Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Un Soir dans Paris IV

Heat was predictable, which was to the advantage of those that it bothered.

Heat was hot, sure, and heat hit hard, but it was predictable. It moved quickly, where it could, but it had trouble with trees and rocks and apartments and night. Night was bad; night made it cool and less hot, though it was still hot. Apartments at night were the worst, though. Apartments at night were downright bearable, and so even though heat was miserable in almost all cases, Parisians found ways around it.

The meeting was held in an abandoned apartment building in the older section of the city at night. Josephine and Felix arrived a little early, but Simon and a few others were already there. Simon sat at the front of the room, poring over some papers.

"Simon, this is Felix. He's interested in joining the resistance." Josephine's introduction was less than accurate, and Felix flushed. Simon held out a massive hand, and Felix took it, expecting a crushing handshake. He wasn't disappointed.

Simon was tall and well-built, his brown hair dropping in front of his eyes, pushed down by a black beanie.

"Simon's the one behind the whole resistance," Josie explained, patting Simon's shoulder, "he'll tell you it was a team effort, but it was pretty much all him."

Simon laughed humbly, replying, "hardly. I couldn't have done it without you guys. Who smuggled the rifles? Who got the security codes?"

Josie seemed determined. "Yeah, but who planned everything?"

"The meetings are where the planning gets done! It's not like the resistance follows me blindly. We'll leave that sort of devotion to the army."

Felix was surprised to hear Simon calling the government by the term of ill-endearment usually reserved for the Poets.

Simon saw the look on his face. "You prefer that I call them the government? They do no governing. They are killers."

Felix mumbled something, but Simon had already turned away, his voice ringing out over the crowd that had gathered, settling them down.

"Ladies, gentlemen, please. Take your seats."

They did as they were told.

"We have been working for a long time to be as prepared as we are now, on the brink of our fight. The tasks you have completed over the past months and years has been heroic. We have converted fanatics of the army to our side, from the lowest of the workers to top-ranking personnel, and amassed enormous stockades of resources, the least of which include rifles, riot gear, helmets, ammunition, and, of course, our own passion for revolution. The workers have been trodden on for years, but for no longer. We will be heard."

There was some applause, but Simon held up his hands.

"Take the week off. You've earned it. Next week begins the revolution."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Hands

I'm very aware of my hands.

I close them, carefully, deliberately, so that my muscles pull my skin taught and the veins on the back stand out, bluish. I stretch them out; thumb to pinky I can reach an octave and a half, though I'd never play much more than an octave. I turn them over, I pop my thumb out, I crack my knuckles, each one, separately. I practice the sign language alphabet. I wreck my nails.

It's not something I do thoughtlessly; to the contrary, I find that it is only when I really think about my hands that I bother doing it at all. I'm sitting somewhere, in a car, maybe, or at a desk, or at a restaurant, and suddenly I'm thinking about my hands and opening them and closing them and wrecking my nails.

I could say I'm doing it to confirm that they're still there, but I'm not. I could say I'm admiring the design, examining the handiwork that went into making me the evolutionary miracle that I am, or that I want to really mean it when I say I know something like the back of my hand, but if you really quizzed me I doubt I could tell you what the back of my hands really looked like. I'm not testing out muscles; I'm not practicing piano. I'm really just very aware of my hands, and so it feels natural to move them around.

I like to think of things as endearing. Little things, like stuttering and freckles and constantly-crooked glasses, looking for the perfect word, or having a weird laugh, or spontaneous dancing. They seem endearing. I guess I sort of hope that my hand thing is endearing.

Don't tell me if it isn't.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Is Just To Say

This is just to say:
I know I fouled you
during last night's game.

I ripped the frisbee from your hands
but contested the call anyway.

Forgive me.
It was far too easy
when the trophy was so shiny
and your grip was so weak.

This is an adaptation of a poem called "This Is Just To Say" by William Carlos Williams. Poets and writers frequently write their own version of the poem, and it was recently featured on an episode of "This American Life". Let's get a little collection of our own adaptations; write one and email it to me or comment it on this post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Xtra Dead 4: Death Kills

The scene: a ritzy hotel bar, 11:30 PM. In the background, a cocktail party rages mercilessly. Light jazz plays. Martini glasses clink gently.

