Bessemerskolan - ett vidare val!

Novelltävlingen 2022

Vinnare: Aws Raed Khairullah Anlashe, VO21

Motivering: Årets vinnare av novelltävlingen är en klok och eftertänksamt konstruerad novell, där vi märker att mycket tanke lagts på hur utformningen av berättelsen ska se ut. Språket är utmärkt och dialogen är driven och rapp, novellen följer den dramaturgiska kurvan väl. Den håller sig genomgående till temat som handlar om hur något som startar med en lögn snabbt kan växa till en ohållbar härva av lögner. Huvudkaraktären genomgår en tydlig utveckling genom berättelsen och kommer i slutet till nya insikter om sig själv och vilken slags person han vill vara. Vi tycker mycket om hur Aws låter berättelsen följa en röd tråd som på ett berättartekniskt skickligt sätt knyter ihop allt på slutet.

It All Started With a Lie

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Every day starts with a lie, Jonjon thought as he reached over and hit the snooze button on his alarm clock. And today I have to start even earlier than usual. You see, there's this big party happening this weekend. All the cool kids and the hottest girls in school are going to be there. But here's the thing, I can't tell my mom. She'll freak out. So, I got it worked out with my amigo Charlie. I'm going to tell my mom I am going to his place this weekend to hang out. Perfect cover story. What could go wrong?

Jonjon stretched and grumbled, unwilling to leave the confines of his comfy blankets and pillows. Sunlight shone through the bedroom window casting a warm orange glow on his smiling face. He pulled the covers up under his chin and snuggled up nearly drifting back to sleep when thesnooze alarm sounded shocking him back to full consciousness. "Ok, ok I'm up!" Jonjon reluctantly pushed his covers off and threw his feet over the side to the floor. He turned his alarm clock off and shuffled like a zombie into the hallway making his waytoward the little bathroom where he would conduct his morning routine.He reached the open bathroom door with his head hung low as if still half asleep and walked in until he bumped into the sink. Without raising his head or turning around he reached behind for the door handle and slammed it shut. Jonjon reached behind the shower curtain and fumbled for the water valve. Yawning, he turned the handle until it was about halfway. He liked his showers warm, not too cold not too hot.

In the shower, he was a multi-tasking genius. Fingers, on one hand, worked through his sudsy shampooed hair, while the other hand worked a toothbrush back and forth in his mouth. He shifted side to side while humming as the warm water washed away the morning sleep.

Just then, Lucy, his younger sister poked her head into the bathroom. "Don't use all the hot water again, you idiot! Leave some for me!" She yelled.That's my little sister, Lucy. She's mom's favorite. Boy, does my mom wish I was more like her. Well behaved. Never lies. Good grades. Prim and proper. Annoying little brat.

Jonjon peaked around the shower curtain and yelled, "Stop coming in here when I'm in the shower! I'll be done when I'm done!" He threw a wet sponge that hit her right on the nose.

In a fit of rage, Lucy ran over and pressed the handle on the toilet, flushing it. "Boil in hell! I'm telling mom!" She said in retreat as she ran out of the bathroom.

Jonjon squealed as steaming hot water washed over his naked vulnerable body. Dancing wildly, he put his handsup in feeble defense. He choked out a vengeful promise, "Lucy! I'll get you for this!"

Ten minutes later Jonjon was standing in front of the sink with a towel wrapped around his waist looking into the mirror. He pulled his lips back and examined his teeth, picked at a nose hair, and tried to pop a pimple on his cheek. "Peak of human perfection," he said to his reflection. His hair was still wet when he started to comb it. He held a thin black comb in one hand and guided it with the other over his straight brown hair, looking pleased with himself. On the sink counter there sat a large white tub of hair gel. He reached in, took a modest glob between his palms, and rubbed them together until his hands and fingers were lightly coated with gel. Then, he ran his fingers through his hair over and over until the gel was evenly distributed. He combed again until."Watch out! Looking way too good today!" Jonjon said as he pointed at himself in the mirror and spun around. His stomach growled and he quickly dressed asthe smell of toast, bacon, and eggs wafted up from the kitchen.

