"Zack, 3:00. Right here, in the hall." Screech stated. "We're going to fight."
"Screech, be serious!" Zack laughed. "We're not going to fight."
"Oh, yes we are. You stole the one person I've always cared for." Screech said. "I never thought my best friend would do that to me, but I guess I learned something new today. 3:00. Be here."
"Zack, you can't fight Screech. You'll kill him." Lisa told Zack, over lunch.
"I know. He really wants to fight, though. Maybe it'll help if he goes a few rounds with me."
"You're going to fight him?" Lisa asked.
"3:00 is here. Is Zack Morris?" Screech entered the main hallway.
"I'm here." Zack nodded, stepping up to his best friend.
"Okay. Shake hands with me." Screech instructed, and the two shook hands.
"Okay, Screech. Ready when you are."
"I strike only when it's least-" Screech threw the first punch. "Expected." he finished.
"Is that all you've got?" Zack asked, actually smarting from the hit.
"Not quite." Screech said, and knocked Zack back into the lockers.
"When did you get so good at this?" Zack regained his footing and braced himself for the next blow.
"I trained myself. These are the skills I pull on bullies when they want my lunch money. Of course, they only want my money, not my girlfriend."
"Is he seriously just taking this?" Tori asked Lisa. They stood a few feet away from the display in the hall.
"Yeah." Lisa nodded. "He's just letting Screech knock him out. This was his plan."
"You got any more, Screech?" Zack asked. He had underestimated Screech, and was having trouble standing. His body was beginning to ache with the effort.
"This. My signature." Screech wound his arm up like a baseball player, then socked Zack straight in the jaw. The blow knocked him off balance, and he stumbled back into the lockers. He hit his head as he lost his footing. The last thing he remembered was seeing Screech standing over him. Instinctively, he covered himself from additional blows with an arm. Then he lost consciousness.
"Zack?" Tori and Lisa were calling his name.
"What, Mom? It's not time for school." Zack mumbled. Why did his head hurt so much?
"Zack, wake up. Please." Lisa wanted to shake him, but she knew that would make it worse. He was still lying in the hall. The ambulance had been called, but hadn't yet arrived. Screech had been taken to the principal's office.
"What on earth could have posessed you to attack another student, Screech? Especially Zack, your best friend!" Mr. Belding was shocked. He had seen his share of fights on school property, but he had only caught the last moment of this one, when Zack had hit his head on the lockers. Several students had admitted that they hadn't done anything to stop Screech, because they didn't think he could do much damage to anyone, let alone his best friend.
"My best friend. Zack, my best friend." Screech practically seethed. "The best friend who stole my girlfriend. Who romanced the love of my life away from me."
"Lisa isn't your girlfriend." Mr. Belding corrected him. "You knocked Zack unconscious. What is it going to take for this to be over between you two? The answer isn't Lisa going out with you, because any shot you might have had with her in any scenario was just shot down."
"I don't expect anyone to understand. Everyone loves Zack. Including Lisa." Screech pulled away from Mr. Belding and stormed out of the office.
"Screech." Lisa caught him by the arm as he left Mr. Belding's office.
"What do you want?" he asked, roughly.
"I want you to explain yourself. Zack is unconscious, because he let you beat him up. He figured it was a way for you to blow off some steam, so he just took the beating you gave him. He could have defended himself and snapped you in two, but he didn't."
"He could have fought back if he wanted to." Screech was quickly losing the anger that had been bubbling inside of him. He remembered Zack lying on the floor, trying to shield himself from Screech's attack.
"He didn't want to fight you." Lisa pointed out.
"Why fight me? He already won with you." Screech spat.
"Is that really all this is about? Me?" Lisa asked. "There is nothing else that you're mad at him about?"
"That's it." Screech nodded.
"Then you're an even bigger idiot than I thought you were. I'm never speaking to you again." Lisa turned her back to Screech. She and Tori attended to Zack, who was coming to.
"Thanks for staying up with me, guys." Zack said, later that evening. Lisa, Slater, and Tori were with Zack at his house. Zack hadn't needed to go to the hospital, but the paramedics wanted him to stay awake through the night to make sure his head was okay. Slater volunteered to stay over, and Lisa and Tori were getting ready to leave.
"You're more than welcome, Zack." Lisa said.
"Be careful, okay?" Tori told him. "Lisa, you and I had better go. We still have school tomorrow."
"Yeah. See you tomorrow after school, guys." Lisa and Tori said good night to Slater and Zack, and headed for the door. On their way downstairs, they met Screech, coming up.
"What are you doing here?" Lisa asked him.
"I realized that I was a stupid, idiotic jerk to Zack today. I wanted to apologize." Screech hung his head, and Lisa and Tori knew that he was sincere.
"Okay. Go on up; Slater and Zack are there."
"You girls forget something?" Slater asked when he and Zack heard a knock on the door.
"Um, yes?" Screech imitated a girl's voice, badly.
"Screech?" Slater opened the door, and Screech came into Zack's room.
"What do you want?" Zack asked, tiredly. "I can't really take another fight right now. All I want to do is sleep."
"No, no, Preppy, you can't." Slater tugged Zack to his feet. "Stand up for a bit, okay? Get a little more awake."
"I'll leave, Zack." Screech said. "I just came to apologize. I was a jerk today. I'm sorry that I beat you up."
"Really?" Zack was a little surprised.
"Nothing is worth us fighting, and Lisa told me what you did."
"What was that?" Zack asked. His recollection was a little fuzzy.
"That you let me beat you up, and that you didn't fight back."
"I did?" Zack seemed surprised, and the severity of what he had done to his best friend socked Screech in the gut.
"I'm so sorry, Zack." Screech hugged his best friend. "I was so awful to you today."
"It's okay, Screech, I forgive you."
"Really?" Screech smiled for the first time all day.
"Does this mean you won't go out with Lisa anymore?" Screech asked, not quite daring to hope.
"Screech..." Zack sighed.
"She has to choose the person she wants. And that's you, isn't it?" Screech realized.
"It might be." Zack finally nodded. "Would you be okay with that?"
"I guess so. I just always thought that she'd come around eventually."
"Maybe she will. But you can't force her to."
"Okay." Screech nodded. "I'm sorry, Zack."
"Apology accepted. Now can you teach me that punch?"
"Sure. Just only use it on real jerks, not your best friend."
"I promise." Zack laughed, and everyone knew that it would all be okay.