Scenes from a paralell universe; FF8
by KaiserVonAlmasy




SCENES FROM A PARALLEL UNIVERSE [FF8]

SCENE 1: Waazzup!

[Balamb Garden Cafeteria. Rinoa and Quistis are seated at a table, having finished eating lunch together and now just whittling away the rest of their lunch hour. Quistis is wearing light blue butt-hugger jeans and a pink baby t-shirt with ďPrincessĒ spelled out across the front. Her navel is exposed for all to see. Rinoa is wearing drag from an army surplus store, complete with beige beret.]

[Quistis is perusing the photos of various hardbodies in the latest issue of Hunk Magazine, when suddenly she squeals excitedly.]

Quistis: Oh, my, Gawd! Rinoa, look at this! Isnít this guy sooo hot? [She thrusts the magazine with the picture of the hardbody in question into Rinoaís face, in front of her tiny copy of The Little Red Book.]

Rinoa: He seems pretty hot. In a shallow sort of way.

Quistis: He is sooo totally cute! I have to write him a fan letter. Should I include my picture? Or would that be too desperate and slutty looking?

Rinoa: No, I think it would come off as confident. Guys like confident women. Assuming heís a real guy.

Quistis: Like, what do you mean?

Rinoa: Well, he looks a little too ďperfectĒ if you ask me. Almost as if some capitalist pig with a graphics program created a computer generated image of an attractive guy in order to use him to push a damagingly unattainable social idea unto the impressionable youth of this country. And then use the resulting insecurity to sell his worthless bourgeois products easier.

[Enter Zell, calm, mellow, and relaxed as always, almost sedate. He holds a wrapped hot dog in his right hand. Rinoa takes note of the hot dog.]

Zell: Hey, howís it going?

Quistis: I have a new boyfriend. Look at him! [Shows Zell the picture in the magazine.] Isnít he a total stud?

Zell: Your boyfriend, huh? Does he know this yet?

Rinoa: No. Are you really going to eat that hot dog? You do know whatís in them, right?

Zell: What, this? No. I canít stand the hot dogs here. I think theyíre awful.

Rinoa: I know they are, but I like them anyway.

Zell: Yeah, I remember you told me that. Here, if you want it, take it.

Rinoa: Thanks. Thereís probably an addictive additive in them to ensure repeat customers. What can I say? Iím hooked.

Zell: [suddenly very awkward and shy] Yeah, um, actually, to be honest, um, uh, I got it for...

[Enter Fujin and Raijin, hand in hand. Raijin has his studded leather jacket, his white T-shirt, black jeans that seem way too tight and way too short, and his doc marten boots. Fujin has a long black dress on with a red circled A {anarchy logo} over the left side of the chest, and of course her bleached hair and freaky violet contact lenses.]

Quistis: Fujin! Oh, my, gawd, you have GOT to see this! [Shows Fujin the picture.] Isnít he hot?

Fujin: Totally!

Quistis: Heís my new boyfriend!

Raijin: Wassup, Zell?

Zell: Not much. [ASIDE] Dude, you guys have the worst timing! I was just about to make my move on Rinoa.

Raijin: [NOT ASIDE, everyone can hear] Eh, you donít have the guts to do it, we both know that.

Fujin: What?

Quistis: What are you talking about? What does Zell not have the guts to do?

[Rinoa doesnít respond, as her mouth is full.]

[Zellís eyes widen, as he is now on the spot. He quickly covers for himself.]

Zell: Um, enter the Triple Triad Tournament. [Raijin shoots an antagonistic smirk at Zell.]

Quistis: That is such a total dweeb thing to do. I would not be caught dead with a deck of some stupid battle cards! That trend is just sooo out of hand these days. Itís annoying.

Fujin: Totally.

[Enter Irvine, wearing glasses and a gray three-piece suit. His hair is meticulously jelled and oiled and groomed into a neat ponytail. He turns and looks at the gang, sneers contemptuously, but says nothing, and just walks on.]

Raijin: Geez, look out, itís Irvine. Boy, if you ever want to bring a party to a screeching halt, thereís your man.

Quistis: Oh, my, gawd, he is such a jerk! And like, a super-nerd.

Zell: Yeah, absolutely.

Rinoa: Well, itís not like heís that bad a guy, but I wouldnít hang out with him if I didnít have to. I mean, heís just so...whatís the word...

