“The Future of My Classmates” by Tor Parsons, South Eugene High School
Second Place, High School Level, 2019
The Future of My Classmates
By Tor Parsons
South Eugene High School
Author’s note: This is a humor piece inspired by the New Yorker’s “Shouts & Murmurs” column. All names used are fictitious.
Felicia Chan: A palatial multimillion-dollar house on a lake an hour from downtown Houston. Year-round country club membership and enough United miles to fly the family out to Guangzhou in first class every summer. Occasional arguments with her husband, whom she met when he ran against her for student government at Princeton, over who will put John to bed and who will help Susan with her AP physics homework. Much griping about how the rich take everything and leave nothing for the rest of us, communicated in occasional editorials in the New Yorker.
Chad MacIlwaine: Drafted into the next war, he is blown up by an IED five minutes after he swallows an avocado pit whole on a dare. Miraculously, the pit sprouts in his esophagus and gives him the posthumous legacy of introducing invasive avocado trees to the Middle East.
Josh Greenberg: Either the Nobel Prize-winning discoverer of thermonuclear fusion, or the dad-joke-cracking manager at MattressFirm on Shady Grove Boulevard. Both are equally plausible.
Catrina Schlesinger: Already a Stepford Wife before she’s married. Much more complacent about the state of the world than her vitriolic environmentalist Facebook page suggests.
Liam Parker: Living the same life ten, twenty, thirty years into the future. Shuttles between his dad on weekends and his mom during the week. Skims Craigslist for jobs at his parents’ insistence.
Belle Touré: Drops out of Spellman after two years, when her scholarship money dries up, and moves back home to open a black feminist bookstore. It takes massive losses, of course, and people begin to suspect that it’s a drug front, but she works graveyard shifts to sustain it and gives it more love than she has ever given any human being.
Sam and Ben Cavanagh: One of them gets into the MLS draft straight out of high school. The other doesn’t, and after a summer of washing tables and seething with anger, he finally buys a ticket to the big game, throwing the entire MLS Cup playoff into disarray when he runs out onto the field wearing his brother’s jersey (bought at the merch table outside the stadium) and kicks the winning goal with thirty seconds to spare.
Miranda Nakayama: Blasting her pre-operation pump-up music (“Roar” by Katy Perry) as she gets into her scrubs.
Isaac Adler-Villeneuve: His smiling face looming over a cloverleaf, somewhere in the suburban Northeast, like the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. A slogan proclaiming “In A Sticky Situation? Adhere To Adler & Associates Attorneys!”
Rachel Thompson: Heading back home on the Wilshire Boulevard Subway, dejected after yet another promising audition turns out to be for a porno. Tomorrow she’ll get a real offer, oh yes she will. She’ll get that SAG card someday. Someday.
Gavin Cohen-O’Leary: Proclaimed to be the next Alex Honnold by people whose only association with the world of rock climbing was a jittery sit-through of Free Solo. Proclaimed to be a talentless asswipe by other rock climbers.
LaShawna Dunaway: Joins an off-the-grid natural-living commune in Mendocino County. Lives there for a few golden years, learning how to play Appalachian dulcimer and cook away a banana slug’s bitter aftertaste, until they all die of smallpox.
Gauri Krishnan: Perpetual challenger for our local House seat. Every two years, it seems like she’ll unseat the incumbent and snag the Democratic nomination. Every two years, she comes an ever-narrowing margin away from doing so.
Andrew Kovacs: Still biking thirty miles per day long past his prime, holding onto his dream of joining the American team for the Tour de France—but just as a motivational goal, since he knows he’s too old to go pro now. Everybody tells him he’d be a better stand-up comedian, and should just give up on biking, but he insists that he just naturally says stupid stuff and it isn’t funny.
Jacob and James Gershner: Sure, it’s wrong and nobody should gossip in the Lord’s house, but the synagogue is abuzz with rumors about these two. Who are they? Does anyone know them? Are they really twins? They look so alike, but . . . Dov insists he saw them holding hands once. People nod, yeah, sounds plausible. Who are they? Who the hell are they?
Daphne Lucas: As long as she is alive, goths will still be a thing. Well, maybe not multiple goths. Goth, singular, will still be a thing.
Gloria Schneider: One day, far in the future, she has an epiphany. “Maybe,” she thinks to herself, “the reason everyone hates me is because I’ve memorized Hamilton and talk about nothing but Broadway.” She ponders this for a while, and decides that it is true. “But . . .” she then considers, “is there anything more to life than Broadway?” She concludes that there isn’t.
Samantha Hawley: Do you have any idea how much it sucks to be an attractive blonde in the Peace Corps? People think she doesn’t actually care about the eradication of global poverty and she’s just there to meet hot foreign guys. It SUCKS!
Gabe O’Connor: Forced to move back in with his parents after his house is firebombed by an alt-right provocateur. In court, the would-be terrorist insists he thought Gabe was the leader of the shadow world government—after all, why else would there be so many photos of him posing with noted Democratic politicians? Gabe explains what a lobbyist is, and the case is dismissed.
Rashid al-Sharif: Our sorry little school’s one true success story. All of us will be telling our children “I attended school with DaZuperMan420!” someday. It’s staggering, the amount of money you can make streaming Fortnite.
Jeremiah “Boomer” Davis: Briefly mentioned in airline magazines: “If you’re going to Eugene, Oregon (direct flights from Denver, Chicago, and San Francisco), be sure to stop by Kesey Square and say hi to the guy who plays keytar in a Chewbacca costume, sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, rain or shine.” The subject of a million memes. Everybody knows him. Nobody knows his name.
Bella Garzón-Watkins: Attempts to incorporate subliminal messages into her multimillion-follower Snapchat feed, bashing the fashion label that employs her for not featuring more plus-sized models.
Alex Duncan: He may not be the most disciplined or most contributing member of our local National Congress of American Indians chapter, but hey, he brings Oreos to all our meetings. There’s no way we’d ever kick him out.
Ian Park: Booed off stage every night at the Laugh Refinery Comedy Club, out by Exit 97 a mile down the road from the LNG plant.
Khadijah Diass: Organizes a march of 7,000 unemployed rappers, podcasters, and DJs through the streets of Berlin to the headquarters of Soundcloud, protesting their new policy of deleting all posts that include profanity or sexual references.
Olivia Brown: Living out the rest of her days in a Houston jail for her seventh attempt on Felicia Chan’s life (the Harris County police department knows about attempts one through six, too, but they don’t have enough evidence to prosecute her). But hey, can’t you feel a little bit of sympathy for her? You’d do what she did, too, if you’d had to live your entire life in the shadow of someone so obviously superior.
Me: How could I possibly know? I’m still so young!