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Fiction Friendship

                                                February


6th - Tuesday


I’m gonna punch Lucas Redmore in the face. 


Today at art class, while I was busy with my rocket, Lucas snuck up and drew a line on my lip with a black marker. And then he called me a Creeper! The whole class laughed. I swear I heard Miss Doughty giggle before she sent him to the office. That’s super unprofessional for a teacher to do, right?


I think I know why she laughed, though. Jimmy told me that the Creepers are in Minecraft because Notch messed up when he was making the pig mob, and he made some weird thing with a long neck and a big head that wears camo. Well, I got a long ugly neck and a big head and I was wearing my hunting jacket that Grandma got me. But what the hell!? Does Miss Doughty even play Minecraft? 


Anyway, guess what else Creepers do? They blow up! And that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna blow up and smash Lucas’s face till he’s crying and begging me to forgive him. But I need to get stronger. Lucas is like twenty pounds bigger than me (probably all fat!) so I have to plan. I’m going to grow some muscles and by the end of this month I’ll be stronger than Lucas. I swear it! By the end of this month I’m going to punch Lucas Redmore in the face.



7th - Wednesday


I made my plan! I got it all done in Computer Lab. Lucas wasn’t at school, thank god, so I didn’t have to deal with him, but I heard Hannah Pickerson call me a Creeper. Whatever Hannah Pick-her-snot…she’s probably just happy that someone else is getting teased. 


I looked up “Best foods for big muscles” and the good news is that we have all this at home: 


Whole Eggs

Salmon

Cottage Cheese

Oatmeal 


The bad news is that I hate all of that. Well, except oatmeal, but I’m supposed to Cut out the Carbs to get SHREDDED, so I can’t eat it with syrup and craisins and any good junk. Oh right! I need to do my pushups.


Okay, I did six real ones and then ten more girl pushups. I bet I’ll be able to do more once I get SHREDDED. I’ve also got Tess’s old giant stuffed rabbit in my room to practice my punches. She probably wouldn’t like me beating the stuffing out of it, but it just sits in the basement anyway now that she's gone to Albany. So sorry Mister Happyfoot, but you got something better to do than collect dust.



8th - Thursday


Ugh, Salmon suuuuuckks. And I have to pretend to like it. Dad asked me what I wanted for lunch and I said salmon. Mom asked me what I wanted for dinner and I said salmon. So I got a salmon sandwich for lunch (gag) and baked salmon for dinner (as awful as it smells). But I guess, no pain no gain.


Lucas still wasn’t at school. I hope he doesn’t come for a while and then he’ll be all scared when he sees my biceps. Oh, ya! Eight real pushups today, AND I ran up and down the stairs twenty times. Then I watched Yu-Gi-Oh and ate a spoonful of cottage cheese. Not as bad as salmon but still terrible. After I punch out Lucas I’m going to eat tons of pringles and skittles for a celebration.



9th - Friday


Did Lucas move or something? I mean, I am glad he’s not around to bug me, but geez what’s the point of all these pushups and gross foods if I don’t get my sweet revenge?


Ten pushups! And poor Mister Happyfoot’s eye flung right off from an uppercut.



11th - Sunday


What a weekend! Went to Gramma and Gramps house cause Gramps wanted to take me hunting. Mom and Dad argued about it for like an hour, but they finally let me go. While we were out there in the woods (I shot my first duck btw!) me and Gramps got to talking and I dunno why, but I told him all about Lucas. And guess what he said? Yeah that’s right…


“You should pop him one in the chin,” he said. “Then he’ll leave ya alone.”


My Dad would never say that. He’s always telling me to “take the high road.” He’d probably want to get counselors and therapists and bring the whole thing before the supreme court. I can’t imagine Dad ever threw a punch in his life. Mom… maybe… when she was young and living with Gramma and Gramps in the country. But not here in the city, no way. Here she apologizes to people who cut HER off. That’s why I can’t tell em why I want to eat salmon and eggs every day. They wouldn’t get it. I heard Dad say I’m going through “a phase” and “We should humor him for a while.” Don’t know about that, they’re never funny. 


Twelve pushups! My arms are all jiggly now.



12th - Monday


Seriously, where is Lucas? I asked Miss Doughty, and she got all quiet and said “We hope to know more soon.” What does that mean? Did he get cancer like Emily Greenswood did back in fourth grade? No! You a-hole. You have to stay alive so I can punch you in the face.


Ten pushups :( My arms stopped working after that and I had to do five more girl ones. Guess it’s cause I had cookies and no salmon at Grandma and Grandpa’s…dumb…dumb…dumb.



