Short Fiction: Gilbert

   This is the first chapter of my Nanowrimo story. Cross posted on Medium.



On the second-to-last day of Junior year, Crystal wrote “Have a great summer, stay cool” in Gilbert’s yearbook, even though he was not cool, thus, unable to sustain coolness. Gilbert didn’t mind, and liked the way she hooked her t’s. A swan, she glided from desk to desk, pausing to bestow  kind words and a kinder autograph. Gilbert read it a thousand times over the summer, memorizing it like scripture.

     “Tomorrow is our last day” Mrs. Smith said. “Remember your reading logs. Feel free to post on the class board, but, as I will no longer be your teacher, it will be ungraded,”. “However, volunteer logs will be graded. Get it signed, and get solid contact information for the organization.”

     “Ey, miss, contact these nuts,” Nicholas Garcia mumbled to his cronies, evoking chortles and grunts.

     After dismissal, Gilbert trundled to his locker, stopping at the water fountain. He valued being hydrated. Nicholas walked by with two droogs. “Watch this..” Nicholas shoulder-checked Gilbert. “Hey, Gilbert, leave some for the fishes, you fat dickweed!” Nicholas snarled. His friends laughed. Gilbert smirked,  concealing his hurt . People often harassed him. “Look, you got water all over yourself, you can’t do nothing right. You’re real stupid for a pinche nerd.” They kept walking.

       Gilbert later sat down to dinner with his family. They’d wanted to have a party, but he was adamant they didn’t. They settled for a special dinner-lengua tacos.

After dinner, he wrote “Transformation Plan, Day 1” on the first page of a  composition book. He decided on a course of character development and personal growth for summer. He wrote “1) Keep it real. Keep it Siempre Gilbert”. He wrote 9 more objectives:

 2) Learn martial arts, especially the manly art of fisticuffs, to be real badass. 
 3) Defeat Nicholas Garcia, for he is the worst fucker in all of El Paso.
 4) Become versed in speculative mythologies. Because.
 5) Forage edible plants. 
 6) Become adept at axe-throwing. No one expects Mexicans to be adept at axe throwing, a bias to exploit with potentially grave consequences.
 7) Attain sufficient physical fitness, cause wearing a shirt in the pool is not cool.
 8) Learn survival skills to be in a position to lead after the pending cataclysmic societal collapse.
 9) Learn and master the courtship and mating rituals of the human animal.
 10) Acquire swords.

        Gilbert didn’t tell anyone of his clandestine mission to develop Gilbert 2.0. He looked around to find something to work on. On his previous list, he had set the goal of “becoming a man of action”, he was successful in that endeavor. He decided he could work on his fitness. He ran in place until his dad yelled to keep it down. No mater, he had a good lather going, and attempted to shadow box. After 3 minutes he lay on the carpet, gasping for air. Boxing is hard. Gilbert needed assistance with these goals, which would slow him down, but he was determined.  He also needed a Capri-Sun.


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