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You set the scene with something frantic. Woke up from a bad nightmare, got hit in the face by a dodge ball… You ‘grab the reader’s attention’ with something obnoxious like that. After that you start developing characters smoothly and slowly. Hopefully better than Stephanie Meyers, but hey, you’re a 9th grader, not Stephen King. All while doing this you’re writing in a specific tone that, at the time, seems genius. Then you read it… it’s garbage.
To avoid all of that, I’m going to write in a forward manner; a stylistic choice that is frowned upon by most authors, labeled as ‘not interesting’ and doesn’t ‘paint a picture in the reader’s mind.’ (Oy vey!)
I’m not cliché, either. I’m not going to end the story in the homeless hag becoming a princess, or the mega hottie unrealistically falling for the ugly nerd with B-O. I’m not going to do the ever popular Romeo & Juliet fall head-over-heals in love crap either.
Let’s be real here people, you’re either A: Reading this because it’s an assignment for school, B: Reading this because you’re only friends are books, or C: Reading this because I came up with an eye catching picture for the cover that made you buy it. How deceiving!
I bet you don’t even realize what I did there. I developed my character and set a tone all without being annoying. I’m sure you haven’t read a story like this one a billion times. Suckers!
My mom always told me that if anything exciting were to ever happen to me, it would be a miracle. Here in Iowa, nothing particularly eventful happens very often. She always told me to appreciate the fact that I wasn’t born into one of those snotty rich families where the kids and the parents hardly ever talk. Come to think of it though, my family wasn’t far off from those kinds. I was conceived on accident, as was my 24 year old brother Michael. My mom married my dad because ‘it was the right thing to do.’ That’s how we ended up here in Iowa.
And that’s how I got to writing this story. My mom told me if anything exciting ever were to happen to me it would be a miracle. This is that miracle.
“You’re not ‘gonna get picked, Anthony.” Drew said, taking the envelope out of my hands, “Stop trying!”
“I have a chance!” I said, snatching back the letter and kissing it before putting it into the mail drop box. I then did my lucky ritual of snapping my fingers twice and turning around once.
“You’re so weird.” Drew said, “Are you going to Michelle’s tonight?”
“No, dude.” I responded calmly.
“Why not? Everyone is.”
“I don’t really feel like it.” As I said this Drew stopped walking.
“Wait-” he started, “were you invited?”
I was silent. Drew knew the answer. Why would Michelle ever even consider me as a potential party-goer, especially to one of her parties? Michelle was the typical super popular girl who everyone secretly hated but was nice to because of all the dirt she had on them. I, on the other hand, was the fat weird-o 11th grader who still hadn’t kissed a girl. Although I was surprised that Drew was invited, I didn’t question it. He was probably expected to be a spectator to the partying glory.
Drew and I went on walking with his question unanswered verbally, though understood. We went on living in our roles at Adel Community High School as they had been assigned to us.
“Don’t let them bother you, honey, they’ll be working for you someday.” This is what my mom always told me. My mom was always living the ‘play with the cards you’ve been dealt’ type of lifestyle. Some may say that’s a good motto, but look where it’s gotten us, a place that I’m dying to get out of.
The contest I’ve been entering every day for the past month and a half is to do exactly that. President Obama has created a system pretty similar to the make-a-wish foundation, only for this one, you don’t have to be in fatal condition. He’s calling it The Ultimate Catch 22. The way it works is anyone above the age of 16 can enter this contest as much as once a day for the 365 days of this year 2014, and he will personally pick five names randomly. Whoever ends up being picked will be granted three wishes of anything legal that they want. There are other terms and conditions, but one in particular stood out to me.
You have to die. Simply said, simply done. Six months after your wishes are granted, you will be executed. Not painfully, not slowly, you just die.
After putting an excessive amount of time into thinking and worrying about this contest, I finally came to a conclusion. After asking myself a few questions I decided to enter the contest. I concluded that I wouldn’t be missed by many, because most don’t notice me anyway. I also decided I would make better decisions with my wishes than any other idiot out there would. It took me 5 days to finally make this decision to enter, but I’ve been making submissions for the past 281 days, 84 left to go.
“Anthony,” Mr. Smith called on me as I was dozing off, “what would the answer to that equation be?”
“I uh…” I started, wiping the drool off of my cheek, “I think it’s pi?” I answered hesitantly.
