"Do you feel like a man,
When you push her around?
Do you feel better now
As she falls to the ground?"
"Cut!" Someone screamed from the front row of the auditorium. "Rayne, do you know the theme of this year's talent show?"
I blushed. "Public Awareness?"
Mr. Klepoff, talent show director, nodded and consulted his clipboard. "What, exactly, does 'Face Down' have to do with the theme?"
"Well, it's about physical abuse, isn't it?" At this point, I'd started to wonder why they put someone who wasn't used to the concept of the gramophone, much less the iPod, in charge of the singing portion of the show. "That's pretty important, right?"
Mr. Klepoff gingerly lifted himself out of his seat and shuffled up the edge of the stage. "Miss Marks, this is an open audience show. Abuse is undoubtedly an important topic, but I would like my granddaughter to be able to attend the performance. You would be a definite asset, but I'm going to have to ask you to pick a more age-appropriate song."
I pushed away my bangs; wiping away the perspiration away from where it accumulated on my forehead. The stage lights, tinted red on my specific request, made things incredibly hot.
"Mr. Klepoff," I began, trying to formulate a reasonable argument. He'd probably respond better to that, being the sponsor of the debate team. "If it's an important issue, perhaps children should be made aware of it."
I could tell he was impressed by my argument, but that he wasn't budging on this case. "That is their parents' decision. Please choose a more appropriate song, or I will have to insist that you are removed from the competition. You can try again tomorrow."
It was clear that I am not gaining an inch on this. With one last pleading glance, I stalked moodily backstage.
Sean Allen, official best friend ever, greeted me with a light green Abercrombie sweater. "Yes?"
Sean clamped a hand on my right shoulder. "Is he crazy? Do I have to throw someone a beat-down?"
I smiled despite myself. "Hold the flaming bags of poop. Klepto said that I could be in it to win it if I chose a more 'child appropriate' song."
Sean laughed. "Are we 'in it to win it?'"
I sighed. "You up to choosing a new song?"
"Definitely. My house at eight for the selection?"
"Will there be cookies?" Sean's mom made the best macadamia-nut-white-chocotastic cookies ever.
Sean glanced around conspiratorially. "There are definite rumors of cookieage. It's not confirmed, but I'm sure a little 'neither of you love me anymore' will be in order."
"I'll be there." I promised, catching my reflection in a mirror. "Eeek, do I really look that horrible?"
Sean raised an eyebrow, a skill I'd always been envious of. "Horrible isn't the word I'd use . . ."
"I look like a wet cat. A stinky wet cat."
Sean grimaced. "Once again, not the exact words I'd use . . . but . . . you could use a shower."
"Aha! Finally, the truth." I laughed. "I'll swing by the locker room. Can I borrow your cell?"
"Mi Blackberry es su Blackberry." He rifled around in his pocket and pulled out a small plastic device. "Call away. Sad as it is, your mom's one of my five."
Inwardly cringing at the desperate attempt at humor, I dialed my home number despite the little fact that it was 3:45 on a work day (If I really was as late as I suspected I would be, I could claim that I'd called and told my mom where I'd be).
Therefore, I was a tad bit surprised when she picked up.
"Mom, it's me."
"Oh, honey! Where are you?"