Chapter 6: Rationalization

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 82
Comments: 1


“CHARLIE,” Molly says suddenly, and I open my eyes. “Are you dead, or just sleeping?”

“...Sleeping, I think...” I rub my eyes and yawn. “What’s up?”

“I have a homework question and I need your advice.”

I sit up, slowly. “You mean you want me to do it for you?”

Molly sits down on the bed beside me. “Yes. Exactly.” She grins and holds out her worksheet.

I sigh. “Sure, I’ll give it a shot.” I look at the worksheet. “It’s just this one question?”

“Yes. We need to define the word ‘rationization.’ And then use it in a sentence.”

“You mean ‘rationalization?’” I ask, pointing at the paper. 

“Yes. That word.” 

“Molly, don’t you have a dictionary?”

She shrugs. “I thought asking you would be quicker. I‘d like to take this off my to-do list as soon as possible. Plus I need to finish this by Monday, or else I get another lunch detention.” 

“Okay, okay, uhhh... hmmm...” I try to think, “It’s like... so imagine someone’s on a diet, and they say, ‘ohhhh I ate a salad for lunch, so that means for dinner I can have a Quarter Pounder and 10 McNuggets, then wash it down with a huge McFlurry.”

“Hmmm. So like Aunt Cassie when she was on a ‘diet’?” she asks, making this face when she says the word ‘diet.’

“Yeah, pretty much,” I say. “Except I didn’t see her eat a salad when she was on a diet, just the McDonald’s part.”

She writes down some stuff with her pencil. “Okay,” she says, “here it is:

Rationazation is when you do a thing, but dont really mean it. My Aunt was on a diet once, and would eat a salad for lunch but then for dinner she’d have a quarter pounder and a 10-pack of McNuggets, then wash it down with a McFlurry the size of her head, so she wasn’t really on a diet, it was just a rationazation.” She looks up. “How’s that?”

“Well first of all it’s rationALization. You gotta make sure you spell it right.”

“Ok whatever, who CARES.” Molly rolls her eyes. “And how was the play OTHERWISE, Mrs. Lincoln?” she asks sarcastically. 

“Other than that it’s like... solid. Does Mr. Mackey still say that?”

“Yep. ROCK SOLID, SIRRRRR” she imitates his voice and his fist pump and we both laugh.

“Yeah, rock solid. What about ‘sick nasty,’ does he still say that?”

“SICK NASTY, SIRRRRR!” we both say in unison doing the Mackey fist pump, and laugh, when Danny comes in. 


“Hey Molly,” he says, ignoring that I’m also here.

“Hi Danny,” Molly mutters, sarcastically. She looks at me and we hold back grins.

Danny shuffles around his nightstand as if looking for something. “Charlie, did someone break into the house today?”

“No...” I widen my eyes. “WAIT... WHAT?”

Molly looks at me and laughs.

Danny raises his eyebrow and hold up the empty package of what earlier contained fresh NutterButters.

“Ohh, did you want the calories or something?” I ask.

“No I wanted NUTTER BUTTERS. You know Charlie, it’s worth devouring calories if you can get delicious Nutter Butters. But that’s not a problem for you apparently, because I find you guilty of devouring not one, not two, but the entirety of my Nabisco Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.“

“I don’t think you want to eat those,” Molly says. “I hear they contain high fructose corn syrup and a variety of processed ingredients.”

“Molly,” Danny says, “LIFE is a processed ingredient. Look you guys, I don’t know why you’re doing this to me, but those Nutter Butters were mine and mine only. And whoever took them should kindly drive over to Harris Teeter and KINDLY replace them. I say this because, Charlie, I know it was you, and-”

“Okay, maybe I munched a few of them. But I won’t do it again. I swear to God, Jesus, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Punxsutawney Phil, and the guy from the Old Spice commercials.”

Suddenly Molly’s eyes widen. “I need to feed Rex, he’s probably really hungry.” She bolts out of the room.


