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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Microstory 1184: Andar ‘Jiminy’ Jeffries

There once was a child who was living in an unsafe environment, being raised by unfit parents. He was forced to feed and entertain himself whenever they were out doing whatever. One day, he was pretending to be in a war. Lucky for the neighborhood, he did not have access to any real firearms, but he did make-do with what he could find strewn about the yard, like tools and pieces of a torn down shed. He started throwing them around, making believe that they were bombs falling to the ground, shrapnel bursting from an explosion, or bullets flying from a gun. One such of these items was a mallet, and he threw it so hard that it soared all the way over the fence, and landed on the head of a four-year-old boy named Andar Jeffries. Andar’s mother rushed him to the hospital, where he was treated for a head injury, and found to be far less hurt than he could have been. He had a particularly strong head, and was healing quickly. It was nothing supernatural, but it was impressive, and fortunate. Andar’s parents might have sought retribution against their neighbors, and even severe punishment for the child, Braeden. Instead, they contacted family services, and began the long and nasty process of taking the neglected boy in as a foster child. Once this process was complete, the Jeffries moved to Kansas City, so they could all start new lives together. Their compassion and magnanimity molded both boys into loving, understanding, and generous people. They became brothers, and never had to see Braeden’s birth parents again. Word somehow got out about what happened, and Andar was given the nickname of Jiminy, since his story was not entirely dissimilar to that of the Talking Cricket’s in The Adventures of Pinocchio. He didn’t care for it much, but no one could ever know this. He was too thoughtful and agreeable to let anyone believe they were doing something he didn’t like. Braeden was the only person he could confide in, and be completely honest with. Not even their mom and dad would be good sources of support, because they would always just suggest he remain helpful and courteous anyway.

Though they were both taught the same values, Andar and Braeden were very different individuals. Braeden was creative and energetic. He continued to leverage his imagination, though now in far healthier ways, but still involving mallet-throwing. He would grow up to work at a place called Wreckreational Therapy, where customers could relieve stress by damaging assorted items. Braeden would come to run the place, and later open three more branches in Kansas and Missouri. Andar, on the other hand, was cool and observant. He preferred to sit quietly with a good book, or engage in an interesting conversation, especially with someone who was smarter than him. His parents were actually concerned for his sedentary lifestyle, and pretty much demanded he exercise, in whatever way he wanted. He decided to become a runner, because it was fairly inexpensive, and easy to start and stop at will. As it turned out, though, he was pretty damn good at it. Before he knew it, he was racing in competitions, and focusing a hell of a long more on it than he ever wanted to. But again, he didn’t feel he could voice his resentment to his loved ones, because he didn’t think they would understand. He quickly became a contender for the City Frenzy, though he would never win, because his heart just wasn’t in it. He never felt that rush that came from victory, or the exhilaration from the competition itself. He only really did anything because it made others feel better. He grew up too, and had to spend some time in regular therapy, as well as his brother’s wreck rooms, to change for the better, and start taking care of himself. He eventually realized he didn’t have to run anymore, and never did in the first place. He dedicated his life to academic pursuits, and eventually became a moral philosophy professor, which is where he found true happiness.

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