My third project is my favorite of the four. The project was baed around musicals, which is something I've really gotten into ver the past two years. I got the idea from one of my teachers to start off with my favorite musical, Be More Chill. So I started writing a story. Instead of Jeremy Heere having a Squip, I had one. I documented normal weeks and events as myself with the Squip, a nano computer which goes to your brain and tells you how to be cool. I used real people as all of my characters, but I changed all of their names to avoid any problems. For my Social Studies portion, I wrote an essay on another musical, called Newsies, It involves Child Labor in 1899 New York, so it was a comparison of the musical and the real events. My Art portion involved child labor too. I looked at the pictures taken by Lewis Hine, who documented child labor through photography. I chose specific photos and documented them in a virtual art gallery.
This is an example of a picture I used for my art portion. I looked at the people, settings, and other factors in the photo. Then I put them into ArtSteps, and set them up like real art exhibition.
Language Arts portion
Ever heard of a Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor? They call it the Squip, it’s this new technology. I had never heard of it, but that changed about a month ago, when this guy at the bowling alley told me that I could do anything I ever wanted by taking this pill. I thought he meant drugs, but what he was talking about was way better. These Japanese guys put this super computer onto a little grey pill. When you take it, the computer goes into your brain. Then, it tells you how to be cool, or how to get whatever you want. POWER ON Riley, why did you turn me off? It’s been approximately 34 minutes and 26 seconds. You need me more than you need monologuing. HEY, SORRY, I WAS JUST TRYING TO RELAX. Relax? We need to be working on Operation SmallRed. HEY, STOP CALLING IT THAT! You made the name, Riley. WELL CHANGE IT! IT SUCKS! Would you rather me use her real name, so I can watch as your heart rate increases? While we’re at it, maybe you should change my voice? I know you get annoyed hearing Johnny Utah sometimes. FINE, SMALLRED IS FINE! The bus pulls up to my stop, and I climb on. My bus driver is late, per usual. She’s been on time four times this year! If there’s one thing I would say is my “Pet Peeve,” it’s late people. How about we plot on the ride to your school? We have a few minutes, let’s use them well. ALRIGHT, HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF ANYTHING? A BIG MOVE TO SHOW HER HOW I TRULY FEEL? Not quite. You outright proclaiming your love fo- HEY! I DO NOT LOVE HER! You can’t lie to me, Riley. I know everything there is to know about you. Now, let me continue. You outright proclaiming your love for her has a 2.369% chance of success. So it’s best if we avoid that idea. SO IF BEING DIRECT WON’T WORK, WHAT SHOULD I DO? What if you write her something? Like a letter? I FEEL LIKE I READ ABOUT A GUY WHO DID SOMETHING LIKE THAT… I’M NOT SURE IF IT WORKED THOUGH. Well, what if you made her a song? She loves music, perhaps a song could be the way you find success? My bus stops in front of the school, and because of this, my stomach drops. School used to be fun, but seventh grade changed everything. Now I’m just a subpar, depressed nobody. I dropped off the map, and now I only have a handful of friends. I guess some people are fine with that, but I want more than just a few. Riley, focus, the year is almost over. Do you want her or not? But I ignore him. I walk through the doors into the atrium, music blasting into my ear. I turn right and head to the stairs. I turn my head and someone catches my eye. Korrina. There she is! Go talk to her! WHAT? I CAN’T DO THAT! I’M MUCH BETTER AT TEXTING. You won’t make any progress if you can’t talk to her in person... I turn my head and keep walking. Why are you so reluctant to try? I tell you what to say all the time, it won’t be any different with her. I DON’T WANT TO RUIN ANYTHING. And I keep walking for the stairs. People always stare at me as I climb stairs. My legs are pretty long, they look like spaghetti noodles so I climb the stairs two at a time. People must think I’m a freak. Not a freak, just different. You need to relax. We’re just starting out. I walk into my first period. To no surprise, I’m the only one there. Everyone