I want to tell you a dirty story. It's not really dirty, per se, but since it involves 13 year-old girls, we might as well pigeonhole it from the get-go. I spent a good portion of this semester at a gameshop that a friend of mine owns. It's a nice little setup: a bunch of high-powered computers are hooked up to a high-powered Internet connection, and kids stream in to play networked games for three bucks an hour. Think of this as the next generation of the arcade. Every Friday, the kids stream in for the "Lock In". This event starts at 9:00p.m. and goes for twelve hours. During this time, they gourge themselves on junk food and become zombie-slaves to violent video games with names like "Diablo II" and "Dark Age of Camelot". It's not so bad, honestly. These kids could be out gang-banging or shooting heroin into their eyeballs or having sex with each other, but for twelve hours, they can be knights or heroes or counter-terrorists. Unfortunately, the other 156 hours of the week are fair game. For example, there's Will. Will is a big dude, especially considering he's 13. He must weigh at least 250 pounds, and is a professional mouth-breather. Will could kill me if he had to, which is no good, as he's inclined to homicide as a form of conflict management. One Friday, he's sitting outside smoking a cigarette, and a police car drives by. Will says, "Good thing that pig didn't see me, since I'm still on probation." I say, "Probation, Will? Why are you on probation?" Will says, "Attempted murder." Will says, "This kid was talkin' shit about my sister, so I took his head and slammed it into a desk again and again." Will says, "I would've killed his bitch-ass if they didn't pull me off him." I wasn't there to see this, but I imagine a thousand Lilliputian teachers trying to restrain Will while his bloodied opponent reconsiders his stance on the sister's promiscuities. I let the subject drop, since, y'know, 13 year-olds tend to exaggerate. Word travels faster than greased lightning. A few days later, I hear two nine year-olds at the vending machine discussing the dude from Lenape Middle School who tried to kill some other dude for making fun of his sister. Needless to say, Will's at the top of this odd food chain, and the villagers are singing folk songs about his legendary exploits. On the other end of the food chain is Rob. Rob is a runt, for lack of a nicer word. He, despite being the same age as Will, is tiny in comparison. He's got the Mommy's Bowl Cut hair and his voice suggests that he is still outrunning puberty. Rob hangs out with Will at the Lock-Ins, for some reason beyond my comprehension, since as far as I can tell, Will only pays attention to Rob long enough to swat him, which seems fitting, since one is a horse and the other is a mosquito. I promised this is a story about 13 year-old girls, however, and I won't disappoint. This is really a story about Rachel. Rachel is an anomaly at the gameshop. Generally speaking, there is a rather narrow demographic that patronizes the store. Most of the kids are white, male, eighth or ninth graders. Most of them are maladjusted, and some of them you will recognize from their yearbook photo on the news next time there's a school shooting. After all, Columbine was blamed on violent video games and the Internet, and, at three dollars an hour, these boys have both in abundance. To be fair, Columbine was blamed, by the more rational observer, on poor parenting and a lack of decent role models. If the stories I'm told are to be believed, these kids get that whether they've got their three bucks or not. Rachel is no exception; she's another creature that is misunderstood by her teachers, by her parents, by everyone. Or so she says. Perhaps she is just really bad at making a good first impression, and is thus misjudged. When I first met Rachel, she came to the Lock In wearing a Catholic school girl's dress (that is inaccurate; in reality, this skirt would make a nun blush), and said to me, "Hey you, if you could say one thing to the world, what would it be?" Ah. How better to develop a picture of an individual than with their answer to THAT question! I say, "Do I get one sentence, or can I have a whole paragraph?" I say, "I think I'd need to think about it. I have a lot to say." I say, "What would YOU say, Rachel?" Rachel does not think; she has an answer prepared. Rachel says, "I'll tell you what I'd say. I'd say WHITE FUCKIN' POWER!" Some stories you just can't make up. It is easy to label Rachel as dumb, but I think that's inaccurate. Rachel may be dumb, but if so, she's the smartest dumb girl you'll ever meet. Every word she uttered made me cringe. Rachel says, "Let me tell you about how I threw a pair of scissors at my teacher today." Rachel says, "Let me tell you about this boy I'm stalking." Rachel says, "Let me tell you about my time in a nuthouse." Still, Rachel knows that no matter what drops out of her mouth, she is still swimming in a sea of greasy cock, and the hordes of 13 year-old boys will shower her with adulation for twelve hours straight, once a week. I'd call that entrepreneurial, honestly. Will and Rob and Rachel form a sort of clique. This popularity planet is, on and off throughout the night, orbited by more distant satellites. I call this the "Smoker's circle", as most of the orbiting is done while huffing Camels out in front of the store. One Friday night, Will decides to walk down the road to the convenience store. Rob tags along, as does one our satellites, Dave. Dave is 15 or so, and considerably more mature. Keep this in mind for later. If you're unfamiliar with Main Street in Doylestown, the Wawa's about three blocks away, separated by a few bars. Being Friday night, these bars tend to have some people hopping between them, and yes, a few of these people are attractive young women. Right near the Wawa, our little solar system sees one such attractive woman, and accosts her. Will says, "Check out the tits on that chick!" Rob says, "Yo, bitch, why don't you come over here and suck my dick?" Dave, to his credit, says nothing. I need not tell you that this poor woman did not find this funny. Moreso, the boyfriend to her right didn't, either. I wasn't there to see this, but I imagine a large man with a crew-cut and a marine's jacket, punching his fists together and walking determinedly across the street. Will says, "Fuck!" and runs. Rob says, "Shit!" and runs. Dave, to his credit, says "I'm sorry!" and raises his hands in surrender. I am first aware of this is when I see Will and Rob hotfooting it back to the gameshop. I had seen three trek off, and then I saw two scramble back. In general, when you see someone as large as Will move that fast, you should deduce that something is horribly wrong. I assumed that Dave was arrested or dead. Will, breathing heavy, told me what happened, while Rob squeaked in the missed details, bobbing and weaving through the tale to get a word in. Dave came back near the end of the story, shaking his head. When the Marine had approached him, Dave calmed him down, told him that his friends were jerks and that it wasn't right. The Marine even apologized, and went on his way, honor restored to his fair lady. Will concluded his retelling with, "Y'know, I didn't WANT to get into a fight, but if I had to...I'd've kicked his ass." Rob concurred, "Yeah! I'd've beat some ass, too. I'd've STOMPED him." Dave, to his credit, just shook his head. Rachel, on the other hand, was getting visibly angry. If it had been just a few degree colder, I think I might have seen smoke coming out of her ears. Rob and Will walked around the corner of the building to continue their discussion on how they would have easily bested this marine in hand-to-hand combat. Rachel continued to fume, until, unable to sit anymore, she rises and says to me, "Can you believe that shit?" I shrug. I let the subject drop, since, y'know, 13 year-olds tend to exaggerate. Rachel walks over to the corner of the building and calls to Rob. Rob is still busy describing the Dragon Ninja Death Move he was planning to unleash on the marine. Rachel calls again, more sweetly. "Rob, honey, can I tell you something?" Rob comes around the corner and asks, "what?" Rachel answers, "this," and throws Rob into a headlock. She then smashes his head into the wall, knees him in the stomach, and leaves him for dead on the ground. Rachel screams, "I'm a thirteen year-old girl and I kicked your ass, you pussy!" Some stories you just can't make up. Justice being served, Rachel went back inside to play some more CounterStrike, confident in the knowledge that Rob would have a more sensitive view of how to approach women in the future. I'm not sure I condone such vigilantism, but somehow, I do approve. --ryan.