That’s my best friend, Alex. Since he has the same name as my brother, and my brother hates it if we call him anything else, friend Alex usually goes by Lex, or Lex Luthor. He’s a smart guy, but he has a weird obsession with this one online video game where the goal is to re-create, atom for atom, your own house. Apparently, some graphics company is sponsoring a competition to find people who can make cool physics engines, and Lex thinks he could get a job with them. I don’t really know what to say to his question, so I go with:
“Nothing. What’s up with you?”
That wasn’t the right answer.
“The ceiling, obviously.” Lex moves on to the buffet table, where there are some assorted cheese and crackers that my mom got from Safeway. “Hey, John, can you guess the dimensions of my living room?”
“Uh…Twenty-five by Twenty by Ten.” Lex has a pretty big house, so I decide to guess on the larger side.
“Very close actually. Twenty-two by Eighteen by Ten.”
There are a lot of people in my house right now. Some of them are staff writers for The Mars Rover, which is the school paper. They’re over in a corner using their cell phones to catch up on the latest gossip and planning how to break the next provocative, investigative journalism piece. In the kitchen are the swim team kids, who are surrounding the now empty restaurant pasta trays. With them is Samuel, my token athletic friend. We’ve known each other since the third grade, but once he grew eight inches in about three months, swimming became less something that he did during the summer and turned into his ticket to college. He still reads manga, though, which redeems him a bit in my book. Finally, there’s my band of closer friends, who also happen to be my bandmates. Lex plays bass, and I’m on drums. Dan, the token Asian friend, is on keyboard, which he says is way more fun than classical piano, and Max, who is my debate partner, is on vocals and guitar. Samuel, when he can make it, is back-up on vocals and band manager.
Suddenly, the journalism kids start flowing out the door, shouting instructions to each other and coordinating strike teams. From what I’m able to discern in between the “Thanks for the party”s and “Happy Birthday, John”s, it seems that there was an altercation between a teacher and a board member at the school board meeting.
“Don’t forget to follow AP style formatting!” Lex shouts after them. He’s still trying to gain followers for his crusade to reform the Rover’s idiosyncratic writing style.
I’m still standing in the doorway when I hear something fragile break behind me.
“Oops.” When I turn around, Samuel is standing in front of the kitchen sink with a broken plate at his feet.
I decide to have some fun, since hey, it’s my birthday. “Samuel, can I talk to you outside please?” Samuel and I head into the backyard and pretend to yell horrible things at each other, like “Plaid doesn’t go with anything.” and “I killed your goldfish while you were at the swim meet.” When we come back into the house, I solemnly intone, “You will not speak of what happened here today. Please depart as if nothing happened.”
The swim team, Samuel excepted, exits as a unit, with a speed that rivals the quickness with which they consume pasta. At precisely 10:30 PM, I’m left with a lot of trash and the best friends I’ve ever had.
For Chapter One, and an explanation of this fiction project, head over here.