Middle School Coming of Age Funny

“Nah, bro. That’s crazy!” Levi couldn't believe his ears. He chomped down on a cheese puff, feeling the artificial cheese cling to his fingers. The orange dust was everywhere, but who cared? "You're telling me she actually said that with a straight face?" He flicked the crumbs off his hand with a little more force than was necessary.

"Yeah, for real, I swear!" The crackle from Levi’s headset almost drowned out the delirious excitement in Mack's voice. “She looked me in my eyes and, no cap, said, ‘I wouldn’t go out with you if you were the last dude on earth... But that pal of yours? He’s kinda cute.’”

Levi took a deep breath, feeling the frustration bubble up as he chewed. Then he clicked furiously on his mouse, his heart hammering in his chest. Some sniper dude from the enemy team popped out like a jack-in-the-box from behind a digital oil drum and unloaded a barrage of pixels at him. As his computer whirred, trying its hardest to keep up with the intense graphics of the shooter game, he could just about hear the familiar tones of annoyance from downstairs. Mom and Dad were going at it again—something about Brannah's latest splurge on clothes that had torpedoed the family budget.

Girls were dumb.

Except, Gabey. 

Gabey was the exception to every rule. She was the kind of girl who could turn heads with her looks, ace a test with her brains, and probably pin any boy in their eighth grade class to the mats in PE. She was all that and a bag of chips.

"You said she called me hot," Levi protested, ducking behind a digital pine tree in the game as his character's health bar blinked crimson warnings at him. "Not just... cute."

"No, I said cute," Mack corrected him with a half-chuckle that crackled through their digital connection. "And trust me, bro, coming from her, cute's like... crowning you king of the world or something."

"Cute." Levi practically spat the word out as he guzzled a virtual potion and sprang out from his arboreal hideout, fingers dancing across the keyboard. With precision, he unloaded a quick burst from his in-game AK-47, and the sniper avatar crumpled into a cloud of dark pixels.

"Cute's not the same as hot, Mack." He couldn't keep the annoyance out of his voice.

Mack barked a laugh, a sound like a hiccup in the midst of winter. "Dude, have you ever heard Gabey call someone hot? She thinks dudes are like germs under her microscope. You're lucky she even used the word cute."

"One of these days," Levi swore, half to himself, "she'll be totally into me. You'll see."

Mack's laughter pitched into a mock falsetto. "Because you're simply irresistibly cute!"

"Zip it." Levi shot back, his eyes scanning the in-game map. "Or, I swear, I'll find you in this game and—"

"Hold up, listen." Mack interrupted, a crunching sound signaling he was diving into his own stash of snacks. “I picked up some choice gossip after the 'cute' bombshell. Taylor and Sadie, Gabey's sidekicks, were whispering like they had the juiciest secret, right?"

"Yeah?" Levi's pulse raced. This had to be good.

"So they're yakking away, thinking no one can hear, and Taylor says, tomorrow, Gabey's gonna tell you that—"

The world went dark. The screen blanked out. Levi's room plunged into shadow as the electricity cut off with the ominous silence of a submarine diving into the abyss. He heard Brannah next door scream like she'd just stepped into a horror movie.

“Mom, Dad!” She yelled. Levi heard a door being swung open. “The freaking power just went out!”

Levi tapped at his headset. "Mack? You there, dude? What's Gabey gonna do tomorrow? Mack?" But the line was as dead as the lights.

No power. No internet. No continuation of the best gossip in the history of middle school.

“Oh, screw you! And screw electricity.” Levi growled, throwing the headset onto the desk, where it clattered against the wood. He raked a hand through his hair. Downstairs, Brannah was screaming like she’d just been thrown into the apocalypse. 

Levi’s mind raced.

Gabey wanted to talk to him tomorrow. But why? Their only interactions were the casual trash talk during basketball and the accidental eye contact on the bus.

Mack sounded so excited; it must be something major! Levi couldn't help but drum his fingers on the desk, making up a beat as he thought.

But what?

Oh, why did he have to get cut off in the middle of the good part! 

I’m not waiting for the service to come back. With his headset off, Levi could hear the thunder roaring outside, like a furious lion expressing its displeasure. The rain beat a tattoo against the window, and lightning etched eerie silhouettes in his room.

The power wasn’t coming back any time soon. Neither was Mack.

Which meant it was time to play a little game called, ‘find out what the heck Mack was trying to say’.

