Thursday, April 19, 2012

"My Name is Kenny" Chapter 11: Victim of Fate

South Park fanfiction. 
Rated T for swearing, violence, and some sexual themes.

The next few days passed without incident. Well, without notable incident. The four of us went to Super Phun Thyme that Thursday (Kyle also brought his little brother Ike along). We won our Homecoming football game on Friday, but that wasn't unusual: we always won, because the Denver team got drunk before every game (certainly not our problem). I was enjoying every moment I got to spend with Lizzy.

Oh, and I managed to die twice more that week. Like I said, nothing new.

Finally, the day of the dance arrived. Kyle graciously offered to let me use the shower at his house so I could properly clean up beforehand. Ordinarily, I might have indignantly refused, but I did want to look my best for Lizzy, so I decided to take him up on his offer. It was nice of him, I guess.

Once I got out of the shower, I put on my suit. It was old and tattered, and it was a little too short in the arms, but I liked it (I had refused Kyle's offer to let me borrow his other suit). Kyle looked very sharp in his own shirt and blazer.

My hair turned out to be a problem. It was a longer than it used to be, and it was extremely messy. Since it was almost always underneath my parka hood, it had never needed to be groomed properly before, and it didn't take kindly to being combed now. After about ten minutes, I gave up, and just left it the way it was; Kyle said I might be able to get by with this more "rugged" look. He didn't have to worry about his hair, since he was just wearing his ushanka over it.

We were both ready, so Kyle's dad took us to the Cotswolds' house to pick up Rebecca and Lizzy. The Cotswolds had apparently been debating all week whether they would let Rebecca go to the dance, and followed her all the way to the car and talked for several minutes about being careful ("don't let your drink out of your sight, don't accept any alcohol, don't go down any dark alleys") before Rebecca finally shooed them away. Kyle and I rolled our eyes; Rebecca's parents were just as paranoid as ever.

I honestly couldn't remember what Rebecca was wearing, because my eyes were drawn to Lizzy the minute she followed Rebecca outside. She was wearing a beautiful orange dress (in my honor, maybe), with no sleeves, shoulder straps, and enough cleavage showing to be sexy, but not enough to be slutty. Perfection. We made some brief reintroductions, as Rebecca didn't remember me, and Lizzy and Kyle barely remembered each other. Kyle assured me that he had known all along I wasn't bluffing about having a date.

Kyle's dad drove us all to Whistlin' Willie's, which was where we had decided to eat before the dance (I had jokingly suggested Raisons). It was a good thing that he had gotten rid of that hybrid he used to own, or we would have never all fit in the car. Stan and Wendy were waiting for us when we got there; Cartman hadn't shown up, yet. Stan and Kyle talked for a while about whether Cartman would have a date or not, and thus whether he would owe me money.

Frankly, I didn't care anymore. Cartman was dead to me.

We had all started eating by the time he finally showed up, with that Goth chick, Henrietta Biggle, in tow. I wondered how he had ever managed to get her, considering how he was just stuffing his face and completely ignoring her. I finally decided that it was because Goths just loved being miserable: she certainly was going to be miserable as Cartman's date.

"By the way, guys," he said in between mouthfuls, "my mom decided to rent a limo, so we can all go to the dance in one vehicle." I was sure that it had actually been his idea. It was thoughtful, but I didn't say that.

"Thanks, Cartman," Stan said. "Did your mom have to work extra hours on the corner to pay for it?" He and Kyle started laughing at the joke. They expected me to laugh along with them, and ordinarily I would have also chipped in my own comment. But I didn't. I was determined to ignore Cartman as completely as possible.

Cartman didn't seem as pissed about the remark as he usually was. He also had been waiting for me to laugh along with Stan and Kyle, just like we had always done, after which we would have yelled at us, just like old times. I guess I really had gotten through to him; I wouldn't be able to forgive what he had done so easily. Things weren't going to just go back to the way they were.

The rest of the dinner passed in an awkward silence. Stan and Kyle seemed to have picked up on the fact that I was ignoring Cartman, and that Cartman seemed almost depressed (which might also explain why he had chosen Henrietta as his date). After we finished, we all got in Cartman's limo and rode to the dance.

