Nick the Great

Ashton Padley

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Nicholas “Charlie” Short was stuck in an endless time loop. Of course, not an actual time loop, but probability was against him every second of his day, making every day quite the same. Let me explain…every morning of his life is different, with a different breakfast, different weather, and other factors that make a unique beginning to each and every day. Yet every night, he lay down in bed feeling like a defeated punching bag. Life kept throwing punches and every one left a mark. That is why everyone calls him Charlie, in reference to Charlie Brown.

The end of this loop began with yet another unique morning, except Nicholas felt extra defeated. He woke up late, because his alarm clock’s batteries had run out. He rushed to put on his clothes and tripped down the stairs. After some more bruises and scrapes, he was ready for school and walking out the door. His mother asked, “ You ready to make this day great, Nick?” using her nickname for Nicholas.

“I’ll try,” Nicholas replied half-heartedly. He ran and barely made it to the looming yellow school bus before it pulled away from the curb. He forgot his math homework, five of his history textbook’s pages fell out, which had been ripped out by the previous user, and he dropped his milk carton at lunch because someone bumped into him. The regular pitiful expressions looked down on him as he cleaned up the spilled milk. He was tired of those faces looking down on him like that. He had knew he got a terrible grade on his literature test, because most of his answers were just guesses. A regular school day for Nicholas, or more appropriately Charlie.

By physical education, the last period of the day, he felt defeated and angry. He constantly asked himself, “Why won’t things change?” and “Why me?!” He was barely paying enough attention to hear the coach loudly declare that the class would be playing backboard dodge ball. The game started with a loud blow of a whistle, which woke Nicholas up from his depressing thoughts. Nicholas stayed back while his teammates ran forward for the balls in the middle of the court. Nicholas got hit with a ball seconds after. Just his luck. Though the ball didn’t hit him hard, it made angry. He was tired of fighting luck, tired of feeling powerless. He went, reluctantly, to sit on the bleachers and wait for someone to get him back in the game. But something happened on those bleachers, because Nicholas was awoken from his self pity. He suddenly felt determined to show the world that he would not be powerless anymore!  He might get pushed down, but he won’t stay down. This determination rose within him until it was no longer controllable. He felt a new kind of energy pump through his body. He felt unstoppable!

Nicholas raced toward a ball lying near the center line, while dodging a throw from an opponent. Heads turned, as no one had seen Nicholas like this before. He looked determined and focused. They saw someone completely new, not the Nicholas they knew minutes before. He picked up the ball, still running, and threw it with all his might at a group of opponents. Nick didn’t even stop to see if he hit someone, although he heard a loud and satisfying “THUMP”. Nicholas was an undefeatable machine, catching and throwing dodge balls faster than a blink of an eye. Soon Nicholas was the only one left on his team, with still five people on the other team. His teammates were chanting, “Hit the backboard! Hit the backboard!” But Nicholas wanted to finish them off by himself. Nicholas caught the throws of two on the other team and hit out another two with ease, leaving just one person. His teammates shouts got even louder as Nicholas picked up a ball and threw it harder than he ever had before. The ball zoomed across the gym and hit the opponent’s foot, a throw nearly impossible to catch. His team cheered his name and Nicholas felt something he had never felt before. He was proud. For once his luck hadn’t dragged him down. Nicholas had broken the time loop.

After that moment his life was never the same. He finally understood that the key to succeed is within you ready to serve at a moment’s notice. You just have to step off the sidelines and play the game. He changed because he learned that succeeding isn’t a matter of being lucky or unlucky, but how hard you work. Nicholas is an entirely new person and his change was for the better. He was as happy as a kid with a new toy or a squirrel with a nut. Report cards are always fantastic for Nicholas and he excels in sports. He is the best dodge ball player in his town. His mother has never been more proud. Nobody ever calls him Charlie anymore, they call him Nick the Great.

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