By Steve Bomkamp

Ronnie closed his eyes. His eyelids were like shields protecting his consciousness from the outside world. He could imagine castles now and gorgeous plants or almost anything. Anything he was capable of conceiving. Ronnie imagined himself a man with metal armor. He made himself strong enough to plow through buildings. His armor could protect him from anything. It was just like in his video games, where he could put in a code to make his character invincible. In his dreams, he was always invincible. There was an explosion in the road sending debris everywhere, and there he emerged. He was lifted slowly upwards as if standing on the bottom of an elevator, which stopped when he became level with the ground. He stepped out onto the street and looked around. He was in the middle of an intersection, and there were cars stopped all around him. It was nighttime, and there were lights shining into his face. He lifted his hands to shield his eyes. A short, rotund man approached him and put his hand against his armor.

"What are you? Are you some kind of mutant?"

Ronnie was eight feet tall, and his armor glowed in the darkness.

"No," Ronnie said. "I am Ronnie the Destroyer."

Ronnie took what looked like a giant shotgun attached to his back and pointed it towards one of the groups of cars at the intersection. A couple of men tried to jerk the gun away from him. Ronnie grabbed one of the men by his collar and threw him. The man traveled about thirty feet before smashing through the windshield of one of the cars. The other man continued to hold onto his gun, so Ronnie used it to fling him into a group of spectators. This sent five people on their backs. Now Ronnie aimed his giant shotgun at one of the cars and pulled the trigger. First a wave of fire came out of the end of the barrel and then a single giant metal bullet came out and slammed right through the hood of one of the cars causing it to explode. Metal car pieces rained down everywhere causing a great panic among the people.

"I am Ronnie the Destroyer," he screamed. "Fear my wrath you lowly mortals!"

Another car exploded all on its own. Ronnie smiled and held his gun high above himself. His teeth were metal, just like his armor. People had begun to throw rocks and other things at him, but nothing could hurt him. He made it to one of the cars , a red and shiny corvette. He bit into it. His mouth tore out a chunk of the car's hood, and he spit it out. Next he climbed on top of the corvette and jumped up and down, while the car was crushed under his weight.

"Somebody stop him! He's an animal!" a woman yelled, pressing a child to her breast.

Policemen had made it to the scene of the crime. They had their guns drawn and formed a line across one of the intersections. They pulled their triggers and fired. The bullets bounced off Ronnie's armor, while he roared for more. Ronnie picked up one of the cars that was parked there beside him, and he threw it at the policemen. The policemen dived in all directions like startled insects, as the car smashed through their lines.

Ronnie felt someone at his side now. It appeared to be young girl. She grabbed his leg. Ronnie thought this odd. He had never dreamed this before. The girl had deep brown eyes and was looking into his own. Ronnie sat down so they could be the same height. She whispered into his ear.

"Why don't you come with me?" she asked.

"I'm not going anywhere," Ronnie said. "I am Ronnie the destroyer."

"But you'll like it a lot better where I can take you. Please, why don't you come with me?"

"No, I'm busy now. Can't you tell? There are people here who need to be taken care of."

Ronnie woke up. His dad was banging on the door. He was dreaming as usual. Ronnie dreamed most often in the morning, right before he woke up. He wished he could stay asleep. He didn't want to go to school, he wanted to stay in bed. If he didn't have to go to school, he could live in his imagination all the time. His life would be full of battleships and giant metal destroying robots. Ronnie pulled his sheet over his head and whimpered. He wanted to be somewhere alone. Somewhere away from all those other boys and girls.

The middle school of @#$## let the kids in the building at the same time each day. It was early in the morning. Ronnie sat in his first period class, rubbing his eyes and half-listening to gibberish that was supposed to make him a more complete person. He guessed the education was for his benefit, but really it seemed more like punishment than anything else. He had to do things. He didn't have any choice but to follow the directions that were given to him. Sometimes ,it wouldn't be so bad, because he liked reading books and things like that. He just hated having to memorize things. Another thing that really bothered Ronnie was that some of the students thought they were better than others, because they got higher grades. There was one student that always got the highest scores on all the tests and assignments, and everybody thought he was real special. His name was Michael, and he was always best at everything. This made Ronnie upset, because he wanted to be special. He closed his eyes again.

