Revenge – Jenna Putnam
March 11, 2021
The clock was ticking, and Arman was sweating like a stuck pig. I was so nervous my jaw was clenched shut. Everything was going as planned aside from the fact that Jesse had grabbed the wrong guy. I tried calling. I texted her: “JESSICA THAT’S NOT FUCKING HIM.” She kept walking, naive and googly-eyed as planned, and just as they stepped onto the platform beneath the lights of the carousel, she finally flipped open her stupid pink Razr. A look of horror swept across her face as Arman and I watched from a distance behind a pinball machine. We could see that she made up an excuse to leave and was wandering around the carnival in her mini skirt and platform heels like a wounded gazelle. It was painful to watch.
“What are we going to do?!” Arman whimpered. “There’s only six minutes until he’s supposed to go on stage.”
“Jesus Christ, would you keep it together, Arman? One of us has to have our heads on straight.”
“Well, we all know it won’t be you.”
I glared at him and adjusted my rhinestone bralette, shimmy-shaking my hips to squat more comfortably. “Well, it sure as hell isn’t going to be you either,” I sneered back. It was all I could come up with. The truth was, our fate laid in the delicate hands of a 5’7″ blonde with average conversational skills and a tendency to be not-in-a-cute-way clumsy, though her eyes held a faint glimmer of I-can-be-interesting . Regardless of which way our luck was swaying, Jesse was good at being a tease. And if there was one thing Trevor excelled at, it was staring dumbfoundedly at breasts the size of his head. Our gaze followed Jesse walking fast in a purposeful trajectory. She had finally located Trevor.
Trevor Moore and I first met in English class. I had been sitting two rows over and three seats behind him the entire semester. On a particularly wistful autumn day in November, he finally took notice of me. The night before, in an act of rebellion against my frigid parents, I decided to chop all my hair off and dye it midnight black. I cut it into geometrically perfect angles — sharp, jagged, dangerous. I looked like one of those science-fiction heroines every guy has wet dreams about. When my mother first saw it, her scream was that of a victim in a 1950s horror film. How such a deafening shriek could escape the pallid lips of a frail Dutch woman who hardly ever uttered a word was beyond me. In any case, I had succeeded.
Trevor was a jock that came from old Texas money. His father was a lawyer and his mother a housewife whose claim to fame was that she was a former pageant queen. Beauty queens are the saddest people. They think winning pageants will somehow give their empty lives meaning. The last time I saw Mrs. Moore, she looked like a deranged drag queen, tits sagging to the floor, clinging onto a glass of scotch like her life depended on it.
To my advantage, Trevor was drawn to darkness. So when I walked into class that day, his eyes didn’t leave me as I sauntered down the hallway, and, like a feather, descended on to the plastic blue chair behind my desk with refined grace. I crossed my legs and leaned my face against my hand, feigning boredom. As the bell rang and everyone shuffled out the door, he handed me a letter.
Where did you come from?
I smiled sheepishly, folded the piece of paper into four tight squares, and stuffed it into the back pocket of my Levis.
Trevor and I dated for a month. He took me everywhere around town —restaurants, drive-in movie theaters, arcades, the mall. He even took me to see The Pixies play at The Wiltern. In four weeks I was nothing short of head-over-feet in love with him.
One weekend, when my parents were out of town, I invited him over to watch True Romance. We were snuggling on the couch wrapped in blankets as I warmed my feet with his, the fireplace crackling. He opened the fridge and popped the top off of a cold beer with his lighter. This was one of his better tricks.
We drank a few and cuddled some more. I was so perfectly content watching my favorite film and spending time with Trevor. He was the only person on the planet who made me not hate everything. Granted, he was a bit preppy for my taste, but he had an edge about him and good taste in music. He played in a garage band that sounded like Nirvana but without the heroin. So I guess you could say they sucked.
“Wanna go upstairs? You can show me those new records you bought,” he said with that million-dollar smile.
“But we’re only halfway into the movie,” I pleaded.
He pulled me closer and kissed my neck, and as his breath trickled into my ear I felt every inch of my body sing. We went upstairs and I showed him the records I’d bought at Amoeba down the street. Love and Rockets, The Sounds, Bad Brains, Elliott Smith, The Distillers.
“Let’s listen to this,” he said. He took Elliot Smith’s New Moon out of the curled sleeve, set it on the player, and brought the needle over to kiss the vinyl.
I’d say you make a perfect
/ Angel in the snow
/ All crushed out on the way you are / Better stop before it goes too far…
He grabbed my arm and pulled me up to stand facing him. His hands were all over me and we started kissing hard and fast. Before I knew it, he was making an embarrassing attempt to undo the back of my bra. I pulled away from him and put my shirt back on.
“What’s the matter?”
“I just think we should wait.”
He moved closer to me, his fingers softly grazing my cheek. “You know I love you. I mean, we’re in love, Mary Jane. This kind of thing is okay when you’re in love. This is what people do when they’re in love.”
