The ever so famous Greg Young.
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Chapter VIII

Introduction to Misled Johnny

          Sometimes there are people that are seen for the first time in high school.  At times, these people are ones that can become great friends.  As I traversed my way through math and computer classes, I was to meet a very interesting individual.  And he was pretty much insane too.
          After the first test in math class was handed back, I looked around the room at the expressions of people’s faces.  I had aced the test, but I don’t think that many other people did too well on it.  I noticed a student in the back corner of the classroom look at his test all confused.  He received a C on it, and I thought to myself, “Ha, I can understand why he is looking at his test with a funny face.”  I also noticed that he had a weird teeth configuration, also like buckteeth, but a little less noticeable.
          This student was also in my computer class, but at the start of the year, he did not sit anywhere near me.  My teacher did not like where I sat, so a few weeks into the year, he moved me to the other side of the room.  On this side, the majority of the non-Freshman sat, and I was forced to at least get to know some of them if I wanted to enjoy the class period.  I remember that I sat next to a senior named Drew and across from an African-American John and an extremely white John.  I used to mess around with the Johns by always calling their name and watching both of them turn and look at me.  Later, whenever I would call for one of them specifically, it always seemed as if the other one paid attention and looked at me.  Regardless, I tended to talk to both of them a lot during the class, and I learned about them both.
          The African-American John had the last name Powell.  He was a skater that was interested in Pokémon, which I found completely odd.  I started to call him by his last name to avoid confusion with the other John.  He wasn’t the important John, so enough about him.
          The other John, who possessed the last name Cloud, was the C-achieving student in my math class.  I also started to call him by his last name to avoid confusion with Powell.  He also skated, but was more into skating than Powell.  I continually called him a poser and told him that he couldn’t skate.  He was determined to prove to me that he skated, so he brought his board into class one day and he showed me an ollie.  It looked really high to me, but I realized that it was really nothing at all.  He was seriously one of the worst skaters around.
          My first impression of Cloud was that he was insane.  In fact, one day in computer class, he decided that he should take a stapler and staple his leg.  He punched it into his shin twice and then looked up and said, “I guess it doesn’t work.”  The really stupid thing was that he didn’t notice that there were actually two staples in his leg.  In due time, he saw them and started shouting expletives while trying to pull them out.  I turned away very soon because I could not stand the sight of blood at that time.
          Another really idiotic thing that Cloud did was during the final review.  He was only going to be in the computer class for the first semester because he was going to take Driver’s Education the next semester.  The final review was therefore his last real day in that class.  When the teacher was talking about the different elements of the test, Cloud rolled his chair over to me and started to make faces that depicted dead people.  I really thought he had gone mad, but I really couldn’t do anything about it.  After that period and the finals in the new few days, I didn’t think I would keep in touch or talk to him.
          When the next semester started, I found myself talking to Cloud in math class more and more because he also conversed with Darren.  Our teacher, Mr. Lassen, told us that we needed to change seats and Darren, Cloud, a small Junior named Mohammed Salih, and myself sat in the back center of the room.  I sat behind Cloud, Mohammed sat next to me, and Darren sat in front of him.
          One day, I remembered overhearing Cloud talk about how he was going to get his permit soon.  I talked to him about it, and I noticed that on his permit form his address contained the street “Desert Trumpet.”  This was a street very close to my own.
          “Whoa, you live on Desert Trumpet?” I asked.
          “Ha, yeah, why?” he responded.
          “You live really close to me.  I live on Chuckwalla; Desert Trumpet is so close.”
          “Yeah, Chuckwalla is just over there for me.”
          “Hey, you should skate over to my house sometime and stop by,” I said, and then told him my house number.
          I had told him to come over on a Wednesday because my mom is out of town on those days and my dad did not work in Phoenix.  Therefore, if he came over, it would just be us, without any parental supervision.
          On the Thursday after the first Wednesday after I told him where I lived, he said to me in math class that he skated by my house.
          “Man, your house’s front yard is really huge.  I just skating by and it kept going and going and going,” he told me.
