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American Idiot

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Stan wiped off the gravy from his shirt with his hand and tried his best to get the clumps of mashed potato out of his jet black hair. Anyone without context walking in on him right now would be very confused at the sight of a 15 year old boy in the aftermath of what seemed to be a very childish food fight. Though, technically, he did start it, Stan couldn’t take too much responsibility for his actions considering how angry he was right now.

About 30 minutes earlier, Stan was minding his own business, making small talk with his family. Just their usual dinner ritual: Eat and Only Talk When Necessary. It had been an unspoken rule for years so Stan assumed that tonight would be no different (he never put too much thought into most things anyway). He did, however, notice that his mother seemed to have something pestering her mind that made a presence in how her lips pursed tightly as if dying to announce something.

2 minutes later, and after a lot of picking at his food, Stan had enough of her constipated look and his father’s eyes constantly darting from one of his family members to the next. Stan looked to his older sister, Shelly, but she only stared underneath the table to her phone that she was constantly texting on.

“What’s wrong, mom?” Stan asked her. All eyes were on him now and he started to bite his lip in worry.

“Well, Stanny, we have- me and your father, I mean, of course- some news for you…” She responded, holding his hand and him nodding at Stan enthusiastically.

“Are you getting another divorce?” Stan inquired again, this time earning an exaggerated snort from Shelly, but she still decided that whoever she was texting was more important.

His mother reprimanded him for that, but continued anyway, “Well, no, Stanley. It’s actually quite happy news: We’ve managed to get you a place in a private boarding school all the way across the country!” The look on her face made stan stare in horror as she told him all about this new school that he knew he had absolutely no chance of getting away from. Stan rarely had luck convincing his parents otherwise once they had their mind dead set on something. That’s how he got his best friend; a gay dog.

Sparky. Oh no. Who was going to look after him? Stan also knew that his parents were too busy caught up in their personal lives all the time to look after any pets.

Before he knew it, he had started arguing with them about why he didn’t want to go.

“Stanley! Sit down right now, and don’t speak to your mother like that!” Randy sternly told him. Stan didn’t care anymore, but maybe he had stopped caring a while ago.

Maybe that’s why before he knew it he had thrown his dinner all over his parents and the table.

Even Shelly put her phone away and joined in.

And his parents started to throw their- in his dad’s case, mostly eaten- dinner back, too.

Fast forward to now, and Stan was still plucking out the remains to little avail. He knew that the only way out of this was to run away from his home and become a beggar on the streets. First, though, shower! , Stan thought to nobody but himself.

After Stan showered and made sure that none of his dinner still stuck to any part of him, he went straight to his room, constantly checking that nobody would catch him in the house, and started packing up his things in preparation for the plan he had subconsciously hatched in his mind. It consisted of about 5 steps, and were (basically) as follows:

Step 1: Pack up your shit.

Every good plan needs a somewhat questionable beginning, right? For Stan this was his. First, he continued as he was doing and put all of his clothes into a bag that he grabbed from somewhere under his bed. Not his bed anymore.

Whose bed would it be, then? If not him, his sister was turning 18 soon, and Stan started to suspect that his mother was going through menopause. After all, how old was she now? Too old. Assuming they had another child to replace him, the child would never forgive their parents (Stan’s parents) for having them at such an inconvenient age.

While he was thinking about this, all of his clothing had been successfully put into his bag. Obviously there wasn’t much clothing in the first place, since he had lived on a shitty weed farm his entire life and they rarely went out to buy things other than food. Then, he searched the room for anything else that he could find which he might want to use as moral support or which might help him gain the sympathy of passersby (though he was more than happy to take their money).

He found a red and blue beanie which he had been given as a gift when he was still a kid. He rarely had time to wear it, or need to, but he still decided to put it in the bag because it might get cold.

As the time went on, he had managed to fill about half of his back with different items of clothing but couldn’t find anything else in his room that he’d want to keep.

Step 2: Steal all your parents money.

