Writings by Kyle
“Hey, are you there?” I ask.
“Yeah,” came the muffled reply from my new friend Jak.
“Well, you ready to start?”l
“Lets do this.”
I loaded my gun and soundlessly crept outside to open ground. My palms were sweating like crazy, as if there was a mini water fountain in my hand. I could hear Jak humming a tune in the distance, eyes squinting trying to find an enemy. Suddenly Jak falls; I dodge for cover and quickly turn around and pull the trigger. The enemy collapsed onto the ground.
I was shrieking in delight, jumping out of my chair and screaming to Jak, “Did you see that? Did you see that?”
Jak, still pretty ticked that he died in the first round, cooly said,“Calm down, it’s just a game.”
I was about to make a run to the cooler to refill my glass of soda when I looked down and saw a notification on my screen. I opened it and smiled. One of my favorite online gamers (ScRatch) had posted a new video. I decided that the soda could wait. I opened the video and sat back and relaxed. It started off as all his videos do, with cheesy side effects and a big explosion of talking. I scrolled down to look at the title of the video, “My accomplishment.” I was pretty confused because this guy that I was watching was one of the best of the best and most famous on the internet. I heard him talking, which signified that the introduction had ended, so quickly I turned my attention back to the video, and I was even more baffled. Instead of a rare glimpse of an expert gamer at work, we saw his title screen with a big 500 on it.
“That’s right guys. I found a way to find out how many hours you have played on your game,” ScRatch said excitedly. “And oh man have I played a lot, 500 hours boys, 500 hours.”
Things started to make sense again, and I decided to check how many hours I had. I silently swore to never get as addicted as ScRatch, who wasted his life on video games while the page was loading. When the page finally opened, I giddily scrolled down while listening to ScRatch talk about how 100 hours is a moderate player, and over 500 is an addict, and how he was going to ascend to addict status. In a way, this video made me lose some respect for this great player. He was lowering himself, and it appeared to me that he was just a normal man who played video games for a living. I stopped and looked at my number. I froze, and my mouth opened slightly. On my screen it said, “congratulations, you have logged a total game time of 5000 hours.”
I did the math, 5000 hours is about 208 days. 208 days of life wasted, on video games. I spent the rest of my morning groaning and feeling sorry for myself. I was lost. Usually, when I had nothing to do I would play video games but the thought madehad me sick.
The next day I woke up at 8:00, already late for school. I moaned, more school. I lumbered over to the breakfast table and poured myself some cereal. At least I was alone. My mom probably already went to work, working both shifts to care for 2 children by herself. My little brother, being the good kid that he is, most likely woke up 2 hours before just to get there first. I yawned and I contemplated whether or not I should go to school today. My mom already has several generic emails premade for us, so that we can email the school if we feel sick. It was tempting, but I finally forced myself to wake up and go to school.
I go to a local school where the education sucks. They have the types of teachers where they get bored listening to themselves. So I wasn’t surprised when Mr. Feeny didn’t even look up when I came into English 30 minutes late. I plopped down in my regular seat and took out my computer. I opened my computer and just sat there. I usually play on my game, but today I just didn’t feel like it. So I put it away and sat. Then magically, the sound that I have been blocking out for so many years, finally came to me. For the first time since September, I was actually listening to Mr. Feeny talk about English.
I didn’t know any thing that he was talking about, and it bothered me.
“Exactly how far behind was I?” I asked my self. None of this was getting through to me.
When I got home, I just layed there on my bed. My little meticulous brother came home as usual and asked if I wanted to play. I continued my after school tradition of saying no. I just sat down on my bed sipping some coke and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t know what to do. I suddenly felt sick of gaming. I didn't understand a thing in school because of it! The stupid thing had ruined my whole life! With a mighty heave I lifted my backpack on to my bed and took out my homework and stared at it stupidly. I brought out my math textbook and was completely stumped by the first question.
24x - 36 = 14x. I stared at it blankly trying to remember how to do it. Just how? I knew you had to take away the 36, but how? My brain hurt from just thinking about it. All I needed was a clue, something to jog my memory and get me going. I eventually gave up and started crying. I remember when I had to complete this boring task to get something in the game. I wanted to quit after the first hour, but I stuck with it, and even though the item turned out Mediocre, the feeling of accomplishing something, working hard for it, it felt good.
