"Alright Dave," I announced. "Tonight, you and I are gettin' laid!"
"You always say that, Paulo," David replied. I looked over at my chocolate lab companion to see him rolling his eyes as he pedaled his bike down the road. He wore a black tie that was thrown over his shoulder, flopping around behind him like a comically small cape.
"Yeah, but tonight's different," I responded, shaking my head. As my face turned from side to side, I could feel the cool evening air brushing through the fur on my cheeks. We were in that small window of opportunity between winter and summer that was absolutely perfect to be riding around town – warm enough that you wouldn't freeze your ass off outside but still cool enough that you wouldn't be drenched in sweat after speeding through the streets. And while the weather was awesome during this time of year, the best part about spring was that which was yet to come. You see, in just a few days, school would be out, and we wouldn't have to deal with teachers or homework or tests for months. And if that wasn't reason enough to be excited, tonight was the farewell dance for all the graduating eighth graders. Yeah, school dances were usually cheesy as hell and sucked, but this one was going to be different. "It's the final dance of freakin' middle school! After tonight, we're practically high schoolers. This is our chance, man! C'mon, don't tell me there isn't anyone in the school you've got your eyes on."
"Flower Girl." David briefly released his handle bars to clasp his hands together. "My beautiful princess."
"Whose name you don't even know!"
"Hey! I'm working on that."
"Well, you'd better get on it quick, man. You never know when a dashing, young Somali will sweep her—"
"You stay away from mah flower girl!" David growled.
I jumped up out of my seat for a sec, causing my bike to swerve around. I quickly regained my balance and settled back down. "Relax dude," I replied. David was relatively harmless, but I don't deal with growling very well. "I was just kidding around. She's not even my type." That was a bit of a lie. She was good looking, for a dog, and I certainly couldn't blame David for having such a huge crush on her. "But hey, tonight's your chance: the day you're finally gonna find out her name and dance with her. Maybe she'll even let you play around with her flower, if ya' know what I mean."
"Yeah!" I could see David's tail wagging excitedly as he thought about his precious flower girl. "So Paulo, who do you got your eyes on?"
"You know me Dave, I'm never gonna get tied down to one girl. I'm after 'em all tonight." David shot me a menacing stare. "Except for flower girl," I quickly added.
"Really…" David replied as a goofy grin spread across his face. "What about Lucy?"
"Man, Lucy's not even gonna be at the dance." Lucy was a friend of ours, and man was she so smokin' hot. But, for whatever reason, Lucy seemed to hate these kinds of events. Too bad, 'cause if she were coming to the dance I'd totally bang her first. And second. And maybe even third…
We rounded a corner, and my eyes followed the line of glowing, yellow street lamps towards the horizon where the silhouette of the school rose up against the crimson sky. The sight of that concrete prison usually inspired thoughts of dread and revulsion – it was a sign that you were about to be bored out of your mind for the next eight hours. But tonight, well, tonight was the rare occasion where I couldn't wait to get to school.
"Hey Dave, last one there buys the winner a can of blasto!" I shouted as I hopped out of my seat and began pedaling furiously.
"Hey, no fair!" I heard David yell.
The pavement rushed beneath my tires as I sped out ahead. Glancing up, I could see the road completely devoid of cars. Good, all that was separating us from our goal was three blocks of asphalt: no turns, no obstacles, just a straight shot directly to the school. Pure speed would be all that it took to win.
Looking behind me, I saw that I had managed to get a sizeable lead on David, but he was beginning to catch up. Man, that guy's fast. Not wanting to let David close the gap between us, I cranked my bike into its highest gear. The derailleur made its familiar clicking sound as it guided the chain onto the next set of sprockets, and I felt my legs strain against the increased resistance of the pedals.
The road flew beneath my tires, and I focused straight ahead, ignoring the houses, trees, and occasional classmates blurring through the periphery of my vision. My body had only one concern at that moment: to pound down those pedals as fast as I could. C'mon, just two more blocks to go. I lowered my head and spun my legs as quickly as they could go, trying to maintain my lead. But I could hear David's panting grow louder as he closed in on me, and soon his brown silhouette had crept into the corner of my eye.
