It’s just after one in the afternoon and you’re cutting the crust from a peanut butter sandwich. “Liam, you want jelly on yours?”
You son looks up from up his sea of building blocks with a grimace on his face. “No!”
“Alright, no jelly,” you confirm. His cheeks are pink, hair stuck to his forehead. The air conditioning broke two days ago and Sam promised to have one of his guys come by to look at it by tonight. “You look hot buddy, why don’t you come in here.”
“Atleast your lunch didn’t run away?” Jughead grumbled sarcastically. “Real smooth, honestly author in training right here.” He groaned, dropping into his seat in the back of the chemistry classroom.
He was the literal definition of an idiot, look it up in the dictionary and there he was, a stupid grin on his face as he spewed out lame jokes to the love of his life. Not that he had ever had a chance with “The Betty Cooper” but whatever minuscule hope he had was crushed by that cringe worthy display that had just occurred in the hallway.
He couldn’t seem to get his words straight when she was around, he blamed it on her soft skin and strawberry scented hair, that could send any guy into catatonic shock but in actuality it was just her presence in general. Jughead couldn’t remember a single day where the beautiful Cooper girl wasn’t racing through his mind, he found himself staring at her whenever he got the chance, creepy as it was he was drawn to her by some unexplainable magnetic force. He tried, really he did.
“You’re not good enough for her, for any of those kids but especially not Alice Coopers daughter, it would do you good to get your head out of the clouds.”
His mothers sharp words and harsh tone rang through his brain. She was right, he knew that but still… he had to go and touch her? He had to feel that electrifying shock when his skin met hers? And then.. the blush on her cheeks when he brushed away the grease stain. Jughead lifted his palm to reveal the smudge of oil, he couldn’t keep the grin off of his face, it was stupid he knew that, to put actual meaning into her words
“I’ll see around Jughead Jones.”
It wasn’t something he really had the time to think about, but when it came to Betty Cooper there had always been time. He still remembered the first time he saw her, they were only six year olds and she was sitting on her own by the sand box, wind whipping through long blonde pigtails, she had been talking to herself, head ducked low as she whispered. He hadn’t been able to get her out of his head since that day. She was like him, he knew in that moment she was dealing with something bigger than both of them, just like he was.
Living in the Southside of Riverdale wasn’t something Jughead took pride in especially considering he was the only teenager from that side of town who went to Riverdale, his father had been adamant about his son attending the better school, he wanted him to have an education, he wanted his life to be different than his.
Forsythe Pendleton Jones was a good father, he worked hard to provide for his family, he was kind and loved his family to a fault, his only fatal flaw?
He was the prominent leader of the Southside Serpents, a title that held a lot of weight in the community, a lot of weight on Jughead shoulders.
As for Jugheads Mother, Gladys Jones, she was a horrible, bitter, angry woman with a deep hatred for her oldest son, he was a disappointment and she made it very clear with every beating. She wanted Jughead to follow in his fathers footsteps, she wanted him to take over the Serpents, and he tried too, but it was never enough.
He wanted a normal life, a normal family, a girlfriend.. one with silky blonde hair and haunting, meadow green eyes.
The rest of the day flew by without another sighting of Betty, well not until the end of the day, He caught her walking side by side with Archie Andrews and Kevin Keller , her neighbor and American dream extraordinaire and the Sheriffs son.
Popping the cigarette he kept in his jacket sleeve into his mouth, he stared openly as Betty Cooper walked past him, a hint of a smile on her lips as her eyes lingered on his motorcycle, a hand reaching out to touch the chrome, before Kevin grabbed her hand
“Rude.” He shook his head lovingly at the blushing blonde and shot Jughead an apologetic smile “sorry, we’re still teaching her manners.” He teased walking ahead with Archie who snorted.
Betty stuck her tongue out at the two boys and turned to Jughead
“I’m sorry, that was rude. I just.. sometimes I can’t help myself, your bike is beautiful.” She averted her gaze to the Harley and he laughed
“She sure is, you can touch her if you want.”
