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Seeing Shellee.

Not too many people see "Da Secret Shellee." In one way might be good cuz bumbye if da whole school knew I get one crush on her would be SHAME. But I jus put my Secret Shellees out dea hoping if Shellee sees "Da Secret Shellee" den dat might cause her for realize she get da same feelings I get about her, except, hers one is for me. I figgah, if happen like dat, den must be one sign, garanz ballbaranz it's one love das meant for be.

Da winter dance stay coming up and I would try for do more for actively pursue Shellee, but I figgah, fo' why? Cuz I believe God must get one master plan. And if not God, den must get some kine cosmic forces at work and wotevah going happen, going happen, so I figgah no sense, why struggle for try change da outcome if tings is already set in stone? But my good friend Becky Bautista says I just making up excuses cause really I'm just one chicken when it comes to girls. In fact Becky says I'm pretty much one chicken when it comes to everyting. She even keeps one list of everyting I sked of. According to her records, I sked of germs, high places, dark places, enclosed spaces, wide open spaces, da ocean, ishhooks, fishing poles, spearguns, pretty much all fishing equipment dat can poke out your eye, sunshine, rain, lightning, dogs, bees with stingers, even bees without stingers cuz dat means it must've already stung you, Flintstones vitamins, milk das contaminated by heptachlor, milk even das not contaminated by heptachlor cuz how can you evah really know, vampires, werewolves, Freddy Krueger, Jason, people who play hockey, people from Canada, and most of all cute girls.

But I tell Becky actually we can just categorize all those supposed ukubillion tings as actually jus one ting...DANGER. Cuz everything on dat list can cause harm to my physical well being, and cute girls is da most deadly of 'em all cuz da rejection might leave one damaging emotional imprint on top my vulnerable teenage psyche. Becky keeps telling me dat wit my wimpy attitude, she doesn't know how I evah going expect for accomplish anyting wit my life.

When da Beckster tells me stuff like dat, I dunno if she stay using double reverse psychology on me or wot, but da end result is I end up pushing fate along little bit just fo' test, try see wot happens--I ax Becky fo' go ax around for me liddle bit, inconspicuous kine, as to Shellee's availability status. At first Becky gives me one real hard time.

"Jonavan, of all the girls you could ask about Dude, why are you interested in the most exotic-looking one?"

"She not exotic."

"In Waipahu she is."

Becky axes me if I like Shellee, but I no like confirm or deny. Like da good friend she is, Becky points out dat in order fo' one girl fo' have feelings about me, she gotta at least notice me first and who's gonna notice me if I always hang out in the newspapah room. She says I cannot just be passive and wait for love for find me. So after getting me for admit dat I may "like" Shellee liddle bit, teensy weensy, shmall kine, Becky smiles all triumphant and puts her extended coconut wireless network into action.

Through Suzie, Becky axes Michelle for ax Daris for ax Jodi if Shellee is single or wot. And turns out I dunno why dey ax Jodi cuz Jodi, Jodi her, she always dunno, so Becks makes less roundabout, but mo' obvious and axes Shellee's best friend Renee Yamasaki straight-on direck about Shellee's availabilities...come to find out dat Guy, da guy I already tink stay hooked-up wit her, is actually only SEEING Shellee. SEE-ING Shellee. So dey not actully GOING or anyting. Dis jus da tryouts in oddah words. If dey actually going-going den tings would be diff'rent, you gotta respeck going, but seeing is one whole noddah story. No more rules for seeing. Wit seeing...anyting can happen.

Recess time I mostly stay in da newspapah room in B-Building and if I not doing one comic for da papah, den I like for practice drawing superheroes, but I not so good yet. I copy da book, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, and I draw figure sketches first using general shapes, before filling in da body.

I try for imagine wot da first Hawai'i member of da X-Men might look like. I mean might happen one day. Da X-Men, dey no prejudice; dey accept mutants from all ova. X-Men get Wolverine from Canada (see, he's scary), Banshee from Ireland, Colossus from Russia, Nightcrawler from Germany, Storm from Africa, Sunfire from Japan, and Thunderbird da Native American guy who died aftah chree issues of da comic but at least he wuz dea for little while.

