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We Are Young

epic NEWT

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#1 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Dec 10 2012 - 05:10 PM

[font="georgia, serif;"]Chapter 1: Rob Macker[/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"]N[/font]O ONE WAS ALLOWED TO WEAR HATS IN SCHOOL, NO EXCEPTIONS.

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Exception: Rob Macker.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Yes, my friends, he was simply that cool.  He would walk into class with a Twin Cities cap on, and while perhaps the teachers had motioned to indicate their objection when he was a freshman, by the time that first year was over they stopped even thinking about it because it was hard to imagine Rob without his hat, and they had to agree that he was indeed quite cool.  Everybody knew it.  People who had never met him knew it.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          The formula for coolness and success started with athletics, for which Robert covered all the bases, starting with baseball in the summer, cross country in the fall, basketball in the winter, and sprinting for the track team in the spring.  After that came good grades, great parents, a nice house that he could invite friends over to, and plenty of friends to invite over.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          You might now suspect that this is a story about how in spite all of these things Rob still had some deep internal problem, that underneath it all there would be something depressing to talk about.  This is in fact a false presumption.  He was happy with what he had and stood as one of the rare few who lived a very good life.  His senior year thus far was awesome, and though he knew he would miss it sorely once he went off to college, at least it wasn't the climax of his life.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          No, the real problem in this story belonged to someone else.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          The first scene for this story takes place in the workshop, where Rob was fixing up a blown out engine.  It wasn't homework, but a hobby.  He always had an interest for this stuff and had leaped ahead in it, figuring that working with engines first would give him a head start in understanding some of the intuitive basics when working with engineering.  It was a nice upgrade from Legos.  Yet, it was more than just a hobby.  This was what he did before cross country practice in order to earn money.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          His leather jacket was hanging up on the rack and he was wearing stained coveralls.  His running clothes were nearby.  This would have to be quick.  It would start in five minutes.  He began unzipping his coveralls.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Ruby, the new girl who came in a two weeks after the start of school, came into the workshop.  She had long, dark brunette hair that was always held up by a red ribbon and conservative attire, although the nice girl image didn't conceal her quirkiness.  "Oi!  'Ello, guvna!"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "OI!" replied Rob, except louder, and more zealous.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Whatchya dooooin'?" she asked.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Finishing up," said Rob.  "Same stuff as I'm always doing here.  The real question is, what are you doing around here?"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Oh, I'm just asking for help with my American History," she said.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Let me guess.  You're currently covering colonial times, and you're at around the founding of Georgia, or just maybe at the French and Indian War."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "I'm at the French and Indian War," she said.  "And a ton of other stuff. The book keeps talking about crazy things on the home front and it goes into ridiculous detail.  I just need a study partner, and you're...really smart."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Rob grabbed his running shorts and hopped behind the car, where he changed out of sight.  "That's very nice, but I have a college Calc II test coming up that I have to study for, and I'll be off in a few minutes to get running. At the front of the pack.  There are plenty of other smart people out there, especially people who are already in your year.  If I recall, my brother, Craig, looked through the book I used last year and just about memorized the whole thing.  His genius in the area can only have increased now that this is his second time through."  Already, he was changed.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          He got out from in front of the car and jogged past Ruby to get through the other area of the shop and to through the class room and through the locker room and out into the hallway.  It was a confusing and odd setup.  This was hands down the weirdest place in the building, but then it was also the oldest.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Ruby ran with him.  "Hey, wait, will you be hanging out after school?  I really need somebody's help.  Any of your guys will do!"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Rob stopped for a moment and faced Ruby, looking over her.  He took off his hat and placed it on her head.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "I'll be hanging out with friends after school, and you're going to hang out with us, if only to give me back my hat," said Rob.  "I simply cannot hang out without my hat."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Do you sleep with this thing on, Rob?" she asked.  The way she was looking up at him was just so comical, in part because she was officially The Girl in Rob's Hat.  That title would change anyone presence considerably.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "As a matter of fact, I do," said Rob, and he ran off.[/font]

