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Fantasticoe 2010 Contents
Life on Parade

Katie Selinger

The Biscoe brothers opened the door to their first full night at their dorm with tears of laughter. Well, one of them did anyway.
 
"Peter, this isn't funny. I don't understand why you're in stitches over such nonsense," reported Morrissey stuffily. Peter, the younger brother by three years, pounced on his blue bed, the backdrop of the 2006 Fifa World Cup behind him as he held something up to his brother's face.

            "Morrie, you're so beautiful and cute!" Peter mocked in a high girlish tone. "I love you so much even though I've only seen you on the tour a few times. I want you to have this, please take it everywhere with you and when you do think of me!" He pranced back to the floor with glee as he bent down as if proposing. "Let this be a token of our looovvveee!!!" Irritated, Morrissey snatched the small plush Siamese cat as Peter fell on the carpeted floor still laughing hysterically. "I've never heard anything like this in my life and there's one thing to call it: gah-ross!"

Morrissey stared at the trinket, wishing that the flush on his cheeks would magically be propped away in his brown wardrobe with his least favorite pair of socks. The small room, with its walls of cinderblock and pastel white was shared with matching blue beds and adorned with Einstein and Electric Light Orchestra posters on the walls. The desks were organized, with Macbook Pros gleaming proudly against a bare bulletin wall.  The lone window showcased the intersection of Brunswick Street and Oxford Drive, with the cars searching the pavement with brightly lit eyes in the rush hour. All in all, it wasn't much, but it had to be home. Home for the next four months. 

Morrissey remembered it vaguely, the girl who gave this plush cat to him with sweating palms and a red like a fire truck flushing on her pale cheeks. But everything else about her, like the color of her hair or what she was wearing, was swept away in the tide of his memory. He raised a hand and coursed it through his reddish brown hair, which trembled his rectangular glasses as his fingers bumped onto the frames.

"Why must girls always be like this?" He muttered to himself loud enough for Peter to hear who sat up from rolling on the floor with jubilation.

"Well that's easy," Peter piped optimistically, his blue eyes sparkled with happiness. "Girls think you're cute and they flock and follow you like ducklings following their mom!" Morrissey gave a dismayed smile as he rolled his eyes and looked up at the ceiling.

"Please Peter," he droned. "Why would such simpletons want to know of the inner dwellings of my life? What could they possibly gain from such knowledge?" Peter thought about it for a moment, scratching his blonde hair with the few curls still bouncing within it from his childhood.

"Huh," He thought to himself. "I've never questioned it before; it was just a fact of life really, girls rushing toward Morrissey. Here I thought my curly hair had a thing with the ladies." He averted his gaze back to his brother with his preppy outfit of a button-up shirt with a black jacket and olive green pants. However, this wasn't what he was paying attention to.

"Stop doing that!" Peter suddenly snapped.

"Doing what?" Morrissey questioned.

"Scratching your beard while I sit here working my brains out while you just stand there observing, like some smart-ass!"

"Hold your tongue!" Morrissey shot back, slamming the book he was reading shut. "Your time will come Peter when you will grow out a beard."

"Your time will come Peter," mocked Peter. "You know how sick I am of hearing that phrase!? It's plastered all over on our orientation papers and our parents told me that was what college was for! Seriously, how on Earth can I change and find my true inner self," he ranted as he bent his two pointer fingers at the expression. "If I don't even know if I'll be able to change?" Morrissey propped the book underneath his arm as he observed his brother.

"Do you remember the time I protected you from those bullies in third grade?" Peter cocked his head to the right. "Yeah," he said still in a huff. "What of it?"

"I quite remember a certain someone by the name of Peter Biscoe who became so enamored of me that he copied absolutely everything I did. He even went to the extreme of dressing like me, talking like me, and trying to get into the same things I liked such as bands and movies." Morrissey reminisced with a smirk at Peter's flabbergasted face.

"..Since—Since when did I listen to Bach? He's atrocious!" Peter gasped.

"Pardon?" retorted Morrissey. "He's not as atrocious as David Bowie." Peter's hands went onto his hips.

"How can you say that?" he said in disbelief. "You always liked David Bowie! I remember you putting on "Dancing in the Street" when you got done with a massive paper or singing to "Ziggy Stardust" in the secret hideaway of your room! Or did you stop listening to him considering he was the favorite artist of what's-her-face who dumped you?" Silence infiltrated the room; silent as the anticipation before a war battle struck a chord in the everlasting concert of history. Morrissey's arm tightened around his book as he used every fiber in his being to not lash out on his brother in wrathful pain.

"You knew how important she was to me," he murmured darkly with an accent of anger. "How dare you think you can understand my feelings, something so alien to someone so naive such as you." Peter stood up suddenly with a stomp of both feet that shook the floor.