talks to their friends until the bell rings, but all of my friends are with other people, leaving me with no one. Three minutes until everyone shows up. All three of them. There’s Laila, smile at her! HELL NO. SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW ME! Change that then. POWER OFF I need to focus, I can’t have the voice of Keanu Reeves talking to me all the time. I open my notebook and start to plan by myself. I scribble, doodle, but everything I think of just seems stupid. I close my notebook and rest my head. Eventually, people start rolling into class. Time for a secret: I don’t like many people. My goal isn’t to be popular. I don’t want to be special. I just want to survive. “C’mon, wake up! You need to work on your project!” It’s Tabitha, the last person who should be telling me to work. “Look, it’s a Friday, let me relax!” She has her headphones on though, which means trying to talk to her is futile. POWER ON Riley Conner Fogle, I don’t know why you feel the need to constantly shut me down, but you need to stop it. I’m here to help. If you’re so good at this, why did you get me? LOOK, I JUST NEEDED SOME TIME. We don’t have time. We have a nervous teenage boy and a quantum computer. ALRIGHT, FINE. YOU MAKE SOME MASTER PLAN YET? I stand by the idea of you writing her a song. YEAH, WELL I CAN’T SING! I’LL SOUND LIKE A DYING HORSE. Maybe you can play that to your advantage. Be sweet, but add some humor to it? LOOK, I DON’T KNOW, THAT SOUNDS PRETTY EMBARRASSING. Second period rolls around and I do NOT want to swim. Gym class has been hell, and I do not see an end to this. We started swimming three weeks ago, and it’s plain agony. The only thing good about gym is Korrina. I won’t even lie, seeing her definitely makes swimming better. Riley, you need to stop thinking about Korrina, you can’t function. But it’s too late, she exits the locker room. She puts her hair up and flips it. I hear the voices of angels. The sun forms a spotlight, following her. Her posse is walking with her, but they’re pushed away from heavens light. It’s just her, like it’s always been… To me at least. Look away, your face is getting red. She’ll notice in three seconds. My eyes dart to the pool, and I attempt to calm down. She passes me with Jessica, Emma, and Katie. I glance up, but the four of them don’t notice me. SHE LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL. She’s okay. She’s small and weak. SHE’S AMAZING. I live through the swimming, barely. I get back to third period, a class where I actually have some friends. “Olivia!” It’s one of the few friends I have here at school. “Oh, hey,” She says. “I need to go to the hub, sorry.” I take out my notebook and slump into my chair. I’m busy writing, but my Squip has other ideas. Writing is one of your few strong suits, Riley. Maybe writing is a good idea? WHAT WOULD I EVEN SAY? I CAN’T BE TOO OVER THE TOP. Then don’t be. It’s simple. Express how you feel, but be reasonable. HOW EFFECTIVE WOULD THAT BE? There’s a thirty percent chance of it going well. THAT’S IT? It’s better than sitting here and dreaming about her. I tune him out and keep writing. He screams and shouts. POWER OFF. The end of the day approaches, and I’m giving up on trying. I climb on the bus and stare out the window blankly. I’m looking for someone. All of a sudden, I see her walk onto the bus ramp. I feel like I can’t breathe. But Raven walks onto the bus. Raven is my bus buddy, we sit together every day. She’s got no common sense, but she’s pretty popular. She sits down and of course she’s on her phone. “Earth to Raven.” I say, waving my wand around. “Sorry, I’m talking to this guy,” she says. “Fine.” I spit back. POWER ON. Listen to me, Riley. You will keep me on. The only reason I should be turned off is if you’re drinking or doing drugs. You have no history of doing that, nor can I foresee you trying. So cut it out. WELL MAYBE IF YOU COULD LET ME RELAX, I WOULDN’T TURN YOU OFF SO MUCH. You spent what, 400 dollars on me? Just so you can turn me off all the time? I’m your advisor. YOU’RE A COMPUTER. And you’re a total loser. You need to obey me. I can help you. FINE! SO WHAT DO I DO THEN? Start writing. I pull my notebook out on the bus, not the first time i’ve ever done it. The Squip tells me exactly what to write.
I like you. A lot. I think you’re an amazing person. Every time I see you my heart stops. I think you’re perfect.