Fujin: Boring?

Rinoa: Yeah!

Zell: And takes things way too personally and way too seriously. He needs to lighten up.

Quistis: And lose that ponytail and suit. It is just sooo 1980ís to come to school looking like that.

Raijin: But of course, heís not as bad as Selphie.

Fujin: True.

Quistis: Like, who is Selphie?

Raijin: Selphie! You know, that brooding chick that wears the black dress and the pale makeup all the time? Black nail polish, blood red lipstick, the whole nine yards of gothic.

Zell: Donít forget the silly black cape she wears sometimes.

Quistis: Oh, my, gawd! I know who youíre talking about now! She is like sooo depressing to be around. Tackiest wardrobe Iíve ever seen. What is up with that cape?

Rinoa: Maybe sheís a superhero? Mild-mannered outcast student by day, fights crime by night? The Gothic Avenger!

[Everybody laughs a little. Except Zell, who laughs noticeably harder.]

[Suddenly the sound of a loud boom box thumping out a phat bass line takes over the room.]

[Enter Squall, with baggy black pants, sunglasses, and a ghetto blaster cranked up full blast in his left hand. He jumps up on an unoccupied table in the cafeteria.]

Squall: [singing] Everybody say Ho-o!

[The other patrons of the cafeteria respond in kind. They always do. Squallís extroverted antics are amusing to all.]

Squall: [singing] Everybody say yea-ah!

[The room responds again.]

Squall: [singing] Everybody say boom-shaka-laka!

[The room complies.]

Squall: [singing] Say boom-shaka-laka!

[The room complies again.]

Squall: [singing] There ainít no party like a Balamb party cuz the Balamb party donít stop, sing it!

[The room sings it back, word for word.]

Squall: [singing] I said there ainít no party like a Balamb party cuz the Balamb party donít stop, sing it!

[The room sings it back, word for word, again.]

Squall: [raps, sounding like the lost Beastie Boy]

Well here I come now to rock the m.i.c.
Bringing rhymes that tell how it all really be
When you feel my flow youíll wanna shake that ass
Pump up the jam and burn somma that grass
You know this white boy can bring the funk
Keep it all real cuzí I ainít no punk
I bring the beat that make ya move ya feet
And I spit out da rhymes that make ya stop and think

Peace Out!

[Squall turns off the ghetto blaster and steps off the table to a vigorous applause from everyone in the cafeteria. Except Irvine, who just stormed angrily out of the cafeteria, probably to snitch to Headmaster Sid. Squall notices but plays it cool, and sits down around the table with the rest of the gang.]

Squall: Yo yo yo wassup? Howís my posse?

Fujin: Fine.

Rinoa: How do you come up with that stuff?

Squall: I gots da flow, girl! You know dat. Hey, yíall goiní to da dance next week?

Zell: Yeah, sure.

Rinoa: Probably.

Quistis: Totally!

Raijin: I donít know. School dances arenít really our kind of scene, if you know what I mean. Maybe we will though, we havenít decided yet.

Squall: I feel ya, I feel ya. So, which one of you ladies need a date? Hey, Quisty girl, you lookiní FINE today. Howís about you aní me hook up for dat dance, you and me, whaddya say girl?

Quistis: Too late Squall. I am, like, spoken for. Check this guy out! Heís my new boyfriend! [She shows Squall the picture of the man sheís been gushing over all lunch.]

Squall: What? You go for those whack boyband fools? Whatever! Forget you girl! Yo, Fujin, how about you ní me then, since Raijin donít wanna go? You and me girl! Damn, you hotter than an egg on the sidewalk in summer. Damn!

Fujin: Sure.

Raijin: [alarmed] What?

[Fujin smiles at him.]

Fujin: Kidding!

Squall: Yeah, fool, I know you two be tight like dat, Iím just playiní witcha.

[Rinoa quickly strokes her hair and makes her best attempt at quickly dolling herself up. It isnít much.]

Rinoa: You know, Iím still available. Why donít you ask me?

[Zell fidgets.]

Squall: Nah, sorry, we tried dat, didnít work. We cool, but we just ainít meant to be tight like dat.

Rinoa: Fine. But donít come begging me at the last minute. I wonít wait up.