Jonjon ran down the stairs, his socked feet making muffled footfalls. He appeared in the kitchen and kissed his mother on the cheek. She handed him a plate and served up four slices of bacon,some eggs, and a piece of toast. Lucy was sitting at the breakfast table, a grimace on her face and her little hands balled into fists of fury."Lucy told me you threw a sponge at her in the bathroom," his mother said as Jonjon sat at the table. "Who me? Noooooo," Jonjon did his best to sound wounded. He threw a crumb of toast at Lucy. She turned her nose up indignantly and nibbled on her eggs, ignoring the minor attack. Just look at her. She thinks she's so smart. The worst part is, that mom thinks Lucyis the greatest too. She ain't no smarter than me.

His mother patted him on the shoulder and sat down at the table. "What have you got planned for the weekend?" She asked as she sat and sipped her coffee."Oh yeah, I'm staying over at Charlie's if that's ok?" Jonjon replied. "Be back on Sunday.""Oh, and what are you boys going to do that takes the whole weekend?" His mom asked."We're going camping in the woods behind his parent's house," Jonjon said with cool confidence. "Well, I guess that's ok," she said. "As long as you guys stay safe and out of trouble," she continued as she got up from the table and went to drink her coffee in front of the TV. "It will be good for you to get outside."

Jonjon looked around and saw that Lucy was no longer in the kitchen and heard the shower was on. He walked to the kitchen faucet, a sly smirk on his face, and turned on the hot water. "You want me to boil, huh? Well, Freeeeze." He said with a maniacal grin. A second later, Lucy's chilling scream was heard from the shower upstairs, "AAAHHHHHHHH, JONJON I WILL KILL YOU!""I told you I would get you," Jonjon said as he grabbed his backpack and went out the door.

His elderly neighbor, Kathy, waved at him as he started off to school. She was digging around in her garden. "Jonjon if you wouldn't mind, I could use some help getting these tomato plants ready. They need to be in the ground soon.""For sure," Jonjon said with a friendly smile. "I'll get to it first thing after the weekend!" He had told her the same thing the year before and the year before that, but somehow every year Kathy had to do her gardening alone.

Jonjon hurried down the sidewalk, pulled out his phone, and called his friend Charlie."Hey bro, what's up?" Charlie answered. "Yo man, we're on for Jimmy's party this weekend," Jonjon replied."Bitchin'," Charlie said happily. "Your mom ok with that?""What she don't know won't kill me," Jonjon said as he walked. "I told her we're gonna be camping at your place, so that's the story if she asks, ok?""No problem, I'm with you chief," Charlie responded. "About this party, though. We can't screw this up, man. We need something to make a good impression.""What you got in mind?" Jonjon asked."I think I know a place that will sell us some beer without ID," Charlie said. "We can get a case for about 20 dollars." "Sounds like a plan!" Jonjon replied."But, uh, well, the thing is, I'm broke," Charlie admitted reluctantly. "You got any cash?""Sure thing bro, I got you!" Jonjon said without hesitation. "Alright, alright, that's what I like to hear," Charlie replied. "Ok man, see you at school," he said and hung up.

I told Charlie I have the 20 dollars for beer. There's a problem, though. I don't have it. In fact, I owe money to the local loan shark. A big mean old bully in the 12th grade named Tony. You see, there were some nice shoes I just had to get. I didn't have the money. Tony had the money. I borrowed the money. Now Tony wants it back. I'll get it. And I'll get the 20 for beer, too. Because life is just too sweet.

At school, Jonjon pulled his math book out of his locker. How he hated math. He closed the locker as he was thinking of ways to burn or destroy his math bookwhen his girlfriend, Jessy, walked up."Hi, babe," he said as he put his arm around her shoulder."You ready for finals next week?" She asked as they walked down the hall."Pfft, of course I am...been studying all week," he lied."Jimmy Hanson is hosting a swimming party at the cliffs this weekend," she started, "are we going?""Oh, babe, didn't I tell you? I promised Charlie we'd go camping this weekend." Jonjon said with practiced ease."This is the first I'm hearing of it," she said accusingly. "I should have told you sooner. It's a kind of boys-only thing," he replied.She pushed his hand off her shoulder. "Enjoy math class. And enjoy your weekend with Charlie," she said as she went into her English class.