I still trying for tink of one cool name and power for my character. Right now I trying for design da uniform. I notice dat da comic book people like for use da color of da country's flag as da color of da superhero's costume, not always, but lotta times. So I start for color my superhero da color of da state flag, but den no mattah how many ways I adjust 'em, always turns out looking little bit too much like Captain America or Captain Britain for some reason.

I working on getting my style down. And I finding dat drawing realistic stuff is kinda hard cause everybody knows wot real stuff supposed to look like. It's more fun for draw crazy and bizarre far-out alien-looking stuff. Dat way, nobody can criticize and say das wrong. For our school's comic strip I draw da 2Cold Phunky Martians, but I trying for get my characters for look more edgy. Not edgy meaning more modern, more underground, more cutting edge, but more edgy meaning more angular, more pointy. Cause I'm kinda self conscious now since da Beckster started pointing out dat lotta my space beings look phallic and so it must be some kinda perverted thing rooted deep insai my consciousness. At first I toll her she wuz taking all da stuff we learned in Esmeralda's Psychology class way too serious. But den I began seeing da various shaped starship penises too, which made me wonder if maybe I should start paying attention more in class.

So far only da Beckster's been catching on to my subliminals. In every strip I draw, I try for incorporate Shellee's name someplace in da lines, hidden away in da blades of grass or insai da lead alien's third eyeball. I tink it's so clever until Becky tells me dat some old guy from The New York Times, Hirschfeld, wuz already doing 'em for probably way longer than me cuz he get da full-on Santa Claus beard and everyting. Except da way he does 'em is he writes "Nina," which is da name of his daughter, so das more sweet and not all desperate, hard up, no-can-get-any-action, degenerate LOSER like me.

Taking one break from writing her lead story on da upcoming Marauders versus whoevah dey playing game, Becks comes up to me for see if she can spot Da Secret Shellee in my latest strip. I can tell from da way she takes one deep breath before she starts talking dat she's about for give me one lecture about someting dat she probably wen only learn recent.

"Jonavan, lemme share a li'l bit what I learned from the great Romantic poet, John Keats." Becks straightens her posture as she continues on. "See, we're reading Keats now for Mr. Moritsugu's English class. You probably don't know him cause you only know drawers, draw-ers, people who draw. Do you know why you're attracted to Shellee? Dude, you like Shellee because she has a certain, how shall we say it, a certain 'negative capability' to her."

"Hah? Negative capability? You mean...she lazy?"

"Listen, slush for brains. No, that's not what it means. Negative capability means, in the midst of not knowing, you can be happy because the possibilities are endless. But once you find out that she really has no interest in short, dorky guys, then that ruins the attraction cause nothing is left to the imagination, cause there's only the certainty of your future--that you guys have no future."

Das da ting about Becky. Talk about blunt force trauma waiting for happen. She kinda unz sometimes when she jus cuts to da chase, but das wot I like about her. Becky once axed me straight on, nose to nose kine, hakum I wuzn't attracked to her. We nevah know each other dat well when she axed me, so I wuzn't sure how serious she wuz. She said we both wanted for get into da newspapah business. We both grew up hea. We both went to da same church and our parents already all got along. We would be perfection she said. So I thought for couple, few, several seconds before I toll her maybe I wuz too intimidated by her amazing intellect. She seemed for like my answer cause she complimented me back for having extremely keen insight. We wuz best friends evah since.

I dunno wot I see in Shellee. See, I one artist so to my discerning eye Shellee get dat certain quality. Beckster says I like Shellee cuz I get one fetish for comic book superheroine proportions. I dunno why Becky always cutting down comics. I wuz collecting comics since I wuz fourth grade and every day I would bike after school to Parker's comics. But when Mr. Parker decided for move back mainland I nevah know wot for do. I started catching bus all da way town-side to Gecko's. Becky calls it my weekly pilgrimage to GEEKO'S. She says I must be da King Geek cuz das like far. But Gecko's gives 10% discount, and Jelly's stay closer but dey only give discount to military. Da Beckster jus doesn't understand one fanboy's devotion to his comics.

