So this song came up on shuffle today:
I hadn’t heard it in a while and I forgot what a tremendous feeling of anxiety that opening gives me.
Why, you ask?
(Shut up, just pretend you asked.)
Well, we were going to play this in band in 7th grade. We didn’t have any oboe players to play that opening solo thingy at 2:18, so being the nerdiest band nerd that ever nerded, I said, “hey Mr. Garrett, I’ll learn oboe, an instrument I’ve never even touched!” So I got my hands on an oboe and had about three weeks to learn how to play it (and play it well enough to do the solo thingy). I remember being so incredibly anxious about it every single time we practiced and, of course, when we performed it. I can’t remember how badly I botched it, but I’m sure I botched it quite nicely.
Also, cannons have nothing on the MAHLER HAMMER!
It is November 20th today.
As you may or may not know (depending on how long you’ve followed my blog and/or how much attention you pay to past blogs), November 20th is the birthday of the person known as Lead.
Lead, for those of you who don’t know, is the nickname I use for the person that I had a massive, massive, massive crush on all throughout the end of elementary school, junior high, and high school (and it would have started earlier, I’m sure, except he didn’t come to Moscow until 5th grade).
I have long since ceased giving a single fart about this guy, but just the date “November 20th” brings him back into my memory because he was a serious part of my existence for about seven years of my teenage life.
Today, that also brings up something that I’ve come to realize about my mad obsession with this dude that I’ve never really shared. This is a realization I made a long while ago—like, 8th grade, maybe—but was one I kind of kept inside hoping that it wasn’t true, because that truth was more pathetic than frantically stalking a dude for the sake of true love.
(At least, that’s what my 14-year-old brain convinced me of).
This realization? I wasn’t obsessed with Lead because I was in love with him or was soul mates with him or any of that lovey nonsense. I was obsessed with him because I wanted to be him. He was everything I wish I was, especially in junior high and high school when I was so painfully apathetic about, well, pretty much everything but Lead.
The guy was popular. The guy was good-looking. The guy was athletic. And most of all? The guy was smart.
Like… S M A R T.
I don’t know if he actually had a genius-level IQ, but I’m 99% convinced of it. Super smart. He put everyone else at that garbage bag of a school to shame with what he could do with his mental prowess and how easily he seemed to do it. He got a full ride scholarship to some school in Montana after he graduated, but I’m sure if he didn’t take that he could have easily gone to MIT or Harvard or Oxford or something like that. And he would have blown those fuckers away at those schools.
That’s what I wanted. I wanted to be that smart. I probably could have faked my way through high school a lot better if I’d given a crap (I think my cumulative GPA at the end was like a 3.5), but it would have taken work. I would not have been able to do it with the ease he seemed to do everything.*
This is the Amateur Hour psych student in me, but I think I hid my jealousy of him with admiration. I thought, “hey, if I can’t be this guy, maybe I can get him to like me. If he likes me, that means I’m good enough to at least be liked by a dude of this caliber. So let’s do that!”
Anyway. I know, I know, stupid shit. But I figured I’d mention it now that I’m so far removed from him that I don’t even think we’re Facebook friends anymore. Or at least, I’m no longer obsessively checking his Facebook like I used to. Haha.
*Yes, I know I might be wrong about this. He made it look like it was easy for him. Maybe it wasn’t. But goddamn, he sure made a convincing argument that getting through school was as easy for him as slicing butter with a hot knife.
I wrote a lot of really crappy poetry in junior high.
And since I have nothing interesting to say today (what else is new?), you get said crappy poetry.
Enjoy the cringe.
My chicken longs
For a pair of tongs
To pull it out of the pan.
If it were alive
It would strive
To get out of the pan if it could.
It would, if…
It had a head, some feathers, and a knife.
And I said to my chicken,
“Hey, get a life!”
Go to the John
Puddin’ and pie
Hung the wash
And now it’s dry.
Wish he still had both his eyes
You might believe this guy is great.
Can’t you hear?
Sleigh bells, jingle jangle!
Home again, jiggitty jig.
What to do?
But what the hey!
Jam on biscuits.
Say that again, randomizer.
I wasn’t paying…
Jelly, jelly, jelly…fish!
Looming through the deep
Glowing as it creeps.
Has no brain, no heart, no lungs
Last low tide on a rock it clung
Hung there for 2 minutes or 3
Released it’s suction, now it’s free.
Jelly, jelly, jelly…fish!
He will sting you if you wish.
You shan’t be deceived by the dawn or the night,
Dream small and live large shall be of your might.
Take the sin from your mind and replace it with hope,
Give much of your laughter to repel hatred’s rope.
Hold your love dearly or it might slip away,
Like shepherds with sheep so they don’t go astray.
Live your life with a purpose and not an excuse,
Make sure that your hands get a lot of good use.
Live without judging, but have lots of bliss,
Don’t go off the path and be taken amiss.