Squall: Beg? Ha! Donít go dat route! I can get my mack on with any girl up in this garden!

Rinoa: Are you sure?

Squall: You know! Go ahead dawgs, pick any chick here at garden, and I bet you I can get her to go with me.

Quistis: How much?

Squall: How Ďbout dis? If you can pick a chick that I canít pick up for da dance, Iíll bump yoí wack-ass boyband music out my ghetto blaster, and Iíll dress like that fool you be drooliní over for a whole day.

Quistis: Like, no way. A week.

Zell: Yeah, a week!

[Fujin, Raijin, and Rinoa laugh.]

[But, suddenly, Rinoa begins to choke on the hot dog. Everyone notices, but nobody panics. Calmly, nonchalantly, Squall walks behind her and applies the Heimlich maneuver. She quickly coughs up the misguided chunk of food. It bounces in front of Quistis.]

Quistis: Ewww! That is like sooo totally grody!

[Rinoaís face returns to a normal color.]

Rinoa: Thanks, Squall, you saved my life!

Squall: Ainít No Thing! ItĎs all good! [Turns To Quistis.] Okay, okay, but when I mack her, you gotsta...you gotsta...you gotsta go out with Seifer!

Quistis: EWWW! No! No! No! Bet is off!

Squall: [smirking] Naw Naw, you canít be backiní out now.

Quistis: Okay, you are sooo asking for it! I am like sooo going to nail you for this.

Rinoa: Letís huddle up. If we make a united front...

[Quistis, Zell, Rinoa, Fujin, and Raijin all huddle up and discuss whom they should pick. Theyíre animated but unintelligible. Finally, they break huddle.]

Squall: [grinning ear to ear] Who ya got?

Fujin: [smiling wickedly] SELPHIE.

[Silence.]

Squall: Hey now, dat ainít cool, donít be trippiní.

Raijin: Well, you said any girl at garden.

Squall: Yeah yeah, but she donít count, man. Sheís crazy weird!

Quistis: No way, you arenít going to get out of this, Squall. If youíre like going to make me ask Seifer out, then you have to ask that like total gloom queen out.

Squall: Ah man! No way!

Quistis: Totally way!

Squall: Whatever!

[Fade Out.]

SCENE 2: The Headmaster Ritual

[The Headmasterís Office. Headmaster Sid and Head matron Edea sit behind their desks, Edea examining attendance records and Sid reviewing the latest standardized test scores. Each one is looking at mostly bad news, but each has some shining bright spots to enjoy.]

[Edea is dressed in a white and red dress with horizontal stripes, even though they always make you look fatter than you really are. Sid sports the usual red sweater vest over white dress shirt and tan slacks...and a rubber mask of Ronald Reagan Ė complete with conspicuous red devil horns protruding from the dyed-black hair -- resting atop his head should the need arise for him to pull it into position.]

Edea: [sarcastic] Well, isnít this a surprise.

Sid: What?

Edea: Only one student had perfect attendance this past semester. Care to guess who it was?

Sid: Ellone?

Edea: You win the prize. That girl is here every single day. Never absent. Itís actually a little disturbing. She is always around, never not here.

Sid: She also had the highest score on the placement test, by far. Aced every section except history. 65% on history, which is surprisingly low, especially for somebody who aced every other section.

Edea: I guess she just canít see the past, or just canít relate to the memories of others.

Sid: I guess.

[A knock at the door.]

Sid: Come in.

[A very perturbed Irvine enters.]

Edea: [aside to Sid] Oh lord, what is it now?

[Sid suppresses the urge to laugh.]

Sid: Ah, hello Irvine, always a pleasure. [Edea snorts in disbelief, but nobody reacts to it.] What seems to be the trouble today?

Irvine: [very angry] Itís that deplorable thug Squall Leonheart. I was sitting in the cafeteria, quietly eating my meal in peace. I was disturbing nobody; not even the idle loiterers, who deserved it for hanging around instead of going to class, mind you. Suddenly Squall barges into the cafeteria with his large boom box playing at maximum volume, and he leaps up onto a table and attempted to incite a riot amongst the student body with his Ďrap music skillsí in the middle of lunch hour! Needless to say my appetite was ruined, and I certainly could not have been the only one.

[Edea rolls her eyes and starts looking out the window at nothing, pretending to see and be enthralled by something outside.]

