2011 Totem Head Story Contest Winner: "The Greater Purpose of Teenage Insanity" By Jared Spry, 13 years old, Phoenix, Arizona.
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The Greater Purpose of Teenage Insanity
Written By:   Jared Spry, 13 years old, Phoenix, Arizona.

So there I was, huddled beneath my blanket, hollow eyes searching. Sunlight leaked through the slots between the dark beach towels hanging over my bedroom window. The long orange beams crawled like prying arms upon my bed, lengthening with the morning sun. Red Bull cans lay strewn across my floor, some empty, some yet to be drunk.

I can’t remember how long I have been here, perched like a vulture upon a dead tree branch, waiting for my prey. Hunger gnaws at my empty stomach, biting with sharp anxiety. If this is a waiting game, she will be patient, as will I. A grin spreads across my face.

"George!" My mother’s voice calls from the downstairs kitchen. "Come down, honey, you’ll be late for school."

School. My mother’s favorite weapon.

I know what will happen. I will go to school for eight hours, fail my classes, (for who can think with so little sleep), receive several strongly worded lectures from my teachers, then return home to dirty looks and frowns from my mother.

"You’ve quit," she’ll say. "You’ve abandoned your education, and for what? Nothing."

No one understands. The situation is quite the opposite. I have devoted myself, to a greater purpose than education.

"George!"

"Coming, Mom." I am startled at the raspy tone in my own voice. How many days has it been since I’ve eaten a full meal? Or drank enough water? I can no longer think clearly.

No, I mustn’t think clearly, she’ll use that. "You’re insane," she’ll say, "I don’t exist."

"I know you exist," I’ll say, "because you leave me notes. I know you exist, because you steal and rob from me. Thirteen years I’ve hunted you, and thirteen years you’ve evaded me. I’ve come close, but you are more cunning than they give you credit for. You know I’m hot on your trail, so you’re cautious. But know, all the caution in the world won’t save you. You’ll suffer for your crimes."

"The bus is leaving George," my mother calls. I race down the stairs and dash out the front door, ignoring the warm plate of roasted ham, toast, and eggs my mother made for me. I leap onto the bus, drawing mocking glances from those within.

"Let them laugh," I say to myself, snickering with bitterness. "Let them laugh. It will not spare them the embarrassment of being so utterly and terribly wrong."


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I’m in math class. Mrs. Poddlegrass is writing gibberish on the blackboard at the far end of the classroom, muttering nonsense about fractions, reducing, and cross multiplication. I’ve tuned out. My mind is locked on the goal as I sketch the blueprint for my latest trap: the mechanical birdcage.

"So marvelously brilliant and simple," I say to myself as I sketch the final touches to my masterpiece.

"George, would you mind showing the class how to solve for x in this math equation?" Mrs. Poddlegrass stands with one hand on her hip and the other pointing to the blackboard.

I stare apathetically at my teacher. At best, she’ll last thirty seconds against my blank glare. I begin counting: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…

"Ahem. George, this one here, please." She begins to tap the blackboard with her unusually long fingernails.

Nine, ten, eleven, twelve…

"George! This equation, please."

Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen…

"Fine!" Mrs. Poddlegrass caves. "If George does not wish to participate, perhaps another student will?"

I lean back in my chair and smirk.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Finally I am released from school, which was brief today, thanks to a holiday. It matters little to me. All thoughts are now bent on my goal, and school is irrelevant in my scheme of things. She must be caught. Otherwise teeth all over the world will continue to go missing and parents will continue to be co-conspirators.

My mother greets me with a hug and warm glass of milk on our front porch. "Happy Memorial Day weekend, George."

I take the stairs two at a time, but suddenly I realize that I could alert her to my intentions if I am too loud. Creeping to my bedroom, I gently push the door open. I make sure to step over the bright red tripwire that would trigger the keg of molasses, perched above the door, to pour upon the marked zone at my feet. I chose bright red so that I would see it, and everyone knows fairies are color blind.

Dodging a slew of mouse traps that hang by colored strings from the ceiling, I crawl beneath my covers, leaving a small air hole for oxygen and two larger openings for my eyes. The ceiling fan blows loudly, so I turn it off. The room is quiet. The traps are still set. She hasn’t come yet.

Then I see the yellow post-it note stuck to my end table. I slowly reach my hand out from my covers and pluck it off. As I read it, I feel my face contort and eyes burn with wrath.

These traps are clumsy and unsophisticated.
I expected more. Molasses and mousetraps are primitive, even for you.
Yours Truly,
T.F.

Tearing my hair and beating my chest, I jump up and down like a drunk monkey. She was here. She eluded me again! These traps are clumsy and unsophisticated… Those words sting like angry bumble bees.

I’m brilliant! As are my traps. How could she say that a hidden barrel of molasses was not genius? I know she’ll be back.

I put into action my idea. A wicked, cunning, brilliant, genius, utterly extraordinary idea. I leap from my sentry point atop the bed and check on the keg of molasses. Good. Still full. My mind races as I make sure the many strings are still tied tautly around the trigger; an old tooth, one of four I've yanked from my own mouth.

The diversion in place, I begin building the real trap.

Removing several of the string pulleys from the bookshelves, I instead place them upon the pad of yellow post-its. I place an ink pen beside the notepad, luring her by her own vanity. I tie one end of the string pulley to the end of the pen, making sure to use a bright colored string. I finish by duct taping the other end of the string to a rusty bird cage, an ugly contraption I tossed into the back of my closet over a decade ago. I loathed it since the day I got it, but now it seems that it, too, shall serve a meaningful purpose.

After my trap is successfully in place, I return to the cover of my bed sheets, ready to wait out the night in secrecy.

Hours sneak by, the sky outside darkens as my room turns gray and cold. My weariness grips me in its icy claws. Suddenly, my eyelids droop and my head nods. "No!" I cry, which only comes out as a sharp squeal. I quickly slap a hand over my mouth, grimacing at the smacking sound it makes. I must resist sleep, but I feel it slowly overcome me.

To come so far and fail so bitterly…

I wake at midnight, confused. After a few moments I remember my trap and grin. I tear off my sheets and bolt from my bed, dashing with growing excitement to my brilliant trap.

Then, I notice something strange. My bedroom walls are a bright yellow. Mouth agape, I run my hand down a portion of the wall. "Post it notes," I mutter. She’s covered my entire wall with post it notes.

I furrow my eyebrows, and feel something stuck to my forehead. I tear it off and read:

I’m leaving to find another boy who is smarter and wittier.
Adieu!
Yours with Sincerity,
T.F.

I yell until my lungs hurt. I claw my face, beat my legs, smash my fingers and scream so that the colored strings attached to the ceiling vibrate and swing in the air.

"I will never stop hunting you!" I cry aloud, and swipe at the sticky notes upon the walls and tear them off. "You will live the rest of your life in fear of me; you will live the rest of your life knowing that one is hunting you!" I throw back my head and scream into the ceiling. "I will hunt you because some teenagers are meant for a greater purpose!"

The End.




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