In the foreground, MATTHEW MANN sips whisky. He is dressed in a sharp tuxedo, his hair slicked back. His toned muscles are hidden by the black jacket, but he is clearly a fit man. He looks at ease.

HOT WOMAN approaches MATTHEW. She sits down next to him.

Nice watch.

I'm not wearing a watch.

HOT WOMAN (coyly)
I know.

She orders a drink, and then spins around on her stool, facing the party. Her elbows rest on the bar, but she still talks to MATTHEW.

So, how do you know the president's daughter and the most famous basketball player of all time?

Friend of a friend. I was lucky to get invited to the wedding. This reception certainly is beautiful.

HOT WOMAN (eyeing him)
That's a nice tux. What is it, Brioni, 1939?

Uh, no.

Oh, well. Whatever it is, it must have cost a fortune.

I'm very good at what I do.

HOT WOMAN (turning towards MATTHEW)
Oh yeah? And what exactly do you do?

MATTHEW (also coyly)
Oh, nothing.

Suddenly, orchestra hits play. In a black and white flashback, MATTHEW is in a hut somewhere in the jungle, wearing a dirty tank top and cargo shorts. He holds an AK-47, and he hits a man with the butt of the gun, violently.

Back in the hotel.

HOT WOMAN (confused)
Wait, you're very good at doing... nothing?

Er, yes.

In the jungle again, MATTHEW hits the MAN two more times. Orchestra hits continue playing.

Back in the hotel. The background music has faded, leaving a few clarinets trilling. Tension mounts.

HOT WOMAN (still confused)
Wait, are you employed?


In the jungle, MATTHEW is walking out of the hut, holding a cigar. His arm is bloody. He stops for a second, lights up the cigar, and throws away the match. He inhales deeply, relishing the smoke.

He takes out a stick of dynamite, lights it with the cigar, and throws it behind his back. He exits.

The background explodes. Then: another explosion, this time bigger, in slow motion.

A brief pause, then six more explosions.

Back at the party:

Not unemployed per say...

The HOT WOMAN looks at him.

HOT WOMAN (seductively)

As much as I'd like to continue this conversation, I actually have something to do.

HOT WOMAN (confused, hurt)

MATTHEW gets up from the bar and wades into the crowd. Suddenly, a gunshot rings out from the center of the room. Everyone throws themselves flat except for MATTHEW, the PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER (wearing white), and a MASKED MAN holding a gun in the air and grabbing the PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER.

MATTHEW is unperturbed. He walks determinedly towards the MASKED MAN, who is facing the other way, yelling something in Russian.

MATTHEW grabs the gun from him. He spins around, MATTHEW punches him in the face. The MASKED MAN falls.

The PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER looks confused. MATTHEW takes the opportunity to kiss her once, passionately. The MOST FAMOUS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME stands up.

Hey, that's my wife!

He takes a swing at MATTHEW, who ducks. The MOST FAMOUS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME hits his new wife, the PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER. As the MOST FAMOUS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME crouches down to apologize, MATTHEW stands up, straightens his tie, and begins to walk from the room. As he does, he takes out a cigar, lighting up. He inhales deeply and takes out a stick of dynamite.

MATTHEW is walking from the hotel. Behind him, it explodes. He is too cool to notice.

ON SCREEN, as Matthew exits:


The hotel blows up again.

Cut to black.

The end.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


September never got a fair fight, which was unfortunate.

January wasn't afraid to wind up for its punches, and June worked more with quick jabs. December cheated; he weighted his gloves with Christmas and New Year's Eve. April and May were girls, and while the rest of the months shuffled their feet and coughed nervously at the thought of fighting girls, April and May hit deliberately. By the time their opponent set aside ideas of chivalry, it was too late. He had already lost.

July and August didn't have much in the way of strength, but they were quick. They dodged left and right, confusing their opponent with heat and relaxation, seemingly never-ending weekends and sand. November punched hard, pummeling into submission. October had a late run, cold and hard until the very end of the match, where he sprang into action with jack-o-lanterns and trick or treats. Even February, the runty, forgotten, underdog, always managed to score a hit or two.

September couldn't win.

