Monday, June 30, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 18: Part 2

Note: I switched the order of this post and the one before it (Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 6) because I posted them in the wrong order. I hope it wasn't too confusing ^^

"This book, Wuthering Heights, is really dark story. The most obvious technique used to make it this way is repetition. The word “and” is used a total of 49 times in the first chapter. There is also a sign of diction, because the placement of the words is determined by whether or not a sentence has a character description. In sentences with character descriptions, the word “and” is used 37 times. This amount is 75% higher than the amount of times the author chose to include the word “and” in sentences which didn’t have character descriptions. There are also a lot of comas---158 in total, 105 of which are in landscape descriptions. This story is about a woman who loves a man but cannot marry him because he is poor, uneducated, and ugly. Though by modern standards he would be considered attractive to some people. But since this story’s setting is old England, the man gets really bitter about it because Katherine, a woman he likes, won’t be with him. Eventually he got rich and educated but then things got worse, because he had strong signs of monomania. When the book was written, people were interested in mental diseases. Monomania is a mental disease. So people were interested in it. Therefore, Heathcliff has monomania, which means having an unhealthy obsession with someone or something.

Gentry put the paper down and took deep breath. He glanced across the table at Zach, who watched him in turn, craving a response.
Nationals were in two weeks, and finals the week after that… this was moving too slowly.
“Well?” Zach grumbled, to fill the hollowed pause.
“It’s not very good.”
Understatement of the Year.
“Well… I know it’s a little short. But I didn’t know how to go on.”
“You don’t know how to go on?” Gentry scoffed.
“Yeah,” Zach murmured irritably, “maybe you should do your job and tell me how.”
“Zach, you don’t even know how to begin.”
Zach exhaled and fell back in a slouch.
“Whatever; Just tell me what I need to write to get an A. I don’t care.”
“You should.”
“Why? One week later, no one will read or want to read this essay.”
“One week later, you’ll still want that A.”
Blue eyes glared at him from over the table line. Zach had slouched down so far that only his eyes and the top of his head were showing.
“Yeah, I will.” He said, abruptly pulling himself back up, “That’s why I’m doing these fucking readings and fucking papers. To get a grade for a class that’s teaching me shit I’m never going to use in my life. I mean, look at the prompt. Do you really think the bitch who wrote this book even thought about any of this diction and rhyme and imagery? I don’t! In fact, Wuthering Heights is a waste of paper--- the whole story could be summarized into one page. And even that would be a waste of paper. These people aren’t even real--- How can I care about people that aren’t real? Tell me, what’s the point of this!” Zach exhaled, and Gentry opened his mouth to speak, but Zach got the first word.
“And also, Gentry, I’m never going to live in rural 1800s England and if I did I’d own a rifle to shoot these characters. I’m never going to become a lit teacher, I’ll never have to think about this stupid love story about two annoying people.”
Gentry followed his words, listening with glum solemnity, even though he was secretly amused because…
“Yeah, and I’m never going to inspire you to love literature. Why are you wasting my time?”
“Because I want to graduate?”
“And then you probably want to go into a math-related major.”
“Yeah,” Zach pulled himself back up and leaned forward, elbows still on the table, “I have no choice. I’d go crazy if I had to sit all day studying these incompetent people. And Wuthering Heights didn’t invent the light bulb or create the internet.”
“Yeah, well, light bulbs and the internet exist so that people can express what’s in their hearts.”
“Hearts?” Zach scoffed at this, “Please, people think with their mind.”
“But technology is pointless if you can’t express any ideas with it.” Gentry maintained, quiet yet forceful.
“Do you like this book? Are you happy that technology existed to make it?”
“No. But I don’t think it’s pointless.”
Zach fell into uncharacteristic silence as he evaluated the statements, slowly scanning through them for any weak points. Then he spat out an answer.
“Are you still going to study politics?”
“You should study literature.” Zach’s voice dropped awkwardly, and then trailed off. He sensed by the look on the other’s face that he had crossed over some invisible line, and hit a sore spot.
“… When you go to Princeton?” he went on awkwardly.
“I’m going to college.” Gentry insisted evenly, “Now stop wasting my time.”

