I always loved the 1950's. Grease, Cry-Baby, so many things made me want to write something for...
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Dear God, is this what a chocolate hangover feels like?
A muggy breeze ruffled Madeleine's boxers and blew her hair in her face, tickling her nose and making her sneeze. Holding her aching head and opening one eye groggily, she asked herself, "Now, since when do we have breezes in the house, much less in my room?"
"Shut up, you stupid kid!"
A large, neon-lit question mark formed in Madi's mind as she sat bolt upright with a start, thinking, I know for a fact I didn't leave the TV on-
Her thoughts skidded to a halt when she got a good look at her surroundings. She was curled up, no longer in her comfortable twin bed, but in a bed of leaves. Oak and cider trees swayed in the breeze and a small creek ran beside her. A large metal sign towering over the trees depicted the bird, flower, and tree of her home state. There was something very, very strange about that sign and she couldn't put her finger on it, even though she'd driven past it numerous times. Still half-asleep, she believed that she had sleep-walked to the state boundary, which was quite far from her house. Supporting herself with her left arm, she noticed a crumpled note in small, neat handwriting laying beside her.
I cannot imagine how confused you must be at finding yourself here. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you much. All I can say is that you are stuck here until you perform a task. It will be difficult, but I believe in you. Make me proud.
Okay.......Madeleine thought. Rereading the note a time or two, she shrugged and stuck it in the waistline of her boxers, leaving its riddle for later.
"You say one more thing and I swear to God I'll make you eat that stupid sweater you're wearing, got it?" the voice yelled again. Madeleine blinked, uncertain whether to follow the voice to its origin or not. On one hand, maybe he-there was a possibility that it was a she, but it was very remote- could point out the way home. On the other hand, it sounded like he could beat her to a bloody pulp...or worse. Stretching like a big cat and yawning softly so as not to be heard, she brushed herself off and followed the voice, picking some leaves out of her hair and popping her knuckles as she went.
"Leave him alone," a small (seemingly pre-pubescent) voice muttered, obviously afraid of the owner of the first voice. The comment didn't do much, because a sharp, incredibly unintelligible reply and the sound of skin hitting skin was all she heard. Still following the voices, Madeleine found herself on the bank of a rather large, but pretty, lake. A few yards down the bank, she noticed a gang of teenage boys picking on a smaller pair of boys that seemed to both be under ten years of age. One was thin and lanky with dark, dark hair that was cut neatly and seemed to have been combed just so. However, his hair was tousled now and his left cheek was beginning to swell up. The smaller one had the same hairstyle but his hair was red and freckles were sprinkled across his nose. His lip was split and bleeding everywhere. I'm here five minutes and I get to tussle with bullies, Madi thought, what fun. Forgetting the fact that she was in her pajamas, Madeleine stomped towards the group, landing right on a pointy pinecone in the process.
"OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD IT HURTS! Oh my foot will have to be AMPUTATED! Oh my Go-" Madeleine stopped wailing mid-sentence, realizing that all five boys were staring blankly at her. Trying to find the right words to explain herself, her mouth opened and closed like a goldfish out of water, and in the end, she covered her mouth with her left hand and studied her fingernails like she had no interest in the world around her.
"Who the hell are you?" the (it seemed to be) head bully asked her rudely. She looked up like she hadn't noticed that he was there and replied, "Huh?" Glaring at her, he took a step towards her.
"I said, 'who the hell are you?' Answer me," he repeated with a sneer. She gaped at him, fury overtaking her dazedness and, for a second, had no clue what to say to him. Regaining her confidence, she huffed at him, "My name's Madeleine, Madi for short. Why don't you quit picking on those kids?" He raised his eyebrows at her, probably surprised that she had talked to him in such a manner. He did look like the type to react that way.
"I think that it's none of your business," he snapped, rousing a group "ooh" from his buddies. No matter where you go, Madi thought, aggravated, there are always some of these losers trying to pick a fight with you. Trying not to limp from the pinecone incident, she approached the boys, faking an air of confidence as she went.
