Senior year, Greenwood High School, Perry County PA: Stacy Cromleigh is sitting just ahead of the boy who is sitting just ahead of me, all lined up in fifth period literature class, ready to discuss something by Hawthorne.
Stacy is cute, actually beyond cute. She's one of the first really hot and somewhat slutty girls I'd had the opportunity to know as a friend. She wasn't always with it academically, but I'm not sure anyone ever even thought about that with Stacy. Her look had the pleasant effect of erasing rational thought, for me at least.
She wanted the attention of the boy sitting in front of me. She had something important to say and spent a full minute saying, "Jeff...Jeff. Hey, Jeff. Jeff. Jeff, could you.... Jeff. Jeff! Jeff! JEFF! Hey Jeff!"
I now recognize this attention grab for the 3-4-5-6-7 y.o. children's tactic that it is, and in some ways, sympathize with Jeff right up to the point where he snapped.
Jeff, to his credit, had already turned around twice to say, "Wait, just a minute."
He'd been telling me something forgettable when he finally spun around and cussed a horribly rude and demeaning name at Stacy, something vile to put her in her place and make her shut up. I can't remember what it was, but remember thinking...ouch.
Stacy spun around to the front of the class as if she were done with him and Jeff resumed telling me whatever it was that he felt more important than finding out what this really hot girl had to say to him.
I didn't see the pencil coming until it was too late. Jeff had his right hand on his desk as if he were about to turn around and listen to Stacy when she drove her #2 Eberhard Faber into the back of his hand, burying the sharpened tip up to the paint.
Jeff spun around and punched her in the face as hard as he could.
The worst thing I remember thinking at the moment was how she shook it off. She didn't even cry. I wondered then how many times she'd taken a man's angry fist to the face or elsewhere on her body.
It took the school nurse half an hour to remove all the pencil from the back of Jeff's balled up fist.