Sunday, July 19, 2009
Lance York and the Young Entrepreneurs
Lance York (pictured with his best fried Ian Mulligan) was recently elected The Young Entrepreneur's Club President at Confederacy Elementary School in Cloverdale. The YE club meets after school every Thursday in Mr. Matthew’s classroom. Lance’s first presidential decree required all club members to wear white shirts and club ties to school and Thursday meetings. Lance believes a successful businessman should look and dress the part. The new dress code did not go over well with the laid back, easy going, computer oriented, garage business type young entrepreneurs. Three of them left the club. Sloop Jones (known as Sloppy Joe) led the walk out and started a rival club which also meets every Thursday at his home. They spend most of their time playing video games, drinking soda and eating chips. Occasionally they do a bit of simple Flash programming. They claim they are doing research on the elements that make a video game successful.
“They’re all a bunch of nerds that will end up working for us some day,” Lance reportedly said at recess last Thursday near the monkey bars on the school’s south playground. His remarks were followed by several “Here Here’s,” from the ten or so other members gathered around him waiting their turn to swing across the make believe flaming moat with flesh eating fish. Lance considers swinging across the monkey bars without falling a test of strength and will power, all excellent qualities in the nation’s future leaders. Falling from the bars brought Lance’s disapproval. One fall and you were exposed to a round of laughter from the others. Two falls and you earned a private one on one meeting with Lance. Three falls and you turned in your blue striped club tie for the yellow tie of shame. The yellow tie had to to be worn until you successfully complete the failed task, or until someone else needed to wear it. Lance picks all the club challenges and needless to report always successfully completes them (usually on the first attempt).
Last Thursday’s meeting started at 3:30 P.M. Ian read the minutes from the last meeting. Mr. Matthew, the club’s teacher sponsor, quietly graded papers in the back of the room. After the meeting Lance rose to speak.
“Young Entrepreneurs,” he said looking everyone eye to eye, another quality he feels important to earn a customers respect and business. “today we talk about an absolute must for every successful businessman.” Lance cleared his throat and continued. “Gentleman, a successful businessman must have a beautiful woman at his side. My dad calls them trophy wifes.”
The room went strangely quiet. Mr. Matthew stopped grading papers. All eyes were on Lance.
“Look at my mother for example. She is beautiful and you all know she is. I see the way every boy looks at her when she comes to the room to give me something. When my successful dad goes to business socials my mother goes with him. Every man in the room looks at her and knows my dad must have what it takes to win a lady’s hand like my mother’s.” Lance's reasoning caused every boy in the room to wondering if their dads were as successful as Lance’s based purely on their mother's appearance.
“I’m not so sure about that,” Toby Tubbs said. “My dad’s successful and my mom’s not as pretty as yours. Now don’t get me wrong, my mom is fantastic but again, not as pretty as yours.”
“Toby, my dad owns a factory. Your dad owns a video store. My dad employees nearly thirty people. Your dad employees eight at the most? Come on Toby, admit it. If your dad had married someone like my mom he could have started Blockbuster or something. But he didn't so now you own Tubb's Video and Pizza - no offense intended.”
Toby’s chubby face went red, which added an interesting color contrast to the yellow tie he was wearing for not crossing the flaming moat with flesh eating fish.
“All right, before we move on to my lesson on micro economics I’m issuing you all a challenge. We are too young to marry but we can get girl friends. You’ve all got two weeks to get a girl friend. After two weeks we will compare girl friends to see who’s is prettiest. The winner will get his name on the Club’s Honor Roll and allowed to wear the Tie Pin of Honor for one month. The boy with the ugliest girl friend wears the yellow tie. Now lets go on to my Power Point presentation.”
Mr. Matthew shifted in his chair. He felt it his duty to say something about Lance’s ridiculous challenge but realized it wasn’t his place. This club was established to give its members challenges. Besides, Lance’s dad was a generous giver to the school’s foundation.
He went back to grading his papers.
The next day the club members came to school with their hair combed neatly and teeth brushed. Lance wore his dad’s cologne. Some of the boys had an advantage. They had older brothers that gave them some pointers. Others had to wing it on their own.
Several day passed and none of the boys had girl friends. The girls in the fourth year couldn't be bothered and ignored the boys. Lance believed Sloppy Joe tipped them off to the Club’s challenge because not even he could get a girl. He offered his hand to six of the prettiest girls in the grade. Each time it was refused.
“Sloppy Joe poisoned the well,” he said to the members during Wednesday’s recess. The club was gathered at the swings for their next challenge. According to Lance, a successful businessman set goals and achieved them. For Wednesday’s challenge, each member was to swing as hard as they could and then jump from swing and out onto the grass. The member with the shortest jump would wear take the yellow tie from Toby.
“I think I found a way to get Marsha to like me,” Lance said to Ian as they waited for their second attempt at the swing jump.
“What?” Ian asked.
“My brother helped me write some notes about love and stuff. I’m going to pass them to Marsha every hour until school is out. Tomorrow I’ll bring her candy or something.”
“Do you think it will work? I already tried passing Linda notes and it didn’t work.”
“No offense Ian but you’ve got red hair and fat cheeks. I’m better looking so I’ve got a better chance.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
Lance was up next. Mike Applegate had the current record. Lance had to break it. He hopped up onto the swing and started to pump. Each pump took him higher and higher. Finally, when the swing would go no higher, Lance released himself into the air. Everyone gasped as he hurdled toward the ground. One girl screamed. Lance lost his posture. Instead of coming down feet first, Lance came in belly first. He landed with a thud heard round the playground. He bounced once and came to a stop. He rolled to his back and lay motionless. The entire playground rushed to his side.
“He can’t breath,” Ian shouted. The playground supervisor rushed to his side, sat him up and calmed him down to the point where he could breath normally again. Tears and sobbing followed.
Lance came to school the following morning with a broken wrist. To his surprise, and to the surprise of every member of the club, all the girls in the class signed a get well card and left it on his desk. Marsha Palmer’s signature had hearts for the dots over the i’s. Lance sat down, read the card, looked over at Marsha and smiled. Marsha smiled back.
Ian slumped down in his desk. Lance won again. Not only did his death defying leap take the club's swing jump record but now he was about to get the prettiest girl in the forth year as his girl friend. What’s a red haired boy with chubby cheeks suppose to do about that?