"Um, I was just thinking, I mean. I know it's kind of a weird time, but I was just wondering, um, what is gonna happen to us on Monday? When we're all together again? I mean I consider you guys my friends, I'm not wrong, am I?"

Andrew was hesitant, "No…"

"So, so on Monday...what happens?"

"Are we still friends, you mean?" Claire prevented her tears from coming out, "If we're friends now, that is?"

Brian nodded, "Yeah…"

"Do you want the truth?"

The anticipation frightened him, "Yeah, I want the truth…"

She didn't reconsider it, "I don't think so…"

"Well," Allison knew of Claire's grudge, "do you mean all of us or just John?"

Claire tried to be as frank as she could sound, "With all of you…"

"That's a real nice attitude, Claire!" Andrew shot at her. Something inside him wanted her to be wrong.

"Oh, be honest, Andy!" Claire was tired of this, "If Brian came walking up to you in the hall on Monday, what would you do?" Brian's ears perked, "I mean picture this, you're there with all the sports. I know exactly what you'd do! You'd say hi to him and when he left you'd cut him all up so your friends wouldn't think you really liked him!"

"No way!" He wanted her to be wrong so much. He wanted his bizarre behavior to change. He wanted the Princess to be wrong.

"'Kay, what if I came up to you?" Allison spoke, Andrew wanting to respond.

"Same exact thing!" She couldn't believe these people. She couldn't believe their impossible hopes of maintaining these relationships. It was one Saturday and one Saturday only. Friendships are made over time, and besides: Who are friends from the brains and the sports? Who does that? Who mixes these groups of people unless they're thrown into a room together for hours on end? No one, and that is the way it was to stay.

It's the way it's supposed to be…

"You are a bitch!"

The voice of rage made The Princess shutter, the others turning to see what was going on too.

The rage was directed at her.

"Why? 'Cause I'm telling the truth, that makes me a bitch?" She didn't understand why they were saying all this.

"No!" The Criminal was tired of this as well, "'Cause you know how shitty that is to do to someone! And you don't got the balls to stand up to your friends and tell 'em that you're gonna like who you wanna like!"

"Okay, what about you, you hypocrite?" She felt as if she was speaking to herself, "Why don't you take Allison to one of your heavy metal vomit parties?" Allison liked the idea of that, "Or take Brian out to the parking lot at lunch to get high?" Brian liked the idea of that, "What about Andy for that matter," Andy liked that idea, "what about me?"

Claire liked that idea too.

"What would your friends say if we were walking down the hall together? They'd laugh their asses off and you'd probably tell them you were doing it with me so they'd forgive you for being seen with me!"

"Don't you ever talk about my friends!" Bender spat, "You don't know any of my friends," Allison didn't like that idea, "you don't look at any of my friends," Brian didn't like that idea, "and you certainly wouldn't be condescended to speak to any of my friends," Andrew didn't like that idea, "so you just stuck to the things you know; shopping, nail polish, your father's BMW and your poor, rich, drunk mother in the Caribbean!"

Claire hated that idea.

She kicked at him, "Shut up!"

"And as far as being concerned about what's gonna happen when you and I walk down the hallways at school," he didn't think before he said this, "you can forget it! 'Cause it's never gonna happen!" He needed to push her away, "Just bury your head in the sand and wait for you fucking prom!"

"I hate you!" Tears wandered down her face.

"Yeah? Good!"

The Princess and the Criminal stared at one another, the tension rising in the room of friends.

The Brain wiped his eyes and the Athlete's thoughts raced through his head. The Basket Case's own tears were slipping in between her lips.

He forced a grin, "Then I assume Allison and I are better people than you, huh? Us weirdoes…" He turned to the other better person, "Do you…would you do that to me?"

Bluntly she replied, "I don't have any friends…"

"Well, if you did?"

Allison knew her answer already, "No…" Andrew smiled to himself, "I don't think the kind of friends I'd have would mind…"

He sputtered a breath or two before speaking, "I just wanna tell each of you that I wouldn't do that…I wouldn't…" he wanted these friends, "and I will not! 'Cause I think that's real shitty…"

"Your friends wouldn't mind because they look up to us." Claire stated obviously. It was the way of life; the smart kids looked up to and envied the popular ones.

And to her surprise the smart one laughed.

"You're so conceited, Claire," he stated just as obviously, "You're so conceited. You're so, like, full of yourself. Why are you like that?"

"I'm not saying that to be conceited!" The tears were back again, "I hate it! I hate having to go along with everything my friends say!"

"Well then why do you do it?" It didn't make sense.

"I don't know, I don't…" She needed to say this straight out, "You don't understand, you don't…you're not friends with the same kind of people that Andy and I are friend with!" The Athlete's attention was grabbed again, "You know, you just don't understand the pressure that they can put on you!"

Andy knew pressure almost better than anyone in that room. He got it from everyone: his friends, his teachers, his coach, and even his parents. His whole life was pressure. Win, win, win.

As for John, John knew pressure. He was pressured every day by his family to be tough and to grow a pair. He's pressured by the people around him to keep the image that he's tough.

He can't even hit Vernon.

And Andy can't let loose without even getting caught.

And Brian can't make a lamp without failing.

He was appalled, "I don't understand what? You think I don't understand pressure Claire? Well fuck you!"

