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This is a question School Projects

MostlySunny wibbles, "When I was 11 I got an A for my study of shark nets - mostly because I handed it in cut out in the shape of a shark."

Do people do projects that don't involve google-cut-paste any more? What fine tat have you glued together for teacher?

(, Thu 13 Aug 2009, 13:36)
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courting Alice.
Alice, Alice, Alice. What was she like? She was like a breath of fresh air in a sewer. Like the word "sky" whispered by one who sits in darkness, in a prison without windows. As Euclid must have felt when he first saw the Golden Mean, so we felt to look upon Alice. How fortunate it was that we were not in the age of duels, or of ships sent against cities, bearing men with shields of bronze. The corridors of Wanniassa High School would have swum with gore, and the lessons learned would have been bitter ones indeed.

Anyway, she was having a birthday. Probably a 17th? I was somehow aware of this, even though I never talked to her. It was in the air somehow, like Autumn; as the approaching end of school can't be seen, yet is everywhere.

I was walking home with my friend Mark, when she appeared. She was handing out photocopied invitations, each one-eighth of an A4 sheet of paper, and yes I do remember the exact dimensions of the invitations, and each letter and picture too, as if she had written in unfading letters of golden fire on my very skin, instead of with pen on paper.

She gave Mark one. I didn't expect to be invited, and tried to bear my lot stoically, heavy though it was at that moment. But some part of my desolation must have shown, because she said "um..you can come too if you want" and gave me one. Thankfulness and humiliation no doubt warred for dominance in my face, as in my heart, as I gave some ineloquent thanks.

But I couldn't go. To accept such crumbs would be worse than starvation. She didn't want me there, her friends didn't want me there, Mark certainly didn't want me there - although frankly fuck him. My burden had been lifted only to be replaced with another; that of the wheedling, prideless part of myself, which lied and lied, saying it'd be OK, you never know, and anyway..just to look at her in her summer dress; and this last was truly its most powerful argument.

And yet, the humiliation of being the only one to not go, to listen to Mark's boastful recounting, no doubt as profane as it was fanciful; to bear his poisoned questioning of my thin excuses. If only she had been cruel. Yet, if cruel, she would not have been Alice.

Such were the thoughts that gripped me that weekend, throwing me back and forth like a lurching drunk being beaten by two bouncers, not that I knew what that was like then. But then genius struck.

I would buy her a present. I would deliver it, with my excuses for non-attendance. And (and this was the genius part) - it would be a fucking awesome present. It would be, as it were, the ambassador whose grace and wit make the court forget the many shortcomings of the actual country. To desire to visit it? Well, perhaps at least to think of it with some fondness. To, perhaps, wish that it was here, instead of the other country called Mark. Yet what present could play such a role, especially to Alice? What do you get the girl who is everything?

A record? Christ, she likes...Ultravox? The Cure? I looked at my sister's copy of 'Smash Hits' like a tourist with a subway map which he's holding upside-down. Who are these people? My sister's advice may as well have been directions for getting through the spice-markets of Zanzibar. OK, girls like clothes...I don't know how to buy clothes for a girl. Perfume? Ha! Soft toys...Soft toys! I will buy a soft toy, which girls like, and it will be awesome, because... because I will spend all my money.

Now, the reader will no doubt see that this could go horribly wrong. What if I'd bought an imp bearing a love-heart announcing his status as a 'horny devil'? Or a magical pony, designed for one half her age? Yes, I respond, but what if I'd got it astonishingly right?

Community Aid Abroad (aka Oxfam) had a shop which I used to look in, and one of the things they had were - I guess you'd call them realistic-looking soft toys. Tigers, apes, giraffes, that sort of thing. Anyway, I knew which one I wanted: the leopard.

It cost $300, which was pretty much all I had. Man, I'd get into trouble if my parents knew. Do I want it wrapped up in tissue paper? Er, yes, I suppose. Card? Um...I haven't got any more money...but it was free. And so I took the bus to Alice's house, holding my present like I was trying to stop it exploding.

Alice's Mum answered the door. Thank God, I don't know what I would've done if Alice herself had been home.