Be prepared to find pain and not simply power,
Don’t just smell the roses, stop and kiss a flower.
When the Bulls Come Out
When the sun goes down and the bulls come out,
The moon does shine without a doubt.
All sheep walk on a moonlit path,
While parakeets take a moonlit bath.
The stubborn boar is in this, too,
He lives right by the rendezvous.
The mighty bear, the timid snake,
All come running to partake.
This joyous fest, one time a year,
Rises past the Troposphere.
The stars shine brightly down on them,
All is peaceful, no mayhem.
The from the distance comes a noise,
Which made all the animals poise.
Then out came man, oh yes indeed,
Riding on his noble steed.
He cleared out all the trees and grass,
All creatures did run, so now, alas,
The moon does shine without a doubt,
When the sun goes down and the bulls come out.
I TOLD YOU
I’ve transcribed this here before, but now that I’ve got the wonderful and incredibly high-tech method of taping my TV with my camera and uploading said recording to Compy and then onto YouTube, I can show you the actual video. Not that you care (and not that I expect you to), but I’m posting it anyway. Mostly so that I’ve put it somewhere.
Here is our 7th grade advanced reading group performing our interpretation of the fight between Paul and Jamis in Frank Herbert’s Dune. Brendan’s the tall blonde guy playing Paul, Kyle’s the guy playing Jamis, Mitchell’s the guy who jumps off the tower in the beginning, Kristen’s Jessica, and I’m the camera guy.
And here are the “bloopers,” which is basically us performing Brendan’s scripted interpretation of pretty much everything relating to Duncan Idaho. Brendan’s twisted, twisted script.
I miss that freaking sweater so much.
Yeah, it’s pretty much official: the only story I’ve ever written in which there is no character death is Prime. And that’s because the characters were numbers.
In searching for an old poem this evening, I came across this little short story. I remember writing this back in eighth grade during a soccer match I had to attend because I was in a sports medicine class. Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t ask me why I took sports med. I think I just wanted to learn the names of the bones and didn’t realize that the “sports” aspect of the class would involve six hours devoted to sitting on the sidelines at [insert random sport] and waiting for someone to sprain an ankle or break a toe or get heat stroke.
Party on, Moscow Junior High.
* * * * *
His name was Lars Robertson, but we never called him that. He was born with a hearing problem, and by the time he was six and I was seven, he was totally deaf. When he was seven and I was eight, he was in a bad car accident and lost both his arms: the left one just above the elbow and the right one in the middle of the upper arm. He didn’t seem to care. He just smiled from the hospital bed, pumping his bandaged stumps up and down as if he were trying to fly, and asked his mom to give him a candy bar. From then on, we called him Stumps. It’s not like he cared, he just smiled.
His parents didn’t understand why he was so happy. Sometimes at dinner they just stared at him in wonder.
“Why Lars?” his father asked.
His mother asked, “Why both his arms?”
And Stumps asked, “Could someone please pass the peas?”
I am surprised that Stumps can talk as well as he can. It’s always in the same tone, and sometimes he forgets a word and just mumbles incoherently as a substitute, but he’s pretty good for a deaf kid. He can’t use sign language, that’s for sure, and his parents can’t afford prosthetics right now, but Stumps has seemed to have adapted well to having no arms.
For instance, he’s a natural at soccer. He has socks put on his stubs to keep them warm, goes out on the field, and wins. He doesn’t just play, he wins. Our boys’ soccer team hasn’t lost a game since Stumps joined. Last season, we played for the championship. The other team made two goals. We made four. Stumps made three of them. After we won we lined up to shake hands with the losing team. The team captain went to congratulate Stumps; he stuck out his hand to shake. When he realized that Stumps had no hands, he took a step back, looked around nervously, and mumbled a hurried, “Good job.” Stumps smiled and flapped his empty jersey sleeves. He was a good lip reader.
Once, when I went to McDonald’s with Stumps and his parents, Stumps told them that he wanted to play soccer at the Olympics.
“You mean the Paralympics, dear,” his mother said.
“No,” Stumps said. “The Olympics.” His mother looked at his father. They looked so sad, like they didn’t want Stumps to be in the Olympics, but they didn’t say anything else.
Stumps looked at me. “The Olympics. Right, Louie?”
“Right,” I told him, and fed him his french-fries.
Stumps is really nice to me. Every time I make a goal he calls me Louie Kablooey and dances around. And I’m pretty much the only one who talks to him. There are these two bullies at school this year: Zack and Ricky. They’re both in the third grade, and they both pick on Stumps a lot. I try to help Stumps, but Ricky always corners me and if I try to get away he kicks me or throws rocks at me. One time Zack tripped Stumps and he fell flat on his face. Then Zack picked him up by the shirt and shook him. Then he brought Stumps over to me and held him right up close to me.
“Say ‘Stumps is an armless monkey-butt,” he told me.
“No,” I said.
