The ever so famous Greg Young.
As he is the one that will guide you
through this convoluted mess.

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Chapter IX

Gopalball and Then Some

          Cloud didn’t like to lose anything he played.  It was as if he thrived on competition, because he was always up for a battle.  And that would be true even if the battle was a game of Gopalball.
          In our first game, I beat him, and so he was determined in beating me in a rematch.  He said that the game was rigged and unfair just because he needed an excuse to want to play again.  For weeks we tried to set up another game, but after a while, we went from the little leagues to the big leagues.
          Instead of playing indoor, moderately-aggressive Gopalball, Cloud brought to my attention the fact that we could play real football.  The two of us did not know many other people, and it was hard to group together enough people to play.  He got his two good friends, Greg Pohlmeier and Kyle Gerlach, and I got my childhood Jewish friend, Adam Shalom.  The five of us met at my house, and decided that we would play at the park near my house.  Kyle, Greg, and Cloud all skated to the park, while Adam and I used our feet to guide us to park.
          Upon arrival, Adam told us that he didn’t really want to play so it would be an even two on two match.  I immediately picked Cloud to be on my team, because I knew he was a fierce football player.  Kyle and Greg did not know what they were going up against.
          Cloud and I ran all over the other two.  They could not catch up with our small, swift bodies and Cloud’s insanely strong football techniques.  After a few scores, the teams were switched to help keep the other two happy.  Adam, who was sitting out the whole time, decided that he wanted to play.  He was stuck with the always offense position.
          Because Cloud’s team was once again dominating the game, Adam just completely shifted over to my team.  He was not really a good quarterback or runner, so he did not help my team’s effort that much.  We ended up losing the game, and Cloud ended the day with two wins.
          The three skaters stayed at the park after the game, while Adam and I returned home.  On their way back, the skaters stopped by and asked for water, while they spent some time in the Gopal house.  It was there, in my computer room, that we discussed further plans to play football.
         Attempting murder, as Cloud called it, was to be played any day that we could find enough people for it.  Ever since the first game when it was a two on two, we never were able to produce another even game.  All of the games since then were two on three games, with Cloud on the team of two and me on the team of three.  Every game that we played, it was Cloud’s team that was victorious.  And because I was never on the same team as him, I was always on the losing team.  Though I could never come home with mindset that I beat Cloud’s team, I still had an interesting time getting to know Greg, Kyle, and Cloud.  It was from these days of attempting murder on each other that the four of us started to share the same laughs.
         Giving each other bruises and headaches was not the only way that I got to know the skater crew better; the three of them had the same lunch period as me.  Once I noticed this, I started to follow them around during lunch (I did not really have any of my good friends in my lunch period, so I was always looking for new entertainment) and comment about a really irregular characteristic that Cloud possessed.  For some reason, after Cloud ate food, he needed to be thrown up like a baby.  And it may not seem funny, but that characteristic turned lunch from being the boring intercalary period to the highlight of my day.
After buying lunch, the skaters would retreat to Darren’s table to eat.  At that time in history, I was not too fond of Darren or his friends, and they did not like me too much either.  So whenever Cloud and his crew made their way toward Darren’s table, I went another direction in hopes that I would end up meeting them after they left the table.
          There were three lunches that I remember distinctly from the times with Cloud.  In the first account, I saw Greg and Kyle following Cloud from the outside tables to the indoor cafeteria.  I started to make conversation with them, while I followed them up the stairs toward the Junior and Sophomore locker areas.  On the second flight of stairs, I noticed that Cloud started to bend down slightly as if his knee was failing and he was going to fall over in pain.  Once he regained his balance, I saw him take a large step up like he was dodging something.  He was indefinitely trying to miss an obstacle, and that was the barf on the stairs that he produced not too long ago.  I don’t really know why, but it was hilarious.  There was regurgitation on stairs that people walk on all the time.
          As we made it up the stairs, the four of us went to the Biology hallway to get some water.  Cloud bent over and took a few sips before throwing up on the water fountain.  It was inherently sick, but also so disgusting that it was funny.  The bell rang shortly after, and the crew and I bet on if someone would step on the barf on the stairs. In due time, someone did, and the barf was smeared over the step.
          A few weeks later, I met up with the skater crew and sat with them at a table in the courtyard.  The three of them were not sitting with Darren and his friends, so I felt safe eating with their company.  Cloud continuously hinted that he was going to throw up somewhere, but for the longest time, he did not.  Finally, as we were leaving the table, he grabbed his once-full drink, and gave it a little surprise.
          Much later than that incident on the last lunch of Freshman year, Cloud, Greg, Kyle and I walked into the English hallway and talked for a while before the bell rang.  As the seconds ticked away before sixth period started, the attendance folder in front of one of the classrooms caught Cloud’s eye.  He grabbed a hold of the folder, then pulled it open and regurgitated into it.  In my eyes, that was such a great way to end a year.  I showed it to everyone while I laughed and cried like a baby.
          Sometimes I wondered why regurgitation and attempting murder was so fun at that time.  And it also makes me think that these are the two main things that made me acquainted with the skater bunch.  Friendships can be quite odd sometimes, but in some of those cases, they can turn out to be the most interesting times ever had by an individual.  Come on, how can watching someone tossing his cookies all over the school not be the most entertaining act of lunch?