I made da mistake one time of inviting Becky over for come my house for show her wot I read, because she says I no read enough cause I always dunno all da English poets she talks about all da time. She ended up talking wit my mom liddle bit, well, kinda long actually. Finally when da two a-dem wuz pau talking story, I showed da Beckster my room. I made sure for leave da door way open cuz I nevah like my mom's imagination get more carried away than wuz already getting. I took out one long box from my closet and showed Becky my prized X-Men collection and wuz onreal da kinda stuff she took notice of. I mean she looked randomly through da box for like five seconds before she pulled out ONE issue, X-Men 131. Den she stared at 'em for two seconds and made up all kine psychological generalizations. Before I could even show of and say dat da comic she wuz holding wuz da first appearance of Emma Frost, a.k.a. da White Queen of The Hellfire Club, Becky started going off wit my whole psychological proiles.

"Judging from what you 'read' I think you got some issues, dude. These comics you got, I can only assume are drawn by men, men who are sexually repressed, because why is this female villain, I'm assuming she's a villain because of her angry eyebrows, why is she wearing a tight Victorian-era her costume? Unless she doesn't need to breathe when she's fighting. And dude, unless her power is to blind men with her cleavage, there's no practical reason."

I gotta admit, she had one pretty good question and I nevah really have one answer for 'em. But, but...dat nevah mean Becky wuz right. I just thanked God I nevah collect Wonder Woman, bumbye I probably wuz going get all kine accusations about, "Wassup dude, is Wonder Woman wearing bracelets or are those shackles and why is she getting tied up with her own magic lasso? What sorta kinky S&M bondage material are you quote, unquote...reading, duuuude?!"

I try for tink about Shellee from one artist's viewpoint. I mean she radiates one innocence about her. She kinda like da Mona Lisa, but blonde and more pretty cuz she get eyebrows, but no mattah how I try for put 'em into artist terminologies, cannot help but come out sounding corny.

Becky keeps trowing da hints dat I wasting my time. Like she says stuff like Locals and Military, dey no get along. As her evidence she cites how often times gangs is formed along ethnic lines. But I tell her in Hawai'i we live in da melting pot. Dis da age of multiculturalism I tell. All dat kine racial or placial stuff shouldn't mattahs. Das when Becky asks if I been breathing in too much water vapor cuz I living in da clouds. Sometimes I tink dat she sets up these whole disagreements from da beginning jus so she can show of what she learned in class dat particular day. I bet she got dat cloud ting from Ms. Hart.

Relationships should be about personalities and personal interests. Shellee stay in band. I stay in band. Guy in football. Shellee not in football. See, me and her get so much more in common. Nevah mind our ethnicities. I mean c'mon, wot Guy get dat I no more? Well maybe he might be more worldly cuz his dad in da military so dey wen move around planny. But if you take away doze big muscles, handsome Tom Cruise looks, and studly personality den wot you get lef? Well, I guess da leftovers, which is me.

Maybe she likes Guy cuz he's popular. He wuz "The Looker" insai Impact magazine and he did one ad modeling one tuxedo for After-Six Formals. I dunno why das such one big deal. Plus, he's not even one real quarterback; he's ony da first alternate bench seat or wotevahs.

Me, I no model. I no play sports. So wot "in-girl," in her right mind would go for da lonely drawer, draw-er, geeky kid who draws comics? I mean would one girl be impressed dat I possess one encyclopedic knowledge of The Uncanny X-Men comic book series. Most people I shame for tell 'em I read X-Men cause to most people da title X-Men sounds like it's transsexual mahu porn or something. It probably wouldn't impress Shellee dat I know X-Men 108 is da first issue John Byrne wen draw, or I know Jean Grey first came Phoenix in X-Men 101, or I know which X-Men nevah survive da Days of Future Past storyline in X-Men 141-142. Dat wuz my favorite story, cuz da future Kitty Pryde or Kate Pryde as she comes for be known, she goes back into da past for change da future, which makes you tink dat maybe you can change fate's outcome, but wot if her going back in da past wuz just part of the whole plan all along, so she wuz really helping for create da future? Time travel stories always make my head come so SO-AH.

