As a ghost, I spent most of my time haunting the hallways and flitting between cliques with enough frequency that none would ever be able to accurately recall if I was there or not, so I was ecstatic to reach my fourth year of high school – senior year – when I would only be required to attend a half days worth of classes before I would be allowed to run, jump, and skip down the hallway and out the door to the parking lot and to my car and into it and out and away from that fucking waste of a place that occupied less of my mind while I attended than it does now.
I was required to take four classes. Math. Gym. Something I can’t remember (English perhaps?). And an elective. I took Journalism. I have no idea why I decided to take Journalism, as I was not a particularly good writer nor was I interested in the happenings around school nor was I interested in writing about the school, but perhaps it had something to do with I had already taken the art/computer/electronic electives and it was the last in a long series of classes designed to give the kids some instruction in things that were even more useless in their upcoming lives than statistical calculus.
So, I took journalism. I wrote a couple articles for the paper. Probably. I don’t really remember because I was barely present in the class – literally or figuratively. When I was actually there, as in “physically present,” I was weighing the pros and cons of various underground kung fu movies or dreaming up long and convoluted stories about what my upcoming college career would be like – most of the fantasies involved ingesting all manner of drugs and alcohol and going on a year-long bender before dying in some kind of highway assault rifle shootout with the police as I tried to escape with whatever loot I had grabbed that day. Suffice to say, none of those bizarre ruminations came true and I ended up living well and fine and successfully completing my freshman year of college and avoiding all manner of negative police interaction and all manner of drug use and perhaps only ingesting a college freshman amount of alcohol.
More often, I enjoyed the benefits that come with a student of journalism, namely “researching.” Researching is a great thing and a great excuse to wander around the high school day after day under the pretense of finding information for your story when really you’re just spending inordinate amounts of time in a variety of different bathroom stalls and playing cards in the study hall that took place in the nearby cafeteria at the same time.
Of course, at times, my instructor did ask for something called “results,” and I had to actually spend five or ten minutes out of my busy schedule of bathroom stall introspective inspections to ask someone a few questions or walk to a school bulletin board to copy down some information. I always wondered why my instructor thought it was perfectly normal for me to take forty minutes to walk to one end of the high school, read a paragraph bulletin, and return to the classroom, but perhaps she didn’t know any better since the entire class made a habit of lengthening any trivial exercise to a prodigious class-period-long time-consuming task.
A hundred word summary? Wow… I think I can have that for you in a week or two. Oh, you want an interview with the captain of the football team? Well… sure I can do it, but don’t expect it to be finished this season. So, that’s an article about the school budget? Well… isn’t there going to be another budget next year? And the year after that? Why don’t we just wait to do that article so we don’t have to keep repeating ourselves? We wouldn’t want to lose our readership by repeating the same information year after year!
Obviously, this is sound journalistic advice, but for one article I decided to go above and beyond the normal call of duty and Actually Do Something.
It was time for some hard-hitting journalism. It was time to really shake this fucking school up. Let’s rile up the old bastards in charge and put a fire in the bellies of every student! Revolution! Revolution! Revolución! Che! Che! Che!
Hard-hitting journalism. I had to go to the source and get the Hard Hitting Facts. This would be a cutting edge interview that would Shock and Amaze my classmates. Perhaps they would even recognize me in the halls. Maybe I would be hoisted upon the shoulders of two giants and paraded around the football field, everyone chanting my name and pretending to shoot their .357 magnums into the air and then blowing on the muzzles as if they were hot (that would have been my signature move in high school if I had a signature move). It would be glorious.
Hard. Hitting. Journalism.
To the Source.
To the Source of all the Troubles.
Hard Hitting Journalism.
Of course, I decided to interview the mechanic who worked on the school buses. I wanted the Hard Hitting Truth.
And I got it.
It turned out the man was an illegal refugee from Slovakia. He knew four ways to kill a man just by shaking his hand, and he also had an enormous, uncomfortably large penis. In short, this was the man I knew the school needed to know about. They needed to know who kept the mufflers of their school buses muffling along and they needed to know about the Slovakian Giant Penis man who was their rightful GOD.
I crafted the story. I put my blood and my sweat and my semen into it and – By The Grace Of Our Lord – it was a great tale.
The story ran on the front page of the newspaper. The headline screamed, “HUGE PENIS FREAK FIXES YOUR BUS.” It was an immediate sensation. The principal called me into his office to offer his congratulations and his unborn daughter up for marriage. I accepted his kind offer and I await the day when Phuong San Wong will be old enough for me to penetrate without being arrested.
Local newspapers came calling. ABC News. CBS News. FOX News. Playboy. The Hard Hitters. They asked questions about Slovakian mechanics with large penises. I answered. Sometimes I made snide remarks like, “Don’t you assholes wish you had broke this story… ya assholes!” To which they would nod their heads sadly and look at the floor and try to hide their tears from me. But I always saw.
Later, when the news coverage started to die down, my agent suggested I sell my story to Hollywood. I’m sure you already know about this, and I’m sure you’ve already seen the film. After all, it was deemed – The Greatest Film Of All Time And Forever. Everyone in America bought a ticket. It was very successful.
So, what is there for me now? I’m rich beyond my wildest dreams, my story has been told, and I have the unborn love a beautiful Chinese wife just waiting for me to shower her with affection and overpriced designer bags.
You’re right. There’s nothing for me now. Nothing to live for – not here anyway. Thus, two options:
Go back in time.
I chose the latter and reserve the former for another day and time. Henceforth, this is my record of what has occurred the first time around. I’d like to remember, you know? Just in case next time my life turns out to be a horrible failure, at least I’ll have these notes and I’ll be able to remember a dimension in which I succeeded.