk to a responsible adult about getting a change of clothes. But a responsible adult would be hard to find right now, Mr. Garrison had playground duty today.
Herbert Garrison cursed Friday lunch recess. He could care less if the children killed each other while out on the playground. Less kids to deal with in the classroom, he thought. But every Friday this was his post. The happy screams of the children only made his bad mood worse. Christ, he wished he could smoke while on playground duty. A smoke and a drink would be good right about now. Mr. Garrison rolled his eyes and checked his watch, only ten minutes of this hell outside and then back to the hell inside, but at least he wouldn't be so cold. Also he could sneak a shot from the bottle under his desk right before afternoon lessons started. He was so focused on getting to his hidden bottle of Jack he didn't notice one of the little bastards coming up to him, screaming his name in louder and louder as she got closer.
"Mr. Garrison? Mr. Garrison? Mr. Garrison!"
Wendy held out her arms, causing some of the puke coming down the front of her jacket to fly towards her teacher's direction. "Look at me!"
Mr. Garrison wrinkled his nose as he stepped away from her. "I don't think green and brown are your colors, Wendy. You should stick to purple."
"Are you going to do something about this?"
Mr. Garrison sighed, trying to remember the school's new protocol for this kind of bullshit. "Did you puke on yourself, Wendy?"
"No, Stan did!"
"Then both of you should go to the nurse's office."
"He didn't throw up on me because he was sick."
"I don't care Wendy. It's school policy." Mr. Garrison shouted from across the playground. "Stan? Stanley Marsh to the nurse's office immediately!"
After getting a bit of security back into his relationship and ruining it again in the span of five minutes, Stan had shrugged it off and went back with his friends. He was just barely trying to get back into the football game when he heard his name being called yet again.
Of course with any person was in some kind of humiliating situation it caused Eric Cartman get joy. He promptly started laughing. "What the hell did you do to your hippie girlfriend this time?"
"That's a new one, being called to the nurse's office instead of the principal's or counselor's office!" Kenny smirked through his hoodie.
"Shut up! I don't know what they want from me now." Stan cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted back to Mr. Garrison. "I'm not sick, Mr. Garrison!"
"Stanley Marsh, you report to the nurse's office right now or you can go to the principal's office and I'll make sure you'll have no recess for the next two week!"
"Aw, awww! Five minutes, guys. I swear."
"Goddammit Stan, you start thinking with your dick and now we're stuck with a shitty Jew quarterback."
"What?" Kyle shrieked.
Stan chose to ignore them all and jogged across the playground to show Mr. Garrison that he was perfectly healthy, leaving Kenny to deal with yet another Kyle and Cartman argument for a change.
Stan came up to Mr. Garrison and an increasingly pissed off Wendy. "Mr. Garrison, I'm fine!"
"No whining, come on Stanley!"
Mr. Garrison grabbed Stan by the jacket and dragged him into the building, Wendy trailing behind. Mr. Garrison would have also grabbed Wendy to move her along quicker, but he didn't want to touch her vomit covered jacket.
Nurse Gollum was a perfectly nice lady even if the giant fetus attached to her head held her back from getting close to anyone. She sat behind her desk "doing paperwork" aka checking her Facebook. She jumped up immediately, shutting her laptop when the three entered.
"Oh my goodness what happened here?"
"One of these little basta- eh children threw up on the other one."
Wendy stood, disgusted, with her arms crossed. Stan lagged behind, trying to avoid the embarrassing situation. Nurse Gollum, being used to puke and gross stuff, took Wendy by the shoulder without hesitation.
"Come with me dear, we'll find you a change of clothes at the front office. Young man, go lay down and I'll be back to take your temperature and call your parents."
"But I'm fine, Miss! Really, I am!" Kyle wasn't really that crappy of a quarterback but they would actually win if he were back on the playground. Also the look and smell of the school's nurse's office made him feel uncomfortable, he fucking hated hospitals.
"I think you should stay with him, Mr. Garrison. I'll be back in a few minutes."
"Nurse Gollum, I think Stanley is perfectly okay watching himself. I have better things to do."
