The Girl Named Catherine (short story)

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“Where ya goin’?”


Catherine asked, playfully flanking our hero unawares.


A greeting from a female human being! Our hero must act fast, or else risk never talking to her again! An entire future of love and happiness is at stake, and will be determined by the smallest of his following actions!


In this moment of crisis, our hero does not reply with a nervous gurgle of saliva, but courteously replies in a gentlemanly manner, greeting her with a calm, refined ‘hello’ and tells her he was on his way to the library.


Success!


He silently congratulates himself on this urbane greeting. It was indeed astounding that our hero, being atrociously bad at socially interacting with the opposite sex, wasn’t rolling on the floor with foam forming at the corners of his mouth while humping her leg. But lo, he was actually talking to a girl without looking like a horny dog! That was a first. Up until this point, our hero Avarus had always found himself staring into the eyes of one of his numerous love interests with his mouth agape, eyelids half closed, and his forefinger dangerously close to his nose.


But today, thought our refined and gentlemanly protagonist, things were different.


“Pssh.”
She pouts, oddly disappointed.


“You were funnier when you freaked out whenever I talked to you.” She said, grinning before she cut off into another hallway and disappearing from his sight. It was like their entire meeting was rehearsed, like a short skit in a play, or a scene from a sit-com, or like a four panel cartoon strip that wasn’t funny.


He watches her go, utterly confused.


On one hand, she detected his prior weakness, but on the other hand she thought it was adorable. Or did she think it was pathetic and enjoyed watching him squirm? Often his interactions with Catherine made him feel like an ant flailing helplessly on his back, while Catherine loomed over him, whimsically deciding whether she should help the ugly thing and push it back onto its feet, or just simply squash the meaningless existence and put it out of its misery.


It was well known inBeckoburrowHigh Schoolthat Catherine had a very a unique aloofness when it came to dealing with men, an aloofnessf that was as intimidating as it was innocent. If left to the minds of men she had dumped, she would have been deemed a sociopath for sure, and was indeed labeled as such by many of her woebegone suitors. But there was something absolutely lovely to her that made her mass genocide of the school’s male student body absolutely charming to the rest of the doomed boys’ hearts she had yet to break.


            Regardless of her reputation, our hero decided to decide that whatever just happened had more good than bad invested in it, and decided not to worry about it too much – or at least that’s what he thought someone cool like him would do in such a situation, doing his best to ignore his heavy heart palpitations. What if he actually went into cardiac arrest? He laughed only once before seriously considering it. How weak would that look? He could see the newspaper headlines now: “Boy Is Suddenly Talked To By Attractive Girl; Has Heart Attack.”


            News companies would flock to the scene and give it as much publicity as they could, filling the story with gossip to make it more entertaining.


            Because that’s what news shows are, really. They’re TV shows. Entertainment.


You’ll hear about how a lady got her cell phone shoved down her throat but not how someone gave a slightly more-than-average donation to a charity fund.


            I mean, who the hell wants to listen to acts of kindness for the whole afternoon? First it makes you bored, then ashamed of yourself, and then obligated to donate money.


I call that an advertisement.


            “Didn’t you say you were going to the library?”


            Catherine asked calmly, sneak-attacking our hero yet again. He noticed he had walked straight past the library and into another section of the school entirely.


            “Are you stalking me?” She whispered nervously, appearing both extremely serious and genuinely concerned. Her facial expression softly contorted into a cute blush of vulnerability and inexperience.


 “What? No! Why would I be stalking you? I would only stalk someone if they wanted to be stalked! And even then I wouldn’t stalk them! Because–”


            He was interrupted by her incessant laughter, a wonderful and vibrant orchestral melody beautiful enough to part clouds and allow golden rays of sunlight to spray into this world of misery and dry the tears of adversity and give loving parents to every single orphan on the face of the planet and- and--


            “There we go.” She said smiling, and again disappeared.


            Avarus stared at her dumbly as she disappeared into a foreign classroom, slowly processing what had just happened.


            What did their interaction just now mean?


            He reached a conclusion, and spoke it loudly enough to receive a detention from a nearby teacher.


“Shit!”


 


Actually, that was just him stubbing his toe.


 


But he was pretty sure that she did like him.

Created: May 23, 2012

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