Fiction

Don’t Shout It Out

NEVER EVER tell the truth about your feelings, because people will pretty much run for their lives.

***

Guess what, Anger Management Diary? It wasn’t my dad. It was Ian Furlough from Compassion Club. Ian Furlough is the only kid at school who’s ever bothered to talk to me. He gave me a tour of the campus on the first day, and showed me all the places where people sneak off to make out. It was kind of weird. I quickly realized that he’s the kid everyone makes fun of here, like Willie Barnes at my old school. After that I tried to keep him at a distance, but then we got paired up in English class, and the whole Colin thing happened, and now I’ll probably never get rid of him.

“Everyone in Compassion Club signed a big card for you,” Ian had called me to say. He went on to describe every single detail of the card, like exactly who had signed it and exactly what they’d written, till I was finally like, “Maybe you should put it in the mail so I can see this amazing card for myself, Ian.”

“Oh yeah, definitely…” he said. “Um, Hollis?”

“Yes, Ian?” I glanced at my watch. It was almost time for Jeopardy, assuming I hadn’t lost my TV privileges.

“I’m still, like, reliving it in my mind. Colin hitting the floor like that. You were so amazing.”

Amazing? That’s a word I hadn’t expected to hear. “Oh. Thanks,” I said, embarrassed.

“Um, um, Hollis?”

“Yes Ian?” I said. I wanted to get off the phone. We don’t have a cordless, so I was stuck in the kitchen with my mother eyeing me from behind her Science Digest.

“Um, I love you. I’ll do anything. I love you.”

“Ian, oh my GOD.” I slammed down the phone.

“Who was that?” my mother said. “Was that Ian Furlough? That nice boy?”

“I don’t know,” I said, and then ran back up to my room. I’m really mad because my homework is in my backpack but I don’t want to touch it because it has blood on it and possibly a tooth. I remember a horrible crack when my Lit book hit Colin’s face, and hearing the words “teeth everywhere” when Mr. Novak was explaining it to the principal. God, I’m not sure which words are more horrifying to me: Mr. Novak saying “teeth everywhere,” or Ian saying “I love you.”

Tomorrow I have my first group meeting at the Teen Center, and I’m supposed to read out loud from my anger management diary. Obviously that’s not happening. I guess I should start working on a decoy journal that’s like, Dear Anger Management Diary: What a useful tool you are proving to be! Who knew it was so easy to manage one’s anger through the simple exercise of writing. I am filled with optimism about this new chapter of my life.

OK, I realize I should probably be taking this seriously. It’s not like it was fun getting almost kicked out of school. Nor was it fun to realize how close I am to being this incredibly weird, friendless person. Whatever, maybe they’ll get the Apatosaurus out of the ground in record time, and I can go back to my old school and my old friends, and this whole thing will be a funny anecdote about that crazy time I almost got kicked out of school. In fact, this could be my new personality: Hollis the bad girl, always in trouble. That could be cool!

For a while I sat on my bed listening to my Pearl Jam tape, and imagining how cool I was going to be from now on. Obviously I’d get a new wardrobe and smoke cigarillos and say things like, “Don’t mess with me, girl.” I invented exciting scenarios for my new personality, like being a jaded guitarist, and starting fistfights at Denny’s. But then I started to feel pathetic and depressed. I can’t really explain it. It’s like, you realize you’re not a kid anymore, and that imagination isn’t enough. You need stuff to be real. But my mom would never let me smoke, and this town doesn’t even have a Denny’s.

There was a knock on the door. “It’s Ian again,” my mom was saying. I hadn’t even heard the phone ringing. I wanted to tell her to hang up on him, but suddenly I didn’t have the energy. “Whatever,” I said, mostly to myself. Then I trudged down to the kitchen and picked up the phone.

“Yes, Ian?” I said wearily.

“Um, Hollis?”

“Yes, Ian?” I repeated. I was holding my breath, prepared to scream if he said “I love you” again.

“How do I get my treasure in the swamp?”

Ew, was he being perverted? “Huh?” I said.

“I’m trying to get my treasure in the swamp to score points, but I keep blowing myself up.”

“Wait, you’re playing MUD2? Which server?”

“Huh?”

“Which server? Who’s your Arch-Wizard?”

“Uh…I dunno. I’m totally lost. And I keep exploding.”

“OK, well are you using a torch?” I asked him. My mom was pretending to read Science Digest, but I could tell she was listening. I turned to face the wall, twisting the phone cord around my wrist.

“Yeah, of course I have a torch,” Ian was saying.

“Well there’s your problem, idiot,” I said, half-laughing. “There’s marsh gas everywhere, of course you’re exploding. Get rid of your fire.”

