Not really sure how much longer I’ll write Jameson’s story with Marvel finally deciding to create a Dcotor Strange movie. We’ll definitely see how it goes though.
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Dan sat in the Friarwood High cafeteria, staring at the most beautiful girl in the world.
Admittedly Sarah might not make it into many people’s top ten list as far as beauty was concerned, even though they’d admit she was easy on the eyes, but Dan was sure this was due to a flaw in their perceptions. Of course, if he’d been forced to think on it, Dan would have to admit that his perceptions had suffered a similar flaw until last week, when Sarah became the “it” girl of Friarwood High School, for the same mysterious reasons that Charles Ponzi became the financial wizard of Boston in the 1920s. But Dan was rarely forced to think on things, which was probably a good thing, as he wasn’t that good at it.
Indeed, at the moment he was attempting that operation with limited success. He was (he realized this in a vague way) not extraordinarily (or even ordinarily) attractive to women. Thus he had no chance of getting in with Sarah, as things now stood. This seemed to him a monstrous injustice, and one that needed immediate rectification. However, when he thought about it, Dan realized he had very little idea how to do this. A smarter man would have considered changing something about himself, but Dan wasn’t a smarter man, so he chose a different route.
Politics. Or their high school equivalent.
Sarah was a friend of Natalie’s. And Natalie was a friend of…
“Jameson Smith?” said Harry, puzzled. “But why him…?”
Dan glared at him. Harry was his best friend, but simultaneously, he bugged the hell out of Dan. A smarter man would have mused on this matter, but once again, Dan wasn’t a smarter man.
“Because, he’s the thing nobody is looking to use—the secret pathway…” said Dan. Plus, he owed Natalie too much money to even consider approaching her directly.
“Oh, like in a video game!” Harry smiled, immensely reassured. The conversation was about things he understood again. “You know the newest Dead or Alive game has the hottest chicks…”
Dan frowned. “That is not important right now…”
Harry’s voice lowered to a confidential level. “I hear there’s a naked code for it…”
Dan started. “Really? How’s it wor…?” He shook his head. “Oh, stop distracting me.” He glanced over at the table where Jameson sat by himself, flipping through some book. “My foolproof plan is going into effect. I will befriend Jameson Smith, and then he’ll put in a good word for me with Natalie, who will put in a good word for me with Sarah, who will then BE MINE!”
Harry snorted. “My darling Sarah would never fall for such matters. My declaration of love tonight is sure to win her heart.” He brought up a small plastic bag. “After I cover her house in heart decorated toilet paper, she is sure to conceive a burning passion for me! And if that doesn’t work, the pink shaving cream in her mailbox will do the job!”
Dan stared at him. “Harry, do all of your declarations of love seem like childish pranks?”
Harry turned away sulkily. “Only to eyes clouded with hateful jealously.”
“Oh, why am I wasting my time here?” muttered Dan, standing up abruptly. He walked over to Jameson.
Jameson was flipping through his book, and patently ignoring everything else in the room. Dan stood next to him, and cleared his throat.
Jameson continued to read his book.
Dan went “Psst!”
Jameson continued to read his book.
Dan nudged him in the shoulder.
Jameson continued to read his book.
Dan leaned forward, putting his face between Jameson and the book, and said, “Hi.”
Jameson put down his book, and glanced at him, in a rather annoyed fashion. “Why, hello. My goodness. Have you been standing there all this time, and I didn’t see you?” Jameson’s voice seemed curiously flat. “How intolerably rude of me.” He glanced Dan over, an uncertain flicker passing over his face. “Harry, right?”
“Dan,” said Dan uneasily. “Harry has brown hair. Mine is black.””Ah.” Much to Dan’s concern, Jameson seemed to be filing that statement away for future reference.
Jameson stared inquisitively at him.
Dan stared back, nervous.
Things were perfectly silent for awhile. Finally, Jameson went back to his book.
“You know, Jameson,” Dan shot out, “I never knew how much we had in common.”
Jameson gave him a sidelong glance. “Really? I never knew we had anything in common.”
Dan froze. Crap! This was proving harder than he’d thought! “Well—” he at last ventured, “we’re both guys. And we—both attend the same school…”
Jameson actually blinked at that. It was the first time in his life that Dan found someone blinking terrifying.
“My goodness!” stated Jameson, a dangerous undercurrent of cheeriness in his voice. “That is an awful lot! On reflection, it occurs to me that we are both carbon-based lifeforms. Of the same genus and species,most likely.”
Jameson grinned at him. Dan actually felt an urge to take a step back. “I now see that we have a suitable basis for a friendship. And an important part of friendship is being sensitive to the wishes of our friends.”
Dan smiled. Things actually seemed to be working out. “Exactly!”
Jameson went back to his book.