What do girls look for, yeah? From my observations, it seems girls is attracted more to celebrities. Das what mattahs dat most I tink sometimes. Shellee likes Guy who I guess is one small, minor, some might even say inconsequential, celebrity. Most girls at our school is all crazy ova da BBC. So at first I wuz tinking isn't dat like da kine boring British stuff dey show on PBS? Come for find da BBC dey talking about is da Bad Boys Club. Jus cuz dey wuz insai Brown Bags to Stardom. All I hear da girls talking about is Roni, Nito, Maestro, Freddy Von Paraz, and Clinton. I see some of da girls get folders dey made wea dey wen decorate 'em wit photos dey took of dem wit da guys. I no get it. So wot if those BBC guys look good in their black Z. Cavaricci's pants. So wot if dey can sing good. So wot if dey can dance all rad and do aerials. Mostly all dey do is use synthesizers, at least I can play one real instrument. Maybe da instrument I play is not considered sexy, by MTV standards, or even VH1 standards. Yeah, who says I cannot style-proile while playing my most excellent CLARINET? Da clarinet is RIGHTEOUS.

I ax Becks how I can get my picture insai da school papah. Becks sez basically I have for be either real good at football or be close friends wit somebody who's real good at football so wen dey take his picture I can be in da background.

"Wot about if I good at writing or painting or someting," I ax Becks.

"Page 3, dude."

"Wot about if I win somekine science or math award."

"Page 4."

"How I can get on page one?"


Becky brah, she no mince up da words.

Shellee's always watching Guy practice on da field or lifting in da weight room. I guess das why she's like last seat for band. She no go hardly any rehearsals aftah school. She get potential, but she dunno know how for get planny air insai her lungs. I could help her practice her blowing technique. Um.uh, das not wot I mean, yeah.

No mattah how much Becky accuses, I not destined for be one future skebe ol' man. I actually one very romantic young gentleman. In my daydream, I imagine it's me and Shellee's first time out. Maybe we'd be at da winter dance and Guy would be history cuz it's my imaginative story. She'd have one dress on. One pretty dress. Not slutty. But classy. Well, can be slutty if she like 'em be. Like someting hot from North Beach Leather. I cool with dat. Cause I not da boss of her, right? And I guess for my clothes, I'd jus have one standard issue, ugly sweater. Like da kine Bill Cosby wears. It wouldn't be my choice for wear dat. But das what all da guys wear. Anyhow, me and Shellee would be all cruising at da dance and den Glenn Medeiros' "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You" would start playing in da background. Me and Shellee would hit it off and before da night wuz over I'd tell her, "I had one really great time, Shellee. I'd really like to see more of you."

Try wait, try wait. Maybe das not such one cool ting for say aftah all. Wot it she takes dat da wrong way and slaps me in da face? I'd like to see MORE of you, instead of meaning more often, could also mean I wanna see more of your skin, like show me more of your BO-DY, like I wanna see you nekkid kine. How my innocent fairy tale came all corrupt? Is all my subliminal thoughts really about all about sex or is Becky's amateur psychology making me all paranoid now?

It's da month before da winter dance. I hard at work putting my Secret Shellee in one of da ruffles of da dress of da princess who is very beautiful by 2Cold Phunky Martian standards. I draw one space dragon's body shaped like one deflated football. I stay drawing da flames coming outta da dragon's nostrils wen I hear one knock. Becks is busy wit paste-up and nobody else wants fo' open da door so I go fo' check who it is. I'm face to face wit beauty.

"Hi. Um.," Shellee sez.

Wo. She stay me.

"Can I still put a Christmas Wish in the paper?"

"Oh. Yeah, yeah. Who do you wanna make it out to?" In my mind I grovel, please say me. Please please please.

"Can I make it out to Guy?"