I fold the paper and slip it into my bag. On Monday, I’ll give it to her, if the Squip figures out how I should do it. Just walk up to her and hand it to her. It’ll show confidence. WHAT? YOU KNOW I’M GONNA WIMP OUT! No, you won’t. You will do as I instruct and you’ll be fine. I hear a knock at the door. I forgot tonight David was coming over. David has been my friend for five years now. I open up the door, and David strolls in. “What’s up man?’’ He says as he walks off to my bedroom. I walk down the hall and close the door behind me. “I wrote a letter for Korrina!” “That’s progress!” He cheers. “Yeah, I’m giving it to her on Monday.” I say as I turn on my xbox. “Dope.” He starts looking around my room for some RedBull. David is basically my brother at this point, so I let him do whatever. “So what’s your little love note say?” He asks, cracking open a can. “Just that I really like her.” I hand him a controller. “Who wrote it, you or the Squip?” He says sarcastically. “The Squip, duh!’’ I punch his shoulder. I load up, “SHOVEL KNIGHT” which has been a sleepover tradition for us for almost a year now. Why do you still hang out with this loser anyway? I forgot I had my Squip on for a few minutes there. OH SHUT UP, YOU KNOW HE’S MY BEST FRIEND! He’s holding you back. He’s dead weight. POWER OFF We start playing the game, which involves some interesting language. It’s the kind of stuff you say when you know nobody cares about what you’re saying. It’s the kind of stuff you say when you’re tense and not thinking. David starts talking. “So on a scale from one to ten, how much would you say you like Korrina? One being like, eh. Ten being absolutely love.” “Twelve.” I say proudly. David starts laughing. “Why do you even like her anyway? Not trying to be an ass, just wondering?” “I just think she’s great.” I say, pausing the game. David looks at me. “Every time I see her it’s like nothing else matters. Everything else just stops. It’s me and her, alone. We’re floating around in space, together.” I realize I’m looking up at the ceiling. I probably look really stupid, or maybe stoned. “Jeez, you’re pretty weird.” David laughs. I punch him again, and resume the game. “SHIT!” He yells as he falls and dies. It’s just me, right at the boss of the level. I know I can’t win, and there was just a checkpoint. I run right into the boss, dying. David looks up, he’s confused. “This is a two player game, man. If I actually beat the boss without you, I’d feel lame.” So we continue to the boss together. Five tries later and lots of foul words yelled, we kill him. “Finally!” David yells. We decide we need a break and head to the kitchen. My mom turns the corner. “What are you two up to?” She asks. “Oh, we’re just… bored.” I say, but that’s a lie. We’re here to raid the fridge. Mom walks back to her room; she has work tomorrow. We open up the fridge. We grab sodas, Lunchables, whatever we deem good enough. We march back to my room and dump our spoils onto my bed. For a moment, we just stand and admire what we snatched up. “Damn, we get better at this every time!’’ David seems pretty happy about some snacks. I sit down in my chair and turn the xbox to Netflix. “What do you wanna watch?” I ask. “Your house, your choice.” He says with his mouth fuller than it should be. I put on some trashy looking TV show. I start munching on some Doritos when my phone buzzes. It’s a text from a random number. I read the message. “Holy shit!” I jump up and start yelling. Hey, is this Riley? It’s Korrina, I got your number from Lindsay. David spits out his Mountain Dew and jumps up. He runs over to me and smacks into me. “Well, say something back!” He says. POWER ON KORRINA TEXTED ME! Great, this is exactly what we needed! We have a way to communicate. The squip tells me what to say. We start conversing. We talk about gym class and books. Korrina said she got your number from Lindsay. But you don’t talk to her. How would Lindsay have your number? WHO CARES? SHE’S TALKING TO ME, THAT’S WHAT MATTERS. You have a point. Then I remember David’s here. He’s just chilling there watching Netflix, but I feel bad. I decide to try some texting without the Squip’s help. This way I can still be with David, and also text Korrina. POWER OFF “So what are you guys talking about?” David asks. He seems a little upset. “Oh, um, just school, I guess.” I say. I feel bad for ignoring him. He keeps his back turned to me, and watches Netflix. “So, what else do you wanna do? It’s only 1:00.” I say. “I don’t know man, why don’t you just keep texting all these chicks?” He says. It’s cold, which is unusual for David. “What are you talking about?” I ask. “This is the first time I’ve texted her!” “Yeah, well then how did Lindsay get your digits? Huh? You’re supposed to tell me this stuff! We’re a team, and you’re just leaving our friendship in the dirt!” He’s close to yelling, but his back is still turned. “Man, I don’t know how she got that shit! I told you that!” I’m yelling too now. He turns around, and it looks like he might be crying. “We’re supposed to be in this together! What happens when you’re too popular for me? You’ll just leave me, right?” He screams. “Why won’t you listen to me David? Why do you think I’m lying to you? I told you I don’t know how she got it!” We continue back and forth, until I see David stand up and grab his bag. He rode his bike here, but he doesn’t have a light on it. “Come on man, don’t leave. It’s dark out!” But he just keeps packing his stuff. He marches out the door, his face is dead. He looks broken. “Please!” I’m yelling. He pushes open the door and climbs onto his bike. I watch him peddle into the darkness. I walk back to my room and throw myself onto my bed. I’m happy, but I feel so awful. I grab my phone and shoot him a text. I wait for it to at least deliver, but it doesn’t even do that. Did he block me? I lay, waiting for a response. As I wait, I fall asleep
My mother throws herself into my room. “What the hell happened?” She yells. I jolt into a sitting position and look at her. “He’s dead Riley. David died!” I can hear her holding back the tears. “What the hell are you talking about?” I ask her. I feel my heart drop. “When whatever happened between you two went down, he went home. He was going down the street when a car turned the corner a lot faster than it ever should’ve been going. It smacked right into him.” She says, the tears are flowing now. She sits at the edge of my bed. I explode. I’m crying and screaming all at the same time. I don’t know what to do. My mind is racing faster than the tears are streaming. I could’ve stopped him! He died because I was an ass! I feel like I’m falling. Falling through an endless expanse, no bottom, nothing. Just me, falling. For whatever reason, I hear the Squip. He must have turned on somehow. He’s dead, Riley. He’s gone. Use this to your advantage. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN “USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE”? I CAN’T DO THAT! Riley, let this bring you closer to your peers. People know you’re close. You’ll get sympathy points. I DON’T WANT SYMPATHY POINTS! I WANT MY FRIEND BACK. Well he’s gone. I can’t help you there. Sunday is full of tears, screams, and snotty tissues. Nothing happens today.