Irvine: You absolutely must take some form of disciplinary action against him. Heís dangerous, heís a detriment to school spirit, not to mention a force disruptive to the legitimate study activities of the student body. Heís loud, heís lewd, heís obnoxious, and heís a bad influence on the underclassmen.

[Sid looks lazily at Irvine.]

Sid: [almost yawning] Is that all?

Irvine: Headmaster Kramer, I get the impression you are not taking this matter seriously. I assure you Headmaster, the gravity of this situation is immense and it truly does warrant major intervention on your part. Think of the underclassmen, Headmaster Kramer! Think of the underclassmen!

Sid: What do you want me to do about him?

Irvine: Well naturally he should be suspended for a week at the minimum, though I would seriously recommend outright expulsion, because this has been an ongoing problem all year, and obviously his boom box must be confiscated...

[But Headmaster Sid is no longer listening. He, like most people, is sick of listening to Irvineís griping about every little thing under the sun. So even when he has a legitimate complaint, as he does today, itís very hard not to just blow him off.]

Sid: If I call him into my office and discuss this issue with him, will you shut up and go back to class, Irvine?

Irvine: Well sir, that would be a step in the right direction, but I definitely think that a suspension--

Sid: Your opinion has been noted, Irvine. Iíll call him into my office and do something about this issue. Now would you please return to your studies?

Irvine: Are you certain you donít need me to stay and give my testimony? Heís certain to give you his highly slanted and dare I say biased account of the proceedings, I think it only reasonable that I remain present to present a counterweight. [ASIDE TO THE AUDIENCE] And besides, I would so enjoy watching that jerk finally get his.

Sid: [sighs] I understand where you are coming from, but I have already heard your case, Irvine. That is enough. Please return to class.

Irvine: Okay, but sir, I really think I should--

[Sid suddenly pulls down the horned rubber Reagan mask.]

Sid: [In a guttural, demonic voice] I SAID LEAVE NOW, IMPUDENT PUDDLE OF SPEWTUM, BEFORE I SUBJECT YOU TO THE MIGHTY WRATH OF THE UNSPEAKABLE ONE!

[A very surprised Irvine takes the hint and beats a hasty retreat.]

Sid: SEE HOW THE COWARDLY WRETCHES SCURRY AWAY AT THE MERE THREAT OF MY WRATH!

Edea: [totally disinterested] Yeah, yeah, yeah, youíre Ronald Reagan, youíre the king of all things evil and unholy, yeah, I get it.

Sid: DO NOT DARE TO MOCK THE MIGHTY LORD OF ALL THAT IS CORRUPTED AND MAGGOTY ON THE INSIDE, LOWLY WENCH! I AM RONALD BEELZEBUB, RULER OF THE DARK AND MASTER OF EVIL!

Edea: Sid, please, take the stupid mask off. This routine of yours has gone way past tiresome. You sound like an even bigger prat than that Kinneas kid.

[Sid takes the mask off and begins speaking normally.]

Sid: Really?

Edea: Yes.

Sid: Oh, sorry.

[Fade Out.]

SCENE 3: ÖAndÖShe Walked on Down the Hall!

[In the hallway on the second floor. Classes have just been dismissed. A crowd of students filters out of each of the rooms, laughing, griping about homework, carrying on, the usual student stuff. One of these students is Seifer, making his way down the hallway to the left, stuffing his books and binder into his backpack hastily, not really watching where he is going, because he doesnít have time. Heís in a rush, what with his next class on the other side of garden and him only having six minutes to get there. Heading slowly in the other direction, looking as if she detests the necessity of having to actually walk anywhere, is Selphie, and sure enough she is dressed wholly in black from head to toe, complete with cape, and has pasted her face pale white with makeup. Except for her lips, which are covered with blood red lipstick.]

Seifer: Oh gosh, Iím running late...get in there...

Selphie: How can anyone smile and laugh and carry on in an empty, meaningless void of a world such as this one? It only serves to prove my theory that they are all but mindless automaton slaves to the corporate masters, conditioned and hypnotized into deriving pleasure from the meaningless insignificance of their own lives. They are completely oblivious to the true nature of their own environment...