          “Next time, actually ring the doorbell or something,” I requested.
          The next Wednesday, I think the date was February 9, 2000, he finally came to my door and rang the doorbell.  It was awkward because before he came, I decided that I needed to use the bathroom for number two, and I was saying to myself that I hope he doesn’t come when I am in the bathroom.  He did though, and I had to speed up my process just in case he left the door thinking that there was no one in the house.  I opened the door and he looked mesmerized at something.
          “Sorry I came to the door a little late.”
         “Whoa, I was just staring at your screen door… it’s so… big,” he said in an amazed tone.
          I let him in and I showed him some areas of the house.  We came back to the foyer and the living room where I had my foam football laying and he picked it up and threw it to himself.  I asked him if he wanted to play some “Gopalball,” a game which I played in my living room that resembled football.  He asked me what the heck I was talking about, so I threw out the logistics of the game.
          The foyer was covered in tile, and that was the area that the offense started.  The living room had a carpet with 20 stripes on it, and each two stripes signified a yard.  After the carpet was a couch, and if you got to the couch, you earn ten yards and a first down.  The defensive player lines up on the carpet and waits for the offensive player to charge.  All the defense needs to do is tackle the charging fool.
          John was a really small character.  He was about five foot five and around 110 pounds.  At the time, I was around five foot six and 115 pounds, so I thought that he would be no match for me in this game.  I figured that I could level him easily.  I told him that I would start the game by playing offense.  Soon enough, I ran at full speed toward him, but out of some weird miracle he seemed to level me.  And it was not just any tackle, he practically picked me up and turned me upside-down.  I started to notice that he was a fierce player. We then went to the second play and I again charged at him, and the same thing happened.  He lifted up my legs and gave me a tough tackle.
          “How the heck are you doing that?” I asked him.
          “Hey, it’s how you tackle.”
          “Alright, I have had enough of playing offense.  I’ll play defense now.”
          So he went on the tile and ran at top speed against me.  I tried to grab him, but he was moving so fiercely toward me that I could not even stop his progress.  Every time he went back on the tile to charge at me, he would give a really determined face, as if this was a really important game.  From that moment on, I was scared of him.  He was a really small individual, but he was probably the strongest person I met.  It was impossible to destroy him.
The game continued on, and I finally found out his only weakness in the game.  He had a tough time holding on to the ball while running, so I continuously tried knocking it away.  It worked as good as a can opener opens a can, and I soon found myself to victory.  Cloud was not too happy that I won and he demanded a rematch, but he said to make it in a few days, because the game really made his limbs and muscles tired.  He told me that he should probably be getting home because it was already around eight o’ clock.
          Cloud and I walked out to my driveway and somehow got into a conversation about the stars in the sky.  We also noticed that the planes in the sky do not move in a straight line, but rather curve (this would be due to the fact that the world is a sphere).  And for some reason, we were amazed by all the dots in the sky and all the stupid things that could be said about them.  Almost instantaneously, he brought up how he thought my door was huge, and then quickly noticed that the house across from me had a door that looked extremely huge.  So for about twenty minutes, we argued about how tall the door actually was.  I said it was the same height as mine and he told me that it couldn’t be.  Both of us were scared to run over there and check, and so we spent even more time convincing each other to run across the street and measure.  The thing was, I knew he was going to do it; he did so many stupid things in the past.  And, hey, I was right.  He darted across the street and stood by my neighbor’s door.  He reached up to see how high his hand went on the door.  He came back quickly and did the same to my door.  Because his hand went up the same length on both doors, we concluded that the doors are the same, so I claimed victory, for a second time that night.
          We had been outside for around an hour before Cloud said he finally needed to get home.  I told him that maybe we could have another game of Gopalball or hang out sometime.  I received an affirmative response.  He turned around, put one foot on his skateboard, and started pushing, moving west on his quest home.  His figure, turning into a shadow, almost looked like a youth misled through life trying to find a new answer--and he seemed to have found it that day.