“I’m just so lazy! I thought to myself, I can’t even get one problem done!”
Suddenly, that horrible 6 grade day came to me like a gunshot, out of nowhere. When I was first scrolling through the tabloids and saw it, my mouth literally dropped. “New big game update!” it read, and it included a list of things that would be included. I could not believe what I was looking at, when this stuff came out, it would completely change the face of the game.
I was so excited, I didn’t know what to do. So I called Jeff, my best friend from school, that also plays the game.
“Jeff, Jeff, can you believe this? This is amazing!” I literally screamed. I’m pretty sure I even wet my pants.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s great,” Jeff said in a monotone. “But hey remember, that day is my birthday.”
“Even better!” I screeched, “We can have an all day, all night marathon!” I blurted out jubilantly.
“No, but bro I have the nature camp that starts that day, and you promised to come.”
I sagged as I remembered how Jeff's parents had a stupid divorce, how his mom has control of him, and how he has to go to his dad's nature camp for his birthday. I also remembered how Jeff was still tense with his dad and how wanted a friend to be there to support him. I’m not really an outdoors type of kid. I prefer to be in the dark on a computer with a can of Coke. But Jeff was a good friend, and I wanted to be nice, so I agreed to it. Two months later I completely forgot about it. And at that very moment, during the big game update, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a nature camp.
On Friday the night before I had set my alarm so that it would go off 30 minutes before I had to leave, and it would be plenty of time to start packing. But when the alarm went off at 7:30, I didn't want to get up so I pushed the snooze bar. I knew that it would go off in another 5 minutes, but I didn’t care, and I needed more sleep. When it rang again, I forced myself to get up and make myself breakfast. In 15 minutes I was packed and ready but not ready to go.
The house suddenly seemed more alluring and peaceful than ever before. It was safe, and the morning light through the quiet air was too much. Lying on the couch, and thought to myself, “5 more minutes, it won’t hurt anybody.” I woke up 2 hours later. I knew that if I ran I could make it to the nature camp just as they were setting up the tents. But it was 10:00, and all my favorite cartoons were on plus the big game update. “Jeff won’t mind,” I thought to myself. For the rest of the weekend, I played games, watched TV, and never left the house once. Jeff never talked to me after that.
I kicked my bed and later soothed that foot, realizing that I was a jerk and that I should feel pain to make me pay, I kicked the wooden bed again and grabbed my foot because it really hurt. “I’m so lazy! I thought to myself, as I lightly kicked the bed. “Can’t do work, can’t even be there for a friend.” After sitting there for a while, I realized that I was hopeless. I had already spent too much time not paying attention to the school material, and I couldn’t go back. There was only one thing that I was genuinely good at, willing to spend hours on end at, video games.
Only 10 minutes after I had turned on my computer, I heard my little brother knocking on my door again. I shouted for him to leave, but he kept on knocking. It’s not that I don’t want to play with him, it is just that he has way more energy than me, and he is a lot more fit. As I thought about my rationalization some more, I realized that I was essentially saying that I was lazy. “Too lazy to do math, too lazy to be a good friend, too lazy for family.” Well I was done with it! I stood up fiercely from my chair and ran over to open my door, except there was nobody there. Instead I saw the door open, and my little brother running across the street to his tree house where he goes to hang out with his friends.
As he ran across the cul-de-sac, I could tell he had tears in his eyes, and I didn't stop him. I watched him run. Suddenly out of no where a car came racing though, and it hit him. He rocked backwards and slammed his head on the ground, and he wasn't moving. Blood started trickling out as I screamed and ran out to see mom, home early, jumping out of the car crying. Her black hair in her moist eyes. I ran to the phone and started calling 911, but my mom had already picked up his limp body, and pushed him into the car. Blood from his head was dripping down when the car left as quickly as it came.
I knew that if I had played with him, he wouldn’t have ran out on to the street, or maybe he would have had his head up. Either way it was my fault. I stood there, unable to move, and unwilling. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I walked back into my house and into my room. I swept my computer off my desk slowly. It fell, crackled and hissed, and blinked, and finally went silent. I took out my book and started to read, “ How to solve for x”......
