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A Learning Experience This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Megan burst through her door, panting, having run all the way up her driveway. She threw her bag on the floor and kicked off her shoes.

"Did we get it, Mom?" she called up the stairs.

"What, honey?" Like she didn't know. Megan had only been talking about it for the past three months.

"The Internet, Mother," she yelled impatiently.

"Oh, that. Yeah, I think it's all set up now. Go ahead and try it." Megan sat down and flicked the computer on, staring at the screen until, after what seemed like years, it finally lit up. She clicked on the little icon, entitled The Internet, which had been useless until now. This time, however, it was taking her someplace. She had never been online, not even at school, so she wasn't sure what to expect.

When she arrived at the home screen, she sat and looked, pondering where to go first. She decided to go with Entertainment. There were so many things to choose from she figured she'd just have to pick one. It was surprisingly simple to navigate, especially since she had never done it before. She messed around in Entertainment for a while, and eventually got somewhat bored.

She decided to try looking for something on her favorite basketball team, the Detroit Pistons. They were a mild obsession of hers, which everyone in the household knew. She talked about them until everyone was sick of it, and decorated her room basically as a shrine.

It didn't take long for everything to come up. She wasn't sure which to do first, so she scrolled down the screen, and found a site called Megan's Piston Pages. Since she had nowhere else to be, and was curious as to whether this girl was for real in her admiration of the greatest team ever, she decided to try it. She hadn't been surfing the 'net for long, but she knew there were a lot of phonies out there. Although, from the looks of Megan's Piston Page, this wasn't one of them. She had tons of pictures, information, articles, everything of interest to a fan. There was even a mini chat room. Megan glanced up at the small poster her mom had made, just to keep her on track. It read: Meg and Jay: No chat rooms. Don't give out any vital information, such as your full name, phone number, or address. If you disobey, your punishment will consist of no computer for a month. NO EXCEPTIONS. "Oh well," she said aloud. "What she doesn't know can't hurt her. Or me, for that matter." She entered the chat room, checking behind her quickly, just to be sure. There were only five people listed in the room, and it seemed pretty dead. She entered her name anyway, as Megan.

HELLO, she typed. IS ANYONE OUT THERE? She waited a few minutes for a reply, and was just about to give up when she got a message.

MEGAN, it said. I'LL TALK TO YOU. MY NAME IS SEAN. DO YOU REALLY LIKE THE PISTONS?

YES, she wrote. She was about to ask him who his favorite player was, when she heard her mother at the top of the stairs.

"Megan!" she yelled. "Have you seen your brother?" She thought for a moment. Come to think of it, she hadn't seen Jay. Who cared anyway? He was 17, old enough to take care of himself, at least until dinner.

"No," Megan called upstairs. A"He's probably at Michael's or something." She resumed typing. Before she could send it, she saw that Sean had already written her back.

I HAVE TO GO. WHAT ARE YOUR STATS? MAYBE WE CAN TALK AGAIN SOON. Megan thought for a moment, and decided to trust him. He sounded like a nice enough guy, so she gave him her information. She couldn't help feeling a little bit guilty, but she pushed it aside. They set a date to talk the next day.

Just then, her mom came down the stairs, carrying a load of laundry. Megan left the chat room quickly, before her mother came to talk to her.

"Your brother should be here any minute now, so unlock the door when you hear him, okay?" Megan nodded absently, already engaged in another part of the Internet.

A few minutes later, she heard the sound of an engine, presumably Jay's, and reluctantly got up to unlock the door. She was back at the computer when Jay came in and began taking off his shoes.

"Hi, Jay," Megan greeted him. He didn't answer, so she repeated herself. "I said, AHi, Jay.'" He walked over to her.

"Oh, you're talking to me?" he asked. Megan turned slowly around to face her brother.

"Well, no kidding? Who else is in this room?" she said, exasperated.

"I don't know, but I don't think it's Jay." She looked at him closely. Yeah, it was definitely her brother. He gave her a sly grin. "Actually, last time I talked to you, I'm pretty sure you were calling me Sean." He turned and ran up the stairs. She held her breath as she heard him yell,

"Hey, Mom! Guess what?!" 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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