This story is based somewhat off of the novel Dragonhaven, by Robin Mckinly. It was betaread by Neo H.B.B. Sam.
Salutations, my dear reader. My name is Eddward, informally known as Double-D. I shall explain to you as to why I am not simply called “Edd” as you might think later. But anyway, if you are reading this for the first time, then you should acquire some background knowledge about me and my past life. To start, I used to live in an area called Peach Creek. To describe Peach Creek in a fairly well manner, it was a little town with a population of around seven thousand and it was merely a suburb of Orange River City, which was about fourteen miles away. It was normally your average, peaceful, quaint town. That is, unless you count the neighborhood I used to reside. Then, it could be considered catastrophe central. I'm exaggerating, of course, but many thrilling and aberrant things have happened there during my childhood. Anyway, this neighborhood at the time consisted of a single cul-de-sac next to a second one under construction, a playground, a junkyard, a trailer park, a school, and a large forest.
I was one of the twelve (thirteen if you count Plank, who I will get to later) adolescents living in the neighborhood. My two best friends were a short and stocky impatient boy named Eddy and a tall, strong boy named Ed. Together, we were known as “The Eds” by the other kids and generally treated as outcasts. Mostly and honestly, it was due to Eddy's unquenchable desire to trick the kids our of their allowances through “scams,” as he called them. If it weren’t for these said scams, then surely we would have been accepted into the “in-crowd”, not that I exceptionally wanted to be. Though Eddy, on the other hand, had always adored the idea of fitting in. Unfortunately, his immense greed had kept him from that dream. Yes, we had our obvious quirks, but everyone in that little cul-de-sac did, so that was never the reason why the other kids disliked us so.
Eddy is rather greedy and often lets his desires cloud his judgment, but when push comes to shove he proves himself a true friend. Most of the time that is. Eddy was also my first kiss, though I ponder sometimes if it actually counts as a first kiss since he was forced into doing it. He was also flamboyant at times, perhaps rather cocky and somewhat arrogant as well. By no means was he a perfect person, because no one in their right mind is. However, I somehow found myself being friends with him, and working as his “brains”. Oh sure, Eddy had street smarts that he picked up from his older brother, but academically on the other hand, well, let’s just say that his grades were deplorable to say the least. In fact, it’s a wonder that he wasn’t held back. Sometimes, I worry about what kind of a future he’ll have. It would hurt me so to see him as a beggar on the streets, performing degenerate actions in order to receive some petty change. And yet, Eddy does have the potential to become a somebody, a corporate executive perhaps? Though in the end, despite Eddy’s bad qualities that would drive most people away from him, it paid off being his friend.
Ed is a tall, lovable oaf of a boy was never the brightest bulb in the batch. But to make up for this, he had some uncanny strength that many would envy to have. Because of Ed, already being called Ed by the children, I ended up being known as “Double-D”, because when shorted, my name pretty much is “Edd,” with two D’s. But anyway, his childlike innocence is so bittersweet and he has such a good heart but he is easily manipulated by Eddy into doing the latter's bidding. However, his upbeat demeanor always made him pleasant to be around. That is however, if one can stand his stench. The only thing that I know of which would be on a comparable scale to his odor would have to be a mixture of every dreadful thing that one could think of being repulsive, all combined into a ball the size of the Earth itself. Okay, maybe that was over exaggerating a bit, but if there’s one thing that I can absolutely not stand, it is filth. Many times have Eddy and I tried to get Ed to have a decent odor on him at least, though we’ve had minimal to no success on that. Now, getting off the topic of Ed’s body odor, he also had the “weirdest” interests out of us. He was interested in B-movies, gravy, butter toast, chickens, etc. Most normal children did not care for these interests, but Ed was no normal child. There had to of been something which caused his behavior, but I have yet to find out what the source of Ed’s character is. And like Eddy, he too ended up being one of my greatest friends.
As for myself, I am considered to be the smart one of the cul-de-sac children My intellect and adept skill with engineering are what put Eddy's outrageous schemes into motion, until something almost inevitably goes wrong and ruins our chances at getting enough money for jawbreakers. Jawbreakers were the main delicacies sold at our neighborhood candy shop and was essentially ambrosia for us children. Anyway, my love and pursuit of knowledge was quite a lonely road. You see, when I was little, my parents were rarely around, and even now, I’m fortunate if I see them during the holidays. One day, when I was four, I wanted to know just why my parents weren’t around twenty-four seven like all the other kids parents. So in hope that I may find an answer in literature, I ended up reading an entire dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia that day, all at the age of four. Those colossal books did not provide me with the answer I sought out, only giving me my rather enormous vocabulary and knowledge. Later on in my life, I found out why my parents never were around, and to this day I don’t like the reason. Because of their common departure, I had to learn how to fend for myself, repair what needed fixing, pretend that my parents spoke to me without those cursed sticky notes, and eventually, to become my own parent. A life like this would probably be unbearable for some people. However, my substantial grades and pride in my accomplishments were what kept me from serious depression. And my friends, who although didn’t care for my academic passion, were the only people who genuinely wanted to be around me at the time.