When we got there, Kyle pulled me aside, motioning for Lizzy and Rebecca to wait for us inside. "Is something going on between you and Cartman?"

"It's…complicated," I finally answered.

Kyle nodded. "I don't know what you were yelling at him about the other day," he said, "but he must have done something really bad for you to be so pissed at him."

"I didn't say I was pissed at him."

Kyle laughed. "Dude, you didn't have to. You ignored him so completely that it looked like it was actually hurting his feelings. I mean, I didn't even think that bastard had any feelings. But anyway, about what he did…is it anything I can help you with?"

I thought about it long and hard. Kyle seemed genuinely concerned about me; he was a much better friend than I had given him credit for. It might someday be possible for Stan and Kyle to remember me. Until that happened, there really wasn't much point in going into all the details.

"I'm okay for now. Maybe, I'll be able to tell you about it sometime." And while Kyle mulled over that cryptic answer, I sauntered into the dance hall, determined to have a great time.

It started off with a quick dance; a very upbeat and hip song. My kind of dance.

Offhand, it wasn't a song I recognized, but that didn't mean anything. Being the poor kid, I wasn't always up to date with what was new. I always made up for it by making up my own dance moves, even if everyone else was doing something different. Even the Goths might approve of that.

Right now, I was pulling some fancy moves with Lizzy (although I was restraining myself more than I usually did; I'm usually quite the party animal). She thought I was funny, and I hadn't felt so alive; I was literally sweeping her off her feet, and leaving her breathless.

The song ended, and we stopped for a moment. I was really tired; dancing the way I do really takes a lot out of you, and both Lizzy and I were panting after that last number. As I caught my breath, my eyes wandered…

…and landed on the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

Having school dances in the gym always had disadvantages. For one thing, it was really hard to get the place clean, and usually everything still smelled a little after you were done. The decoration committee, however, always spared no expense to polish every surface, and decorate as much as possible. They had even fashioned a chandelier; obviously it wasn't made out of real crystal, but it was close enough to where you couldn't tell unless you were looking really hard.

What I did notice, however, was that the chandelier hadn't been put up well. There were supposed to be four screws holding it up. But I could see only three…and two of them looked a little loose. That chandelier could fall at any moment, and with my luck, I would be the one beneath it when it did.

Fucking curse. I really, really did not want to die now. This party was just getting started.

"Let's go over here," I said, leading Lizzy away from the center of the room, and more importantly, away from the chandelier. Might as well delay the inevitable as long as possible.

As we walked off the dance floor, I noticed that Lizzy started giving me a strange look. I was about to ask what was on her mind, when I saw the strange looks we were getting from the other girls as well. Particularly Red and Heidi and the other girls I had dated before. Oh, shit…

"Kenny, why are they staring at us?" Lizzy asked.

"Maybe we're just a cute couple," I said, hoping she would change the subject.

"But they look…angry…" she persisted.

"Well," I started carefully, "it may be because of my reputation at this school."

"Huh? Meaning what?"

"Meaning I've dated most of the girls in this school," I said, blushing a little.

"So…you're a ladies' man?" she asked.

"Uh…not exactly…" Man, why did I have to explain this to her? And why was I suddenly so embarrassed about my reputation; these stares had never bothered me before. "I'm…well, honestly, I'm the guy who's been with most of the girls in this school."

That seemed to get through to her, because she gasped a little. She looked at me and said, "So what they say about you is true?"

Gulp. "What have you heard?" I asked.

"Well, some of the girls told me that you were a…" She tried to think of a reasonable euphemism, but couldn't come up with one. "…a whore," she finally choked out.

I shrugged my shoulders. "Well, that's pretty much the truth."

"And everything else they say about you?"

I really had no idea what crazy stuff she had heard about me, or if Red had talked to her at all. "I would wager about half of what you've heard is true, and the rest is probably exaggerated."

She sniffed back a tear. "That's still a lot, Kenny…"

Dammit, not now. "Lizzy," I said, reaching for her, but she backed away, startled, "I have done some things that you may not like. Most of them are things I'm not that proud of, either. I know that I can learn to change if I try; I've never had a reason to try before. But now I have you.