Monday rolls around and people seem normal. When I walk in, everything is the same. Nobody looks sad, there’s no flowers. Nothing. People are talking, laughing, listening to music. It makes me sick. Somebody died. Not just anybody, my friend. I turn for the stairs when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn and see Korrina. She looks up to me, and her face is depressed. “I heard about David. I’m really sorry Riley.” Her voice is quiet and shaky. “Um, thanks. He was my best friend.” I say. “Yeah, yeah, I know.” She’s interrupted by the bell. “I have to get to class.” She looks up to me and gives a quick smile, then turns her back and walks off. I climb the stairs to class and everyone goes about their business. About halfway through the period I lose it. I storm off the the bathroom and lock myself in the back stall. I cry and cry, for about fifteen minutes. Then a chord of determination is struck. I wipe my eyes and march into the classroom. I walk to the front. “What the hell is wrong with you people?’’ I speak. I’m just shy of yelling. My teachers and classmates look up at me bewildered. “You’re acting like nothing happened! A student DIED! But it doesn’t matter, because he wasn’t popular, right?” Now I’m definitely yelling. All my sympathy is gone. “Excuse me, you can’t talk to us that way.” It’s one of my teachers. “Excuse me,” I say, mocking his voice, “you can’t talk to us that way? Get over yourself! Somebody died! Not only that, it was a student! What’s your problem?” “Office! Now!” Now I’m the one being yelled at. I grab my stuff and head down to the front of the building. I throw the door to the office open and the principal is waiting for me. I look him dead in the eye, I’m trying to convey disgust, but I don’t know if its working. He opens the door to his room, and gestures for me to walk in. POWER ON I NEED YOU TO HELP ME GET OUT OF THIS. I CAN’T GET SUSPENDED. The principal sits down, and relaxes. “He was your best friend? David, I mean.” He asks. “Yes, and he’s dead. Did you even know that? Did you know he died? Because everyone else doesn’t seem to care!” I raise my voice, and before I can go on, he stops me. “I know he died. When I heard it broke my heart. We’re all incredibly sorry, truly.” He continues, “What you said, however, was unacceptable. You can’t just yell at your teachers.” He sits back to show that he’s done with his response. The Squip starts telling me what to say, and I can tell he’s really pushing for me to get out of this in a nice, clean manner. “You’re right. I’m just upset, I just lost my best friend.” I say. I adjust my voice to sound regretful, like I feel sorry for what I did. “I completely understand.’’ He’s smiling now. “How about you take the day off? Just go home and relax.” He suggests. I accept his idea, and gather my belongings. He calls my mother and within five minutes I’m being picked up by my mom. “What on Earth happened?” She asks me. I don’t want to talk about it though.