Because You Suck: Chapter 18: Part 1

Cheating was on the rise.
Students scribbled on slips of paper vigilantly stuffed in their socks, behind the labels of the water bottles; they wrote on the soles of their shoes, under their GSA wristbands, and inconspicuously shuffled it under their “extra blank sheets.” They copied notes off the teachers’ desks, and frantically asked students from the previous periods what was going to be on the test.
This was nothing new.
At some point, students realized teachers were subjective rather than objective; and that school was not a learning experience, but a harsh marathon for social survival where nothing mattered more than the grade. You weren’t an individual, you were a percentage. Your GPA told people everything they needed to know; it determined your future, your life, your happiness, and your existence.
But getting to the prized 4.0 was not a game of merit, but a long, harsh gauntlet of chance. A nonstop mindgame full of manipulation and busywork designed to make you crazy. But above all things, you had to survive it--- chug on, keep running, keep swimming. Though after a while, it became too much.
Overworked, under-slept, overstressed students filled in the blanks as expected--- That Edgar had blond hair and Heathcliff was the Devil, that n = 49, that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and that the car on page 45 of The Stranger was red, not blue. Yet as one blank closed another one opened, causing their drill-ridden minds to climper the same piece over and over again, on command and without a second thought.
Out of tune…
Their eyes grew heavy and their footsteps plodded through the same routine day after day, and eventually they did not notice where they ended and auto-pilot began.
Out of tune…
They would talk with their friends, then turn around and let their smiling mouths crash down into a frown. What was supposed to earn them happiness gave them misery, and resulted in the frown they wore in their hearts and that occasionally flickered through their shineless eyes.

“At least they pay attention. That’s all I care about.” The substitute teacher told Zach, “Then I can get my paycheck and go home.”
“That’s not right.” Said Zach.

No one listened. They were too busy cheating.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 5

Note: This is the previous scene... continued.

The kicking grew louder and louder, until Zach irritably tossed the red furball a piece of cornbread.
“Are they supposed to eat that?” asked Mikey, as the guinea pig bolted after the morsel and wolfed it down, “Cornbread isn’t their natural food.”
“It hasn’t killed it yet.”
“Hah. And I thought you liked animals.”
“Did I ever tell you why I don’t like guinea pigs?”
“When I was back in Estonia, one bit my face.”
“Oh.” Mikey leaned forward to kiss the side of his lips, “Poor baby.”
Zach pulled away, “I’m not dead, right? Well. If this thing wouldn’t die in the wild or be killed in a shelter, I’d throw it out. Really, nothing scares me more than guinea pigs. And you might think that’s weird, but I’m afraid of getting hurt. Though even if it does bite me, I can’t throw it away because that isn’t right. It didn’t ask to be anyone’s pet. And now someone has to care for it…” his voice wound down into a hushed murmur. That was how conversations went with Mikey: At some point a word limit was reached, and Mikey would stop responding. Due to this, Zach had learned to mentally cut himself off and reduce his statements to the painful, bare essentials. It was like tearing a body limb from limb, though, because Zach’s words fed his meager existence. They filled out the confusing countours of his existance with satisfying reasoning and pinpointed logic. Without words, what else was there? The appeal of silence didn’t extend to him, yet he kept it because talking too much only left you talking to yourself. And that was worse than any kind of silence.

As for Mikey, Zach concluded that there were people you could talk to and people you couldn’t. That was probability.

