HAMPTON, VA–An attempt by Brian Shuman, 12, to impress fellow seventh-grader Becky Lundegaard, 13, met with spectacular failure Monday, when his school supplies and shoulder bag were forcibly seized, his sweater vest yanked over his head, and his face pressed into a row of lockers, witnesses reported.
According to the unpopular Shuman, known primarily among classmates at Hampton Middle School for his scholastic achievements and awkward social manner, he was "deliberately undermined by the uncalled-for actions of an interloping usurper intent on humiliating me in a derogatory manner in front of Miss Lundegaard, thus ruining my chances with her in the foreseeable future."
Shuman, who has long considered the elusive Lundegaard "really pretty," has admired her from a distance since the fifth grade, but never spoke to her for more than a few minutes until three weeks ago, when he was randomly assigned to be her lab partner in fifth-period Earth Science.
Sources close to the straight-A student said the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk to Lundegaard in class laid the groundwork for Monday's impression attempt, which was made shortly before lunch hour at a location near Lundegaard's locker. Shuman approached and was about to strike up a conversation when the interloper, varsity wrestling champion Lance Pulaski, 13, arrived on the scene.
Pulaski lifted the comparatively slight Shuman off the floor by the back of his shirt before hurling the hapless would-be suitor against a nearby wall. The popular student-athlete offered no comment at the time of the incident other than laughter and a terse, mumbled issuance of the term "dorkass," presumably aimed at Shuman. Pulaski then began an extended and reportedly friendly conversation with Lundegaard that lasted, according to hall monitor Gregg Nussbaum, "right up to the second five-minute bell before the start of fourth-period gym."
According to an anonymous source who overheard Lundegaard talking about the incident by the bike racks later that day, Lundegaard described Pulaski as "cute," though that report remains unconfirmed by either Lundegaard or those within her immediate circle of associates, including Jessica, Brianna, Ashley, Stephanie, Lisa, Jennifer, Sarah H., Sarah W., Tami, Michelle, Nicole, and Christina.
When asked for comment on Shuman's failed attempt, Lundegaard said, "Who? Look, I've got Michelle on the other line, and she's going to tell me what Brittany Ryback said about Stacey Schwaba, so can this wait?"
Observers throughout the Hampton Middle School student body remain baffled as to what motivated Shuman to think he was in a position to approach Lundegaard in a social context in the first place.
"Becky Lundegaard is so out of Brian's league," said student-council treasurer Iris Paulson. "How he could be smart enough to win the district Academic Decathlon but still not be able to figure that out is beyond me."
The general consensus among students is that Shuman's attempted overture was ill-advised from the start. Spelling-club insiders, however, said Shuman continues to insist that the failure was entirely the result of Pulaski's intrusion and in no way due to any shortcoming on his part.
"Brian was going on and on about how last Friday, Becky was smiling at him when he explained how to measure a solvent's concentration in a solution, and I was like, 'Duh, Brian, that's because she knew she'd get an easy A in the class if you did all the work for her," said Shuman's friend and debate-team partner Bobby Gannett. "I mean, no doy. I put forth the proposition that he is suffering from a delusion of epic proportions."
Gannett then began laughing in a snorting, wheezing manner before being silenced by a hail of spitwads.
"Despite the contrarian position taken by certain people I shall not name," said Shuman, pausing to glare at Gannett from across the library, "I am more than convinced that Becky would've been delighted and charmed by the pyrex graduated cylinder I planned to show her that fateful day in the hall. I ordered it special online, and it is far more heat-resistant than the substandard plastic beakers we are issued in class. Who wouldn't be impressed by such an item?"
"Unfortunately," Shuman continued, "Mr. Stupid Muscle-Face Wrestle-Head Lance Pul-asshole-ski sent the item in question flying when he pounded me into submission. Whereupon it shattered after landing a distance of at least 10 meters away. How am I supposed to impress her now?"
The incident is considered the worst failure to impress a Lundegaard at Hampton Middle School since 1988, when eighth-grader Rodney Siefert purchased a pair of boat shoes in an attempt to impress Jennifer Lundegaard, then 14, Becky's older cousin. The attempt turned tragic when Siefert made the sartorial blunder of wearing the boat shoes with socks, incurring the derision and scorn of his more fashion-forward peers.
Though not confirmed as of press time, reports indicate that Pulaski may have gotten to first base, and possibly even second, with Lundegaard after last Friday's spring dance.