Ricky was standing right beside me, and he told me to say it or else he’d beat my brains out. I wanted to be nice to Stumps, but I also wanted to keep my brains, so I said it quietly.
“Louder!” Zack commanded.
I yelled, “STUMPS IS AN ARMLESS MONKEY-BUTT!” and everyone turned and laughed and looked at Stumps. Zack dropped Stumps, Ricky threw me in the dirt, and they ran off, laughing. I got up and went over to Stumps. He had rolled onto his back and his nose was bleeding. He had tears on his cheeks, but he smiled when he saw me and flapped his arms, trying to sit up. I lifted him and carried him like a baby to the boys’ bathroom.
“I am sorry, Stumps,” I told him. “I don’t think you’re an armless monkey-butt.” Stumps smiled and said that it was okay as I turned on the sink water for him to wash the blood off his face.
On Stumps’ eighth birthday, I went over to his house to watch him open his presents and to have cake. Stumps was all dressed up. He had a black suit on, which had no sleeves to it, and fancy shoes. Everybody, even Stump’s older brother Michael, was wearing a party hat. It was weird to see Michael opening the presents even though it was Stump’s birthday, but Stumps just smiled. I gave him a new soccer ball.
“It’s got little blue circles in every white place,” I said. Stumps told me it was the best present he’d ever gotten. While Stumps fooled around with the soccer ball, Michael tore open another present and produced a pair of blue socks.
“I can use these,” Stumps stated, “for my stubs when I play soccer, now. They match my ball.”
“Those are for your feet, Lars,” his mother told him. “You use all of your socks for your stubs, but these are special socks. They’re for your feet only.”
Stumps’ smile disintegrated. “But all my other socks have holes in them,” he said. “They make my stubs cold.”
“Then maybe you should try something else for your stubs, son,” his father said. “Or not play so hard when it gets cold outside.” Stumps looked at his father as if he didn’t understand a word he was saying, while his mother removed Stumps’ shoes and old dirty socks and replaced them with the blue ones.
“These fit your feet so nicely,” his mother said to Stumps. “And look—no holes for your toes to poke out! Isn’t that nice?” Stumps examined his feet, and all he said was, “They match my ball.”
About a week later, I thought of the perfect present for Stumps, and brought it to school the next day.
“Hey Stumps,” I said. “I’ve got a present for you.” I pulled the lid off the shoebox and took out the toe socks. I had gotten them a few years ago from my grandma, but I never wore them because they itched my feet. I put one sock on each of Stumps’ stubs. “See?” I told him. “Now it’s like you have fingers.” Stumps smiled and told me it was the best present he’d ever gotten.
Stumps went around for the next three days wearing the toe socks. He showed them off to everybody and told them all that I had given them to him. He was just getting used to them when one day, he came to class without them.
“Stumps,” I asked him. “Where are your fingers?”
He scrunched up his face real tightly trying to remember the words to say, but came up with “mmmmm…” so I left him alone for awhile. If he was left alone, he could sometimes think of the words. This time, he didn’t.
It wasn’t until after school that day that I found out what happened to his fingers. I was walking out of the building when someone grabbed my backpack and swung me around. It startled me so much that it took me about 10 seconds to realize that it was Stumps’ mother. She demanded I tell her if I had really given Stumps the toe socks.
I stood there, shocked, then squeaked out, “Yes.” Then she got a real mean look on her face. Stumps’ mother had always been very relaxed and kind, even though she worried about Stumps a lot. But then, she gripped my shoulders really tight—I thought I would scream—and said, “Don’t you ever disrespect my son that way again. Just because Lars has no arms doesn’t mean you’re better than he is in any way, Louie. Do you understand?” I nodded. “You don’t make fun of people’s disabilities.” She looked hard into my eyes, then let go of me.
Slowly, I started walking home. I was crying. I didn’t understand Stumps’ mother. I wasn’t trying to make fun of Stumps, I just figured he’d want to have fingers. I told him this the next day, and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “You weren’t making fun of me. I liked having fingers, anyway.”
It was November and the soccer season was over, but it didn’t matter to Stumps. Even after it started to snow in December, Stumps would wait for the snowplow to clear their street, and then dribble the soccer ball I had given him for his birthday up and down the street for hours a day. He continued this until three days before Christmas when he got a bad case of pneumonia and his mother took away his soccer ball.
“No more soccer,” she told him “until the spring.”
I had tried to avoid Stumps’ mother since the day she yelled at me, so Michael called me that night and held the phone up so that Stumps could talk to me. “Louie, now what am I supposed to do?”
I was about to tell Michael to tell Stumps to try something like drawing or yo-yoing, but then I remembered that Stumps couldn’t do any of those. “Dance, Stumps,” I told Michael finally. “You can dance. You like to dance.”
I heard Michael repeat this to Stumps. “There’s no dancing in the Olympics,” he told me.
