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"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours." - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Children's Stories 2

She sat uncomfortably in this house, which was one like in the television shows her mother frowned upon. The prime time sitcoms with families just like this one, except on TV they were always funny. This was just scary. She sat at the table which was a white linoleum card table with metal trim, like one would find at a diner only taller. The chairs too reminded her of a pizza hut or a buffet; chromed metal rising in a high arch at the back, attached to two lower arches on either side which made for legs. Legs that teetered back and forth like the chairs at school, except that these chairs were covered in a hard plastic in some audacious shade of orange. There was a rip in the seat of hers and she unconciously pulled at the foam which stuck through the hole. The man had a loud voice and long blond hair; not long, but too long for a man, and dirty. He drank Budweiser from a can and was trim and strong with fingernails that showed his occupatition. He wore a flannel shirt with a grey hood attached and no sleeves. The mother's voice sounded like grain, like oatmeal, and she resembled the bag it had come in. Her eyes were tired with stringy brown hair and an outfit which could be one piece or two; but shapeless either way.

This was Jody's house. Jody was her friend who brought garish makeup into school which they put on in the bathroom so they could prance around the playground like rockstars; way older and way too cool. The other girls said they were stupid but Jody didn't care and she didn't care because Jody was fun, and nobody else in her class was fun at all. Except the boys, but they still screamed about cooties and the only game they played with the girls was kissing tag, but when it came time for the kiss they were all too shy and she usually ended up punching them in the face to save them both.

Jody had hair like a rockstar, short and punky, spiked on top. Jody lived right next to the school, it was the first time that she had ever invited her over. She wished she hadn't come. The food was some kind of lumpy grey meat with gravy and what must be potatoes. She stared at the food and was thankful that they mostly ignored her presence. When Jody's father asked her a question she felt her throat tighten and she tugged at the unraveled strings on the vinyl chair and choked out the least response she could properly offer. Just then, Jody's father got up to get himself another beer. He happened to notice the floor under her chair. He roared, "Just what the hell are you doing to my chair there?".

She looked down and to her horror she saw little geometric foam droppings all over the floor. In her anxiety she had ripped the hole bigger and had torn much stuffing from the inside and let it drop about her like tainted snow. Jody apologized and told her father she didn't mean it, and Jody's mother tried to calm him down. Jody took her hand and they ran outside then, into the cool air where everything was funny again and they laughed and held their knees.

"What'd you do that for?" Jody asked when they had caught their breath. "I don't know," she said sheepishly, "your dad scares me." "Why?" asked Jody. She just shrugged this time, there was no right answer to that. Jody looked at her for a moment, as if trying to gauge the insult behind the remark, then she remembered the chair. "You're stupid" Judy said matter of factly, and grabbed her hand. Then they ran over towards the school and snuck through the fence and played on the swings, until it got dark and her mother came to pick her up.

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