Breakfast Serial x.06

It’s still morning somewhere, right?

Any time’s a good time to archive.

Now’s a good time to cross-post


Spatter, clad in a sundress with a floral print almost graphic enough to distract from the damp cloths wrapped around each of her forearms, carried her dirty uniform in a wound wad through the senior commons, en route to the laundry shoot at the other end of the hall. DeathGrip, leaning against a severely slanted cushion, offered a polite wave as she passed. The Chinese teen smiled her reply and took another step, only for her head to jerk back, discombobulated.

She cocked her cranium, then a brow, and tried to understand what she viewed. DoubleVision — in a pink halter and white shorts — dozed on a leather love seat. Wireframe — in a cable knit sweater over a white tank top, with a pair of tattered, oil-stained corduroys — sat on the afghan rug in the middle of the room, crocheting a new piece of apparel. And, DeathGrip… DeathGrip in her black gloves and skinny jeans. DeanGrip in her CBGB’s t-shirt and red racing jacket, looking like an extra from “Thriller.” DeathGrip was propped up against…a snapped sofa? A moment of studious silence for Spatter, and then: “What the hell happened here?”

“Don’t ask.” The Argentinean stood up, between the halves of the cleaved couch. “Just lift.”

“You waited to clean this crap up until I got here?” The Chinese girl was plainly mystified.

“You are the muscle of this outfit,” DeathGrip explained.

“Such flattery.” Spatter threw her bundle of clothes down the corridor and didn’t bother to check where the articles landed. Tightening the moist wraps around her arms, she sized up the nearer half of the broken piece of furniture. “Of all the days to wear a dress…”

The Latina tossed a seat cushion off the splintered frame. “As opposed to the skirts you usually wear?”

“I am a rare and delicate flower.” The Chinese teen felt along the underside of the arm rest, trying to find a decent hold. “At least that’s what my dad used to say when we were still speaking. Like, ten years ago.”

“Must’ve made an impression on the seven year-old you.” DeathGrip removed the seat-back. “I’d welcome a little quiet. My dad just figured out texting.”

“Is that who’s been sending you messages at five in the morning every damn day?” Spatter stepped back and took a look at the space between the legs of the chair and the floor.

“Yeah, the first one’s always some nonsense about the sunshine racing to spread across the sky to show the word how beautiful and smart I am.”


“And, then he harps on me for not replying in Spanish.” The girl in the red racing jacket grabbed the exposed frame on her end.

“Lucky you. I don’t know any Cantonese.” The girl with in the sundress wedged her hands, palms up, under the arm rest. “So, where are we taking this stuff?”

“The elevator.”

“Uh…huh. And, after that?”

“There has to be a dumpster outside somewhere.” DeathGrip shrugged.

“So glad you thought this through.” Spatter glared.

“Erm, sorry to interrupt.” Wireframe placed her crocheting needles on her lap. “But, I…I might be able to save you a few trips — and spare you some back strain.”

“Do tell.” The Latina dropped the frame.

“Do show.” The Chinese teen slid her hands free.

“One moment.” The diminutive, Indian inventor hurried into the hall, toward her dorm, her arms straight at her sides as she power-walked.

“She’s going to make all of us redundant.” Spatter propped a leg up on the arm of the couch, to half-sit as she waited.

“I hope so.” DeathGrip went back to leaning.

Deadlift ensnared her hair — streaked with butterscotch highlights and dark chocolate lows — in a ponytail, smoothed the sides of the purple polo tucked into her khakis, and rapped the ajar mahogany door in front of her with the manilla folder she clenched in her right hand.

“Please come in,” a sing-song voice called from inside the office.

The Physical Education instructor pushed open the door and held the folder tightly to her abdomen. Behind a cherrywood desk sat the quintessential schoolmarm in a black blazer emblazoned with the AFTA logo, a calf-length skirt of the same midnight hue, a pressed white button-up with a ruffled collar, and a string of pearls. A silver hoop dangled from each ear. Her hair, though, gave the headmistress’ true nature away. Rather than strands pulled taut into an authoritative bun, fiber optic cables surged from her scalp. A closer look revealed skin with too glossy a sheen, eyes too crystalline a blue, and two shimmering white trays indented to resemble teeth where real ones should reside. When the android smiled her eerie, emotionless greeting, Deadlift found herself fox-holed in the Uncanny Valley and wanted desperately to fight her way out.

“Grasshopper 3 is in the garage, awaiting refueling.” The gym teacher rushed the words, her eyes nervously tracing the ground around her running shoes.

“Excellent.” The honeysuckle voice dripped from the headmistress’ pristine lips, the only feature on her artificial face to move as she spoke. “And, what do you have there, my dear?”

“Oh. This.” Deadlift’s sweat-slicked fingers passed the folder to the android’s plasticine palm, a mold devoid of lines, wrinkles, and humanity. “It’s, uh, it’s the write-up you requested about the morning class.”