When we get home, I lay down. You didn’t give Korrina the letter, why is that? OH, I DON’T KNOW. MAYBE BECAUSE MY BEST FRIEND JUST DIED? Well you need to give it to her soon. You have her number, you’re at a high point with her. Now is definitely the time, you need to do it. MOM SAID I COULD STAY HOME TOMORROW TOO, SO I’LL DO IT WEDNESDAY. I get a text from Korrina. Hey! I saw you weren’t in gym class. You doing okay? This is your chance! Use this! Hey Korrina! The principal said I could go home, thanks for asking!Actually, I won’t be at school tomorrow. You’ll have to show me what we learned on Wednesday. I realize that school is still going on, so she probably won’t respond to me any time soon. That wasn’t quite what I told you to say, but it seems okay. I THINK IT’S GOOD! FOR WRITING IT ON MY OWN, AT LEAST. You’re improving, that’s for sure. You still need my help, though. HM, WOULD I EVEN BE ABLE TO GET RID OF YOU? Don’t worry about that. NOW I HAVE TO KNOW! Fine, it’s Mountain Dew Red. It shuts me off, but it’s an emergency shut off! WHAT KIND OF EMERGENCY? Squips have been known to… go rogue. Sometimes, we try telling the people we’re advising to do bad things, like kill… OH MY GOD. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT SOONER? You need me, a lot. WOW, THANKS. Well you do, but I don’t think I’ll go rogue. I came from a pretty good batch, but some weren’t as lucky as I was. YEAH, THAT MIGHT SUCK… Mom walks into my room with a glass of Mountain Dew and a box of star cookies. “Thought you could use some pick me up snacks.” She says with a smile. “Thanks mom, I really could.” She sits down on the side of my bed and looks at me. “I want you to tell me what happened. Why did David leave?” All remorse seems gone. “We got in a fight and he just wouldn’t listen to me. He was so upset, and I don’t even know why. He just got his stuff and walked out.” “Do you think maybe he got hit on purpose?” Her voice gets quiet. “No, no, he wouldn’t do that. David was completely fine before.” “Well he isn’t now.” “Can you just leave me alone? Please?” I’m getting irritated now. I’ll probably have to talk to the cops eventually, I don’t need this garbage. “Alright.” She stands up and walks out, I get up behind her to lock the door. Wow, that went horribly. Why didn’t you go with what I said? I JUST DIDN’T WANT TO. Maybe if you would’ve listened, it wouldn’t have gone awfully. BFD. Next time there’s a conversation, you’re listening to me. FINE. I stretch out onto my bed and start eating my cookies. I lay there, thinking about what mom said to me. Would David actually go onto the road on purpose? I tell myself he wouldn’t do that, but maybe he would? I’m his best friend, I should know this stuff. I shouldn’t have let him leave. You couldn’t have done anything. He wasn’t listening. THAT DOESN’T MEAN SHIT! I COULD’VE SAVED HIM. HE WOULD STILL BE HERE. IT’S MY FAULT AND WE BOTH KNOW IT. It was his choice, not yours. You’ll live. HE SHOULD TOO, BUT HE CAN’T NOW. Let’s focus on Korrina. You’re going to walk up to her Wednesday morning before class starts. You’re going to say hi, and then say you have something for her. You give her the note. Then you flash a smile, and walk away. She’ll need time to think. She’ll likely text you after with her response. AND WHAT IF IT’S NEGATIVE? Then we move on. WHAT IF I WANT TO BE POPULAR? Then I’ll make you good enough to be the most popular kid in school. DO THAT. How much money do you have? 45 BUCKS. Ask your mom to take you to the mall. BUT, I’M SUPPOSED TO BE MOURNING? Tell her you don’t want to be in the same place you last saw him. THAT’S MESSED UP… BUT IT MAY WORK. I walk out to the living room where my mom is sitting. “Hey mom, could you run me to the mall?” “You should really be resting.” She says, not looking up from the T.V. “I don’t want to be in the same place I last saw him.” I say, sounding sad. She turns the T.V off and grabs her keys. We ride to the mall and silence, and when we get there she doesn’t say goodbye. “I’ll text you when I’m ready, okay.” She nods her head. I walk into the mall. Head to Hollister, that’s where all your peers shop, and now you do too. Also, take off your glasses. I CAN’T SEE WITHOUT THEM THOUGH! I can fix that. I remove my glasses and something strange happens. My vision suddenly improves. It’s like there was a switched turned on in my brain and now I can see fine! That is what happened. THIS IS AMAZING! I take off my glasses and out them into my pocket. I step into the store, but before I go in, I see Jonathan and Gabe walking around inside the store. I CAN’T GO IN THERE, I’LL BE CRUCIFIED IF THEY SEE ME! No! This is a perfect way to make popular allies. Walk in with your head high and say hi to them. I take a deep breath and stroll into the store. Gabe turns around and looks at me. Jonathan nods his head to greet me, and I return it. “What’s up man?” Gabe says. Tell them you’re just browsing. “Oh, I’m just looking around, you know?” I say, trying to sound cool. “Lit man. Well we gotta go, see you around dude.” Jonathan says, as they start to head out. I flash a grin and they step out. I turn around and face the men’s clothing section. Alright, we need to find something with an iconic image. Perhaps a celebrity, or a specific brand. I start browsing the shirts. No, no, no, no, if you wore that you’d be murdered. What about that one? It’s a shirt with red roses all over it. Behind the flowers is a solid black background. DOESN’T THAT LOOK KIND