Conor, 5th Grade (Spelling Class)
Conor was pretty much the worst. You know the type– even though he looked like a big old harmless teddy bear, that guy was two-faced as fuck, He was the kind of grizzly who was fine being friends when it suited him, like when he needed to copy my spelling homework or cover for him while he blatantly hibernated in class. But the minute anyone in the grizzly pack so much as tossed him a bone, or some sinew, he would ditch me like yesterday’s park ranger remains. What a dick. I would’ve happily shot him in a heartbeat – or at the very least, tranquilized him. All these years later, I still will not accept his Facebook friend request.
Mandy, 7thGrade (Math, Band)
Mandy was a grade-A nerd – she rode a unicycle to school and listened to Coldplay and constantly had major B.O. that I had to politely tell her about. I hung out with her basically because I felt sorry for her. You’d think she might’ve remembered that when she reached sexual maturity halfway through 7th grade and became all popular, but no. First she stopped coming to our math study sessions, and then she stole my oboe the night before the big band concert and ATE half of it. Then she sat in the audience with Kayley and Dakota (who were not even bears!) and laughed hysterically at me as I struggled to play a chewed-up piece of wood. Or maybe she was bellowing, or something. Either way, it was soo humiliating. if I’d had a gun, I would have fired it right between your beady, traitorous eyes, Mandy.
Adam, 11th Grade (Honors English)
Adam was the classic “bad boy” – extremely tall, dark and handsome, with an air of danger about him. Especially when tore people’s arms off and ate them for lunch. Yet he was also sensitive – he loved to quote Baudelaire’s The Carcass Poem and was super talented at found object art. I’m not ashamed to admit that he was my first major crush. My parents didn’t approve of me spending so much time with a “wild animal” and my friends thought it was kind of tacky and meta when he took me to a Grizzly Bear concert, but I didn’t care. I adored him. Turned out, though, the feeling was not mutual – Adam thought it would be a better idea to lead me on with bear hugs and then tell me he should “stick with his own kind.” I would later find out he’d been secretly mating with Jessica all throughout sophomore year. I’ve got one bullet with your name on it, Adam, and one especially for Jess.
Jessica, 9th-11th Grade, Study Hall
I was pretty much in awe of Jessica all throughout high school – she had such gorgeous, rounded ears, a perfect muzzle, and white, gleaming teeth that looked great in school pictures, and also when tearing into salmon viscera. Plus, she literally ate all the time without ever going an ounce over 800 pounds (eating disorder?), and was head cheerleader all four years. I was thrilled when she picked me out of all the girls and sows in our class to be her BFF. What a sucker I was! I totally trusted her with my feelings for Adam, and all the while they couldn’t keep their paws off each other. I hope she enjoyed the huge mating battle Adam and her boyfriend, Kyle, had over who would get to sire her next litter, because that’s pretty much where she peaked in life. I hear the two of them dropped out of college, are seriously fat and live out in the middle of nowhere – some even say she ate her firstborn. Just ew. On second thought, I guess shooting her would be redundant at this point. If she dares show her face at the class reunion next year, I’ll just kill her with kindness – and pity!
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Jennifer Byrne’s writing has been published on The New Yorker Daily Shouts & Murmurs, McSweeney’s.net, The Second City Network, The Hairpin, The Rumpus Funny Women, Cracked.com, and The Huffington Post. Follow on twitter at https://twitter.com/JenniferAByrne