"Mr. Garrison, we have to be supportive role models as well as authority figures for our students. Now if you don't mind."
The school nurse took Wendy by the hand and led her out of the office. Mr. Garrison sighed and plopped down behind the nurse's desk. The bottle under his desk would have to wait. Stan still stood in the doorway, unsure what to do. As his eyes followed Wendy and the nurse walking down the hall his mind turned away from an already doomed football game to just how big a deal this was turning into over an every day event. He caught Wendy's eye just as she turned the corner, her shooting him a death glare. He knew that look, he saw that kind of look Wendy usually reserved for someone like Cartman, not him. It was the kind of look to be worried about.
"Lay down, Stanley."
"But I keep telling you I'm fine! I think I better go check on Wendy."
"Oh for the love of god, just lay down! Authority figure, my ass!"
Stan, defeated, sighed and walked over to the little cot. He sat at the edge, and eventually laid his head down, pulling his knees to his chest. Stan didn't feel sick but he still felt bad.
Mr. Garrison had opened Nurse Gollum's laptop with some curiosity and was looking for something interesting and possibly erotically stimulating on the thing. Facebook, how lame, the only interesting thing so far was the main picture on Nurse Gollum's Facebook of her in a low cut blouse. He was half trying to decide if the School Nurse would be hotter if he blocked out the dead fetus in her pictures or if it made her more attractive to him. He was questioning himself and the freaky stuff he was into when he looked over at Stan looking miserable on the cot. Ah, well Nurse Gollum didn't have that great of a rack but she had told him to be supportive of their students.
"What's wrong Stanley? I know I'm your teacher, you can come to me with any problems you may have."
The stupid list and the fact he could never do anything right for Wendy were running through Stan's head. He looked over at his teacher. Stan didn't trust any adults except for Chef and right now he missed poor Chef. He could try a question meant for Chef on Garrison and see how badly his teacher would screw it up.
Stan propped himself up on one elbow. "Mr. Garrison, can I ask you a question? In my group of friends what makes me stand out among them?"
"I don't know Stanley, all the kids in my class all kind of blend together. I mean, you all are special in your own way. I guess that's what you're supposed to say in these situations, right?" Mr. Garrison turned his back to Stan and tried to focus more on Nurse Gollum's friends list.
"My friend Kenny is knowledgeable about sex and an extreme daredevil, my best friend Kyle is smart and honorable and full of this anger against Cartman, who has done the worst possible things. Yet still, Cartman can usualy get away with it and is probably my second closest friend…but don't let Kyle hear that. But in the group of four where do I stand out? I'm too selfish to be as moral as Kyle but still care too much to be as heartless as Cartman. My own mouth keeps getting me into trouble. When can I stand out on my own and not have some bullshit fuck it up?"
"Watch your language, Stanley."
Stan rolled his eyes and layed back down, knowing he wasn't going to get anything useful out of his teacher.
After a few moments of silence was broken with Mr. Garrison finally shutting the laptop and turning back to Stan. "What about that girl?"
"Huh?" Stan sat up again.
"Wendy, Your little girlfriend? The one you just puked on and humiliated on the playground? Don't you have her?"
Stan rubbed his arms uncomfortably, remembering the death glare in the hallway. "Yeah, I guess I have her."
"Of course, you probably just let that fly out the window. Remember the Christmas play? I made you little friend Kyle be Joseph and Wendy be Mary? I knew you were the one dying for that part but you could never get it together to be that close to her, I didn't want you to mess up my play."
"Blame me for ruining the play Mr. Garrison? I think the townspeople did a good job on their own ruining Christmas last year."
"No backtalk Stanley, I'm trying to help you."
Stan's smiled faded a bit as he thought of anything else he had left besides his girlfriend. "What about me and my sports? They always put me ahead in all the teams I try out for. I was quarterback in football, pitcher in baseball and star striker in soccer. That has to count for something. Right, Mr. Garrison?"
"Sure with that you'll have a fine time in school always succeeding in school and your own cockiness will get the best of you and you'll blow another big game. You'll probably suffer some horrific injury in your teens ruining any chances of making a career out of it."