The robot flipped open the folder and scanned the first page. Retrieving a red pen from the cup on her desk, she began making corrections. “Our newest student made quite the showing, did he?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The instructor gulped, as she watched the headmistress strike through an entire paragraph. “He was the last man standing.”

“But not the final female, I take it?” The android flipped the page.

“Er, no.” Deadlift swiftly wiped sweat from her beaded brow, hoping her employer wouldn’t notice. “No, DeathGrip bested him in the end.”

“She is quite the athlete, isn’t she?” That smile again. So hollow.

The gym teacher fought back a shiver. “She is. I was hoping, since enrollment doubled this year, we could start a team sport — something for her to captain, so she could truly excel. Maybe volleyball or track…?”

The headmistress closed the folder and rested her hands atop it. “And, with whom might such a team compete? Even against collegiate athletes, our students would possess an unfair — and, some would say, unnatural — advantage.”

Deadlift ran a palm across the top of her hair, before summoning the courage to look her boss in the eye. “There are two other schools for the gifted, in Maine and Florida.”

“Yes, and there is a reason our academy is located on the other side of the country.” The android capped her pen. “Their existence may be common knowledge — too common, I would argue — but their reputations, evidently, are not. The quality of their respective education systems is — to put it delicately — substandard. To that end, the academy in Maine is currently at risk of losing its accreditation.”

“Oh.” The Phys Ed instructor sunk.

“Still, should either make the improvement necessary to achieve the status of this institution, I would consider engaging in an athletic rivalry.” The headmistress opened the bottom drawer of her desk and filed the folder inside.

“Thanks.” Deadlift, defeated, turned toward the door.

“There is one more item to discuss.” The sing-song voice froze the instructor in place.

“Oh?” The gym teacher turned back to her boss, although her eyes remained averted.

The headmistress, however, stared, unblinking, at her faculty member. “The senior boys believe you to be a male-to-female transgender.”

“Christ, it’s the 2000 Summer Olympics all over again…” Deadlift rocked her head back, exasperated. Her eyes traced the ceiling tiles. “Do I have to wear lace and ruffles to convince people I’m a real woman?”

“I do.” The android retrieved a tissue box from the top drawer of her desk and extended it toward the emotional instructor.

The Phys Ed teacher waved it off. “I’m fine.”

“That you are.” The Ten-Second Rule wrapped an arm around Deadift’s tense shoulders and pecked her cheek.

The gym instructor let out a soft “hey.”

The Home Ec teacher winked back. “You want me to talk to those guys? I do have intimate knowledge of your particular physiology.”

“No, no, it’s all right. It’s fine. It’s not a big deal,” Deadlift tried to convince herself more than anyone else. “Boys will be boys, right?”

“Most will be dicks, but close enough.” The Ten-Second Rule slid a pair of folders across the desk, to the headmistress. “These are for you, by the way. Write-ups from this morning’s bout and the press conference after. Short version? Total cluster-hump. Long version? Read on.”

“Thank you.” The android arranged the files in a neat stack. “And, is there anything I should be mindful of as I reboot?”

“Only that you need to upgrade to a stabler platform.” The Home Ec instructor smirked. “Otherwise, nada. I scanned ahead in space-time, and you’re golden for the next hour.”

“Well, then, I shall see you two on the other side.” With that, the headmistress of the Academy of the Advanced powered down.

“So, wait.” Tantric had to take two strides to match each of LiveFeed’s, as they rushed across campus. “You’re telling me you’ve got access to a car twenty-four/seven, and you never leave?”

“We’re in the middle of Bumfuck, Wyoming, man.” The taller teen pulled the keychain from the back pocket of his sagging Levi’s. Everything that wasn’t too small to fit his wiry frame was entirely too wide. “Deep in Deliverance territory. The only thing that passes for civilization on a Friday night around here is a hillbilly bar at the edge of town. And, this badonkadonk sure as shit don’t honky tonk.”

“I feel you.” The pudgy teen looked all the more plump in the oversized, lime green windbreaker he had hiked to his waistline. His hands remained firmly in the pockets of his jacket, almost cradling his extended stomach.

“Don’t say crap like that.” LiveFeed stopped abruptly at the corner of a stone school building. “This is it.” Tilting his head, he peered around the corner to the closed bay doors of the garage, just a stone’s throw away. “Coast is clear.”

Tantric peered over both his shoulders. “Shouldn’t you be projecting something right now? Laying some cover?”

The beanpole shot a look of pure perturbation. “The only shit in my line of sight right now is the garage and you. The hell do you want me to project?”

“I, yeah, good call.” The new kid removed a hand from his jacket just long enough to rub the scruff of his neck.

“Let’s go.” It took LiveFeed a mere ten steps to arrive at the entrance to the garage. Tantric hustled behind. The 7’7″ stalk held up a hand, halting his 5’6″ accomplice. “Be cool.” As the tall teen’s long, lean fingers reached for the knob of the entry door, it swung open. LiveFeed gulped and snapped his eyes shut. Tantric jumped back. And, Mr. Popular walked past them, shaking his head.

