Jay's at a new school, all alone. With nothing but her freak personality for company.
Finding a Medium
Despite what people say, I’m actually a regular person. It seems as though every other person on planet Earth is unnervingly perfect, they don’t embarrass themselves like I do and they’ve all got reliable mannerisms. Like the class clown or the study-hard-straight-A student, the flunky, the middle of the road student etcetera, etcetera. They’re all reliable, you know who will laugh at what joke, and who won’t, regardless of the day of the week.
Not me. I’m the most emotionally unstable person you’ll find, this is unfortunate because I also own a freakish personality that likes to walk itself. Personality is the hardest thing to hide, and for most people it doesn’t matter that it shines like a torch. But for me it does, my personality likes to be seen like those fluoro undies you wore beneath your white shorts, at the best of times, other times it’s like the sun in the sky or your phone screen in the middle of the night.
Social interaction is perhaps the hardest possible skill for a human to master, and while most would beg to differ, I’d say I’m the only one who hasn’t.
“So Jeremiah, what would you like to do when you leave school.”
“Uh- well, to be completely honest… I mean, a hit-man sounds pretty cool. Like you know, getting new identities every time you get a new target and you travel a lot… See the world… I uh reckon it’d be pretty interesting, yeah.”
Icebreakers are the worst.
Everyone in class was looking at me with those judgy stares; I could feel them and their creased foreheads labelling me as the class freak. Unbelievable, one hour into the school year and I’m already the weird nobody.
“…Okay then, what about you Sarah?” I buried my face in my hands, stupid, is it really that hard to smile and say ‘oh, I don’t know, medicine would be nice’?
There were more questions and more normal answers. I endeavoured to recover my slipping image. “What’s your favourite song?” It wasn’t even my turn but before I could stop myself my knees were unbent and-
“Stay, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, 1960.” Dang. I looked around the class with flaming cheeks to check how much damage I’d done. Georgia’s hand was pressed to the side of her face so I couldn’t see what it was doing and Piper next to her was making funny shapes with her mouth. Damn, guess I wasn’t going to be sitting with them at lunch. “Frankie Valli’s cover, 1963 is better though.” I said to myself as the teacher moved awkwardly onto another student.
50 minutes is a long time, particularly when your class takes five minutes for each question. That’s 300 seconds between 22 people, so like a bit less than 15 seconds for each person. Which is a really long time to talk about your favourite colour; (red, because it’s the colour of blood and blood is the juice of life) if you ask me.
I was sitting alone at lunch with my blue tuna and egg sandwich, (baking is a passion of mine and so is food dye) when a group of girls walked past, they didn’t really look at me, but they didn’t need to. I watched them speed up their steps as they past.
I’d had the unfortunate luck of inhabiting a locker in the main corridor and since this is a new school I didn’t really know where else to go, so I sat against my locker door, watching cliques walk past me on their way to a pre-arranged seating area. I had no choice but to stare fixedly at either my sandwich or peoples fancy shoes as they walked passed.
A sudden kick to my crossed knee sent my not-so-fixed gaze upward and into the face of a stumbling boy walking along with three other friends. “Oh, sorry.” He said looking down on me and my blue sandwich.
There was a flash.
Everyone in the corridor sort of flickered for the briefest moment. For that split second the boy’s face was made of metal and wires, a shining skull with hideously efficient mechanisms for eyeballs. The weirdest part is that I seemed to be the only one that noticed. I gaped up at the group, astonished, but they continued down the corridor as if nothing had happened.
There was the crash of a locker door banging against its frame as someone leaned against it and slid down to the floor next to me. I glanced across my sandwich to get a look at the fool consorting with me. He had summer-tanned skin and brilliant green eyes. His hair was a regular brown styled up to look as though he’d just been forcefully removed from his natural sleeping state, and splashed with a bright red across the side. “Did you see that?” he whispered. When I didn’t respond immediately he turned his face in my direction, taking in my blue sandwich, ridiculous black hair (it’s all different lengths cause my little brother thought it’d be great to give it cut while I was sleeping, and it’s got bits of brown running through it, I swear it’s all natural.), he took in my ripped school stockings and second hand dress. My face was still shocked from the earlier flash so all I could do was look back at him and nod, open mouthed. He nodded back, “Thank god, I thought I was the only one. Love your sandwich by the way.”
I choked down the bit of bread that was sitting between my cheek and gums, coughing a sort of laugh. “Thanks, the fish queen gave it to me.” Instead of frowning or laughing, the boy looked straight ahead, leaving a quiet moment.
“Interesting, I didn’t know Amphitrite gave away blue sandwiches. And I most definitely did not know mermaids were cannibals. That is tuna isn’t it?”
“It’s not really cannibalism, mermaids are one thing and tuna is another. It’s not considered cannibalism if we eat another mammal.”
“Good point, but isn’t it more similar to us eating primates?”
I had to take a moment to think about that, “I don’t know, we aren’t the same species as monkeys so it wouldn’t be called cannibalism… People still seem to have something against eating them though.”
We both sat in a ponderous silence, mm-ing a little.
“I’m Jack, in case you were wondering.”
“Jeremiah, but you can call me Jay.” We shook hands because it felt like the right thing to do. “I didn’t see you in my class this morning. What form’re you in?” The only friend I’d made and he probably wasn’t even in my class. Some year this was going to be.
“Oh, I was just really late, got my braces off this morning.” He flashed me a grin, “I’m in classroom G16, what’re you?”
“I’m in G16 too!” I shut my mouth quickly, didn’t want to sound too eager.
“Really? That’s fantastic!” Jack shut his mouth quickly too. I smiled to myself.
There was another flash, a series of them. Jack and I got a good look at the robots all around us. Jack leaned over, putting a hand to my ear, “At least we’ve got each other.” My insides jumped around nervously.
“Yeah,” I said, “and if that’s not enough, I’m sure I can ask Triton to come help out.”