The Red Bus

Once in a vast savannah, there lived a tribe of monkeys. These monkeys were plentiful in their numbers, and were considered the kings of their habitat for their muscular frames, natural strength, and good health. The humans greatly respected them for this, as did the monkeys in return.

One day, a large, red bus came to the savannah. Tourists of all shapes and sizes hopped off to take pictures.

“Don’t worry, they won’t bite!” one of them said. The monkeys were intrigued by their oblivious faces and white skin. They had no idea what was going on. But they liked it.

The tourists began to hop back on the bus, all except for one man, fiddling with his backpack. After some struggling, he finally managed to get out his camera, only to look back and realise the bus was gone.

“HEY! HEY WHAT THE FU–” he yelled as he ran in the wrong direction. From his loose bag feel a rather peculiar object.

The object was sleek. Curvy at the edges. At the bottom of it’s surface lay a circular button that caught a monkey’s eye. He pressed it, and the object came to life. It glew, with a display of incongruent but incredibly alluring squares, all with lines of English text beneath them. “Candy Crush.” “Temple Run.”

But of course, the monkey couldn’t read. He pressed the screen randomly. The image of a plane appeared on the screen, appearing to fly towards him. The monkey tapped the plane, and a missile flew towards it and exploded. “1 point!” the object exclaimed. The monkey did it again. “2 points!” And again. “BOOM!” the plane exploded. “YOU WIN!”

The monkey had no idea what was going on.

But he liked it.

He brought it to his tribe, and they spent practically the entire day having fun with this alluring human possession.

Days passed.

After a straight week of usage, the monkeys woke up to continue playing, when they noticed the object was acting… different. No matter how many times they touched it’s screen, it was content to do nothing but display the image of an empty battery. The monkeys tried banging it against a tree, after which it’s screen turned black entirely. The monkeys were confused and furious. They sat to brood when they noticed a red bus heading their way. The same red bus from last week. And the people inside had the same white skin, and in their hands, the same peculiar objects.

The monkeys knew what they had to do.

That week, three tourists lost their phones. Then five. Then eight. The monkeys would use them until their screens went black or said “battery low,” after which they would they would head out to steal more. And soon every monkey wanted a phone. Not much later, the monkeys started stealing other fascinating human possessions as well. The snacks they packed on trips, the cameras, the mementos, anything inside the red bus.

That red bus had to steer clear of the monkeys entirely, but even then, they would be found. Desperation was nigh.

The Minister of Tourism kept quiet about the loads of complaints piling up on his desk, until one day, the red buses became empty.

“Pablo, come here,” the Minister said to the red bus driver.
“Yes, señor?”
“Is it true that the tourists don’t come anymore?”
“Indeed.”
“And is it true that the monkeys are the cause for this?”
“Yes señor. I was trying to tell you, last month, they stole my cellphone–”

The minister took a forest patrol and headed to the savannah. Pablo must be out of his mind, the minister thought. Why would a monkey be drawn to a phone? That’s– “Sir, we’re here.”

The minister got out of his car. And the monkeys he saw were anything but the ones he remembered from his childhood.

Now they were fat. Inflexible. Tired and disoriented from months of sleep deprivation. In their hands lay the same possessions the tourists had claimed stolen. The minister could not believe his eyes. The years of respect, admiration, and trust he had given them had all been reduced to nothing.

Disappointed, he hopped back into the van, and the patrol drove him home.

School Song (poem)

My dear son
Enough with your play
Tell me the reason why
You skipped school today

My dear son
Enough with your play
Tell me the reason why
You skipped school today

Wasn’t it nice?
So nice
But it comes at a price
Don’t blame me when you’re at McDonald’s
Near the stove, making fries

Kids, the bell is going to ring
Children, please come back inside
Kids, the bell is going to ring
Children, please go back outside
Oh my god

Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
Na-na-na-na-NA-na-na
NA-na-na-NA-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
Na-na-na-na-NA-na-na
NA-na-na-NA-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!

Mmm…hmm mmm…

Look at the little boy, in the corner
Surrounded by menacing faces
Soon he’ll grow up to join the monsters
That head to menacing places

Girls help teachers, inside the classrooms
Even though they get paid anyways
When I’m older, will my haters
Go on their own separate ways?

With each alarm…
Comes a new f***ing day…
With each alaaaarm…
Comes a new f***ing day…

Eyyy… hey…

Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!
AH!
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!

Myyyy dear son
Enough with your play
Tell me the reason why
Youuuu skipped school today

Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
Na-na-na-na-NA-na-na
NA-na-na-NA-na-na-NA

Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
Na-na-na-na-NA-na-na

Wasn’t it nice?
So nice
But it comes at a price
Don’t blame me when you’re at McDonald’s
Near the stove, making fries

Kids, the bell is going to ring
Children, please come back inside
Kids, the bell is going to ring
Children, please go back outside
Oh my god

Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!
Na-na-na-na-NA
Na-na-na-na-na-NA-NA-na-na
All playas to board will just lose control!