Almost instantly she dropped her backpack and bent down by the bike, her fingers touching the wheel and admiring the old fashioned detailing.
“My dad had me fix up an Original Harley when I was eight, I’ve been in love with them ever since , I haven’t seen one in ages.” She looked up at him with sparkling eyes as he squatted beside her
“You should see my dads, this one is practically scrap metal compared to his.” Jughead couldn’t keep his eyes off of her, the passion in her eyes, her ponytail was in pieces after the long school day, she really was beautiful, almost too beautiful. Perfect.
She beamed at him
“Maybe you could show me one day?” She was practically bouncing with excitement, wrapping her fingers around his forearm her tiny hands were softer than he expected, considering he was certain she was almost always elbow deep in a trucks hood.
They both took a moment to stare into each other’s eyes, something different yet so familiar mirrored brightly.
Jughead cleared his throat, tearing his eyes away
“Umm, yeah totally. Whenever.” He tried to come off aloof, but his twitching fingers might have given him away.
“Betty!” Kevin called, “Come on, I’m getting hangry” he sing songed.
When Betty turned back to Jughead he was already mounting his bike, the engine revving loudly.
“I’ll see you around Betty Cooper.” He smirked
“How will you get in touch with me?” She called over the rumble of his bike.
“I’ve got my ways Juliet.” He grinned before riding away, leaving an incredibly confused Betty Cooper smiling after him.
This poster’s original sketch had about eight different parts drawn on separate sheets before being digitally collaged, edited, and printed on A3 for re-pencilling and inking. Because TAZ is a series that has sucked me in and made me emotional over fiction again in a way that hasn’t happened in over two years. Spent way too long trying to put little references into the boys’ clothes so appreciate that, okay?
(Just for posterity: my interpretations have Magnus as Polynesian, because Travis’ post-Moana tweets made my afakasi heart ache; Merle as Japanese (I modelled him after Pat Morita/Kesuke Miyagi); and Taako as an elfin Joe Dirt-type greaseboy with browner skin and natural dark hair, growing out blond dye from after Glamour Springs.)
According to the 2009 American Community Survey, there are fifteen million Asian-Pacific Americans who make up forty-three different ethnic groups and who originally came from twenty-eight Asian countries and fifteen Pacific islands. The “model minority” myth disregards the social and economic hardships faced by recently arrived Southeast Asian refugees, particularly the Hmong. In the 1990s, high school graduation rates were about 35 percent for Cambodian Americans, 36 percent for Lao Americans, and 58 percent for Vietnamese Americans— and all of these numbers are well below the overall average of 82 percent for Asian Americans as a whole. Due to the “model minority” myth, public schools do not even bother to record Asian-Pacific American student dropout rates; yet, at the time of the study, about half of Hmong female students dropped out of school before graduation (Walker-Moffat 1995; Xiong and Tatum 1999). A Hmong woman comments, “As Asian Americans, we face the ‘model minority’ myth that hurts so many Hmong because we have so many challenges.” In addition, since Hmong and other Asian Americans are perceived in American society as “strangers from a different shore,” the validity of their professional decision making is often put on trial. As a Hmong American female attorney attests, “As a prosecutor of color, people presumed I held a bias in favor of other people of color and could not prosecute a case neutrally without regard to race.”
“Women in the Hmong Diaspora” by Dia Cha
in Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century(2013)
This is what kills me about the Rudolph show. They’re all training these new reindeer and they’re like “I hope I make it on Santa’s team!” You won’t! Santa has EIGHT. And he always has those same eight! And your dad, by the way, Rudolph, KNOWS THIS! This is not new information to him! Every year a new crop of young comers tries to make a run at the throne and they get beat back down by the original eight as it always shall be! Why’re we putting lies in the heads of these little reindeer like “I’m gonna make the squad!” YOU’RE NOT!
You’re not sure what your sister has against him. Personally you think he’s handsome. He’s brave. A bit too serious, but then so are you. Maybe that’s the attraction? You glance at him over the top of your book.