“No, Anthony. Pay attention.”
Five minutes after being scolded for dozing off I was right back at it. All I could think about was the contest. The only thing on my mind was what I would wish for if I won. I had only been able to decide one of three wishes; to change the internet a little. Nothing drastic to its content, but I had been researching how much revenue would be produced if the income for Google went to something different, and trust me, it’s a lot of money.
So now came the question of who I wanted to give Google’s income to. There were always charities, but they were constantly being donated to. I wanted to help someone who hadn’t been helped.
I had always been the sympathetic type, I always felt horrible for everyone who didn’t have it as good as me. Obviously, I didn’t really enjoy my life, but there were a lot of people who had it worse. Who was ‘gonna feel bad for them if not me? None of the jerks at my school, that’s for sure.
The Red Cross was aiding the civilians stuck in the middle of the crisis in Syria, and because they needed help, I decided to help. I had always been interested in government and leadership, so I concluded that if I were to win, one of my wishes would be to donate all of Google’s income to the civilians of Syria. One down, two more to go.
Later that day I was reminded that I was still living in the real world when I was decked in the face by a dodge ball in Phy Ed. My mind was once again elsewhere, thinking about my other wishes. I had two left, and I wanted them to leave big impacts on the world. I wanted everyone to notice me for once. Of course it would be the final time they’d have the ability to notice me, but that was okay with me. I never put much thought into the fact that I would be executed afterwards, all I really thought about were the wishes. I took the execution as it was presented to me; quick and painlessly, for everyone.
As for my second wish, it related back to my brother Michael. When Michael was growing up, he had a tough childhood. Nothing like mine; boring and unnoticed, his was more torturous. Everyone always noticed that he was a little different growing up. He didn’t get along with other kids very easily, and in his years of middle and high school he was majorly bullied. Our family, being that of which never spoke about personal problems, never asked questions about issues at school or anything of the sort. We figured Michael would grow out of what ever he was doing to be bullied.
Time passed and the bullying didn’t stop. Michael had been beaten up numerous times and was involved with the school counselor on a daily basis. This went on and on until Michael’s 18th birthday.
That day Michael told us he was gay. This didn’t matter to me at all, Michael was my brother and I loved him no matter what. However, my dad didn’t feel the same way. My dad kicked Michael out of the house saying that he wouldn’t keep a gay boy under his roof.
My family hasn’t kept in touch with Michael at all since that day. My father won’t allow it. I haven’t spoken to my brother for six years, all because of him.
Because of this incident, I came up with my second wish. Using all of my dad’s savings, I would donate to the ‘It Gets Better’ organization. This is an organization that supports anyone of any age who is different in any way. They do meet-ups and internet videos telling everyone that things will get better in time and reminding them to stay positive. I decided it would be appropriate if my dad were the one to donate to this, and so I pulled some strings to be able to wish for my dad to donate all of his savings to the It Gets Better organization.
The next couple weeks were a blur. All I could think about were my wishes, and the fact that I had to win. I was entering every day, and none of my other friends were. I was hoping everyone just wouldn’t bother because they knew they wouldn’t win. Not me!
I had yet to think of a third wish, though. World peace? Ending world hunger? More jobs? None of these things were attainable by just one wish. Plus, I was already using two wishes on worldwide projects. It was time to use a wish a little more personally.
Andrea Johnson. She was a junior, my age, and only the most beautiful thing I’ve ever set my eyes on. She marked off everything in my ‘ideal girlfriend’ checkbook; pretty, smart, nice, and so on. There was one problem though: she didn’t even know my first name.
I decided to use my third wish to woo Andrea Johnson. I concluded that I was going to wish for a free dinner at the fanciest restaurant in Chicago with her. I figured the last thing I should do before I go is get my first kiss… finally.
Now, I’m not ‘gonna turn all sappy on you, talking about how lonely I was and how no one loved me, because the fact of the matter is that’s understood. You, as a reader, understand that there are a lot of people like that in the world, and probably in your life.
How it all ended up was, yes, I was a winner. I wished for everything I said I would. I got my first kiss and was reunited with Michael just in time. It has now been 181 days since my wishes were granted. Tomorrow will make six months.
My mom always told me if anything exciting were to ever happen to me it would be a miracle. This was that miracle.