Danny turns to me and sighs. “Charlie, you realize if you eat an entire package of cookies every day you’ll probably drop dead in a decade?”

“A decade of glory,” I mutter.

“Charlie, just have some dignity. You’ve devolved into a total Neanderthal. If that.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Charlie, seriously.” Danny sits down on the bed next to me. Last week Dad was asking me, ohhh, what’s Charlie up to these days, what’s going through Charlie’s head, why doesn’t Charlie ever leave his room, why doesn’t Charlie know how important this school year is, Charlie this and that, and then I gotta answer like it’s MY fault.”

“I mean... shit, I don’t know,” I say. “I serve society better by taking it easy.” 

“Well, I remember when you actually DID stuff. Like basketball. You were good! I mean, I sucked, but you were at least a good point guard. And then when the JHS Players did Guys and Dolls, we fuckin begged to you try out as Nathan. But you didn’t, and the guy who got the role sucked.”

“I don’t know. I love the songs and all that, but like, just being around a bunch of asshole directors telling you what to do... I don’t know bruv, it’s just not for me.”

“Okay bruv, whatever.” He sits down on the bed. “Charlie, you get the point. Like, it’s really sad seeing you like this. ‘Shitposting’ and watching Francis playing flappy bird on YouTube or whatever.”

“It’s just tough. Like I’m soooo done with living in Judea. All I can think about is the future. Like going somewhere and waking up and actually being someplace you wanna be, you know?”

“Well maybe if you study more you’ll have more of a CHOICE, and won’t end up like Squidward. Do you even know what you want to major in?”

I shrug. “I mean, I don’t know what I like studying. I don’t even know what I like DOING. And now everyone’s making us choose? Like, what if I find out I want to be a paleontologist when I’m 30, but then it’s like ‘oh shit, when I was 17 I chose to be a history major when applying to colleges, so now I can’t do that. Fuck paleontology!’ It’s bullcrap.”

“But like... who are your recommendations gonna be?”

“I mean like...” I think for a good long second, “the only teacher that really likes me is Mrs. Marquez. Maybe that’s cause I had her in 10th grade too, so she got to see me glow up and all that.”

“Marquez? Didn’t you turn in your Dia De Los Muertos essay in January?” 

“I mean yeah, but like...”

“Yeah, I remember. She was like, ‘Es MUYYY TARDE!!”

We both laugh a little. 

“Yeah...” I stare past my bed towards the window and my words trail off, like I forgot what I was about to say. “...I don’t know. I’m just so worried about Molly though. Like, what if she gets bullied and stuff?”

Danny shrugs. “I mean, I wouldn’t worry much. Molly can get along with anybody.”

“Yeah, but still... I just really want her to be happy, that’s all. I don’t want her to have to live those cringey teenage years like I did.”

“You say that like she’s storming the beaches of Normandy or something. She’s going to Middle School, that’s all.”

“Oh trust me, at least Normandy would be cool.” I roll my eyes. “Also like... I don’t know. We’re gonna be gone and stuff.”

“We’re just going to college, we’re not DYING. Plus, Mom and Dad will still be here.”

“Trust me, Mom and Dad aren’t doing shit,” I mutter, realizing that probably sounded a little harsh. “I mean, I don’t know. I just want her to always be happy, you know?”

Danny reaches his hand towards my face and puts his hands on my cheeks so they make this fish-like face. “Charlie, you wanna take a drive in the Burrell mobile? We’re gonna win that classic cars contest if it kills me.”

I shrug. “I mean, sure. I’m still not too comfortable driving though.”

“Well you can’t sit here all day, Charlie. You’re gonna do SOMETHING.” 

He walks over to my guitar and then sits down on my bed with it, strumming:

“You WOULD NOT beliEVE your EYYYYYES, if ten million firefl-”

I sit up and lunge towards Danny and grab the guitar, then hold it up as if about to smash his head with it (only half joking) and he laughs, his hand over his face. “See?” He says, giggling “It worked.”

I put the guitar down. “Sorry, I just hate that song so much.”