I thought he wouldn’t try it, but when we got back to school in January, we started square dancing in gym, and Stumps was better than all of us. The girls were afraid to dance with him, but Stumps didn’t care. He just stood alone in the corner, spinning in circles and pumping his stubs like a wild man and laughing the whole time. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he couldn’t hear the music. It also didn’t matter that he wasn’t square dancing—he was still better than all the rest of us.
The gym teacher held a competition for the whole school, and Stumps won. He even beat the sixth graders. He got applause and five dollars. His mother and father were very proud. I think they wanted him to quit soccer, but Stumps wouldn’t.
“But you’re such a good dancer,” his mother protested. “You could join a dance club after-school and perform for many people.”
“I like soccer better,” Stumps replied.
In March, Stumps began kicking the soccer ball around again, and his mother gave up all hope of ever getting Stumps to dance. I didn’t see Stumps at all that summer because we went to Maine to spend the summer with my grandma. Stumps’ brother wrote a letter for Stumps to send to me:
Dear Louie Kablooey,
Mom told me the Olympics wouldn’t take me without arms. I didn’t believe her, but she kept saying it. She told me there had
never been a person without arms in any Olympic sport, and I said that I would be the first. Michael told me about this
Jamaican Bobsled team. If Jamaicans learned to bobsled without snow, can’t I play soccer without arms? What do you
I answered him by saying that he should try for the Olympics no matter what his mother told him, but I also said he’d look good with arms. I even drew him a picture. I think he liked it, because he wrote back saying that he was looking for arms. I showed this letter to my mom.
She laughed. “I don’t think that little boy has any idea of how prosthetics cost. I’d like to see their family afford two arms.”
When we got back at the beginning of the school year, Stumps had already saved up $50. “I got twenty of it from dancing competitions,” he told me. “I didn’t think that you could get that much money for just dancing. My partner’s name is Brittany. She’s not afraid to dance with me. She says I’m a really good dancer.” It turned out that Brittany had to teach Stumps every single step and every single rhythm because Stumps could not hear the music. The other $30 Stumps had earned had been from his birthday money and donations from his mother’s friends.
“I hear Lars wants prosthetics,” one would say to her. “Give him these $5 and wish him good luck.”
She would try to tell them that there would be no way that Stumps could save up the $30,000 it would cost for both arms, but they gave it to her anyway. He didn’t collect candy on Halloween night; instead, he wore a sign on his shirt that asked for donations for prosthetic arms. He went around the town without socks on his stubs so he could show them to curious donators. Before Halloween, he had about $80. After Halloween, he had over $120.
His mother got curious about where Stumps was keeping all the money and asked me about it. This was the first time she’d spoken to me since she yelled at me about making fun of Stumps. I told her I had no idea where Stumps was keeping his money, but she kept pestering me for the answer.
“You started this madness,” she said to me “with those toe socks. You think this is going to make his life easier?”
“If he gets the arms it will,” I replied.
“Do you have any idea how much prosthetic arms cost?”
I guessed at around $500 for each arm. She just shook her head and walked away.
Stumps continued practicing soccer and dancing after school in his dance club with Brittany as well. When Stumps told her about his raising money for new arms, she was ecstatic.
“Then you can really twirl me!” she said.
Stumps got really sick in February—sick enough to have to stop going to both school and the dance club for awhile. We were in 4th grade, and Stumps missed all this important testing stuff, as well as the concert for the dance club. Brittany was upset because she had to dance with another partner, but because she was used to leading and he could twirl her for real, they won the $10 prize.
Brittany gave half of it to Stumps. “So you can dance with arms next year and be my partner!” she told him. By now, Stumps had over $200. But he was still very sick. His mother took him to the hospital to see what was wrong with him and why he wasn’t getting any better, and the doctors did a lot of tests. And when they did find out what it was, it wasn’t good. Stumps had stomach cancer.
The doctors thought that this cancer had been growing for about five years and had just started causing problems. I asked my mom if the cancer didn’t do anything bad to Stumps until it got big enough, kind of like a splinter in your foot wouldn’t hurt unless you stepped on it wrong, and she told me that cancer was a lot worse than any splinter. Also, we found out that Stumps’ cancer was inoperable, which meant that they couldn’t take it out. He had to stay in the hospital.
I asked if Stumps was going to die, and mom said, “Most likely, dear.”
From that point on, I tried to spend as much time with Stumps as I could. But his hospital room was scary—it was very white and there wasn’t even a window in it. He had a needle in his shoulder and a lot of monitors around his bed. But every time I came into the room, he’d smile and ask me to tell him stories or to play a simple game with him.
One day in early April, Stumps’ mom caught me outside of Stumps’ room and said she needed to talk to me. “The doctors say he’s only got about a month left to live,” she told me while we walked slowly down the hall.
“Does he know he’s going to die?” I asked her.
She sighed and put her arm around my shoulder. “Oh, he’s known that from day one,” she said. “Lars is a fighter. He’s strong—but not stronger than cancer.” Then we stopped walking and she put her hands on my shoulders, only this time she didn’t yell at me.
