3 Words: Apostrophe, Induce, Wrong (May 18, 2012 prompt)
by William Ross
“How did I get a B on my paper!?” Dylan wondered aloud as he walked out of English, still staring at the sheet in his hand.
“I’m tellin’ ya, you shouldn’t’ve tried to use double contractions. Mr. Schneider doesn’t even want us to use single contractions on our papers. Says they’re too informal. That’s the only reason he marked you down,” Kyle replied knowingly.
“But I still don’t get how he can do that! I looked up double contractions on Wikipedia to make sure they’re legit. There’s a whole page about them!”
“Wikipedia is just another government conspiracy designed to make us feel smart, while keeping us stupid. Wonder what’s for lunch.” Kyle and Dylan turned down the hallway toward the cafeteria.
“So wait … are you saying that the government is trying to induce me with wrong information about an extra apostrophe in a word?”
“Yup. Ever wonder why we’re not allowed to use it as a source?”
Dylan thought for a second before replying, “I just always thought it was a teacher’s way of making things more difficult for us. It makes more sense than your conspiracy theory.”
“Nah, it’s the government. But obviously you’re too thick headed to comprehend that. In any case, I’m pretty sure double contractions are NOT words, whatever the great Wiki may have revealed to you.”
“Words or not, they’re still cool. Don’t even get me started on triple, quadruple and quintuple contractions.” Dylan’s tone of voice betrayed him as he clearly wanted Kyle to get him started.
“Quintuple contractions?” Kyle obliged unknowingly. “As in five apostrophes? This is English we’re talking about, not French.”
“Yeah, but throw in a few Shakespearean contractions like ‘twou’d and e’er and you can make ‘twou’dn’t’ve’er, a quintuple contraction.”
“What in the world does ‘twou’dn’t’ve’er mean?”
“It would not have ever,” said Dylan as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“As in ‘Even if Shakespeare wrote a book in French, ‘twou’dn’t’ve’er contained that many apostrophes in one word’?”
“Haha, very funny,” Dylan said in a sarcastically dry tone, “but yes, that works.”
They entered the cafeteria and looked around as though deciding who to sit with, but after Kyle got his greasy food from the lunch lady and Dylan had removed his brown paper sack from his backpack they ended up on the floor in the hallway where they always sat during lunch. Kyle leisurely checked his Facebook on his iPhone while Dylan stared at the far wall, lost in thought.
“Thinking about another one of your stories?” questioned Kyle, not entirely sure if his words could even penetrate the intense concentration of their intended target.
“What?” Dylan’s attention shifted away from the wall, “Oh, um … no, I was actually thinking about how the word ‘cleave’ is its own antonym.”
Kyle shook his head, “Dude, most people don’t think about that kind of thing. You seriously need a girlfriend.”
“Like I have the time! I really need to get my book finished.”
“C’mon man, you’re seventeen. Nothin’ against your writing, but it’s not like someone is going to publish you when you can’t even buy dry ice.”
“Christopher Paolini did it.”
“You know, Christopher Paolini. He wrote Eragon.” Dylan looked at Kyle, eyebrows raised, searching for some level of comprehension, but found none. “Do you EVER read?”
“Only for school and even then only when I absolutely have to. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Katie recently anyway, so I don’t have time for much else.”
“Dude, I’m tellin’ ya’, you gotta dump her. Cut yourself loose. She says ‘literally’ in just about every sentence when she actually means ‘figuratively’ and she says ‘that’s ironic’ when something’s a coincidence! I don’t know how you’ve put up with her for two months now!”
“First of all,” defended Kyle, “everyone says stuff like that. Second, normal people don’t think that the misuse of a few words warrants a break up.”
“Normal people huh? You think I’m abnormal?” Dylan said, slowly rising to his feet, voice gaining volume and intensity. “Well, Kyle, you have no idea just how abnormal I really am!”
The ground under Kyle and Dylan began to shake violently. Dylan’s eye’s turned solid black as shadowy figures began to materialize around him. When Kyle finally overcame the terror that held him in place he turned and ran for the nearest door. He tried to scream for help, but the words his lips formed made no audible sound. A sharp jolt of fiery pain hit him in the back and forked through his body. Every muscle seized and he collapsed to the ground as though dead. Hours passed and when his eyes finally opened Dylan was gone. He felt a strange tingling throughout his body. Dylan’s attack had left him electrically charged. He had become Electrode, defender of the innocent, protector of the –
“Dylan!” Shouted Kyle, forcibly bringing his friend back to reality.
“What?” Dylan snapped out of his trance, “Oh, um … sorry … I just had an awesome idea for a story!”
Brad held the final draft of his paper in his hands, still warm from the printer, and smiled. He glanced through the words of his creative writing assignment to catch any previously missed errors and then, finding none, went over it one more time, taking careful note of his expertise.
Mr. Schneider is going to love this, he thought assuredly to himself, a story about a writer writing a story. It’s brilliant! I’m sooooo getting an A!