[And on that note they bump into each other, sending Seiferís books, Selphieís notepad/poetry journal, and a slew of papers from each in the eight cardinal directions. They knock each other to the floor. Seiferís cheeks flush as he scrambles to gather all the stray books and papers.]

Seifer: [very apologetic] Oh my goodness, I am really, really sorry! Here, please let me help you with this. Iím really sorry; I wasnít watching where I was going.

[Selphie stares at him coldly. Seifer, smiling weakly, holds out her poetry journal, which she quickly and angrily snatches from his hand.]

Selphie: I have the second sight, and I can see through your transparent and pitiful machinations. I know your intentions, child. Let me assure you that I have no interest whatsoever.

Seifer: [still apologetic] No, honestly, I really wasnít looking where I was going. Iím sorry. I know that sounds like a weak excuse, but itís true. As geeky as I know it makes me out to be, itís true.

Selphie: Oh! So you too are superficial in your assessment of others too, and hold my appearance against me because I refuse to conform to your vapid fashions!

Seifer: No, Iím not like that. I honestly had no hidden intentions, but since you bring it up, I do think that youíreÖ

Selphie: Silence! Your hollow game is revolting, and I refuse to let you toy with my complex emotions which you automatons could never understand, as I am the only sane mind and free spirit in this entire school.

[She storms off. Exit Selphie.]

Seifer: [disappointed] But I really do like youÖ

[He notices a piece of paper on the ground. He picks it up. He recognizes Selphieís dramatic handwriting, and ominous-looking doodles in the margins. He reads the poems.]

Seifer: Wow. This is interesting. Iíve never read any poetry like this before. Itís soÖdarkÖand gloomy. I wonder if sheís truly depressedÖno, this is just art. Just because somebody writes a given line of lyric doesnít mean that they necessarily agree with the sentiment expressed in it, or feel it themselvesÖoh no! What am I doing? Oh my gosh, Iím going to be late for class!

[Seifer shoves the poems into his backpack and runs off. Fade out.]

SCENE 4: The Phantom Nerd Menace

[Nida and Xu have just gotten out of class and are standing outside the door, talkingÖsort of. Neither one ever makes eye contact with the other.]

[Xu is wearing a very conservative and drab blouse and jeans ensemble that makes her look like a bad country singer, while Nida sports jeans the same dark blue color, and a ďYou will be assimilatedĒ Borg T-shirt.]

Nida: So. Um. Can I, um, have your phone numberÖ[quickly covering] so we can talk about the project?

Xu: Yeah. [Long pause] ThisÖthis project is really hard, huh?

Nida: Yeah. [He laughs, barely. She laughs, slightly.]

Xu: Oh! Sorry, I forgot! [Her cheeks run pink, embarrassed] My phone number. 438-5921.

Nida: Thanks. [He starts writing it down.]

Xu: Can I have yours? [She is immediately aware of the implication, and covers up with:] So we can talk about the project?

Nida: 183-1337.

[Xu writes it down.]

Nida: Okay. See you tomorrow.

Xu: Yeah.

[Awkward pause.]

Nida: Bye.

Xu: Bye.

[They walk off in opposite directions, having classes at opposite ends of the hall. Enter Squall, laughing.]

Squall: Ha! Those two is so crazy! Man, every fool up in here know how they feel Ďbout each other. They needs ta stop beiní so shy and scared though. They perfect for each other. Like the same stuff and all dat. Both be into da science thang. Maybe after I gets my mack on withÖSelphieÖ[shudders] I should help those two get da hookup wit each other.

Irvine: [off-stage] Iíd mind my own business if I were you, Squall.

[Enter Irvine, smirking smugly.]

Irvine: Youíre already skating on thin ice, mister.

Squall: Mister? Who da hail usiní da word mister like dat? Where you learn to talk, fool, you trippiní!

Irvine: If I were you, Iíd be more worried about what Headmaster Sid is going to do to you as a result of your little demonstration in the cafeteria today.

[As if on cue, Head Matron Edeaís very bored-sounding voice breaks over the PA system.]

Edea: Squall Leonheart, please report to Headmaster Sidís office. Squall Leonheart, please report to Headmaster Sidís office.

[Squall is stunned. Irvine smiles triumphantly.]

Irvine: Maybe next time youíll think twice about disturbing the peace around here.

[Itís obvious to Squall that Irvine ratted him off.]

