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High (School) Stakes

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Barak groans, letting his head fall onto the back of the couch and staring up at the ceiling. This cannot be real. He cannot truly have been roped into this by his stupid idiot of a best friend. He can’t. Calaf wouldn’t be this much of a dick, would he? (He totally would).

“What did you say I’m supposed to do?” He asks, really not wanting to know the answer to the question he is asking. Zelim shrugs.

“Calaf said you’re supposed to babysit me and hang out with Tamal until he gets back from… what was it now, oh! Trying to sneak into Turandot’s dad’s house. And you’re not supposed to answer the phone if anyone calls, because if she finds out where he lives before morning he loses the bet and then he has to go to school in his underwear tomorrow.”

Barak closes his eyes. Why did he befriend the stupidest guy in the entire school again?

“Right,” he says, “well I guess you’re stuck with me while your brother tries in vain to win the Ice Princess’ heart.” 

Zelim shrugs amicably and settles on the couch with him, seemingly unbothered. Together, they pick a movie to watch as Barak mulls over how he is going to get back at Calaf for co-opting his one free night of the week because he’s chasing a bloody girl. Not that he minds spending it with Zelim, he’s actually rather fond of the kid, and it’s not like Tamal will give him any trouble either, she’s probably sulking in the guestroom because while she obviously came over to help Calaf out for the summer while his mother is away, the oaf hasn’t paid her a single piece of attention, instead choosing to focus all of it on Turandot, of all people. She’s pretty, he’ll give her that, but also the most conniving bitch in the entire school. Hm. Perhaps they’re made for each other. He pauses the movie and turns to face Calaf’s baby brother as a wicked grin spreads across his face.

“So… we’re not picking up the phone or… what happens?”

Zelim blinks at him. Blinks again.  “Or he loses the bet and has to go to school in his underwear tomorrow,” he says slowly, and then the understanding hits him and the ten-year-old grins an equally evil grin right back at him.

From the corner, the phone rings, and Barak and Zelim stare at each other for about half a second before Barak jumps up from the couch, picks up the phone, and in the sweetest voice he can muster says: “Barak speaking, oh, no sorry Calaf isn’t home right now, can I take a message?”


It takes a good fifteen minutes before they can stop laughing.