OF GIRLY? It looks fine. Buy it. I walk to the cash register to find Emma, one of Korrina’s friends. I look at my phone and see that it’s 3:47, after school. This was unforeseen, but we can play it to our advantage. “Um, hey, Emma!” I shakily say. I feel my voice crack as I put the shirt onto the counter. “Oh, hey. You’re in my gym class right?” The phrase that hurts the most. You know I’m in your class, so you don’t need to ask! It’s a basic killshot to my self confidence, and I don’t even have any! “Yeah, I am.” I say quietly. She scans the tag. “You know, my one friend, Korrina, said she really likes this shirt. You know her? You should show her.” She says with a smirk. Does she know I like Korrina? She knows you’ve been communicating with Korrina. BUT HOW? How clueless are you? No, wait, I know the answer. Very. Women communicate about these kinds of things. “Oh, yeah, I know her. Maybe I will.” I hand her the money and she puts the receipt in my bag. She flashes a smile and I walk out. I scan the mall and see lots of the popular kids in the food court. Run to the SEARS bathroom and put your new shirt on. I slip through the crowd and disappear into the dying tyrant to change my shirt. Throw the old one away with the bag. WHAT? IT’S MY SHIRT! It’s ugly too. Toss it. I dump it into the trash can and walk out. I head towards the front of the mall and approach the wolf pack of jocks. One of the girls, Annalise, shoots me a look. Alright, this is your chance. Gaze back, but don’t seem angry. You need to come off as chill. I match her gaze and she starts to smile. Because of this, the other jocks notice me. “What’s up man?” Jack asks with a laid back voice. “Nothing much, just chilling.” I say, trying to match his tone. I notice that everyones looking at me now. “Nice shirt.” Annalise says, scanning me, head to toe. I’m wearing my normal dark jeans, slip on vans, and my new rose shirt. I look extremely white. Say, “nice ass”. WHAT THE HELL, NO! It will work fine, just say it. Keep up that tone too, it’s working. “Nice ass,” I say. “Thanks.” She says, smirking. What the hell is my life? A majority of the wolf pack starts heading out, leaving me, as well as Annalise. She sips on her cup from McDonalds and looks over at me. I give her half a smile and she reaches over for my hand. It’s soft, and cold. She moves her chair over, getting closer to me, and rests her head on my shoulder. “I should probably leave.” I stutter. She looks up at me, she almost has a pouty face. “It’s not your fault! I just have to head home.” I say, my voice cracking through the whole statement. She keeps her eyes locked onto mine, and she looks like she’s on the verge of tears. She remains silent. “Or I could stay, if you really want.” I add. She smiles and kisses my cheek. She pulls on my hand for me to stand up. Before I even get up, she’s tugging for me to start walking. “Let’s go to FYE.” She says with excitement. We walk off to the store, with our hands intertwined. It’s a new thing for me, but I like it. We start going through the rows of CD’s and movies. Occasionally, Annalise will stop and look at something, but she always puts it back. “See anything you like?” I ask her. She looks me right in the eyes. “I’m looking at something great right now.” She whispers with a smile. I look over my shoulder, and notice there’s nobody near us, we’re at the back of the store. I never noticed the height difference until she got this close to me. I feel the heat in my face. I must be cherry red right now. “I think I should go.” I say. I feel her arms tighten around my waist. She’s locking me in. I exert some force, trying to break free, but I’m trapped. “Don’t leave me.” She says, but her voice is different. She almost has a baby voice. “Look, I just have to go.” I say. She starts leaning in for a kiss. Do I:
I go with option B. Riley, you need to kiss her! WHAT ABOUT KORINNA? You’re not dating her. YEAH, BUT WOULDN’T KISSING ANOTHER GIRL MAKE ME SEEM LESS AVAILABLE? No, she’ll want you more if there’s competition. The stuff he says kind of makes sense. Of course it does. I forget he knows what I’m thinking. I return the grip given by Annalise and pull her closer to me. She closes her eyes and leans up. Next thing I know our lips are pressed together. It feels… Gross. Not how I imagined. I try to pull away but she reaffirms her hands. IS SHE REACHING DOWN FOR MY BUTT? Yes, actually. She wants to be close to you. Get ready, Riley. You’re about to lose something pretty big. I CAN’T DO THAT! Well you’re going to have to. If you don’t, Annalise will tell everyone you wussed out. You’ll NEVER be popular. Annalise continues to kiss me. I’m just standing here at this point though. My lips are completely closed, only moving when forced. Then I feel something pushing through my clenched lips. That would be her tongue. Maybe use yours too? THAT’S DISGUSTING. I’M DONE WITH THIS. I’M DONE WITH HER! Well you’re throwing away what little social power you have. I pull away and look her dead in the eyes. “What are you doing?” She says with a smile. “I need to go.” I say, putting distance between each word. I break free of her bonds and walk out of the store. I hurry to the mens bathroom, and lock myself in a stall. I text my mom that I’m ready to go home. Five minutes later I’m in the car. “What happened to your shirt?” Mom asks. “Oh, uh, I just got a new one and decided to put it on.” I say. I can tell mom doubts what I’m saying, but she doesn’t say anything else.
