Behind the Mask

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #165 for July 23th, 2010

Pick two established characters, either from your own work or others’. Now write the scene/story of their meeting.

The lunch hour had just begun and Jackson sat at the park bench and table waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

“Hey, Action Jackson, shove over,” said Andrew.  “Got you a Coke.”

Jackson held out one hand while he scrolled through the play list on his ipod.  The strains of “Bohemian Rhapsody” flittered out of the speaker dock.   As the song reached its crescendo, Jackson, Andrew, Josh and Stuart stood up, put their left foot up on the bench like it was a fold back speaker and re-enacted Wayne and Garth, thrashing their heads in wild abandon while wielding air guitars.

They fell back onto the bench and laughed.  Emily Lewis wandered through on her way to the canteen with her minions.

“How’s the bromance going, Andrew?  Who wears the pants in this relationship, you or Jackson?  Or do you prefer to wear your underpants on the outside?”

The boys at the table laughed at Emily’s jibe.

“I do believe that you owe me a comic, Emily,” said Andrew.

“Snap AND zing,” said Stuart as Emily powered away.  “Speaking of bromance, you guys have been mates since, like, Year 7.  How did you guys meet up? I mean, you came from different schools and all.  The only thing you got in common is comics.  Jackson’s into tech and geek speak and you’re into music and art stuff.”

Jackson interjected, “Yeah but you’re into cars and nothing else, except Natasha and her…”

“Mammalian protuberances,” finished Stuart.

Andrew spluttered with the fizz going up his nose.  “You’ve been listening to Frank Zappa again, haven’t you?  We met at Phat Albert’s comic store, in the summer holidays before school started in Year 7.  Mum dropped me off and went to get some groceries and left me to look at comics.  Jackson was buying the new MAD magazine, which I was also going to buy.  It was the last one.  Phat Albert introduced us ‘cause he knew us both.  We found out we were going to be at the same high school together, so Jackson agreed to lend it to me when school started.”

“Unfortunately, I came down with chicken pox and missed the first two weeks of school,” said Jackson.

“Because I was the only one from my primary school coming here, I knew no one, so I was banking on Jackson being someone to talk to.  Just bog scared for the first two weeks until he showed up.  From then, we just clicked.”

Josh took a shot at the bin with a balled up paper bag but Jackson smacked it away.  He got up to retrieve it and as he put it into the bin said, “So, what’s the deal with you and Emily Lewis?  You’ve been fighting it out for Geek of the Year since she arrived in Year 9.  Anyone’d think you’re flirting with her.”

“Get your hand off it, Josh,” said Andrew.

“Come on, you’re like Edward and Bella.  You both want what you can’t have and bitch and moan about it.  Although, I think you’re Bella in this equation.”

Andrew launched a scrap of orange peel at Josh, but could feel his cheeks redden.  He didn’t want to admit there could be something to what Josh had said.  He thought back two years ago to the Year 10 Graduation Dance.  Emily arrived in an emerald dress that accented an emerging form hidden by a school uniform.  Instead of the schoolgirl ponytail, her dark tresses dropped in curls around her ears and over her shoulders.

“But what turned her to the dark side?” said Jackson.  “There has to be some reason for her to be so standoffish.”

“Dunno,” said Andrew.  “She came here from interstate and doesn’t say anything about it.”

He looked up and saw Emily walking back across the quadrangle.  He wondered what costume she wore beneath her uniform.  If he peeled back the mask, what would he see?  He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to know what was behind his own mask.  Emily passed by without a glance in his direction but he watched her every step until she disappeared into the library.


20 responses to “Behind the Mask

  1. Incorporating the story behind characters can be a little tricky. You don’t want it to be a whole bunch of telling. Rather you want it to flow naturally. Hopefully I’ve achieved a natural flow. I turned over a few ideas as to how and when
    Therefore this follows on from “Pocketful of Kryptonite” and “Comic Superhero.” The issue of the comic has been resolved (see Pocketful of Kryptonite – it will need another episode to play out the drama, but here it is just a passing reference) and I’ve opened the door for a romantic interlude. I’ve been thinking that these three characters could form part of a serial (thanks Icy for the encouragement).

  2. I think you did well getting the background in. I was disappointed when I read the bit about Jackson and Andrew – I wanted to know about Emily. Then you told that too. Yay!
    You made me laugh out loud at the Wayne and Garth reference – and also at the Twilight one. So glad other people do that too 🙂
    You HAVE to carry this on – will Andrew get Emily? I suspect she’s also interested in him (I did wonder in the first story actually)…
    I think I’ve missed something, how did the comic issue get resolved? Where’s that?

    • You will need to read Pocketful of Kryptonite. Basically, Emily has a comic that Andrew really wants and says that if he beats her in the next English essay, he can have it. In this story, it was a passing line where Andrew said, “You owe me a comic.”

  3. It was good to return this week to meet the same characters. I was wondering about the fate of our favourite McGuffin but your comment above set me straight there. And anyone who pays homage to Wayne & Garth is splendid in my book.

  4. Oh wow, MAD magazine. Thanks for bringing back that long forgotten piece of my childhood. I’ll have to go look for some issues now.
    And I too liked the homage to Wayne and Garth.

  5. You’re damn right I’ll encourage you! I want to find out what happens between these two! I’m rooting for Andrew as I can’t stand the idea of a comic lining a bird cage…

  6. Fun and a lot of information in this small piece. I liked reading some backstory and the little references to pop culture were right on, Dude!! I think I watched “Wayne’s World” at least a hundred times. Very relevant.

  7. I thought that the pop-culture references were excellent. They gave the story a comfortable present day feel that allowed us the opportunity to relate with the characters.

    Well done

  8. I was hoping you’d return to this story line. Fun that you gave not one but two explanations of how these characters came to be involved. And I’ve always thought there was something brewing between Emily and Andrew. Can’t wait for the next episode…

  9. Alas, I am so out of it on pop culture I did not follow the references, but it did not matter. It still flowed well, and sounded natural. Great use of dialog.

  10. I enjoyed reading the continuation of the story. This piece gives a sense of history and hints at a future for these characters. Good use of dialogue.

  11. I don’t know if anybody else would have come up with this pairing. Well done.

  12. Good character interaction. Pop culture knowledge nearly unnecessary for reader, but a couple add some character lost to part of the audience if this was a standalone. The natural language carries the scene.

  13. I like how there’s so much to these characters beyond the piece. It really shows through.

  14. I am glad Andrew won his bet and his comic book. I also like the way he is starting to look at Emily in a different light. Good continuation.

  15. I must say, I am also a little out of touch with pop culture but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of your piece. Well blended!

  16. This was such an easy read, the dialogue flowed naturally and the pop culture references were natural and funny. Great stuff and I’m looking forward to reading more too!

  17. I know nothing about these characters, but I enjoyed this. The dialogue flowed very well, and I loved the pop culture references.

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