Everybody Dance Now

There was a girl in the 8th grade named Tamara Leader who attempted to ruin my life. We were dating. She had more experience than I. She had already given out hand jobs to cute boys and I was begging to be touched anywhere below the belt. Stacey Unger was the girl I was dating at the time and it only lasted a week.
I never took an outward interest in girls. If someone took an interest in me I usually took an interest in them. I was a lazy dater; mostly because, through sheer mental fantasy, I had already been with half the girls in my school. So between beer, cigarettes, gangs, skateboarding, and whackin off to mental images of Katherine Geraldo’s humongous bosoms, I was clearly busy.
Stacey and I started dating because Paul Strain bet me I couldn’t get her to kiss me (with tongue) in a week. I found out Stacey liked me from an intercepted note, and figured I could use a good kiss having not been kissed since summer camp in Canada where the girl actually meant my cheek. It lasted a second and in her mind probably doesn’t count although in my mind she’s numero cuatro.
The day I decided to accept the wager the school was called down to the auditorium for an assembly. No one ever knew when or why we were brought down into the auditorium and no one cared. We’d drop our books, tuck in our chairs, leave the room and enter the cold auditorium bucket seats. The lights went down. Then music, Everybody dance now!Then this petite brown haired gymnast came tumbling out from stage right into one handed cartwheels, roll overs, and back flips and that’s the world. Just when you hear about someone you’re not sure of and thinking of a decision you’re definitely feeling morally apprehensive about, the world goes and fills a whole place of darkness, with bright light, and the song ‘Everybody Dance Now!’ At the end of school I cornered her at her locker.

Elan: Hi.
Stacey: Hi.
Elan: Elan Zafir.
Stacey: I know.
Elan: I know, too.
Beat.
Stacey: OK.
Elan: Want to go out sometime?
Stacey: Sure.

Three days later we had “Ladies Bag-Day,” which was a novelty school gimmick that enabled you to purchase a ticket from a hall monitor for 50 Cents that read…
“ELAN ZAFIR wants (Person’s Name) to carry his book-bag.”
I neatly scribbled…

Period 1 Mrs. Nusbaum Rm #201
Period 2 Mrs. Rimer Rm #332
Period 3 Mr. Bellmont Rm #228
Period 4 Mr. Tooks Rm #118
Period 5 Mrs. Bovie Rm #208
Period 6 Mrs. Eddelman Rm #218

…so she knows where to pick me up. Stacey carried my bag to and from my periods and when we arrived at class and it was time to say goodbye she wouldn’t turn around and kiss me, her face would be facing away from me and she’d lean her whole neck back, like going for a backward walk over except she paused half way into it looking at me upside down and kissed me. At this time, i was not only an awkward kisser, not knowing for how long I should stay on for, but she never gave a face like she was enjoying herself. Her face betrayed nothing. Just a blank fixed look. Anyway, we did it in public and it was very embarrassing and i did not have an emotional attachment to her because i didn’t know her, but this is not a story about Stacey Unger, this is about Tamara Leader, the girl who ruined my life.
I used to sing into a tape recorder. She’s Always a Woman by Billy Joel. Going to California, by Led Zeppelin. Patience, by Guns N Roses. It Must have Been Love, Roxette. Groovy Kind of Love, Phil Collins. Set Adrift on Memory Bliss, P.M. Dawn. I was a shy and sensitive boy, singing about things that got away, moments that will never come back, and places I’ve never been. I was fucking sublime. So, I’m dating Tamara, desperately trying to get her to go down on me, sitting in front of my lime green cassette player about to add another piece of my soul with the words You’ve got a fast car… when she calls. Maybe it was the moonlight but I admit something personal about myself.

Let me hear you.
No.
Please.
No.
I’ll go down on you.
Fine.

I figured she was telling the truth because Paul Strain got to sloppy seconds with her during the summer in his younger brothers room while playing Super Mario Brothers 2 and they weren’t even dating. I put three months into this. I was due. I gave her the tape. We got in a fight. I had purchased her ticket to prom and I threatened to burn it. Her Mom got involved, spoke to Mrs. Nusbaum (1st period). Mrs. Nusbaum came to me after Speech and Debate class…

Elan, I hope you’re not thinking of throwing away someone’s ticket to prom.
No.
That would be very mean and spiteful.
I know.
So what are you going to do with the extra ticket you have?
Give it back.
That’s right.

That’s wrong. What a fucking pussy I am. I didn’t have the guts in those days to do anything. Next thing I know, everyone’s giggling and laughing at me behind closed cafeteria sections.

Nice voice.
Great song selection.
Pussy.
Momma’s boy.
Nice voice.

Tamara Leader that fucking bitch. I ask Paul what happened, he told me to call her. I call her, the answering machine picks up and it’s me singing, It Must Have Been Love. I wouldn’t of minded so much but I never got the “over” part to sound right. It must have been love, but it’s over now, that was a weird note for me and I never hit it correctly. Anyway, I guess i better watch my back cause I never got the tape, (although she claims to have thrown it away) and she might stumble on this site. I did hear she has a kid who was born with six toes on his right foot. I think she paid to have it surgically removed.

On the back line, from left to right, second girl is Stacey Unger.
Me, thirteen years later, Redeeming myself.

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One thought on “Everybody Dance Now”

  1. Mrs. Nusbaum was always a bitch. Did I just say that.

    Dude. Great site. Next time you’re in something here in NY, let me know, and I’ll come and see you.

    Talk to you later.

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