Chapter 1: The Olympics
Jesus that Michael Phelps could swim. I knew he was good back in '04, but 8 gold medals? And yet, for some reason I was not taken in by him. Sure he created entertaining swim meets, and he could swim faster than anyone alive, but deep down something wasn't right. Deep down, I knew he was kind of a douche. It hurts to say so, even now. He's from my home state. I'm supposed to love him, cheer him on at every moment. I did not. In fact, I may even go so far as to say I did not like him one bit. But, as Americans we were supposed to stick together. So, as I watched him win his 8th gold medal that day, I tried to be nice.
"That man is my hero," my best friend Monica announced.
Oh, Monica. We had been friends since she moved here from Florida in 4th Grade. I had a crush on her within a week, and there we were, 8 years later. I had yet to make a move, and she had yet to notice the way I watched her eat. Yet to notice the way I watched her walk. Yet to notice the way I watched her sleep in her bed when she didn't know I had snuck in her house at night. She was out of my league though, and I think we both knew it. And still I stuck to hope. I stuck to whatever strands of any possibility she would give me. I stuck to her gum when she threw it into the trash. Oh, Monica! Was I always to be just a friend in your eyes! Still, I didn't want to do anything rash, and ruin what we had. I decided to play it cool, and hold my tongue.
"That Ass! I hate him so much!" I screamed. Nailed it.
"Are you serious? He won 8 gold medals! I would kill just to win one. Man and that body. Mmph."
Typical Monica. She was always going after the wrong guys. I knew all I had to do was wait for her to realize what she was missing out on: Me, that's what. I tried to never argue with her, and ruin our friendship, but I had to take an exception with something she said.
"Really, Mon? Good looking? I know he's a good swimmer and all, but I have to say, looks are not one of his outstanding features," I told her. "Plus, he's a terrible ass of a person," I added nonchalantly.
"Oh, please. He's got the body of a god, and he's damn cute!"
"Cute! He looks like a mix between Gheorghe Mureşan and a duck. He doesn't even walk. He waddles," I shot back. Ha! Score: Greg Mackenzie: 1, Michael Phelps: 0. I knew I had won that battle, so why did I press my luck? Why did I decide to insult him further? I don't know. I was in love with a girl who didn't realize she loved me back yet. I was trying anything.
"Honestly, Michael Phelps makes me sick." I added with a serious look on my face. Girls find seriousness sexy.
"Oh please, Greg!"
Hmmm... I had to admit, her argument did have merits. I never was good at these things. And Monica is so smart, and so quick on her feet I never had much of a chance. Oh, please Greg! Oh, Monica! So good!
"Greg, you know you're just jealous. You can't stand it when I like other men. When is your crush on me going to end? Honestly."
My stomach fell. So, she knew. I hadn't seen that one coming. She had backed me into a corner. There was nothing to do now but deny it. Deny it like a pro. Deny it like a pro on drugs. Good drugs.... Deny it like a pro on steroids.
"Please! You...uh...wish I had a crush on you cuz....ummm....uh.... then you might actually get to be with a real man."
"Yeah, okay, "real man." She said back to me.
I couldn't help but allow a smile to creep upon my face. She thought I was a real man. Perhaps there was hope after all.
Chapter 2: Splashing Around
Oh, how February of 2009 hit me like a breath of fresh air. I was ready to finish up high school, the swimming season had wound down, and I had a girlfriend: Janine French, and boy-oh-boy she sure was a catch. She was quite a cutie, and was probably the sweetest girl I had ever met. And, to top it all off, Monica was boyfriendless. To think popular little Monica had no one, and I did. I mean, sure, I still thought about her all the time, and I sometimes accidentally called Janine "Monica," and I would cut Janine’s face out of all of our 'couples' photos and replace it with Monica's, but at the time, I really thought I was moving on. After 8 years of smoothly following her around, hoping for her to admit her love for me, I was moving on.
The real kicker, however, came when I got wind that Michael Phelps had been caught in pictures with Marijuana. Oh, how I had waited for that day. Waited, longingly, for The Greatest Athlete of All-Time to screw up. After months of hearing his stupid voice everywhere, seeing his Gheorghe-Mureşan-face on every billboard in Baltimore, he had finally done it. Most of the swim-team was bummed out. I'm pretty sure they all dreamed of being like Phelps, gliding through the water, allowing their ungodly talent to cover-up their pathetic lack of a personality. Companies were dropping him as their sponsor. He was suspended from the US team for 3 months. Finally he was getting his comeuppance. I wouldn't say my views were popular with my friends, especially with Monica. I think she had been serious when she said he was hero. I think, too, that she had a bit of a crush on the guy, poor girl. Not that I would know, but it must be hard having a crush on someone you have absolutely no chance with. We were snuggling on the couch in my living room when a commercial for the news mentioned Phelps, and he came back into the conversation.