 

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#2 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Dec 11 2012 - 01:26 PM

[font="georgia, serif;"]Chapter 2: After School[/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"]R[/font]UBY WAS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR HANDING HIS HAT BACK TO HIM AFTER PRACTICE.  That was like getting to carry the Olympic torch.  O, the reverence!          For two hours, Rob did nothing but running, setting his pace to a mile for every five minutes.  he the time he was over, he had just about run a marathon, and he returned to the school ready to collapse.  Everyone else was done before him, but they hadn't run out as far as he had.  They all rested under the apple tree in the middle of the school parking lot.  Yes, in the middle of the school parking lot.  Whoever had that idea was genius.  There was a little curb surrounding it with some dirt, but regardless, it was in the middle of the parking lot.          "Rob!" said Coach Leer.  Coach Leer was this tall, lanky guy, and perhaps one of the only people who was used to seeing him without his hat on.  "Don't lie on the ground.  You have to take it like a man and lean against the tree."          Rob did exactly that, resenting it somewhat, but also knowing where Leer was going with this.          "See there?" said Leer.  "That's how you should be after you're done running.  Just because you're not running anymore, doesn't mean you're done.  You have to take it standing up.  You don't just flop down.  That's not good for you.  If all else fails, walk it off.  I don't care.  You just can't flop to the ground.  Now I want all of you to lean against the tree.          "Very good, Rob.  You can walk off and do your own thing now," added Leer.          Rob wiped the sweat from his brow and finger-combed his greasy hair.  "Thanks.  I'm going to take a shower.  And guys, I'll be hosting a barbecue over at my house, if anyone is interested."          He walked off and onto the sidewalk that went alongside the entrances to the locker rooms.  Not the locker rooms that you had to go through to get to the workshop, though.  The locker rooms people actually used.          Ruby was waiting along the sidewalk, half seated on her bike and still wearing his had.  Backwards.  He flipped her had around so that it was on in the right direction.          "The hat demands to be worn the right way.  You must respect the ways of the hat," said Rob.          "Says who?" asked Ruby.  "When it's on my head I can wear it however I want it."          "Wrong," said Rob.  "It is worn the way the hat is worn no matter whose head it is on.  By wearing it, you willingly bear my image, and according to my whim it must be worn forward.  You have to pay tribute to my image.  Anything else is blasphemy."          "Alright, God," said Ruby.          "Something tells me I went a little too far with my humor," said Rob.  He took his hat back, although he didn't put it on his sweaty head quite yet.  "I'll be right back out.  I just need to take a shower and then I'll be off.  Barbecue at my house, by the way.  You're invited."          He ran over to the boys' locker room, opened up his locker, got out the hair products, got into the shower.  He didn't even wait for it to get warm.          "Dynamite!" he said out of habit.          Then he was done, and he changed into new, non-sweaty boxer, and then his can, and ran out into the hallway until he rounded the corner outside of the gym, and he ran through the other locker room, through the classroom, through the initial workshop, and into the garage area of the workshop where he was working on the car, where he got back into his other non-sweaty clothes.  Jeans, shirt, jacket and all.          Rob opened the garage door.  It was time to get off to home as soon as possible.  His friends would arrive at about seven, as usual, and he would get his homework done between eight and midnight.  Between then and now, six o'clock, he had plenty of time to prepare.          He got onto his motorcycle and rode out.  The garage door closed behind him.          He rode off the curb and onto the streets, passing by Ruby, who looked to be heading in the same direction he was.  He waved to her briefly, and then decided to push the speed limit by going fifty miles per hour.          Naturally, he made it home early.  