Now, to explain the other children of the cul-de-sac. The first one was Kevin, an athletic child who was the captain of the football team at the junior high I went to. Like me, Kevin was also mechanically adapt, always knowing his tools of trade and one time he built a perfectly working bike from scratch at the age of ten, which he commonly rides around in pride since it’s one of his greatest accomplishments. And thanks to his cynical way of thinking, he was perhaps one of the more realistic thinkers of the cul-de-sac, like I am. To be honest, he actually shares many traits with Eddy. Unlike Eddy though, Kevin is in the “in-crowd”. As a result of their similarities, but different social standings, they became natural archrivals. Of course, unlike Eddy, Kevin never scammed kids out of their money, which Eddy has yet to understand is the reason why Kevin is more popular than he is. And while Kevin doesn’t not act nice towards us, it’s mainly due to the fact that Ed and I associate with Eddy. When Ed and I are not around Eddy, Kevin generally treats us like decent people. And he is a good person towards his friends, treating them with respect. I guess though that like Eddy, Kevin rubs off a bad impression on certain people. He is by no means an evil devil spawn who constantly has morel event horizons every hour of the day. Kevin proved to be an alright fellow to me in the end.
Sarah was Ed's younger sister, whose red hair matched her fiery temper. Anything as tiny as an amoeba could have easily upset her. And it was obvious to all the cul-de-sac kids, with the exception of Ed himself, that Sarah was always the favorite of Ed’s parents. Yes, Sarah is a rather spoiled child. However, despite coming off as well, um, words that would put vileness on my tongue, she could show the emotion of compassion. Mostly Sarah was caring to her friend Jimmy, who I shall describe later on. And there were times when Sarah seemed to have an apparent crush on me. Such as the time Eddy violated Sarah’s privacy by reading her diary, I found out that she dreamt of me giving her a horse. That, and the time she followed me around on a summer day, trying to get a certain affectionate response out of me, and the time she asked if I would have liked to dance with her at the school dance. Despite her short fuse and unnatural strength, like Kevin, she, deep down, is a relatively good person.
Jimmy is a frail young boy with a passion for arts. He was rather pale, thanks to the fact that many of his hobbies are indoor activities. I remember this one time when it was snowing outside that Ed thought that Jimmy got caught in a blender and his body was being spread everywhere, which got plenty of laughs out of the other children, with the exception of Jimmy, Sarah and I of course. You know, if Eddy did not drag me outside to participate in his scamming, then perhaps I too, would have the same skin tone as young James. I like Jimmy, since we do share some common interests similarities, such as our near-hatred of filth, our respect and liking of the arts, the fact that we’re the most physically weak kids in the cul-de-sac and at how we enjoy safety. If it weren’t for our age difference, then perhaps we would be good friends with each other already. And his best friend is Sarah, who some of the kids view as a cute couple. Maybe one day when I have the opportunity, that I shall try befriending Jimmy and see what the results could turn out being.
Rolf is an immigrant from an unknown foreign country. One time, I asked him just which country he moved here from, but he told me was that bad things would happen to him if he said his home country’s name. Like Ed, he is tall and strong like an ox. He is also viewed as one of the more “strange” kids of the cul-de-sac, right up there with Ed and Jonny (who I will get to later). His English is broken, and when I first met him, he couldn’t even utter a single word of the English language. Even now, he gets easily confused with slang (which I detest), proper grammar (which most of the children help correct him on), and with certain phrases. Poor fellow doesn’t even have a basic understanding on American culture. It’s almost pathetic on how he cannot tell the difference between a hamburger and a hotdog, which Eddy usually gives him a tough time for. Hopefully though, after he spends enough time in this country, that he will learn to speak English in a proper manner and understand the American way of life. His best friend is Kevin, who helped him out a lot when he first moved here. Another thing about Rolf is that he is in charge of a scouting group called the “Urban Rangers”, which Ed, Eddy and I tried joining at a time, but we failed miserably, despite our best attempts to complete the most simple of tasks he asked us to do. Rolf, despite his ways that came off as odd to us, became a good ally to me in the end.
Jonny, an African-American child who was quite the eccentric lad with an imaginary friend that is simply a board of wood whom he calls “Plank”. Jonny and Plank are an inseparable duo, closer to each other then I am with Ed and Eddy. The bond between the two is so strong, that Jonny will enter a state of insanity if he cannot interact with Plank. Over the years, I have confirmed it to myself that Jonny must have some sort of mental disorder, to explain his irrational behavior. He, along with Ed and Rolf, are labeled as the “oddballs” of the cul-de-sac by the other children. For the most part though, regardless of Jonny’s quirky personality, he is a nice child, and sometimes serves as a friend for Ed, Eddy and I at times, such as when he joined in our sad attempt to break out of school. Like Kevin, Jonny is also rather athletic, having excellent running, jumping, and even diving abilities. Eddy always claims that Jonny is a “pest” as he describes him, even though only sometimes does he actually get on my nerves. Sometimes, I wonder at how he is not an outcast as myself, though only time will tell. Even though Jonny was a strange character, he was a good friend to me in the end.