“Well? Now that you’re up, let’s go for a ride.” 




Danny walks towards the shiny green car with swagger, like he’s walking towards the best car in the world. And to him, maybe it is.

He holds up a cassette tape in his hand. “You know the best part about the Burrell mobile? We can play all old these cassettes I bought from the Swim Team’s yard sale.”

I roll my eyes. “Don’t you want to install an AUX?” I mutter. “Or a CD player at least? We’re not the Flintstones.”

“Don’t you wanna hear the Del Fuegos though?” He starts mimicking the bass line to one of their songs.

“Yeah, legit,” I smile, excited about something for the first time all day.

“Fuckin A!” Danny yelps, and crawls in the car.


I press the clutch and do that thing and hear the comforting VOOOOVOOOOM of the Burrell Mobile starting up. I put my hands on the wooden steering wheel and slowly pull out of the driveway, then down the road past all the hay barrels and horses of Judea, who looked at us and neighed, maybe cause it‘s a nice car or maybe because I‘m a shitty driver, I don’t really know.

The fences are white and covered with just the right amount of dirt and reflecting off the sunlight and the green grass is greener than ever, like it always is just before it dies.

I turn up the old volume button and crank up the Del Fuegos, singing/yelling and swaying my hair.



As I round through the fences we come to this 7-sharped road that’s always a tough left turn, especially if you’re going way over the speed limit (which I am by the way.)

I turn down the music.

“Danny, Remember in Ferrari GT Evolution when there‘s that really sharp turn in Fiorano?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“Remember how if you just drift a little you can make the turn?”

“But sometimes you spin around a dozen times and crash,” Danny says, “you’re not saying we could do that, right?”

“I’m saying we ARE gonna do that, just watch.”

Ahhhh, signore, here’s a toast to Amore.

I lightly tap the break, then take my foot off the pedal, then turn, then, lo and fuckin behold, we start spinning around, just like in the game.

Then, for about ten seconds I’m convinced that either I’m gonna die, or I’ll survive but the car’s gonna die, which means Danny would kill me cause of that.

We spin and spin, just like I’d seen in the game, except no there’s no restart level button. 

“HOLY SHIT!!!” Danny yells, half amazed and half scarred to death.

“SHIT,” I yell in solidarity, laughing but totally terrified.

If we die, we die, I think.

I slam the break as hard as I can.  

“SHIT!!!” We screech and land just inches from a white fence. I hear a cow mooing on the other side.

Danny breaths heavily. “Shit, that was dangerous.”

I slap the wheel and laugh, then quote one of our favorite John Candy lines. “Dangers my MIDDLE name.”

Danny shakes his head, laughing a little. “I’m surprised we’re not dead.”

“So am I. I munched an entire family pack of Nutter Butters and now I almost died imitating a game that bears no resemblance to reality, so you can say I’m infuckinvincible.”

Danny finally laughs, the thrill over, and I drive back home, his car in one piece that just maybe will win the 2016 Judea Classic Car Contest. 

I guess a part of me feels bad for eating his NutterButters but another part of me feels like I saved his life AND his car by stopping that car right after I gave him the adrenaline rush of his life. And maybe Nutter Butters are gonna kill him too, but a whole lot slower than a car crash.

Submitted: December 06, 2020

© Copyright 2021 CJ Spuddz. All rights reserved.


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This chapter definitely had a lot of realness to it, especially when Danny and Charlie were talking about the future. I feel like we've all been there, especially when college applications are staring you dead in the face and everyone expects you to figure it all out so early. You can definitely see the difference in their personalities; Danny seems a lot more serious, whereas Charlie just takes things one day at a time. I really liked how their serious conversation turned into going out and having fun, even it almost killed them xD Letting your sibling drive your car is a whole new level of trust lol. As always, this chapter was awesome and incredibly well written, the characters are brought to life so well I feel like I know them personally haha! Definitely looking forward to the next chapter! :)

Tue, December 8th, 2020 1:27am

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