Asma Ahsan Asma Ahsan
Recommendations: 31

Perhaps thats a bit too critical. You should tune it down a notch as its beginning to make him sound unreal.

Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

This really happened. Just in Barrhaven.

Asma Ahsan Asma Ahsan
Recommendations: 31

I think the tone here is somewhat biased since men dont really think that much about someone, being pretty self involved. Try to be more objective here.

Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

The person Dan is based on used to be pleased when I'd made a different friend or seemed happy when I told him. Which I think was because if I was with other people, that was time I wasn't with him.

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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
Recommendations: 6

The Nice Guy: Chapter Twelve


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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

12.


April 21 2009 (Dan)


       Do you remember me writing the line “wait and see what I write next, it could get interesting?” I think I’ve achieved that.


       Mr. Laroche, forgive me if this is starting to be more of a comedy than a journal. I’d gone through, forgive me, hell, on that Monday. And it hasn’t finished yet.


       On Tuesday morning I had a meeting with the principal to resolve the issue that I’d just dedicated a song to a girl that suggested I’d slept with her to the entire school. While it was nice to dedicate songs, dedicating them in that context (or in the context that was unwittingly believed by everyone in general) was not the right message to send, certainly not to a population of over a thousand students and staff. My side of the whole chaotic predicament meant nothing. No matter what I said, there was no changing what everyone thought. My life at Merivale High School had gone to the dogs.


       By ‘dogs,’ I meant a vicious, relentless, mistreated, rabid pitbull-doberman combination.


       “What were you doing, giving me a song like that?” demanded Cyril when I saw him the same morning.
“I got in trouble for playing a song like that!”


       “I’m sorry, and besides, it’s not the song’s fault, it’s my fault.”


       “Darn right it is! I sounded like an idiot! I don’t know how I can go on saying the announcements this morning!”


       I sighed. “Give it a rest, will you? It was my fault I didn’t read the lyrics. It was my fault I didn’t listen to Tom.”


       “Tom? Tom!? You got the idea from Tom?”


       “Yeah...no, I mean, I saw an album he had and I saw the song. He told me about it but I didn’t listen, I was thinking about my idea to put it on.”


       “You didn’t listen...what kind of album did he have?”


       “A Madness one. I think it was called Keep Moving.”


       “Keep Moving? Huh...yeah...and why didn’t you listen to Tom again?”


       “I said, I was thinking about my original idea to put it on.”


       “Huh...you know what’s funny, Dan?”


       “What?”


       “You asked us last Wednesday if we’d ever heard of Madness. Now we’ve all heard about them – by way of your great dedication.”


       “Hah – that is kind of funny.”


       “Just one more question before you and I go off to announce my – and your – formal apology to the school.”


       “What’s that?”


       “I’m just curious – did you sleep with her?”


       “Ah! No! We did not!”


       “Well then, how did you know she’s a heavy sleeper?”


       “She fell asleep in the hallway once!!”


       “How could she fall asleep in a loud hallway?”


       “I’m going to kill you!”
--
       “Now what were you thinking?” asked Mildred at lunch. God, I was tired of that question. I’d gotten it from her, Rose, my parents, Samantha’s parents, even my little brother. Because I now had no one to hang out with in the D wing anymore (everyone seemed to be ashamed of me in that particular area of the school) I now spent my lunch in the music department filing room, where my other friends from music hung out. The atmosphere felt less judgemental there.


       “Mildred, what do you think I was thinking?”


       “I think you were being selfish.”


       “Selfish? You haven’t heard my side of it!”


       “You didn’t seem to think of what this would do to Sam, and you were too busy thinking about your ideas and benefits instead of listening to Tom.”


       “No, I didn’t know the bloody lyrics!”


       “Then why didn’t you look them up?”


       “Don’t you think I wonder that myself? Geez.”


       “Don’t mouth off at me.”


       “Don’t ask stupid questions.”


       “Excuse me?!”


       “Aww!” I got up and left the room. Maybe the atmosphere was less judgemental, but Mildred sure wasn’t.


