Day 1 Club Dead
The first day of Club Dead surprised me. Thirty-six students entered the room Mr. Blok had reserved for me. They signed in, sat and waited for me to say something. Naturally, I cried.
“Hey, it’s okay, let it out. Death does that.” A pale boy with half his head shaved down to the skull assured me time would heal my wounds.
“No it doesn’t you dickhead. Time is useless. Death is permanent and its effects never give up.” This came from a girl, a big girl, who sounded as if she often got her way. The boy shrank into his shoulders.
“Lighten up girl, he’s allowed his opinions.”
“Do not call me girl. I am not your girl!”
“It’s just a way to communicate. Jeez and Mary.”
A different girl said this. She sat in the back row of my English class. I’ve never had a good look at her. I’d say she was an athlete: t-shirt, shorts, school colors and a tight hair band strapped across her forehead. She was fearless in class too, always mixing it up with anyone on any topic. She often made sense.
“Hey, who’s in charge? When do we get down to business?” A boy made these demands. Red and purple tattoos covered both bare arms. One curled from his shirt and snaked along his neck up to one ear.
I detected a pretty stern dose of tension.
Which I liked.
I was keen to violence, sensing it as a fix. I stopped crying when anger ruled. I sensed chaos might break out. I wasn’t sure whether to nurture it or extinguish it. But then, all signs indicated that I wouldn’t have much to do with the outcome.
Several voices tried to out yell others on topics not all related to death. It sounded as if some arguments had been festering in the halls over days, weeks or months, and now, at the first meeting of Club Dead, their release was imminent.
“Will someone tells us why we are here?”
I recognized her as the girl I spoke to at the computer who drew cool things about death. Brink.
That quieted things down.
“How much time are we going to waste? I have things to do!”
The new speaker firmly gripped the waist of a boy who appeared to be asleep. She, with the pink, green-blue dyed hair, wore a spiked collar, a frayed Clash t-shirt and very hot denim, very short, pants. That was one ballsy outfit for January in Blissfield.
How had I missed this colorful bunch to date?
I stood up.
“Welcome to Club Dead. My name is CJ Stark.”
“What kind of name is that?”
“What is wrong with CJ Starch? Do you have to open your stupid mouth every freaking second?”
“I am so reading to knock out your teeth!”
“As if -”
“Will you jerks let her speak?” The colorful haired girl spoke again. Her boyfriend remained snoozing.
I saw two in the back, a boy and a girl. They said nothing and looked on with wide eyes. They appeared suspiciously young. I suspected they were from the middle school. I bet Mr. Blok would not have liked them to be present.
I approved of such cross-pollination.
“Thank you,” I continued. “Club Dead is a club where I thought we could come together - ”
“Yah, yah, yah, you talk like you’re some honors students. Let’s get to death!” A boy not heard from yet, terribly cute, huffed and puffed like he was on speed. He slurped a caffeine drink from a narrow bright green can.
I looked closer and believed that I was in a room with many people under the influence of something illegal. I smelled pot.
“First, I am not an honors student. Not any longer. Second, we will get to death -” I stammered.
“Yeah, now, death, death, death!”
Many voices joined. Okay, we had a mission statement, and now we had a chant. We were getting somewhere.
“That felt good, didn’t it?”
“Let’s do it again!”
“No, wait,” I implored. I raised my hands.
“This club rocks!”
“Hold it, hold it,” I found myself yelling. I was not a yeller. Club Dead was having unusual effects upon me. “You know, we need some kind of order.”
“What are you talking about? There’s nothing orderly about death.”
“But a club does. I mean, we can just sit outside and chant ’Death!’, right? So why be here?”
“I liked the flyer.”
“Yeah, that chick is hot! Are you supposed to be her? You don’t look like her.”
“No, that is not me. She emanates a value.”
“You are an honor’s chick!”
“Big deal if she is. Will you dopes let her speak?” I was beginning to like that girl.
“So, as I was saying, maybe we need to introduce ourselves and explain why we’re here.”
That quieted the crowd. An error hovered. I bet that these people did not want to share intimacies. They wanted to express rage.
“Let me start with myself. I am CJ Stark.”
“We know that!”
“And - ”
“Look, I am not going to share my name with a bunch of strangers I don’t care about, and don’t think I can just start talking about what death means to me. What is this, some cheap psycho feel-good crap thing?”
“That makes sense. But how can we make Club Dead happen otherwise? I’m open to suggestions.”
This quieted the crowd down, too. Original thoughts did not blossom with this bunch.
“I’ll talk to you, but not in front of anyone else.”
“Yeah, she’s okay.”
I didn’t feel especially okay.
“I don’t understand. You want me to talk to each of you individually, first?”
“Hey, it can be like an interview. You know, to see if we are worthy of Club Dead.”
The absurd was overwhelming the room.
“But why? I’m not going to prevent any of you from joining, if that’s what you want.”
This chant went on for two solid minutes. Then it morphed into…
“Death Club interviews!”
“Death Club interviews!
I passed out a piece of paper that served as a signup schedule. For the next two weeks, I held interviews for Club Dead.