Control

Why did I care? It was a tiny little pill, a bug, made by a bunch of drones in a lab; testing, observing, trying to understand what rules over them, “pushing new limits.” There was no way the product of these worker bees would trump Jesse Baze. I lay in bed thinking about the events that had led me to the doctor’s office earlier in the day where I had been handed over a prescription like a bad version of trick or treat. For every boy and girl out there we have just the right prescription! I thought about the bad grades, the constant disappointment to my parents, late nights with my friends. The one thing I seemed to agree with with my parents was the fact that I really just didn’t care. I knew that I wasn’t destined for greatness, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t see the road ahead, I lived life like one large due date, doing the bare minimum just to get by, but I was okay with that.



But my parents were not okay for sure. I was an only child and my parents had spent their lives preparing, working and pushing to get where they were. The only problem now was that they couldn’t get their son to have the same passion for securing his future as they did. The story is familiar to nearly all kids in my neighborhood. They all have wealthy parents and they all grew up together often getting into trouble and disappointing their parents also. I hated being labeled: that spoiled rich kid who goes to our school. It wasn’t my fault. The medicine was supposed to help me focus, it was new and my mom had told me that it had had success among users in curbing destructive behavior. Whatever, people just didn’t get me, and like I said it wasn’t going to beat me.



I rolled over onto my pillow and let sleep creep upon me, I was so tried, but before I could bring myself to shut down after staying up so late, thoughts began to float to the surface, disrupting my sleep. What was the name of the pills? Was I really going to give in just like that and take them? Would it change me? I reassured myself that it was I who was taking the medicine and would do so as I pleased. I would take the damn things in the morning and hopefully it would satisfy my parents for a while. I jokingly imagined the pills doing the homework for me. If I could hide I was doing drugs, I could certainly hide that I wasn’t taking them. Tomorrow I was ready to start off on a focused and controlled life yippie! And with that I fell asleep to get some hours in before school.



The alarm rang, how typical. But I wasn’t too tired so I managed to flip on the television, instantly delivered to a platter of sensational stories about murder, jackpots and pet shows. If I wasn’t with my friends, this is what I did. I zoned out midway through channel surfing on an infomercial for some sort of ab machine, just what I needed right? But I remained zombified. Only a yell from my mom to get out of bed broke the spell. I drug myself out of bed and into a pair of jeans I had worn numerous times before its last wash. Jeans all look the same, who would notice? I slipped on a shirt from a pile of clean clothes neatly folded by my Mom. Almost there! I didn’t need a shower, and with so little time I grabbed a banana, and there was my health food for the day. I put on my backpack ready to get in my car. But before I could slip into the driver’s seat my Mom rushed out with my pill. This was supposed to be the new part of my routine. I hesitated a moment and then swallowed it and finished with a smile. Even if I hated the things she made me do, I loved my Mom.

I recalled the day of the week—Tuesday—not nearly good enough. I thought about the lifetime until Friday and the assignments due as I pulled into my school parking lot. As I pulled to a stop in my spot, number 56, I pulled down my rear view mirror to clean up. God I wished I had brushed my teeth, they looked yellow, and my hair looked greasy and disarrayed. I took out a napkin from the driver’s console and gave my teeth a swipe and quickly fixed my hair to look reasonable. I popped the driver door open and walked to first period.

Algebra II was filled with a bunch of annoying Freshman and Sophomores, I was of the elite group of Juniors who had managed to stay in underclassmen classes. You could only guess how I got there. I came into the class greeted by a myriad of conversations. I saw my place in the back with the other three Juniors. There was Caleb, Marissa and Shelby. Marissa was in the middle of a conversation with Shelby about some girl she didn’t like and Caleb was sort of sitting there, giving his two cents. I sat down, really not having much to say, I was really tired and today the other people just seemed louder. Class started in five minutes. Caleb gave me a pound on the shoulder. “Made it to class early today huh?”
“Yeah I guess.” I said sort of chuckling
“Dude, I didn’t do any of this homework last night” he said, flicking his paper with a smirk.
“Me neither, ha-ha.” But it wasn’t funny really.
Caleb asked Marissa and Shelby if they had done the homework so that he could copy it. They both gave him the same face that read, “Are you kidding me.” I looked over the blank problems staring at me and thought, why didn’t I just do it? And that was it, I just pulled out a pencil and began working on the problems, I wasn’t getting a zero. I remembered parts of what we had learned managed to make a dent in it when Caleb saw. “You did it?” he said, “let me see what you’ve got.”
“Yeah, hold on just let me finish what I have.”
“Dude, just let me copy what you have, class starts soon.”
“I know that’s why I’m doing it now.”
Caleb smiled and jerked my paper away, but I was angry now. I reached for the paper but Caleb just brought it back further. I stood up and pushed Caleb back in his chair, flipping him over onto the ground. He just stared at me, in fact the whole class was, they were looking at the mellow guy in the back of the class that never said anything. “Jerk” Caleb blurted out
“What’s wrong with you?” he said. The thing was I couldn’t think of a better thing to say about Caleb. No teacher was a round and everyone else in the classroom resumed talking, tentatively waiting for another development. As for me, I grabbed another seat closer to the front. I was greeted with a stare from a sophomore girl next to me. I ignored her and thought. Why did I ever hang out with Caleb, he was lazy and only thought for himself, screw him.

The weird thing was was that I could concentrate for once, I retained information, all the while everyone was obnoxious. I liked it, I liked it a lot. I cleaned myself up and began studying more, it was amazing and just like that, the prescription ran out. I had no friends and the real me still didn’t agree with where my life was going and I came to the conclusion that the pill was what others wanted me to be. So I was myself.





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