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I’m a normal kid. I know that sounds weird because it seems that no one is “average” these days. Everyone has some form of a handicap or advantage. Something that no one else has. Not me. I’m just normal. It sounds boring and sometimes it is. It’s not great but it’s not exactly bad either. I’m not popular but I’m not cast out either. It’s kind of like my thing. I’m super average. I’m what you might call “normal.”
My name is Brock. I go to school like everyone else. After school I usually go hang out and ride bikes with my best friend, Nicole. Today is the same as always. The sky is a little cloudy, but that shouldn’t be a problem. We’re just going to this cool little forest with a tiny little creek. It’s kind of the only place to hang out. It’s a small town. The only other place to hang out besides the streets is the public library, and you can’t talk or run there. The forest was the place to hang out for us. We would sit and talk. Sometimes we would run around or play games like we were still little kids. One time we brought a boom box out there and listened to OutKast and we danced like no one was watching (because no one was.) It’s our way of, I don’t know, rebelling I guess. It’s a symbol of how teens can do more than play video games, be stupid, and pull pranks. We’re riding our bikes there like we always do. I really don’t think that the rain will come, but you never know I guess. We get there, drop our bikes and bolt for the trees. We laugh and talk like we always do. It sounds boring but it’s not. Nicole’s my best friend and there’s always something to talk about or a word game to play.
“I dare you to ride your bike down that hill and across the creek,” she says to me. The creek was sunk into the ground, like a mini-ravine. There was a big hill on one side. It was probably about six feet across the whole thing. I could do it. I had a BMX so it was definitely possible.
“I accept your dare. It looks easy enough.” I grab my bike and walk it up to the top of the hill.
“Don’t get hurt,” she calls up to me. I can do it. Helmet on, I strattle the bike and shove off hard with my foot. The speed is ridiculous. I launch off the end of the hill and I’m in the air. I can already feel that something is wrong. It’s just a bad feeling. The bike hits the side of the eroded area that contains the creek. My lower body hits that too but my momentum sends me to the spot where my bike was supposed to land. I think I should have listened to Nicole’s last instruction.
“Oh my god! Brock!” My name is Nicole and I think I just dared myy best friend to kill himself. I run up to him. He’s lying face down in the ground.
“Brock! Brock! Brock!” I keep muttering his name like an insane person. He moves his arm a little but I barely notice because I’m too focused on his face. I need him to talk. He could have suffered brain damage which would mean that nothing else really mattered. “Talk to me buddy.” He sits up, moving very slowly. “What is your name?” I ask him.
“I need to see if your a-okay in the noggin’. What is your name?”
“Oh. Okay. Uh. Brock.”
“Where were you born?” He losses interest in what I’m saying and stares at his arm intently. I don’t move my eyes from his face.
“Uh, Nicole? Something’s wrong.” No matter whta happens to my friend in the mind, he will always be an idiot.
“Of course something’s wrong, you just almost killed yourself. We got to get you some medical attention. Let’s go. Can you stand up? Cuz’ you’re going to need to get back on your-”
“Nicole!,” this part shocked me. I didn’t expect him to raise his voice. “You don’t get it. Something’s wrong. Have you seen my arm?” I never did look at his arm. Maybe if I would have I would have noticed, beneath the torn flesh, the metal machine parts and the computer pieces and the sparks shooting out of it. I hear I scream then realize that it was my own. Then I passed out. It began to rain.
It’s my turn to be shocked. I knew Nicole would be a little freaked but I never thought she would pass out like that. Man that crash hurt! Not really sure what I should do now. I pick up Nicole and carry her out of the woods towards home, leaving both our bikes lying there. My arm is exposed and revealing some sort of machine-like thing. From what I can see, my whole arm is like this. Maybe even my entire body, but who knows? I don’t know want anyone to see my arm just yet. I need to do some research on my own about this thing first. It might get me into some government research facility where they would have me all doped up their drugs. I don’t want that to happen for obvious reasons. Should I take Nicole home? To my house? A hospital? I don’t know. I’m worried about her. At the same time though, I don’t want anyone to see my mecha-arm. I need to think more. It does make me feel kind of cool though. Carrying a beautiful girl from danger in the rain with a robot arm. I feel Robo Cop, only with better special effects. I think I know how I’m gonna do this now. I quicken up my step a little now that I know where I’m going. I start to really worry about Nicole. I was expecting her to wake up by now. We get to the hospital. I walk into the emergency room with her in my arms. Several heads turn. Now I really feel like Robo Cop. I really hope that no one notices my arm. A doctor runs toward me.
“What happened here?” she says to me, like she knows that I have all the answers.
