Rubber Soul

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Cooper

Submitted: August 02, 2016

Reads: 87

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Submitted: August 02, 2016

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The movie sucked.

It wasn’t like one of those ones where all the characters tragically die in the end, it was just a bad movie. In all honesty, I was secretly hoping they all did die at the end. At least that would’ve given it a plot, or at least a bit of suspense. That’s how bad it was. Bree didn’t seem to hate it, but that’s probably just because the main character looked like the offspring of Christopher Reeve and James Dean—both of which are extremely attractive and combined, it would be impossible for their gene pools to produce nothing less than the jawline of a God. That was all completely non-subjective. It’s a fact. I swear. Shit, I’m going to stop talking right now.

“My eyes are bleeding,” I said as we walked out of the darkness of the movie theater into the bright sunlight. The rest of the audience apparently were suffering from the same symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Some crop-topped girl was sobbing while her friend was laughing hysterically, stumbling around the entrance like a drunk. Guess that’s what a bad movie can do to you.

“Why’d you make us come along?” Porter whined, slouching his shoulders, “all I could hear was the guy beside me chewing on the caramel crunchy goodness of a snickers bar.”

“Oh yeah?” Toby sneered, “at least you weren’t sitting next Mr.My-Ass-Smells-Like-Taco-Tuesday.”

“Oh my god, that’s disgusting,” Bree grimaced, scrunching up her nose.

When we went to the movies, we all had to split up, sitting in whatever seats were still open. Sometimes you would get lucky and get stuck next to someone who was less than average and wasn’t making out with their significant other. That was always the worst. I had to sit through “Jurassic World” listening to two sixteen year olds mugging it out in the chair beside me. Ruined the entire movie.

“You smelled his butt?” I joked. We began to walk across the parking lot, away from the throng of overly stimulated teenagers crowding the doors of the movie theater.

“Nah,” Toby began strutting; cocky was his middle name, “it was wafting and-” Toby continued on and on. My sides started to hurt from laughing so hard.

“Please stop,” Porter squeaked. He was so damn squeamish.

“Oh, sorry Porky,” Toby apologized, drawing on one of his goofy grins, “I didn’t mean to corrupt your innocent mind with thoughts of Terry Tuber’s hygienic issues.”

Terry Tuber wasn’t a real guy. Well he used to be, but it was just a slang term for us. Whenever we talked trash about someone—by someone I mean someone who is 100% alive, we don’t talk shit about our own kind—we slap the name “Terry Tuber” on them. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be mouthing off about them, just when we don’t know what else to call somebody. The name originated from one of Toby’s old classmates from High School. Terry Tuber was one of those kids who ate their boogers and stuck their hands down their pants. Everybody knows one of those kids, whether they want to or not. People like that are just inevitable. And I know that’s not nice to say but it’s the truth, and apparently the real Terry actually became like a millionaire after inventing spray-able butter or something dumb like that. I try not to wonder where he got the idea.

“You guys are just so gross,” Porter squirmed, wiggling his flabby arms like he had just touched something really slimy, “why do you even make jokes like that about people in the first place? It’s not very nice.”

“It makes life interesting,” Toby smirked, “or death I guess. Cooper’s down with it, aren’t you bud?”

I nodded dumbly. I liked Toby. He was a fun guy. I mean he wasn’t the best influence—he was probably the worst in all fairness—but at least he tried and stuff. At least he wasn’t all depressed and moany like Bree. Not that I don’t like Bree, I do. Oh man, I totally regret saying that. I really don’t mean it, like at all. Bree’s great she just can be sort of....okay I’m going to just stop now.

“You guys want to go people watching?” Bree suggested dully, “the mall is right down the street.”

People watching is like a major league sport for ghosts. It is one of the only advantages I have yet to find; being able to watch things going on and say whatever you want about it without being judged. It is kind of awesome.

“Sure!” I agreed.

Porter groaned in annoyance, “why are you all so mean to everybody?”

“Porter,” Bree started, sounding frustrated, “it’s not mean if they can’t hear us. It’s not like they’re ever going to know.”

“Yeah,” Toby added, “and have you heard some of the stories they’ve made up about us? And you think insulting someone’s breasts is rude? Especially when they can’t even hear you? There’s no competition.”

We reached that intersection where I had started singing. Rush hour was long gone so there weren’t many cars and barely any traffic.

“I know but...” Porter’s voice faded off before he got the confidence to speak up again, “it’s immoral. It makes me feel like a bad person.”

“Porter,” Toby dragged out the name into one long syllable. It made him sound pleading, and a little PO-ed, “we’re way past the judgment days. We didn’t end up in hell so there’s no point in being ‘moral’ anymore.”

“Yeah, I’m sure many were shocked by your absence,” Bree said.

“But what about, you know, becoming a Brodie?” Porter sounded spooked.