“What does he want?” she asked me. “What does he want more than anything else in the world?”
I thought. “He wants arms,” I told her. “But that’s not the thing he wants most.”
“What does he want most?” I paused. “He wants you to want him to be in the Olympics.” I paused again. I felt like Stumps, trying to think of the right words. “He wants your…approval,” I said at last.
She took her hands off my shoulders. “My approval. Out of all the things he could want in the world—even more than a pair of arms—he wants my approval. How could I be so stupid?” I started to tell her that she wasn’t stupid, but she interrupted me by saying that I could go see Stumps. I could tell she was crying, so I left her.
I wasn’t there when Stumps’ mother told him that she approved of him trying out for the Olympics, but Stumps later told me that it was the best day of his life. Then his mother did another good thing—she got Stumps his arms. The $400 Stumps had saved up, as well as another $1,000 was enough to persuade a prosthetic expert to give a dying boy his last wish.
It was May when Stumps was no longer Stumps. Even though he was in extreme pain, he was able to sit up and have the two prosthetic arms fitted onto his stubs. Everyone in the room clapped for him, and Stumps, for the first time in three years, was able to raise his arms up into the air. He made the ‘touchdown’ sign, and everyone laughed. It was like a birthday party—there were cards and teddy bears and balloons.
I said goodbye to him the next morning.
“Thank you,” he said to me “for being my friend. And for teaching me how to dance. I would have never met Brittany or raised enough money for my arms.” He used what little strength he had in his left stub to raise the plastic arm. I grabbed the cold, fake fingers, and shook hands with Stumps.
“Goodbye, Louie,” he said, smiling.
Stumps passed away on the morning of May 5th, 2003. They were going to have an open casket service for him, and his mother asked me if he should be buried with the prosthetics attached.
“No,” I said. “He wouldn’t be Stumps without his stubs.”
“Stumps?” His mother had never known about his nickname.
“It’s what we all called him,” I said. I expected her to get mad at the thought of a nickname like ‘Stumps,’ but instead she just smiled.
“It’s cute,” she told me.
At the service, I was afraid. A lifeless Stumps was in the room with everybody looking at him and crying over him. I didn’t want to go at first, but my mom said it would be disrespectful to Stumps if I didn’t at least see him in his casket. I walked to the front of the church. Stumps looked like he was asleep; I felt as if I could reach out and shake his shoulder and he’d wake up and smile at me. But I didn’t; I knew it wouldn’t happen.
He was wearing the same suit that he had worn on his eighth birthday, but instead of the fancy dress shoes, he was wearing the shoes he always danced in. He had the blue socks on his stubs, and the prosthetics lying beside him. The soccer ball I had given him was down by his feet. Brittany was there and we said ‘hi’ to each other and stood looking at Stumps before we walked out of the church. But before we left his side, I turned back to look at him, and I could swear he was smiling.
I still visit Stumps’ grave every once and awhile. I put a soccer ball on his plot a few years ago, but some kids stole it, so ever since then, I’d put flowers or a poem there for him. But the best part is what’s written on his tombstone:
Lars ‘Stumps’ Robertson
It happened before Facebook. It happened before YouTube. It happened before the iPhone. It happened before Wi-Fi became widespread.
But the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center spread across the country probably faster than any of us could have imagined.
I remember waking up that morning to go to school. My mom already had the news on. It was shortly after the first tower had been hit, and as such there was still a great amount of confusion amongst the news reporters about what exactly had happened. Yes, the tower had been hit by a plane, but there was still speculation regarding whether it was an accident.
I personally remember thinking that’s all it was as I packed up my stuff to walk to school (8th grade). I think my most distinct memory of the day was when I first got on campus a little bit later. Students were rushing into the building, parents exiting the parking lot quickly. I saw my friend Amy, also in a hurry, pass me on her bike.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The second tower just got hit,” she said. “Big news. Everyone’s talking about it.”
I really don’t remember much else from that day. School didn’t happen, that’s for sure; every TV in every classroom was on, every pair of eyes in every grade watching silently as the events unfolded.
School didn’t happen for the rest of the week, either.
I think if I had been a few years older I would have remembered more. I actually remember September 11, 2002 more vividly because of how afraid everyone was about a similar even occurring on the one-year anniversary.
I guess there’s really not much I can say that hasn’t been said by anyone else today. I hope all those killed (yes, ALL those killed), both on that day and from events resulting from that day, rest in peace.
That is all.
Mr. LaFortune was my earth science teacher in 9th grade. That was around the time when I was really into cycling and he and I always used to discuss the best places to ride around Moscow after class was over. He was a super excellent teacher, let us play a Jeopardy like game to review for the tests, and made my last class of the day something to really look forward to.
Unfortunately, he died early this morning, succumbing to brain cancer after a long fight.
The world will miss you, Mr. La.
