Allow me to hit you with some wisdom. Ahem - DD quote number 424 - 'time flies like a winged snail when you're bored.'
But you know? a snail might be faster if you gave it wings. Hmm…this felt more like a sloth swimming in molasses. Could sloth's even swim? I'll have to google that later.
Needless to say, an eternity passed as Mrs. Kirks explained the intricacies of the wonderful world of Gerunds.
Of course, I spent my eternity dutifully ignoring her. For the first 20 minutes of class, I debated if Lisa was a ninja or some supernatural being that had secretly infiltrated my school in order to experience the absolute thrill ride that is high school.
Ridiculous, I know. I settled on Ninja. And no, I wasn't stereotyping simply because Lisa is half-Japanese. She may or may not have been secretly raised as a ninja, we don't not know that. Secret. Ninja. Assassin. For all you and I know that may very well be the case.
Ok, ok, I may have engaged in some slight typecasting and for that I apologize, but seriously I couldn't figure out how she beat me to class.
My thoughts were beginning to run wild, thinking of just how on earth she managed to do that, until I channeled my overactive imagination in a more constructive way. The next part of class was spent doodling cool weapons and armors sets for my next DnD campaign. As Dungeon Master, I liked to give my campaigns that little extra magic by adding a few cool hand-drawn visuals. Now I'm not a fantastic artist by any means, but I'd been practicing and honestly, I wasn't that bad.
I was in the middle of putting the finishing touches on a black steel long sword, with sharp serrated edges - CloudCutter. It looked like a Daedric Sword from Skyrim, except with less edgy spikes and no red accents. Instead, my sword had blue accents because that's where it held its lightning charges. Aside from the blue cracks along the sword's edge, the blade was pure black obsidian. I had just finished drawing the last spark of lightning when I felt the Ninja kick my chair.
"Mr. Dale," Mrs. Kirks called from the front of the class.
"Yes. Present," I said, and the class burst out laughing.
"Maybe physically, but not mentally," Mrs. Kirks chided. "I asked for an example of an infinitive."
Wait, when did we get to infinitives? We were on Gerunds a second ago.
"Mr. Dale?" Mrs. Kirks pressed.
"Uh, to listen?" I said, and I heard the Ninja laugh from behind me.
"Good," Mrs. Kirks said. "Now please follow your advice."
"Yes Mrs. Kirks," I said as I put away my sketchbook. I resigned myself to spend the rest of the class daydreaming of my after school hang out with Heather. It was nice to know that she hadn't completely forgotten me. The fact that she still remembered our little superhero group was amazing because even I had forgotten about it.
Maybe she's still the same person after all. Maybe this was my chance to bridge the gap between us and now that she and Derek were on a break, maybe...
I didn't know how likely any of that was. I didn't know if it was possible to return back to the good old days but still, a boy could dream.
I know people abuse the term "literally", but the last bell "literally" could not have rung any sooner.
If it had been a second later, Mrs. Kirks would have begun another thrilling lecture - this time on participles. As we packed up our stuff, she assigned homework and told us to review what we had learned.
"It will be on the quiz tomorrow," she said, staring directly at me.
I smiled and nodded.
I don't know why she always did that. I passed all my tests just fine. I mean sure, I wasn't Quincy; I didn't get straight A's. But hey, B's and C's still got degrees, right?
Although, I think that's why so many of my teachers seemed particularly annoyed with me. I mean, they seemed annoyed in general being as underpaid as they were - my mom rants about it all the time - but I think I disappointed most of them by not being Quincy.
It's funny, on the first day of class, Mrs. Kirks seemed so excited to have me. She went on about how amazing my brother was and how I had big shoes to fill, yadda yadda. I guess I didn't quite fill them because her excitement quickly faded to tolerance after she handed back my first test - let's just say Quincy would not have gotten the grade I did. But it's not like it bothered me all that much, I already knew I couldn't be Quincy. My mom still insists that I could if only I applied myself more, but who was she trying to fool - Quincy's shadow was just too large.
On top of straight A's, he was also the captain of our school's robotics team, which he led to win the state championship – twice! He was the chair of the state model U.N and he even made it to the semi-finals in both the National Spelling Bee and the National Debate Championship. All of this he accomplished during his sophomore year - the same year I'm in now.
