Bennett Maple’s Speech

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    All right, I realize this is Marknew’s story, and he reserves the right to use all, any, or none of this. I’ll assume the guys here simply lay low, keep up the girl-cott and just look over their shoulders until the story’s over if they’re not a factor. But here’s how I imagine things going down at the Maple family’s paintball range early Wednesday evening.

    Oh, and for the record, this is all supposed to be verbal. It’s not "posted" on the web anywhere so Marylin, Cecile, or anyone else can give any backtalk.

    Okay, I know you guys are hot, tired and sweaty from all the barrel rolls and other evasive moves. But remember what my granddad said. A true professional does his job even when he doesn’t feel like it.

    Now that we’re done with the paint pellets and spray cans, we’re just about ready for the heavy duty stuff. But first, I’m sure Pat talked to you about the girl-cott. I think it’s a great idea. But let’s get some things straight first.

    Okay, I’m no moron. I know that many of you love the girls’ new bods. Don’t front. Me, I think that it helps their chests a bit, too. But one of the few plusses of being a geek is that dealing with girls is like a chess game. When a queen treats you like a king even though you both know she thinks you’re a pawn, she’s out to rook you.

    She doesn’t really want us, guys. She wants us to type her paper. Fix her laptop. Spot her twenty bucks for shopping. Maybe she got that from you with just by shaking her hips or ducking down so you could get a better view of the Twin Peaks.

    And once you delivered, or couldn’t there and then, she chucked you like a used tampon.

    Same game, same rules, only their pieces are bigger.

    And so, some girl might try to make you break away from the boycott. Just like she played you before.

    Here’s what we do.

    If you spot her first, turn away. No eye contact. Don’t even look at her body. Just look at something else very fast and keep going. Don’t even think of a wisecrack or put down. Just keep going.

    If you hear someone call you or your name, listen carefully. If it sounds like a female, DO NOT LOOK THEIR WAY. Keep going if you’re walking, or focus on something else if your sitting. Don’t be afraid to get up and walk away if they keep it up.

    If they try to make your hormones fizz, or hoist up your tent pole for the big top… well… think about that babe for a second.

    Okay, now think of your mom and dad doing the wild thing.

    Killed the mood pretty quick, didn’t it?

    That’s the secret. Keep your mind on something else. This yoga-New Age load about clearing your mind is total crap. You gotta stay focused on something, or you’ll be wide open to anything.

    If that’s not enough, here’s some REAL protection to carry in your wallet. It’s a photo of my great-aunt Sophie. On the beach. In a string bikini.

    All righty, step two. Maybe some girls round a corner, and you run into them. Or maybe they catch up to you down the hall. If contact is unavoidable, it’s okay to say three words: "Don’t touch me."

    If they do anyway after that, congratulations. They just committed basic assault. You get five more words then: "I said don’t touch me." If they still do, that’s aggravated assault. Then get going to the nearest teacher. Principal Gregg or any guy teacher would be best, but hey, any port in a storm. Well, almost any port. Forget Ms. Dooda, she’s a bully herself. Remember Gregg’s speech this morning? Right.

    Third one. One of the most effective contraceptives ever is … the laugh. Think about it. When’s the last time some chick laughed at your package? Didn’t help much, did it? If they can do it, so can we. I mean, come on. Why can’t they walk down the hall normally? They gotta slink… like this… like "My Mother Done Told Me" is playing in the background.

    You know the tune? Wah wohwah woh wah-waaaaaaaah wa wowah wa wohwaaaa…? Yeah. They’re really selling it. Just like Britney Spears or some other prosti-tot. Just like her, if it was that good in the first place, it’d sell itself. Why would they market it so hard? If they try that BS on you, just roll your eyes and laugh. Out loud.

    Okay. now we already talked about what we’re doing, or not, in the girl-cott. I know you said, a 20 foot radius between us and them, but 15’s enough. Know why? It’s too far for them to hit us…

    …and too close for us to miss.