Well, I hated to brush her off, but I got other plans this weekend. See, I like Jessy and all, but I met another girl at a summer job last year. Her name is Rebecca. And I am thinking about taking her to Jimmy's party this weekend. No worries, they won't know about each other because Rebecca lives in another town.

Math class was boring. Jonjon didn't understand most of what was going on and he fell asleep once or four times. He was hungry when lunchtime came around.

Jonjon went to the cafeteria and picked 2 tacos, chocolate milk, and a soda. He sat ata table to enjoy his meal when his friend Kyle showed up with a tray and sat next to him.

"Hey Jonjon," Kyle said in greeting."What's up," Jonjon said around a mouthful of taco."You free this weekend?" Kyle asked. "I just got the new wrestling game on console." "Absolutely, I'll be there!" Jonjon said as he tried to finish his lunch quickly. Kyle looked very happy. "Great! We haven't really hung out much, ever since you started hanging out with Charlie. It will be fun!" Their friend Hannah sat down at the table and said, "What are you two dorks doing?" Kyle slapped his knee and said, "Look who's talking! Right, Jonjon?" "You hush," she said to Kyle. And to Jonjon she asked, "You going to Jimmy's party this weekend?" Jonjon almost choked on his taco, "Ahem, um, nope, didn't know anything about it." "He's coming over to play console games with me," Kyle interjected."Sure he is cupcake," Hannah teased. "Let me know if you change yourmind about the party Jonjon." She said as she got up and walked away. Looking over her shoulder she gave Jonjon a wave.Kyle whistled. "I think she likes you. She sure is pretty." Jonjon and Kyle jumped as a rather large boy slammed his fists down on the table. "Yo, meat sack, you got my money?" "Tony!" Jonjon said after a sip of soda. "I was just coming to tell you. I need more time. I don't have the money now. But I'll get it."

And this giant ignoramus is Tony, the local loan shark. He makes a business of loaning money to poor students like me and charging them outrageous interest. I made the unfortunate mistake of borrowing from him, and he has hounded me ever since. Tony rubbed his stubbly chin and said, "That's what they always say. I'll be looking for you this weekend. The next time I see you, you better have my money," he said threateningly and walked off.

"What was that all about?" Kyle asked nervously.Jonjon dismissed the question with a wave. "Ah, I owe that guy some money. You know those new shoes I bought a couple weeks ago? I borrowed 200 dollars from Tony to buy them. Now he wants me to pay back 300."Kyle looked worried. "How will you get the money?" He asked."You know me, I'll get it somehow," Jonjon said with an uneasy smile."What do youthink he'll do if you don't get the money?" Kyle asked."Break both my legs?" Jonjon joked. Kyle didn't think it was funny. He finished his food and got up. "Well, hey, I'll see you this weekend.""Sure thing," Jonjon replied as he downed his last bite and drank the rest of his chocolate milk.Lucy appeared and sat across from him as he was about to leave. "I've been watching you." "Well, that isn't creepy," Jonjon said as he sat back down."You lie too much bro," she said with her usual tact."What are you talking about? When do I lie?" "Whenever your lips are moving," she answered. "Ouch. Ok, you little brat, what are you getting at?" Jonjon demanded."You're not going to believe me," she started cautiously, "but I am worried about you. You've got a mountain of lies that are going to come crashing down on you."He stared at her in disbelief for a second. Lucy, worried? About me? Hmm, I don't trust her."What is this about really?" He asked carefully."Ok," she admitted, "I am worried it's all going to come crashing down on me and mom, and why should we have to pay for your little schemes." There it is.

"Well since I'm not lying it should not be a problem," Jonjon said confidently."Now you're just lying to yourself big bro, but you are not tricking me," Lucy said as he got up and left.With no one bothering Jonjon anymore, he saw his chance to call Rebecca and tell her about the party. "Hi babe, how are you doing?" Jonjon asked."In doing fine, but it's so boring here without you," Rebecca said."I got the perfect solution for that. There's this party going on. It's going to be so fun. Remember the cliffs we went to last summer? Let's meet there Saturday at noon. It's a swimming party so bring a swimsuit if you want to get wet," Jonjon said. "I'm so down for a swimming party and down to see you too," Rebecca said with a seductive voice."Well I’ll see you on the weekend babe," Jonjon said."Byeeee," Rebecca replied. See that, what is there to worry about? Lucy needs to mind her own business.