September was uncomfortably warm and uncomfortably cold. He was slow and thin. His glasses would always get knocked off, and his shoes were too heavy. He was always on the defense. School started in September, and that always seemed to have him in the corner. Opponents didn't even need an advantage. September beat himself.

When he fought February, he tripped on the ice. Against June he melted. May and April were the worst of all. September would just stand there, letting himself get hit until he couldn't stand up anymore.

Maybe without holidays or school, September could have fought and held his own. The weather wasn't terrible in September. Scarfs were optional, and sometimes Sunday evenings were warm enough for a game of pick-up soccer. September could have been a balanced fighter, not too quick and not too strong, but enough of both to win once in a while.

There was one fight, though, a Tuesday night fight where September fought January, where things were different. No one ever came on Tuesday night, and the manager just wanted a quick fight so he could close up and go home.

At first, the match was predictable. January was inaccurate, but hit hard enough. September was in the corner early, and the referee had to pull January off more than once.

It was the fourth time that the months had gotten tangled up when September did something new. The referee dropped his arm, and January wound up to throw what would everyone assumed would be the last punch of the match. Suddenly, though, September got this calm look on his face. He dropped his gloves.

It was suddenly a warm Friday, early evening, on the campus of a suburban high school. The sun drew straight, long lines with the linearity of the courtyard, chairs stretching for miles in shadows on the ground. Litter was everywhere, and crows and chipmunks scavenged loudly around, looking for dinner.

In the corner of the courtyard, a group of friends sat playing cards and snacking. They wore shorts; the sun that hit their skin was more than enough to keep them warm. A gentle breeze drifted across the area. The friends laughed.

January was reeling. September hit him over and over with his right glove, winding up and striking repeatedly, determinedly, sweat flying. One more punch sent his opponent sprawling on the ground, flat-out.

The referee counted, and, slowly, the month stood up, testing his balance. September looked balanced and alert. He was ready for anything. He brought his gloves up.

Then January snowed, and everyone went home for the night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Food 2

Though orchestra was, by far, the most painful period of the day, high school wasn't all terror and violins. Sometimes things could almost get sweet. For instance, I remember once at lunch a little freshman came running through the courtyard sobbing about a test. I remember how, as soon as he got through the other door, Ali clucked her tongue and said, "school's a bitch." She shook her head sadly. "Messed up on amino acids, for Chrissake. Poor bastard forgot to study."

On occasions high school was like a Ping-Pong ball. You could put fancy spin on it, you could make it dance.

I remember at lunch every day before U.S., I would always ask Emma what time class started. Every day she had a different answer. Sometimes she would say, "are you honestly asking me that?" Other times she pretended to hit me. People didn't get it. Repeatedly they would hear the question and answer for her. It was still sort of relaxing, though. Both of us knew I knew class started at 12:02. We knew where we stood. It was predictable.

Once there was this student who had the lead in the musical and then, at the very start of the biggest performance, she forgot her lines and started performing the previous year's musical. From there, everyone: stage crew, the orchestra pit, the whole cast, just performed the musical from the year before. No one skipped a beat. It was incredible, it was crazy, it was daring, and the audience left a little confused about what had happened.

I remember Carissa smiling as she told me that story. Most of it she made up, I'm sure, but even so it gave me a trick truth-goose. Because it's all relative. You're stuck in some stupid Spanish class, and then the bell rings and you realize it's lunch time and you get half an hour to spend with your friends, and you walk out and look up and see the sun and a few puffy white clouds, and then immense serenity flashes against your eyeballs. The whole world gets rearranged, and even though you're stuck in school you never felt more at peace.

What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end:

Frances lying down in some dorm room in Tennessee, our whole DI team just there in the dark, and her whispering, "I'll tell you something, guys. If I could have one wish, anything, I'd wish for my parents to sit me down and say it's okay if I don't get an A on a test. That's all they ever talk about, nothing else. How they can't to see my goddamn test scores."

Or Monica teaching a snow dance to Carissa and Hong, the three of them whooping and leaping around while a bunch of freshmen looked on with a mixture of fascination and giggly horror. Afterward, Hong said, "So where's the snow?" and Monica said, "The grader is slow, but the student is patient," and Hong thought about it and said, "Yeah, but where's the snow?"

Or Tim adopting an inch worm, carrying it around all day on his briefcase until Jeff purposefully knocked it onto the ground and stepped it on it with his size twelve sneakers.