    Yeah, this is a Model 360 .357 Magnum/.38 Smith and Wesson Special +P. Holds five rounds, weighs only 12 ounces, and only 6 5/16 inches long. It was my granddad’s.

    Yeah, was.

    You probably didn’t know this, but my granddad was suffering from the effects of a weed killing chemical called Agent Orange. He got contaminated during his stint in Vietnam.

    He’d been fighting much of his life to recover. Well last month, it looked like he was going to finally beat it.

    And then we started losing our muscle. So did he. And last night at seven minutes after midnight, he finally died at the hospital. Heart failure.

    He didn’t talk to me much about the war. But we were very close. And he showed me how to fire a rifle when I was 12, and taught me how to take care of a gun. I’ve got a lot of love and respect for him. And he promised me as soon as I turned 18, he’d trust me with his gun collection.

    He’s gone now. But I think if I let you guys get rolled by the current gynecocracy, he’d spin in his grave.

    So here it is. All these are from his pistol collection. There’s nothing heavier than 9mm here. I mean, look at our arms. But as Granddad’s old army buddy from Detroit said, shooting straight with a .38 beats giving jive with a .45.

    Now look guys, This isn’t Halo or Doom III. I am not giving these out just so we can go John Woo. This is ONLY as a last resort. If you want only pepper spray, fine. More hardware for the rest of us.

    But about what Marilyn what’s-her-name said about using our brains, not our fists? Well, I used mine. And it says it can’t function for me if my body’s dead.

    If you want to turn in your gear and go join the P-whipped, now’s the time.

    Didn’t think so.

    And just remember… if you’re thinking of ratting us out… our arms and legs may be noodles now. But our trigger fingers work just fine.

    Okay, here’s the school layout map. Place is a sieve. Lots of windows and other places someone to slip them in, just like I did with the first stuff. Someone’ll arrive extra early by the boys’ bathroom by the chemistry lab and I’ll be there to make–

    Aw, crap. I knew I should’ve turned my cellie off. Just a sec, guys, it’s my mom. I’ll get rid of her.

    Hi, Mom. Yeah, we’re fine. Sure, sure, we’re all okay. What’s wrong?

    Anthony? The gym freak? Yeah. What about him?


    Oh, man…

    Oh, no…

    That’s terrible, Mom. Yeah, yeah, we’re all okay. I swear. Yeah, we’ll hurry back quickly in a few. Okay, now. Yes, yes, we’ll be careful, promise. Okay, I love you too. Bye.

    Guys? You know Anthony? Mom just called. He’s dead.

    You know Jill, his ex-girlfriend? She went flip-mode on him, hit the gym, and went all She-Hulk. Said she bent a barbell like a pretzel. And killed him with his own weights.

    Pat, you know what I said about the 15 foot radius? Forget it. Forget twenty, too. Thirty feet.

    And guys, what I said about guns being optional? It’s MANDATORY now. Look around and pick one you like, because nobody’s leaving until we get one each, and three reloads minimum.

    Okay, and I got some firecrackers from across the state line. We’ll need someone to shoot them off up front to cover the sounds of our target practice and act as our lookouts.

    And speaking of lookout… tomorrow at school, the code word is "Anthony." Anybody here in trouble, yell it. The rest of us will come running, no matter what.

    Jimmy? Mongo? Farley? You’ll do watch first? Great. You guys get first gun choice. Then get out and text message us if anyone comes by. We’ll let you know when it’s your turn. If anyone asks, we’re playing GURPS Espionage. Got the table, character sheets and game out and everything.

    Okay, the rest of you, pick ’em and load up. I chalked the outlines of our targets. And aim for the head. Remember, they’re not girls. They’re targets.


    Oh, one last thing, Marknew: if/when Thursday morning rolls around, Patrick O’Brien’s not bringing his gun. He’s leaving it in his sock drawer with the ammo. He believes that the girl-cott and Bennett’s cautions before he flashed his .38 will be effective enough

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