Ronnie was flying through the air now with a jet pack attached to his back. He had a machine gun in each hand. He went over a mountain range. He swooped down and fired his guns at the side of one of the mountains. The bullets hit the side of it and caused an avalanche. It was exhilarating for Ronnie to see something get destroyed like that.

"What are you dreaming about, Ronnie?" Kelly nudged his shoulder.

Ronnie woke up from his reverie.

"I'm not dreaming about anything," Ronnie replied.

"You have to be dreaming about something. You've got that silly smile on your face. I know whenever I daydream about things, I always start smiling, because I get to imagine whatever I want to."

"Leave me alone, Kelly. Don't you have better things to do than harass me?"

"Why are you being such a downer? Did you fail your math test or something?" Kelly looked on Ronnie's desk, but not before he turned his paper over. "Why don't you tell me what you imagine when you daydream? It must be something special. since you do it all the time."

"I'm not going to tell you anything, Kelly. It is real special, and that's why I always go there. It's a lot better then anything that happens in this dump." Ronnie slammed his hand on his desk. The teacher stopped writing on the blackboard and turned around to face Ronnie.

"Is there a problem, Ronnie? You know if you're going to keep making a commotion, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. If you paid more attention, you'd probably get a grade better then a D on your next math test."

Ronnie cringed in his seat. His teacher just had to mention that he got a bad grade on his last test. She almost seemed triumphant, as she stated his grade. Ronnie tightened the muscles around his mouth. He was full of fury now. He made men wearing black jackets come through the windows in the back of the classroom. The men told everyone in the room to line up in front of the blackboard. The classmates were scared, so they all went to the front of the room. The men in black jackets opened fire. Ronnie sat in the back of the room and watched the whole thing. To him this was a welcome release.

In the middle of every day there was lunch. For most of the kids this was an enjoyable time of the day, because they get to socialize with classmates. There were round tables at Ronnie's school that people sat around during classes and at lunch. Most of the boys gathered at one table, while most of the girls sat at another. Ronnie preferred to sit alone at a table between the two groups. He really didn't like being with the girls or with the boys. He liked being by himself. Some people accused him of being shy, but he really wasn't--he just didn't like dealing with others. The rest of his classmates bored him. They cared about the dumbest things. They talked about sports or all the bands they thought were cool. Ronnie decided not to partake in any conversation that day.

Ronnie ate his cheeseburger and looked at the ceiling. The girls were sitting at their table and whispering to each other. They were wearing uniforms. Everybody attending Ronnie's school had to wear uniforms. The girls wore checkered skirts and white tops. The boys wore dress shirts and blue pants. Ronnie hated the way his uniform felt. The pants made his legs itch.

Ronnie counted each tick of the clock. He could almost hear each little tick the second hand made as it went around the circumference of the dial.

Kelly came over and put her hands on Ronnie's shoulders

"Why don't you sit with us girls, Ronnie? We don't mind. You're usually quiet and nice. Maybe the reason you don't like boy topics is because you like girl topics. Don't you think Margaret's hair is pretty?"

"I think Margaret's hair looks nice."

"What do you think's so nice about it?"

"I think curly hair is pretty. Margaret's hair is nice, because it's curly, and it always shines."

"What about my bracelet? Do you like my bracelet?" Kelly twirled her bracelet in front of Ronnie's face.

"I think your bracelet is nice."

"Is that all you ever say? So is everything just nice to you is it? Well then. Are you sure you don't want to sit with us girls? We talk about lots of things that are nice."

"No, that's okay, I'd rather just be by myself."

"All right, Ronnie. I'll leave you alone. I'm sorry to have bothered you."