Stan placed his head back on the cot, with his back facing Mr Garrison. His ego wounded, confidence defeated. God, what was wrong with everyone employed at this school? He shut his eyes and dozed off, a few minutes later, was gently shaken awake by Nurse Gollum.
"Stanley, your father is here to pick you up."
"She's perfectly fine and back on the playground dear."
"Stan, Staaaan? Are you okay son?"
"Yeah, Dad, I'm fine."
Randy Marsh got in close to see his son, Stan could smell the alcohol on his breath but didn't want to speak up. The last thing he needed was his dad arrested on top of an already shitty day.
"Put your coat and hat on and let's go kiddo."
Stan sat up, looking confuse. "Dad..?"
"I…never take off my hat or jacket, most of the time."
"Oh right, right, let's go." Randy pointed to Nurse Gollum. "And be happy we don't choose to sue the school over making my boy sick!"
"Dad, Jesus Christ, I'm not that bad!"
Randy took the collar of Stan's jacket and pulled him out on the playground out into the parking lot. Stan could see Wendy, her hands over her face with Bebe and Red consoling her.
"I'm sorry, Wendy!" Stan yelled across the playground.
Wendy looked up at him, left hand raised in the air, giving him the finger before she turned away from him. He could see from across the playground what the school gave her to wear. An ugly knitted together sweater colored a shocking pink, a huge Christmas tree across the front was now Wendy's 'outfit'.
Stan's face turned the color of his girlfriend's sweater as he got into his dad's truck. Randy got in on the other side and slammed the door shut. Stan lost in thought jumped a bit as his dad started up his truck.
"Goddamn, I'm glad to be out of there with that freaky school nurse breathing down my neck. I don't see how you kids can do it, being in school all day like that. "
Stan stared straight ahead, ignoring his father. He considered talking to his dad on what was on his mind but it was fairly clear that the last person he could go to for good advice was his own father. He was just as screwed up in the head as every other adult in this town. He'd just hold off any real questions about his personality until school let out and Kyle could come over.
Randy looked over and placed his hand on his son's shoulder, the car slightly swerving to the left. Stan's head jerked up again.
"Dad, watch it!"
"What's wrong son? You look depressed."
"Nothing! Just watch the road!"
Randy gripped the steering wheel with both hands. "Are you sure, Stan? You can tell me anything."
Stan didn't respond, hoping it'd be enough to deter him from asking any more stupid questions.
"Well I'm glad we can spend some quality time together. Your mother wanted me to do some yard work and now you can help me."
Hell, he was already out of school, but without a decent chance to apologize to Wendy, he might as well milk it.
"I think maybe I might still be too sick for any chores dad. I think I'll just be up in my room."
Randy pulled the truck into the Marsh family driveway.
"Alright, Stan. You sure you're okay?"
"Yeah, Dad just a little sick. I should lie down."
"Then, can you do me a favor?"
Stan had his hand on the door handle. The sanctuary of his room. So close. Dammit.
"You should check your email Stan. I forwarded a ton of important emails to you."
"I don't think I'm up for it."
"You're not too sick to sit in front of your computer and do a few mouse clicks. You're not too sick to care, are you Stanley?"
"…I guess not."
Before Randy could ask him for anything else Stan jumped out and slammed the truck door behind him, running up the stairs to his bedroom.
The Marsh residence wasn't quite as chaotic as the McCormick family's house was. But still Shelly lurked around to ruin Stan's already awful day, as always. But as long as Stan was alone in his room with the door locked, he felt okay, peaceful even.
And he was better off than Kyle. Kyle's mom wouldn't allow either of her sons to have a lock on their bedroom doors. When Kyle was pissed off at his parents he had to shove a dresser in front of his door to block them out. He was pretty sure Kenny didn't have a door on his bedroom at all. Stan felt lucky compared to that.
In Stan's room, everything was in its right place. His desk with his computer, the night stand with his awesome Denver Broncos lamp, book shelf with the full Bubblegum Prince series as well as school books and his long forgotten copy of Catcher in the Rye. His Street Warrior poster above his bed, which Stan would stare at as he fell asleep every night.
Stan removed his hat and lay down on his bed, his thoughts shifting from Kyle's insane mom to Wendy.