He ran into the breezeway, where he hung up his coat, and ran up the short case of stairs to the kitchen, then to the hallway where his living room was.  In his room was his own refrigerator, where all of the stead, chicken breasts, hot dogs, and beef was stacked up for that evening.  One armful at a time, he grabbed them and brought them out.          "Hey, Matt!" Rob called out, presuming that his littlest brother was there.  "This was half your idea, so you're going to have to help out some!  Start up the grill!"          "Hello, I'm here.  Never fear," said Matt.  He came out of his room to help Rob out.  His hair was wet from a shower of his own at home, as he, too was in cross-country, although had not crossed any of the same paths as Rob had.  Matt was still a good runner, though, and Leer expected to do as well as his brother, if not better, in that particular sport once he was an upperclassman.  They set up the grill and began waiting.     Ruby arrived early.          "Why am I not surprised?" murmured Matt.          "Is Craig around?" whispered Rob.          "I think he'll be back soon.  He was out at the weight room," said Matt, referring to the weight room in the basement where Craig spend much of his time.          Craig was a junior and shared a number of classes with Ruby.  Matt, for the record, was a freshman, and the youngest of the bunch, as well as the mediator between Craig and Rob.          Ruby came up to them.  "Do you need any help with that?"          "No thanks," said Rob.  "It's quite simple, really.  Hey, you know what?  Craig is in the weight room.  Seriously, he loves to talk about history.  He's practically a supercomputer on history.  He's perfect, and he's in your class."          And Ruby had a crush on him that he was totally oblivious to.  Rob had to facepalm when he noticed it on Ruby's first day.  To her there was apparently something lovable and cute about Craig's extreme weirdness.  Rob had to handle it to Craig for being somewhat of a Teddy Bear.  He could bench four hundred pounds, and yet he only lifted weights for stimulation of the senses, to calm himself down and to work himself into a state of focus once he settled down to do his work.  It didn't benefit him socially whatsoever, because it didn't change the fact that he was socially awkward and always said the wrong things and didn't really know how to be outgoing, consequently resulting in him sitting alone at a table with only Matt and Matt's friends as company.          Rob looked at his watch.  It was fifteen minutes before people usually began to arrive.          Ruby just stood around like a wall flower, which wasn't very far off.  She had picked one of the dandelions out of the grass and put it in her ear, and she was leaning against the wall.  "Do you think Craig will want to talk with me?"          Rob sort of just turned around and looked at her like he noticed her for the first time, even though he had already addressed her.  "You know you crush on Craig is obvious, right?"          "Uh, I didn't think I was being subtle," she said.  "I'm surprised he didn't catch on."          "If you didn't like him for being oblivious, what did you like him for, then?  Surely you know the stereotypes that associate with nerds."          Ruby looked down and kicked the ground.  "I don't know..."          Matt kicked in.  "Ruby, all you have to do is talk about history and he'll talk back.  He'll monopolize the conversation, but he'll talk back.  As far as gaining an emotional bond, though, you're out of luck.  You'll have to try something else."          "How do you know?"          "I'm his brother," replied Matt.          Rob and Matt continued to make hamburgers and flip buns.  While Rob did most of it himself, Matt ran off to get the condiments, such as the ketchup, the mustard, the pickles (Side note: who eat's pickles with their hotdogs, anyway?), and the buns from within the house, while Ruby continued to lean against the wall, her arms crossed, and feeling awkward and surprised that the brothers had been so straightforward with her.  It was somewhat comforting, though, not feeling that there were any secrets, though, not really.  At least, that's what Rob assumed she felt.  he had no real way of telling.  For all he knew, girls felt completely different, but the point was that this is what most of the guys he knew would feel, and even some of the girls who had talked with him about their life.