13th - Tuesday


Mister Cochraine is my hero!


Today in Computer Lab I was looking at Minecraft videos on YouTube and some Thor looking guy came on an ad and said to get SHREDDED I need to do HIIT. I looked it up, and it’s a lot more than push ups and punching a stuffed bunny. So after gym class I asked Mister Cochraine if I could use the weight room after the junior volleyball team was done. Here's how it went:


“You want to get stronger hey? Are you looking to play junior volleyball next year?”


“Nope.”


“Ah, Basketball then?”


“Nope.”


“Football?”


“Nuh uh.”


“Well, what do you want to get stronger for?”


“Umm, boxing.”


“Boxing?”


“Yeah.”


Then Mister Cochraine squinted his eyes, and I thought he figured it all out. But he smacked his hands together and went to the equipment room. A few seconds later he came dragging a dusty old bag with the word HEAVY written on it. He unzipped the bag and hurled two boxing gloves at me and took out a punching bag.


“I put this away twenty years ago,” he said. “But I can set it up—”


“Yes, please!” 


Mister Happyfoot you are saved!



17th - Saturday


Wow, this week whipped right by. I am soooo sore, like everything hurts. But at least I can eat some good things now. Yeah, I met some really cool seventh graders at the gym (Noah and Trace, and some other kid on the basketball team). They kinda laughed at me when I was punching the bag, but we got to talking and I told them I want to get bigger and then they started helping me and showing me different workouts. Lunges hurt sooo bad, but the kettlebells are fun. They also told me I don’t have to eat only salmon, and any protein is good (and I can still eat some carbs and get SHREDDED). This morning I ate five strips of bacon and Dad winked at my mom after my third piece of french toast. It’s not a phase Dad


Lucas still wasn’t at school all week. Lucas Villers (the other Lucas, not the bad one) said he’s probably dead. That would suuuuck.



20th - Tuesday


The veins in my hand are huge! I’m shaking just writing this but I feel strong! I’ll be like that Thor guy in no time. Noah and Trace invited me to play hoops after school tomorrow. I told them I suck, but Trace said it’s good cardio and I can eat a Snickers bar or chips or whatever and still get GAINS.


Whatever happened to Lucas, I hope he gets better soon. I still want to punch him, because otherwise this was all a waste of time, but really, I’m not even angry anymore.



23rd - Friday


At fourth period, Lucas Redmore finally showed up. He was all wrapped in white bandages and his face looked like a melted candle. I guess his house caught fire, and he got melted a bit. I kinda felt bad seeing him. Hannah Pick-her-snot said his Dad “passed out with a cigar and burnt the place down” What does she know? My Dad did say that Mister Redmore “likes the sauce” which I know means he drinks too much beer or whisky or whatever and it makes him sleepy, so who knows. 


Well, anyway, I don’t hurt so bad anymore and I’m repping and getting ​​SWOLE and SHREDDED. But I don’t really feel good punching a melted candle. Maybe I should wait until Lucas is all better before I smash his face in?



24th - Saturday


Noah, Trace and Ethan (finally learned his name) invited me over to Ethan’s house to watch the Knicks play. It was amazing! Ethan’s mom got us all Subway, and we pigged out. Trace said we need “cheat days to shock the system.” His brother is a fitness trainer, so he knows all kinds of stuff. Sign me up! I ate a footlong pizza sub and three chocolate chunk cookies and a bunch of Doritos. I can’t believe it. Me, a Creeper from sixth grade hanging out with cool kids from seventh grade. The game was fun too. The guys were telling me about all the rules and home court advantage and all that. Oh! There were some older kids that came too, and two of the eighth grade girls wore makeup and smelled like perfume. Very cool.



28th - Wednesday


Ugh. So today I was walking up the stairs and guess who was shuffling (extremely slowly!) up ahead of me. Yup…Lucas Redmore. It was just me and him in the stairwell, and while I’m contemplating clobbering him, he drops his tumbler and his lid smashes and water goes all over the place.


And then he starts crying.


I know! What the hell? Lucas Redmore starts bawling like a baby. What was I supposed to do? Ugh. Well, I picked up his tumbler and handed it to him (but like in a rough way so he knew I wasn’t playing)


“Why you crying?” I said.


He wiped his eyes and got an angry look on his face. “All my sh@#! is gone. And now I don't even have a f&#$ing tumbler.” (Lucas swears ALOT)


“Can’t you just buy new stuff?”


Lucas looked like he was going to hit me, so I put my hands up. He reaaallyy started to look like a punching bag. 