“Jesus, Porter, don’t worry so much. That won’t happen to us,” Toby insisted, but I think he wanted to slap Porter for bringing it up, “and gosh dude,stop shivering like that, you sound like you’re four.” I chuckled a bit as we weaved our way through the mall parking lot. Malls had gotten a hell of a lot bigger since when I was alive. Actually everything had gotten bigger; office buildings, televisions, Americans. The list goes on forever, I’m just too lazy to think of anymore examples. Look at that, see what the world has come to? People these days are basically sloths who sit around all day on their fancy phones and shit. And the apathy is legitimately rubbing off on me.

The four of us sat down on an empty bench near a Hallmark store. I hated Hallmark, with all the cheesy Valentine’s Day cards and 50 dollar ornaments, but it was the farthest away from the food court. And we didn’t need to give Porter another thing to whine about. Besides, the smell of over salted, spicy oriental chicken samples—that I couldn’t swipe from the poor Asian giving them out anymore, hence the “ghost” part of my existence—made me want to die. Which I couldn’t. I’m already dead, if you didn’t know.

We spent a couple of minutes just senselessly staring as people strolled by. There wasn’t a lot of action today; just a bunch of oldies carrying Target bags.

Toby left only a few minutes in, no doubt to have a harmless stroll around Victoria’s Secret, and I was left with Porter and Bree, who didn’t seem eager to talk about much. But I wasn’t letting them off that easy.

“I can’t believe how bad that movie was,” I said, trying to get something going. Porter didn’t fall for it, but Bree seemed to appreciate the effort.

“Yeah, it was pretty awful. I would’ve been really mad if I had had to pay,” she replied.

“Yeah.”

To say our relationship wasn’t awkward would be a straight-up lie. Actually maybe awkward was the wrong word. It wasn’t uncomfortable it was just....artless? Jesus, I don’t even know what that means. Damn thesaurus.

“The effects were good,” Porter chimed in. I nodded in agreement. Bree started to counter him, though, but I wasn’t listening. I had shifted my short-timed-out attention span back onto the pedestrian population. They were all some similar. All with average hair, all with average clothes, all with-

Except for her.

I had spent most likely a total of 360 hours on this bench, watching people of all shapes and sizes, all seemingly the same. But never, in those 360 hours, had I ever seen someone like this.

It was a girl—duh, what else could catch a sixteen-year old boy’s attention? Her hair was brown and curly, spiraling down past her shoulders. She had those ringlet sort of curls, the ones that bounce when you walk. She was wearing a bluish white blouse and light-washed jeans ripped at the knees.

She was beautiful. And I don’t say it lightly. It took me a moment to realize my mouth was hanging open and Bree was trying to get my attention.

“Cooper,” she sounded concerned, “hey, are you okay-”

“Yeah, I’m good,” I said mindlessly. I still didn’t break my gaze. I actually didn’t think I could if I tried. Bree shrugged back a bit, but she was still watching me like an overprotective mother.

The girl with the curly hair was with some other redhead girl, who had a ton of colorful bags clenched in her hand. The other hand was gripped around the curly haired girl’s wrist and dragging her along. She, the pretty one, looked kind of miserable.

I had never wanted to be alive more than that very moment. I just wanted to say hi. But I couldn’t, because I was dead. Not that saying hello to her would do anything. My “game” was severely lacking. I had never had a girlfriend when I was alive. To be honest, the closest I had ever come to a girl was bumping into Alyssa Jane’s boob in 5th grade. I only remember that because I almost got suspended for “sexual assault”; she was kinda overly dramatic.

I watched as the two girls strolled into Bath and Body Works. I hated that store more than the Hallmark Store. I could still smell and that place made me feel like I was living (or dying) in a perfume bottle. But as creepy as it was, I wasn’t going to let her get away. And what was the harm, right? She couldn’t see me.

“I’ll be right back,” I told Bree and Porter, getting to my feet. Bree still looked sort of troubled but she didn’t stop me as I drifted across the mall and into that colorful emporium of flower smelling lotions and overly priced hand-sanitizers.

The girl with the curly hair was standing with her arms crossed, spectating the other girl spray clouds of cucumber-flavored water in the air. I hid behind one of those pyramid displays and peeked over at them. I obviously didn’t need to hide or anything but whatever, I did it anyway.

“Elle, what about this one?” the redhead asked, shoving her fragrant wrist in the girl’s face. She frowned.

“Too fruity,” she said.

The redhead kept the bottle of the pinkish perfume in her hand, despite her friend’s judgement, “I think it smells like what Beyoncé probably smells like.”

The redhead laughed, and the curly haired girl smiled. But I had seen that smile before, I saw it almost everyday. I had gotten pretty good at seeing right through it.