So, after a calculated sixty-three second talking-break, he put down the book and reached into his knapsack.
“I got something for you.” he said, knowing that would get a reply.
“Aww, really?”
Zach gave a curt nod and nonchalantly handed him a giftbag, which Mikey eagerly reached into.
“You gave me something, so it’s only fair.”
It was a singing hippo. Zach couldn’t find anything better for $35 plus tax. Actually, this had cost $36 plus tax, but the one dollar was worth NOT having to spend any more time doing the despicable activity known as “shopping.” Now they were equal.
Mikey eyed it, keeping a dignified silence, when suddenly the purple-colored beast started to gyrate its hips and buzz through a stirring rendition of “That’s Amore.”
“What is this?”
Zach shrugged.“If you press the nose, it goes I love you.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 4

“So… Gentry’s tutoring you?”
“Yeah.” Zach didn’t look up from the folding chair he rested in, nestled in the sunniest spot of his yard.
“Ah. You never mentioned it.”
“You never asked.”
“What gives? He’s your ex, it’s already enough he prances around half-naked during your swim practice.”
Zach put down his book and promptly asked, “Do you have time to raise my F in lit?”
Mikey fell silent and Zach wordlessly picked up his book and resumed reading. And people were… like computers. They had a set number of variables under a given circumstance.
“I didn’t know you were failing. If you would have told me---”
“You never asked.”
“Why would I ask?”
Zach shrugged, and then there was quiet. He had learned one thing since coming out, which that when you were gay you could be an ass and get away with it. He’d always been a bit of an ass, only people had complained more. Now they just called it attitude. Snap snap pose.
Occasionally a bird cried out or a squirrel would chatter, yet whenever Mikey tried to see the source of the sound, it would disappear into the thicket. Every so often he would marvel at how much space the mansion consumed. That garden alone seemed big enough to accommodate four houses. It was huge--- and landscaped within an inch of its life. Every bit of wilderness was clipped and tamed around a sparkling pool, which was surrounded by drawf palms and reeked of chlorine. The unnaturally stiff green lawn rolled past the poolside into a gentle slope, which ended flatly where the patio began; in that shadowy area where pink lawn flamingos co-existed with white cherub statues, and a marble-accented barbeque lay shrowded in dust. Right beside it, the neatly trimmed hedge which sturdily lined the property gave way to thick vines of jasmine and ivy which jutted from the thicket and climbed the mansion’s brown stucco walls, curling their limbs around the wooden porch-swing (the one Zach hadn’t sat on ever since he had encountered an unusually large spider there.) Although he never consciously thought of it, Zach was subconsciously vexed by by it. All this fakeness…
The silence was like being in a city when all the cars and people had abruptly stopped.
“Hm. Yeah. Zach, you angry or something?”
“No.” he mumbled dismissively, then sat up and said, “It’s going to rain on Thursday.” Mikey raised both his eyebrows, as if he found this relevant or interesting. But he really didn’t; weather was one of those things he didn’t spend the majority of his time thinking about.
“What do homeless people do when it rains?” Zach murmured, before drifting back into silence. As if sensing the growing vexation, Geranimo kicked his hind legs at the wooden border of his cage (no more than a fenced in area that had once served as a pig men, and now housed an unused chicken coup.) Mikey had once wondered in shock what kind of people would build a pig-pen in the yard of their mansion, but eventually came to the conclusion that Zach got whatever he wanted. Spoiled brat.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 3

Gentry eyed Zach from across the table, and pulled into his backpack for the neat tissue packet he stored in the front pocket, the most isolated pocket in the case, and contented himself with it. He dabbed his nose once, folded it, then stood up, used the clean end to open the door, leaned out just so and disposed it into the trash. Then he hurriedly ducked back inside, making sure not to step on the thin line where the carpet ended and a new carpet was hurriedly pushed to it. Most people did not notice this line, but to him it was clear because the tiny blue carpet fibers leaned in the opposite direction. They were like ends of a magnet, unnaturally smushed together. For the hundredth time, he wondered why they couldn’t have turned the carpeting in the correct direction before putting it in; at least then it would have appeared more unified. Now it looked off, and looking at it skewed his sense of direction since typically, North was the direction the carpet fibers pointed towards. Now North was South and South was North and everything pissed him the fuck off. After grunting at the incompetent carpeting, he moved back to the table, pulled out another tissue, and repeated the previous actions. By the fifth tissue Zach hissed at him to “stop moving around.” Then he paused and sweetly added “please.”
Gentry reluctantly sauntered back to his seat. It would’ve been tiring to explain that keeping tissues on a table allowed billions of germs to creep on the surface, adding to the already large colonization that sprawled throughout the library. Instead of clarifying the evils of Germ colonialism, Gentry nestled into his seat, lolling himself into a familiar comfort as he studied Zach scribble answers on the blue-lined paper without the slightest twinge of distraction.