Ronnie went home that day and turned on his Nintendo. He was flying his character around in a spaceship and was blasting aliens out the sky. Some of them looked like centipedes, and others looked like spiders. At the end of the level, he had to fight this creature with a giant head that looked like an alien's head. It had long pointy ears, and its head was about three times larger relative to its body than a normal head would be. Ronnie's ship blasted missiles at it, and each time they hit it, the head would light up, and the alien's face made this awful expression as though it were saying "Aargh!" Every so often the alien would open it's mouth, and a giant tongue would come out and take a swipe at Ronnie's spaceship.

Ronnie was one of those special people who are able to fall asleep while watching TV or playing video games. He guided his spaceship through the asteroid belt while he lay on his bed. Ronnie slowly started to drift away while the flashing lights made an imprint on his mind. He thought his thoughts were getting very strange. There was a man wearing a mask that made him look like a deer. He suddenly opened his mouth to reveal scary fangs, and he started running towards Ronnie. Ronnie did something peculiar now. It was a defense mechanism he had learned when he was young. Just like he could close his eyes while he was awake, he could also close them while he slept. He no longer saw the scary man come running after him. What he saw was blackness now. Soon there were a lot of little points of light in the background, and he realized he was in outer space. Surrounding him was his own space pod. He had a blaster gun that shot giant pellets that took out everything in his path. He blew up asteroids, and he blew up other spaceships. Ronnie was happy now. He had found the final pebble in his circle of completeness.

Suddenly Ronnie's spaceship was caught in what must have been a force field. One of the planets must have latched onto him. Ronnie tried to open up his space pod so he could jump out of it, but for some reason he couldn't do that. Someone had really got him good. He banged on the glass holding him in his ship. He wanted out real bad. The planet was getting closer. Who knows what the aliens had in store for him? He was entering the planet's atmosphere now. Ronnie didn't know what to do. He thought his spaceship was unconquerable. He did what came most naturally to him. He made his spaceship face the tractor beam and turned up the acceleration. The planet's colors made spiral patterns as Ronnie rapidly approached it's surface. He closed his eyes.

Ronnie waited and waited for impact, but it never happened. Maybe the planet was a mere phantom that disappeared as soon as it was touched. He figured that half of what astronomers see is probably only a mirage anyway. Ronnie slowly opened his eyes. He found himself suspended less than an inch above the planet's surface. Only about a yard away from his nose was the ground. His ship had stopped somehow without him feeling it. He pressed a button on the dashboard, and the pod popped open. Ronnie took off his seatbelt and hopped on the ground.

Surrounding him were all manner of delightful things. There were bunnies hopping around, and there were lollipops whose sticks reached one hundred feet in the air. They had color swirls and looked very yummy. If Ronnie was tall maybe he could lick them. Ronnie tried to grow, but he couldn't. Why couldn't he control his dream anymore? This was really starting to bother him. He noticed there was someone coming toward him. It looked like a young girl who was holding one of the rabbits in her arms.

"Who are you?" Ronnie asked.

"You know who I am," the girl stated.

"No, I don't know who you are, but I've seen you in my dreams before. You were that person who grabbed my leg."

"No that wasn't me," the girl giggled.

"Yes, it was you. I know it was you, because you have those pointy ears. I could recognize you anywhere."

"Could you really? I must have made an impression on you, if you can remember me that well."

"No, not really. I just have a really good memory."

"So, it's just a good memory huh? Well, it still makes me feel good that you remember me. It's nice to know that someone has a place reserved in their mind for me."

"What is this place? Why are there giant lollipops? Did you put those there?"

"Those are just decoration. One of my favorite things to do is decorate. Another one of my favorite things is bunny rabbits. Would you like to hold this one? His name is Samuel. I called him Samuel because he's shy. Don't you think Samuel is a shy name?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"You have to keep one of your arms under the rabbit's belly at all times, or else he might get scared. Do it just like I'm doing it, okay Ronnie?"

"Okay, I guess I can try."

The girl held out the bunny, and Ronnie took it in his arms. The rabbit had the cutest pinkest little nose. It looked very cuddly and darling. Ronnie took it in his arms and smiled. The rabbit was such a perfect creature. It wasn't afraid of anything he might do.

