Also mentioned in my Foul Mouth Facts posts, my first try at the FM2 school story was VERY different from the final result. It was only a day's worth of work at two thousand words, but I think it's very obvious why I started over. If only because of how WRONG Valentine feels played as a classical trope and well, it's a conversation about socks. Obvious I could and DID do better than that.
Still...let it be a lesson to aspiring writers that you can ALWAYS start over and it won't be the end of the world if you do. As I tell anyone who has ever asked my advice: it's not final until you hit publish. Plus, if you're unknown you don't even have fan expectations on how release day needs to be NOW. Take it easy, rewrite, experiment, and enjoy the experience.
Copyrighted by me, Richard Raley, do not republish, please link back here, early version and only a first draft, there will be typos, not cannon, yada yada.
“I can’t believe they actually consider this a reward,” I said. “I mean, fucking camping? Why the fuck I want to go out in the woods and get raped by a grizzly bear? How that a reward? That’s punishment.”
“I think a grizzly is more likely to just eat you instead of putting the moves on you, dude,” Pocket disagreed.
Like all of Ultra Class ’09 we were busy packing the special hiking backpacks Mr. Samson had supplied for the trip. We’d been at the Asylum for a month. Almost four weeks at least. Twenty-five days to be exact. Twenty-five days of pure joy…note the sarcasm is my tone.
Everyone had gotten to know everyone else. All of us had the names down, even for the quieter kids like Raj Malik. Some more perspective shits even had the likes and dislikes at that point. Pocket and I were good friends already. Twenty-five days and the guy hadn’t screwed me over once. Kinda sad, but that’s the best friend I’d gotten out of anyone at that point in my life. Hadn’t screwed me over in twenty-five days…
“So why I want to go out in the wild and risk getting ate by a grizzly then?” I asked.
“Never been camping at all?”
“Sure. Couple times a year. Parents would close the shops and we’d go camp out in the hills near us or even make a try at camping out on the beach. Those were the best, wake up to a huge sunrise and then go surfing first thing.”
“My luck I’d wake up to a crab clawing my ass.”
“You’ve got a serious fixation on wild animals and your ass, you know that, dude?”
I frowned at my backpack’s quickly filling luggage capacity. “Samson said bring extra socks, how many you think?”
“Two?” Pocket frowned at his own backpack. “We can always dry them out over a fire, right?”
“Two socks or two pair?”
“Two pair.” He chuckled to himself, zipping his backpack shut. “If I’d said three, would you have thrown in three socks?”
“I’ve never understood why sockets always go together. I mean, you might need two to start the day but sometimes it’s only one of them that get wet, meaning you only next an extra one. No reason to replace a perfectly good sock just because you’re stuck in pair-thinking.”
“You’re not really a together kind of person.”
I zipped my own backpack up…three extra socks inside out of spite. “A sock’s got to watch out for himself.”
“Yeah, what if you get mixed up with a black sock, you might get beat up in the hamper.”
“Are you mocking me?”
“Just a little.”
“Why do I have to have a bed next to you weirdoes?” Valentine Ward asked loud enough for us to hear. It should also be pointed out, because I think I forgot to mention it, that Valentine only recently moved to the States a couple years before her Asylum recruitment, meaning the girl had an Australian accent capable of turning men to butter. Even ‘weirdoes’ was attractive coming from that mouth.
“Why do I have a bed next to a fire hazard?” I asked back, with an accent best described as ‘white trash’. “We all can’t bed next to our star-crossed lover like Pocket and Naomi can we?”
Pocket went red to his ears. Naomi let out a ‘eww’ under her breath that given how often she was staring at the boy had to be fake.
Valentine glared at me. “I haven’t had a discharge in three days, unlike you.”
I gave her a mocking smile. “Heard me did ya? Sorry…I get a little loud…curtains can’t cover it all up…”
Another ‘eww’ for Naomi. Pocket tried to keep from laughing. Valentine just kept glaring. “I’m talking about Mrs. Ambrose clock, you disgusting cretin.”
“Pocket, what’s a cretin?”
“Like a shellfish isn’t it?”
“Probably…listen, stop trying to get me to protect you from Boomworm, I’m not getting blown up for you,” he decided.
“I hate that name!” Valentine snapped at him.
“But it’s a cool name…” Pocket defended.
“Stop using it!”
We all went about getting on backpacks over our shoulders. Given my size it probably weighed more than I did. “Ambrose’s clock wasn’t an accidental discharge, I did it on purpose.”
Valentine’s glaring face went into disbelief, her sharp cheeks helping the expression. “Liar.”
“Nope, managed to figure out how to release an anima pool all on my own,” I bragged, “can’t pool but one time out of a hundred through…probably should have figured that one out first…”
“Now I think you’re a liar too,” Naomi butted in as she walked by to cross the room and stand with her friends.
“Everyone thinks I’m a liar, Pocket, you don’t think I’m a liar do you?”
“I know you’re a liar.”
“Not about this though.”
We found our way out of the Ultra dorms, joining a few more of our classmates outside. It had gotten to the point where we weren’t so much a giant group but mini-groups. The mini-groups had a habit of changed members over the years depending on who was dating who, but there was a general starting point Class 09 always moved back towards.