He laughed, but like that laugh that’s not real and comes before he starts teasing someone. “I ain’t rich like you.” Then he started crying again. “It took me all summer to save up for my Switch and now it’s all gone. Like a thousand lawns I cut for f&#$ing nothing.”


Oh, man. I started to feel really bad. Maybe my Dad doesn’t know how to fight, but he sure does know how to get money to buy things. I don’t think Lucas’s Dad does.


“Well, you wanna come over tomorrow night and play on my Switch?”


I KNOW! Here’s this a-hole I should be punching in the face and I invite him over to MY house. God, I’m just like my mom. 


“Really?”


“Yeah.” Ugh. Why did I say that?


And the worst of it is when he said. “Okay.”


Dumb…dumb...dumb. Well, maybe I can salvage this. Maybe I can still pop him one when he comes over. If he calls me a Creeper one more time, I’ll do it. And I got home court advantage.



29th - Thursday


Didn’t go play hoops with the boys after school today. I spent like an hour at the punching bag getting ready for the big main event. Lucas came over at like seven (an hour late), but Mom said it was okay and she would drive him home at nine.


Guess what the first thing that a-hole said to me when we went downstairs? Yeah, he saw my camo jacket and called it my “Creeper jacket”. I got so mad, but my arms were really sore from the gym so I decided to wait for an hour or so until I could really get a good pop in his stupid melted face. But still, I wasn’t going to let it go.


“Did a Creeper go into your house and blow up your Switch?” I said. 


Then Lucas laughed. Like a big, weird, silly, giggly laugh. I've never heard that noise from him. He sounded like a third grader. 


“That’s f&#$ing funny,” he said.


Somehow, his stupid laugh made me laugh. And after I was done laughing, I gave him my new OLED and grabbed my old Switch Lite and we played Minecraft for like two hours. We talked too, and I told him about the gym and getting SHREDDED and the punching bag and hoops with my boys. He said he wants to come “throw some bombs” next time I go to the gym. 


I learned some things about Lucas Redmore.


Lucas Redmore is actually really good at Minecraft.  


Lucas Redmore is actually really funny (though he swears way too much)


Lucas Redmore teases people because he thinks it’s funny (it’s not!). But when I told him he shouldn’t, he said I shouldn’t be such a wimp, but he won’t call me a Creeper anymore if it hurts my baby feelings (progress!) 


Anyway, when nine o’clock rolled around, there wasn’t enough time to punch Lucas Redmore in the face. 


I dunno. I guess I took the “high road” like my Dad would want. And I was nice to someone who was mean to me, like my Mom would want. But really, that’s fine! Cause I’m still gonna get SWOLE and SHREDDED and no-one’s gonna want to pick on me ever again.


January 18, 2024 05:20

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10 comments

21:33 Jan 20, 2024

Bro. I just loved the way of how you added lots of subplots and the way the character narrated the story. You have potential. Keep it going!

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James Lane
23:42 Jan 20, 2024

Thanks for the encouragement Eduardo!

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Luna Lin
02:12 Jan 25, 2024

This is really well-written! I like how you just let the kid show you who he really is as he goes day by day.

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James Lane
13:01 Jan 27, 2024

Thanks Luna!

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Alexis Araneta
07:49 Jan 24, 2024

The way you conveyed a tween's thoughts against his bully was impeccable. Loved the voice you used. Very good job !

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James Lane
22:34 Jan 24, 2024

Thanks for the kind words Stella!

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Michał Przywara
21:46 Jan 22, 2024

The title absolutely grabs attention, and then the prose hits the ground running. Fantastic voice on the narrator, and his gradual journey from anger and indignation, to formulating a plan, to meeting people and growing, and even learning about how Lucas works, is well put together. I particularly like his fixation on the initial insult, even when it becomes clear it's long ago lost its sting and the emotions have gone cold. It's used as a justification to continue practicing, until perhaps he realizes he actually likes working out, and th...

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James Lane
16:44 Jan 23, 2024

You're awesome Michal. Thanks for taking the time (again) to write your encouraging and insightful thoughts. I originally had plans to make this a bit darker, but the kid kept telling me he was having fun and learning, so I went with it. I do like how he struggled with his darker impulses (Hulk smash!) but found a way to channel it. Thanks for reading!

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J. D. Lair
01:50 Jan 21, 2024

This was very good James. You portrayed the perspective of a 6th-grade boy well and drove some good points home. Not all is as it seems sometimes and if we take the time to get to know someone, we'd be surprised how well we can relate. I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, and this was really well done. Thanks for sharing! :)

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James Lane
03:19 Jan 21, 2024

You and I both! The naivety / growing understanding of a kid is a fun genre to read and write. Thanks for the read

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