With only one more block to go, we were neck and neck. My legs muscles protested with every stroke they took, but David didn't seem tired at all. It seemed inevitable that he'd pull ahead and win (once again!), allowing him to brag about it for the rest of the night. Just when my energy was beginning to fade, however, I finally caught a lucky break.
"Hey guys!" a friendly voice called out to us from the sidewalk.
I saw David pause his pedaling to turn and wave. Now's my chance! Ignoring the burning sensation in my legs, I raced forward, passing David while he was distracted.
"Eat my dust David!" I shouted as I rode out in front of him, retaking the lead. Just in time, too – we arrived at the school shortly after. Still moving at a considerable pace, I rode up onto the sidewalk toward the front of the school. I was coming in parallel to the bike racks, so I slammed on my rear brake. The back wheel locked, and I leaned leftward, sending the back tire fishtailing around as the bike skidded to a stop. When everything came to rest, the bike was now perfectly perpendicular to the bike rack, ready to be locked into place.
As I saw David pull into the bike racks, I puffed out my chest and raised my arms in victory. It's not every day I got to beat David at a race like this. "Who's the man!" I shouted.
"Wow! That was so cool!"
I hopped off my bike and turned to see our friend Daisy running toward us. She was all dressed up for the dance, wearing a blue dress which, unlike the outfits other girls in our class would normally wear, did not show off as much cleavage and was hemmed much longer. As she neared, her curly, cream-colored fur bounced up and down with each step, exhibiting almost as much excitement as she was. Her ever-cheerful expression always seemed to radiate an overabundance of optimism, but man, today she was just glowing.
"Yo Daisy. Excited about tonight?" I asked.
"Of course! Oh, I hope you two like this year's theme. I helped pick it out!"
"What is it? Pirates of the Caribbean?" asked David.
"No, silly! It's 'Cinderella's Ball,' a night when dreams come true," Daisy replied with a dramatic flourish.
"Man, that's the girliest thing I've heard all day," I replied.
Daisy giggled. "Well I happen to like all those girly things. Isn't it so romantic?" she asked as she twirled around, the frilly fabric from her dress ruffling in the air. "Everyone dancing around dressed in their fancy evening gowns, just like in those royal balls in all the fairy tales." She paused for a second, and gave me a funny look. "Hey Paulo, why aren't you dressed up for tonight?"
"Why does everyone make a big deal about gettin' all dolled up? I mean, you all look fine without those fancy clothes."
"Aww, come on Paulo, it's fun to get dressed up for special occasions like this. Even Davie got dressed up."
"My tie makes me look elegant," said David.
"Pft, I don't need no stinkin' tie for tonight," I replied. Besides, all I had to wear were my dad's oversized dress shirts, and I'd probably look pretty stupid wearing those old things. "All I need are my irresistible charm and my new dance moves."
"Ooh, I wanna see your new moves," Daisy replied. She then craned her neck to look behind David and me and waved. I turned to see our friends Sue and Amaya getting out of Sue's mom's minivan.
"Anyway, I'm going to go say hi to Suzie and Amaya. I'll see you two inside," Daisy said as she ran off to greet the other girls. I watched as she bound over to then and hopped with that endless amount of excitement as she spoke with them.
I had to admit that her enthusiasm was kind of contagious. Although I was already pretty stoked for the dance, seeing Daisy like that reminded me how eager I was for this night to get started. Maybe she was right. Corny as it might sound, maybe tonight would be a night when dreams would come true.
"Admit it. You've totally got a crush on her."
I quickly turned to see David snickering behind me.
"What the hell, man!"
"I saw the way you were staring at Sue," David replied with a wink. "And hey, I don't blame you. She's pretty cute."
I just rolled my eyes and laughed. "Isn't she some kind of lesbian?"
"Wait, she is?"
"Whatever. Even if she isn't, I can do so much better than her." I finished locking up my bike then I looked toward David and motioned toward the school. "C'mon Dave, let's get this party started."