"Wow, you look just like her" I said. I wasn't trying to be sleazy/charming, I actually just blurted out the first thing that came into my head. Anyway she seemed to like me OK. I explained that I'd been invited to her party, I couldn't come, but I bought her a present...

"Do you want to leave it in her room?" It was quite something, that room, the first girl's room I'd been in other than my sister's. Belinda Carlisle's claim that heaven is a place on Earth made a lot of sense at that moment. I didn't linger (this being b3ta, I should specify that I also didn't steal underwear for 'later'), I wrote a quick and dignified note on the card and made my exit.

And that was it. I was there while not there. Not in the gangly and awkward flesh, but looking through the wise and loveable eyes of a soft-toy leopard. Like a cuddly sphinx, offering and needing no excuses. Where are your excuses, o you who came bearing cheap perfume, like unwise kings visiting a cut-price saviour? Your kingdom is ground down to dust, your witty sallies are worms in a corpse's mouth, and only I remain. Only I remain at night, when you have gone home, passed out, vomited, been picked up by your parents...I didn't really know how teenage parties worked, I never got invited except this one time. Anyway, at some point you've gone, is the point, and what remains? The moon, Alice, and I.

And it worked. It was her favourite present of that year, and she said so. And that leopard bestowed on me qualities I'd never had before. As Alice desired the leopard, so everyone desired me, at least a bit. And I got to hang around with her and, months later, I went out with her, after she'd 'gone with' and broken up with someone else. Anyway that's what I wish had happened. So, yeah, basically I'm saying that if you want to ask someone out you probably should, OK? Better to have loved and lost than be writing about it on b3ta twenty years later.
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:03, 20 replies)
$300? In a charity shop?
Was it a real leopard?
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:14, closed)
Or am I making an ass of you and me
Assuming you're talking American dollars?
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:15, closed)
<googles Community Aid Abroad>
I see, an Orstraylian. Still, even in your Mickey Mouse money that still sounds like a lot.
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:17, closed)
Australian dollars.
And it wasn't an 'op-shop', it was a shop where they have 'fair trade' stuff from the Third World (although they didn't use that phrase then).
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:17, closed)
So not like our Oxfam then.
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:31, closed)
Third World is an outdated term
According to Wikipedia:
First World= Capitalism, NATO and allies
Second World= Communism, Soviet Union and allies
Third World= Neither
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 18:15, closed)
it wasn't
(, Sat 15 Aug 2009, 2:49, closed)
You should
write more stuff like this, instead of daft one-liners.

(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:15, closed)
That was a really nice story
*clicks* as one gangly and awkward lump of flesh to another
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 15:16, closed)
Er, is it just me...
Doesn't it say 'wish had happened'? doesn't that mean it's fictional? If not, I've had a long week so I deserve slack...
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 16:54, closed)
well, yes.
Although everyone seems to be assuming it really happened, and who am I to spoil things?
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 17:55, closed)
It wasn't...
...a school project; yet it was.

Eloquent prose, Sir. A hale and hearty *click*.
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 17:20, closed)
I like this a lot.
A welcome variation from your - admittedly rather enjoyable - puns.

(Don't lose the puns.)
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 19:22, closed)
I miss the puns.
And clickiness for memories of visiting a friend in Wanniassa in the 80s.

I always thought you were a Pom. Maybe it was the puns.
(, Fri 14 Aug 2009, 23:43, closed)
That's a bit heartwarming, isn't it?

I got the fuzzies, anyway. Nice to see you've got more of a past than the odd one-liner suggests.
(, Sat 15 Aug 2009, 9:46, closed)
I got
the fuzzies too.

(, Sat 15 Aug 2009, 11:08, closed)
Now that ...
...is quality art. It reminds me of the movie "Good Will Hunting"; "You've got all the wrong books".

This is the right book.
(, Sat 15 Aug 2009, 12:44, closed)
I have to admit that most of the stuff you post on here doesn't do it for me.
But this is an exception. Click.
(, Sat 15 Aug 2009, 13:37, closed)
Of course
even if you love and lose, you can still write about it on b3ta. But that was very well written. Have a * click *
(, Tue 18 Aug 2009, 0:49, closed)
Beautifully Written....
...have a click.
(, Tue 18 Aug 2009, 11:28, closed)

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