Saying her name out-loud was okay for him. He rolled over and opened his bedside table drawer, taking out a picture she gave him when they first started going out. Her face smiled back at him in the photograph as she held a yellow flower in her gloved hand.
"I'll be yours forever. Sure, Wendy. Until someone better comes along."
Stan sighed. He didn't know what his problem was. He was fine alone with the photo but with Wendy in front of him his nervousness got the best of him. Was he doing better in the romance department than any of his other friends and acquaintances?
Butters had paid a girl to kiss him. Kenny had moved past the kissing phase quickly and gone straight to blowjobs, gross. Kyle had done okay, kissed Bebe in front of him and Wendy in the clubhouse, but not into it. The other girl Kyle liked had turned him into a lovesick wuss, and that had ended badly. Cartman however…
Stan's hands clenched in anger over the memory, causing the picture of Wendy to crinkle up. Cartman had gotten a way better kiss from his girlfriend than Stan himself had ever gotten. Wendy had tried to get something from Stan earlier on the playground, but of course Stan could never be cool in front of her. Sports be dammed! Other than that what did Stan have that made him special? If he lost Wendy over this he would just be another boring kid in the background. If he didn't have Wendy what else did he have?
Stan thought back to when he "won" her, after the Canadian-American War. They were semi blissful until she left him. After being depressed for a bit he and forgotten about her, didn't give a crap about her, or so he thought. Stupid egg project bringing up old memories. But when he and Wendy were forced to team up, their best friends were acting crazy. Stan and Wendy had to stop Kyle from wanting to burn down the school and Bebe from killing them all over some shoes. What a pair those two made. After that mess they were together again.
Stan still had Wendy, for now it felt like a sturggle to keep going out her. Wendy Testaburger wasn't just impressed but typical stuff like flowers and chocolate, but he knew it wouldn't hurt either. He had to be an activist again to impress her, and do some good for the world as well.
"Just what could I do?"
Stan stared at the picture on his wall of him and Sparky when his dad's annoying voice shattered his thoughts.
"Staaaan? Who are you talking to? Did you check your emails?"
Oh god dammit. "No one, Dad, just myself. I'll do it right now."
Stan shoved Wendy's picture back into his drawer and went over to his computer, flipping on the switch.
As most kids had, Stan had two separate emails. There was Stan's real email that he used for Xbox live and signing up for forums and such- and there was his parent friendly email . Loves2spooge would have to wait, maybe a few emails from Kyle or some football and game websites. It still irked him that Kyle had used his real email to sign up from that soul sucking website Facebook, but he could let it slide. The Facebook profile was deleted and no harm was done, except for Kyle's Farmville crops.
Speaking of Stan's best friend he logged quickly into his real email and shot a quick email to Kyle. Speaking his true thoughts. It was 3:30pm; Kyle and the rest of the kids would be on the bus ride home by now.
Stan's other email, Smarsh19 was filled with useless crap from his dad, mom, grandma and pretty much every family member out there.
Stan rolled his eyes as he logged into his other email. Spam… spam…spam… Jesus loves him apparently and he had to tell 10 people on his friends list about it…bullshit… bullshit…bullshit… He clicked on the last thing his dad sent him. It was marked "stop this tragedy!" Stan clicked and a video opened up and a voice that eerily sounded like Sally Struthers filled Stan's quiet room.
"Each year thousands of animals are kept in testing facilities in cages too small for them, left to sit in their own feces and filth and for what? To be used as test subjects in makeup and household products. More and more animals are tortured and killed due to this mistreatment most right in towns such as South Park."
Stan quickly shut the video window, trying not to puke again over what he had just seen. If there was any cause in which Stan could stand up and be an activist on his own it sure as hell would be over animal abuse.
Stan made sure the video was completely over before he checked the forwarding email. The name to the animal testing facility was on there. Stan glanced at the clock. 3:45pm, Kyle should be home already. So would Wendy. Stan grabbed his phone and thought for a minute of who to call first, slowly he punched out Wendy's phone number. Ringing, ringing, ringing.