Squall: Man, whatís your problem? You hella trippiní. Iím just tryiní to entertain the peeps, keep the mood mellow and all dat. [Walks off, muttering.] Crazy fool.

[Exit Squall.]

Irvine: Yes! Victory is at last mine. Now I can study in peace.

[Fade Out.]

SCENE 5: The Empire Strikes Back

[Back to the Headmasterís Office. Sid and Edea, behind their respective desks as before. Sidís mask is off, but still resting on his head.]

Sid: You know, this is the part of the job I really hate.

Edea: Disciplining the kids?

Sid: Yes. I know Squall is pretty rambunctious, but I want to encourage that. I donít want to be some overbearing fascist administrator out crushing everybodyís spirit and trying to force-fit them into a standardized box, but at the same time, I appreciate that Squallís antics probably do disrupt the learning process. And that Irvine kid is such a whining prat, I hate to take his side.

Edea: Yes. But he is right.

Sid: I know. What should I do?

Edea: Well, for starters, you could put that ridiculous rubber mask away once and for all.

[But he does no such thing. Enter Squall.]

Squall: Yo Sid, what up.

Sid: Please sit down, Squall.

Squall: That Irvine punk was all up in here and ratted me out, yo. Didnít he?

Sid: Yes. And Iím afraid he has a point. Squall, please understand that I donít like doing this. I donít like taking his side, and I donít like telling my students to tone it down, but...please, tone it down a little bit.

Squall: Aw man, donít be hatiní on my style like that!

Sid: Iím not trying to...um...hate...huh? Iím sorry but I donít really understand your speech pattern. I never have. Which is not to say I donít respect it or that I donít respect you as an individual, but...um...

[He is floundering. Edea comes to the rescue.]

Edea: [deadpan] What da chief be tryiní to lay down on ya is dat he got nuthiní but love for where you be cominí from, but we gots a garden academy to run up in this hizzouse, and the peeps gotsta be able to get their learniní phreak on, yo. Yo beats is phat and yo rhymes be slick. You got mad skills, yo! But ya gots to not bump it so loud during school hours, or else we gots ta do our thang, and suspend yo ass foí a week. At least. That Irvine be a fool, but he be in da right here, and we gots ta be fair and show love and give da props to all the peeps up in dis garden, like Ďem or not. Ya feel my flow?

Squall: I gotcha, girl.

Edea: Aight.

Sid: Iím also afraid we are going to have to confiscate your boom box for the rest of the term.

Squall: What? OH HAIL NAW! I KNOW YOU DID NOT JUST SAY DAT! My boom box be my lifeline, yo!

Sid: Technically, weíre not supposed to permit them at all. Weíve actually been dangerously lenient in letting you display it for so long. Administration isnít too happy with us, and if they start hearing complaints, wellÖ

Edea: [deadpan] ...It be our asses dat gonna get capped, yo.

Sid: And if we donít do something, Irvine will go over our head, straight to the district.

Squall: Man, dis is cold! Dis hella wrong!

[He hands over the boom box, defeated.]

Sid: Iím sorry. Thatís it. You may leave now.

[Squall leaves, dejected. Exit Squall.]

Sid: Poor kid. I really hate having to do that.

Edea: Yes. Itís so unfortunate. But we have to apply the rules to him just like everybody else.

Sid: Yeah. By the way, you were a real lifesaver just now. I never feel like I can communicate with that kid. You know, speak his lingo. Howíd you learn to talk like that, anyway?

Edea: [matter-of-factly] You pick up little things like that when youíve been possessed by a maniacal sorceress from the future bent on undoing all existence.

Sid: Really?

Edea: Yes. I also have a third degree black belt, can manipulate the very fabric of space-time, and speak fluent Hungarian.

Sid: Can you demonstrate?

Edea: Certainly.

[On that note, fade out (because unlike Edea, this author knows no Hungarian whatsoever).]

SCENE 6: Sheís a Valley Girl, and There is no Cure

[Quistis and Rinoa, sitting on one of the picnic tables in the quad, after classes have let out for the day.]

Rinoa: Ow!

Quistis: What is it?

[Rinoa holds out her hand. There is a huge splinter stuck in the palm of her hand.]

Rinoa: I have a huge splinter stuck in my hand!