“Mother of fuck.” The afro’d teen inhaled deeply, catching his breath. “Scared the shit outta me.”

The new kid watched the teen in the black hoodie head back toward the dorms. “Is it wrong that I want to wear his skin?”

“You kidding?” LiveFeed stepped inside the dimly lit garage. “I want his hair.”

“What ethnicity do you think he is?” Tantric followed, his eyes still stealing glances back at Mr. Popular’s path. “Turkish?”

“Lebanese.” The beanpole pressed the ‘unlock’ icon on the keychain, and one of sixteen identical vans in the fleet blinked its lights.

“Huh. Those are some good genes.” The pudgy teen closed the entry door behind him. “If I let my hair grow out, I’d have an afro rivaling yours, man.”

“You Jewish?” LiveFeed tapped the icon again, as the duo drew nearer the van.

“Yep. Polish Jew through and through.” Tantric nodded, not that the taller teen was looking. “You?”

“French-Creole.” The lanky teen opened the driver’s side door of the unlocked van. “I was designed with deliciousness in mind.”

“Hold up.” The new kid unzipped his windbreaker and pulled free the folded University of Connecticut jersey he’d been carrying all along. “Put this on.”

LiveFeed looked at the blue and white basketball jersey, blinked, looked down at his own white polo (collar popped, of course), blinked, and looked back at his teammate. “You aren’t serious.”

“Trust me, man.” Tantric shoved the XXL shirt into his peer’s reluctant hands. “It’s all part of the plan.”

Cortex scanned the code he had uploaded to the headmistress’ CPU moments before. He knew it would be flawless — and it was — but it never hurt to double check, especially when the mind was clouded with unruly emotion, as his certainly was. Contented, he closed his MacBook Pro and slid the seventeen inch laptop across the pinewood desk, until it butted against the taupe wall of the dorm room.

The door to the big brain’s right was shoved open, and Mr. Popular took no time in climbing into the top of the two bunk beds across from the desk.

“Ah, our valiant leader returns to slum with the commoners.” Cortex swiveled the reinforced chair that still barely supported his weight, to address the media sensation properly. “Shall I genuflect, or would you prefer me prostrate? What is the proper posture when in the presence of unparalleled divinity? Surely, you are a god amongst mortals. A darling hero destined to be canonized, lionized, immortalized.”

The teen idol stuck a set of buds into his ears, flipped up his hood, and rolled over, his back to his roommate.

“Pray tell, my liege — my savior! — what can I — your humble servant but not so humble as you — do to properly praise you? Shall I act the claque and applaud your arrival to draw my fellow plebs, that we might bask in your shining righteousness?” The enlarged encephalon moved to the doorway and crashed his hands together. “Yes! Yes! Come, all ye sullied by sin and soot! Let your spirits be cleansed, for we are blessed — truly blessed — to be in the proximity of a saint! Virtue washes over him like so much Polo Double Black! Repent now! Repent!”

“Fuck you,” Mr. Popular spat, his back still turned.

“My base mind struggles to comprehend your sage suggestion, oh son of Solomon.” Cortex lasped his hands together and rested them at the side of his roommate’s bed. “Am I to posit that you seek to implant me with your sanctified seed? If true, this is truly a momentous occasion! Tomes will be written of this day!”

“Go fuck yourself.” The Lebanese teen maxed out the volume on his iPod, attempting to drown his teammate out. “Jesus Christ…”

“Clarity, at last!” The big brain fell backwards into his chair, arms outstretched in a hallelujah moment. “Our Anthropocene prophet promotes self-pleasure and refers to himself in the third person!”

“Enough.” Mr. Popular, ripping out his earbuds, spun to face his relentless roommate. “What the hell has gotten into you?”

“Am I not allowed to be in awe of my lauded leader?” Cortex inquired, as innocently as his automated voice would allow.

“I am not your leader.”

“Ah-ha, so the truth does not elude you.”

“Is this about that bullshit PR stunt the governor pulled?” The teen idol sat upright. “Because I wanted no part of that.”

“This is about credit being given where credit is due.” The mind’s emotional display read “>_<". "What did you want me to do?!" Mr. Popular tore off his hood, sending his long, dark locks flying with it. "I had a hundred people breathing down my neck for a fucking sound-bite and a smile." "I wanted you to use the platform provided to promote the efforts of those actually involved in the planning and execution of the takedown and evacuation," Cortex informed. "So, you." The Lebanese teen swung his legs, still clad in the pants of his uniform, over the side of his bed. "You're suck a fucking glory whore, man. Quit acting all butt-hurt just because you didn't get name-dropped." "If seeking the accolades I rightly deserve makes me a so-called 'glory whore', then so be it." The massive mind crossed his arms over his emotional display. "But, what does accepting the awards of others make you?" "A stooge." Mr. Popular slid from his bed and landed on the floor, in front of the incensed intellect. "You want that key to the city so badly? That trumped up symbol signifying fuck all? Go get it. I dumped it in the garbage can in the garage. Have fun digging it out." The teen idol flipped his hood back up and stepped out the door.

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