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Friday, February 15, 2019

Microstory 1040: Jerry

I’ve only lived in Blast City for a couple of years, so if you’re looking for a different perspective than you’re getting from these townies, you’ve come to the right place. I don’t know what reason your family had for moving, but mine had to do it because of me. I grew up in a really red state, but my mother had a really good job, and they thought they would be able to survive. My first high school was the absolute worst, though. In the summer after eighth grade, I asked if I could become a cheerleader, which they had no problem with whatsoever. They were actually getting a little worried that I wasn’t interested in anything. It was a bit too late to sign up for cheer camp, but they made tons of calls, and found me a place that was far away, but really open to beginners. Most of the other kids had been really active their whole lives, even if they were switching from gymnastics, or acrobatics, or whatnot. They were so incredibly supportive and patient with me while I was catching up. So you can see why, even though I knew my hometown was more conservative, it was a huge shock when I was met with such backlash when I tried out for my school’s cheer squad. It’s the 21st century, you would think there would be protections for diversity just about everywhere in this country, but no. They just shut the door on my request, and wouldn’t even entertain the possibility. In the end there was no fighting it. They seemed more angry when I mentioned I wasn’t gay, because then I wasn’t afflicted with the homosickness—their word, not mine—I was just confused and weird. Well, we learned about this place, which we found surprising progressive for a small town. My mom was offered a really good job at the club, though still not as good as what she had, and I will never be able to pay her back for that. You may be wondering why I’m even telling this story, and what it was to do with Viola. The truth is, everything. The issue with my old school was tragic and traumatizing for me and my family, but it didn’t make national news, or anything. Perhaps it should have, but I guess we just didn’t make a big enough stink. Viola herself actually called me out of the blue, and acted like she worked for your paper, Alma. She said she had heard what happened to me, and wanted to tell my story. We got sidetracked, and she brought up an open position at the club, and let me know how much safer and loving Blast City Senior High was. It was she who suggested we move all the way out here, though she did a great job making me think I had thought of it myself. It wasn’t until my second week in that I realized the whole thing was made up. She didn’t work for the school paper, and the article never existed. Even then, I never found out how she found out about me, let alone got her hands on my phone number. I’ll tell you what, though, I’ll always be grateful she did. I’m captain of the cheer squad now.

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