Today’s song: Miracles by Norwegian Recycling
Good lord. So I was in the “advanced reading” group in seventh grade English, which meant we had to read Dune. Our final project had to involve some sort of interpretation of the book. Seeing as how I had a video camera and making video reenactments of everything we possibly could was the easiest way out of anything, we chose to do just that. Unfortunately, we decided to film on a day when it was about 30 degrees outside and there was snow everywhere. Just…just read it. The script was written by Brendan.
(I film during all of this)
Me: The setting is outside the desert cave on the planet Arrakis, otherwise know—(breaks down into laughter)
Me: The setting is outside the very white sanded dune desert cave on the planet Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. Lady Jessica and her son Paul, the new Atreides duke, are wandering aimlessly through the desert when they come across Fremen land.
Kyle: Who goes there?
Brendan: It is I—
Mitchell (stands up from the playground): Woopsie, haha, I messed up.
Kyle: Alright, cut.
Me: The setting is outside the very white sanded desert cave on the planet Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. The Lady Jessica and her son Paul, the new Atreides duke, are wandering aimlessly through the desert when they come across Fremen land.
Mitchell: Whaaaaa!!! (jumps off playground and collapses laughing)
Kyle: Who goes there? This is Fremen Land, and you are TRESPASSING!!!
Brendan: I am the duke of the Atreides family, and this is Lady Jessica.
Kyle (walks up to Kristin and kisses her hand): Hello!
[minor fight scene]
Kyle: Should I take ‘em hostage?
Mitchell (hesitantly, he’s getting freaked out by Kyle): No, they are friends…
Brendan: We are friends!
Mitchell (off camera): Cut the scene…cut the darn—
Me (off camera): Fight Scene!
Kyle: I can’t believe I was bested by this child! I will do one-on-one duel with you! Let’s take him to the cave…I’m gonna kick his butt!
Brendan: I don’t want to kill you, though!
Kyle: (maniacal laughter)
Kyle: I will kill you!
Kristin: Are you sure?
Brendan: I’m not sure, but I will then, if it’s…mandatory.
Kyle: I will kill you. I’m going to KILL YOU!
Brendan: Well then BRING IT ON!
Kyle: Kill you!
Brendan: BRING IT ON!! (taunts with stick)
Me (off camera): This is the real Fight Scene!
Kyle: Let’s fight!
[lots of fighting, running, and slipping on the snow while fighting with sticks]
Kyle: BRING IT ON!
Kyle: Paul, of the Atreides, I will KILL YOU!! I WILL KIILL YOU!!
Brendan: You are my friend…(runs up behind him, brandishing a stick)…CHARGE!!!!
[random shot of Mitchell writhing on the floor because he has to pee so bad]
Kyle: The blind man is killing me!
Brendan: I don’t want to kill him! I don’t want to do it, but I will! (stabs him)
[Kyle screams a lot]
Kyle: Oh…the water…water of my body…(unintelligible)
Mitchell (off screen): Cut the darn scene!
Kyle: The rest of the scene might be a little too bloody for the rest of you…down there…so I’ll have to turn it off…you know…so five-year-old children don’t get a sense of the PG-13 idea.
Brendan (off screen): Scene 2: The Ceremony. Setting in the cave. Now the Fremen are holding a ceremony for the dead Jamis…(unintelligible rambling)…his family will SAY A THING OR TWO ABOUT HIM…(unintelligible rambling)…PAUL IS REQUIRED to participate…there is the dead Jamis, sitting in the pale chamber wall!
Brendan (on screen, sounding freakishly like a Gospel preacher): I was a friend of Jamis…Jamis taught me…OH, Jamis was a FREEEEEEEEEEEEEMEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!…OH JAMIS JAMIS…Jamis taught me…OH JAMIS TAUGHT ME…Jamis taught me that when you kill somebody…when you kill somebody you pay for it…and now I’ve learned that…and I’m sorry! I’m SO SORRY! AAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!!!
(Kyle tapes all of this)
Brendan: We are done with the last scene, and now we’re going on to the Drunken Duncan scene.
Kristin: What is all that noise?
Me: I killed over 300 men for my Duke!
Brendan (grabbing onto my sleeve): He escorted a lady…a lady Duke’s daughter…home.
Kristin: Get Dr. Yueh.
Brendan (while struggling to hold on to me): He’s drunk on spice beer! He’s drunk on spice beer!
Me: Too much spice beer?!
Brendan: Shut up! You woke the Lady Jessica!
Me: Who cares?
Me: I won’t take orders from a Harkonnen spy!
[Kristin throws water in my face]
Me: FREAK! You Harkonnen spy!
Kristin: What do you mean?
Me: You are a spy! You are a spy from the Harkonnen…House.
Kristin: Did Hawat come up with this?
[Kristin throws the rest of the water in my face]
Brendan: Time for bloopers! (strips)
Brendan: This is the Duncan Idaho Scene that we cut. We will now act it out for you. The scene that we cut WE DIDN’T REALLY CUT!!!!!