Quistis: Oh my gawd! Hold on, I think I have, like, some tweezers, here in my purse...itís a Gucci, by the way, and yes, this is sooo totally real leather, thank you.

[Quistis fishes around in her purse and finds a pair of tweezers. She applies them to the massive splinter in Rinoaís hand and pulls it out.]

Quistis: You, like, should put a band-aid or something on that.

Rinoa: Yeah.

Quistis: I have some special designer band-aids in here, too. Theyíre, like, totally see-through. Itís like it looks like they arenít even there, so nobody knows you have an unsightly little blemish.

[Quistis produces one of the aforementioned band-aids, and passes it to Rinoa, who applies it to the pretty deep puncture from the splinter.]

Rinoa: Thanks, Quistis. You saved my life.

Quistis: [laughing] Oh, yeah, right, I am like sooo sure. Youíre sooo overdramatic, Rin. Saved your life...oh, my, GAWD.

Rinoa: Well, I couldíve gotten a nasty infection.

Quistis: What-EVER.

Rinoa: Hey, did you hear the latest about Squall?

Quistis: No, what? [Enthusiastic] Did he strike out with Selphie?

Rinoa: No.

Quistis: [Fearful] She didnít agree to go with him, did she?

Rinoa: No. I donít think heís even asked her yet.

[Quistis breathes a sigh of relief.]

Rinoa: I donít think he was in the mood to this afternoon.

Quistis: Why, what happened?

Rinoa: The Power-Elite came down pretty hard on him today.

Quistis: Huh?

Rinoa: Headmaster Sid confiscated his boom box.

[Quistis gasps.]

Quistis: Oh! My! Gawd! That is sooo uncool! Why?

Rinoa: I hear that Irvine complained about the ďconcertĒ in the cafeteria, and, well, basically, Sidís hands are tied. Itís a universal policy in gardens all over the world; no boom boxes during school hours. Sid could lose his job if someone complained to his superiors...and Irvine probably would. Heís such a class traitor. Weíre never going to get anywhere with all these stooges in our midst.

Quistis: Oh, my, gawd, Irvine is such a geek! Like, what is his problem? Heís sooo got, like, a chip on his shoulder about everybody!

Rinoa: Well, I donít think he has very many friends. Maybe thatís part of the reason. He doesnít feel like he is part of the collective.

Quistis: Well, duh! Look at how he treats people! Like, no wonder he has no friends? Doesnít he even, like, think about that at all?

Rinoa: Quistis?

Quistis: Yeah.

Rinoa: Donít you think it was pretty strange that Zell bought a hot dog, when everybody knows he canít stand them?

Quistis: Oh, I didnít think about that at all! Yeah, he is like such a health food freak! That is sooo weird.

Rinoa: Yeah, thatís what I was thinking. And isnít it also rather strange that he just happened to walk by our table after he bought that hot dog that he never intended to eat?

Quistis: Yeah. [She suddenly smiles, and becomes very animated.] Oooh, you know what? I think he likes you!

Rinoa: Really? No way.

Quistis: Totally way! Like, what other explanation is there? He hates the garden hot dogs. Youíve told him theyíre like your favorite thing on the menu. And he just, like, happens to walk by the table where you and I always sit for lunch? Like, that everybody knows is our table? And he just gives the hot dog to you right away? Like, he was like, thinking about doing that ahead of time? Like, that was his plan all along?

Rinoa: But if thatís true, then why didnít he just ask me to the dance?

Quistis: Dude! He is sooo shy around you! Havenít you, like, noticed that? Remember after he gave you the hot dog, he started mumbling something?

Rinoa: Yeah, I couldnít understand him. I wasnít really listening though. What did he say? Honestly.

Quistis: He didnít finish. Fujin and Raijin showed up and interrupted him.

Rinoa: Oh yeah, and then Zell said something about the card tournament.

Quistis: That is sooo like a cover up! Heís not entering the tournament. As If! Nobody in my group of friends would ever be caught dead at one of those things, and Zell is like sooo not an exception!

Rinoa: Maybe youíre right. Well, what should I do? Should I go with him?

Quistis: Yeah! He sooo wants to be with you. I bet heíd like, buy you all sorts of fancy gifts.

Rinoa: I think youíve made enough bets for one day, Quistis.

[They both laugh.]

[Fade Out.]

Part 2