This one was quite self-explanatory. He still had no idea where his parents were, though it was about 5pm so he assumed that they were out working while he roamed the house.

He traveled down to the kitchen, where the evidence of the argument earlier had been cleaned up. The floor was still a little wet, so Stan made a particular effort to not slide and fall on his ass or make a squeak noise that would alert his family that, yes, Stan still lived here, but he was carrying a bag, and it’s not like he had anywhere to be going anyway, especially at this time, so it’s very suspicious of him to be carrying a bag, and then they'll realise what’s going on and Stan couldn’t be bothered to lie anymore.

Too bad Shelly found him first.

“What are you doing, idiot?” She groaned.

Stan had always assumed that his sister was permanently on her period, because there had never been a time in his life where she had been even remotely nice to him (like, at all- though they were only a few years apart, since he was a baby she had made it her mission in life to ruin his as much as possible. Just like she was doing now…). Maybe it’s because her teeth were never quite right: even after years of braces, they still were discoloured and wonky. Or, maybe it was her acne and greasiness, and though she was hardly a teenager anymore she still had all these prepubescent qualities that she took out her frustrations with on everything else.

Stan made a strange noise in response and said, “Can you leave? I need to get something.” He hoped that he didn’t come across as too eager because then she would never leave him alone.

“Why are you holding a bag? You gonna run away now that mummy and daddy are trying to get rid of you?” She scoffed.

Was Stan that readable? He never considered himself a good liar, but this was just pathetic.

“No…” Stan trailed off, thinking of how to convince her to go back to her room.

She laughed at him again, but actually walked away. Stan silently thanked whatever God existed out there and watched as she left the room, but not before turning around and saying this:

“Y’know, I’ll help you run away if you want, ‘cuz either you stay homeless or mom and dad find you and force you to that boarding school. Either way you’re gone, so it’s a win-win for me.”

Maybe God wasn't so nice to him after all. But, this wasn’t the time to be contemplating how terrible it was that his sister really wanted him to leave her life. Stan watched her go, and went back to what he was doing.

He took the wallets from both his mother's purse and his dad’s phone, and swiftly hid them in his back as he crawled back up the stairs to his room.

Well, maybe a trip to the bathroom first.

Step 3: Never piss yourself during the Great Escape. See: bathroom.

He entered the bathroom, but before he could use the toilet, he collapsed on the floor.

With a loud crash! , his body fell to the ground and his vision went completely blank. Stan didn’t know what caused this sudden outburst, but he was sure it probably had something to do with the fact that his life hates him.

That’s why his plan failed. Because he needed to use the bathroom and ended up fainting on the floor. Immediately after this, his parents came rushing up the stairs from wherever they were (in the garden, but Stan didn’t know that,) and knocked on the door.

“Stan? Are you alright?” His mother asked, concerned. Stan felt like he had just hit a brick wall and his vision was still blotchy and dark. He tried to use the last of his strength to stand up but his legs weren’t having any of it.

He tried to respond to her but all that came out was an embarrassing groaning noise that he hoped they couldn’t hear that well in case they mistook it for something else.

He crawled across the floor and managed to open the door but realised too late that he still had a bag which he couldn’t explain why was in his possession without accidentally snitching on himself to them. A voice in his head screamed too late, Stan… but he ignored it.

His mother immediately helped him up, and though his feet wobbled, Stan actually wasn’t as weak as he thought he was after what happened when he previously tried to stand. His knees wobbled slightly, but he leaned on the doorframe as his parents looked at him with the same dumbfounded look on their faces.

His father spoke first.

“What the fuck is going on here, Stanley? Are you trying to make us all deaf? And what is in that bag- I was there when you were born,” Stan’s mother, Sharon, hit him on the side of his head before he could continue saying anything that Stan definitely did not want to hear about.

“Um….” Stan stalled, trying to think of a response that wouldn’t incriminate him any more than his own doing had. “I saw on YouTube that you can… like, you know… Haha! I pranked you?”

Perfect.

Stan would never get the chance to use the last two steps outside of his own imagination.