She looked at me.

"Can't we…just look past each other's faults?" I pleaded. "Even if you decide that I'm not the guy for you (please don't let her really do that, I thought), can't we just let this night be special?"

She looked at me some more, and slowly nodded. "I hope so, Kenny." Then she turned, and walked off towards the bathrooms.

Shit, I thought. I noticed Henrietta standing off to the side as well, and I walked over to her. "Is there any whiskey?"

She gave me a funny look, "Why would I have any alcohol, McCormick?"

"Because Cartman's mom always lets him bring booze to these kinds of things, and knowing Cartman, he would have made you carry it."

She gave a small smile. "You're pretty smart," she admitted. Then she reached into a brown grocery bag at her feet, and pulled out some whiskey disguised inside a two-liter of soda.

"I may need some of that," I said. After I had downed a shot, I asked her, "How come you're letting Cartman push you around? It's too…(I searched for the right word to describe it)…"conformist" a thing to do."

She shrugged. "He actually brought me to talk to you."

Huh? Where did that come from? "To me? About what?"


"Why would I want to talk about death?"

"That's obvious."

Oh…so he had told her about my curse when he wouldn't even tell me he knew. Hmph.

"How nice of him," I said, sarcastically.

She looked at me. "He thinks that you're taking it all too seriously. He thinks you're lucky; most people only get one shot at life, and he say you're…ungrateful."

"Uh huh," I said. "And what do you think?"

"He may be right," Henrietta shrugged, "I think you're more lucky than you realize."

I crossed my arms, not impressed. "Most people also don't die every other day. I don't think he would think that's very lucky."

"I might."

"Really? Be careful what you wish for."

"When your life is as miserable as mine is, sometimes you wonder if it would be worth it to end it all. You can just check into hell for the day if life gets too shitty for you, just to take a break. I would love to do that sometimes." She pulled out a cigarette.

I cocked an eyebrow. "It's definitely not that convenient. And hell really does suck, so I don't know if you would like it."

"Can't be any worse than here."

"You mean South Park?"

She nodded. "It's like fate has a cruel focus on this town. Death's demand on us is higher than it is anywhere else. If you weren't here as a shield, there probably wouldn't be anybody left."

So she saw me as a shield? Thanks a lot, bitch.

Then it hit me. How many times had I seen people die in this town? More than I heard about dying anywhere else. Even without taking me into account, usually we would hear about someone dying every week. I was sure it wasn't like that everywhere, but was it only that bad here, in South Park? Was this town such a target?

And my friends? We had all gotten into stupid, dangerous shit all the time when we were younger. We had fought aliens, mutant turkeys, and a mechanized Barbra Streisand. We even burned down the school once. Yet whenever the situation became life-threatening, it was always me that ended up taking the fall. Sometimes it was my choice, and sometimes it just happened that way. As much as it might suck for me, it would be worse for Stan, Kyle, or even Cartman. They wouldn't be able to come back, but I was always there to save them…

Was that really it? The town with the highest death rate also had the kid who never died, to alleviate the death toll? Was that really coincidence?

And as that thought crossed my mind, the chandelier finally fell with a crash.

I rushed towards the center of the room, ignoring the screams and yells I was hearing. I cursed myself for not being there to take the fall, because it couldn't really harm me. Please, let no one be hurt, I begged. Don't let someone else pay the price for my selfishness. The closer I got to the scene, the more worried I became.

Because I had just noticed that the girl who was screaming was Rebecca Cotswolds.

Because I had just seen that the boy who was yelling was Stan Marsh.

And when I finally pushed through the crowd, I saw that the broken body, lying underneath the wreckage of the chandelier…belonged to Kyle Broflovski.

I simply stood in shock. As did the numerous people standing around me. Even Cartman.

Stan knelt over Kyle's body and screamed at the heavens, "Why! How could you do this? You killed Kyle!"

I thought of Death. "You fucking bastard," I uttered, as Kyle had done so many times for me. As he would be doing right now if I had been lying there in his place. As I should be.

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