Randy Cross —Short Fiction
There was this force that occurred recently whenever Randy Cross sat at the end of school waiting for the end to arrive for real, something that eventually pulled him willingly, or unwillingly to the Amusement Hall. He was always waiting for school to end, from the morning when he got there till Mr Jerome’s eighth period English class. He was watching the clock which was 46, and a half minutes behind burn away until the force of desire could be released. He was not even thinking of the flashing tables of pinball that lined the halls, only of the hands of the clock. He had last played all day yesterday, skipping church too, and had not read chapter 4 of To Kill A Mockingbird yesterday either, and he had not done the twenty math problems that were assigned. He had decided that he was working himself too hard for things that had nothing to do with his real passion—which was obtaining an even higher score on a specific pinball table. The last time he had money that was his was last friday. He borrowed mostly from friends, and he figured that his loving, though sometimes strict parents would not mind him taking twenty bucks, that mourning, since it was in the name of the most fun cause, the good old silver ball. None of that was on his mind either at the moment of eighth periods, only the clock, and his new scheme for traveling faster to the hall.
His hair was red, but too short to really coil into springs like the ones one pinball plungers, and his face freckled somehow only on one side. He had scrapes on his legs, the type that children gain from their play, and he had six minutes left on the classroom’s clock. It was such a waste of time, they basically recapped things they had talked about, or had supposedly read. Some kids were just reading other books in class by the end. The school system was basically wasting his time, because he was not maximizing pinball time. They basically did not have their priorities straight, he thought. He broke his pencil in his hand, and shoved the remains into his pocket, locating an extra quarter. His bag was already packed up other than that. He needed to play, so badly. He needed the initial satisfaction that came with pulling back the plunger on his table, his one and only love, who he missed so much from day to day. He imagined himself being like his father coming home from work.
The bell rang, and Randy sprung out kicking his chair over. He didn't need to walk with his friends that day, only to go. He needed to get to the dazzling light of the table, because the high school was closer than the middle to the Amusement hall and there was risk of some big bully taking over his table. Mr Jerome’s voice could be heard from down the hall calling to Randy to “come back, and stand up his chair”, or something like that. Randy, dear Randy he tried to dash down and duck across the center of the hallway at all times so maximum turning ability could be achieved. Randy actually pushed a guy’s books out of his hands, because the thin, lanky guy, with a hiking backpack at least three times the size of his torso was jaunting slowly, and oafishly down the corridor’s core. The thin almost man-boy, who had scrapish facial hair already hollered at Randy, though had never seen him before, and the boy didn’t see the Randy’s face as it sank into the oceans of shuffling students that swarmed at the end of any school day before retreating to the home’s isolation after an hour. Randy did cognize the call for apology present in the vanishing cry of “hey man! You fucking hit my books down!”, but he needed to focus on what was important to him, and not waste time, so the apology already brewing was shoved out of his head.
A side door on the school got shoulder slammed open by Randy solely concentrated on his route’s snaking steps. Next there was a slight hill, and a chain fence. This was something that Randy could lose minutes on if he did it poorly. He slowed his sprint to a heavy skipping almost frog-hopping sort of jog while going down the green mound, which the school sat on. As he quickly approached the chain fence at an extreme uncontrollable pace, he took a leap. He clung to the fence, then fell crushing his intentionally light packed books. He chucked his bag over the fence, and jumped the fence, really climbing as he had not yet grown too full height, in what looked like pursuit of his beaten red bag that was his older brother’s before him.
Randy hit the ground, and descended instantly into a squat to grab the bag, the rest of the run would be easy after this. He knew he would perfect the fence jump segment, at some point in the future. He simply needed to run down the sidewalk for three blocks, turn, run down three blocks, and then cut through an alley and then down one block past the mall into the amusement hall. He had it all planned out within the world of his skull’s goal-space-time-existential-meaning map.
He sprinted through the city noises, past people talking, a pale yellow car honking which almost hit him once and the little bells on store fronts ringing. The car thing did not slow him down, but it distracted him and filled his head with thoughts other than the compelling force, like what if it all had killed him.. It was totally day, but the sun was lower than the high point. The street’s dirt went unnoticed by millions of people, until Randy tripped on a slick spot of filth. The legs went backward and face forward and the hands downward. His hands turned up a little bloody. It was not gushing out. It was more like thin skin scraped widely. Blood was weirdly dark in real life. Despite the many movies he had seen with mountains of bright fake blood; he really did not see real blood often since he rarely had bloody noses, because he did NOT pick it. It was kind of a weird moment for the sixth grader. Everything had gone from fast fracas, to still silent pond all at an as of yet unheard of speed. The speeding toward end points had affected itself. Now he had no idea what he was really doing. No map.
He stood up using his elbows. He was surprised that no one came to help him up. He was as unnoticed as the slippy spot before anyone saw it. He assumed there had been a slippy spot, he did not check. He also did realize that he was going too fast. No one above the age of ten could think that they had not ran too fast in that moment. He did not immediately start running, but instead slowly walked to the Amusement hall. He observed the table's lights flashing for maybe ten, or even twenty minutes without playing. He walked to the back of his table eventually. It was a fading yellow weird thing that actually had no theme, because it was that old, but was deeply challenging thing to play. It’s left lever was so slow. No one, but Randy, ever played it more than once in a row and there was no line ever. He had been scared of the idea that there could be one, if people ever realized how awesome it was. Was it awesome? Was she truly lovely?
He had a twenty dollar bill, and figured that he did not want to go through the effort of getting quarters from the guy at the desk. He also realized that his mother probably did not care whether or not he played pinball, but likely cared that he had stolen twenty dollars from them without asking. Also his hands still had the uncinematic blood on them. He stuck his hand in his pocket, and found one spare quarter. He tore out a page from his notebook, and wiped off his hands with it. Then he played one game, which went poorly because he was distracted. He had other things on his mind, and the ball actually snuck into the out zone, down the center of the table, and he did not even hit the lever.
He left right after. Randy walked home all slow, and careful. He had realized that the game’s bright bursting yellow lights hurt his eyes, like the Television did if you watched into the long hours of the night without going to the bathroom. He decided that he would apologize to the eighth-grader almost man with the massive backpack the next day. He figured he would do his homework or something else that at least did not involve senseless flashing mono colored lights.