You know he knows you’re looking. Just like you know he steals little glances at you. It’s a game of cat and mouse. One you both enjoy too much to end. “You should make a move.”
You glance at Shayera, as she sits down next to you. Her head goes to rest on your shoulder. You smile at your friend, and change the subject, “Any progress with John?”
She just sighs, and leans her head on your shoulder, “Is it actually possible to miss a child you never had?”
You lean your head on top of hers and close your book, “It may still happen Shayera.”
“He’s proposing to Vixen.”
You stiffen, before wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “If you want, I can see if my mother will let you stay on the island. No men to deal with.”
Your best friend laughs, “As heavenly as that sounds sometimes, I’ll face this head on. Still, I wouldn’t wait too long Y/N. When love, true love comes around, it’s best to hold on to it, tight.”
She smiles a sad smile, “I can tell. Plus he never gave you his reasons speech. The long list of reasons dating and being a superhero is a bad idea. That alone is amazing,” She pulls away a moment later, gives you a peck on the cheek and walks away. You watch her go with a sad smile on your face.
You’ve seen her dilemma before. While your mother had been blessed with you and your sister, the rest of your sisters, had not had children. Occasionally the urge would hit one of them, and the tears it brought would always make your heart ache. Eventually, the feelings would fade, at least on the outside.
You suppose the same could be said of you and Bruce. You considered the man your best friend. He was actually willing to spend time with you. Confide in you. And while the two of you had nearly crossed the line before, neither of you had made a definite move past the line of friendship.
Opening your book, you read all of two sentences before the shouting catches your attention. They stumble in front of you with arms wrapped around each other’s heads. It’s a sight to be sure, and you’re just happy there’s no one around to take a picture for the news outlets.
You sigh, “Again?”
Wally and Elastic Man just grin at you. They talk over each other, laying out the argument, occasionally other league members weigh in as they pass by, until you’ve heard enough. “Neither of you are in the right. TO your corners!”
They try to argue, “I will get the lasso of truth, if you don’t move your behinds, NOW!”
They jump at your raised voice before scurrying off to their designated corners. You type a quick message to J’onn to keep an eye on them before opening up your book …AGAIN.
“What was the argument over this time?”
You jump a bit, as the voice startles you. You find Bruce grinning at you, sans hood. Instead of answering you ask, “What happened to secret identities?”
He scoffs, “You know who I am, Princess.”
You smile at the nickname, “Who got the last bit of ice cream, that’s what they were arguing about.”
“You’d never know they were grown men. Burden of the crown I suppose.”
You smile and scoot over so that Bruce can sit down, he sits down next to you, so that you’re touching. You raise an eyebrow in question, before he finally asks, “Are you doing anything Saturday night?”
“Need help taking down a syndicate?”
“Kind of, there’s a charity auction I have to attend and I was wondering if you’d like to go with me. As my date.”
You raise an eyebrow, “What about all your reasons?”
“To not date … at least seriously.”
He stares at you for a minute, “Not as important as I originally thought.”
“Eight o’clock, I figure we can do dinner before hand.”
You smile, “Sounds good.”
He gives you one more smile before he pulls the cowl back on and leaves you to read. Out of the corner of your eye you see Shayera standing in the door, she gives you a small smile before turning away.
My formerly brand-new copy of The Handmaid’s Tale got more beaten up than I expected on my recent trip. I marked the crap out of the insides as well. It has officially lived.
I’m really glad I’ve finally read it, especially with its themes on sexuality and socialization (even more so WHILE I was on this trip). I’m such a sucker for near future cultural development in fiction so this is my shit, particularly from the perspective of the future of the past (it was published in 1986). Atwood’s prose is beautiful and Offred’s POV is perfectly introspective and self-critical.
My mom read the back and asked, “what is the point of this?” and I’m like “how do I say it’s an exploration of a hypercritical patriarchal society which abuses a literal translation of the Bible to justify itself without making this awkward?” Hint: my parents are pseudo-fundamentalist Christians.