Ed was always doing really stupid
things. He just thought differently than you and I. His world was a pulp fiction epic
; full of dazzling high
s and devastating low
s. 15 minutes was an eternity to him. Gratification
came in only one flavor: Instant
I loved Ed. I loved him with an unnatural
intensity and he saw that and made it his own
. I was his right-hand man, the verifier
, the chronicler
. When Ed relived his adventures, the crowd all turned to me to get that nod
. "It's all true. I was there" became my mantra
, and my coward’s heart reveled in his brazen lust
for death and thrills.
High school was our era
, our epoch
in the sun. I was fresh and new to Ed, having transferred to the school from out of town. I was not from his common flock of grade school spectators
. No, I was fresh, closed and reserved. I was impossible to stun
, and it made him crazy
. He loved the challenge. Our first meeting was prophetic
. I sat engrossed in a book when he happened upon my new face.
"What’s your name kid?" he asked, casually poking
me with a boot, his hair in its usual tossed state. His wild
eyes probed for approval and attention.
"Hal. You must be Ed,” I offered. His eyes exploded with glee
! His reputation had finally traveled fasted than he could offer it up. This required a memorable performance
"That's me!" he beamed. "Check this out
All of Ed's most talked about
tricks started with that immortal phrase
. It echoed like the peal of a great bell
in the hallway, as most of the kids there had heard them before. It was crafted of the same stuff as "Fight! Fight!
" and illicit swears. I was dumb
to their vast import. This fed Ed like a wind in a firestorm
He produced a long yellow 2HB Ponderosa pencil
that was sharpened to a deadly point from his bag. He handled it like a deadly cobra
. He placed the point in the center of his palm and looked at me. It was a wild stare
, like a tiger in tall grass. 'Come on, mouse... Make a move!' it begged
I stared back with all the interest of a dead fish
It was to be a duel
He raised an eyebrow
and pushed the fist-gripped pencil into his palm
. It slid under his skin and the sharpened point vanished
. It was in his hand. Deep
I lifted an unimpressed eyebrow
and turned my gaze down to my book
That was too much for him.
With a flurry
of movement and primal yell, Ed smashed his hand on the wall, pencil first
. It popped out the other side in a bloody spurt
. He was sweating
, as the pain reddened his features. Water pooled in his eyes
dropped on my book.
I smiled, and Ed was addicted
. I had tamed the avatar
He started toward it, clutching his now painful wound
. The rush
had started to wear off and Ed lived in the aftermath, bewildered but giddy
as usual. He made a movement to pull it out. I stopped him.
"Don't pull it out." I said. Ed paused, with an almost thoughtful look on his pained face. He asked why
without so much as a word.
"So we can freak out
the secretaries." I answered. We crafted the intricacies of our performance on the way to the office.
And all was right in the world.