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“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Kyle was ambitious. Not all rock-stars are. Well, all rock-stars, maybe. But not all artists.

Ambition was the only way he ever could have done what he did. But that didn’t mean he had tunnel-vision. Maybe life would have been easier for him if he had. Then again, it’s hard to really make good art if you’re too-too focused.

ERIN: Mr. Niedermeyer.

Kyle walked into her office. Ms. Kelly. Erin. Erin Kelly, who was a new teacher that year, fresh out of the teaching program at the local college, who’d taken a shine to Kyle at the beginning of this, his senior, year.

Kyle had taken quite a shine to Ms. Kelly, too.

KYLE: Miss Kelly.

ERIN: Please, sit down.

It was easier for her if he wasn’t pacing the room.

ERIN: Is there something I can help you with? (sensing her own trap) Something school-related?

KYLE: I have been wondering about college.

ERIN: You haven’t made a decision yet?

KYLE: Can you really blame me?

They were alone right now, but they still needed to be careful.

ERIN: I’m sure I can. You’re a brilliant young man. Brilliant young men go to college.

KYLE: It’s expensive.

ERIN: Only if you’re not wily enough to handle the loans.

KYLE: How are you handling yours?

It was always tacky to bring up the subject of educational finance, and she should have known better.

ERIN: I hardly think that’s an appropriate question, young man.

KYLE: I think it’s pretty pertinent, considering.

ERIN: Considering what, exactly?

She shouldn’t have asked that. She knew the answer to it. She knew it, he knew it, all of the cards on the table.

KYLE: I have options, Miss Kelly. I don’t have to go to school.

ERIN: You’re not referring to your band, are you?

It wasn’t fair of her to put it that way, but then again, none of this was fair. Not anymore.

KYLE: If we win this competition, we could be touring with SchadowFreud. That’s big money. Money’s always better than debt.

ERIN: Has your band even decided on a name yet?

They hadn’t. She knew they hadn’t. It wasn’t the sort of thing that she was supposed to know, but she knew it, and he knew she knew it and now she could use it against him.

ERIN: Look, I don’t recommend college for everyone. But with a mind like yours, you could do great things. Amazing things.

KYLE: I don’t need to go to college to do that.

ERIN: College would help.

KYLE: Is that why you want me to leave?

Long pause.

KYLE: You’ve heard us play. You know we can make it. We’ve got what it takes.

If anyone has, she reminded herself, it’s them, with the faith of intimate relations.

ERIN: If that’s what you want, you can always defer admission. Do college later.

She could tell by the flair of his nostrils he was gritting his teeth at this, so she decided to play her last hand.

ERIN: But you realize that whether you’re going to college or going on tour, you’re still leaving.

And there it was. He flexed his hand and cracked his knuckles like he always did when he was about to play his guitar.

KYLE: Is there a reason for me not to?

Ms. Kelly—Erin—sighed.

ERIN: No.

That was it then.

ERIN: No, there isn’t.

He didn’t seem to have anything else left to say.

ERIN: Well, it seems like you’ve got it all figured out.

KYLE: I guess so.

ERIN: Yeah.

It seemed to Erin Kelly that day, talking to a boy she shouldn’t have been talking to that way, that their impasse had come to a head. There was a finality to gridlock, Zeno’s paradox shattered in the sheer entropy of time marching on towards the end of the schoolyear. But she couldn’t bring herself to decide that it was a good finality, a finality she was comfortable with. It would be many years before she would be able to reconcile with what had passed between them.

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About Polypsyches

I write, regardless of medium or genre, but mostly I manage a complex combined Science-Fiction/Fantasy Universe--in other words, I'm building Geek Heaven. With some other stuff on the side. View all posts by Polypsyches

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