"Now hold on," Peter tried to speak calmly. "Why," Peter thought to himself as he waited for his brother's answer. "My blood is boiling, and I feel like I'm trying to keep a demon at bay. Except I don't even know how it got there in the first place."

"I expect you to be like this though," Morrissey intervened, his anger now going into a metamorphosis of cynical playfulness. "Considering you've never had a girlfriend."

Peter was left stupefied.

            "I've been stumped by Morrie's smart talk before, but this..this is the first time that I honestly can't find my way out of this one." He thought madly as the silence returned to separate them once again.

            "Well-" Peter stammered at a loss. "W-well, not knowing of what it's like to be in love must be better than suffering from a pain you've never recovered from. For isn't that why you've avoided all the girls who given you a look or offered you presents?" Morrissey then suddenly threw his book down to the floor in frustration. Peter jumped out of the way in time, despite being very scared. Morrissey then glared at him and breathed heavily, his composure snapped.

            "Geez! I've never seen him like this!" Peter thought wildly. "I never meant to get him so touchy. How was I supposed to know that he had this inner war within himself? Why didn't he tell me? I'm his brother, aren't I obligated to know these things?"

            "I hope you change," Morrissey swore, not even bothering to amend his glasses which were now askew on his brow. "You know nothing about where to lead the rest of your life, Mister Undecided…I've outgrown you." With that, Morrissey stormed out of the room with his orientation papers and slammed the dorm door shut, leaving Peter alone where even the retreating sunset from his window gave him little reassurance. Figuring that there was nothing else to do and still feeling numb from Morrissey's words, Peter slowly got ready for bed, hoping that if nothing else, sleep and the tranquility of the summer night could ease him to peace. Even if it was a short period of it. Thankfully, it wasn't long before Peter slipped himself into dreamland.

 

*                                  *                                  *

Peter was jolted by a sudden loud sound.  At first, it was muffled, but its cacophony was growing louder and louder with every step. Peter, who laid stomach down, found himself not in his dorm bed, but rather on of the sidewalks that coiled around the quad like guardsmen serpents. He slowly got up, and found himself in the outfit that he was in earlier: his favorite high school soccer team t-shirt, his khaki cargo pants, and blue Converse high tops. He could still even catch the faint scent of his Cloudy Sunset cologne as he fully stood up.

"Where am I?" His head spun. "No doubt about it, I'm still on campus. I remember that library anywhere. Let's see, if I'm," He visualized the map in his mind as he took in his surroundings. "I'm under the beech tree..and the girls dorm is to the right of me, hmmm, giirrlls, why won't any of them ask me out? I mean, do they like the scruffy type or what? Or is it because-" His tangent was cut short when something ran into his back leg. He knelt down and found that it was a wind-up toy frog.

"I used to play with these all the time as a kid!" He reminiscenced. "It could use a bit of paint though, it looks old." But as he tried to pick it up, the frog wound itself up and bounced away from Pete, set to the rhythm of the sound he heard ever closer in the distance.

DUM! Bum, bum! DUM! Bum, bum! DUM! Bum, bum! DUM! Bum, bum!

Peter turned his gaze toward the sound, where he now could hear the drums that shook his feet, the bells and the chimes tooting and blowing wildly. The whole quad was shaking as the earthquake of sound forced Peter to get out of the way. Soon, a procession of wind-up bouncing frogs led the way and as they did, the entire campus in its elite glory altered its palette by changing into crazy textures and patterns in every outrageous color the human mind had never once conceived. Peter ran up alongside this strange procession, after all, it was too good to pass up. However, an old voice, faint in the distance, tickled his ear.

"You there, boy! We don't have time to stand there and gawk. Move along now, or I'll leave you behind!" Puzzled, yet curious, Peter began to head into a jog.

"Alll right then, let's follow the mad old man who leads a procession of…bananas playing saxophones that are leading kitchen appliances?!" Peter thought madly as this caught his eye. As he neared the front, he witnessed a golden throne with forest green velvet pillows mounted on it. Cans of Spam and an abundance of fish and chips littered the front half, as lucky cats from Japan attempted to eat the delicacies. Peter happened to witness more of the little frogs from earlier as he neared the front mount of tiny plastic horses and elephants painted in patterns found on Ramen packages that led the parade.

"Now, what did I tell you about gawking, boy?" The elderly masculine voice chimed in Peter's ear again. Peter found him, a short little man with round glasses that were too big for him upon his nose and with a snow-white mustache. He was garbed in magenta robes that were laced at the sleeves and tiny diamonds were upon the collar of his thick neck. On his breast pocket, a small platypus was embroidered in a pink-red thread. Peter looked up at him quizzingly.

"I wasn't gawking,"

"Rules, boy! I didn't hear you call me sir! And for that, if I say you're gawking, you're gawking!"

"N-No, sir! No I wasn't!" Peter protested. The odd little man looked down at him, as if it was just in this moment that he recognized he was there.

"Welcome me lad! Hop aboard!" Even though Peter was now even more confused by this stranger, gave a hop and magically appeared by the seat of the old man.

" Lovely day for a procession, isn't it? But can I tell you a little secret boy?"

"Of course sir,"

"The truth is that it's never a lovely day for a procession. For you see, I've only been minding my business with my new gown on and suddenly all these fantastic creatures won't stop following me! I don't know where they came from and I've tried to get rid of them but they just won't leave me alone. Hence, why I set up this parade, that way I can still get to my destination and all of these creatures will still be happy."

"But sir," asked Peter as they passed the girls dorm hall that was wrapped in orange and charcoal grey argyle. "Where was it that you were planning to go?"

"That's the thing," said the old man. "I don't know where. I feel like I'm just following a path, not knowing where it leads or what awaits me, but I rather enjoy it, this path of life." He sighed in nostalgia after finishing his sentence as he gave the reins another slap. "But I must say, I, Mr. Viability, am getting tired of holding these reins. They're very rough for my old-man hands you see."

"Well," started Peter. "I can hold them for you a while sir..er, Mr. Viability sir." Peter began to reach his hand to the rein, but Mr. Viability stopped him.

"Caution Pete my lad. You must never let someone control you, once you start down this path. Make your own choices. Stop and talk to only those you trust. Don't be overconfident when "The Right One" meets you with her lovely eyes. But most importantly and no matter what, be true to yourself. Do you understand?" Mr. Viability asked with the strictest focus Peter had ever seen in his life. The fact that the parade was leading them off campus and onto checker-board streets where the buildings glistened like glitter while under the green and yellow plaid sky didn't even faze Peter.  He swallowed hard before answering.

"Y-yes sir. I'm clear, crystal clear, we're really clear." Mr. Viability smiled as he let go of the reins. 

"It's a great morning for change," he sighed as the fog clouded the atmosphere around them. As Peter took a hold of the reins, they didn't feel rough; rather they felt like new leather.

"Mr. Viability, sir, there must have been a mistake. These reins aren't hard, they're new and..how did you know my-" He turned to find the old man, but he was gone, without a trace to be seen. Peter then turned his eyes back to what lay in front of him and gripped the reins.

"A great morning for change…"Mr. Viability's words were the light that led the parade forward, forward before vanishing in the midnight fog.

 

*                      *                      *

The alarm sounded with an annoying trill. Peter woke up slowly with the newborn dawn shining in his half-closed eyes.

"What a wild dream," he told himself sleepily. He tossed to face Morrissey's bed and found him rubbing his eyes with both hands.

"Morrissey?" asked Peter.

"Hmm?" Morrissey answered, removing his left hand from his face and giving Peter his attention.

"Sorry about last night," Peter murmured with guilt. Morrissey rolled over, his back facing Peter.

"Don't worry about it." Morrissey replied sleepily.

"I'm serious! I honestly didn't know how inconsiderate I was, I thought that I could be there for you if you needed someone to vent to," Peter's voice dwindled as he stripped himself from the warmth of the bed and gave his attention toward the sun. "But then, I need to forgive myself. You're brilliant, so much more than me. I felt that if I asked help for you that you'd blow me off or speak in such a way that I wouldn't understand. It's not girls, but I guess it's a similar pain that you and I are going through. Let alone it being your first transfer and my first year of college." As Peter talked, Morrissey rolled to face his brother, his right eye lost in the jungle of his bed-head. 

"What I'm trying to say is that it's a great morning for change," Peter answered as he walked toward the door, a new invisible confidence, resonant in every step. Morrissey couldn't even tell if Peter was aware of this boost of self-esteem. But knowing him, probably not. 

"Hey," Morrissey's call made Peter stop from twisting the fine silver knob in his hand. "I'm sorry too, I should have considered that you'd at least listen to me even if you don't know my situation. I'll help you out anytime, but," He reached and put on his glasses as he talked. "as long as you keep true to yourself from now on. Except maybe for special emergencies." Peter's eyes widened at the proposal.

"Learning how to make girls notice me would be good," Morrissey laughed with the brightest grin that Peter had ever seen on his face, one of true happiness. Then he picked up the plush cat that laid peacefully on the table.

"I believe you are starting to know how. Well, this talk has made me want to look into who my admirer truly is, for I had a dream that made me want to reconsider. After all, we all need to carry on and move forward with the struggles that we face in our lives. And Peter, thanks for telling me." The Biscoe Brothers then shared the brightest smiles that were ever on the faces, as bright as the new morning sun that witnessed their new beginning in the distant horizon.

FIN