Mitchell (off screen): Hey dude!
Brendan (off screen): How are we gonna act it out?
Me (off screen): No, we can use the script, Brendan, we can just hand it back and forth.
Brendan: “I want my bloody sheath!”
Me: Okay, here, gimme it. Who’s…
Kyle: Ready? And…
Me: I want my bloody sheath you scallywag! Ever heard of Tutankhamun the 4th or 88th? I forget. Crap. I want my mamma!
Kristin: What’s this? I was attacked in the middle of the night! I must go to sleep! But what about Paul? And my Leto, my dear Leto!
Me: Who are thee who dare enter my company, you witch?
Kristin: It’s me, Jessica, lover of thy duke, Leto!
Me: Oh no! Not you witch, shoot!
Kristin: Are you insulting my name, poor old drunk Idaho?
Me (while slowly collapsing to the floor): No! Must…not…no! Being much, no! Leto, Paul, not Paul! Idea! Hawat! Not me! Never…was…never met!
Brendan: He escorted a lady…a lady FRIEND! He’s a very nice fellow, that lady!
Me: I know what you’re talking about, women, AH! Me like escorting women! The woman I escorted home tonight was a bad LADY! Had to kill five Charizards to get her home! Then she drunk me up and tried to ‘ill me! And come here to watch duke…duke Leto’s Jessica…the suspected TRAITOR!!
Kristin: What do you mean, you old mutt? I’m going to whip—(starts laughing uncontrollably)
Me: You’re going to whip my behind with a mallet? You’re going to get Mapes to go get some spice beer? What’s the matter with you, woman?!
Brendan: Here’s some spice coffee! Here’s what he’s been drunk on!
Me: I don’t have a part…(laughter) I don’t have apart till the all wet part!
Brendan: This is Mapes. “Yes my lady.” This is Jessica.
Kristin: Guards, get me some water. Someone get Yueh.
Brendan (bearing snow): Your water! Yes, Lady Jessica! On the double, ma’am!
[Kristin puts the snow on my head]
Me: I’m all wet! Why’d you get me all wet? I like to be dry!
Brendan: Jessica then says: “if you want to be dry, go outside and dry up! Maybe some more ladies will show up, getting drunk again will not hurt you!” Yueh (pronouncing it “you”): “You called my Lady? My Lady Jessica? My Lady?” “Yes, You—”
Me: It’s “YOO-uh!”
Brendan: “Yes Yoo-UHHH! Give this intoxicated insult-hurling Idaho some medicine to calm him down!” YUAAAH: “Yes my lady. On the double my fair Lady Jessica Mistress Lady.” Idaho: “Not the spice coffee, that’s powerful stuff! It’s just plain old addictive! Go away Yueh, HOME!!” Jessica: “You, give me some of that stinkin’ coffee. I’m wanting you to drink this drinkin’ drunken stuff, drunken Duncan!” Idaho: “I don’t like taking orders from traders, especially such a bad one as her.” (points to me)
Brendan: “I mean her (points to Kristin). I musn’t daren’t daren’t…I musn’t daren’t drink it! Go away you witch!” “Watching you has been hard enough, you slippery old slime ball, you! Wait…no. Yes. You. Wait…”
Me (seeing he’s completely confused himself): Jessica. Jessica.
Brendan: JESSICA!! “How could you betray me! You! You! Betray me! Leto too, and he must have known…” (getting way too emotional)
Me: It’s okay…
Mitchell (off screen): JUST READ IT!!
Brendan: “Oh no! Oh. No! It’s not me. I would never hurt my Leto. My darling Leto. My darling duke Leto. My darling duke duke duke Leto.” Idaho: “He is not your Leto. You are his Jessica! He OWNS YOU!”
[hands the script to me, then realizes the mistake, and tries to give it to Kristin]
Brendan: No, Jessica reads it.
Me (desperate): But I wanna read it!
Mitchell (laughing): No, no Jessica reads it.
Brendan: Slowly! Slowly!
Kristin: It must have been Hawat’s idea! He’s always hated me because I am a Bene Gesserit! He is a failure! A sleazy, cowardly, mocking, blabbering, repetitive, annoying, son-of-a-dog person! You must have known about this, Yueh. I thought I could trust you!
Mitchell (with camera turned on him): It wasn’t me! I’m not even in this scene!
Kristin: Ever heard of Judas, the loser who cheated Jesus because he was afraid of a more earthly power? You are all like him, all of you!”
Fun times. Brendan REALLY reminds me of Lanky. And “I’m wanting you to drink this drinkin’ drunken stuff, drunken Duncan” is the best sentence ever written.
Hahahaha what the hell.
As I was transferring all my crap from Vaio onto Vaio II, I came upon this little bit of writing I did in 5th grade. Our job was to pick a well-known fable and modify it as much as we could while keeping the general idea. My idea was to mess with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” but as you can see, I got a little…um…carried away with other stuff.
