Red Paint

“What’s wrong, girl?” Skye asks me as she’s eating her macaroni and cheese during A Lunch.
“Drake’s cheating on me,” I tell Skye, forcing my voice to come out of my silent sobs.
“That’s impossible. How could Drake be cheatin’ on you?”
          I point to the windswept redheaded boy at the lunch table in front of us, his arm wrapped around the waist of a girl with her straight dirty blonde hair tied up in a ponytail. I caught Drake with that Hollister-clad girl by his locker this morning, embracing her and leaning his head to kiss her neon-pink lips. I gasped in horror as I saw Drake in the arms of someone that wasn’t me.
          “Drake, who is she?” I asked, a tone of horror still lingering in my voice.
          “Oh, Ami,” Drake said as he stepped back from the girl, trying to regain his composure. “This is Sabrina. I caught my eye on her last night on Facebook and thought to myself, ‘My God, she’s so pretty. Hell, even prettier than Ami!’ I was going to dump you after talking to Sabrina in chat room, but the image of her beautiful, porcelain face took over my brain. No wonder she’s the most popular girl in school.”
          I looked at Sabrina, who smirked at me as she leaned her back against Drake’s locker, which was five doors down from hers, twirling her ponytail. “So, she doesn’t give a shit about your infidelity towards me?”
          Drake shook his head.
          “How could you do this to me!?” I screamed at Drake loud enough for the other students in the hallway to turn their heads and watch my dilemma unfold. “I’ve done you no wrong!”
          “True, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Drake said as he ran his hand through his sea of red locks. “But Sabrina has convinced me that I would rather go out with a siren like her instead of a brainy Aspie like you. I’m sorry, but it’s just the natural order of high school dating: beauty over brains.”
          I had the urge to slap him across the face for turning into a discriminatory bastard towards me, but I refrained. I walked away from him and that blonde wench he called a “siren,” and let my eyes build up with tears all morning. All. Freakin’. Morning. (I couldn’t even pay attention to anything my teachers we’re lecturing about, for God’s sake!)

          Skye puts her hand on my shoulder and says to me, “Ami, I understand that this is very hard for you, but there has to be some way you could cope with that boy’s cheating on you.”
          “I don’t know, Skye,” I whimper. I blow my nose into a rough napkin packaged with the plastic spork and knife. I wish I brought my box of Kleenex tissues because the napkins at my school feel like sandpaper, but it would have to do. “Drake and I have been together since we were freshmen, and I never thought that our relationship would end with him having an affair with that—that bitch!” I hope Drake didn’t hear that.
         “That’s how most high school relationships run their course, unfortunately,” Skye says. “Next to going to different colleges after graduation. Besides, Drake probably might leave that Sabrina chick and go to a university millions of miles away from the one she’ll apply to, anyhow.”
          As Skye continues to lecture me about the maladies of high school dating, I look around the cafeteria and see a WET PAINT sign printed in red on the wall near the vending machine at the entrance. My brain stops the waterworks by bringing to mind an awful yet brilliant idea.
          “Skye, I just thought of something.”
          “What?” Skye chirps.

          “You know how in Kill Bill, The Bride tries to get revenge on the title character and his henchmen for leaving her for dead on her wedding day?”

          “You’re not gonna literally kill Drake, are you?”

          “No, I have a revenge plan of my own.” I take a red Sharpie out of my backpack and poke the clean part of my white paper tray with it. “This weekend, I’m gonna make Drake run red… with paintballs.”                                               Skye’s face becomes puzzled. “But, Ami, how are you going to get Drake to play your game of paintball? You’ve never even set foot on the paintball field before. And you’ve never even followed through with the revenge plots you told me about whenever you got pissed off at somebody.”                                           “That’s because I think about the negative consequences that would result from my vindictive actions and refrain from committing them,” I reassure Skye. “Don’t worry, this paintball plan is the one revenge plan that I’ll definitely follow through.”

