“I don’t think so Am.” says Bec slowly shaking her head.
Amanda puffs herself up as much as her petite build allows and looks Bec firmly in the eyes.
“Who’s Queen?” she says.
Bec recoils in terror.
“You’re right.” she says eyes wide. “Of course Nick is the hottest Back Street Boy. Whatever was I thinking?”
The rest of us share an eye roll. Just our luck – the day we are invited to sit at Amanda’s table, she’s in a mood.
“These Dolly Retro Quiz’s are fun.” says Amanda oblivious of the tension she’s creating. “Give us another one Nat.”
Natalie is positively glowing with excitement as this was her idea and now she is at the centre of attention.
“Which Sex In The City girl are you?” she says.
I glance across the courtyard and see Brian.
“That’s easy.” says Amanda. “I’m Samantha!”
Everyone nods in agreement.
He’s talking to his friends Matt and Josh – probably about one of those boring computer games they spend all their time on. I wish he was as bold with me as he is with those stupid games. I’ve seen him play when he takes charge and leads his team to victory.
“And Mich is Carrie.” says Bec.
Everyone laughs, except for Michelle.
Then he goes all wish-washy about asking me on a date. He keeps dropping hints – like it’s my job to ask him out. I’ve given him plenty of suggestions and opportunities – just like Amanda said to. I think he likes me – so why doesn’t he make a move?
“I don’t see it.” says Michelle.
I watch him flick his head to the get hair off his face. He could do with a haircut. Perhaps something like Zac Efron? A bit of a style and some product would make all the difference.
“How many times have you and David broken up and got back together?” says Tracy. “You’re Carrie and he’s Big!”
Everyone laughs again, except for Michelle who crosses her arms and sulks.
Those big framed glasses don’t help either. A pair of nice wire frames wouldn’t hide his face so much.
“What’s next Nat?” says Amanda cheerfully.
Perhaps I could suggest we go shopping together for a new pair? Then I could help him get a pair that I –
“Which Spice Girl are you?” says Nat.
There’s a sharp intake of breaths, followed by a stunned silence around the table.
You idiot Nat! Whatever are you thinking? Have you gone mad? Everyone knows Amanda’s nickname … and that you only whisper it when she’s not around.
Natalie and Amanda are the only ones at the table oblivious to the grave danger we are all now in.
“This is fun.” says Amanda not picking up on the vibe. “I’m Posh.”
Just say ‘Yes’ Nat and we can all move on. Just say ‘Yes’.
“No” says Nat. “That’s Mich.”
I can literally feel everyone else groan inwardly. Michelle gives a half smile; pleased for the recognition, but still terrified like the rest of us.
“Oh. That makes sense.” says Amanda. “Sporty then.”
For heck sake Nat. Just say ‘Yes’.
All eyes are on Nat, willing her to agree.
“No.” she says. “That’s Bec.”
We’re doomed. There’s only one way for this to end now.
“Okay.” says Amanda and she pauses to think. “Well, Suze would have to be Ginger.”
We all nod glumly.
“And Em is Baby.”
We all nod again, except for Emma who mutters “I’m only a month younger than you” under her breath.
Amanda thinks some more as she tries to remember the remaining Spice Girl.
Natalie suddenly goes pale, her eyes really big and her jaw drops. She looks to me for support, but I blank her. She’s made this mess, she can –
“SCARY!!!!” yells Amanda. “Who said I was Scary?!”
“Of course you’re not Scary.”
We all talk over each other as we scramble to pacifier her.
“I bet it was Kelly.” says Amanda. “That bitch!”
Amanda looks over at Kelly’s table, gets her attention and the two have a glare off.
“Is she still seeing Patrick? I’ll make her sorry!” she says looking around our group. “Everyone knows I’m a sweetie, right?”
We all nod, hoping that this will soon be over.
Some Year 9 boys walk passed and Amanda bails up the nearest.
“Hi sweetie.” says Amanda smiling. “Am I scary?”
The boy is frozen on the spot in fear. His mates are quickly backing away. They’ve already decided that he’s a gonna and that they should save themselves.
“Um. Sort of. A bit.”
“WHAT?!” says Amanda.
“No! No! Not at all!” says the boy stammers before turning and fleeing.
“How very strange.” says Amanda. “Whatever was that about?”
Before we can say anything, Jordan and his mates arrive.
“Hi Sugar.” says Amanda getting Jordan’s attention. “I’m not scary, am I?”
“No Babe.” says Jordan.
Amanda smiles contently.
Jordan laughs; his mates are all patting him on the back and giving him fist bumps; we’re all choking trying not to laugh.
Amanda blinks a few times really quickly. Her mouth opens and closes several times, but no sound comes out. You know she wants to say something but she can’t because it’s Jordan.
Nat’s looking crestfallen, all trace of the earlier excitement is gone. I glare at her. We’ll have words later.
All people, places and events depicted are real, just not in this universe.
© Paul Shipley