At the Testaburger residence Wendy had thrown down her backpack, soiled shirt in a plastic bag…thanks Nurse Gollum. She went to her room and changed, throwing the disgusting pink Christmas sweater in her trash can. It never existed. Out of sight out of mind. Stan's dialing finger was a bit too slow (he shouldn't have hesitated!) because Wendy already picked up the white princess phone in her room to call Bebe.
Bebe and Wendy were just as close best friends as Stan and Kyle could be their actions and emotions in sync. Bebe picked up her phone line, instinctively knowing who it was.
"How are you holding up?"
"Disgusting sweater disposed of, bad thoughts I can't shake, lots and lots of bad thoughts, memories. Dammit it's never like it is on TV."
"Maybe my show just isn't for you, Wendy."
"Maybe I shouldn't take love advice from a show called Skins anyway, Bebe. That show is inappropriate for kids our age anyway. It sends bad messages, bad consequences."
"But Wendy, it's on BBC America every night! They show a hot guy's ass every other week! I just can't go back to Full House after that!"
"Bebe stop fangirling! This is serious! I don't know what I'm going to do about Stan!"
"Wendy! Wendy! Get a grip. You say this about every other month or about after the fifth time you've been puked on, whatever comes first."
"Maybe I should break up with him…again."
"Wendy, you always get discouraged and I always have to talk you out of it. Do I have to do it again?"
"I don't know what to do, Bebe."
"How about this: if you can name three things you really like about Stan you should stay."
"Name them. Right now."
Wendy sat back on her bed, pondering.
"Well, even though we can never get in a decent kiss, he is really sweet and caring."
"Good, go on."
"Um, we do kind of make a good pair, him being into sport and me being class president. It's not a set pair like a cheerleader and football player together, no offence, Bebe."
"None taken. You can say anything to me, Wendy, well almost anything."
"We have a good…thing going I guess."
"See why I make you do this exercise now, Wendy?"
"Yeah, but I don't like that he seems to want to spend more time with his friends rather than me, I hate that."
"Ooh, one strike against him, but we're trying to think positive. Think of one more thing so it's three to one."
"Ummm a third thing..."
"May I suggest looks?"
"Bebe, I would never be so shallow."
"Wendy, no relationship would work if there was not some kind of physical attraction."
"Been reading your mom's Cosmopolitans again haven't you Bebe?"
"How do you think I got this good? Go on, tell me you think your boyfriend is hot."
Wendy smiled. "He's hot."
"The best looking guy in school."
"Well I wouldn't go that far, I made a list over this."
"I think I love him again."
"Good I'm glad to hear that."
"Thanks Bebe, you always know what to say."
Meanwhile Stan was explaining his idea over the phone with Kyle who was on his own computer.
"Yeah it's horrible and that place is here in town. we would be doing good if you and Kenny go along with my plan. Got the address?"
The sound of the keyboard clicking could be heard on Kyle's end of the line. "Yeah it's right by Stark's Pond. You sure you're doing this just to protect animal rights Stan?"
"Yeah dude definitely."
"This has nothing to do with puking on Wendy in front of the entire playground earlier today?'
"I- I don't know."
"You should invite her along on this mission. Be a hero in front of her like what you have planned."
"It's not just about that dude. I hate seeing animals suffer."
"Alright Stan, just checking."
"Okay I have to go, you're going to call Kenny? I can't borrow and drive my dad's truck without him to use the pedals for me, you're too afraid to help me out dude."
"hey buckle up for safety dude."
"Kyle will you call him for me? I'm gonna try Wendy again."
Stan hung up feeling a bit more satisfied with himself. He quickly dialled Wendy's number again only to be met with a busy signal. Oh well, things would be better tomorrow. All Stan had to do was wait for it to get dark and his parents to go to sleep for his ingenious plan to go into action.
Author's TLDR as of 4/26/2012:
Slightly rewritten at parts, especally the beginning to flesh out and explain things a little bit more. Also to fix Stan not knowing about Kenny's deaths since they come into play in later chapters. Considering rewriting entire story before coninuing but unsure if I have the time. But still 41 reviews on six chapters is more than what I deserve, I thank each and every one of you.