Too Much Information

Author: Aftertaste of a Razorblade

In fifth period Freshman Algebra, Joey was the class loser. He wasn't ugly or stupid. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that Joey wore funny clothes with socks that didn't match, and told jokes that nobody got, and he smelled funny—kind of like a strange combination between kitchen spices and old cheese. And he always sat in the front. Joey was the teacher's pet.

 And there was a rumor that Joey was gay.

Everybody knew he wasn't really gay. But "Joey's a fag!" was one of the pretty, popular girls' favorite running gags. And since the popular girls thought it was funny, everyone else did too. "Besides," some of the boys muttered, looking at each other warily, "with a dude that weird, you just can't be sure."

Sheena, Katie, and Linda always sat in the back. That way they could gossip without the teacher seeing them. Not that the teacher would've stopped them, anyway—cheerleaders, even freshman cheerleaders, had special privileges. Gossiping in class was one of them.

"You should go over and ask," Sheena giggled.

"Yeah," said Katie. "Just go over and be like, 'Joey, does your mom know you're gay?' and see what he does."

Linda blushed. "No way…" she started.

"Do it!" Sheena said. "It'll be funny."

"No…you guys, that's so mean," Linda said.

"So?" said Katie. "Like Sheena said, it'll be funny."

Linda finally consented that it would be funny. "But why do I have to do it?" she moaned.

Sheena and Katie thought about that. "Because there's no fucking way I'm going to!" Katie shouted. Sheena took a more diplomatic approach.

"Because," she said, "you're the gutsy one, Linda."

Linda beamed. Nobody had ever called her gutsy before. "All right," she finally said. "I'll do it."

Sheena and Katie giggled excitedly. "This'll be so great," Sheena said. "Wait till the bell rings, then go over to him." They waited semi-patiently, giggling and gossiping and talking about how that slutty sophomore Cheryl had finally gotten herself pregnant.

"They should name the baby 'Football Team,' after its father!" Katie was saying when the bell rang. "You know she sleeps with every guy in school."

Sheena nodded. But when she spoke, it was to Linda. "Go over to him," she said.

"Oh, yeah!" Katie grinned, suddenly remembering.

"All right," said Linda nervously, standing up. Joey was still in his seat, having trouble zipping up his backpack.

"Me and Katie will be watching," said Sheena. "But we won't be able to hear, so you'll have to tell us what he says." Linda looked back at her friends, nodded, pushed a strand of blonde-streaked hair behind her ears, and slowly approached Joey.

"Um, Joey," she said when she reached the font of the class, "does…um…your mom…does she…does your mom know you're gay, Joey?"

Finally having succeeded at zipping his backpack, Joey stood up and flung it over his right shoulder. He was scrawny for a boy…tall, though. "What did you say?" he asked Linda.

Linda sucked in her breath. Then she smirked. "Does your mom know you're gay?"

"She didn't for awhile," Joey replied. "But I told her last night. She's taking it better than I thought."

Linda looked flabbergasted. "You mean…you're really…?"

"What, you didn't know?" Joey said. "I thought everyone did."