“Body language,” he said, holding back a smile. “Head’s down, but your shoulders look like they want to kick butt.”
Really. This one afternoon we met just outside the gym locker room after practice. I had just overheard Mr. Span make another bad joke in his office—about me. “The rabbit,” he called me, “whose tail you guys are still too slow to catch.”
I wanted to scream. But as I stood outside the locker room door near his office, I thought how much I wanted to run with the team and how generous Mr. Span was in giving me tips for improving my time. So, pussy that I was, I just swallowed and turned toward the exit door, shoving the panic bar with my hip, and stomping out ready to explode. My ears buzzed, my skinny chest just about popped the buttons on my shirt, and my mouth hung open, gulping in air. When I think about it, I’m sure a two-year-old could have told I was pissed, but then Misha—sensitive, always attentive Misha—had to enter the drama and open his overly careful mouth.
“Uh, oh. Something happened. You’re not looking like the happy camper I know.”
“Fuck you, happy camper,” I said. I flipped him the bird, middle finger directly under his nose. Then, seeing his eyes twitching on his suddenly red and embarrassed face, I turned back to the gym, pulled open the door, and headed right to the coaches’ office. He wasn’t there, so I turned toward the boys’ locker room and entered, slamming open the door without knocking or announcing. I raised my hand and middle finger and marched down the aisle, panels of open lockers and naked boys on either side. “I resent this fucking shit,” I shouted. “I am not a rabbit, I am not a tail these jack-offs are chasing, and I am not something to ride inside a rusty fucking Pontiac sitting in the woods.”
I was about to say something even more pointed, when I looked around and saw those naked boys—about a dozen of them—standing in the rows of lockers with towels bunched in front of their dicks. What a sight! I almost laughed, but then Mr. Span, more red-faced than Misha could ever be, stepped in front of me, looking as if he had been prodded with an electric pole rather than my finger. He was fully dressed, but there was something naked in his expression, so I just stepped closer and, with my fists down, leaned into his jowly, beef-red face.
“You have no right to say those things about me,” I shouted, “here or anyplace else. I am not a piece of meat. I am not an animal to be hunted. You should know better.”
I grabbed his arm, but he pulled it away and started down the aisle for the exit without a word. I followed him into the hall and ran to stand in front of him as he headed toward his office.
“Jamie,” he mumbled, but with a look of real menace in his dark brown eyes, “you’ve gone too far this time. I’ve enjoyed letting you run with us, but I can’t tolerate this sort of behavior, especially in the locker room.”
“Fuck this behavior!” I shouted. “What about yours? I heard what you said in there. I won’t take it.”