Redeye, which I took to calling him (not to his face), didn’t  follow up on his threat. Thus, I lived to endure the few months of first semester lunch. Redeye and his band of Lager louts accepted me, as if that was a compliment. You see, if there was one talent that got me through high school, it was that I got along with everybody – jocks, geeks, gays, stoners, princesses, and detention room criminals. As far as my new lunch room compatriots,  yes they were thugs, but lazy thugs. Maybe it was the early lunch hour. Nobody had energy. A sad excuse for a food fight ended as soon as it started. “I’m just too tired” one of Redeye’s gang said.

The only time I ever saw Redeye move with any reasonable speed was the food fight attempt when he got in a little scrum with a mustachioed student in a tank top and red pants. He lost a tooth during it. But not because of anyone’s hand. It just fell out on its own.

The next semester rewarded me with another early lunch hour (10:35 a.m.), and I found myself a new table, in the back of the room, that had a misfit vibe to it. I liked it because it was quite and although it welcomed strange and unkempt kids, there weren’t a lot of them. Several seats around me were usually empty and during midterms I even fell asleep there. I was awaken by a unfamiliar voice.

“Are you gonna eat that?” It was a pretty black girl I hadn’t seen before. She had eyes on my raw oatmeal cookie dough bites. I let her have one. “Are you some kind of asshole”? she asked. I didn’t know if she was legitimately asking a question or if she just wanted to know if I was safe to sit by. Her name was Renee and she just got transferred to this lunch room because of an honors class she added. Renee had a smart mouth, but it was pretty. She was nice, and we were lunch pals and even became friends those final weeks of the second semester. I even kissed her on the neck during a game of “Truth and Dare” at a friend’s party one night. There’s more of Renee to tell, but it will have to wait. I want to introduce a few other table mates.

Billy Jay – he said his ancestors were from Europe and they came to America on a ship, arriving in New York at “Alice Island.” During one Monday lunch he talked about a party he was at over the weekend. One in which he “couldn’t get laid at if I was naked.”

Dean – he wore a different pair of glasses every week and once asked me if I wanted to “go on a magic boat ride.”

Debbie – she was involved in theater at the high school. Her nickname was “The Electric Wench” and apparently it had something to do with that stage tool. She mostly did backstage work, but said when she finally gets a good acting role she would “make that stage my bitch.”

Scottie – constantly rating the girls in the lunchroom when he wasn’t having epileptic seizures. Once when I didn’t agree with him on a looks of a particular girl, he accused me of having “no sense of ass.” I learned some medical information because of his presence, however. During one of his seizures someone wanted to stick a plastic spoon in his mouth. “Don’t put a fucking thing in there,” said Renee, whose mom was a nurse.

Then there was Heidi, a friend of Renee’s and another new transfer to the lunch period. She had maple-syrup colored hair and a cute pattern of freckles around her nose. And she was a cheerleader – the only one in our lunch. “We don’t get scheduled this early,” she said, as if I’d understand the reasoning behind that.

I had never cut class, or lunch, at this point in my high school career, but I know I never would on a Friday. At our school, that’s when cheerleaders wore their uniform (unlike “Glee” where they’re worn every day). On our very last day of lunch, a Friday, Heidi slightly lifted up her skirt to show my a cheer bruise. I glanced but was too shy to stare for very long, so she grabbed my hand and put it on her upper thigh. “Do you feel that?” she asked. “I feel something,” I said.

And just at that moment I felt Scottie’s hand across my face as another epileptic episode began. Renee was on top of it. Heidi didn’t budge, and neither did I. Billy Jay, sitting across from us, didn’t budge. He just looked at Heidi, then at me. “Liffey, you couldn’t get laid if you was naked.”

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