“Our Own British Comedy” by Erin
Velma, hey Velms.
The girl felt a nudge to her shoulder as she came to. Hungry?
smudged glasses, Velma saw Shaggy with two baskets of steak fingers
with fries and two cokes Oh. She realized the brick wall
pressing into her cheek was of Mrs. Rogers restaurant. She and
Shaggy were supposed to be studying for their quiz over France
tomorrow afternoon. Guess she had fallen asleep after Religion. At
least they didnt have much left to go over.
Why didnt you
wake me up, Shag? She yawned, feeling worse than she did before
Setting the food down
on the booth table, the tall stick of a boy slid into the seat
opposite of her and started in on what might have been his third meal
of the night. She had lost count in between all the soda. You
looked like you needed a nap- he gave her a look that was both
teasing and worried. Youre too smart to have to worry about
Velma looked down at
her food, trying her best to hide the blush of a compliment. Even
smart girls have to study, Shaggy.
He shook his head, his
long hair falling back into his eyes. Dude, not for Grahms
quizzes. You know his system already. Hes going to ask random
stuff, he started ticking them off on his long bony fingers.
Whos Marianne? Whats the predominant religion? Where does
the name ‘France’ come from? What does the flag look like? What’s the
biggest tourist attraction other than the Eiffel tower? You know all
of those, I know you do.
She opened her mouth to
prove that she did, in fact, know every one of those questions, but
he was right on two fronts. She didnt need to study as hard as she
did for a five-question quiz. Mr. Grahm was predictable, so
predictable everyone thought he was hard. She guessed that was why
she got so much out of the class. She knew what to study for and then
that gave her an outlet to study more than she really needed to.
It was sad; she was
looking for opportunities to study more.
Closing her book, she
grabbed the ketchup and started in on her first meal of the night.
She always forgot to eat when she studied. It was like she was in her
own little zone. Nothing could really penetrate it.
Except for Shaggy.
Fry dangling from his
mouth, she found him moving from his side of the booth to hers, his
legs propped across the table comfortably. It always surprised her
how he could find the most comfortable position in any area. Weather
it was at school or in a tree, staking out with her. With a flick of
his wrist, he produced the restaurants only remote, and changed
every television to Monty Pythons Flying Circus. Seeing
John Cleese grace the screen above their heads made her realize she
should get home. Her parents had gotten use to not expecting her
before bed the night of study sessions, but a train would be leaving
soon and she didnt want to wait an hour for another one.
As much as Id
like to see quality British television, I gotta go. Next train leaves
at eleven thirty and I dont want to get hit on by drunks again.
Velma nudged him in the side.
Shaggy didnt move,
just wiggled his eyebrows up and down. Youre gonna miss your
favorite sketch and ice cream!
She bit her lip, but
couldn’t help giving him an exasperated laugh. Come on, weve
got class tomorrow. You know Ill turn into a pumpkin if I dont
get in bed by twelve. Velma prodded him more, trying to remember
that ticklish spot she had come across completely by accident.
He was persistent
without even doing anything. I figured you were one of those
girls who turned into mice. His brown eyes eyed her with a
Shaggy! She gave
up searching for one spot and decided a full frontal assault was her
Before he could grab
her arms, she had him pinned down by her wrath of wiggling fingers.
He giggled in the only way a boy could without sounding completely
like a little kid. Before they knew it, he rolled off the booth seat,
his arms wrapping around her waist in an attempt to stop his fall.
Pulling her down onto the ground with him, the two kept laughing
until they couldnt breath until they felt awkward. They
couldnt tell who realized first that they were comfortable lying
beside each other on the floor, but they both knew unconsciously that
now wasnt the time to say anything about it.
Velma closed her eyes
and smiled, letting the space between them fill up with something
other than an awkward moment. You wanna walk home with me?
Still defiant, she knew
he didnt close his eyes. Oh, youre no fun anymore.
Her laugh was soft and
more like a sigh. You act like your life is a Monty Python skit.”
expecting the long pause; it made her open her eyes, discovering her
friend was still watching her. Her smile faded a little, but it was
still there, hidden under a confusion only he was ever able to
widened, as if realizing she was looking at him again. Slowly, he sat
up, looking away from her. He was already up by the time he could
answer. Nah, more like a Benny Hill skit.
Just as he was helping
Velma up, a hand clamped onto Shaggys shoulder and Mrs. Rogers
appeared in the kitchen doorway, her blond hair frizzy from the
humidity in the back. It better not be.
dropped Velmas hand so fast she thought he was going to leap into
her arms in surprise. I was just about to walk Velma home. Is dad
picking you up after work, or do you need me to come back?
Chastain Rogers turned
from her son to Velma. It was the unspoken trust that she couldnt
quite understand all parents had for her. It was a bit unnerving,
especially when she had only known Shaggys mother for a month now.
You go home, and be careful, alright? As soon as your father gets
off work, hes going to come down here and have leftovers and then
well be home on the last train. She leaned over and took him by
the back of the head, kissing his forehead with her ruby colored
lips. Ill see you in the morning.
Flushing under his
mothers lips, Shaggy gave her a quick hug before grabbing Velmas
things. Come on, we better get going before we miss the
At the door she didnt
have to look to know he had mouthed to his mom: I love you.