We're all pretty young, I guess, so things often took on a curiously playful atmosphere, lots of pranks and horseplay. Like when Jeff stepped on Inchy the Inch Worm. "What's everybody so upset about?" Jeff said. "I mean, Jesus, I'm just a kid."

Sometimes you can't spin it, though. Sometimes high school wasn't fun and everyone knew it so there it is. There it is, they'd say. Over and over, there it is, my friend, there it is, as if the repetition itself was an act of poise, a balance between failing and almost failing, knowing without going, there it is, which meant take it easy, take it slow, don't worry about that math test. Oh yeah, man, you can't change what can't be changed, there it is, there it is, there it absolutely and positively and friggin' well is.

They were tough. They were adaptable. They were confused. They were sure of themselves. They could walk in the hall without a problem. They weren't afraid to shove someone, or to write on the tables in the courtyard. They yelled for people to be quiet. They danced. They sung. They sat by themselves. They carried on, saddling up every day and forming up in through the door and walking towards their classes.

It wasn't too bad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Food 1

Here's a quick peace story:

A student goes absent. Shacks up at home, pretending to be sick. It's a great time; his mom brings him anything he wants to eat, he watches 24 all day, and he doesn't have to do any homework. The week's over, he thinks, and it's only Tuesday. Just Jack Bauer and Cup O' Noodles. But suddenly, on Thursday, he's back in first period math class. Can't wait to start learning again. Finally one of his classmates asks what happened with the fake illness, why so hot for derivatives, and the guy says, "All that free time, man, it felt so good it hurt. I want to hurt it back."

Friday, September 12, 2008

I Have Attractive Friends IX

I really like how this turned out. PLEASE click on it just for one second; I want you to see the glow around Adam.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Samuel Isaac

Photo from 2008. As a disclaimer my hair doesn't look like this anymore.

This is my sister’s shirt.

My sister is a Junior at Johns Hopkins, and during her freshman year an organization on campus had a chocolate festival and gave out these shirts for free. My sister took one, wore it a few times, decided it didn’t fit her, and gave it to me. I wear it regularly.

These are her socks, too. My dad got them for her, but they were too high on her ankle for her taste.

We’re a close family, and, as you’ve probably guessed, none of us are averse to hand-me-downs. Used objects fill our house. We pick up lamps that were left on the curb. We buy furniture sets at yard sales. We get the majority of our decorations from eBay.

So I have a hand-me-down name.

My sister is Rachel Isabel, but if she were a boy she would have been Samuel Isaac. That’s me. My parents thought of my name four years before I was born, and it wasn’t my name yet. It was my sister’s name. I got my sister’s name because she was a girl.

I found this out last year, and I was pretty upset about it. Names should be something to call your own. Names are cool. Names prove you aren’t a number. Names make a first impression. Names are printed in the newspaper. Even if you have a pretty common name, it’s still your name. You own it. I don’t own my name. It’s my sister’s. I got the name just like I got this shirt. It was going to be hers, but it didn’t fit. I just ended up with it.

My sister is without a doubt the coolest person I know. She went to college barely more than a beginner at Ultimate Frisbee, and she made girls varsity freshman year. This summer at a tournament in Virginia she dislocated her toe during the second point, and she was playing again by the sixth point, but that’s only because no one would sub out during the fifth. She can run two miles without stopping, and does, regularly, to warm up so she can go swimming. During her vacation this year she worked as a lifeguard at a camp for disabled kids. She’s my role model. I do marching band because she did it. I play piano because I used to like listening to her play. I take hard classes because she passed them without breaking a sweat.

I’m sorry if I seem like I’m digressing from the subject of my name, but I guess my point is this: I like this shirt. It’s my favorite shirt. The fact that it was intended for my sister doesn’t bother me in the slightest anymore. It’s the same with my name. It’s thrifty. It’s recycled. For a while it was my sister’s, but now it’s mine.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008




Monday, September 08, 2008

The Anti-Jeff: Part 2

Efficiency was the name of the game, so it wasn't hard to see why the Jeffs were losing so badly.

