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Merch's Birthday

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Miracle Grohe was humming joyfully to herself as she printed out flyers for Merch’s first birthday to distribute to faculty members and students. She enjoyed coddling her baby son with affection and events celebrating his general existence, much to his prematurely exasperated chagrin. As the faculty members were receiving their invitations, Stuart spoke up.

“I can’t wait to make my comeback performance as a clown! If this goes well, maybe I’ll be hired as the neighborhood party clown for events all over Knob Haven!”

“Don’t be so sure!” responded Sue. “I doubt that the student population will be into your pratfalls and balloon animals.”

“Don’t worry, Stuart!” replied Miracle. “I bet some of the kids either have younger siblings or the faculty members have little kids that will find you funny!”

“Yeah, and old ladies and stoners.” snarked Ennis, rolling his eyes. “If it makes you feel any better Stuart, you’re so well acquainted with pratfalls and physical humor, especially after that incident with the marbles, carelessly placed skateboard, and freshly mopped floor! It’s as if it was practically set UP for a freak accident!”

“Thanks!” said Stuart as he beamed.

*flashback*

“Ah yes, can’t wait for the marbles tournament this weekend! I’m so glad I put all of them in each pants pocket bulging at the seams to keep them safe!” said Stuart. Unfortunately, his shoes were untied, and he ended up tripping forward. Needless to say, he went flying as his marbles fell out of his pockets, causing the marbles to roll him towards a skateboard which he kick-standed involuntarily with his foot up hitting his face crashing him into a locker,

*end flashback*

“Don’t worry, I plan to outdo that little stunt at Merch’s party!”

“Oh lord.” Sue said rolling her eyes. “Stu, you don’t have insurance! And our insurance is crap, and couldn’t cover your stupid stunt, (which yes I am considering having it as technically everyone and their mother at this school is invited therefore making it a school event).”

“It’s technically not funded with school money though…” remarked Larry.

“Shockingly, considering all of the other frivolous things we’ve funded.” Sue responded.

“Either way the best for my little Merchiekins!” Miracle cooed, which prompted an eye roll from the infant. Miracle looked down at her clipboard. “Now…as for family members…..mom, Aunt Essence, Uncle Hank…..Cousin Aurora...that’s all of them!”

“What about Merch’s dad?” asked Andrew.

“Wha?” Miracle blinked twice, furrowing her brow, obviously taken aback from the question.

“The baby daddy, your former beau, his biological father. Did you invite him or…”

Miracle made a noise sucking air through his teeth. “He’s…...not in the picture. Very messy break up. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Gotcha. Like with your dad?

“Not quite. He walked out so I never knew him. One night stand, y’know?” she shrugged. “Mom tried to get in touch with him once but he wasn’t fond of her ‘hippie ways’ so she cut ties with him. No big loss really. Mom and I mainly focused on our activism.”

“Was your ex a conservative tool like him?” probed Ennis.

“Ennis!” chided Sue.

“Not particularly….?”

“He must’ve been a dipshit to dump you!”

“Well….”

“ENNIS.”

“Lucky, what I’d give to have his lay!”

“What???!”

“ENNIS HOFFTARD! That’s enough!”

Disgusted, Miracle picked up her things and headed out the door. “Excuse me, I need to get to the classroom early. Can’t have the students burning their hair off during our next lab, right??!? Hehehehhe.”

The room got quiet, until Stuart spoke up. “Bunsen burners or some sort of pyrotechnics! Now THAT I can use for my big routine!” Sue rolled her eyes and sighed. “Mr. Hofftard, come with me. I will not allow making digs at anyone’s backstory!” she said leading him out of the room. Larry raised his eyebrows then leaned over to Andrew. “Wow. Ennis getting consequences for his behavior. I could live with that!” Andrew smirked. “Yeah. He’s been receiving complaints from staff and parents about his sexist comments.”

“But he’s been doing that for years! What took Sue so long for her to do something?”

“His tenure and the fact that virtually NO ONE applies for jobs at this school when someone quits. We’ve had to merge many of the Algebra classes into one!”

Larry whistled. “Damn. I’m glad his ego is finally catching up to him! I’m so sick of his arrogant attitude! Like I know he had a difficult childhood with his dad’s constant drilling of the idea of a military career, but he needs to grow up and quit acting like a douchey manchild!”

