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Matt Nelson, 24 Aug '12

Evan Dibbit channeled his blood through his fingertips where it flowed cleanly into his pen. The writing was red hot today, sizzling from his mind to the page. He might have even smelled a bit of burning ballpoint as he tore the tip into the delicate moleskine pages.

Evan saw things that weren't there! The words were dancing pictures inside the eyeglass of his mind. His protagonist, a former high school physics teacher, was now a ballistic missile specialist leading the ragged bits of resistant rebels seeking to oppose the extraterrestrial menace. Evan called him Renton Farnsworth.

Farnsworth was shouting into a SpaceCom across the raging battlefield, where the alien forces were currently launching ballistics against the great Martian terraforming machines. Farnsworth was the only one that could stop it, since he had recently returned from a dangerous reconnaissance mission in which he had acquired critical longitudinal coordinates that pinpointed the exact location of the extraterrestrial armory vessel. The mission had not been without a terrible cost — his younger brother Enrik had been killed when a can of Gornik Gas had burst, and Farnsworth was going into this battle emotionally devastated. It was very lucky that he had the beautiful Rita McHemingway to console him! She was a widow, and she was used to loss. She had slapped him across the face and then kissed him on the lips. "Get your head out of your ass, get your guns blazing and get back to me!" She screamed as she threw him out of the lonely safe house, and out into the Critical Ground.

Evan was only on chapter two.

He paused to drink his coffee (brewed in secret) and that was when he heard his name shouted twice from outside the room. The veins in his temple appeared. He drank again, delaying his response another few seconds. Then he shouted back at an equal volume before he looked back at the ink-stained pages on his desk. Renton Farnsworth was nearly in the range of the SpaceCom transmitters, and an exploding canister of Gornik Gas had just knocked him off of his feet. Evan closed the notebook, then hesitated while his fingers flitted anxiously over the cover. He thought of the way Farnworth leapt so fearlessly and so desperately into the Martian Allied lines.

Then he snatched up the moleskine by its black elastic band and tossed the book into his backpack.

Evan regretted his decision almost immediately. He kept his pack close to his chest while riding the school bus (but not too close — the value must be kept hidden). He kept his head down while he chewed the gummy eggs of the morning meal, used his tongue to pluck bits of burned sausage out of his teeth. No one came to his table. Little by little, he relaxed. He began to see things that weren't there.

He had already dreamed up an elaborate escape for Renton Farnsworth by his first period study hall, but he couldn't risk writing it because of George Nikols. He had been thrown out of his first period class for saying the F-word. Whenever George was in study hall, Evan sat in the back and pretended to solve geometry problems. When George wasn't in study hall, Evan sometimes said hello to Marguerite McGuire. She was an eighth grader. Sometimes she said hello back to him.

Study hall was almost over when Evan made a mistake. He had been thinking about Marguerite and what she would think of his novel about the brave Renton Farnsworth. He wondered if she would be impressed when he told her it was already seventeen pages long. He wondered if she would want to read it, and he supposed that he could let her, after he typed it up.

That was when he messed up. George Nikols caught his eye. The blood rushed out of Evan's face and he quickly jerked his gaze back down to his geometry problems. But it was too late. Evan could see George's shadow moving across the room. More shadows followed it.

"What's up, Evan Dipshit?" Nikols said, sitting down backwards in the desk just in front of Evan. The other three boys settled into the empty seats around him. They were grinning at Nikols. "You working pretty hard there?"

In the kiddy corner of the room, Marguerite was looking at them and whispering to a friend. Evan's felt his desk shaking as his body shook from the violent beat of his heart.

"Yeah," Evan said. His voice wasn't even. "I got a test next hour." He didn't have a test.

"You got a test huh? You got a test." Nikols reached forward and snagged the mechanical pencil out of his hand. "You got such a big test, why you spending all your time looking over at me? Huh? I seen you looking."

"I wasn't."

"Sure you was. You gay? That it?"

Evan wanted to tell George that he should be so lucky, but he just flatly told him, "No."

George played with the mechanical pencil, then he dropped it onto the floor. "Oops," he said. "I guess you lost your pencil. You better pick it up."

Evan eyes flicked over to the study hall monitor. She was a small woman, and thoroughly engrossed in the throes of a romance novel.

"She ain't gonna help you," George said. The harsh lights caught his eyes when he grinned.

Evan leaned over the edge of his desk, slowly. His leg brushed against his backpack, pressing it (and the moleskine) against the wall. George saw the movement, and suddenly slugged Evan with an uppercut.

Evan gasped and gritted his teeth. George watched him, grinning. The study hall monitor turned another page of her paperback. Evan began to see things that weren't there.

"Whatcha got in there?" George said. He pulled the backpack from under Evan's desk, and plucked out the moleskine notebook. "This your diary? Queer got a diary?"

Evan fought for air. Far away, Renton Farnworth jammed his face into a small hollow created by the old rush of Martian rivers, drawing a mouthful of air from the ancient hollow. The Gornik Gas billowed around him.

George flicked through the pages. "You got a lot written here. Let's read some, how about we read some?" He placed a finger onto the page. "'Farnsworth took Rita by the shoulders and told her how beautiful she was. 'You got hair as red as the rocks," he said.' Hey Dipshit, you got some hot stuff here! So hot. I'm getting turned on."

The other boys laughed and told him to read more. Evan lowered his hand to his side. He was going to push off from the wall and knock the desk over. Farnsworth had only feet before the SpaceCom was in range. He couldn't survive the Gornik Gas. Judgement was coming.

By chance, Evan's fingers brushed an unknown object. What's in my pocket? he thought wonderingly, before he recognized the sharpness of his aluminum geometry compass.

Marguerite was watching.

"Rita wove her fingers through Farnsworth's jacket and pulled him into her bedroom, where they stayed all night." George looked up. "Why'd stop there, Dipshit? You cut out the best —"

Evan lifted the compass at the same time he pushed off of the wall, driving the magnetic tip into the side of George's neck. George fell backwards. The compass drove deeper. Evan saw things that weren't there. People screamed. Warm blood ran down his fingers, into pages bound by moleskine.

Comments · 1

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  • Audrey Semprun said...

    I loved the imagery. The way that you wove this story was masterful. I especially enjoyed the way that you tied it all together.

    • Posted 5 years ago