“Ooooooooh,” he said. “Thanks, bye.” Then he hung up on me! Can you believe that, Anger Management Diary? I went back to my room and logged into MUD2. I don’t have Ian’s screen name, but it’s easy to find newbies because they get stuck places. I’ll just follow him around, and watch him make a fool of himself. Ha ha ha he just jumped off a cliff like five times! Go AROUND, Ian. You can’t just jump off a freaking cliff.

This is going to be really fun. You know what’s weird? All of a sudden I’m grinning so hard it hurts. Even if it’s just dumb Ian, at least there’s somebody online. ♦

Page

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49 Comments

  • KinuKinu April 13th, 2012 7:14 PM

    ICE CREAM IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL!!!!!

  • Maddy April 13th, 2012 7:16 PM

    aha cute! nice

  • Dylan April 13th, 2012 7:28 PM

    ahaaaa I LOVE this story!

  • eireann April 13th, 2012 7:45 PM

    Such a cool piece! Loved reading it!

  • Shweta April 13th, 2012 8:03 PM

    Pearl Jam<3 This was a really interesting story!! Make more!

    • Maggie April 14th, 2012 1:34 AM

      When I was writing this, I posted a question on Ask Metafilter about what music a girl in the early nineties should be listening to. It turned into a pretty interesting discussion:
      http://ask.metafilter.com/208546/music-for-good-girl-gone-bad

      • bam-cha-wham-olivia April 23rd, 2012 3:54 PM

        hahaha that’s great! i hope one day someone asks me what would a girl listen to in the spring of 2012 and i could be that analytical. i just find it hilarious, but maybe that’s just me.

  • Moxx April 13th, 2012 8:04 PM

    Dem old games yeshhhh

  • anisarose April 13th, 2012 8:07 PM

    Yay! I’m glad that this story had a happy ending.

    I think that a lot of the issues that I faced in middle school and part of high school occurred because like Hollis, many of us think that the key to happiness is popularity. In reality, teens should be taught to be comfortable to be who they are— geeks, musicians, academics, athletes, idiots and all! Realizing this really helped me find a great group of friends and now that I’ve seen the irresponsible things that those “popular” kids do, I am ecstatic to be in such a kind and mature group of friends.

    http://anisarose.blogspot.com/

  • AllieBee April 13th, 2012 8:40 PM

    This story is great! I’m reading it now in my scary empty house while I panicked-ly wait for my family to come back with ice cream from my neighnorhood stand…0_o

    http://www.thatalisonwonderland.blogspot.com/

  • I.ila April 13th, 2012 8:45 PM

    This is a really wonderful and endearing piece. This is the really great writing that I love from rookiemag.

  • ravenflamingo April 13th, 2012 9:04 PM

    This is a really good story! You should make a novel out of this honestly. I would love to know what she does when she gets back to school, and what made her hit that kid.

    http://www.ravenflamingo.tumblr.com

    • Sea goddess April 13th, 2012 11:52 PM

      Yeees i want to know why she hit the dude !

  • hungry April 13th, 2012 9:07 PM

    “Ice cream is good for the soul!”

    Sure is. And the heart, and bones, and brain.
    Lovely, and authentic Maggie x

  • Ruby B. April 13th, 2012 9:52 PM

    aahh, i love this so much, and writing it in the form of a journal entry is such a good idea!

  • andrea April 13th, 2012 10:33 PM

    “Ha ha ha he just jumped off a cliff like five times!” so funny! gooood story :)
    ps: i was looking for the page 3 buttom, ill love to read more from this!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE?!
    andrea.
    http://www.eraseandread.blogspot.com

  • MissKnowItAll April 13th, 2012 10:36 PM

    This is so wonderful. Kudos to you!

  • AnguaMarten April 13th, 2012 10:49 PM

    this is brilliant. this is how you write a relatable story. none of that bella swan bullshit where the narrator is generic and bland.

    also, my middle name is hollis.

  • TheAwesomePossum April 13th, 2012 10:51 PM

    Please tell me this is just an excerpt from a book, because I really really want to keep reading.

  • Tyknos93 April 13th, 2012 11:00 PM

    Somewhat Unrelated note: Have you seen the show The Mortified Sessions? It’s when they take celebrities and have them discuss their childhood and read their diary passages on TV. It’s wildly transfixing and it’s kinda like being a fly on the wall in an awkward therapy session.

    http://blazoningpens.tumblr.com/

  • Katie April 13th, 2012 11:55 PM

    This was really cool! I would really like to read more of this

  • wilde-steinbeck April 14th, 2012 12:53 AM

    Er…I really want to say I love this story and everything, but the popular girls fit perfectly into the “pretty, superficial, mindless, fatuous mind games” popular girl stereotype. Even if they never apologize to Hollis or anything, they could have at least been made into three-dimensional characters. Also, what Hollis was writing in the bathroom sounded a little bit like girl hate. It’s not really in the right context or anything of the sort to be considered girl hate, but this story could have been a little more girl positive.