Gone were the heavy layers of black and the thick rimmed glasses. Gone was the scruffy, coarse hair that fell over his face. It might have been cut shorter, or perhaps it just appeared that was because it was stubbornly gelled up to defy gravity and reveal the wide blue eyes it once hid. What a damn shame; Now everyone could look at them.

And in place of what was gone, there were unseemly new additions. A t-shirt with some trendy slogan hugged his chest, a bright rainbow bracelet hung loosely on a limp wrist, and a lip piercing which glistened in the fluorescent light.
Lip piercings; why ruin a perfectly good pair of lips? What a perversion of nature.
“What are you staring at?”
“I’m a lot of things, nothing isn’t one of them.”
And then there was that attitude.
But that had always been there.
“What’s with the piercing?”
“I felt like getting one.”
“The last time I had metal near my mouth was the headgear from my braces. It doesn’t look good.”
“I like it, and I also happen to not give a shit about what you like.”
Zach didn’t so much as look up as he squiggled on that measly piece of paper. Ugly, messy, dirty lines that weren’t even important. A part of Gentry was irritated, but his voice and mannerisms didn’t betray this when he asked,
“What about that rainbow wristband?”
“Gay pride.”
“Did Mikey give that to you?”
Now at this, Zach glanced up.
“Yes.” He replied flatly.
Ah, the irritation was blooming all right.
“Anymore questions?”
“Is that… lip gloss? Since when do you wear lip gloss?”
“I get kissed more often now, my lips need the protection.”
Gentry scoffed at this saucy reply, and Zach resumed the scribbling he passed off as writing. All points, peaks and valleys. Like a stock market graph. Up, down, up…
Or maybe it was more like a lie detector, something to check your pulse…
Gentry leaned back cross-armed in his seat, slouching slightly and maintained a moment of thoughtful silence before asking,
“What is he trying to do, turn you into The SuperFag?”
“I don’t know what he wants to do, but I know you’re jealous.”
“I’m not jealous.” Gentry protested, “I just thought being gay meant liking guys, not girls.”
“If you think I’m such a girl, bend over and find out.”

Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 2

Without Zach, the GSA was a boring place.
The Estonian, crude and big-mouthed as he was, was excellent for generating conversation. Hell, if there was an impossible mess you could get yourself into, Zach blazed the trails in how to get your ass stuck in it. Without him, the GSA held a pregnant silence which could yield only one thing.
“Did you hear who’s tutoring Zach?”
Casey lisped it out with a dry comfort, leaning back tiredly from his after-lunch time stupor, one hand patting the empty tub of mac and cheese beside him.
“Who?” chewed Felix, eyes lit and wide awake since gossip was the only thing which made him remotely worthwhile talking to.
“Gentry Lee Johnson.”
Mikey raised his eyebrows, “Ohh… He didn’t tell me.”
“Hmm.” A a sly grin spread over Casey’s face, “That’s suspicious.”
“Nah. I trust Zach.”
Felix responded with a wry look, “I wouldn’t. You know what they say. Homophobia is gay, and Gentry is one heck of a homophobe.”
“Yeah, he’s a weird one.” Casey drawled, “We used to be friends, you know, before he became a prep. He’s so lost, I really feel for him. You never know what closeted guys will do.”
“He’s ugly.” Said Mikey, with a sense of finality, “I don’t think Zach will go back to that when he has me.”
“He’s not bad-looking.” Felix conceded awkwardly, which earned him a hateful look from Mikey.
“Felix... I respect your view, but I think you need to get your vision checked. He has scars and freckles everywhere. Even his hair’s freckle-colored. I saw him in one swim match, and wished he would wear one of those body-suites. I’m not saying he’s a bad person. He’s just lost and confused. But in comparison to me…” Mikey chortled and let his soft, too-polite voice trail off.
Suddenly, Kylie strutted in, loudly slamming the door behind and yelling out, “Heyyyy!”
“Hey Kylie!” Casey exclaimed with a high, cheery overtone, “So you’re taking Gentry to the prom, hmm?”
“You bet I am.”
“Even if you have to drag him,” Casey drawled with a purr at his voice, at which Kylie laughed sharply.
“Yeah gurrrl, do your thing.” He lisped, snapping his fingers, “Ohhh. By the way. He’s tutoring Zach now.”
“Oh my God, he is?”
Mikey grinned and rolled his eyes, then drawled.
Felix blurted out,
“They’re probably fucking like rabbits.”