"You see, Ronnie, if you're nice to things long enough they will trust you. You just have to win their trust slowly. At first they'll run away from you, but after a while, if you're patient enough, they'll come around to you. All it takes is time, Ronnie. Do you like Samuel?"

"Yes, I think Samuel is a very nice rabbit. I've always wanted a pet like him. I wish my parents would buy me a pet animal just to keep me company, because sometimes I get lonely. I've always wanted a dog or some friendly animal like that. One that would always love me no matter what. What's your name anyway?"

"My name is Sheeba."

"I don't know anyone named Sheeba. Where do you know me from?"

"It doesn't matter where I know you from. What matters is that we're friends."

"Friends? How can we be friends? You don't even know me. Nobody knows me. Why did you bring me here? I want to get off this planet. I don't care about giant suckers and popsickles. I don't care about fuzzy rabbits. I am Ronnie the Destroyer. Take me back to my world now, Sheeba." Ronnie put down the bunny rabbit.

"Please, Ronnie. It's okay. I know I don't know you that well. I just want to be friends, that's all. I didn't mean to scare you. We will do things slowly, all right? We will get to know each other slowly, all right?"

"Take me back now, Sheeba. I don't like what you're doing."

"But I have to do it somehow."

"I'm going to kick this bunny rabbit, Sheeba, if you don't wake me up right now."

Ronnie pulled his foot back to kick the rabbit. He began his kicking motion, but before his foot reached the rabbit, he woke up. His alarm clock was ringing. Ronnie reached his arm over to his desk to turn it off. He got up and scratched his stomach. It was one of those mornings where it was dark in his bedroom, and it was also dark outside. If the whole world was dark, didn't everyone belong in bed? It was too early to be getting ready for school. If he was on a farm, the rooster wouldn't have even crowed yet.

After three hours of classes and a half hour of lunch, it was time for recess. The boys and girls went outside to play. Most of them ran outside, but Ronnie lagged behind, walking forward and staring at his shoes. He went out into the middle of the field and sat down. The girls were playing kickball, while the boys were playing football. He watched as Michael scored a touchdown. Ronnie picked a rock off the ground and threw it at him. It was too short a throw by about ten feet, and the rock bounced in front of him.

"Hey, I saw that, Ronnie," Michael said.

"Sorry, Michael, I wasn't aiming for you. I was just seeing how far I could throw."

"All right, I believe you. Just be careful, all right?"

"All right Michael."

Ronnie turned to where the girls were playing kickball. He found a nice smooth rock and set it in front of him. It would be a tough kick, but if he hit it just right, it might reach the group of girls. It would be funny if he hit one of them in the butt.

"Hey, whatcha doin', Ronnie?"

"Awww, Kelly, can't you see I'm busy? Why do you have bother me all the time?"

"I'm not trying to bother you I just wanted to know if you want to play kickball. It's okay if you don't want to play football, because you can always play with us."

"That's okay. I'd rather be by myself right now."

"Ronnie, all you seem to do is imagine things. It's like you don't even care about other people. I don't care how good your dreams are, there are things to do in the real world. You can play kickball, you can make friends, you can do a lot of things in the real world."

"Why is it your business what I do?"

"I just want to help you, that's all. I want to help you, because I like you. I think that if you just tried a little harder, there would be much for you to enjoy out here. Just look at the sun, and you can see little flowers just starting to come up. Its spring-time. It's a time for new beginnings. Why don't you join everyone and just have fun?"

"I don't want to want to join in the fun. I want to be by myself. I don't like YOU or ANYBODY!" Ronnie turned from Kelly and ran back towards the school.

"Ronnie where are you going?" Kelly shouted.

Ronnie made it back to his classroom and sat down on one of the seats. The room was dark, because the lights were off. Ronnie folded his arms on his desk and laid his head against them. He wished himself to sleep.