The redhead girl said something that I didn’t hear and mosied over to the counter. The curly haired girl stayed behind, leaning indifferently up against a shelf of body washes. Something was wrong, I could tell. Something was bothering her. Her eyes scanned the store, roving over each and every person stalking through the racks of merchandise.

Her wandering gaze reached me. For a split second, our eyes met. And for that short, wonderful moment, I thought she could see me. But that moment didn’t last.

Because I was dead.

And she was alive.

Her attention moved to the next person she could actually see.

And then I did something so stereo-typically cliché I seriously considered not putting it in this book because it would most likely result in total annihilation of my forelonged reputation. But whatever, might as well. Feel free to “LOL” as much as you please.

I shuffled out from behind my bunker of overpriced toilet water and moved towards her. And when I was close enough to be within earshot, I did something really dumb. Want to know what I said?

I said hi.

I mean what the hell is wrong with me.

I said hi, and worst of all, I actually blushed. Holy shit, this is just painful to recollect. You’re probably throwing up all over this book. You should really just throw it away. Right now. Please do.

Oh, and if you were wondering, the girl didn’t say hi back. Her friend came over with yet another bag clenched between her manicured fingernails.

“Ready to go?” she asked, “sure you don’t want to buy anything?”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” the curly haired girl replied. Her voice was bored and dull.

I am not going to tell you that I kept on talking but, oh damn, I just did. Take it how you want. But as you imagine this horribly stupid scene in your probably suddenly damaged head, keep one thing in mind; it was really pathetic.

I watched her leave. And there was nothing I could do to stop her.

Because, as you already know, I’m dead.

I might have followed them for a few minutes, though. Just for a few, just until Toby found me stalking a pair of semi-attractive sixteen year olds through the food court.

“Hey, what you doing son?” Toby joked, “I had the craziest time dude. You won’t believe that-”

As Toby began to recount all of his adventures, I tracked the curly-haired girl all the way to the exit.

“Hey man,” Toby shook me out of my daze, “what’s wrong, Coop? You always love my bra jokes. And why the hell are you in the food court? I thought we were trying to avoid cultural cuisine at all costs?.”

“I just-” my voice faded off with my hope as I lost sight of the curly-haired girl.

Toby suddenly looked kind of concerned. And that was weird. Toby doesn’t care about anyone. And when you don’t care, it’s really hard to worry.

“C’mon bud, what’s up? You seem real off.”

“That girl,” I said. Shit why am I doing this to myself. This is so sappy. “The one with the curly hair, have you ever seen her before?”

Toby knew everyone, that’s the only reason I asked. If he didn’t know her, there was no way I was ever going to find her again if she left. I really never should have mentioned it.

“The one who just left?” Toby released my shoulders, I hadn’t noticed his hands there. “Yeah, I’ve seen her around. I think she goes to Clifton.” His voice was totally hollow and empty, still sort of worried.

“Oh,” the happiness that flowered inside of me was kind of ridiculous. Stupid testosterone driven brain. My hormones were going friggin’ crazy. Not in the way that you think, that’s gross. Like emotionally, I was just like a mess. Here’s a tip, if you’re going to die, don’t do it during puberty.

Toby face suddenly lit up with realization, that stupid grin filling up his whole stupid face. His eyebrows were raised. He was totally mocking me.

“You think she’s hot,” he teased, his lips pursing back trying to contain his undermining glee at my sudden stupidity.

“Shut up,” I swatted him away and started back to Bree and Porter.

“Don’t deny it.”

“Please just stop.”

“You want some of that.”

“I actually don’t.”

“Look at you blush! Holy crap, you’re actually blushing! Cooper’s got a crush!”

I was blushing, like really bad. I was translucent and my cheeks were friggin’ burning. I swore at him under my breath. But Toby Anderson took that as encouragement. Putting him down was leading him on.

“Damn, get some my friend. Get with it. The bathroom is right over there if you-”

“Please just stop Toby, just-”

Porter and Bree came into sight. My heart sunk. Damnit I couldn’t tell Toby anything.

“Guess what folks! Cooper’s got a girlfriend!” He drawled the last word. My face was literally on fire.

The other two didn’t really react. Porter just looked his usual uncomfortable self.

“Good for you,” Bree said distantly; thank god she didn’t really care.

Toby made something like a sigh of relief, but I don’t really know. Blood was pumping through my brain. “Finally! I’ve converted someone to my risque level of existence.”

“Toby, just because I was looking at a girl my age doesn’t mean I’m thinking about her tits,” I tried to make it sound mean; I just kind of sounded dumb.

Porter made one of his signature squealing sounds. Bree snorted. I think she was actually amused by the whole thing. At least something positive would come out of this.

“Let’s go home,” I suggested; I was never going to live this one down.

“Sure loverboy,” Toby nudged my shoulder. I was just about ready to punch his ugly face.


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