Nazz, an angel of beauty sent down from heaven by the Lord himself. A beautiful blond woman who was the most attractive lady in all of Peach Creek. One time, when Ed was “pretending” to be a monster, even though he had temporarily become one, Nazz actually kissed me when I had volunteered to stop Ed’s behavior. If it weren’t for the disastrous situation in which I was in, I would have been lost in a state of thought all that day, thinking about how holy and scared that kiss was. Kevin however, the lucky dog, seems to be her interest though. Maybe if I had more confidence, then I could be her love. Though that was not how it seemed. In the future, I figured out that the way to get a woman was with what I call the “Three C’s”. Casualness, confidence, and courage, those were what it took to get the girl. I knew that not everyone was into meek fellows such as I, which hindered me at times. Thanks to Eddy’s assistance, I did one day find a woman to love, but that my good reader, is something of which that will be saved for later.
Then there were the Kanker Sisters, who resided in the trailer park near the cul-de-sac. Now, my friends and I were not the most liked children in the cul-de-sac, but we were adored when compared to how much the other children despised the Kanker sisters. Those three fiendish teenagers were our self-proclaimed girlfriends who delighted in ruining our day and knocking us down as we were about to actually achieve something. If Ed, Eddy and I were on the top of the world, we would only be brought down by these harpies. Lee was their leader, with curly red hair, and being honest, she would never find a husband unless she became a totally different person. She had a thing for Eddy, which gave him great anger and self-doubt, as if the only girl who would ever like him would be someone like her. Next was Marie, with bluish hair and she was what most people would describe as a “punk”. She loved me, but I did not feel the same way towards her. Perhaps one day if she would have settled down and became more calm, then I would have liked her back, but that was not the case. Lastly was May, with long blond her going down past her waist and buck teeth. She had the innocence that only Ed could rival with, though she still acted the same way as her sisters did towards Ed, Eddy and I. Ever since an awkward time on a Valentine’s Day, I guess that May became the most likable Kanker in my opinion, but just as with her sisters, she still put a cold fear into my heart.
As you can imagine, many things happened in our little Neanderthal’s paradise. With all sorts of intriguing characters and whacky events. But, nothing could ever compare to the events that were set in motion five years ago, during the last week of summer vacation. For as it would surely be a tale to tell generations from now.
“I hate the world!” shouted an irritated Eddy as we walked over to his house. “Why the hell is the stupid school sending us homework during the last week of summer? Do they want to make our lives as miserable as possible? Can’t they even realize that kids like us just wanna goof off as much as we can during summer, not being cooped up in our homes on a desk doing some God forsaken homework!”
“Eddy, calm down and relax for Pete’s sake!” I told him, annoyed by his complaints. “We're going from junior high to senior high school. The classes are going to be a lot harder, and that includes doing much more homework,” I replied.
“But why in God’s name would they give is homework in the summer is what I’m wondering! Do they want us to become slaves to the system or something?”
“Homework bad for Ed!” my other friend wailed. He drooped into a slouch so low that he started dragging his face along the pavement as he walked. One thing you should know about Ed: he is impervious to almost all kinds of pain and physical trauma, unless it is caused by his little sister. Even then, he has built up some tolerance for what she deals out on him. However, despite being immune to physical suffering, it was emotional and psychological suffering which really gets to him. Even now, five years later, his ability to ignore his central nervous system and even the laws of reality on occasion still baffle me. Though perhaps I simply think too much about it sometimes.
“Eddy, the school is giving us this assignment early to get us ready for high school homework. It'll help develop good habits for getting it done on ti-" my explanation was cut short as my diminutive friend shoved a stack of papers into my face.
“Shut your big mouth up sockhead and just help us with this crap when we get to my place,” he said as Ed, who had immediately recuperated from his momentary depression, bounced along side him, leaving me standing in the middle of the road holding three packets of homework. “What are you standing in the middle of the road for? Waiting for your parents to show up? Come on, hurry up before some punk jumps you or something.”
I sighed to myself, knowing that later tonight I'd have to write geometry answers in triplicate, and then dashed to catch up with my fellow friends. I’ve been asked plenty of times as to why I am friends with Ed and Eddy. And being honest, it must be because we live so close to each other and share similar names. But they were still my friends, regardless of their juvenile ways. Now I didn't know it at the time, but that was possibly one of the last “normal” days of my life.