LJ Idol Week 13
Topic: Open topic
Keywords: fiction, teen, bullying, suicide, gossip, pastiche, dialogue, newspaper article, people being assholes
Triggers: attempted suicide, homophobia, bullying
Notes: This is part of something I'm hoping to make into a longer work. I've had some trouble getting motivated on it so I decided to use "open topic" to prompt me to give it another go this week. So, uh, here's what I managed. Hope you like it.
The Denton Examiner
May 13, 2014
A local teen is hovering near death at Calgary Hospital this afternoon after an apparent suicide attempt. The boy hanged himself in his school lobby during school hours, a troubling gesture that may have been meant to send a message to bullies at the school.
The 16-year-old student, whose name has not been released, hanged himself around 10:45 am, moments before the school’s second period classes let out. Students exiting classes near the first floor lobby were the first to stumble on the gruesome sight.
“I heard screaming and rushed out of my office,” said the school’s assistant principal, Anne Feldman. “And there he was, hanging there. He was still moving a little, so we called 911. A janitor at the school managed to cut the rope, the gym teacher performed CPR… honestly, I'm astonished he's alive."
"I can't get the image out of my head," she added. "No one who saw him there ever will, I think. This seems like a deliberately aggressive, hurtful act."
Teachers and administration at the school deny ever receiving reports of bullying against the boy; however, a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “This was very planned. Early interviews with students at the school make it clear that this is a boy who suffered at school, and we think he was trying to send a message to some kids at the school by doing this.” If this was indeed a suicide attempt connected to bullying, it would be the fourth reported “bullycide” in the nation this month.
The boy is reportedly comatose in the intensive-care unit at Calgary Hospital. His prognosis is currently unknown.
INTERVIEW -- Students at Payson High School -- May 17, 2014
Interviewer: William Fletcher
INT: Thank you all for agreeing to speak with me today. As you know, I'm looking to learn more about Jason's life and his experiences here at school. I'm working on an article, and I'm hoping to –
MARCUS: Dude, I got places to be. Can we just start?
INT: Oh. Uh, sure. (beat) Anyone want to start us off?
MARCUS: I'll go. So, you know... look, I’m real sorry about what happened and all that. But the dude was weird.
INT: Weird how?
MARCUS: Just – like the way he talked to people and stuff. He was just weird. That’s all you can say.
JAMES: No, like, social skills.
INT: Is that what you all thought of him? He was weird?
EMMA: What’s the point of getting into all of that? Marcus, why do you want to tear him down like that? He’s –
MARCUS: I ain’t tearing him down. I’m just saying –
EMMA: --he’s in a coma for God’s sake. (to interviewer) Why do you want to hear this stuff? What are you going to do, write an article about how he was weird? You shouldn’t put that in your article. It’s mean.
INT: I’m not looking to publish anything mean, I promise. I just want to understand more about Jason. Whatever people have to say, I’m interested.
EMMA: What people have to say is mean!
INT: I’m just looking for information. I don’t have an agenda. So… one thing I heard about Jason was that he was a target for bullies. Do you think that’s true?
EMMA: I don’t think we have a bullying problem at this school.
CHRISTINA: Well –
INT: Does everyone agree with that?
CHRISTINA: -- I think maybe there were some problems like that with Jason. But I don’t think you can, like, blame someone else for him doing what he did.
MARCUS: That’s right. He made the choice. Nobody else.
YESICA: But he was in like a really shitty situation. Yeah, he got bullied.
ALAN: Oh, what, people called him some names in the hallways? That don't --
YESICA: Oh, bullshit, Alan! You know it was more than that!
ALAN: -- count as bullying. That's fucking high school, man.
CHRISTINA: I don't think…
MARCUS: And either way, it wasn’t some bully hung him from the fucking light. It was –
YESICA: But what I'm saying is there was reasons --
MARCUS: -- his choice. Nobody else needs to go around feeling bad or guilty or whatever.
YESICA: -- all that shit with Emilio and –
JAMES: Yo, yo, yo, hold on, nobody knows Emilio had anything to do with that business.
IVY: But you know exactly what she was talking about? Please.
INT: So what happened?
YESICA: Just -- someone put some shit in his locker.
INT: Someone put feces in his locker?
YESICA: I don’t know. I didn’t hear that.
IVY: I heard that.
EMMA: So now we believe all the rumors that go around?
YESICA: No, no, but there was definitely a whole bunch of stuff. Pictures from gay porno mags –
ALAN: Those was all over the floor, like somebody stomped on them or something. Fucking sick.
IVY: Dude, Emilio and them pissed in there and put a pile of shit in there too. Jen told me –
EMMA: Those are just rumors!
PAUL: I heard it was a stink bomb. Maybe somebody smelled it and thought it was shit.
YESICA: No, the stink bomb thing was a different time. That was before.
PAUL: There were two times? Shit.
IVY: People were putting shit – stuff – in his locker all the time.
EMMA: I don’t think anybody here has any firsthand knowledge about any of this.
IVY: Oh, bullshit!
CHRISTINA: Well, the stink bomb thing I know was true. You could smell it across like half the school.
IVY: You know some of what people say is the truth. It’s not like you believe every rumor you hear, but you know some of them are true.
INT: How do you know what’s true?
IVY: Just, sometimes people say stuff that’s, like, ridiculous, and you know they’re lying, and it’s the same people a lot, so you know. But everyone knew about the shit that happened to Jason. The rumors were more, like, about him than what happened to him.
INT: So there were rumors about Jason too?
MARCUS: Rumors or fact.
IVY: Oh come on, that’s what I’m saying, you know a lot of that wasn’t fact.
MARCUS: I don’t know that. Dude was fucked up.
IVY: Nobody’s that fucked up.
INT: Why? What kinds of things did people say?
IVY: Like, they’d say he wrote to pedos in prison to set up hookups for when they got out. Or that he blew guys in gas station bathrooms for money, shit like that.
MARCUS: Why not? Everyone knew the guy was a fag.
INT: So you think Jason was gay?
MARCUS: Damn straight. (laughs) I mean damn queer.
EMMA: I hate that word. Just say he was gay.
IVY: He wasn’t though.
ALAN: The fuck he wasn’t! You ever see that guy? (high voice) Oh, uh, I’m Jason, I’m, like, a total fag.
MARCUS: I’m saying.
IVY: He got with girls. He fucked that fat girl, that slut who was in that whole thing with Brett Johnson and the video last year. Everyone was talking about that.
MARCUS: Damn, that bitch so ugly, he probably didn’t even know it was a girl.
RACHEL: (on the verge of tears) Stop it! Just – stop it!
INT: (into a moment of silence) What are you thinking, Rachel?
RACHEL: It’s just – it’s so horrible what happened to him and everybody’s talking like this and – it’s just so wrong. He’s like practically dead and everyone’s just doing the same – just saying the same shit they always say – and it’s all you hear and he hung himself in the fucking school and I can’t stop seeing it and I – I just can’t…
EMMA: You saw him, Rachel? That’s awful. I’m sorry.
RACHEL: (crying) I didn’t see him. But I keep seeing him now.