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"Yo Jonjon, over here this is the store I was talking about you got the money?" "Of course, I do I had it since you asked me." Boy, I did not have the money! I had to scrap and search and ask my mom for some money but somehow I did. I got exactly 20 dollars. "Let me handle the talking I'm really good at persuading people. So if push comes to shove let me handle it," Jonjon said confidently."Hey, I hear you. Lead the way boss," Charlie said. Jonjon and Charlie went into the store and looked around like they were not supposed to be there. Jonjon poked Charlie's shoulder and pointed at the case of beer."Jackpot man, I see our treasure, "Jonjon said. Jonjon picked up a case of beer and went to the register with a guy standing waiting for customers. Ok, just actnatural, just act natural. You're a grown-up remember? Act like one. "Hello there! Fine day we're having, and how are the stocks going?" "Sir, are those beers? I'm going to have to see some ID so you can be able to make the purchase," the cashier said. "ID? I think I'm a little too old for stuff like that don't you think?" Jonjon asked as he pulled 2 dollars to bribe the cashier."Sir, I am not putting my job in jeopardy for 2 dollars. Please show me your ID or get out," the cashier said."You'll be hearing from my lawyers," Jonjon said as he walked out with Charlie."Man, what are we going to do now we didn't get the beer?" Jonjon asked while frustrated."Don't worry I got a plan B. You see I might can get my uncle to buy us some booze," Charlie said. "Why didn't we do that first? Could have skipped making me look like a fool," Jonjon said."Well, I didn't want to bother my uncle, and plus I'm going to need the 20 dollars to give to my uncle he ain't doing it for free," Charlie said."Whatever man, here just make sure you get the beer.""Yeah yeah, don't worry I’ll get them. My uncle will get us the beer."Charlie picked his phone up and call his uncle, Charlie seemed a little nervous and worried but still did it. "Hey, Uncle Tom you f-free? I need your help with something," Charlie said with a blatant scared voice. "Need my help? What the hell do you want this time another beating?" Charlie's uncle tom said angrily. "Can you please get me and my friend a case of beer for a party like last time? I have the money to buy booze with". Charlie said "Sure, if I get half of the case," Charlie's uncle said."We need the whole case for a party but I’ll buy you a six-pack". "That's a deal get me the money and I’ll get you a case". Charlie's uncle said. Charlie hung up the phone and said, "We got the beer." "Nice man," Jonjon said. "Hey, I'm gonna go home so I can get ready. I’ll come stay with you tonight." "Alright, I'll see you tonight. We gonna have fun tomorrow," Charlie said.

On the way home Jonjon was struckwith happiness. His schemes were working. All the lies had cometogether and he was going to hang out with one of his girlfriends at the party and maybe make it to second base. But on the way home, he recognized a voice. It was a very familiar one. It wasLucy being picked on by some punks on the streets."Hey, you two get away from her! No one picks on my little sister but me," Jonjon said angrily."And what the hell are you going to do there are two of us and one of you," said one of the punks."One thing you didn’t know is that I know karate so if you two don’t want to get hurt then better scram out of here," Jonjon said with a straight voice.Jonjon threw a flying kick and missed both punks and hit the sidewalk. The two punks started kicking and laughing at him."Karate you say? Man, yo ass got pummeled to the ground by yourself, better not see you again otherwise I’m using my jujutsu on you," said one of the punks. "Let’s get out of here I’m bored," said the other punk. The punks walked away laughing at the circus performance that just happened.

