Green Paper Lantern 2: Derek Versus Stuart
Written by SF Guillermo
It was dark outside. Really. It was dark.
I looked through the dusty old windows covered in frost and the only thing I could make out from the darkness was the old car my family had from even before I was born.
I had tried to talk my parents into changing it and getting a new one, but they didn’t bother and they always replied with the same old, boring excuse.
“If it works, it works.”
Anyways. If you’re reading this, then it’s because you’ve read the other case files. My name is Derek, and I am the origami Parallax, an evil version of Green Lantern.
I’ve been in my fair share of fights ever since I started off as Stuart’s enemy. We were friends before, but things got… complicated.
I prefer to say we just had different points of view. Ever since then, I’ve been fighting him off as well as the rest of the Justice Pleats, which kind of tore down from the inside. All it took was a little push…
All these thoughts passed through my mind as I stopped staring at the window and focused my gaze on the wooden desk before me.
There, without anything else, stood my origami Parallax. Sometimes, you can’t help but be the bad guy.
I mean, who doesn’t want to be a hero? Everyone’s a hero in their own version of the story, everyone has this vision of themselves and to think they deserve to be intangible and stand above all others.
At least that’s my idea. We’re made to crush one another. No hesitation, no remorse.
So, what happened?
When Stuart sets himself up as Green Lantern, a hero which you’re against, that leaves no other place for you than the villain. You guys follow me?
My name is Derek, and I am Parallax.
By Stuart Jones
“Tell me about it,” I agreed to Max Ribbon, who was telling me about how much it sucked to get a bunch of homework from one class and the next teacher sending you even more.
“As if there weren’t any other classes than the ones they teach!”
“We absolutely don’t deserve this.”
“ I mean, we’re what, 17? We’re supposed to be having fun outside and/or hanging out with friends, not stuck in our rooms all day-“
“-Yeah but then they’d say you need to learn discipline from a very young age, and the truth is, this is one of the hardest parts of life: Friends leave, life changes fast, hormones kick in, and there’s this social pressure on us that expects us to hang out a lot so we’re not unsociable and we’ve got to master everything we come across.”
“You can’t be an expert in everything, Stuart,” Max reasoned, “You have to pick your ‘fights’, and see which one will be most valuable to you in the future.”
“You can’t be an Olympic competitor and a Doctor at the same time, can you?”
“That’s exactly my point. It would be great to master martial arts and reach all that power, and try out if you get that far, but that sets you on a path different, for example, than a doctor’s.”
“Quite,” I looked at my watch, “Darn it, Max. I told my homeroom teacher I’d give this new kid a tour, and I’m so, so late.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll see you around!”
I quickly ran through the hallways to the place where I’d told the guy I’d meet him, but he wasn’t there.
I was worried he’d gotten lost or even gone home, but he didn’t seem like the sort of kid to just quit from a new situation.
After some more running and avoiding collisions against kids, I found him sitting next to Derek on a bench. He was pointing in different directions and they were talking nicely. Like Derek and I did, I guess.
“Hey, Darren, I see you met Derek.” I greeted the guy.
“Oh, yeah,” Derek stood up, “Glad to cover you up.”
“I was busy.” I shot him a menacing look.
“Oh, yeah?” He smirked, “You were gonna show Darren around but you left him hanging. Now I’m proud to be of assistance to him.”
The new kid, Darren, signaled me, saying that we were okay, and I left.
I don’t know what game Derek thinks he’s playing, but I won’t let him turn Darren to his side.
I was glad to come across Darren, the new kid here at Donner. I wouldn’t just wait around for somebody else to go and talk to him. I was taught from a very young age to strike first.
After Stuart left, I could tell by Darren’s expression that he was confused. A debate was going on in his mind. Should he go with him or should he stay with me?
“Stuart is an a$@hole,” I sniffed, “The more you stay away from him the better you’ll be here at this school.”
He stood up and lent me a hand so I’d get up as well.
“Wait, what do you mean?”
“He preaches more than he actually does. He’s a sickness.”
“Looked kind of nice to me, man.”
“Once you get to know him a bit better, you’ll come to realize what a big jerk he is.”
He was suddenly very serious about this, even though he hadn’t seen me and Stuart have an argument in our lives.
“Look,” He started like he meant business, “I don’t know what business you’ve got in between you, but I’m not sure I want to stand in the middle.”
“Are you lecturing me?” I got annoyed.
“I’m just telling you. I don’t know what happened between you two, but it’s about time you could, ehm, kinda grow up? I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all-“
“Well, you certainly sound like one.” I got angry and walked off. I felt betrayal. Even though I had just met this kid, he was honest with me. Way too honest.
He stopped and looked at me.
“Look, I don’t know what’s between you two,” He repeated, “But is this how you wanna live your life?”
Well. If this is the reward for helping some new kid install himself in the new school and make him feel comfortable, this totally sucks. It turned out I was the one who was uncomfortable, I didn’t like hanging out with him in the first place.
But I could use him.
The idea struck like lightning. What if, instead of me helping him get settled in Donner, I actually used him to mess around with Stuart? Nice…
A NEW GREEN FOLD
By Darren Hills
I was very glad to change schools and get a different glimpse of life in another part of the state. My family was originally from Rochester, Minnesota. It was a very big town where I spent my whole childhood, attending summer camps such as the YMCA or just going to the local library.
My parents then got the job offer to travel to Jutefruce and stay here.
I wasn’t going to oppose to that, since I’ve always been on the side of adventure.
One of the things I always learned to like was origami. I don’t know why, but folding origami just takes your mind off things and troubles.
