Star Wars Is Just Make-Believe… Right?
Rush Hour Mayhem
A squadron of fighters zoomed low over my head. They fired their blasters at the mob of people below the cliff on which I stood. I couldn't hear their screams, but I imagined them all screaming in terror as they watched mass numbers of their fellows perish at the hands of my fighter pilots.
I looked at the palace behind me. There were no signs of life inside. It was perfectly still and silent, like a haunted house long abandoned. I looked back at the people below the cliff. Despite their heavy losses, they continued to advance steadily toward the rock face. I looked from the palace to the mob and back again, trying to figure out what to do.
I turned around again and saw a graying man in military uniform running up to me. He stopped a few feet in front of me, and panting, managed to say, "my Lady, there are too many of them. The front lines have been overwhelmed, and I fear that it is only a matter of time before the fortress falls."
"The fortress will not fall," I said darkly. "We will not allow it."
"But my Lady, there are so many of them-"
"That matters not," I snapped. "We will fight them, to the death if need be. Now get back into battle!"
"Yes, my Lady," The officer said reluctantly. He bowed and ran off. I turned toward the approaching mob again. It looked like it would indeed come to death…
I took off my cloak and tossed it aside. I took my lightsaber off my belt and walked over to a landspeeder parked nearby. I hopped on, and immediately it took off down the edge of the cliff. As I approached the mayhem at the bottom, I felt the fury and excitement of battle rush through me. I drew my lightsaber and prepared to strike. The blade was red.
As I charged into battle, a female voice from somewhere far away yelled "AMELIA! IT'S TIME TO GET UP, ALREADY!"
My eyes snapped open, bringing me back to reality. I was back in my bedroom, sprawled out across my bed. My alarm clock on my bedside table was buzzing loudly, but obviously not loudly enough to bring me out of the awesome Star Wars dream I was having. I groaned loudly, wishing that I could go back to the Star Wars world that I loved so much.
I reached over to push the snooze button, and gasped when I saw that it was almost 7:30. I kicked the covers off of me and leapt out of bed. "Shit!" I yelled, running toward the bathroom across the hall. "Why didn't you wake me up earlier, Mom?"
"It's not my job to get you up every morning!" Mom snapped from her room further down the hall. "You're sixteen years old! You should be able to get yourself up! What are you going to do when you have to go to work early in the morning, and I'm not around to make sure you get up on time?"
I emerged from the bathroom, holding my hairbrush and looking annoyed. "Oh stop it, will you?" I grumbled, running into my room. I closed the door and threw off my Darth Vader PJs. I brushed my short red hair with one hand as I pulled my sports bra over my head with my other hand. I opened my dresser drawers and pulled out the first shirt and pair of jeans that I touched. I hastily put them on while I finished brushing my knotted hair.
I took a moment to examine myself in the mirror before leaving my bedroom. I was wearing a long, black T-shit and a pair of dark blue jeans. My hair was flat and lifeless as usual, but I didn't care. I now had fifteen minutes to get to the high school on the other side of town.
I grabbed my book bag that lay next to my desk on the side of my room opposite the bed. I quickly checked to make sure I had everything packed before storming out of my room.
"Bye Mom!" I said irritably as I stormed out of the house without bothering to grab something for breakfast.
I hopped on my bike and sped down the driveway and down the street. I lived with my single mother in a little house in a quiet suburban neighborhood in my hometown. I passed by my eighty-year-old neighbor, who was walking his ancient pug as usual. I waved as I passed, but he didn't wave back, which was typical. He always a jerk to everyone in the neighborhood, especially to those inhabitants who were under the age of fifty.
I turned off my street and passed a few more houses. In the driveway of one of the homes was Mr. Ilgis dressed in his dark blue suit. He was unlocking his Mercedes, and preparing for his commute to work. Next door, the Greek woman fed the chickens that lived in a coop in her front yard. She smiled pleasantly as I passed, and I nodded politely. On the other side of the street, two small girls with pink backpacks ran down their driveway and headed toward the bus stop on the corner.
I turned the corner and was immediately met with a very busy road. It was completely clogged with the usual commuter traffic, but the bike lane was completely clear. My hometown was a small town when I was born, but grew significantly in size as I grew up. It doubled in size as soon as some big corporation decided to make the town the location for its headquarters. As soon as that happened, a giant skyscraper popped up in the middle of downtown, and suddenly everyone in the area decided to move into the city. After that, it seemed like everyone worked in that steel and glass monstrosity.
Those who didn't go to work for the corporation worked in either the department stores or one of the million and one law firms that lined either side of Jay and Elm Street. Those students at Central High School who didn't want to be a store clerk, a lawyer, or a corporate desk zombie were forced to leave town and seek work elsewhere. The town contained a technical institute, a law school, and a larger four-year college, but those students who sought a University or a college with an actual campus were also forced to leave.