********

It’s finally Saturday, and Skye and I are waiting for Drake to come over to the paintball field. Yesterday, Skye suggested I wait till I got home to call him—“Think of it as your final phone call after the breakup,” she said—and ask him if he would like to play paintball with me and Skye. He agreed, and said that he would invite Sabrina to tag along for the game. Perfect, more fun for revenge paintball, I thought.
          Skye’s wearing camouflage jeans, a plain white T-shirt that grew dull with age, and Adidas sneakers. Not the smartest choice of an outfit, but it’s too late. My outfit is the ultimate camouflage package some girls would die for—a tank top with angel wings on the back, a bandana, fingerless gloves, and jeans. Not to mention, black Timberland boots. The clock on my smartphone screen reads noon, and Drake and Sabrina the Wench arrive straight on the dot. Drake is sporting the same black Bike Week shirt I got him from Daytona Beach during spring break last year and khaki shorts. Sabrina is a sight for sore eyes—she’s wearing an emerald green crop top that’s revealing her butterfly belly-button piercing, khaki capris, and blue Converse shoes. I place my hand on my forehead in disgust because Sabrina’s outfit is the dumbest outfit I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
          “Glad you could make it, guys,” I say to Drake and Sabrina as I smile reluctantly.
          “The pleasure is all ours,” Sabrina replies. “Of all the fun activities I want to do with Drake, paintball seems to be the best choice. I can’t wait to get shot with every color of the rainbow! Just don’t let the paintball touch my hair, though.”
          Wow, for someone I thought was a conceited girl who deems paintball an uncouth recreational sport, Sabrina must be really stoked about this, I think to myself.
          We all go on to the reception desk and grab our masks and paintball guns carrying our choice of colors. My gun is carrying blood red paintballs while Skye’s gun is loaded with orange and yellow. Drake is carrying sky blue paintballs in his gun, and Sabrina has a supply of emerald green paintballs. It’s actually very surprising how there are different shades of every color to choose from.
          The paintball field is perfectly set in a wooded area, with trees to serve as shields in the event a plastic or wooden wall is out of reach. We stand out in the open with Skye and I facing Drake and Sabrina. While I want to give both of them a mean look–especially Drake–I smile because I prepared a little surprise for them for the end of the battle if not sooner. “Are you ready for the paint-filled bloodshed?” I ask Drake.
          “Bring it on, Ami,” Drake replies with a grin.
          I count to three and we split up. Skye and I run toward the tree with an orange X sprayed on it, declaring it our home base. Drake and Sabrina go the opposite direction. Skye taps my shoulder. “Ami, are you really sure you thought this through?”
          “I’m positive,” I tell her. “As soon as we see those infidels come near here, we take them by surprise.” Five minutes later, I see Drake and Sabrina walk toward our base. Skye and I wait three seconds. Then we jump out and start shouting war cries as we shoot at them. Drake starts shooting at me, but he’s not aiming at my shirt–he’s aiming at my mask. He’s trying to blind me! Thirty seconds go by and Drake’s blue paint blinds me completely. His last shot knocks me down.
          Skye rushes to my aid. She wipes the paint off my mask with a maple leaf. “Are you okay, Ami?”
          “Yeah,” I reply. “I wasn’t exactly expecting that to happen.” I sit up and discover that Drake and Sabrina ran away. That’s the dumbest strategy I’ve ever seen–blinding an opponent and then running away! But I’m not gonna sit here all day and take that sort of bullshit. If they want to fight dirty, I’ll show them fighting dirty.
          I reach into my pocket and show Skye my ultimate weapon: the Big Bang Paint Grenade. “Where the hell did you get that?” she asks me, shocked at how I was able to get my hands on something that expensive.
          “I got it at Sports Authority on my way home last night,” I say. “As the name implies, it explodes just like a regular hand grenade.”
          “What are you going to do with it?”
          “Oh, you’ll see.”
          After trekking through the forest paintball field for what seemed like half an hour, Skye and I spot what looks to be some kind of wooden pueblo shed. Through the window, I see Drake making out with Sabrina. “I knew it,” I growl. “Drake shot me blind just so he could run away with that wench and make out with her!”
          “Good Lord!” Skye exclaims. “So, Drake really did want to get rid of you. He wasn’t cheating on you after all.”
          “It doesn’t matter, Skye. Drake is gonna pay for what he did to me.”
I aim my paint grenade at the shed window. Then I throw it through the window and wait five seconds for the biggest explosion in the history of paintball. Red paint splatters all over the place, some it surging out the door and the windows. “MY HAIR!” Sabrina screams with terror.
          “Who did this!? Drake shouts. I walk over to the shed and look at the shirtless Drake and the bikini-clad Sabrina, their exposed bodies covered in blood red–just as I expected. Drake’s eyes pop open. “Ami!? But why?”
          “To teach you a lesson,” I reply with my arms crossed. “When you leave a woman scorned, she’ll do everything she possibly can to make your life a living hell. Now I leave you two to clean up this mess.” I turn to Skye. “Skye, we’re outta here.”
          “WHAT THE HELL, AMI!? WHAT THE HELL!?!?” Drake screams. I ignore him, my mind giving him the middle finger.
          Mission accomplished.