Because You Suck: Chapter 17: Part 1

Note: Sorry for the delay in updates. Finals were hellish this year, but that e-mail made my week. Thank you.

Drama usually started out of boredom.
Few people were more bored than Kylie. She sat listlessly in the gym, eyes bulging, one hand in her stick-straight hair, bottom lip pushed out and upper lip sucked in. School was boring. She was writing an article for the school newspaper, where she wrote the Opinion column. But she didn’t have any opinions. She was only writing it so she could apply to Vassar when the time came. Then she would be a Fashion writer!!! Yaaaay!
But until then… well, well-behaved ladies never made history.
She had told that to Gentry once, only to receive the unenthusiastic reply,
“History shouldn’t repeat itself.”
Haha, how witty. Witty guys were great, because sense of humor was an important thing to have in a partner. Sense of humor, sex appeal and a gorgeous set of eyes. A person who would be there for you, a real man who could take care of his woman… a knight in shining armor who would carry you off into the sunset and be the jewel on your arm. That was the purpose of a good boyfriend. To be there for YOU, to be everything YOU wanted and more.
She didn’t really think Gentry was gay, even though Sydney practically yelled at her that it was “fucking obvious!”
“Look, Kylie. Do you remember that time he pansed Zach in the pool? He was giving him head underwater! It was freaking obvious, but no one even commented on that! And all those times they were in the shower together. Besides that, he never showed any interest in a girl! He drinks pink milk!”
“Hey, hold on now.” Mike spoke up, although he could have cared less for the freckle monster who’d stolen his date to only the most important event of his high school existance, “I know his parents. They’re religious, they never let him date. He told me that, anyway.”
“Yeah, and did you ever see him hit on a guy?” asked Kylie.
“Fuck yeah I did---” Sydney’s eyes bulged with barely suppressed desperation.
“…Besides Zach?”
“No.” he grumbled.
“Then maybe it was just a dream.”
“Why would I dream those things! I’m not a faggot!”
Kylie secretly thought Sydney was gay. He had to be. And it was her job to nurse/shove him out of the closet…
“Don’t use that word. Some of my best friends are gay. The people who designed my clothes are gay.”
“And I like your clothes.” Mike nodded.
“Yeah Syd, and you think everything is gay. Like bananas and nuts…” Ethan pointed out.
“Fuck, why are you defending that freak!”
“Because. I went to high school with him.” Said Mike, “He never showed any sign of being one of those people.”
“I’m taking him to the prom to verify that.” Kylie swore with an animated air of saintly virtue, as Mike grimaced with unspoken woe, “I’m going to ask him next week.”
“Why? I mean, that’s taking it a bit far…”
“Because. I’m sick of all this drama, this needs to be settled once and for all. Then we’ll know what he really is.”
Mike groaned inwardly.
“Can’t we just ask?”