My town was fairly large, but was in no way considered to be a big city. It had an absurd amount of commuter traffic for its size. The traffic was always so bad that it was often easier and faster to take a bike or a scooter to work or school. As I peddled my ass off, trying to make it to school on time, I found myself very glad that I wasn't in one of those cars or school buses caught in the standstill traffic jam.
I passed by the entrance to the freeway that cut the town in half. I looked over at the entrance ramp and saw that part of the traffic jam spilled over onto the highway. I came across a few more people in the bike lane as I approached downtown. Luckily, they stayed to the right, so I was able to zoom by them on the left in my mad rush to get to school.
Downtown was the most interesting part of the town. It was extremely large, and consisted of Main Street and about twenty one-way side streets on either side of it. I cruised down Main Street, and the traffic on the main road, the bike lane, and the pedestrian sidewalk increased significantly. I passed by the single, colossal skyscraper that was the sole component of the town's skyline. There were mobs of people walking in and out of the glass giant's revolving doors, and some of the people on bikes got out of the bike lane and headed toward the skyscraper's entrance. The traffic jam spilled into the entrance of the corporation's parking garage next to the skyscraper, and I had to squeeze in between two cars as I passed by.
In addition to the skyscraper, downtown contained a three-floor bookstore, one of many small shopping malls scattered throughout the town, a fast-food joint, three cafes, a large bakery and patisserie, various banks, the law school, a theater and opera house, and a car dealership that I was convinced was run by an ex-mobster.
On the side streets, one could find a multitude of small business and unique little shops. There were multiple mom-and-pop computer stores, an art studio, two baby shops, a bridal boutique, several sandwich and deli shops, two hole-in-the-wall pizza joints, about a hundred bars, a farmer's market, a small jewelry store that looked run-down and seedy, a bagelry, a drug store and pharmacy, a psychic studio, a small grocery store that sold lots of exotic and foreign foods found nowhere else in town, a store that sold nothing but vintage records, and pretty much every other store one would desire to visit. There was even a comic book and collectibles store that I visited every week. That was the place where I got almost everything I liked; I was able to get manga, anime DVDs not available in the US, and merchandise from my favorite movies and anime. Most importantly, that shop was the place where I got all of my Star Wars merchandise and comic books. I shopped there so much that I got to know the storeowner personally, and he made an effort to get anything I requested in stock. That store was a nerd and geek's dream, and was my personal heaven.
I passed by the entrance of another one-way street. I looked up and saw the street sign. When I saw that I was passing by Druin Street, I immediately looked down and peddled faster. Druin Street was the worst section of downtown. On that street, every pervert and sleaze alive could find everything his sick heart desired. That one side street contained multiple nightclubs, strip bars, and porn shops. It was also the place that most of the prostitutes decided to infest with their presence during the evening hours.
All in all, downtown was the coolest and most dynamic part of town. Almost everything could be found there, and it was the most popular hangout spot for the town's teenagers. There was always something to do there, and I loved downtown to death.
Oh, and I must not forget to mention that there was a coffee shop on every single corner of every single street in downtown, including Druin Street.
I cut down one of the side streets and found myself picking up speed as I peddled down a hill. I looked at my watch and saw that I had five more minutes to go. I peddled as fast as I could. There was still a slight chance that I would make it on time. I yelled at some people walking on the side of the road to get out of the way as I sped past. They jumped to the side, yelled obscenities at me, and a few gave me the finger. I returned the gesture without a second thought.
Eventually, the school's driveway came into view. I sighed in relief as I sped up it, thankful that I was probably going to make it on time.
There was no one outside the building. The bell was about to ring any minute, and everyone had no doubt gone inside to wait inside the classrooms for it. I leapt off my bike and quickly locked it up on one of the bike racks. I ran with all speed through the front doors and toward my math classroom on the second floor. I ascended the stairs, and as I ran down the hall, I heard the bell ring. I swore loudly and continued running. I had worked so hard to get to class on time. I had even skipped breakfast, which I would regret halfway through first period, in the hopes that I would be able to make it. Now, all of that had been for nothing, because I was late for Mrs. Duble's Algebra class yet again. Hopefully she wouldn't mind me being a few seconds late for class.
I stopped outside of room 224, paused, and opened the door. Mrs. Duble was sitting at her desk by the door taking attendance. She looked up at me and gave me an annoyed look that could slice me in two.
"Good morning," I said timidly. I smiled nervously and headed for my desk.
Before I could get far, Mrs. Duble snapped, "Amelia MacIntosh, you're late again!"
"I'm really sorry!" I pleaded. "But I didn't hear my alarm go off, and I got out late, but I'm only late by a few seconds, and-"
"Sit down," Mrs. Duble ordered, glaring at me over the top of her half-oval reading glasses.