There was a unison, yet silent gasp.

"Fuck you!"

He hid behind his arm, his tears soaking the sweater that practically identified him as a geek; the sweater that he wore to study hall many days; the sweater his mother gave him for getting an A plus on his report card.

And he cried on it more times than he can count.

But they wanted to know why he cried.

And he knew they wanted to know.

He mustered his courage.

"Know why I'm here today?" No one said a word, "Do you?"

No one knew how to respond.

But they waited to know.

He uncovered his tearful face, "I'm here because Mr. Ryan found a gun in my locker…"

No one expected that.

Of all reasons a gun?

A gun in his locker is the reason?

"Why'd you have a gun in your locker?" Andy asked the question every wanted to ask.

He thought the answer was obvious, "I tried. You pull the fucking trunk on it and the light's supposed to go on…" he couldn't bear it, "and it didn't go on, I mean, I…"

There was a pause.

"What's the gun for, Brian?" Andrew needed to know. All four of them were listing several possibilities:

Shoot the teacher?

Shoot the kids?

Shoot his parents?

Shoot…

"Just forget it…"

"You brought it up, man!"

He didn't want to admit it, "I can't have an F, I can't have it and I know my parents can't have it!"

Shoot the parents?

"Even if I aced the rest of the semester, I'm still only a B."

Shoot the teacher?

"And everything's ruined for me!"

Shoot…

"Oh, Brian-"

The Brain bashed a chair over.

The Princess was taken aback.

Her intentions were good. She meant to sympathize with him and she meant to kind.

But after what she said about them not being friends she considered zipping her lips.

"So I considered my options, you know?"

Shoot…

"No! Killing yourself is not an option!" Claire wanted to make up for what she had said before.

"Well I didn't do it, did I? No, I don't think so!"

Shoot…

That answers that question.

"It was a hand gun?" The Basket Case jumped in after the question was answered.

"No, it was a flare gun," he elaborated, "went off in my locker."

"Really?"

Andy began to laugh.

He began to laugh hard.

And for those of you that aren't aware, a flare gun is not for killing oneself. It gives severely minor injuries and if very unlikely to kill.

And thus, don't blame Andy for laughing:

It's pathetic.

"It's not funny…" Brian didn't find it as enjoyable and Andrew did, and even though the Athlete choked back his laughter he couldn't resist.

Flare gun?

He should've asked to use Bender's knife.

Continuing to laugh Brian himself couldn't help but realize the ridiculousness of it all.

Allison's lips moved to her ears and so did Bender's. Claire, ignoring her frustrations with John starts laughing too.

It feels good to do so.

"Yes it is," Brian, laughing at himself, "Fucking elephant was destroyed!"

"You wanna know what I did to get in here?" Allison asked, the laughter dying down, "…Nothing…I didn't have anything better to do."

That was the cherry on the sundae.

They broke out into hollers and vast chuckles, Andrew himself falling to his side.

"You're laughing at me…" Allison chuckled.

"No!" Andrew burst out, still laughing.

"Yeah, you are!" Allison's laugh grew.

The five stereotypes continued with their laughter. The rest of the day in itself was rather pleasant.

John kissed Claire.

Andy kissed Allison.

And Brian wrote the essay.

That Saturday was good.

Even Claire enjoyed herself, and through all her denial something inside her wanted those friendships to last.

John wanted to take Brian aside to smoke.

Allison wanted to go with John to a heavy metal party.

Andrew wanted to talk to Brian in the hallway.

And Claire wanted to be seen on Bender's arm.

That Saturday wasn't just any Saturday. They were introduced to new doors and new people that they never knew were real.

They never knew other people felt the way they felt.

There was a day between Monday and that Saturday, and that day gave all of them time to think.

Was what they told me true?

Do I really like them?

Are they lying to me?

Are they really…

My friends?

Once Monday came they actually saw each other in the hallways unlike before. They actually knew each other was there.

But Claire's voice kept echoing in their minds.

"…Picture this; you're there with all the sports. I know exactly what you'd do, you'd say hi to him and when he left you'd cut him all up so your friends wouldn't think you really liked him!"

Andy wanted to prove her wrong.

"Why don't you take Allison to one of your heavy metal vomit parties? Or take Brian out to the parking lot at lunch to get high?"

"Or what about me?"

John stared at the school doors.

"What would your friends say if we were walking down the hall together? They'd laugh their asses off and you'd probably tell them you were doing it with me so they'd forgive you for being seen with me!"

He wanted to prove her wrong.

"Don't you ever talk about my friend!" Bender spat, "You don't know any of my friends, you don't look at any of my friends," "and you certainly wouldn't be condescended to speak to any of my friends!"

But he lied.

She had known his friends.

She had looked at his friends.

She had spoken to his friends.

Because they were her friends too.

But that was on Saturday.

And this was Monday.

And once Brian and Andrew looked at each other from across the hall, Andy couldn't help but yell that he'd tape the faggot's butt cheeks together if he didn't keep walking.

Bender threw food at the Basket Case at lunch.

Claire followed her friends' every actions and every moves.

And even though they remembered that Saturday…

Real life tends to get in the way of fantasies.

Because groups were made so you befriend those in your circle.

Nothing more.

And that was the right thing to do.

"I consider you guys my friends…

I'm not wrong, am I?"