Having Jeff at my house was a nightmare. Not only was I at constant risk of catching some disease (I had to forego the air filter for the sake of looking like I was on his side), he was massively inefficient. He woke up at 7:30 AM, went to sleep nearly TWO HOURS after sundown, and even refused to take food in pill form. I was astounded. I did my best to keep my eyes down in the supermarket line, clutching bread for the first time in a number of year, but I couldn't avoid the dirty looks I received from the other customers in line.

The Jeffers were clever, though; I had to give them that. At meetings I repeatedly inquired as to the location of the other Jeff, but those who knew refused to divulge the information. "We know you're concerned about your friend," they said, "but it's too dangerous. If you were captured..."

I thought maybe hosting a Jeff at my house would convince them I was trustworthy, but they refused to budge. Now, however, I was stuck with a refugee I wasn't interested in. The piano practicing lasted into all hours of the mid-afternoon, and though he had yet to request to indulge in a rousing game of hamster-baseball, I knew it would come eventually. Could I really sacrifice an innocent hamster so that I could capture another Jeff? I came to the conclusion that it was necessary.

Time passed, and I realized that the Jeffers wouldn't give me the location of the other Jeff. Ultimately, I would have to make a decision: turn in the Jeff I had now, or allow him to continue to run rampant through society in the hopes that, eventually, I could turn both of them in.

I had something of a dilemma on my hands.

The answer presented itself days later when Jeff and I were playing videogames (I had gotten rid of JEFFHUNT, so we had to play some other stupid fighting game). After defeating me for the upteenth time, Jeff sighed. I asked him what was on his mind (like I care).

"Oh, nothing," he mumbled, "it's just that Jeff was really good at this game. I haven't seem him since we were in hiding together."

"That's gotta be really rough. We should ask the Jeffers if you guys can get together for a little reminiscing," I suggested, trying to be casual.

His face lit up. "Yeah, maybe we could do that!"

"What did you ever do when you were in hiding?" I asked, trying to be casual.

"Oh, not much," he replied, still thinking about the other Jeff.

"No ultimate kitten?"


As we sat there deciding whether I had asked Jeff if he played ultimate kitten or if he actually danced on the grave of George Washington, a plan began forming in my head. Though the Jeffers would not let me see the other Jeff, it was very possible that they would let Jeff see him. They did seem determined to give Jeffs all the freedoms that they didn't deserve. By slipping a tracker into Jeff's shoe, I could easily track him to the location of the other Jeff, and then it was just a matter of alerting the proper authorities. I could have this whole thing wrapped up in a week.

"Hey Sam?" Jeff's voice brought me out of my daydream.


"You were laughing a lot," he said, giving me a confused look.

"Oh, sorry." I cursed myself. I had to be more careful.

"Also you were chanting 'Down with Jeff!' and making stabbing motions."

"Oh yeah," I answered vaguely, "that's my exercise routine."

Jeff seemed less than satisfied with that answer.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Things They Carried (Adapted)

Sam carried letters from his sister, Rachel, a junior at Johns Hopkins University. They weighed ten ounces, and he kept them folded up in plastic in the second pocket of his backpack. In the letters, she was chatty. She never mentioned high school, except to say, Sam, take care of yourself. On a late afternoon during free period, Sam would dig out the letters and read through them, familiarizing himself with the going-ons of Rachel's life. When he heard the bell he would get up, a little distracted, and meander through the hallways to his eighth period class. These letters caused him to light Jesse's lab paper on fire, which was embarrassing, but no one knew so it was okay.

The things they carried were determined largely by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were Ticonderoga pencils, folders, notebooks, wristwatches, chewing gum, candy, looseleaf paper, worksheets, books, lunch money, iPods, cell phones, TI-84 graphing calculators, index cards, ballpoint pens, Spanish books, and two or three three-ring binders. Together, these items weighed between 15 or 20 pounds, depending on a student's locker habits. Tim, who was always well-prepared, carried a belt that was specially modified to include pens and pencils. Frances, who insisted on fresh breath, carried orbit gum that her family bought in bulk from Costco. Freshmen, who were scared, clutched their schedules and maps to the school until they got the hang of things. By necessity, and because it was required, they all had lockers, but some chose not to use it. Very few carried hats. On their feet they carried sneakers, or, in summer, flip-flops. In the morning, Ashley carried muffins. Jeff carried a wallet, because he liked to have money on him. The other Jeff carried lactaid pills. Maddie carried a romance novel. Sarah carried a squash racket. Joe carried his calculator manual. Kelly carried a leopard-print comb, because her hair went frizzy when it was humid. Necessity dictated. Because it could get cold in the winters, each student carried a wool-lined down jacket, which weighed 1.4 pounds, but which often seemed much heavier.