"Well I think it is. Look at them! They're covered in blood!" she retorted, and, turning to the smaller boys, added "Hey, are you guys okay?" The pair nodded slightly, never looking her right in the eyes, probably thinking she was already dead meat. Sudden whispering breaking into hysterical laughter whipped her head around to face the bullies.
"Are you wearing boxers?!" one of the older boys asked her mockingly. Flushing a deep scarlet, she glanced down at her Happy Bunny boxers.
"Yeah. So?!" she spat back defensively. The laughter erupted into loud guffaws as the other lackey asked, "What kind of girl wears boxers?!" Thoroughly flustered, she hissed back, "Well I think they're comfortable, okay? Don't judge me!!!" Looking at her with interest, the leader quieted the others' laughter to snickering and introduced himself with a smirk on his face.
"I'm Tony Bourdain. You got spunk, kid. I like that. We should...hang out sometime," he said, grinning. Madi had definitely not missed the double meaning in his words, and know that by "You got spunk", he really meant "I think you're hot". Oh joy, Madi thought wearily. Putting her hands on her hips, she narrowed her eyes into slits and glared at him.
"You're kidding me right?" Seeing the blank look on his face, she added incredulously, "Un-freaking-believable. Look, I'm uh...flattered, but I think I'm going to have to take a raincheck." Now, Tony shrugged like he didn't have a care in the world, and gave her a boyishly cute grin. In that moment, she could see how he could seem innocent if it weren't for the rude comments and cruel behavior. Sighing in frustration, she calmed herself down and asked politely, "Tony, I hate to ask, but do you have a cell phone I could use?" He stared at her blankly.
"What the hell is a cell phone?" he asked. She blinked at him.
"The thing you text on. Every teen has one, I promise you."
She gaped at him in total disbelief of what she was hearing.
"I'm being punk'd, right?" she muttered in disbelief, looking at him like he was a total moron. He returned the favor.
"Look, I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but the only phones we have are payphones and house phones."
Now, that comment would have been a little strange, considering she herself had a cell phone, but the statement wasn't the only strange factor here. There were also the boys' clothes. The boy with the bruise on his cheek was wearing a horizontally striped tee-shirt from a company that had gone out of business fifty years ago, and the younger boy was wearing nice pants and, for some strange reason, a sweater. Madi was no genius, but it was a relatively hot and humid day. The poor kid must have been on fire underneath that hunk of wool. The older boys were all wearing matching black leather jackets open to reveal white tee-shirts and tight black jeans. Tony, however, was wearing a black tee-shirt, which, combined with his jet black hair slicked into a duckbill (better known as a duck tail or duck butt), made his ice blue eyes appear all the more striking. He was also wearing a silver dog tag round his neck and a gorgeous silver ring on his left index finger. The sheer beauty of it attracted Madi's gaze. Looking back at the clothes, Madi decided that the last time she had checked, people didn't really dress like that anymore. Wait a second, she thought, people don't dress like that anymore?
"Um, just out of curiosity," she began flippantly, "what's today?"
"May 8th. Why?" he replied. She blinked.
"What year is it?"
"1956...Again, why?" A look of sheer horror passed over her face, then disbelief, then humor.
"Aha. Aha. Very funny. No, seriously, what's today?" she retorted, snorting at her gullibility. He crossed his arms and cocked an eyebrow. Oh God, he's serious! she squeaked in her mind. Standing in front of him, she slowly put two and two together, and the more she thought about it, the more she realized what had been wrong with that sign she'd seen earlier. Every time she'd driven past it, it had been covered in rust, scratches, and graffiti. This time, there was barely a hint of graffiti, and not one single speck of rust. Now that she thought about it, she did remember her history teacher mentioning something about the signs having been built in the fifties.
"Look, we're gonna go. We're done with these losers anyway," Tony said, faking a punch at the smaller boys past Madi as she nearly hyperventilated over her recent discovery. He failed to notice, and, taking her accelerated breathing as her strange way of saying goodbye, left, followed by his friends.
Once Tony and his friends were out of sight, Madi retained just enough air to squeak in disbelief and collapsed into a heap in front of the flabbergasted boys.