"Yes ma'am," I said and ran to my seat at the back of the room.
Mrs. Duble continued with her attendance as I took my math stuff out of my bag. I looked at the people around me. On my right, with her light brown hair pulled back into a loose bun, was a very annoyed-looking Katherine. I smiled nervously at my friend, and she shook her head in disbelief. Next to her was my skinny, fair-haired friend Lita. Her pimpled face was contorted in an expression that told me she was suppressing a laugh. I smiled at her and almost laughed myself. On my left was another friend of mine named Caitlyn. She had short, dark blonde hair, and wore a Nightmare Before Christmas T-shirt. She mouthed a "nice going" at me and went back to trying to finish her math homework, which lie nowhere near complete on the desk in front of her.
I opened my math folder, and to my relief, found that I had not only finished my homework for a change, but had also packed it in my bag the night before. I swelled with pride. If I had not been late for class, I would have felt extremely responsible for once. I wasn't a very responsible person. I never cleaned my room unless forced to by my mother, I had a habit of not doing homework in its entirety if I did it at all, and I often played video games or watched TV instead of studying. My grades were not that good as a result. I got mostly C's and D's, maybe the occasional B, and I hadn't received an A since junior high.
The teacher left her desk and started checking each student's homework. Next to me, Caitlyn let out a small cry of despair as she scribbled rapidly in her notebook. She was no doubt writing complete bull shit in an attempt to make it look like she did something last night, and I doubted that Mrs. Duble would accept it for credit.
While we waited for the teacher to come our way, Katherine nudged my foot. "Hey Lia," she said to me, "look who's missing today."
I looked around quizzically. I noticed an empty desk on the other side of the room and almost gasped out loud.
"Emily's absent?" I asked in awe. Katherine laughed and shook her head in disbelief. "Wow!" I continued. "She's never absent! I don't think she's ever missed a day of class since I've known her!"
"This is certainly a surprise," Katherine replied.
"She must have died or something," I said sarcastically, "only death would keep her from coming to school!"
"I know," Lita chimed in, "she's the most serious and dedicated student I know! She even came to school last year when she came down with bronchitis."
"I remember that," said Katherine. "I wonder what's up with her? This is so weird!"
I nodded in agreement. Next to me, Caitlyn threw down her pencil in disgust and put her head on her desk. "Good enough," I heard her mumble to herself. I chuckled and leaned back in my seat.
Mrs. Duble made her way over to my desk. "Do you at least have your homework for once, Amelia?" she asked in annoyance.
"I certainly do!" I said, beaming. Mrs. Duble's eyes widened in shock, and she looked over my homework. She sighed heavily and looked at me over her glasses. "You did your homework all right," she said, "but all the answers are wrong, and I have no idea what you were thinking when you were doing these problems." My smile faded. "You had absolutely no clue what you were doing, did you?" she asked.
"Um," I said, "well, not quite 'absolutely no clue', um." I paused and sighed. "Hey," I continued, "I at least tried, didn't I? I even attempted every problem in the assignment!"
"That you did," Mrs. Duble sighed, making a mark in her grade book, "and that's good enough for homework credit. But please, Amelia, see me after school one day. You need extra help, and I am more than willing to provide it if you want it. If you fall much further behind, I'm afraid you won't be able to catch up."
Without another word, she moved on to the boy in front of me. I collapsed on my desk. My little bubble of pride had officially burst. What she had said was of no surprise to me. I was beyond terrible at math. I was a right-brained type of person, and never did well with numbers, rigid rules, and calculations. Getting extra help would do nothing. She could explain the subjects to me a hundred times, and I would still never understand them. My friend Emily had tried to help me with math once, but gave up when she realized that there was just no helping me understand something that I was obviously incapable of understanding.
"Caitlyn," Mrs. Duble said in disgust next to me, "you divided by zero three times, said that the area of a triangle was base times height, and I don't know where in the world you came up with these random decimals for answers." She gave Caitlyn an annoyed look over the top of her glasses, and Caitlyn laughed nervously. "Did you even attempt this, or did you just write random numbers to make it look like you did?"
Caitlyn didn't answer, and Mrs. Duble scribbled something in her grade book and moved on. Caitlyn mouthed a "whatever, dude" to herself and started doodling in her notebook. I laughed slightly and sat up.
A shudder suddenly crept up my spine, and it felt like there was someone behind me. I spun around, but saw only the cabinets on the back wall. Dismissing the strange shudder as nothing, I turned around and prepared for another long, boring Algebra class.
Disclaimer: Star Wars and all it's characters belong to George Lucas. I don't own them. The only things I own are the OC's, the setting, and the events not involving Star Wars. The OC's are in no way directly based on real people. The town and its inhabitants are completely imaginary.