And you might think, so what? He's just a smart geek, maybe you could be the sports guy Deshawn. But see, there are two problems with that. 1) my aforementioned lack of athleticism in any sense of the word, and 2) during his junior year Quincy got yoked. I'd always been skinnier than him, but one day he hit a growth spurt or something because he suddenly grew into his weight.
He was no longer pudgy. Now he had the build of an NFL linebacker - strong and sturdy. Coach Hudge tried several times to recruit him for our school's football and wrestling teams, but Quincy always declined.
It was no surprise he'd gotten a college scholarship at the end of his junior year and graduated early. Honestly, it seemed like high school was holding him back; like there was something more out there waiting for him. What was a surprise was when he decided not to go off to college right away. Instead, he took a year to travel the world - an option afforded to him by that same scholarship.
Seriously, how lucky can one guy get?
Mom wasn't happy at first, but eventually, she came around. She said it'll help him broaden his horizons and broaden his horizons he did. He sent us back postcard after postcard from all the places he went; sushi making in Japan, surfing in Brazil, para-gliding in Turkey, birdwatching on the Galapagos Islands, etc.
The last one we received was from Ghana - the west African Gold Coast. Quincy sounded excited during our video call, but he also seemed strangely tense. It was like he was finally about to uncover some big mystery. He said that he wouldn't be able to contact us for a while, but that was back in July - almost two-and-a-half months ago. Mom got very worried when the postcards and phone calls stopped, but I reminded her that Quincy warned us that this would happen. To be honest though, I was starting to get worried too. But I'm sure he's fine. I mean, he's Quincy - the golden child, a genius. What could possibly go wrong?
"Yo DD," I heard Buster yell when I arrived in the parking lot. "Good luck on your date tonight, man. And remember," he closed his eyes and clasped his hand in a meditative gesture, "control the Simp within."
"First of all, it's not a date," I yelled back. "And second, shut up!"
He laughed as he entered his car and drove away.
I walked over to a beat-up black Toyota Camry parked a few spots down. My ride was a hand-me-down big bro gave to me before he took off on his world tour. It wasn't much, but I was happy to be mobile. Me, on the open road with the wind blowing through my half-fro, again I ask, what could possibly go wrong? Apparently everything, at least according to my mom. And to her point I was not a very good driver, I've had my fair share of incidents on the road since getting my license but luckily no major crashes...yet. Hopefully, my luck held.
I opened the passenger seat door and tossed my backpack in before moving over to the driver's side. It took until I started the car and was checking all my mirrors - side & back - before I noticed a small package the size of a shoebox sitting on my back seat.
Immediately, I started to panic.
What's that doing there? Was this Luca's revenge? Like a bomb? Maybe the look of resignation was him thinking, "damn, I guess I got to kill a kid." But seriously, a bomb? Why couldn't he just beat me up?
Wait no, none of that made any sense. Plus, there were no signs that someone had broken into my car. So, this had to be something else.
I got out of the car and approached the back seat. Gingerly, I opened the doors and reached for the package. I sent a quick mental prayer to the Big Guy upstairs.
"Hi God, yeah, it's Deshawn. I know the last time I spoke to you was...well on Easter. Sorry about that. Anyway, please don't let this be a bomb, and don't let it blow me up. Love, your friend Deshawn."
I opened the package and was not expecting what I saw.
Delicately wrapped in white cloth was a black half mask. It looked ancient, but oddly beautiful. Its smooth wooden surface gleamed as it caught the rays of the sun. As I stared at it, I felt it call to me, almost urging me to put it on. Weird, but hey it wasn't a bomb and it looked pretty cool, so I put it on and... nothing happened. I'm not sure what I thought would happen or why I thought something cool would happen, but I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed.
As I returned the mask to the box, I noticed a note sticking out underneath the cloth. It was written in Quincy's chicken scratch handwriting and it said only three words - 'I'm sorry D'.
Hi, my name is Ben,
I'm an anime and manga fan and a lover of good storytelling through and through. With the stories I tell, my aim is to inspire and entertain my readers as much as possible. I hope that you guys enjoy the ride cause I have big things in store.
Follow me on Instagram for cool artwork on my series. https://www.instagram.com/b._.arisson/