Dan took a deep breath. This was Jameson Smith, for godssake! The one person in Friarwoodthat every other member of the student body could look down on. He shouldn’t be brushing Dan off! He should be happy that Dan was even deigning to speak to him! No—strike that, he should be ecstatic that Dan was even noticing he existed! It just wasn’t fair. Things weren’t supposed to go this way!
Jameson glanced at him, half amused, half annoyed. “You haven’t moved, Dan.”
Dan practically jumped. “Umm, yes, well, I…”
“What do you want Dan?”
Dan gulped. “Nothing, nothing, I—”
Jameson rubbed his forehead lightly. “Please don’t lie to me Dan. I really don’t have the patience for it. And don’t tell me that you’re here for the pleasure of my company. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.” He thought that over. “Well, not that brand of stupid, anyway.” He went back to his book. “So, out with it.”
“I need you to put in a good word with Natalie for me!”
Jameson stared at him a moment. “Explain why I need to do this?”
“So I can go out with Sarah!”
Jameson seemed to stare right through him. “That explanation not only didn’t clarify matters, it actually made them more opaque.” He took a deep breath. “Now first—why do you need to go out with Sarah? I thought you liked Yuka.”
Dan frowned. “Sarah is my true love. My feelings for Crystal were a passing phase…”
“Like your feelings for Ashley,” noted Jameson.
“Uh, yes, like…”
“Or your feelings for Miss Patrick, the kindergarten teacher …”
“Umm—what’s the point of all this…?”
Jameson waved his hand. “Just noting that you go through a lot of passing phases. Okay, now, how does my going to Natalie and telling her you’re a great guy get you Sarah? Explain this, demonstrating how point A leads to point C, traveling through point B.” He smiled slightly. “Use concise sentences.”
“Natalie is Sarah’s friend. You are Natalie’s friend. Do I have to spell it out for you?”
Jameson squinted slightly. “Natalie has friends? That’s news to me.” He went back to his book.
Dan stared at him. “Look, I know she’s prickly…”
Jameson laughed. “Natalie Thomas is prickly the way a knife is prickly. Not the way a hedgehog is prickly, which seems to be what you’re implying.”
Dan stared at him. “Aren’t you going to give me any help?”
Jameson glanced back at him. “You love this girl?”
“With all my heart,” replied Dan without a moment’s hesitation.
Jameson looked at him for a moment, then went back to his book. “Lick the floor, and I’ll do what you asked.”
“Lick the floor,” Jameson repeated evenly. “Get on you knees, and lick the floor, using your tongue. Do that and I’ll consider helping you.”
Dan stared at him. “Are you crazy?”
Jameson smiled. “A tad touched perhaps.” A serious look came over his face. “Those are my terms. Take them or leave them.”
Dan shuddered. “But what you’re talking about is humiliating and degrading!”
Jameson laughed. “And I thought you loved her with all your heart. You won’t even consider my terms…”
Jameson glanced at him evenly. “You see, Dan, what I’m talking about is love. Degradation and humiliation are the primary ingredients. If you’re not willing to drag yourself through broken glass and nitric acid—twice—with nothing more than her glorious memory to pull you through—well, it isn’t very sincere.”
Dan blinked. “What—what are you saying?”
Jameson leaned back to look at him. “I’m questioning the depths of your ‘feelings’ for Sarah. You pledge eternal devotion readily enough, but pledging is easy. Proving it’s the hard part.” He went back to his book. “I don’t think you did. You may be interested in Sarah, but it isn’t love. Not by a long shot.”
Dan’s eyebrows arched into a position of supreme rage. “You dare! You dare question the burning passion I feel for Sarah! I have half a mind to challenge you to fight right now!”
Jameson chuckled. “And wouldn’t that be an epic struggle of the Titans?”
Dan stared at him, angrily. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”
Jameson shrugged. “Well, I may not be able to tell you two apart easily, but I do recall you and Harry were beat up by a group of eight year old girls…”
Dan began to shake apoplectically. “That is a vile lie! They were twelve-year olds! And ninjas!”
Jameson smiled a bit at that.
Dan shook his fist. “Like you’d have done any better!”
Jameson flipped a page of his book. “Well, that’s generally the reason I don’t go challenging people to fights…”
Dan swung his fist at Jameson’s face. There was a slap. Dan shook his head. The noise seemed to have come just bit too early. He looked down.Jameson, it seemed, had grabbed fist in midair. Without even turning. While reading his book.
Dan stared at him. Jameson glanced up at him, and shook his head. “Ahh, Dan. Is this what our friendship has come to?”
Dan bit his lip and walked away. Faced down by Jameson Smith! This was the sort of thing you never lived down—that required moving to other school systems in a desperate attempt to avoid the vile stench it left behind. Harry glanced at him as he sat back down. “How’d it go?”
“Not well,” muttered Dan.
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