       Down the hallway, I heard someone yell ‘hi!’, and a familiar voice said ‘hi’ back. Then Tom came around the corner.


       “Oh – hey.”


       This was just great. “Hi,” I replied solemnly.


       “Bad day?”


       “What do you think?”


       “I think you’ve had a bad day.”


       “There you go.”


       “Hey, do you know that girl down there?”


       “You mean the one that sits at the top of the stairs there? That’s Kristen.”


       “Oh. So you know her?”


       “Yeah. She’s on student council.”


       “Oh, yeah. A lot of people are on there. I know some of them.”


       “Really? Who?”


       “Well, Leonard’s in my media class...”


       “I gathered that much—“


       “And I know Manson Albert Dennis Nesmith Ettrick Silverstein from grade nine day.”


       I pointed at him. “I’ll bet you that’s not right.”


       “Sure it is.”


       “I’ll bet you it’s not.”


       “Then why don’t you come with me.”


       As usual, I sighed. “All right.”


       The chief reason I got up and followed Tom was because it was something to do, something to escape my present misery, even if it meant going off somewhere with Tom Woodfern. Everywhere I went I was either surrounded by murmurs about me, or cat-calls because of what I did (to them). Maybe if I went somewhere accompanying the pleasant nonentity I’d get less attention.


       Tom took me to the D wing, at which I groaned in awkwardness. He walked right up to Manson.


       “Excuse me,” he said.


       “Yes?” he asked.


       “Sorry to bother you, but this guy, Dan—“


       “Daniel!” He noticed me. “You are an idiot!”


       “Yes, I know that,” I replied sadly.


       “While that’s apparently a well-known fact, how about we talk about something that seems to be disputed instead,” countered Tom. “Manson, Dan here doesn’t believe me when I say your full name.”


       “Well, my full name isn’t something people normally get right,” he explained.


       “Right. And I believe I know your full name.”


       He stared at Tom for a second. “Okay. Go for it.”


       “Manson Albert Dennis Nesmith Ettrick Silverstein.”


       He stared at Tom a moment longer, then looked at me, and then back to Tom.


       “That’s right.”


       “Thank you. Now, Dan, do you believe me?”


       “What’s your name?” asked Manson, in a seemingly slight state of awe.


       “Thomas Woodfern.”


       He looked at me. “This is Tom?”


       “Uh – yes.”


       “Tell me, Thomas. How do you know my name properly?”


       “Oh, it’s easy. Your initials spell the word ‘M.A.D.N.E.Ss’”
--
       “Well, I’m happy you believe me now,” said Tom on the way back from the D wing. I was only happy to be away from there, but not very happy.


       “Uh-huh. Of all people I didn’t expect you to have his name down pat.”


       “Oh, Dan, you would be surprised at what I know.”


       “Oh, I certainly would,” I agreed.


       He looked a little taken aback for a second. Then,


       “Did you know I don’t really have any friends anymore?”


       I did my usual sigh. “Oh?”


       “Well, yeah. See, George couldn’t stand me anymore.”


       “I’m not surprised,” I said without thinking.


       “Sorry?”


       “Nothing.”


       He still looked perturbed. Then he went off on another topic.


       “You know, I have this chat thing on my e-mail, and I sometimes see my relatives on it, you know, because I have their e-mail addresses. But the thing is, they never initiate it, not with me anyways. I’ll start one, and we’ll go for awhile, but they’re never the first to initiate it with me first.”


       “Maybe they don’t have all day to spend chatting with you.”


       “Excuse me?”


       “I said, maybe they don’t have all the time in the world to chat with you.”


       The perturbed look on his face grew grave. “That’s not what I meant. You’re suggesting that I try to get them to chat with me all the time, bugging them to do so.”


       “Well, that’s sort of what you said.”


       “No. I’m saying they never start it first, I’m the one who always does it—“


       “Exactly. And maybe they don’t have the time to start it first.”


       “But – no, I mean, they do, because I do chat with them...”


       “And you are the one who initiates it.”


       “Yes, but they never start it themselves!”


