Chapter 1 Episode 3: The Rebel
I pushed open the slightly cracked door and stepped into a dimly lit room, getting a strong whiff of natural smelling burnt incense.
“Nothing better than young Slim” I said, before even looking up see who it was to.
“His best album by far,” a rangy girl with dirty blond hair, rocking a vintage Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction T-Shirt and light blue ripped jeans was posted in a big, black beanbag chair on the floor with a paperback copy of Slaughterhouse-Five cracked open in her hands.
“I think I liked the Eminem Show a little better but I guess we can agree to disagree.”
“As long as you’re not a Relapse guy I think we’re doing okay.’
I laughed, “Carter by the way,” I said sticking my hand out.
“Rebel” she said shaking my hand back.
The look she gave said she had heard that one a few times before.
“Not looking to do the move in day meet and greets?” My eyes were fixated on this big purple lava lamp in the corner of her room. I was starting to feel insecure that my room was too vanilla. I made a mental note to go on Amazon later to change that.
“Not quite yet, my name tag kinda got lost in this book.”
“I’m not a huge fan of Vonnegut, a little too sporadic for my liking. I wish he would just write more straightforward-make it easier to understand what’s going on.”
If there was one thing I was grateful to my parents’ for, it was their role in making me an avid reader. Books were the last line of mental defense I had going against the blitzkrieg of technology that was reducing everyone’s brains into a liquid mush.
Someone had told me to read Slaughterhouse Five after the accident a couple of years ago, telling me Kurt Vonnegut wrote it after his own to reflect his own PTSD experiences he suffered in the war. I couldn’t really draw the parallels from a suburban car accident suffered on the way to the movies, and a German prisoner of war who witnessed the Dresden bombings firsthand; nor did Vonnegut’s writing style make it any easier to even try, but I appreciated what he was trying to communicate. Sometimes it’s not important to understand why someone’s suffering, just that they are. It makes you feel less alone.
I turned my attention back to Rebel. She had these wide green eyes that seemed to dilate further, the more engrossed she was with what you had to say.
“So tell me then Matilda, what’s your book of choice.”
I smirked. “You ever read Bonfire of the Vanities?”
“What’s it about?”
“A lot to explain, but it’s one of those books told from a bunch of different viewpoints that don’t seem to add up and then about halfway through they all come together and you have that a-ha moment where realize what’s going on and you’re just like woah.”
“Sounds a lot like Vonnegut if you ask me.” Her smile was like a tug of war between mischief and wonder.
“Haha nah, you may not understand why you’re there, but at least you understand what you’re not understanding.”
“And what if I like not understanding what I don’t understanding and just saving all the figuring it out for later?”
“Then I think you may be out of luck because I have to go find my roommate.” I told her, “unfortunately, I told him and his Jersey Shore friend I would come with them while they search for Jersey Shore’s princess Fiona.”
“You mean the kid in the cutoff tank who’s been roaming the halls all day like he’s god’s gift to women?”
I laughed “seems like we could be talking about the same person.”
At least she looked sympathetic to my cause.
“I feel your pain dude; my roommate literally came out of the womb doing hair flips.”
It was the first time I looked over to the other side of the room. It was girl power to the nth power. All pink, with one those bulletin boards with a college of pictures and all those clichéd sayings about the power of friendship that only people who don’t value them need as a constant reminder.
“Seems like someone else didn’t put much effort into the roommate match thing either.”
“Something like that.”
“Maybe in my search for trying to find these two, I’ll meet some more people like yourself who can help me forget about that fact. Sometimes you gotta’ save the figuring it out for later.” I winked at her. “Hopefully I’ll see you around.”
And with that I dipped out and headed back down the hall. Fuck, I thought to myself, she was super cool. Why didn’t I flop out into that bean bag and just stay to talk to her? Why am I joining these two sexual kamikazes on their suicide mission to rejection?
Before I could beat myself up any further, my train of thought was interrupted by footsteps from behind.
“Hey dude.” I turned around to see her walking after me.
“Do you mind if I come join you? I’ve been reading for long enough- think I can get away with broadening my social horizons for a little. Also figured you could use a little protection against their rabid hedonism while your still cool.”
“I think you just realized the book was boring after all,” I said with a grin on my face. We continued on down the hall passing the myriad of open rooms, looking for any sign of a fit blond, a short Indian, or a meathead Gym Hardo.
Now that we actually were sorta familiar with each other, I had a bit of a window to ask her some of the more boring technical stuff. “Where are you from? what’s your major? what do you want to use your major to do with your life?” because of course everyone’s supposed to have the answers to those questions on the first day of college. The people who ask me this shit off the bat are the worst kind because they are just so fucking boring. They have to rely on the generic shit, because they have no interesting way to start a conversation with you.
Still though, eventually if you wanna get to know someone you’re gonna have to ask them those questions eventually. They make for good topics of conversation once you’ve already proven you’re interesting to talk to without needing them for help.
I had never met any girls named Rebel before, but I imagined it was not a name you wanted to have without a cause worthy of it. She definitely was taking that to heart by prevailing against going with the standard pre professional majors we were all peer pressuring ourselves into taking. Being a music major was a pretty interesting thing if you ask me. It seemed like all musical artist with talent these days were being signed off YouTube in the hopes of milking them for dollars before they hit puberty and realized how bad they were being taken advantage of. The college programs were meant for those who could only handle the sloppy seconds. When your name is Rebel I guess it takes a lot more than that to discourage you.
Its not like I had any better answer for being a business major. Rebel was studying music because she loved playing guitar. I was a business major because I wanted to make money. Did that mean I’d be majoring in how to make money? Once you graduated you had to start making money on your own regardless of what it was that you studied; that became your business. So technically everyone was a business major. Now it just seemed like some got a better end of the deal and were doing it in ways they enjoyed more.
Shit man, classes hadn’t even started yet and I was already questioning my major. Maybe I needed to reconsider switching before it was too late. Especially with Rebel in my ear telling me about how important it was to pursue something I was genuinely passionate about.
Then I thought about Evan Spiegel. Guy was twenty-six and probably posted up on a yacht in the South of France with Miranda Kerr right now, all because he thought of a more convenient way to send nudes. I could definitely do better than that and with a little guidance from my business school education, Miranda would soon be diving overboard to hop on the SS Carter. That’s if Ratjakowski turned me down. Just the thought of it alone was enough to bring a grin to my face.
I was brought back into the present by Rebel asking me what was so funny. Before I could give her an answer, we were interrupted by the echoing of laughter coming from behind a door on our right.
“That sounds a lot like my roommate.”
She gave an authoritative knock on the door “Let’s find out.”