What they carried varied by class.

When it was music theory, they carried blank staff paper. When it was chem, they carried pocket-sized periodic tables. For math, graph paper. For U.S., notes. On lab day, everyone carried closed-toe shoes, except for the people who were already wearing them. It was on one of these days when Sam lit Jesse's paper on fire. Jesse and Sam were lab partners, and Sam had just finished reading his sister's most recent letter, and he was thinking about a story she had told him where her friend had been thrown out of a Chipotle when he knocked over a bunsen burner onto Jesse's paper. Oh crap, Jesse said, my paper's on fire. My paper's on fire, he kept saying, which seemed profound. My paper's on fire. I mean really.

The things they carried were determined to some extent by superstition. Jen carried her lucky keychain. Carissa carried two socks, on her feet, but they never matched, which was somehow significant. Jeff carried a piece of gum that had been presented to him as a gift by a fellow saxophonist. The gum was orange, unchewed, and still in its wrapper. It had been picked up from the ground after a trumpet player took a particularly nasty fall on the parking lot during band camp. The musician went to the hospital. The gum had fallen out of his pocket and landed on the fourty yard line, where the saxophonist picked it up.

You want my opinion, the saxophonist said, there's a definite moral here.

He picked up the gum and looked at it, turning it over in his hands.

Jeff asked what the moral was.


You know. Moral.

The saxophonist carefully made sure the wrapper was still covering every piece of the gum and handed it across to Jeff. Smiling, he turned away and shielded his eyes from the sun. It's like that book we read for lang, he said. Have gum, will travel.

Jeff thought about it. Yeah, well, he finally said. I don't see no moral.

There it is, man.

Get back to your spot.

On project days, they carried everything. They carried posters, CD's, flash drives, model airplanes, toothpick bridges, and cakes that looked like the plant cell. Once a week, when there was marching band after school, they carried a snack because they wouldn't go home in between school and practice. Tim carried a tie. Kacie, who played sports, carried a lacrosse bag. They carried colds and fevers, passing them between one another, spreading bacteria. They shared the sicknesses. Sam carried playing cards. Jimmy carried a golf tee. Frances carried an extra pair of glasses. They carried the school itself: by daylight they sat in class, at night they stayed up late to finish homework, but it was not learning, it was just the endless march, class to class, without purpose, nothing gained that would ever be of importance. They plodded along slowly, dumbly, all grades and numbers, simple grunts, toiling up the stairs and around the corners and through the courtyards, just marching, one step and the next and then another. Their principles were in their feet. Their calculations were on their math homework. For all the unknowns in high school, the x-factors and the failures, the ambiguities, the anguish, the mistakes, there was at least one abiding certainty, one regularity, one small comfort:

They would never be at a loss for things to carry.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I Have Attractive Friends VIII

I have a tendency to get up from the computer at the wrong moment:

ElAnorRigby: hey.
SarcasticSam: hi
ElAnorRigby: how was band camp
SarcasticSam: pretty good. i saw nathan for the first time all sumer
SarcasticSam: *summer
ElAnorRigby: that's cool.
ElAnorRigby: i really wish i played a marching instrument :(
SarcasticSam: yeah
ElAnorRiby: hey listen
ElAnorRiby: you kno that thing i was trying to say at lunch today?
ElAnorRiby: this is kind of awkward
ElAnorRiby: but i really like you
ElAnorRiby: like a lot
ElAnorRiby: i think i might love you
ElAnorRiby: i hope we can still be friends
ElAnorRiby: i just really needed to get that off my chest
ElAnorRiby: ...
ElAnorRiby: hello?

canttouchthis: hey the cake has been in the oven for like seven hours
canttouchthis: i know you told me you'd tell me when i needed to check on it
canttouchthis: but srsly should it take this long
canttouchthis: and what's that beeping noise?
canttouchthis: oh you bastard
canttouchthis: brb