First Place

There were 7 days in a week. I spent 5 of those days submerging myself in homework, assignments, and deadlines. I looked forward to the other 2 days with one thing in mind; having a life. I usually got my wish. My parents both worked in the same business. Every weekend one of their co-workers was having a party or meeting, so they’d leave me at home. It brought me happiness.

But of course, happiness always comes at a price.

One day, my mom got a call from work. “Yes? Yes, speaking…what? What do you mean? What happened to him?”

I stopped for a minute. I wanted to hear where this was going.

“He…okay, okay. We know the address. Thank you, thank you.” My mom hung up. She looked confused. It turns out her boss was dying.

“But he’s old, right. That’s not a surprise.”
“He’s very healthy. At 6 in the morning, at 90, he goes jogging. You haven’t seen him before,” she said.

So basically, we had to drive to his house, 2 hours from here, to pay our respects. That included me. On the weekend.

2 hours was more depressing than I thought, through endless cornfields and barns, all sitting under a cloudy sky. Since this guy was my parents’ boss, he had a mansion. It was dark, and empty, with the exception of the group gathered there like us, around his deathbed. Some looked like they visited often, asking him to sign contracts about “insurance” and “shareholders” and stuff. Others were holding his hand, giving him gift baskets, and talking to him like he was too dumb to understand what they were saying. I was there only child there. My parents hugged him, except they couldn’t really ’cause he was lying down, and it looked kinda awkward, and they talked for a while.

I went into the living room for a while. I had my DS in my hand. I could’ve just played video games. No one would’ve stopped me. But I was scared that if I did…

1. I’d feel guilty

2. His spirit would haunt me for the rest of my life

People eventually started going home, or branching out into the living room. My mom came out after a while. She told me to go in and talk to him, as a “means of courtesy.”

I walked in. It was just me and him. I looked at his face. It was depressing. I did feel a bit sorry when I thought about it.  I mean, obviously I didn’t want this man to die. But at the same time, I didn’t really know him, and didn’t really think I needed to know him. He was 90. Most people lived to 80, so I didn’t really feel empathetic or sad. I just wanted my weekend. I tried to look sorry. I ended up with a bunch of mixed feelings.

The old man stared at me. He pointed at…my hand? I gave him my hand. He shook his head. He pointed at my DS. I gave it to him. Turns out, yeah, that he was wanted.

He continued off from the Mariokart race I was planning to finish on the way home.

 

 

A Christmas Miracle

“Robberies are becoming rather frequent in the neighborhood this December Break, with an estimated 22 houses robbed in the last two weeks alone.”

Christmas was boring this year. All I knew was that it was because of the annoying newscast about “robberies.” Dad was keeping the whole family inside. To install a security alarm…or something. And we couldn’t go outside either, because my dad thought it would be “unsafe.” I would’ve listened to him if our home was any safer. And it wasn’t, considering I had an older brother.

“Timmy,” he yelled, “it’s Mom and Dad who put our presents under the tree.”
“You’re just saying Santa isn’t real because you’re jealous of him.”
“What?”
“You got on the naughty list because you did a handstand on the coffee table,” I explained, pointing to the broken glass in the living room.

His friends laughed. He didn’t. I was probably chased around the house fifty times before I begged Mom to get me away from him.

I couldn’t say I didn’t expect him to get angry. I’d been waiting for Santa the whole year, just to prove him wrong. I talked about it all the time around other people too, which was why I had no friends. Even my parents found me somewhat “awkward.” Only because I never talked to them.

Specifically, I stopped loving them when my brother brought me downstairs a few years ago and showed me that they really were putting our presents under the tree. It became so clear. They hated Santa because he changed my personality. They told him to stay at the North Pole, so instead of getting his gifts, I ended up with those cheesy beach toys my parents bought me.

I was prepared this year, though. I told my parents to let Santa bring me his presents, monitoring them the whole day to make sure it was a kept promise.

So it wasn’t probably a surprise that I couldn’t sleep that night. I just ended up sitting on the stairs and eating ice cream to drown my sorrows. I now knew Christmas was no miracle. Until I heard footsteps inside the house. The footsteps of someone who looked like they rode on a sleigh.

“Santa!”
“WH– uh, what?”
“I knew you were real this whole time! I’M RIGHT!”

And his face changed from shock to relief. He told me to “keep it a secret” and not tell my parents. He asked me where their wallets were, saying it was a new system of gift-giving. And once he got them, he fled.

Out to the road, where a police car, for some reason, began to chase him.