“Granted most of the staff here are manchildren…” mused Andrew.

“Well at least most of us TRY not to be douchebags!”

“....’try’ being the operative word.”

“Yeah but…..point being, he had no right to talk to Miracle like that. I’ll go talk to her after school.”

------------
Miracle hummed to herself as she was packing her things for the day. When she walked out of the classroom, Larry stood in the doorway.

“Ooop! Larry! You scared me!”

“Sorry. Also sorry for what Ennis said.” “In the staff room at lunch today? Yeah that was much even for him.” Miracle shrugged. “I’m used to it though. I was more upset about the probing at my ex….”

“You don’t have to take his shit, you know that right, Miracle?” said Larry, frustrated. “And I don’t just mean bringing up your ex.”

“Like his blasting his hair metal CDs in the parking lot every morning?

“No Miracle.”

“Or like his purposely taking the last slice of the good pizza they use in the cafeteria?”

“Noooo! I mean, his-he-nevermind. I’m just sick of him making gross passes at you and all the other female staff.”

Miracle nodded. “Point taken. Like, I do reciprocate his romantic and/or sexual feelings towards me, but he needs to reel it in honestly.”

“I’m glad we’re on the same page-wha...wha?!?! You WHAT?!??”

“Yeah, I think he’s hot. But I don’t know if he’s…..relationship material? Like I want someone who’s good for Merch, who respects my beliefs, puts up with my excitement over miniature fairy statues and knicknacks and blasting of Tori Amos. Like he’s a dick, but he’s waaaay better than my last ex.”

Larry cringed. “How? You must have low standards if Ennis is better than your ex.”

Miracle blinked, attempting to avoid the subject one last time. “He-he-He’s why I take things more slowly with men, and make sure I know who the hell they are when I get to know them. I mean, I do have my eyes on some guys, but I’m still wary.”

Larry sighed. “I don’t know about that, you haven’t been wary those times you’ve hooked up with me and Ennis.”

“What??”

“Hello? The rope climbing incident when you went back to high school? Becoming attracted to Ennis that time at the party? I don’t know Miracle, sometimes I think because of your baggage that you tend to lead men on?!?!”

“Are you fucking real Lawrence Littlejunk?!? I was on a drug that made me attracted to older men, and the other one was a heat of the moment thing! I have a weird kink involving ropes! Honestly, I swear you’re just pissy because you want in my pink flowing skirt!”

Larry stammered. “I-I don’t! I’m just shocked you’d go for Ennis of all people! He’s not a good guy. Maybe not to your ex’s level, I don’t know, but I want you with someone who’ll treat you right.”

“Why the hell do I need someone telling me what’s good for me?”

“So you don’t make the mistake of rushing into a relationship to a guy who fills the void left open from your lack of a paternal figure in your life?!?? Tell me Miracle, how on Earth is a vulgar, town bicyclist, chauvinistic, egotistical, smartass douchebag ‘good enough?’”

Miracle inhaled and exhaled for about fifteen seconds. She began to speak up again once she regained her voice. “Wifebeating. Financial abuse, Constant verbal abuse. Attempting to isolate me from my mom cousins and aunts, and spreading lies about me when I tried to warn female fans of his band about him. Because of his bullshit, I had to move back in with my mom in Knob Haven.”

Larry blinked. “Oh. Damn. I’m sorry Miracle, I had no idea. Band? He was a musician?”

“Drummer of a local rock and roll band.”

“Ohh, so THAT’S why you say that drummers are creeps! It makes sense now! I thought it was just a non-sequitur.”

“Mmm. Yeah, because I’m that pretty, spacey, clueless loon who refuses to wear shoes and is killing her brain cells on hemp.”

“I didn’t mean it like that Miracle. Stop, you’re not being fair!”

“People are more than they seem, Larry Slimp Littlejunk. You don’t know shit about what everyone goes through in their lives, you have no right to judge. You know Helen? She’s a closet knitter! Her sweaters are the best? Sue? Her mom is currently dying of cancer. So get your head out of your ass and quit acting so damn entitled to me.” She stomped out of the room, angry tears running down her cheeks. Larry stood there and sighed. “God, I’m a dipshit.”