"I'm still happy that douche got what was coming to him," I told her. Since I had a girlfriend now, I didn't have to worry about her getting the wrong idea about how I felt about her, although I still hoped that she would. I'm standing right in front of you Monica! When will you realize I'm the Mr. Right you've been looking for!?
"Jesus, Greg, you act like no one has ever smoked weed before. It's not that big of a deal. I mean, even I tried it a couple of months ago," she shot back.
"Yeah, I remember. And you're welcome for covering for you too. You're parents still won't let me sleep over at your house after that night."
"No, actually they won't let you sleep over anymore because they said they caught you sniffing my hair while I was sleeping that one night."
"Yeah... well... I told them I was at home that night. I wasn't even near your house."
"Yeah, and yet they still said they saw you and your car at my house. Weird, huh?"
I felt I could hear a tad bit of sarcasm in her last sentence, but that couldn't have been the case. There was no way she thought I was really at her house that night after I covered myself so well with my previous denial.
".....Yeah, weird. Michael Phelps is an ass," I said, smoothly changing the subject. "I mean, did you hear the story? He was smoking out of some random guy's bong at a party. Didn't even know who Else's lips had been on that thing. That's so gross. It makes me really sick just thinking about it."
"Oh shut up. You know, its not nice to kick a guy when he's down. That kind of stuff comes back around."
"Yeah, well if he wasn't such a dick, maybe he wouldn't have been caught doing this."
"And if you weren't so jealous of him, maybe you wouldn't be such a dick to him now," Mon replied. Oh my! Maybe she was noticing me more than I had thought. I can't believe she had mentioned me in the same sentence as a penis! I shifted my body to make mine more noticeable.
"The only thing I'm jealous of is his money. Past that, they I can't stand the guy."
"Oh... I think you forgot something," Monica said dumbly, obviously acting. There wasn't a dumb bone in her body, Oh, Monica! So smart Monica!
"What else is it that you're jealous of..." she continued, "oh yeah, my crush on him instead of you."
"NO!" I replied quickly. Heh. Another round won by me. Smoke on that Phelps.
Chapter 3: Making Waves
The spring of 2009 began uneventfully enough. Janine French broke up with me. She said she couldn't handle my stalking of Monica anymore, and called me a freak. I tried to explain to her that Monica and I just happened to be sitting in the sister stalls in the mall bathroom; I had not been paying attention when I walked into the bathroom, and must have missed the female sign. She wouldn't listen to reason, and said that there were too many times when our dates just happened to be at the same place Monica was that night. Apparently she didn't enjoy our date at T.G.I. Friday's when we both learned that Monica had just started working there 8 months ago, or our date at the theater where we were both shocked to see that Monica was the lead in the play, or our date in what just so happened to be Monica's basement. Regardless, I was devastated. After what seemed to be like at least 15 minutes, I finally was able to move on and called Monica to see what she was up to. Luckily for me she was free that night, so I headed over to her house. We had been in her basement (one of our favorite hang outs) for a few minutes when I told her about Janine.
"Oh. Well that’s, well, it's really a shame Greg," Monica replied quietly. Something about this didn't seem genuine to me, but I brushed that feeling off. I knew Mon would never lie to me. She's too good for anything like that.
"So nice Monica! So good!" I shouted, immediately regretting it. Usually those things were a part of my inner monologue. I thought maybe I should cut back a little bit on them, I didn't want to say anything else accidentally.
"What? Uh, thanks, I gue-" She replied.
"NoProblemILoveYou!" I screamed back, my heart beating slightly faster than normal.
"Greg... I think we should talk."
"Sure. What is happening," I replied, getting my coolness back.
"Look Greg, I've always thought you were a great guy," she confessed. "And of course I've always noticed the way you feel about me. No offense but you aren't exactly good at hiding these things." I, of course, was taken aback. How could she have known? I was always so good at covering my feelings. But, then, why did she torture both of us by not just dating me. We both had such strong feelings towards each other. Why did you do this to us Monica? So sweet, so good Monica! Why?
"I think I had always hoped that you would eventually get over all of that stuff. But here we are 8 years later, and you still haven't given up hope," she continued. "Really, in a way, it is cute. But never ever did I ever have any feelings for you."