Dear Davis Love III,
This letter was just written to you from a remote nuclear power plant in Russia. At this moment now, some crazy English sheep, who seem to be drunk on herbal tea, are crying out my name (which, by the way, is Vladimir Rimidalv) and beckoning me to join them for their afternoon tea. If you ask me, they’ve been obsessed with this ‘tea’ thing ever since Dimitri (their owner) took away their cigarettes. Dimitri had worked at the plant all his life except for the three years he spent on the Russian Space Station. Of course, he gave me the most formal greeting a guy with a half-liquefied brain could: “Welcome to the Russian Space Station.” Then he broke out into a round of the Russian National Anthem. If you could have heard his rancid voice and seen his crazy gestures, you’d know what I mean when I say he should’ve stayed in space where he belonged. Anyway, as you can tell, it is chaos up here. I‘d like to know more about Roswell, NM, and, by the way, weren’t you a famous golfer at one point? Sincerely, Vladimir Rimidalv.
Dear Vladimir Rimidalv,
I think your living by a remote power plant is really interesting. Have you ever thought about opening a soup kitchen there? I bet you would get lots of money. Hey, why don’t you sell herbal tea to those annoying sheep? When you write about Dimitri, it began to worry me. Do you know about werewolves? I’ve been doing some research on them, and I’m pretty sure he is one. Here are some things to look for: séances every full moon, extra hair, and dangerous-looking teeth. Roswell, NM is really sort of like your place. I would send you one of my school pictures, but they got burned up one day when I was walking home from school (they accidentally set off a nuke!). Watch for the signs.
Dear Davis Love III,
I opened that soup kitchen you suggested, and my business is not that great. I’m selling more than soup, too. Cappuccino is the only type of thing that gets me money; the groups of sheep come at least three times a day. I’ve learned a lot about them in a week. The leader, who buys all the tea, is named Keith. He’s not the smartest though…Roberto is. He’s the one who invented the coffee filter. The most proper is Marvin. He’s always telling me how to pour the tea. I’ve been watching Dimitri. I’ve purposely been making key chains that say: “Welcome to the Russian Space Station” just to get him over to my shop and get a closer look at him. And I’m afraid to report that I think he really is turning into a werewolf! He’s growing more hair on face and his teeth are turning silver. Also, he’s stealing my cups. What’s up with that??
Dear Mr. Rimidalv,
An answer to your question: he’s stealing your cups because he has werewolf instinct. They can’t stay away from Styrofoam. Anyway, keep the cups away from him. They encourage the developing werewolf.
You won’t believe what happened! It was all the boy’s fault! And the sheep’s! And yours! Anyway, I was selling tea to the sheep, just like normal, and having a nice conversation with Marvin, when the boy came up, looking more like a werewolf than ever, and snatched up about 2/3 of my cups! So naturally, I started screaming “Boy! Boy!” I grabbed the burning hot coffee from Marvin’s paws and dumped it on Dimitri. Of course, the sheep began to freak out. They were all galloping all over the place until Marvin, who had uncurled from his hiding position, said, “Hey! That’s not a werewolf! It’s Dimitri!” All the chaos stopped. “But he is a werewolf,” I shouted. “Really! He’s turning hairy, his teeth are silver, and he is stealing my cups!” “No, I’m not a werewolf,” he replied. “I’m growing a beard, I got braces a few days ago, and I’m taking your cups because I want you to stop getting my sheep drunk!” I looked at the sheep. The sheep looked at me. With Marvin’s help, I pushed him into a sinkhole, and he was never heard of again. The sheep went with me on a tour of England, and we made a fortune selling herbal tea.
Sincerely, Vlad R.
So I’ve been thinking about typing class recently, for some unknown reason.
2001: a frightened number of 7th graders enter the classroom of Mrs. Walker, a creepy old lady who sounds bitter about the fact that typing classes are now taught on “computational machines” rather than typewriters.
Little did we know, this class would be our introduction to the internet.
This kid named Lucas showed us, one day after we’d finished our typing exercises for the period, this site called freearcade.com. It became the reward for finishing our typing crap and our incentive for typing as fast as we could every single damn day. Javanoid, Wiz 3, Fillit…oh, pre-adolescence grew so much more interesting with the internet.
Before this, believe it or not, I had barely been exposed to the wonderful series of tubes that Al Gore invented. We’d used Google (back when it was Google!) in 6th grade once, and I think the thing I was researching was slugs.
So all this got me thinking more…do you think people born around our years of birth (1986 – 1989, say) had the “optimal” exposure to the internet? Rationale: people born earlier than us had to either be exposed to it enough to start to understsand it, or they decided not to be exposed to it and therefore are kinda clueless about it (example: my mother and my father, respectively). People born later than us may have had too early and too prolonged exposure to it, and therefore may have a greater risk of having or gaining an addiction to it (example: one of my younger cousins).
Think about. I obviously have no authority on anything.