SarcasticSam: so yeah
SarcasticSam: what's up with you?
georgiapeach: nm, u?
SarcasticSam: nm. im really tired
georgiapeach: yeah me 2
georgiapeach: that essay took for freaking ever
georgiapeach: i was up til like three
georgiapeach: oh god
georgiapeach: sam someone's climbing up my drainpipe
georgiapeach: my parents arent home
georgiapeach: jesus they're breaking the window
georgiapeach: sam youve got to apdijfaplolp.;uionp,lyuiuhpo,l[.
georgiapeach: dddddddddddddddddd
georgiapeach: ffd
georgiapeach: dof91029394
georgiapeach: ddddds
georgiapeach has signed out
SarcasticSam: ok back.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Anti-Jeff: Part 1

Efficiency was the name of the game, and, frankly, the Jeffs were inefficient.

There were too many of them. They were clogging the country. Our benefactors, however, were solving the problem. They were rounding up everyone named Jeff and relocating them to JeffCenters, where they would be reprogrammed. Anyone who was good friends with anyone named Jeff had to turn themselves in for inefficiency inspections. It was thoroughly unlikely that we had contracted inefficiency from the Jeffs, but it was not impossible. Fearing for my own health, I gladly went along with the process.

It was when I didn't see my friends in line for JeffSpections that I became wary. I contacted the police immediately and reported the incident. The police informed me that, though they would get around to questioning my friends, they had bigger fish to fry: two Jeffs in our area had escaped capture. Naturally, I offered my own home as a base of operations for Operation JeffCap, but they were reluctant to take me up on my offer. Ultimately, they decided against it.

At first I was perturbed. I offer the police a perfectly good staging area, and they didn't accept. What had I done wrong? I had eaten my NoJeff pills (complete with Anti-Vitamin J), had carefully scrubbed all traces of Jeff from my house (with AJA-Approved "JEFF-B-GONE"), and had even joined the Anti-Jeff Youth Organization to educate the community on the dangers that Jeffs posed to modern society.

It wasn't long before I realized the obvious: the police wanted me to act by myself. They couldn't tell me my orders in explicit terms, of course, for fear of retribution from those damned lawyers ("Jeffs in disguise", I call them). By denying themselves the use of my house, however, they were preserving my cover. I could act like a rebel to locate the rogue Jeffs. I knew my friends were in it, probably hiding Jeff at their houses. I needed to get on the inside.

I started with Tim. He was a trusting guy, and we had been friends forever. Though I hated to betray him like this, it was a necessary price to pay. The Jeffs had to go.

I caught up with him at the mandatory government-sponsored Anti-Jeff fun and games day of mild amounts of excitement and thrills (AJFGDMAET). I approached him carefully; long exposure to Jeffs could have made him feral. He greeted me with a smile and a polite wave, and I forced a smile back.

"Hey, Sam!" Tim said, "how are you?"

The question was probably some sort of test. I did my best to answer it as a friend of the Jeffs would. "Good. Just like how Jeffs are. They're good people. Not bad. They aren't ruining the world. They don't play Ultimate Kitten, complete with kitten spiking when they score points."

He gave me a confused look. The man was an expert. I would need to try someone else.

Joe struck me as the obvious choice next. Though he was smart, he was often quick to speak. A slip of the tongue could be just what it took to unravel this massive, tangled web of deception and lies. The Jeffs would be exposed, and I would do it myself.

I had to be subtle about this. I approached Joe at government-sponsored thirty-minute midday meal. I decided to open with a joke. A rhyming joke.

"So, Joe," I laughed, "where are the Jeffs?"

"WHAT?!" he cried loudly, spilling his government-supplied apple-flavored juice. He immediately got up to leave, and I thought all was lost. As he walked away and I stared at my government-supplied chicken-like wing, I suddenly noticed something. He had left his tray, and on top of his tray he had left a piece of paper. I pocketed it quickly.

All day, I struggled to resist reading it. When I finally arrived home, I flung my backpack on the ground and ripped open the note.
I know you are a pro-Jeffer. If you truly wish to support the Jeff cause, put a red flag in the plant on your balcony. You will be contacted further at a later time.
My way forward was clear. I would discover the Jeffs and report their locations to the police.

It was only a matter of time.