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#3 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Dec 12 2012 - 01:34 PM

[font="georgia, serif;"]Chapter 3: Before the Moment[/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"]P[/font]EOPLE STARTED ARRIVING, starting with Greg and Tyler, two guys who lived next door from each other, and from the backyard Rob could hear the sounds of Greg's rusty pickup.  Greg, it had to be said, was a giant, standing at nearly seven feet tall and looking very Dutch.  Rob considered him a good friend because they both had jobs after school as mechanics.  Something similar went for Tyler, who had a couple of college classes geared toward engineering.          "Hey, we're the first ones here!" said Greg.          "Not quite," said Rob.          "Hey, can I start the bonfire?" asked Tyler.          "Nah, I'm going to wait until other people arrive.  Starting the bonfire is fun.  Everybody likes to start the bonfire together."          Tyler didn't complain, but he went back to grab wood from Rob's garage and set it up in a careful teepee design in the fire area.          More people began to arrive, and more.  More and more.  Pretty soon, there were thirty people in Rob's backyard, almost half the entire class.  He sure was happy he had started cooking an hour early.  Considering how large the group was, he wouldn't be surprised if people kept on hanging out until the late hours of night, as often happened with larger groups.          They communed together, sang songs together, and Ruby sang along, her teenage angst over Craig temporarily forgotten as she simply enjoyed the spirit.          Craig waked around the house and shouted.  Really loud.  "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?  I'M TRYING TO WORK ON MY HISTORY, SO WHY DON'T YOU BE A LITTLE MORE QUIET!"  His face was red.  Everyone stopped and looked at him, shocked and a little put off.  Rob sighed and looked down at the marshmallow at the end of his poker stick, but then decided that he wasn't going to be that shy.          "Craig!" he said.  "Sorry, bro.  I didn't mean to disturb you.  Would it make you feel better if you had a study buddy?"          Craig huffed.  And then he hyperventilated.  Apparently being around so many people was overwhelming.          "I'll study with you," said Ruby.  "I mean, if that helps.  We can just play music you like or something that will help get rid of any distractions.  Besides, I'm looking for a study buddy anyway."          "Rrhmmm," said Craig.  It wasn't a sign of pleasure, it showed resignation.          Ruby took him by the arm and led him back into the house.          Rob raised an eyebrow and looked over at Matt.  Matt shrugged.  Well, that was a disaster averted.  People murmured a little, saying stuff like "No need to get all uptight about it" and "He should calm down.  As for Rob, he just said to Matt, "Well, to each her own."  Then he said to everyone else with a wave of his hand, "Sorry guys about the drama.  Stuff like that happens."          "If you were a girl, who would you date?" asked Matt later on.          "If I was a narcissist, I would say that I would date myself," said Rob.  "But really, if I was a girl then that would give me permission to officially have a crush on Michael Phelps."     They laughed.  Then Rob coughed, and he and Matt stood up, and Matt used the grill as a podium.          "Alright guys, listen up," said Rob.  "Matt wants to say something.  Now we're all good friends and we all respect each other, so I want people to consider what Matt has to say and be quiet for him."          Because Rob was Rob, no one hesitated to go quiet, and Matt had the floor.


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#4 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Jan 10 2013 - 06:36 PM

[font="georgia, serif;"]Chapter 4: Matt's Idea[/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"]M[/font]ATT BIT HIS LIP.  "Hmm.  Well.  Thank you Rob, this is quite extravagant, and I thought I could handle everyone looking at me but its kind of different when they're all taking you seriously."