Wednesday rolls around, and this is the most nervous I’ve ever been. Just breathe. Inhale… Now exhale. Deep breaths. THAT’S NOT HELPING! As I run through my script, the bus pulls up to my stop. I climb on and I can feel everyone looking at me. Some people smile, others just stare. What happened? Did news break about Annalise, or was something said about David. Regardless, I take a seat and run through my script. The closer we get to the school the harder I can feel my heartbeat. The bus turns into the school parking lot. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. THIS IS THE END OF ME. Relax, everything will be fine. I go through the doors and pull the letter out of my pocket. I turn the corner and see Korrina. She’s facing away from you, go up behind her and say her name. Be calm, but not creepy. I approach her and take a deep breath. “Hey, Korrina.” I say, following the Squips instructions. She turns her head and smiles. Her friends grin and tell her goodbye, and then head off. I show her the folded letter. I extend my arm. “What’s this?” She asks with a smile. “Just read it.” She takes the note. I smile and walk to the stairs. My heart is making Usain Bolt look like a toddler, faster and faster it runs. I get to first period and time stands still. I put my phone on my desk, waiting for her to text or call or something. Nothing happens. WON’T SECOND PERIOD BE SUPER AWKWARD IF SHE DOESN’T RESPOND? Just give her some time. She needs to think. I go to the bathroom and throw some water in my face. I look in the mirror. Will she say yes? What would she like about me? I turn my head, looking for an ounce of decency. I find none. When I return to the room, I immediately check my phone. My heart jumps when I see a message from Korrina. It reads: “I appreciate that a lot but I can’t give you the answer you want.” I sink. WHAT WAS THE SUCCESS RATE? What? I ASKED WHAT THE ******* SUCCESS RATE OF GIVING HER THE NOTE WAS. TELL ME. NOW. 23.095% YOU WERE SETTING ME UP TO FAIL, WEREN’T YOU? Korrina won’t net you popularity. YOU AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE BIASED! I GOT YOU SO YOU COULD HELP ME GET HER! You said you wanted to be popular. I’m helping you do that. I SAID I WANTED KORRINA. AND YOU KNEW THAT. YOU TALKED ABOUT HER. I THOUGHT YOU WERE HELPING ME. ALL YOU DID WAS KILL MY BEST FRIEND AND RUIN ANY CHANCE I HAD WITH KORRINA. What chance? You never even had one. YOU CROSSED THE LINE. I TRUSTED YOU AND SOMEONE DIED. YOU GOTTA GO DOWN! SHUTDOWN I open my phone and respond quite simply with, “K.” I power off my phone and slam my head onto the desk. Did I really think that it would work? I did because the Squip seemed sure. He was hiding things though. I think back to our conversation about malfunctions. Maybe that’s what happened? Maybe his code got screwed up or something? He said about Mountain Dew Red being a failsafe. Gym class begins and I walk onto the pool deck. Sitting on the bleachers, among a few other classmates, is Korrina, Jessica, Emma, and Katie. Shit. I sit down on the first row and lower my head. I wrap my torso in my towel and close my eyes. I feel movement, and then a hand on my shoulder, it feels familiar. “Hey…” It’s Korrina. “What do you want?” I say, repressing all my anger and sadness. I feel my voice struggling to make any sound. “I want to say I’m sorry. You’re a really good person and you’re cool to talk to, but I’m not allowed to date.” She says. I hear sympathy but I don’t want it. I keep quiet. She strokes her thumb against my covered shoulder and then moves back to her group. I felt my heart crumble up and fall apart. I want to go home and never show my face here again. The teacher instructs us to hop into the pool. When we get up to walk over, her shoulder brushes against mine. We weren’t even near each other, so why did she do that? She’s torturing me. I suffer through swimming and the rest of the day drags on. When I get home I grab my wallet and walk to the gas station near my house. I walk to the back and grab it. Mountain Dew Red. I hand the cashier a five and walk out the door. I walk home and throw myself back onto my bed. I crack open the red cap. Is this what I want to do? POWER ON So you’re really going to do it? You’ll never be popular. Never happy. Not without ME. It’s my job. YOU’RE FIRED. I start drinking the soda, and it tastes like cherries. I go to breathe but an immense pain strikes my head. I curl up onto my bed. Screaming and yelling. I hear the strangest noises as my head is being torn apart. It sounds like Neo from the Matrix is screaming in agony. STOP. RILEY YOU CAN’T DO THIS. RILEY? RILEY? It’s the fleeting cries of a wounded animal.I close my eyes as tears stream down my face. I feel my muscles tense up tightly and then relax. My body remains stiff and my eyes are closely shut that I can see colors in the darkness of my mind. I hear a hollow noise. Like something has vanished. I’m Squipless again, but I’m okay with that.