The city was pretty. There were lights out. There were people in bars. There were people in the streets, and they were dancing. Men on their motorcycles were driving about under the electric lights of billboards and the white lights of office windows. The city was in sync. Everything was going about nicely and as it should. Then came a giant bolt of lightning out of the sky. The people could see it strike in the distance. When their eyes recovered from the glare, they saw a monster approaching. Was it a monster? Or was it just one giant human being dressed in metal? Policeman hurriedly took to the streets, while sirens went off signaling an immediate evacuation. Women tripped over their high heels, only to be trampled by people running off in all directions.

The giant metal man bared his teeth. They were silver and pointy. He stood over one-hundred feet high. All the tall buildings were just waiting to be smashed by his arms, while all the people were waiting to be stomped by his feet. The metal man approached the city.

"I am Ronnie the destroyer," the metal man yelled. "Fear my wrath, you lowly mortals."

Another lightning bolt came out of the sky. It landed a hundred yards in front of the metal man. A giant feminine figure emerged. Her armor glowed pink in the darkness. "I am Sheeba the protector," she roared. "This city will stand."

The metal man stared at his nemesis in her face. "You will go along with the city," Ronnie shouted. "Nothing will stand in my way."

The two giants squared off while the people in the city watched spellbound. Ronnie lifted his arm and took a swing at Sheeba. Sheeba ducked under his blow and kicked Ronnie in his stomach.

"OOF," Ronnie groaned and took a few steps backward. Sheeba continued forward. She jumped in the air and drop kicked him in his chest.

"OUCH," Ronnie said. He fell on his back. He had never been kicked like that before. There was a break in his armor, and he could see his clothes underneath. He saw the figure of Sheeba approaching him. She seemed to be getting larger and more confidant. Ronnie covered his face in his hands. Sheeba walked right up until Ronnie was between her legs. She lifted her arms up to the sky, as though she were victorious. Suddenly, something dawned on Ronnie.

"You can't do this to me in my dream, you fiend," he yelled. Ronnie popped up right in front of Sheeba. He grabbed Sheeba around her waist and threw her down to the ground. A couple of buildings crushed under her weight. Ronnie had a giant sword attached to his back in its sheathe. He took it out and lunged towards Sheeba. Sheeba lifted her foot and caught Ronnie on his way in, sending him backwards once more.

"This is my dream. You won't last here," Ronnie told her.

He swung his sword, and this time cut Sheeba right through her armor. Sheeba fell down amidst a pile of broken buildings. Sheeba appeared to be bleeding very badly. It didn't look like she was going to be able to get back up.

Ronnie approached the fallen figure.

"You beat, me Ronnie. I thought I could protect the city, but you were too powerful for me. You can destroy it now. There is nothing I can do. I am going to die."

"No, you won't. Get up, Sheeba. You're going to be fine."

"No, I'm not going to be all right. I can feel the life running out of me." Sheeba's eyes rolled to be back of her head.

"Sheeba, you can't die. This is my dream, remember? I can control what happens. Sheeba!"

Sheeba remained motionless on her back. Ronnie knelt down beside Sheeba and put his arm around her . Sheeba was no longer breathing. Ronnie began to cry. "What have I done? I have just killed the one person who truly cares about me."

Ronnie woke up to find himself in the dark classroom. He got up out of his seat and ran out of the school and onto the field. He approached the kickball diamond and scoured the playing field for Kelly. She was playing in the outfield. Ronnie ran up to her and grabbed her hand.

"Hey, Ronnie. What are you doing? Have you finally decided to do something with the rest of us."

"You're okay. Thank God. I had this horrible premonition you got hurt. I just wanted to make sure you're okay."

"I'm fine, Ronnie. So do you want to play kickball? It might be a lot of fun for you."

Ronnie seemed to ponder for a moment.

"Yeah I'll play kickball, I guess. Can I play in the outfield next to you?"

"But I thought you didn't like me? Whatever you want to do is fine, Ronnie. Remember, we're just playing because we want to have good time."

"All right, I guess I'll be out here with you then."

They played kickball for the rest of the hour.

The End

Copyright © 2002 by Steven Bomkamp

Bio: Steve Bomkamp is a 21 year-old physics major at Purdue University in Indianapolis.



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