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "For the record, I'm not," said Greg.  Some people laughed at that, including Matt.  Comic relief - that was supposed to be a good thing.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "So I might as well just come out and say it: I want to start a local restaurant that's the perfect place for high schoolers and college students to hang out.  Right now the working name is 'Youth Diner' until I can think of something cooler, but I think it would be a very simple place where you can order sandwiches and other basic recipes that everybody loves."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "It had better have PB&J," said Greg.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "I can do that for a quarter each, I think.  I don't know, though, I'd have to do the math and figure out how much it costs statistically to make a PB&J sandwich.  I'm interested in keeping things as cheep as possible.  For that reason, I'm not taking out a lone to buy that empty lot down by the track, because I don't want to run something that needs to make a huge profit in order to survive.  In fact, I would love this to be non-profit, so what I'm thinking is starting up a charity drive where our families could each throw in donations over time until we eventually reached or goal.  I figured you all would be interested, especially those who are closer to my age, since this would benefit you and give us a local gathering place to hang out and have fun and stuff.  And seriously guys, PB&J.  How can you say no to that?"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "I'm allergic to peanuts," said Tyler.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Tyler, you're allergic to everything," said Greg.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "No I'm not," said Tyler.  "I said I'm allergic to fur and now it's peanuts, and that's about it when it comes to allergy.  Just because I joke about being allergic to homework and stupid people, doesn't mean - "[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Achoo!" said Greg.  "What's that?  I can't hear you.  A-choo!  I'm too allergic to this conversation to carry on."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Anyway, back on topic," said Matt.  "I imagine everything being incredibly cheep and maybe there being cool posters.  I mean, cool and fun, but not lame in that 'Hey, we have posters!' kind of way.  If you think about this, it's right next to the school, right next to the track, and only a block away from the swimming pool, so we can make it pretty casual to the point where you could pretty much walk in wearing your swimming suit.  Although I would want there to be cheap flip-flops available at the door for health reasons.  We figure out the menu so that it sells everyone's favorite home-made snacks, and boom - we have a winner.  My only concern is how much it's going to cost, which is going to be around 30k, but I did the math, and if everyone at school pitched in a hundred dollars, we could afford to build the thing on the spot.  I don't expect it to be that simple, though, so I'm just asking for some of you to help me create some fundraisers over the course of the year, and maybe next year if that's what it takes.  We could sell our services or something like that and gradually earn the money.  Juniors essentially do the same thing for prom every year when they do the Junior Auction.  I'm thinking it would be cool if a ton of us did the same across all the grades.  I've talked to the principle and he says that it's possible I can get a ton of people interested.  What I know is that I really want to see this thing built before my senior year so I can have some great memories, but even sooner would be even better, and I'm pretty sure that at the very most it should take us two years to get there if we really want this.  Besides, prom is just one night, and I figured we could be the one school that did something cooler than what any other school would do, because that's just who we are."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Wow, thought Matt.  I can't believe they actually listened to all that.  I need to thank Rob a few more times.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Dude, cool stuff."  The person who said it was Kate.  She was this girl in the senior year with some mad art skills, and was a good friend Rob.  Well, everyone was a good friend of Rob, but she was like a loyal soldier.  She also made a lot of money on her art and ten times more when she did it for fundraisers.  If Mat could get her on, he knew she would raise a couple thousand dollars on her own.  "I just have one request.  If I'm in, you're going to leave it to me to decorate the place with murals however I like, alright?"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Woot!" cried Greg.  "yeah!  Now that's what I'm talkin' about!"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "Well, that sounds cool, but can I give you any suggestions?"[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          "No, no, Matt," said Kate.  "I'm doing you a huge favor, because I won't be around after this year, so what I want is to leave a legacy.  If I raise more money than anyone else, then that was mostly my effort, and besides, Matt, you have to trust me.  I'm a woman of vision.  Don't you think I know what I'm doing when I pick my art pieces?"  She smiled.  "Alright, guys, this is official because I'm in on it and I don't want all that work to amount to nothing."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Matt smiled, too, and put his hands in his pockets.  People began talking about it, although the conversation died quicker than he would have liked.  Well, he knew he had Kate in on it, and probably his brother Rob.  Maybe even Ruby, if he could rely on her to be overly friendly, even though he felt guilty for relying on that.  So long as he made this something bigger than himself, he could taste success as inevitable.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          The power of positive thinking.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          People began talking of other things, naturally, but Matt thought back to what he imagined the restaurant would look like and how satisfied he would feel if he could get it done.  Then, as people started telling stories of football injuries, he thought about what he would do to get it done, and he began having ideas.[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Robert leaned over and whispered in Matt's ear, "If you build it, they will come."[/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"]          Matt laughed at that, and all serious thoughts were forgotten as they ended the night with a giant marshmallow fight that they would someday tell their kids about.[/font]


Edited by Jean Valjean, Jan 10 2013 - 06:37 PM.

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