High School Funny

Jeremy Forms a Link on a Gossip Chain

           I was the last one on the chain of gossip. I knew that as I had been present for the first link, and, if the truth be known, I had carelessly foolishly fashioned the second link myself, the one that got the ball rolling, to mix my metaphors. I had to put it to a stop. Eventually I did.

           It all began when I was in a long, slow line at the school cafeteria, and was bored by the wait, a condition that made my mouth a dangerous weapon. Janice, one of the girls in my grade 10 class was standing behind me, so I turned around, and just to make idle conversation, I asked whether there was any good gossip about any of our classmates. I figured she would have some juicy tidbits as I often saw her talking with her gang of friends, talking, pointing at people, and laughing.

           She gave me a look, and then said, “Gloomy Glenda has a boyfriend. I heard her talking on the phone to him”. I already was aware of that, but I wasn’t going to let her know. So being the troublemaker that I so often am, I spouted some nonsense. “I’ll bet she is going to be a wild one. Those gloomy late starters so often are.” I could see by the look on her face that I had said something that had started her thinking. I had no thoughts as to the consequences.

           Before I got a chance to tell more of the story, one of the ladies of the cafeteria handed me a bowlful of the slop-de-jour. My focus was then on my stomach, not on my conversation with Janice..

           A couple of days later at the lunch break I was waiting again for my food, when Janice, who had been standing and talking with her friends, burst out of the crowd, and walked rapidly to my side. She had only one sentence to say, “You know you were right about Glenda.” Then she returned just as rapidly back to her buddies, maybe worried that they might start gossiping about the two of us as a couple. Not true girls – I’m already taken.

           A few more days passed before I learned about the next link in the gossip chain. The group that I refer to now as Janice’s Gang of Girls were talking rapidly and excitedly about something. They were having their conversation in an empty classroom, so I stood outside the door, out of their sight line, and listened to what they were saying. I first heard them talking about a couple that had gone into the woods one night to have sex. It didn’t take me long to identify the girl in the relationship as Glenda. Apparently, they didn’t know who the boy was that she was having sex with, but were making all kind of wild guesses as to who it might be. They suggested a few possible names, but couldn’t decide who the culprit was. I made a mental note to tell Janice, once she was away from her gang, which of the boys I thought it was. I would be making it up, of course, but she would not know that. She was likely to believe anything, especially if it made a good story.

           The next time that I saw and heard Janice’s gang, they had increased the scandalous nature of the story about Glenda and her yet unidentified lover. They had upped the frequency of the sex the couple were having. The words “every night” were repeated over and over, as some kind of mantra. They would now not consider anything less. I should have stepped in, but I did not, more to my shame.

           But this was nothing compared to what I would see them adding to the story they were apparently enjoying far too much. They were all making the same gesture. It put me in mind of something I had learned in an Indigenous Studies course last semester. There was an Indigenous people who became known as the Gros Ventre (‘Big Belly’) tribe because, when they were asked in the sign language used in the Plains what their name was, they made a gesture that was misunderstood. They referred to themselves as Waterfall people, but the gesture for that was to pass their hands a good distance away from their stomachs to symbolize a waterfall. It was misunderstood and circulated until the settlers began to use the wrongful name.

           But when Janice and her friends were making a similar move, they were not talking about waterfalls, or being fat. They indicated that they believed that Glenda was pregnant. I suspected that they had seen her on a very cold day we had experienced a few days ago. She had worn an extra thick sweater on that day. To the girls who believed that she was having sex every night, this could be and was interpreted that she was in the first stages of pregnancy.

           It was at least halfway my fault that the gossip chain had been allowed to add the untruthful links it had. So I had to tell Janice and her friends the truth. Glenda’s reputation had been ruined far too much, just because I was intrigued by how far the girls could go in their gossip fiction. I should not have done that.

           I walked over to the gossiping girls and said right away, “Girls, I have to set you straight on the matter of Glenda. She is definitely not pregnant. I will tell you how I know this. You see, I am her mysterious boyfriend whose identity you did not know. We have never gone into the woods at night to have sex. We once walked back from the movie theatre through the woods as we both had heard that there were foxes there you could see at night, and we both like foxes. I imagine that someone saw that and interpreted it with a dirty mind. We certainly do not have sex every night. We both have a good number of brothers and sisters living in our house, so we could not be alone in either of our houses. And I believe that no hotel in town would let two sixteen year olds have a place for the night.  And that means that there is no way that she has become pregnant”. 

           They responded with looks of disappointment.

           Later that day I apologized to Glenda. She took it well, laughed, and asked me whether I wanted to take a walk in the woods tonight. I wasn’t sure whether she was joking or not.

May 29, 2023 21:06

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Joan Wright
21:35 Jun 03, 2023

Love this story. So true to girl gossip. I love that Glenda thought it was funny and left the ending up in the air.


John Steckley
00:56 Jun 04, 2023

Thanks for the like and the comment. Men gossip too, but won't admit to it.


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