The Androgynous Strain 2
"April, I told you not to wait until the last minute."
Misplaced keys. Locked out.
It was an accomplishment to find a dog that was not freaked out by Cameron.
Morris: "What's the matter now, man?"
John: "I think the neighbors poisoned our dog."
Morris: "Call the police."
John: "No proof and besides, our family never calls the police."
Energy drinks outsold everything else. Chocolate was in demand.
"Leave the thermostat alone."
"It's hot in here."
"No it's cold in here."
Sarah went in for surgery. Meanwhile, Cameron did not have juvenile arthritis but the pain in her leg had become more than data -- it was acute and chronic.
John had an unhappy childhood but at least he had one; Cameron had none. Unless you count trauma as childhood.
I screwed up. I have to do better. They're all depending on me.
Derek's teen years were spent scavenging and protecting kid brother Kyle from the H-K's.
Rainy season. Damp.
Siren. Flashing lights. Sarah pulled over.
"I wasn't speeding."
"License, registration, insurance, and turn off your engine."
The officer went back to his car. Sarah suppressed an impulse to start a car chase.
"There is a problem with your insurance, Sarah Connor."
Before she could reach for her gun or hit the accelerator, he had a gun to her temple.
"Relax. I'm Resistance not a terminator or a fed."
He put away his gun and returned her ID cards.
"Thanks. Who are you?"
"I can't say but I can tell you this. Derek Reese's squad was not the only one sent to the past. Get real insurance Mrs. Baum. Good day."
Young children aren't really bothered by getting up in front of a class to go to the board or do show and tell -- unless the other children laugh. Teens and adults are bothered by presentations.
Uncertainty. What if there was no Judgment Day in April 2011? John would graduate and Sarah had not gotten him ready to leave home and go to college. For that matter, Sarah had not gotten herself ready to let him go. It had been a mistake to break off the engagement with Charley Dixon. A woman had needs too.
Sarah and Derek fought. John and Cameron observed.
"I told you." said Cameron to John.
Many teens had to take care of a baby. Their own or a baby brother or sister.
Uncaring teachers. Boredom.
Muggings don't just happen in New York City. Other cities too.
"Society expects you to fit in."
"Keep up buddy."
I.O.U.'s and not enough jobs for teens just when they needed extra overspending money.
Many students dealt with inconsiderate and rude fellow students by dissing them. One student avoided people (hard to do in a crowded school).
Pickpockets. The assistant principal intervened.
"That jerk stole from me."
"But you threw the first punch. You’re suspended."
"But that means I’ll miss the big night!"
"That's probably why they provoked you. To steal your date." said a friend of the student.
Half the students at Campo liked sad songs. The other half liked what the first called "bitch music." Bitching about bitches.
The school librarian noticed the books that were always checked out -- books about victims. Victims of the Inquisition during the Dark Ages. Victims of the Protestant Ascension in England. Victims of the Salem Witch Trials. Victims of the KKK. Victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Victims of terrorism. Victims of vampires. Victims of cults. Victims of Bhopal. Victims of Chernobyl. Victims of gang violence.
Sarah got shot while checking out UFO reports in the desert.
"Nobody walks in L.A."
"Only a nobody walks in L.A."
Those who didn't have cars took the bus to school.
Except for the Homecoming win, Campo de Cahuenga High School had an unbroken losing streak. Frustration. Excitement.
"I can't wait!" became "I can't wait any longer."
Noise. John stepped back on the curb out of the path of the truck. Cameron was not there. So what? Cameron did not follow him into the boys’ room at school either. He could slip on the floor, hit his head, and die instantly. That truck could have produced a new timeline. One with no John Connor.
The best way to express emotion is through violence--not! Endless legal problems as certain teens discovered.
Certain viruses, fungi, and parasites flourish in the teen population. Especially here.
"Get up John. No rest for the weary. And clean up your room."
The technician sent by the school district physical plant department was finally changing the filters in the water fountains.
Principal: "How often are the water filters changed?"
Tech: "With budget cuts, once every ten years."
Principal: "How often should they be changed?"
Tech: "To be safe, once a month. And this unit has lead solder."
Sarah looked at the meat in the supermarket. A few feet away was a mother with her eight-year daughter who was developing breasts. Sarah looked back at the shrink-wrapped meat in the plastic trays and sighed. She left the store and went instead to an organic butcher.
Power lines hung over homes. Microwave ovens. Cell phones and other cordless devices. On wavelengths not that different from brain waves.
The fluorescent lighting at school buzzed. While some students had to study by a naked incandescent light bulb.
At work, Sarah was interrupted by interruptions that were interrupted.
At school, students sexted each other. On a social network was embarrassing information. A boy saw pictures of himself that he wished he had never taken and shared.
"John, we need to talk about your future."
"I think about the future all the time mom."
"Not THE future, YOUR future. It would not be the first time that Judgment Day or the inevitable got postponed. You haven't applied to any colleges and we don't have the money to send you."
"We have money for guns that don't stop terminators."
"You need to win a scholarship. I need to get you safely away from me so that you can pursue a political career without a criminal like me dragging you down."
"What brought this on?"
"Riley. She's dragging you down. Got me to thinking that I am too. Cameron can go to college with you. I can't."
"If you were a Congressman, then you could cut funding for the Skynet Project. And even without Skynet, a nuclear war or plutonium pollution will kill us all unless you stop it."
Some kids at Campo worried about climate change or other headline news. Some had parents trapped in cults or were in cults themselves. Weird religions. Some teens had to deal with domestic battering or sexual abuse. Some kids were HIV positive. Some parents pulled their teens out of Campo de Cahuenga so that they would not be exposed to AIDS.
As usual, John was skipping meals. Family outings were a thing of the past.
The AP teachers were loading down the college-bound and gifted students with homework. By contrast, other teachers didn't care. Their students weren't going to college so why bother to assign homework?