I looked at her, stunned. Why, after all these years did she decide she had to lie to me? Did she think our love was doomed? Why wouldn't she even give it a shot? She must have been trying to protect us from the possibility of a break up. Never had feelings for me! Ha. So sweet Monica. YOU DON'T HAVE TO PROTECT US! OUR LOVE IS STRONG ENOUGH!
"But then you started dating Janine, and all of these feelings I didn't think existed started coming up," she kept on. "I became jealous, and began to realize how much you meant to me. I knew I hadn't lost you of course; it was fairly obvious that you still wanted me, but I couldn't help myself. You dating her has made me realize how much I really need you. I mean, this whole time I've been dreaming of being with douches like Michael Phelps, and here you were, right next to me the whole time."
My head was swimming. I had been waiting for her to admit this for a long, long time.
"I know! He is such a douche! And I can't believe how cocky he is! He's already the fastest swimmer in the world, he gets suspended from swimming for 3 months, and when he comes back, he's trying a new swimming stroke, AS IF HE NEEDED TO BE ANY FASTER! He had already met perfection; did he think he could make it better? That is so cocky. God, he makes me sick. He makes me so sick."
"Greg...GREG! Calm down. Look, do you want to go on a date with me sometime?"
"What? Oh..." I knew, of course, the answer was yes. I still had to try and play it a little cool. I didn't want her to think I had wanted this for the past 8 years. As far as I knew, she had no idea how long I had had a crush on her.
"MARRYME!" I shouted. "....I mean... yeah, I guess that would be ok. Sure"
"Cool. Well, it's late. I'm going to go to bed," she told me, looking at me a little oddly. "How about next weekend? We can get dinner or something."
I smiled to myself as I walked to my car. She thought he was a douche. You shouldn't have changed your stroke Phelps. Next time don't get so cocky and maybe, just maybe, you can keep the girl of my dreams.
Chapter 4: The Turn
The week before our date flew by. In no time at all, it seemed, it was Saturday. I'm not sure I had ever been as nervous as I was in the hours leading up to me picking her up around 8. I was unable to eat at all for most of the day. I was afraid I would be full before our dinner even started, ruining our date before it even started. If there is one thing I have known about girls, it is that you don't let them eat more than you on a date. The last thing I would want to do is offend Monica. She is so amazing. Oh Monica!
It was around seven when I really started to feel the effects of my hunger strike. I had a hunger headache, and my stomach was rumbling constantly. I decided to throw caution to the wind, and eat something. When I peaked into our food cabinet, I saw we had some Club Crackers. Without too much of a thought I took a stack out of the box and ate. Before I knew it the entire stack was gone. It seemed I had been a little hungrier than I had thought. It was about 10 minutes later, as I was walking through my kitchen to the front door, I stopped dead in my tracks. I must have moved the box of club crackers when I grabbed a stack. I wasn't prepared for what I saw, but it laughed at me as I walked past:
My heart stopped. How did this happen? I had eaten Michael Phelps’s Club Crackers?! It couldn't be true. It mustn’t. My anger spilled over. I punched that laughing bastard in his face; the box fell down but he just continued to laugh.
"AAAARRRRGHHH," I screamed aloud. It was already almost 8. I had to go. I didn't want to be late for Monica. I forced myself to push this unfortunate incident behind me. I would have to deal with it later, and focus my energy on Monica. I didn't want to be angry during our date.
"Get in the fucking car!" I screamed at Monica as I pulled up to her house a few minutes past 8. She looked at me with an odd look on her face, but smiled as she got in.
"Having a bad day?" she asked as she got in the passenger's seat, just before leaning over and giving me a kiss on my cheek. My stomach gave an odd twist that had nothing to do with being hungry.
"What?... Oh.... No, I-I'm fine," I answered, struggling to find words. She kissed me? Just thinking about it made my stomach do summersaults. I couldn't believe I had found myself in this position. Monica! Monica kissed me! This was too good. Such a sweet girl. So good. So good.
"Greg! Hell-o Greg! You want to maybe start driving instead of just sitting there in a daze?" she asked, giggling.
"Right, right, of course," I replied as my car lurched forward, along with my stomach. This one however, didn't seem to have anything to do with Monica kissing me.
"You are awfully quiet today, Greg. I really hope that dating wasn't a bad decision. I hope it isn't awkward now."
"No, it's not that, trust me," I told her truthfully. The entire ride my stomach was gurgling and tossing. My nerves weren't helping the situation either. By the time we got to the restaurant, I was definitely feeling queasy. I began to get out of the car, but Monica stopped me.
"Wait, Greg. I want to talk for a little while before we go in."