Okay, easy enough. First things first, Levi stood up. Something glass shattered on the floor below him as Brannah pitched a full-fledged tantrum. Why would Gabby want to talk to me? 

Make a list, Vishop; Basketball…School…. Uh… Levi began pacing. That’s about it. And why would her friends be gossiping about B-ball or school? Unless… A grin broke out on Levi's face. He peeked at himself in the mirror over his dresser. His hair was a mess, his cinnamon brown strands sticking out like he’d been electrocuted or something. His turquoise eyes were bloodshot and had dark bags under them from lack of sleep, a result of his tireless gaming. But he wasn’t half bad-looking. 

Actually, he wasn’t bad looking at all! 

Unless she finds me more than just cute! Maybe she wants to tell me in person how much she likes me. A confession, which I, of course, will graciously accept and return. The hottest girl in Drizzle-Valley Middle School likes me! That’s gotta be it! 

He’d solved the mystery, of course. What else could it be? Tomorrow, Gabey Yale was going to admit her absolute adoration for him. 

Like he’d been waiting for her to do since the third grade. 

Another ear-splitting scream from Brannah. But nothing could fade Levi’s victorious smirk. He flung open his door and bellowed downstairs,

“Brannah, why don’t you go out and get struck by lightning! Then, you won’t have to worry about your dumb old boyfriend and your Snap Streak, and we won’t have to worry about losing hearing and brain cells from all your complaining!”


Mack’s older brother drove him to school, so it was Gabey who Levi would see first thing on the bus in the morning, before he met up with his best friend at the school building. 

The morning after the storm had left the world glistening with moisture, Levi trudged toward the bus stop. His feet seemed to magnetize every stray twig and clump of wet grass along the way, so that by the time he stepped onto the bus, his shoes were a miniature, mobile marshland. He attempted to casually scrape the evidence off onto the school bus floor, but his efforts didn't escape the eagle-eyed Mrs. Jordan, the bus driver who ran a tight ship on wheels. Her glare, sharp enough to slice through the morning fog, sent a clear message that the bus was no place for such antics. Levi caught the cease-and-desist signal loud and clear, and with an apologetic shrug, he scurried down the aisle to his usual spot at the back.

Westen, a classmate who always seemed to be in his own world, occupied the neighboring seat, engrossed in the latest Memes on his phone.

Across the aisle, Levi’s gaze naturally fell upon Gabey. She sat there, her ponytail neatly tucked under a blue baseball cap, a picture of concentration as her green eyes danced over the light of her phone. Next to her, Taylor was equally absorbed, both of them reliving the highlights of the previous night's WNBA game.

“What do you think of this, Vishop?” She asked, when she caught him staring. She tilted her screen towards him, showing off a basketball player mid-jump shot. “Isn’t that perfect form? Arch's a bit off, though she's definitely got game.”

Levi could only offer a half-hearted nod in response, feigning expertise while his thoughts churned with anxiety. Gabey's typically straightforward attitude made him wonder when she would drop the big news on him. The butterflies in his stomach fluttered faster as he considered the possibilities:

Will it be here, in front of everyone? Or later, at the school? Or after? Or-.

"Yeah, it's...uh... a good shot," he mumbled, suddenly all too aware of the heat creeping up his neck. Gabey's eyebrows arched in suspicion at his awkwardness.

“You're acting stranger than usual.” She sniffed. “You look like you're about to have a seizure or something.”

Levi scrambled for a scapegoat. "Sorry... it's just my sis, Brannah, you know? Power outage tantrum last night. Zero sleep, thanks to her," he explained, playing the 'Blame Brannah' card—a trusty fallback.

"Girls are the worst," grumbled Westen, his eyes never leaving the screen of his phone.

Gabey shot back with all the quick-wit and ferocity of a seasoned debater. "Please, as if you guys are running on anything more than a single brain cell."

Feisty. Levi thought. He couldn't help but smile at her sauciness. She was unapologetically fierce, never taking garbage from anyone—qualities he couldn't help but admire. 

“Vishop, if you keep just gawking at me, I’m gonna punch you in the nose.” 

Ah, that’s my girl. Levi, no fool, redirected his attention to his phone. He saw Mack had sent him a flurry of texts last night, but they were just now coming through. Levi clicked on his messages, and went to check what his friend had said.

“Oh, I forgot!” Gabey snapped her fingers, drawing Levi’s attention back to her. “I have something I need to talk to you about, stupid.” 