"Hey bro thanks for that, but like I told you, you really need to stop lying," Lucy said."I just had a bad running start that all nexttime I’ll get them," Jonjon said painstakingly.Jonjon got up and brushed off the dirtand the shame from himself."Ahh let us go home I'm beat," Jonjon said.Jonjon and Lucy walked in silence for a while. Finally, Lucy said thank you again. "So Jonjon I've been meaning to ask you. Are you ever going to stop this charade?" she asked bluntly."What are you talking about?" he asked innocently."Would you drop it you know you talking about all the lies they're gonna catch up with you," his little sister warned. "It ain't no problem I always got it figured out nothing bad is going happen," Jonjon countered. "Keep telling yourself that bro," Lucy said. They went back to walking in silence until they got home.

"Hello, kids how yall doing this evening?" Kathy said. "Hello miss Kathy," both kids said as they waved "Oh Jonjon could you help me out with these tomatoes, they still need planting," Kathy pleaded "Absolutely, I'll get to it sometime this weekend Miss Kathy," Jonjon said.The kids waved goodbye as they went into the house.

"Hello, how was school today?" their mom asked. "Jonjon got into a fight protecting me," Lucy blurted out quickly."Shhhh," Jonjon hushed her. "Oh no! Are either of you hurt?" their mom asked worriedly. "No mom I'm fine, but Jonjon took a beating," Lucy answered. "Jonjon I need to speak to you in private," their mom said in a strict voice. "Fine," Jonjon said.

They walked into the living room and sat on the couch. "Lucy has been really worried about you. She says you've been lying a lot lately," his mom said in a concerned voice. "Don't worry mom I got it all under control," Jonjon said. "I've heard that line before from your father," his mom said. "I'm afraid you're acting just like him." "How is dad lately?" Jonjon asked. "I haven't really talked to him in a while." "I don't know maybe you should check up on him. He moved into a new apartment." his mom said. "Think I'll do that," Jonjon replied. Jonjon got up when the lecture was over and headed upstairs to get his clothes for the party. He hugged his mom on the way out and went to see his father.

Jonjon knocked on his father's second-floor apartment door, the sound echoing down the stairs, and he stood there waiting in silence. "Oh hello, Jonjon haven't seen you in a while," his father said with a big smile and hugged his son. "Hey pops! How's it hanging," Jonjon said. "I keep stepping on it," his father said dryly. Jonjon couldn't help but laugh. "I wanted to come check on you but I also needed to talk about some things. "His father put his arms around his shoulder and said, "Come in, come in, I am always available for my boy. "Jonjon sat on a couch next to the window and his father asked, "What's on your mind son?" "What happened between you and mom?" he asked his father. "Well, I guess you kids were too young to understand," his dad began. "Part of it was I had a gambling problem and I almost lost all our money. It caused us a lot of stress." "That might explain some things," Jonjon said. "I'm starting to have problems at school," he admitted. "Mom thinks I've changed lately and she believes I've been telling lies. And she thinks I got it from you." "Sorry, son, but I think you might have gotten it from the both of us," his father responded sadly. "You see, the other part of why we got divorced is because your mother started cheating on me. "Jonjon's eyes grew wide, then angry, then sad. Finally, he said, "Dad, I didn't know." "It's ok. We didn't tell you or Lucy, because we felt you were too young," his father replied. "And besides, I didn't want to drag your mother down in your eyes. We figured she was better with the money, obviously. So, we decided she would have custody, I would get visitation, and I would pay child support. "Jonjon hung his head, "I don't know what to say." "Don't be too hard on us, son. We made mistakes. But I know your mother loves you. And I sure as hell love you," his father said as he sat on the couch next to Jonjon and hugged him. "I never meant for our family to be apart, but we did our best despite our flaws as people. I do wish I had made different choices back then...for you kids. "Jonjon hugged his dad and patted him on the back, "No, it's ok, dad. You and mom have been really good parents to us. We've had a good life. And I know you love us." Then he got up and said, "Thanks for the talk, pops. It gives me a lot to think about."

Jonjon woke up the next day at Charlie's and they headed out for the party."Sweet case of beer," Jonjon commented.Charlie was carrying a blue case of the cheapest lite beer with pride.When they arrived at the cliffs they were surrounded by a throng of half-drunk, half-naked young adults in bathing suits. Jimmy Hanson came over and took the case of beer roughly from Charlie's grasp. "You nerds made it," he said with undisguised disgust. "Cheap ass beer idiots," Jimmy said and walked off to put the case with the other booze.