I sat in my bed, like I sometimes did, sprawled over the cloud-like softness of the cushions. David was there too, quiet as ever, sitting hunched back looking at my 6 year old self. I sighed again and looked at the sleepover buddy and asked, “What do you want to do?” David just stared at me, with the same blissful silence that comes afterwards. That’s the good thing about David, I thought to myself. He stays quiet and does whatever I want. So we lay there, huddled together like Eskimos in Alaska on a cold winter day.
David was soft to the touch and warm. He reminded me about my friends at school, how everyone acted tough, which left me the softie on the “football” (British for “soccer”) field. But my friends would never mention that, and they treated me with respect. I could always turn to them. David also treated me with respect, I think.
I could smell food from the confines of my dusk dark, air-conditioned room, and my stomach grumbled. I got out from the warmth of the covers and without a second thought, left David. David didn’t care. He never really got hungry, and I can’t remember a single dinner he had with our family.
I walked out and was surprised to see my father cooking, and I asked him where Ding Ding was, our helper / cook / friend. My dad only grunted as he said, eyes never moving from the stove, “She went home already, but I’ll be making dinner tonight.” I was happy. My dad made the most amazing foods, like his pancakes in the morning.
Pancakes instantly made me think about the time that my dad tried to teach me how to make my own pancakes. I was doing all the steps, like putting the milk and eggs and butter all into the bowl and mixing it with chopsticks before adding the secret ingredient (chocolate chips). Then, it was the time for the stove. My dad told me how to turn on the fire, then he handed me the frying pan and walked me through the steps. I made a decent-looking pancake and was proud of myself, ready to take on the next batch. When I was tilting the gooey pancake, I noticed the pan falling off the stove. My scrawny limbs were no match for the metal pan, so I casually took one free hand and pushed at the obsidian-colored pan. Pain shot out through my fingers that touched the pan, and I yelped at the heat. My dad saw all this happening, but it was too late to stop me. He looked at my hand and dragged move over towards the sink. The winter water came rushing down on my hand, and I felt better. Not because the pain was gone, but because my dad held me so tightly, letting me know everything was ok.
Presently I watched my dad expertly toss vegetables with one hand. I walked into the kitchen not hearing my dad’s grunts to stay back. I was too excited looking at the frying pan, feeling the warm air of the kitchen and the smell of the food. My dad finally snapped and yelled, “Kyle, get out of the kitchen now!”
I stayed my advancement into the kitchen and said ok. And backed away.
I’m a failure. My dad hates me! I knew I was sensitive. This was the first time my dad yelled at me. The hot tears started welling up in my eyes. Once I got into my room and was sure the door was locked, I burst out. The tears came down like waterfalls, and the occasional small whimper.
What’s wrong with me? Why am I so sensitive?
An immeasurable amount of time passed before I remembered that David was there. He said nothing as usual, his black observant eyes glinting in the dark. It was a mutual agreement. We hugged.
Usually there were my parents to turn to if I am sad. But they were the enemy. David’s hug felt warm and eventually my tears stopped.
I could hear my mom knocking at the door. I got up, eyes still red, and unlocked the fortresses’ gates.
My mom looked just as sad as me and asked if I was ok. I answered somberly, “Everything is ok.” My mom went through some more preliminary questions, and I answered with more and more emotion. My mom commented that it was dinner time, and we started to walk out, before I looked at David. I took him by the hand and brought him to dinner.
The warm food was amazing, my dad’s. I had time to reflect. I found that even when everybody was turned bad, I still found a friend, someone there for me, even if he is just a stuffed animal.
When I was little, my dad used to read to me because I couldn’t read. As I grew older, my dad read to me because he wanted me to at least know about these “great” books. He would read to me old books, books from his generation and older. One of these was Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game was a different type of book to my regular Percy Jackson and 34 Clues. It was science fiction, and I loved it. I loved my dad reading it to me, because he always had different voices and would explain the hard words and hard concepts. It was great. It was like we were in our very own little club because only we would talk about it and discuss it.
One of the reasons I liked Ender’s Game (besides the awesome plot) was because it was “smart.” It was well-thought out, had real solutions to problems, unlike some plots where all the problems were magically solved by someone, and like I said, it has an awesome story. But the real reason is because it was new idea. No one else had thought of battle school before. Granted this is not the first alien invasion book, but its solution is definitely one of a kind.
This is when I realized my love for new ideas and how much I enjoy creative solutions. I asked my dad to read me more, and he read to me the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Science fiction has quickly become my favorite type of book, and I have my dad to thank.