"Okaaaay...Uh...which guy? Any guy in particular."

"No, silly, Guy's his name."

"You sure you like make 'em out to 'Guy'. Das such one generic name. Bumbye alllllllllll da guys going tink you love dem. See, I in love wit you already."

I manage fo' get one small smile outta her, den all of a sudden she just starts rolling and before I know it I find myself laughing too, at my own joke, which would be sad if I wuz laughing alone, but I not, I playing accompaniment.

In dis brief moment we stay sharing, I find myself daring to chance one look into Shellee's sky blue eyes. I see da universe.

Worlds come crashing down when I hear one big bang dat echoes, "And who you, guy?!"

"No, you're Guy," I say pointing at Guy's chest. I dunno wot possesses me for say someting li'dat.

"Are you acting wise? You're talking to my chick you know."

"She's your chick?"

"That's what I said."

"So you OWN her?"

"Is that how it's gonna be? Step, step!?"

I dunno wot for do. Guy's actually calling me out. And right in front of Shellee. And he getting all punchy too. I no like look like one wimp, but I no like get dirty lickings either. My danger-danger alarm stay going of. Shellee's hands is all covering her mouth like she ready for cry.

Da Beckster's gone. Part of me hopes she left da room for go get campus security. But deep down I know she probably in da back closet getting da school camera. She always said I can make page one if I die.

"No worry, you like trow. We go trow den." Brave words from da foolish artist in love. I stay fully sweating even as I stay eclipsed in da shade of Guy Sentinel, my giant mutant-hunting robot nemesis. But den all of a sudden, it comes to me. One plan. One plan of no return on top da Starship Circumstance wea I not jus going along for da ride. I stay cruising for one bruising right at da helm.

I stand--nose to chest wit Guy--and I lay down da challenge, "K, you and me we going each stand on dis newspapah and da rules is you can punch me as hard as you like but both you and me cannot move from off dis papah."

"For a nerdy looking guy, you're not too smart."

I can see out of da corner of my eye dat Shellee's all crying. Part of me tinks maybe I should take da hit den dat way I can get Shellee's sympathy and reveal Guy as da true mutant-hating monster dat he is. Part of me is tinking I can make my own destiny. Anoddah part of me is tinking dis one test--I gotta win dis fight for win Shellee's heart. Yet one noddah oddah part of me is tinking RUN JONAVAN, RUN.

Ho, how many different parts I get? I guess I one pretty complex guy. But all da different parts talking all one time making me all da more confuse. I decide for jus stick to my plan.

"C'mon. Let's go!" Guy yells as he walks outside and stops just by the exit for make sure I coming.

I follow him and lay one newspapah on top da ground by where he standing. "Wen I say get on da papah we get on and we can hit each oddah full blass, k," I tell.

"Don't worry. It's only gonna take one punch."

"K, but we start wen I say go, k?"

"Whatever. Just hurry up alre."

Jus as he all agreeing I reach out and close da door between us. I lock da door and I stand on my half of da papah das underneath da doorway.

"K. I'm stepping on my half. Are you stepping on your half? Punch me as hard as you want. Start punching. I punched you two times already. C'mon."

Da people in da newspapah room buss laugh. Shellee stops crying. She walks up to me and I close my eyes expecking at least one peck on da cheek. Wen I open my eyes I jus catch one glimpse of her as she leaves through da oddah door on da far side. My eyes reach out to da expanding space between us. Shellee turns slightly and gives me one glare before she opens and den slams da oddah door shut.

Da Beckster comes over wit camera in hand for show me da pictures she took. She says she wishes she could've shot it from da oddah side of da door. She puts her hand on my shoulder and tilts her head and says someting about beauty and truth and truth and beauty. But I tinking all her poetry wisdoms is probably for da people of dis earth, and probably no apply to far out, otherworldly comic book geeks like myself. And maybe da truth is, das all I need for know.
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Author:Tonouchi, Lee A.
Publication:Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts
Article Type:Short story
Date:Sep 22, 2013
Previous Article:Aloha? No.
Next Article:Mr. Tanaka.

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