"Jonjon over here!" Rebecca shouted. Jonjon turned to catch a vision of Rebecca as a sweet bikini-clad brunette babe. "Better close that mouth before a little birdy flies in," Rebecca said sweetly as she came over and grasped Jonjon's hand. Her hand felt nice in his. He was really glad to see her. "Rebecca, I should tell you..." "Save it for later," she said and pulled at him. "Let's go have some fun." Someone had an old-fashioned boom box playing party music, and Jonjon and Rebecca were joining in the fun of laughter and dancing. Some of the kids were jumping off the high cliffs and doing amazing dives. Jonjon was relieved that Rebecca was showing no interest in that. He had come to the cliffs for years but never had the courage to jump off like the other kids. Gangnam Style was blaring over the speakers and they were having fun singing along to 'Oh, oh, Oppa Gangnam Style' while doing their best silly dance. Jonjon would point at Rebecca and sing along to 'hey, sexy lady'. She would scream and giggle. Jonjon felt an angry tap on his shoulder. "Thought you weren't coming to this party," he heard Hannah's accusing voice as he turned to face her. "Where's Kyle? Weren't you supposed to be hanging out with him this weekend?" "I, uh...." he stammered. Just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, Jessy appeared with Jimmy at her side. "What are you doing here? And who is she?" Jessy demanded. Just then Charlie walked up, saw what was happening, turned around, and walked away. "Jessy, I didn't know you were coming," Jonjon said meekly. "Jimmy is my cousin. He invited me," she said angrily. "Now who is this?" She demanded again. Rebecca stepped forward, "I thought I was his girlfriend. But I think that's you. Am I right?" "I was his girlfriend," Jessy confirmed. "And I guess I never was," Rebecca sadly said. "But, Rebecca, I..." he didn't have a chance to finish before Rebecca slapped him right across the face and stormed off. He held his face and turned to Jessy, "Jessy..." she slapped him across the other side of his face and went to comfort Rebecca. "This is the last time I invite nerds to one of my parties," Jimmy said angrily. "And your beer sucks!"

Jonjon was left standing there, looking like a fool, and holding each side of his face. Hannah stood there with her hands on her hips looking disappointed. "So, you blew off Kyle to come to this party, huh?" Jonjon didn't dare say anything for fear of being slapped again. He only nodded."Pathetic," she walked away leaving Jonjon there alone. Well at least it can't get any worse, Jonjon thought."Meat sack!" A thunderous voice boomed behind him. Jonjon turned as the sun was blotted out by a large shadow. It was Tony."Told you I would be looking for you this weekend! And I told you that you better have my money!" Jonjon threw his hands up, "Look, Tony, I'm having the worse day in my short miserable life, but I'm done lying to you. I don't have the money. I will get it. I will repay you, I promise, and that's not a lie." Tony rubbed his chin in that familiar way and said, "You know what. I believe you. It's admirable to see a young man change his ways and turn over a new leaf." "So, you'll give me more time?" Jonjon asked and tried to step away."Whoa, whoa, partner. You need more time? No problem? But I told you to have my money this weekend. Now I got to make an example out of you." Tony said as he grabbed Jonjon by his swimming trunks and threw him off the highest part of the cliffs."Next time you better have my money!" Jonjon heard Tony say as he flailed in the open air as he headed toward the water below. It was a long, long, LONG way down.

Jonjon squealed and hit the water in what could only be described as a tremendously horrific belly flop. The gathered crowd let out a synchronized 'Oooooooooo' as a loud smack sounded and a huge plume of water went up.

It was a miserable lonely walk home alone. Jonjon kept tilting his head to the side and tapping his head, trying to get water out of his ears. His sides hurt. He felt like he might have broken a couple of ribs and it was hard to breathe. Well, folks. That's it. I screwed everything up. I thought I was untouchable. I thought all my schemes and lies were foolproof. It was only me that wound up being the fool. I'm pretty sure Rebecca hates me.I KNOW Jessy hates me. Hannah doesn't seem too thrilled with me either.