"Ok, I guess." I was, of course, by this time wanting to go in quite badly, but Monica was asking me to do something, and do it I must. I couldn't show her now, on our first date, that I wouldn't do everything she asked. If there was one thing I knew about girls it is that in order to keep them with you, they need to understand who the boss is. Namely, them. If she knew she couldn't walk all over me now, then she knew she wouldn't be able to later on in our relationship. This was not something I was willing to risk.
"Well, I really do want to make sure that nothing gets awkward between us. You are my best friend, and it makes me sick to think that we could be apart. At the same time though, when I've seen you lately it has been tough not to jump your bones right then and there."
I don't know what came over me then, but as soon as she said that, I reached over and kissed her. Hard. Before I knew it, we were making out, and moving to the back seat. Suddenly my hand had slipped under her shirt, and she was squeezing my ass.
I guess in all the excitement I had forgotten; forgotten all about needing to get into the restaurant quickly. But, as we made out in the back seat, I remembered. This was mainly because I noticed something moving up my esophagus. I pulled away quickly, and vomited the entire stack of slimy, mushy, chewed up Club Crackers all over her shirt and hair. She looked at me, stunned, before returning the favor, and passing out. To be honest, it wasn't quite how I wanted the date to go.
As I got back in the front seat to drive the unconscious Monica home, I reminded myself to not let her know that it was Michael Phelps who ruined our date tonight. I didn't want her knowing he had bested me this once.
Chapter 5: Touching the Wall
The days following our date were some of the worst of my life. It was a few days before I got Mon to talk to me again, and even then it was short phone conversations. It seemed she was feeling down from the entire affair. During those dark days, I brooded.
"Damn that Michael Phelps. Damn him to hell," I began, talking to myself. "He already has everything in the world he could possibly want, you know, besides that personality he's obviously lacking, and still he takes time out of his day to ruin my life. GAAAAAH! I hate him. I hate him so much. Why the fuck do people like him? He's good at sports? Barry Bonds is good at sports but people generally seem to wish death upon him. This guy is a complete douche. 8 gold medals can't take that away. Michael Fucking Phelps. I hate hate hat you. Go to hell and take your George Mureşan-face with you, you ass. You make me s....." I stopped in my tracks. A wave of realization swept over me. I realized what happened. How did he... Anger that I had never felt in my life surged through me. "Bastard." I finished, spitting on the floor.
In the next few days I pondered how best to kill Phelps. (As I saw it, my hands were tied. There was no other way to pay him back for what he had done.) I had gone to see Monica and apologize, but she threw-up at the site of me. I had lost her, and it was all thanks to that douche, Michael Phelps. I figured drowning him would be ironic, but he was probably a better swimmer than me, so I wasn't likely to be able to pull it off. In the end, I figured a knife was the best way to go. A gun would have been simpler, but there wasn't enough pain involved for my liking. No, stabbing him would teach him a lesson he would never forget. Of course it would be hard to forget a lesson taught to you seconds before your death. I went online to his fan site to see when he would be back in Baltimore, which ended up being the end of May. I then set my computer aflame. I didn't want it to be associated with such filth as Michael Phelps's fan site.
I planned my attack perfectly. He was signing autographs in the Inner Harbor at 8 that morning. I figured a good face stabbing or two would be enough to settle our rivalry. All I had to do was walk up quietly to him, ask for an autograph, and as he bent down for one, take out my knife, and give him the ole' one-two. As far as I could see, it was foolproof.
I arrived in the Inner Harbor a few minutes before 8. There was already about twenty people in line, blocking my view of my target. When a few of them had moved on, I saw him, sitting there with a smug look on his face, laughing, (LAUGHING!) at me just like he was on that box of Club Crackers. A rage like I had never felt raced through my body, and before I knew what I was doing, I had raised my knife high, and raced towards him screaming at the top of my lungs. It wasn't until I heard the gunshots that it occurred to me that he might have bodyguards. I took two to the chest, and fell. The last thing I saw before blacking out was his stupid face, with a look of shock on it. It was all worth it, just to see that.
The doctors were able to take the slugs out of my chest without too much of a problem. Apparently that ass didn't even hire competent bodyguards who knew how to take the kill shot. There wasn't a trial, as both my parents and Phelps’s lawyer agreed that I belonged in the asylum. And so here I sit, waiting. Waiting for my chance to break out. Waiting for my chance to get back at that bastard for everything he's done to me. You think this is over Phelps? You think the 24-hour armed guards are going to stop me, just like this straitjacket was supposed to stop me from typing? You are a fool, Phelps! A fool! I will get you one day, just you wait. You make me sick Michael Phelps! You make me sick.
- Michael Phelps, or don't. Really he's not all that great.