       I sighed. “This is never going to end. We’re going in circles. Like I’ve said several times, maybe they don’t have all the bloody time in the world to chat with you!”


       “But they still do! If I don’t initiate it myself, don’t start, then they’ll never start it themselves on the other end! When it says they’re available, it means they’re online!”


       “But you have to take into account that maybe they don’t want to talk to you!”


       He looked angry. “Are you suggesting that my cousins never want to talk to me, that’s why they never start up a chat?”


       “Never mind.”


       “Yeah, never mind. You seem to be missing the point.”


       “Whatever.”


       Tom walked off. I could only be even happier. With him it was like a never-ending cycle of complaining, always going back to square one. That guy had to get his facts straight.


       Back when we were ‘good friends,’ he would send me an e-mail, every single day. They would be filled with pessimistic thoughts of how his day was, what was wrong with it, what he didn’t like. I played along for awhile, to be nice. “Sorry your day wasn’t great, I’m sure you’ll have a good one soon.” You know, stuff like that. But he would not stop. One time, back when I did a paper route, he volunteered to help. It was okay, even fun. But later on that month, I’d started dating Samantha and I’d get her to help me so we could have fun and have more time together. Tom eventually asked if he needed to help, and I said no.


       That day, when I was getting ready to distribute the papers with Samantha, he actually came riding up the street on his bike, volunteering himself despite what I said. And while he wasn’t invited and was in fact interrupting my time with my girlfriend, it wasn’t the worst of it. Soon Samantha left with her father, and Tom hung out by the side of the house. You wouldn’t believe that he actually refused to leave.


I couldn’t believe that guy was so starved for friendship that he’d ensconce himself on my property and refuse to leave on the grounds that I’d utterly promise to contact him, keep in close touch. I felt quite sorry for him back then.  Tom had ridden his bike all the way up from Barrhaven – more than thirteen kilometres – to spend half an hour with this good friend of his. 2 comments


       Anyway, that didn’t continue on. I didn’t let it continue. By that November I’d gotten tired of Tom’s constant scrutiny, his continuous explanations and pessimistic thoughts. He had a lot of odd habits, he did. I’ve never known anyone to copy out the entire script of a movie just because they liked it. Tom came up to me once and showed me his printed copy of Stranger than Fiction that he’d transcribed himself, all in a week’s time. He raved about aerial photos.


       I ended our great friendship in late November. I sent him an e-mail – my second e-mail to him (the first was one that he prompted me to make because he complained I never sent him any e-mails). I told him that I was sorry to be blunt, but, in effect the whole ‘friendship’ was in reality me feeling sorry for such a lonely and desperate guy. Thus began what him and I are to each other today. I did, however, encourage him to make other friends. I think that’s what helped out his friendship with George Braithwaite, and if it was, I was happy to help. 2 comments


       I may have written this whole back story to what it’s like between me and Tom a little late, but to fill up the first section, I think, with all of that, would have been a feeble attempt at some easy marks. It works into the story better to reveal all of this now, after all the excitement has been written. At least that’s how I feel the story goes.


       Anyway, here’s something better than reality at the moment. My story:
--
      I lifted up the wrecked vehicle and put it aside for the tow truck to take away later. The whole road had been ravaged by him, and we’d put up a big fight.


       I looked up. The apartment building had a large hole in it. He’d been in there, causing a lot of ruckus, when I’d shown up. The hole was the result of our fight. He was a crazy one, that one.


       The reason I never said his name was because he had no name. For some reason, whenever we had him caught and in for questioning, he’d revealed he never could come up with a good name for himself. I didn’t blame him. I couldn’t come up with a name for him either.


       “Thanks for your help,” a fireman told me.


       “Yeah, we’ll take it from here,” a policeman added.


       “No problem,” I said coolly. I turned around and walked away from the scene, before the crowds could get too thick.
--
       I appear to have writer’s block – I can’t seem to go on any further. Maybe it’s because of what I’ve been through.


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Justin Campbell's website: http://justincottawa.blogspot.ca/

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