It wasn’t long ago before I started reading DC comics either. Out of all the characters, the one that really stood out for me was the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern.
You want to know the big coincidence? It’s like I was meant to come to this school. These students have a story with origami puppets inspired by the heroes from the DC universe.
It wasn’t a mystery what I had to do.
The night after I got mad at Derek for acting so selfishly (I do have to agree, I may have been too hard on my first day), I folded, or at least tried to fold an origami Kyle Rayner.
When I put it on my finger, I suddenly knew what I had to do. I had to end the rivalry between Derek and Stuart, whatever it was.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
You know how when you sometimes react to a certain thing one way when you don’t actually mean it, but once you do it you suddenly really mean it? I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s what happened to me when I had a disagreement with Darren.
He said something against what I thought, and therefore I figured we shouldn’t no longer talk to each other.
Maybe this is a bit obsessive… I thought to myself. Maybe this was a lot.
All this fighting, all this causing mayhem, all this rabble making… Was it against Stuart? Or did a part of it come to me?
I don’t think I’m the same person I was years ago.
Sure, people change, but this was something else.
I don’t know how Darren did it, but the conversation I had with him made something inside me click.
Is this how you wanna live your life?
Those words just echoed in my head and repeated myself over and over.
This wasn’t a game, but I think it may have started to get out of hand.
Am I going to keep on imposing myself over other people with whom I don’t agree with?
I’m not sure, but maybe Darren, however new to this he may be, was right.
TOTALLY NO AMENDS
By Stuart Jones
I tried not to let this get to my head. Darren was probably lonely, and Derek went to him.
It was kind of my fault I hadn’t been there to greet him, since I was talking to Max about life. I got so carried away, I totally forgot about time and my appointment to show him around. I don’t think I would have waited for someone else either, especially if you’re new and you don’t know the person you’re meeting, hence you don’t really know whether or not he’ll actually show up.
I had already forgotten about this three or four days later, when I collided against Derek. It was an uncomfortable situation, but again, I had been thinking about the homework Theresa Carter had been helping me out with and how I hadn’t understood it completely yet.
I sat down, but Derek had followed me.
“Hey.” He started.
“Hey,” I shot back, “What’s up?”
“Nothing’s up,” He looked annoyed, but he kept talking, ”Why do you have to make it so weird?”
I had no idea what he was talking about. Maybe he was really annoyed and just wanted to throw a fit.
“I dunno. Aren’t you being weird?”
“I’m not being freaking weird.”
“Then why are you here?”
As soon as I said this, he grabbed his tray and chocolate milk and stomped off, not before he said the last words.
“You know, I actually came to apologize or to talk to you because I thought you changed. Now I see you’re the same jerk as always, Stuart.”
“What did I do?”
Right before turning his back, I encountered Darren. They had a small talk, and they both sat in front of me. Derek puffed.
TURNING THE TIDE
I managed to sit Derek down, Stuart just kept a frown on me during this time. He was surprised I had managed to convince a selfish guy like Derek to sit down, but I have a very good way to deal with people.
“Don’t mind me,” Derek told Stuart,”Let’s just get this over with.”
“Listen, I know I’m new here, I don’t know what’s wrong with you guys or whatever-”
“Alright, you listen now,” Derek cut in, “Why do you even care so much? You’re new, and I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but this is not your fight.”
Sometimes one should shut up, and other times you have to at least try to prove the reason why you did something.
“Look at this. Sound familiar?” I pulled out the origami Green Lantern I made several nights before, “I saw, and read the case files about the origami puppets. Sometimes a rivalry can rise on its own, and sometimes it’s increased by these… these things.”
“You don’t get it, do you?” Derek started.
“No, Derek, he’s got a point,” Stuart finally let out, “Maybe it’s time we stopped acting like kids. Some adults don’t forgive, many don’t, actually. But that’s not me. I can’t see this continue any longer, especially because, in like, less than two years, we won’t be here anymore. I don’t want everything to end like this,” Stuart lent his hand for Derek to shake it, “I forgive you, Derek. If there’s something you can forgive me for, then please do the same.”
Derek nodded, and smacked his lips. For a second, I thought he was going to get up and turn around, but a look on his face revealed to me that this was actually what he had been waiting for.
He shook his hand.
“I forgive you too,” Derek and Stuart smiled, “But don’t let this get to your head.” They laughed.
I couldn’t believe how well things had gone. I would never have expected it, but some things I guess that they are meant to be.
When the last bell rang announcing the end of the day, I grabbed the stuff from my locker, and felt Kyle Rayner Green Paper Lantern (love the pun, by the way) on my finger. Whatever lay ahead, I knew what I stood for.
By Stuart Jones
Darren Thompson came to meet me after school. He nodded when he saw me.
“I, uhh. Thanks.” I muttered.
“Yeah, no problem. Sometimes one gets sudden inspiration.”
“Yeah that happens a lot,” I nodded once more, “So, where do you come from?”
“Is it good there?”
“Frankly, as good as I’ll ever be,” He was melancholic, “But my parents moved here for work, and I had to come with them.”
“I’m sure you’ll fit right in, given time.”
We walked a few feet when I had another idea.
“How about we go get some Frosties?” I offered, “You’ve got those in Minnesota, right?”
“That’d be awesome.”
“But first… I have to tell you that the Green Paper Lantern place is taken by me. No offense or anything.” I said.
He laughed and got his puppet out.
“Hal Jordan?” I asked.
“Oh, no, not that one actually.” He said, “It’s Kyle Rayner… honestly, maybe Derek should be Hal…”
I thought about this, and I nodded, “I agree with you… You’ve proven your worth. Welcome to the circus, my friend.”