He reached under my shirt, started fumbling with the bra again.
“Trevor, NO,” I said sternly, as if I were talking to a dog.
He grabbed me and started kissing me again, this time violently. My face hurt. He moved our bodies onto the bed. I remember it vividly…the clumsy clank of his belt buckle, the sound of the zipper, the crackling of the record player. He shoved himself inside me and pushed in with deep, hard thrusts. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. After three minutes, he let out a moan like a dying tomcat and collapsed on the bed beside me.
We laid down next to each other, silently, for a while. I pretended I was someplace else, perhaps on a cliff overlooking the ocean somewhere, disks of sunlight flickering on the water’s surface like tiny blonde medallions.
“Listen, sweetheart, I have to go to practice. I don’t think you should tell your parents I was over. I’ll call you tomorrow.” He kissed my forehead gently, then grabbed his heinous letterman jacket from the chair and swung it over his right shoulder. When I sat up against the wall, I saw a small pool of blood had formed in the middle of my light blue sheets. I went into the bathroom and threw up the pomodoro I’d cooked for us.
The only people I told were Arman, Jessica, and Miguel — my best friends. My ride-or-die-going-ninety-in-a-thunderbird-on-a-freeway-that-never-ends best friends. I didn’t bother to tell my mother or my sister. That was no use. I didn’t want sympathy. Women get too much sympathy in this world. You think after being degraded, demoralized, stripped of our innocence and identity, that we want sympathy? I wanted revenge.
After I stopped speaking to him, Trevor began to torment my friends in an attempt to destroy me. It started with Miguel. He had to read a poem aloud in English class, one he’d written about his boyfriend, a beautiful Colombian kid he’d met on a trip with his family to Medellín. Trevor coughed the word “FAGGOT” for the entire class to hear, and everyone burst out laughing. Miguel was mortified, and didn’t show up to English class for a week.
What had angered Miguel most, though, was the hypocrisy. A few months before in the locker room, Miguel said he saw Trevor jerking his cock to a photograph of Marlon Brando. Miguel stood there frozen, jaw agape. Being in the A/V Club, he took out the VHS camcorder he had in his bag. Trevor turned around, his mouth twisted in pleasure, and saw Miguel peeking around the corner. He grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the lockers as the room filled with steam. He took the camcorder and smashed it into pieces on the floor.
“IF YOU EVER TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS I’LL KILL YOUR GRANDMOTHER IN HER SLEEP.”
When Miguel promised not to tell anyone, he noticed Trevor’s hard-on was still in full force.
“See something you like, pretty boy?” Trevor taunted.
“I always thought James Dean was hotter than Brando,” Miguel said. And with that, he snatched the VHS-C tape from the camcorder and ran for his life.
On another occasion not too long after the incident in the boys room, Trevor had made a deal with Arman to sneak him the answers to our history exam. Arman was paid fifty dollars in cash and was to hand Trevor an envelope with the answer key between first and second period. Knowing what he’d done to me, and after hearing about his intolerance for Miguel’s sexual preference, Arman was a little disturbed. After all, you have to be a pretty sick fuck to threaten to kill someone’s grandmother in her sleep. So Arman gave Trevor an answer key with all the wrong answers. After finding out of this deceit, Trevor made an attempt to court Arman’s younger sister. That was when he came to me with the plan.
We had to stall Trevor before his poser band went on stage so Miguel could make the necessary preparations. After all, technology is super finicky, and the equipment they had at the tented music venue inside the carnival was borderline prehistoric. Arman and I followed Jesse, keeping a low profile and a close eye on the target. The venue was just starting to fill up with people. Everyone waltzed in, dolled-up in their Sunday’s best, Trevor and Jesse being the last to enter. Jesse was twirling her hair and popping her pink bubblegum with her big pouty lips while Trevor draped his jacket around her like a knight in shining armor. I felt sick with excitement.
As the lights started to dim, we saw Trevor and Jesse part ways while Miguel nervously turned knobs and messed with the projector at the sound booth. Once the house lights went down, Trevor and his bandmates waddled onto the stage. They went into their first song and the crowd started to tap their feet, swaying side to side with the music. Just as Trevor put his lips up to the mic to sing, Miguel cut the sound. On the white screen behind them, the footage started playing. It showed Trevor pleasuring himself, the muscles of his back bulging and retracting as he stared at Brando’s chiseled face, which in a strange way resembled his own.
Trevor’s father peeled through the crowd and stormed out of the room, grazing past us at the exit. There went the Moore boy’s inheritance. Trevor started yelling and throwing things, illuminated beneath the blue stage lights like an archangel. His bandmates were bursting with laughter, instruments hanging from their gangly arms like limp weapons. Arman was smiling so big he was all teeth and no face. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the film — off the slow lines of the VHS footage dancing on the screen like ocean waves. This wasn’t just some amateur porn documentary. It was a moment in time, an annihilation of innocence and high school hierarchy in a single stroke. It was a goddamn masterpiece.