"You ready, Spiny?" said my recording studio assistant from the other side of the glass. I gave him a thumbs-up. "Ready. Fire away!"
He nodded and kit some buttons. I heard music fading in from the big black headphones I had around my ears. I cleared my throat and leaned in to the big microphone in front of me. I looked at the sheet music one more time, and then closed my eyes.
As you've probably guessed, I was at the recording studio. We were about a little more than halfway through getting the whole thing done. And when my manager had no success in finding a good songwriter…well, uh, heh heh. Let's just say that writing songs and poems is one of my favorite hobbies.
Anyways…April 18, 2015. At the recording studio. 6:19 pm.
I had a very busy past two weeks. UN meetings, conferences, had several problems on the border with Egypt, an air attack by Syrian forces, illegal marijuana smuggling, clandestine bars, End of Year Tests, semester exams, science projects, recording more songs…phew!
Who ever said being a teenage King was a walk in the park?
A bunch of nutbags and wackos.
After all that, I drove home. I saw Lilia working outside on her garden and her yard. She was really passionate about making sure her yard looked neat. And she was a very hard worker. She did pretty good. It was looking pretty nice. She looked pretty!
Anyways, I was dead beat. Super tired. "I'm home!" I yelled once I got in. Patty came out from the living room, carrying the vacuum cleaner. "Hi," I said, leaning over to kiss her. She moved out of the way and said, "Oh, shut up!"
Well! Somebody was in a bad mood. "What's the matter with you?"
She gave me a nasty look and said, "Oh, please!" Well, when the girls' have said those two phrases, it's better not to ask anymore because…well, let's just say this: Kathy and Patty are both really beautiful, but they're not so much when they're enraged and steaming mad.
Anyways, I walked up to my room. Always felt to walk down these…HUH?!
"KATHY! PATTY! SOMEBODY PAINTED AND DREW WITH PERMANENT SHARPIES ALL OVER THE WALL!"
I felt my blood boiling and my heart pounding with rage. Kathy came running, wearing an apron and with grease stains. Her hair was…blech! A huge mess. She was breathing deep. "Yes, Spiny?"
I pointed a stern finger at the wall. My wall. "Who. Did. That."
"My brother? Isn't it our brother?"
She shook her head. "When he's well-behaved, he's our brother. When he does something bad, he's your brother!"
I groaned. I didn't have time for this. "Look, I am not in the mood for this. Just punish him or something."
"I already did. I told him no phone for two weeks."
"Phone? You mean it was Robert?"
"Yes, it was Robert."
"WHY? Why did he do it?"
"Something about protesting against dictatorial rule of not having an iPad or girlfriends."
Ha! How do you like that?
Now I had a rebel preteen under my roof. Well, I would worry about that later. I got into my room, got on my bed, threw off my sneakers, and just lay back on the soft pillow. Aah! Nothing like a soft bed in the evening. Felt real good.
I heard a toilet flushing from inside my bathroom, then hands washing. Larry stepped out. "Hey!" He walked over to my bed. "What you doing, Spine?"
"Oh, please shut up!"
He stared at me for a while, blinking. Then he said, "I'm doing fine, thank you. I just finished making four new powers, we might buy the Kaliningrad Oblast from Russia, and we are updating our Space Armies. How about you?"
I sat up and sighed. "Well…the entire European Union wants to take me to the UN International Court of Justice, my new album is almost finished, the end of year exams are coming up, and I still haven't got the guts to ask Lilia out to a date."
He nodded. "Typical adolescence for a King."
I laughed. "You wouldn't know. Sorry I yelled at you."
He shrugged. "Don't mention it." I got up and stretched. "I just can't seem to be enjoying life as before. It's a lot more complicated than when the world discovered us."
He crossed his arms. "Yeah, I remember that day as if it was yesterday. June 3, 1912. You were still 13 years old. We got so scared. And it seemed that we would get along with everybody…now we have a list of enemy countries with about 35 or so countries or so on them."
I sighed. "Why don't we travel to another dimension? To the one we're still not discovered?"
He laughed. "Pretty good idea."
I stood up and paced around for a little while. "Say, Larry?"
"We're not doing anything today, right? I mean no meeting or anything?"
He got up and went over to get his binder. He started paging through it. "Mmm. Nope. Nothing. Why? We're you planning on something?"
I sighed. "Well…there's something I want to do, but I'm not sure I have the courage to do it."
Larry walked up to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. "Spiny, I know how you feel."
I stared at him. "You know how I feel? You went through this?"
He nodded. "I was scared, too. I was terrified. But don't worry. Just go ahead with it, and no matter how bad the consequences are, you'll feel good."
I gave him a confused look. "Bad? What are you talking about?"
"That I, too, felt scared the first time I was about to play a prank on your sister."
HUH? My jaw dropped about ten inches and I looked at him, dumbfounded. "What. Are. You. Talking. About? I'm talking about dating. Dating! You know, social relationships, courting, that kind of stuff."
"Oh….that I don't know much about."
"Ugh! Forget it. You're no help at all. Just forget this entire conversation, please."
I walked out of my room and down to the kitchen. I couldn't stand to be in the same room with that jerk for another minute. His twisted sense of humor might be contagious or something. And I sure don't need that, thank you. I have enough problems as it is.
As I sat down for dinner, I noticed an empty seat. "Where's Robert?"
"He said he had a headache," said Greeny.