    Also…”boy saves girl from her lonely despair?” It would have been okay if they were just friends, but he likes her, so it’s not…I know he’s not popular. However, it’s still reminds me of Rapunzel (and all damsel-in-distress tales), only the evil witch is her principal and her tower is a one-week suspension. (To finish the analogy, I suppose Rapunzel’s hair is “MUD2″?)

    Besides that, I greatly appreciate that Hollis, a GIRL, is really into gaming. :)

    • callie April 14th, 2012 7:28 AM

      but hollis isnt perfect
      obvi the girls at her school arent all identical biatchez but sometimes when you feel alienated it can definitely seem that way. I dont think hollis is meant to be an ideal girl – after all she did hit someone in the face.

    • Sterling87 April 15th, 2012 12:52 AM

      Unfortunately, I instantly related to the descriptions of the “popular girls” in this piece because they sound like replications of a lot of the girls at my high school. Also, I think because it’s a short story deeper character development for the “popular girls” is really challenging to do.

      Also, there is nothing wrong with having a guy be the character that Hollis relates to. Just because there is a certain structure for a lot of fairy tale type stories wherein a guy saves a girl, doesn’t mean that for this story an entire half of the human race has to be crossed off the list for who Hollis becomes friends with. She was alone and now she’s not. The character role could have been filled by a guy or a girl easily.

    • Emilie April 15th, 2012 9:52 PM

      not liking the story because there is a guy who likes a girl is just as bad as liking it because there is a guy who likes a girl.

  • ivoire April 14th, 2012 1:44 AM

    Aw, I loved this <3

  • Cruicked April 14th, 2012 2:50 AM

    I love this!

  • awesomelikeapossum April 14th, 2012 1:15 PM

    Great story :D

  • neenah April 14th, 2012 4:15 PM

    Great! I wish it was a book, and that I knew what Colin said (or did) in order to be hit in the head with a book with that kind of force.
    Go Hollis!

  • anonymouse April 14th, 2012 7:24 PM

    Super good. Hollis’ observation of Don-the-lawyer eating ice cream was hilarious. Also, if the cow in the poster was a young calf it wouldn’t be cannibalism that would be like sugary breast milk. Cannibalism means eating the meat of your own species. :]

    • Maggie April 14th, 2012 9:39 PM

      sugary breast milk. the most special treat of all

  • MinaM8 April 14th, 2012 8:41 PM

    Hahaha, this was great! I loved this, and the whole ice-cream story was hilarious.

  • Pashupati April 15th, 2012 7:14 AM

    That story is amazing for all its text-gameness. Also I’m (most recent character) Olyfter on SDF’s ResortMUD. (though I don’t play much more)
    Text games are not dead, people. <3

  • mirandab17 April 15th, 2012 5:22 PM

    Currently I’m sitting in a coffee shop, supposed to be studying physics, but I started reading this, thinking to myself, “Oh, I’ll just read the first paragraph…” Nope! That didn’t happen! Not only did I chuckle to myself, and did my mouth literally drop open when Ian said that he loved her, but I’m fairly sure everyone in this coffee shop thinks that I am REALLY enthralled by my physics studying! Fat chance.

    Anyways, really fun read. I would greatly appreciate it if you start writing another IMMEDIATELY AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

    x

  • SweetThangVintage April 15th, 2012 9:31 PM

    This is so great! I almost cried, I laughed, and I smiled. Love!

  • Emilie April 15th, 2012 9:49 PM

    this is so good.

  • whodatgal April 16th, 2012 6:01 AM

    Too good. Me encanta ROOKIE!

  • shelley April 16th, 2012 11:16 AM

    This is amazing! I loved it. I want to know what happens next and why she hit him too!

    http://shelleycatcat.tumblr.com

  • bedazzledbandannas April 16th, 2012 5:43 PM

    I loved this! just the right mix of funny and touching. was this sent in by a reader? because if it was, this basically confirms my belief that all Rookie readers are amazing.

    • Anaheed April 16th, 2012 6:47 PM

      It is by a Rookie reader turned Rookie staffer!

      • bedazzledbandannas April 17th, 2012 8:52 PM

        american dream right there
        *sniffs*
        *raises right hand in salute*

      • Pashupati April 18th, 2012 7:35 PM

        When I click on “Maggie” to see her other posts or at least this one, it tells me she hasn’t posted anything… it should at least show me this one post, I guess?

  • sowarlus April 17th, 2012 1:39 PM

    this was great, maggie!
    the way you wrote, it didn’t even seem like it was fiction. I actually thought the whole time it was a diary entry or something from “live through this”!
    love it love it!

    • thunderbolts April 19th, 2012 12:24 AM

      yeah, I thought this was real then I saw the “fiction” on top and realize it’s only a fiction!
      a real great one!

  • Hedwig April 20th, 2012 11:17 AM

    Yaayyaayaa!

  • just.whoever.aline July 6th, 2012 7:12 PM

    This story made me giggle!(: