Frivolous Complexity

By Lexi Anders

Chapter 1: It wasn’t actually a love letter

“Dear Gerald,”

The letter read.

“I wanted to talk to you the other day, but then you got called away to a meeting before I could utter a word. uwu

I can’t wait any longer. I think I like you. If you feel the same meet me at the-”

What did it say? 

“skydive center at 2pm-”

No, Gerald rubbed his eyes and looked at the letter closer. He must have misread. 

“skydive center at 2am.”!?!? 

“I got us tickets for your day off. I’m sure that seems a tad extreme, but I know you’ve always wanted to do it and even if you don’t feel the same, I think it’ll be a lot of fun (please don’t think I’m insane!).”

For some reason part of that seemed fake, but he couldn’t say why. It was written though, and there was no reason that someone would go through the trouble of tricking him. 2am was basically the middle of the night, but he had heard of night skydiving before, though most places didn’t do it. Maybe they wrote it wrong. There’s only one way to find out though.

“Yours Truly, Victoria” it ended.

Did he know a Victoria? The name seemed familiar, but he couldn’t think of anyone. She knew he wanted to skydive too, so they must have met right? But, memory told him that he hadn’t, so he couldn’t have . . . Strange.

If he didn’t know this person, why would he bother going? It was just odd. It was his chance to skydive though, possibly his only chance, and he didn’t want to pass it up- even if it could be a prank.

Chapter 2: Well acquainted with falling

Gerald went to the skydive center at 2am. There was no one there. Literally.

A cop drove by and asked suspiciously if he was lost. Gerald couldn’t imagine what the police officer thought he was up to. Stealing a plane? He said he thought he saw something and the cop muttered something along the lines of: “Hippies and their alien sightings”.

Gerald looked at the letter again. How had he read it wrong?!
It had said 2pm after all. So much for a constant sleep schedule. Now that he looked at it again it even said:

“PS I hope the timing is okay, I didn’t want to mess up your sleep schedule or ruin any plans for lunch. If not just give me a call and I can change it pretty easily.”

It seemed like he should have her number, but the only person in his contacts even similar to Victoria was Toya and he was pretty certain that was his brother’s girlfriend, so he hoped it wasn’t her or else his brother was gonna beat him up.

When he came back to the skydive center at 2pm a short girl with long black hair waited at the entrance. It seemed like she was looking for someone because she kept standing up on her tiptoes as though the extra inch would allow her to peer over the hill. He thought it must be Victoria, but even after seeing him she continued searching.

Must be waiting for someone else. But, she never stopped looking even when the time to check in had arrived. She looked disappointed. He was disappointed as well. To think someone had invited him and hadn’t even bothered to show up.

Thankfully, when he told them his name they let him in. Maybe whoever had sent the letter had lost their nerve- which was an odd phrase in his opinion because to have no nerves means you wouldn’t be able to control your body, so it sort of made sense, but in a removed way.

“Aren’t you scared?” The girl asked. It was odd to him to talk to anyone after just meeting if you didn’t need to. He should be wary, but something told him she more trustworthy than an ice cube. Those slippery things.

“No way.” he replied. “The chance of dying from skydiving is like a 0.0007%, compared to the 0.0167% chance of dying in a car accident.”

“Wow, you really know your facts, you must have been preparing for a long time.” she said looking unsure whether to move away from this extremely peculiar person.

“Heheh,” he chuckled awkwardly, “yeah, it’s been a dream of mine for a long time.” he said trying to back off on the crazy vibe and regretting allowing human interaction to initiate.

“Hmm, reminds me of a friend- he’s actually the reason I’m here today. I don’t know if I can do it though . . . I’m absolutely terrified of heights.” 

Whatever he had done worked, she no longer looked afraid for her life.

“So, is one of my friends,” he said, but he couldn’t think of which friend, “You’ll be just fine. From up there it’ll look just like Google maps. Lots of skydivers are scared of heights, but it’s really great for you to fight your fears so you build your confidence and-”

“Goodness you even blather like him.”

He smiled. “I promise I don’t normally talk so much to strangers. It must be the adrenaline or maybe it’s because came here at 2am this morning.”

She stared at him for a moment. “You know what? I’m just not going to do it today. I got the ticket for anytime in the next two months, so maybe I’ll come back another time when my friend can go with me.”

“Oh,” he said disappointed for absolutely no reason, “well it was a pleasure meeting you.”

“You too.” she said taking his unoffered hand and although they had never met before it almost felt more odd to do that rather than to hug.

Skydiving is crazy! It reminded him of when he fell into that never ending abyss once. Just a moment, what had he done? An abyss? That hadn’t happened . . . it must have been a nightmare. Well, anyhow, when you skydive you basically feel weightless and although you’re so far up and going so fast you don’t feel a lick of fear. Well he didn’t at least. Not after the person in front of him caught on fire. 

No, that’s ridiculous. People don’t just spontaneously combust. At least, he thought as much. Now recounting it to his friend, he couldn’t remember clearly. It must have been a burst of light or something before he had run into that seagull.

Wait- when had that happened? He might need a nap under a radioactive piranha.

Chapter 3: Even more piranhas

Something made him stay at his friend’s child’s friend’s birthday party however- and it wasn’t the deceiving cake that was found to have been stuffed with cauliflower by some evil soul. He hated cauliflower.

No, what kept him from leaving from the insanity, just then, was far more bizarre.

No, it wasn’t the chocolate fondue that melted the table cloth either. Why does food keep coming up? Was he hungry? Cauliflower isn’t that bad, he could eat some . . .

But, that’s off topic. Just when was thinking of piranhas the birthday girl hit the bright orange pinata shaped just like her and out came- what would you guess? 

No, not pomegranate custard, but piranhas!!

And they turned towards Gerald- wait was his name Gerald at all? He thought it started with an “E”, had he gotten the wrong love letter in the first place? What if he had intercepted the letter from that lady at the skydiving place and ruined someone’s romance-?

Please, I’m trying to tell the story. You’re making things confusing.

Ahem. The piranhas turned towards Gerald in a scheming mass multiplying from thin air all around him to seek revenge.

Revenge for what?

‘Revenge for what?’ you might ask, revenge for crushing one of their own only earlier that day. Doesn’t Gerald remember?

No, he doesn’t.

Well, too bad it happened.

He had jumped out of the airplane and drifted after pulling his parachute, when all of the sudden a monstrous instinct overtook him and he aimed straight for a puddle on the ground. Deep down he knew what he was doing. He knew that a single innocent little piranha lived within that puddle and he intended to crush it!

So there he stood surrounded by piranhas when out of the midst the piranha he thought he had killed flopped forward and said: “Men, we’ve all taken bites of innocent people at times. Can we not, this once, forgive this awful, cruel, and freakish man?”

Then all the other piranhas- devoured the dead piranha for being weak and were satisfied with their meal. So they agreed to leave Gerald when they realized that they couldn’t breath and all died in a matter of seconds, leaving their gross bodies everywhere, which some brilliant child decided to try eating inside his smore.

Chapter 4: In which several events were not actually tragedies

“Eeeeh, does anyone know what just happened?” Gerald asked around baffled. 

Everyone insisted he had fallen asleep and dreamt it, yet every time he turned he saw in the corner of his eye some kid eating piranha.

Not a different kid, the same one every time

He was about to question this kid when a scream echoed from the house. He flew inside to find the birthday girl sobbing hysterically and pointing at the ground.

There lay her new pet goldfish seemingly crushed by a million miniature cats who desperately wanted to eat it, but their teeth fell out.

We buried the ill-fated fish and named it: Sir Caterpillar, the first and last fish to die at this exact time and place.

But then some kid ran by and kicked up the 3 feet of dirt we had buried Sir Caterpillar under and the birthday girl scooped up the dead fish and ate it!

Then she took out a bag of identical fish and we all watched in horror as she proceeded to dump them in her mouth.

Wait, it’s food though.

Again with the food. Maybe you should eat something, Gerald.

If that’s my name- but really it is food.

That’s just wrong. You shouldn’t eat your pets! No wonder the piranhas hated you.

So it wasn’t a dream!

Go back to sleep.

My point is that those goldfish are like the actual food type of goldfish, the crackers.

No, they aren’t.

Yes, they are, the bag says so. “The snack that smiles back” you know? So Sir Caterpillar never really existed.

Fine, but little girls still shouldn’t eat food after it’s been buried.

Anyways, the actual tragedy was still yet to come . . .

The kid who he thought had been eating a piranha smore seemed to have mysteriously disappeared, so Gerald decided to simply head back home.

As good of an idea as any, really.

Unfortunately, he had forgotten that he had been dropped off by another friend, so he was left to walk home. Ominous clouds rolled across the sky and lightning began to flicker in the distance. 

He put his hands in his pockets and picked up the pace.

His hand brushed something and he took out the note inviting him to go skydiving. Ever since he had received that note, life had been very strange. Understatement much. He felt like he was going through a haze. He took the piece of paper and folded into a paper airplane.

The only logical course of action.

A couple drops sprinkled down so he quickly arched his arm back and threw the paper airplane with all his might.

At that very moment lightning struck the airplane. No, not the paper one. The one which the girl, Victoria, was taking that day to go skydiving from. With the electricity fried from a billion volts of electricity an emergency door popped open and flung her out.

She fell right before him and bounced a couple times before becoming motionless. Behind him the plane dived into the yard of his friend’s kid’s friend’s house destroying the birthday decor, how tragic! It hadn’t even killed the people because they had gone inside when the clouds threatened to pour.

On the ground the girl’s long black hair lay around her grimly as the rain began to heave it’s burdens upon them. Gerald reached down in shock and rolled the body over. It was her, Victoria, and he remembered this now. They had gone to the same high school and he had always loved her. Now it was too late.

She seemed to smile up at him as he cried. 

“It’s okay. I caught it.” she whispered and held up the paper airplane.

“Why did this happen . . . I don’t understand . . . !” he said suddenly with a British accent.

He took her into his friend’s kid’s friend’s house where they had begun to eat their nauseating cake, somehow completely oblivious to the plane in the backyard.

He turned to leave and bumped into a kid trying to hide a piranha. He didn’t have time for that now. The airplane! The airplane!!

A gun lay on the ground in a pool of blood or possibly ketchup. One never knew, and he didn’t intend to find out. Unless he got really hungry that is.

He picked it up only to drop it immediately because it was slick with . . . whatever the liquid was. This time he picked it up with both hands being careful to not push the giant red button on the bottom and entered the suddenly rusted machine. All was silent except for the deafening rainfall which sounded like a ticking clock.

He crept down the long aisle checking each row before passing by. On one row a dead piranha sat next to a goldfish. On the next a smoking seagull. Another a cauliflower stuffed cake and a radioactive smore. A hippie held an orange child shaped pinata in the last.

Then within the pilot’s cockpit . . .

“Hello, Ernest.” a voice resounded from the darkness.

“So my name isn’t Gerald!” is all he had to say.

Then, I turned around revealing myself to him with a wicked grin. As I pet my precious cat, of course.

“So glad we could finally meet.” I purred.

“Huh, you’re not quite how I imagined.” I sniffed distastefully.

“It’s probably all the fish I’ve been in contact with today. No doubt your fault.”

“Ha! Credit where credit is due. I can’t deny it.”

“As I thought.” he paused. “Well, I’ve decided I want the story to go a different direction.” Gerald told me. I knew he was fingering the gun in the depths of his coat.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Have you even checked to see if that’s loaded? You know I control this world now. It’s your flimsy gun with an odd red button, against my writing skills. Do you care to see how it turns out?”

He hesitated. 

Sassafraz, my cat jumped from my lap and nudged him.

“Don’t worry we can work together.” I said positively. “My cat likes you after all. But, don’t think for a second you have any real power here.” I turned around hiding a smirk.

“Now go back to your princess.”

Then, he aimed the gun at the back of my chair at pushed the red button.

Chapter 5: It was the narrator the whole time

Now Ernest could finally see. This witch had somehow been controlling his quest from the shadows. He wasn’t even in an airplane. He was at a circus (the horror) and everyone was looking anxiously where he stood holding a banana straight at a clown. 

He went outside and found that he was only across from his friend’s kid’s friend’s house. In a barrel by the door was a hoard of fish labeled pacu. 

“Closely resembling piranhas, but slightly less malicious” It said. 

Inside he found Victoria holding her heel. She had tripped trying to catch the paper airplane he had thrown.

He had in fact misunderstood the note: it said skydiving for his day off, but he actually did work today, for his editor. Victoria had gone to the skydiving place to make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding (because she’s paranoid sometimes, don’t judge), but somehow they hadn’t recognized each other.

Also his brother had dated her at a point, but they broke up after a couple years, so it was fine. 

And there’s actually no up or down. Wait, the narrator’s hold may still linger- no it’s true, there’s no up or down, but there is an in and out. 

He sure was glad to be free from that awful narrator. Next time he should read the fine print when signing deals.

I sighed looking down at Ernest. I knew he had been waiting for my cat to leave. Good thing I made that button teleport me to safety or we might have had a bigger disagreement.
Isn’t it sad when your character’s grow up out of your intended world? He doesn’t realize that I still plot the charts though. Perhaps someday he’ll read the fine print and understand the purpose of my narrating.

For now I suppose I’ll just have fun with my piranhas and goldfish, my seagulls, and my cauliflower stuffed cakes and smores, my hippies and, of course, my pinatas.

Doesn’t that list just scream of a party? Maybe, I should write one in.

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