Ha! That was probably one of the worst excuses for preteens I ever heard. I gave Kathy a look that said, "Yeah, right?"
She just shrugged. "So, what are we having?" said Larry as he sat in the seat next to mine.
"Baked chicken drumsticks and black beans."
"Mmmm-mmm! Sounds like a specialty delicacy," I said. I mean, I know how much Kathy and Patty work themselves out in order to make dinner and help to keep the house in order. I would help them if I could, but between being a King, having school, and now my new music career…well, at least I wash the dishes, vacuum, broom, and take out the garbage for them.
As we sat there during dinner, I couldn't help thinking. I was just thinking and thinking. Of what, you may be asking yourself?
Well, to be honest, I was thinking very much of the beautiful girl across the street who had stolen my heart for almost a year now. Why didn't I have the courage to ask her out on a date? This may come as a shock, but just because I am a heartthrob doesn't not mean I am a ladies' man or that I have lots of girlfriends or that I've dated hundreds of times.
First of all, I am not a ladies' man. I am against playboy-type guys. I mean, seriously, girls deserve to be treated a whole lot better. Secondly, I've never had a girlfriend in my life even though there are millions of girls who are crazy over me. Maybe because I'm a coward. I guess I'm just too scared to ask any girl out. And thirdly…there is no third point but two is enough.
But you see what I mean?
And of course, all that on a guy's mind make's him think. I was in the middle of all these thoughts, when Kathy shook my shoulder. "Spiny!"
"I don't know about you, Spiny, but the custom is to eat beans with a spoon and not to drink them."
"What are you talking about?"
"You're drinking your beans, that's what I'm talking about."
"Wha…I am not!"
"Then how come you're holding the bowl up to your mouth and you've got black stains on your chin and your shirt?"
I looked down and…okay, so I was drinking the beans instead of eating them. Hey, I was in deep thought, okay? There's no rules against that, right? Everybody has a right to be in deep thoughts and do crazy things without even noticing. Well, maybe not the last part, but you get the idea.
Not surprisingly, everyone finished dinner and I was there by myself, just thinking. Kathy came out after washing the dishes. "Spiny."
"What's the matter with you?"
"Huh? Nothing. Nothing's the matter. Why would you ask that? What makes you think there's something wrong?"
"Well…you look thoughtful. What's on your mind?"
I shook my head and stood up to go to my room. "Ah, it's too silly to even talk about. I'm going up to my room."
Wouldn't you know it? Kathy wouldn't let me go. She forced me down in the chair. "What is wrong, Spiny? Come on, you can tell me. I'm your sister."
Well, she was starting to sound concerned. And what other choice did I have, really? I sighed. "Well…to be honest, I feel…I don't even know how I feel! How can I tell you how I fell when I don't know myself?!"
"Well, what's bothering you?"
I stood up and started pacing. "I want to ask Lilia out for a date, but I haven't got the courage to do it. There, I said it!"
I could tell she was trying to hold in her laughter. I could see the sides of her lips twitching. She was trying not to smile. I narrowed my eyes at her. "Are you laughing, young lady?"
She sputtered. "No, I'm…I just…HA HA HA HA AHA AHAHA!"
"Oh, shut UP!" I started walking out the kitchen and to my room. "Wait, Spiny. Wait!"
She walked over, her laughter dying down. "I'm sorry. I just laugh every time I think of it. I can't help myself."
"Well, you certainly weren't a big help. That's the second time somebody's been a wise-guy to me. Well, in your case it'd be wise-gal."
"All right, all right. I'll be serious." She suddenly had a serious look on her face. But it wasn't a typical serious face. It was a serious face that was just minutes or seconds away from bursting into laughter. So I had to talk fast.
"Well, I just don't have the courage to ask her out. I'm scared to death. And…well, I think it's now reached the time for us to be more than just friends. I mean, I've waited 8 months already. And I've had to endure many injustices. Don't you think it was time?"
She shrugged. "Not sure."
"How did you know that you were ready to date Richard? I mean, did he do anything that got your attention or made you want to go out with him?"
She laughed quietly and sighed. "Well, lots of things I guess. First, he just said hi to me. Then, he told me how pretty he thought I was. How he'd like to get to know me better. Before I knew it, I was arranging to go out with him the next day out to dinner."
"That's all there is to it?"
"You might say that. But, of course, every person is different."
I shoved my hands into the pockets of my jeans. "That's true. But, I don't know, something tells me I should do it now."
"Well, however you want to. Why don't you ask Larry to give you some tips."
"HA! You're kidding, right? Me, the King of Heartthrobs ask Larry the King of Idiots for advice on dating? Whoa!"
She laughed. "You've been watching Happy Days for too long."
"Hey, I took a shot." I paced back and forth again. It helps me think. I think I've already mentioned that, but it doesn't hurt to say it twice.
Anyways, I looked at the time. It was 6:50 pm. There was still plenty of daylight outside. "Um…I going to go out for a walk. I'll be right back."
"Aw, why don't you wait? We can all go."
"Um, well, I kinda would like to go alone."
She looked suspicious. "Are you really going for a walk or do we need to talk some more?"
I crossed my arms. "Are you insinuating that I'm going to Lilia's house right now and ask her out?"
"I'm shocked that you would even think that! See you around." I grabbed my jacket and stepped outside and walked down the driveway, out the Palace Gates…and across the street to the house across from mine.