Library Kids: Valentine Ward, Miranda Daniels, Raj Malik, Isabel Soto, and Athir Al-Qasami. They weren’t so much as friends with each other as connected down the line. Valentine was best-friends with Miranda. Raj was friends with Miranda. Athir was friends with Raj. Isabel was friends with Athir. The circle went one way, but not the other, especially since Isabel hated Valentine.
Soccer Players and Teachers: Estefan Ramirez, Ronaldo Silva, Miles Hun Pak, Debra Diaz, Yvette Reynolds, and Malaya Mabanaagan. Two separate groups in reality, boys and girls. The reason they hung out so much is that Estefan and Debra are both electromancers and electromancers got this weird thing were they always hang out with each other…it’s creepy. Means Estefan and Debra started being a couple like day number two and never stopped.
Gamers: Curt Chambers, Samuel Bird, Nicholas Hanson, and Patrick Brown. Curt was sickly asthmatic, Sam’s a geek, Nick is jock-like, and Rick is full on hippy liberal stoner guy. Only at the Asylum could this group work and it worked because of their love of video games, one of the hardest to acquire contrabands at school.
Jock Girls: Asa Kayode, Nizhoni Sherman, and Eva Reti. Not sure why these three bonded to this day but they were all in the Camping Club and the Swim Club. Eva could play just about any sport you could create and Nizhoni wasn’t far behind.
Girly Girls: Naomi Gullick, Sandra Kemp, Timeeko Lewis, and Robin White. Self explanatory? I think so.
Rich Kids: Heinrich Welf, Jason Jackson, Hope Hunting, Jessica Edwards, and Quinn Walden. To this day I don’t know how Jason got in with these people. He was born on the wrong side of the tracks of Memphis to a single mother working two jobs to support them and at the Asylum he mixes with the most connected kids of our year? As for the other four, wasn’t one of them that didn’t grow up with the Mancy. Quinn’s father was even a member of the Guild of Cocksuckers.
Outcasts: King Henry Price and Pocket Landry. We just kind of worked well together, no other way to explain it.
Loner: Jesus Valencia. Jesus would eventually end up with me and Pocket, but in the beginning he always kept to himself. I doubt you’ll hear much more than a peep out of him until I get to third year.
There…all thirty kids of Class 09 dissected. You’re caught up. Write down the tape’s time on a piece of paper if you need to go back to it, I’m never wasting breath on it again.
Patrick Hanks, our student-advisor, told us to go to the front of the Admin building and wait, so that’s what we did. Hanks wasn’t going with us for once, on account of the Asylum staff deciding it should be a three day weekend. Three day weekend…and I had to fucking go camping.
Look at fourteen-year-old me not be happy. “This is such bullshit!”
We’d even been woken up earlier than usual. It wasn’t even six, the sun was barely out, and here we were fully dressed in our colors, packed with supplies, waiting on Samson to make a show. Every student at the Asylum but us were getting to sleep in until eight…eight fucking o fucking clock.
Look at fourteen-year-old me not be happy. “Why us? Make the Intras go camping. Punish them. Aren’t we supposed to be getting perks or something?”
“I believe it no more than the rest of you, but I agree with the little foul mouth.” This was Welf. ‘Little Foul Mouth’ was all he ever called me. I don’t think he liked the idea of ‘king’ crossing his lips in relation to me.
“Don’t start him, Heinrich, you always make him go off and it’s too early in the morning,” Valentine scolded.
“Don’t you tell Heinrich what to do, Boomworm,” Hope butted in.
“Leave her alone, Hope!” Miranda defended.
“You don’t tell me what to do either!”
“Look what you did,” Pocket whispered to me.
Why do the geomancer and the floromancer cross the road? To get away from their bickering classmates.
“I don’t get why we fight with each other so much,” Pocket decided was going to be our topic of conversation. “I mean, we fought back in Pismo too, but not like this. One little thing and this dude’s got to tell this dude off and then the next dude don’t like that. It’s like dominos going down.”
“Hanks told me it’s just the Mancy.”
“That can’t be it.”
“He said it would mellow out, something about new mancers meeting each other affecting magnetisms or some shit like that,” I explained not too well. “Mentioned pebbles and ponds too. It seemed to make sense to him.”
Pocket grinned at me, his hands up on the straps of his backpack trying to pull them together against the weight. “So you’re saying we’ll eventually be friends with Welf?”
He was exercising with the thing, but I was lucky to keep standing upright under the backpack’s weight. “Doubt that ever happen. We won’t have blow ups like this one though.”
“Hope so? You want a piece of that frozen twat, my man?”
Without thinking, he pushed on my shoulder. Weight shifted and I went over backwards. I could hear laughter from the other side of the road. “Oh, you rat bastard…” I growled as I unsnapped the backpack and got to my feet.
“You realize you just guaranteed that none of those girls over there are ever going to want to fuck me, right?”
Pocket’s hand found my shoulder again, this time a firm hold. “King Henry, none of those girls were ever going to want to sleep with you anyway.”
“This place is messing up my grooves,” I muttered, trying to put my backpack back on and not doing a good job of it. “Ain’t a single one of these ladies that like the tough guy act.”Pocket nodded. “So horrible…you might have to actually be nice to them.”