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Jonjon stumbled wearily into his yard. He looked over at Kathy's yard and saw the tomato plants still there unplanted, her little shovel and gardening gloves sitting there undisturbed.Jonjon's sides hurt. He was feeling low. He was exhausted. He felt he could just go inside and sleep forever. "No," he said to himself. I promised Kathy I would help with her garden, and that's just what I'm going to do.

Jonjon worked and worked until every tomato plant was carefully and neatly placed, exactly as he had seen Kathy do it alone all those years. The sun was going down when he finally finished. He wiped the sweat from hisbrow and looked on proudly at his work.I kept my promise.

"Kathy would have been very happy," his mom said from their front porch. Jonjon wiped his hands on his swimming trunks, "I sure hope so. "His mom's face showed confusion. "Oh, Jonjon, you don't know do you?" "Know what?" Jonjon asked as he put the gloves and small shovel away."Son," his mom started. "Kathy collapsed, and her family had to take her to the hospital. "Jonjon stood there as if he didn't understand. "Yeah?" "She's gone, son," his mom said sadly. Jonjon turned away from her as if he refused to accept what he heard. His head hung low as he looked at her garden, the tomatoes finally planted, and tears welled up in his eyes. Jonjon hugged his mom as he walked up onto the porch and headed inside the house. Lucy was there in the living room. He gave her a hug."You heard about Kathy?" She asked with tears in her eyes. "Yeah, just now," he answered. Lucy hugged him tighter and cried."You're a good sister," Jonjon said comfortingly.

That night Jonjon slept deeply, and when he woke he felt changed. It was as if he had been freed of that version of himself who he did not wish to be. "Where are you off to?" His mother asked as he was going out the door. "Sorry, mom, don't mean to rush off. There are a couple of things I have to do. I'll be back soon," Jonjon said as he dashed out the door.

Jonjon went to several places where he thought the person he was looking for would be until he finally found him at an arcade playing Pacman. "Tony!" Jonjon said as he walked toward the big bully. "If it isn't the meat sack! How you doing buddy?" Tony greeted him sarcastically. "Look man, I've been dodging you for a while. I should have never borrowed that money from you. But I promise you I will pay it back. Just back off and give me some time. Stop hounding me!" Jonjon said sternly. "Look who grew a pair!" Tony said with a big smile. "I'm impressed, but there's no need for all this drama. I would throw you into that trash can over there, but funny thing is your debt to me has been paid." "What? How?" Jonjon asked. "That little nerd friend of yours, what's his name? Karl? Kevin? Oh yeah, Kyle. He paid it." Tony responded. "Why would he do that?" Jonjon asked again. "He heard I threw you off the cliffs and was afraid I might do worse if you didn't pay up," Tony replied. "You see why I do that now? I throw people off cliffs and the next day I get my money. Pretty efficient don't you think?" "Oh, SCREW YOU!" Jonjon said and stormed away. Tony flinched back and clutched his chest, "Goodness, some people are just too violent."

Jonjon knocked on Kyle's door. A moment later the door opened. "Yo man, what's up!" Kyle said. "I have to tell you something, bro," Jonjon admitted. "I was going to spend the weekend getting drunk and partying at the cliffs with a girl I met last summer. I know I promised to come play games, but I was lying." "I think I knew that," Kyle admitted. Jonjon nodded and continued, "And I know that you paid Tony so he'd leave me alone." "Well, he threw you off the cliffs, I didn't know what he'd do next," Kyle said. "I'm done with lying to people who care about me. I'll pay you back," Jonjon responded. "And, hey, the weekend isn't over yet. I was hoping we could hang out today and play that wrestling game." "Well, man, I don't know. I kind of have company," Kyle said. He opened the door a little more and Jonjon could see Hannah sitting on the couch with a controller in her hand. She waved at Jonjon. Jonjon's eyes were wide for a second. Then he said, "You know what. Good for you, bro. Good for both of you. She's a great person. And you're the best friend I could ever have." He started to turn and walk away, but Hannah had come to the door and said, "Wait. Jonjon should stay and play with us. This isn't a private party." Kyle nodded in agreement, "That's right bro. The weekend isn't over and we can play games like you promised. Come on in." "I think I will," Jonjon said happily and went inside with his friends.

The End