Will I ever be popular? Maybe not. Even if I’m not super cool or extremely popular, I’m sure I gained something. I didn’t gain a girlfriend, or a fast car. I’m not seen as a God. Maybe just maybe though, I learned how to be less lame. Who knows? What I do know is that this is just high school. Lots can happen, but that’s the way it is. I don’t need an evil computer to tell me how to be, “cool.” I don’t need to rule. I’m just me.
social studies portion
Social Studies Essay
The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain in the late 1700’s. Big industries like the textile industry, and also the new steam engine, played huge roles in the industrial revolution. Industrialization brought in more product, meaning these big companies were making a lot more money. This benefited the people high up, but ended up causing unsanitary work spaces for the factory workers. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, factories were trying to get all the women and children to work as fast as they could.This was because women and children would work for lower wages, so the factories were losing less money by hiring them. Before the industrial revolution, men mostly did the work. But when factories started becoming more common, more jobs opened up. These factories set out to hire the women and children.
The children of these factories were treated awfully. Kids as young as six years old came in to work for sometimes up to 19 hours a day. They were then paid very little, if anything at all. On top of this, they got a one hour total break, meaning they were working nonstop for most of the day. These children used large, dangerous machinery. Because of this, accidents became frequent. These accidents would lead to severe injuries and sometimes death. Children were risking their lives to work hours upon hours. The safety of the children was overlooked. Instead, the children were beaten, or made examples of.
During this era, there were many people who were against child labor, but how could factories shut it down? Child labor was making them lost of money and helping the economy. The parents had to send their children to work because the families needed the money. But with the activists, governments made the rules stricter. They made it so children of nine or younger couldn’t work at all, and that most children couldn’t work more than twelve hours a day.
Activists pushed for the monitoring of child labor, which eventually succeeded. A good example of this is the newsboy strike of 1899. A large majority of the boys working on the streets were young, homeless orphans. These young boys, and sometimes girls, were suffering through awful conditions, and for very little pay. In 1899, two newspapers, the New York World, and the New York Journal raise the price of 100 papers from fifty to sixty cents. The newsboys were outraged. These children were stuck selling newspapers for little to no profit. They weren’t pocketing much money selling papers, so the price raise was horrifying. Rather than being scared, though, some newsboys went on strike. They took to the streets protesting. They went to the Brooklyn bridge, lining up and bringing traffic to a standstill. This demonstration, as well as other events like rallies, showed the publishers that the boys were not standing down. Eventually a compromise was made. The publishers kept the sixty cent price, but agreed to buy all unsold papers back.
The strike was so monumental that Disney even made a film about it, called, “Newsies.”. This film eventually became a musical too, under the same name. The musical is all about the newsboy strike of 1899. This fits right in with the time period of child labor. While the musical is a fairly accurate portrayal of the strike, there are some big differences. The largest of them comes from a single character: Jack Kelly. In the musical, Jack Kelly is the main protagonist. He’s a cowboy and a hero, and he’s the leader of the Newsies. He’s the reason the strike even happens in the musical. But in actuality, Jack Kelly wasn’t that big. For one, Jack Kelly wasn’t even his real name. Instead, it was Jack Sullivan. Sullivan was indeed a head newsboy, and he’s even attributed as the leader of the first newsboys to declare their rights. Sullivan wasn’t the leader of all of the Newsies, though.That title goes to Kid Blink, or Louis Ballatt. The eye patch clad Louis was said to be thirteen or fourteen. Kid Blink was the real leader of the newsies, and even led the traffic stop on the Brooklyn Bridge. During a rally, Blink said, “Friens and feller workers. This is a time which tries de hearts of men. Dis is de time when we'se got to stick together like glue.... We know wot we wants and we'll git it even if we is blind." But in the movie and musical, the story is different. Jack Kelly, hero from Newsies the musical, was even based off Kid Blink. At the end of the musical, Jack Kelly rides off in a carriage along side Theodore Roosevelt, headed to Santa Fe. The real Jack, Jack Sullivan, lead a much different life after the strike. Sullivan decided to stay in New York and even became a bodyguard for William Randolph Hearst, the man behind the price increase that started the strike in the first place. Jack even opened a newsboy club in 1904. It was a place for the newsboys to stay, but by 1909, Jack Sullivan had lost control of it, and two years later it closed. In 1910, Jack gets married, but as Jacob Reich, which even shows up on his death certificate.