Levi perked up, his curiosity piqued. "Yeah? What's up?"

"It's my dad; he's thinking about coaching the basketball team at Drizzle-Valley Middle, now that the school board finally got their act together and agreed we need a better coach than Mr. Bear, the math teacher. He wanted me to ask you, like a heads-up, if you'd play for him this year if he gets the gig. I know you didn’t want to play for a loser like Bear, but my dad really knows his stuff. So?" Gabey's eyes held an intensity, bearing down on him like a challenge.

Levi’s heart sank. A bitter disappointment, like none he’d ever felt before, swelled up in his chest and wormed its way into his throat, rendering him momentarily speechless.

"Levi? Earth to Levi!" Gabey waved a hand in front of his face, snapping him out of his stupor.

“Yeah…” He managed, the words tasting bitter on his tongue. “Sorry. Sure, I would. Um, is that all you wanted to talk to me about?”

Gabey exchanged a puzzled look with Taylor. She gave him a weirded-out raise of one eyebrow, her eyes flashing with confusion.

“What else would I want to talk to you about?” She demanded. 

Levi could almost feel himself shrinking into his seat. "Nothing, I guess," he said quietly, turning his attention back to the safety of his phone screen.

Gabey snorted.

“Boys!” She grumbled. “They’re so weird!”


It was just another school day, but for Levi, it felt like the longest walk ever up to the middle school's entrance. The chilly morning air nipped at his neck as he trudged along, his backpack feeling heavier than usual. Just then, from the corner of his eye, he spotted Mack bouncing out of the front doors, a huge grin plastered on his face.

"Yo, Levi!" Mack hollered, throwing his hand up for a slick greeting. "What's good, bro?" He went for one of their signature dabs, but Levi wasn't feeling it today. Not one bit. With a huff, Levi barrelled right past him, leaving Mack in the dust, his hand hanging awkwardly in the air.

Mack's face fell, and he let out this yelp that made him sound like a pup with his tail caught in a door.

“What’d I do?” He asked. He trotted after Levi, a look of genuine confusion sloshing around his eyes. "You look like someone just deleted your Minecraft world or something!"

Levi came to a grinding halt right in the shadowy overhang of the school entrance and swung around with a scowl that could have frozen the sun. "You seriously asking me that?" He snapped, his eyes narrowing into slits. “You wanna know what you did? You made me make a fool of myself in front of Gabey! You made it sound like she had something important to tell me-.”

Mack's face was a picture of pure surprise. "Hold up, dude! I didn’t even get to tell you anything. We lost connection!" He protested, his arms flailing for emphasis.

“Yeah! Exactly!”

“I am so lost here.”

Levi's cheeks went from pale to a fiery red, and his voice dropped to almost a whisper, "We lost connection, and because we lost connection, all I knew was that Gabey was gonna tell me something special today. And, man, I thought... I actually thought she was gonna say she liked me, you know?"

Mack's eyebrow shot up to his hairline as a chuckle escaped his lips. "Gabey? Bro, she's got more chance of acing a math test without studying than admitting she's into you."

“Well, you made me think she was gonna say it!”

“How!” Mack demanded. 

“Because… because you made it sound-.”

“I didn’t do anything.” Mack frowned, crossing his arms. “Sounds to me like you jumped to conclusions, stupid conclusions, and you got your heart jacked up because of it.” 

He was right. Levi knew that. But his pride wouldn’t let him admit defeat; instead, he held his head high, and, even knowing he looked as stupid as Brannah throwing a tantrum over Snapchat, he shoved past his best friend and started into the building.

“Oh, come on, Levi!”

“Come on yourself.” Levi called back over his shoulder. “I’m playing COD with Westen tonight instead!” 

Mack stood there for a second, gaping at the spot where Levi had been. "Levi, don't be like that!" He called out to the door that was already swinging shut.

“Save it for your livestream!" Levi's voice, now distant and almost drowned out by the morning bell, was a mix of hurt and defiance.

And with that, the doors shut behind Levi, his steps thundering down the hall, leaving a slice of silence between him and Mack.

Everything was ruined. His life was over.

February 23, 2024 19:23

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19:17 Feb 26, 2024

Middle school has so many memories and many first crushes


C.N. Jung
02:54 Mar 02, 2024

Middle School definitely holds many memorable moments. Thanks for reading my story, Tess!


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