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To Love, or Not to Love?

To love, or not to love—that is the question:
Whether it is nobler for my heart to suffer
The bullets of the uncertain future of my relationship with the man I love,
Or to armor myself against the storm of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To love, to part—
No more—and by part we say to end
The heartache, and the thousand complications
We lovers are forced to endure at the hands of
Our damned society. To love, to part;
To love—perchance to stay. Yes, that’s the issue;
For what’s the point of staying with my man
If he’s at a crossroads, trying to choose whether
To love me like the romantic lover he is,
Or to love me like I’m his little sister
For the sake of making a living without such a distraction as me.
It seems the Devil made my beloved lose his way,
Making him erase me from his mind and his heart.
If that is true, then why couldn’t he just stay dead
After Christ, my Lord and Savior, defeated him?
It’s because Satan wants to make
The life of love a living hell,
To build a wall between me and my beloved,
And to keep us separated forevermore.
I wish to fight the Beast in the name of Jesus Christ,
So that I can win back my right to stay with the man I love
And so that he’ll never come between us ever again.
My beloved means the whole world to me,
And I really want to stay with him for all eternity.

Confessions of a Gamer Girl

I’ve been playing video games for at least sixteen years.
Although I take great pleasure in playing on every console and handheld system,
there are days when I wish I could’ve read more substantial books
in lieu of spending all my time grabbing rings and diamonds
in Sonic, beating Heartless in Kingdom Hearts, and training real hard
in Pokémon, trying to, as its slogan says, “catch ‘em all.”

How is it that I came to be a gamer girl at all?
It all started when I was at a tender five years
of age. My brother was trying to beat a hard
level of Yoshi’s Island on Nintendo’s golden system,
the Super Nintendo. I was watching him get through a cave of diamonds
whilst reading from a kindergarten book.

At the age of nine, I started reading monthly gaming books
from the stands in Publix and Walmart. But of course, all
I wanted to read was articles related to Sonic, whose colorful diamonds
make him faster and stronger. However, as the years
progressed, I developed an interest in a new system
of gaming—role-playing games—which is not extremely hard.

Unfortunately, the part about being a gamer girl that’s very hard
was the bullying. In middle school, I would hide behind my scholastic books
to shield myself from the slew of taunts and hateful remarks—courtesy of a system
of raging hormones and selective discrimination. As I reached high school, all
I needed was a friend who could understand my interests. Then I met a guy five years
my senior, and we began a friendship more precious than digital diamonds.

As our friendship blossomed into nerdy romance, we helped Sonic collect diamonds
and cosplayed as the blue hedgehog and his pink lover on Halloween. Then a new, hard
challenge appeared in the gaming community: immaturity in Sonic’s fanbase. In my years
of gaming, I had never seen gamers go nuts over changes in recent Sonic games. Gaming books
even displayed harsh criticism at Sonic’s endeavors since 2005. I never bashed at all
the Sonic games I got because I enjoyed playing them regardless of the console system.

Of course, with the release of any new console or handheld gaming system
came the money-burning desire to play the games designed for them. They’re like big diamonds
out of Sierra Leone, and it was every gamer’s job—and mine—to save money to buy them all.
However, for some gamers, coming up with the finances to purchase a new console is hard,
so we would have to go to our accountant’s offices to look at our checkbooks
and wait to get our desired gaming console in a few years.

I’m not sure how many gaming console systems
a gamer girl like myself can own in a lifetime, so I might as well shop for some faux diamonds
and get into a gamer’s alternative hobby: reading Japanese comic books.