“Uh. She got scared I think, and passed out. I’m not really sure what happened but she needs help,” We’re walking now and Nicole is on a gurney, “She’s been out for like five minutes already.” The doctor pays no attention to my arm. I may be able to get out of this without having to use my oh-so-perfect lie.
“Thank you very much young man. And what about you?” Dang, she saw the arm.
“Oh, uh, me. You must mean this thing,” I point to my arm.
“Yes. You need medical attention for that. It looks bad.” Now she’s really concerned.
“ Oh you that! Actually that’s just some stage make-up. We’re doing a stage version of ‘Terminator’ down at the community theatre.”
Now I’m scared. The last thing I remember was that Brock was a robot. Then I wake up in a hospital with doctors leaning over me mumbling a strange language that only makes sense if you’ve completed med-school. I think I have a right to be freaked out. The doctors tell me that I’m fine and that I can leave the hospital in about half an hour. I sit up. Then I see Brock in the corner. “Brock! I’m so happy to see you!” He comes over and gives me a hug. I hold him tight. “I had the scariest dream. I dared you to jump the creek and then I thought you died and then you were a robot.” Then I realize how goofy it all sounds. He probably thinks I’m insane. I picture myself in that scene in the “The Wizard of Oz,” where Dorothy wakes up. I see myself in her spot mumbling to Brock And you were there. And you, you were there.
“Um yeah, Nicole?” He leans close to me and whispers in my ear, “All that actually happened.”
“What!?!” It comes out louder than I wanted it to.
“Shutup!,” he says in a hushed yell, “Please. Let’s talk about this later. Can we just get out of here right now?” I’m still not sure what’s happening. It all seems like a dream. I think that being on drugs feels somewhat like this. Oh wait, I’m in a hospital, I probably am on some kind of drug. Now I really want out of here.
“Okay. We’ll leave when the doctors say I can in about half an hour. That should give you time to get this whole story straight.”
I tell Nicole. I tell her everything, which really isn’t much considering I don’t know what to make of it myself. I know that I have a normal life. I also know that when I landed that jump, the flesh should have been skinned off my arm. I guess it really was ripped off my arm. But instead of bleeding, it just buzzed. My only guess is the obvious one. I am a machine. A robot. An android. Whatever you want to call it, they’re all the same thing. I am not a human. I was probably designed to be normal. So that I could “blend in” as it were. But normal doesn’t blend, it stands out. No one is normal. No one. I’m not sure what to do from here. I could kill myself, except I’m not alive. I could rob a bunch of banks. They wouldn’t be able to convict me because I’m not actually human. I don’t know what I should do.
She gives me a look that shows absolutely no emotion (or maybe too many emotions at once.) Then she hugs me.
“I love you,” she says. And I know that she means it.
“I love you too,” and I do. It’s not a romantic thing. We care about each other. This is so weird though. I feel love even though I’m not human. Maybe it’s not real love. Maybe I only think it is. No, it is love. Love is whatever you make it to be and I make this to be love.
“I don’t care though,” she says, breaking the silence,”Even if you are a machine, you’re still my best friend. It doesn’’t matter. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t...” She trails off, mumbling to no one. We stand there in the rain, hugging.
“Nicole. There are some things that I understand now that I know the truth. I know that I was created by a secret government agency. I know that they have been observing me. Seeing what I see, hearing what I hear. They know that I know.” She looks at me with a look that the greatest poet could never describe. So sad. So scared. It gives me chills.
“What?,” she says in between two sobs. I almost don’t want to tell her. But I know that I have to. She will mant to know the truth. I begin to cry myself, though I don’t know how it is possible.
“They don’t want me to know I’m a robot. I’m not supposed to know. they’re deleting my program Nicole,” she doesn’t understand what I”m saying. “They’re going to kill me.” I hold her tightly. I think I may even be hurting her a little.
“I’m scared Nicole.”
“Me too. I love you.”
“I love you.”
I don’t want to believe this is happening. Brock’s my best friend in the whole world. He can’t die and leave me here. He just can’t. I feel his grip on me start to loosen. I’m screaming and crying so loud, it’s a wonder that no one thought I was being tortured or something. Brock falls and hits the ground. I’m in total disbelief. He’s dead, and yet he never even lived. It’s the kind of thing that you think will never happen to you. That kind of thing only happens to exciting people who lead exciting lives hanging out with their exciting friends. Why would it ever happen to you? You’re normal. Those things don’t happen to normal people. But in the end, no one is normal. No one. I used to be normal. Turned out that my best friend in the whole wide world was a secret government robot. He used to be normal too. No one is normal. No one.