The Critically Lauded Josue Bernal, by Kieran Villoth

            Josue is, simply put, a strange little man. Recently having turned eighteen, he is now an adult, although neither his persona, nor body type, would indicate such maturity. Josue is almost unbelievably skinny; to such an extent that I am almost convinced he can fit beneath the crack between a door and the wall.  Despite this, he swears that he has a six pack, but will not let anyone see it. Josue is also fairly short. I have not personally measured him, but I would imagine he stands somewhere around 5’5. 

            Josue always seems to wear a shirt or jacket worth at least a hundred dollars, and a ten dollar pair of jeans. He is very proud of the way he dresses, for some unknown reason. He also has glasses, as he is entirely blind without them. His favorite way of loitering is to lean back on a wall, fold his arms, and watch the people walking past him. He often greets people while using this stance. When walking in a group of people, he stays off to the side, and talks the entire time so nobody else can get a word in. On occasion, he will forget what he was talking about mid-sentence, utter an inhuman slur of sounds, and continue to walk without acknowledging that it had even happened.

            Somehow, Josue is extremely confident. He claims that he would be a fantastic boxer, or Mixed Martial Arts fighter. These are blatant lies, but he continues to speak them. He is also extremely proud that he is being trained to be a manager at a local Wendys. He is so proud of this, in fact, that for the past month and a half, he has mentioned it every single day, holding his soon-to-be managerial position over his head as if it were a trophy.

            I met Josue during my junior year of high school, in Journalism class. Our teacher was sitting in the back of the class, staring blankly at the wall, and not at all watching his classroom. I was sitting there, minding my own business, and doing my classwork. Then Josue ruined it all. He chose the seat next to me, and sat in it.

            “Hey.” said Josue.

            “Hey.” I responded.

            “What’s up?” he asked.

            “Nothing really.” I said dryly.

            “You know, Nickelback is my favorite band.” said Josue.

           Josue claims he was joking when he said that, and just trying to start conversation, but I only half believe him. What I do believe, however, is that this is one of the two ways he knows how to start conversations. He either blurts out something personally insulting, or repeatedly says “hey” over and over. These are the only ways I have ever seen Josue start a conversation, and I sometimes worry that he doesn’t understand human interaction.

            I don’t know why I am Josue’s friend. I do not respect him, or appreciate his company. Josue is sometimes tolerable, and very rarely, he is actually enjoyable company. Most of the time, however, he is a complete and utter mystery. He does not act the way other humans do, he has unmatched pride, and he never shuts his mouth. I do not understand Josue, nor do I think I ever will. I don’t know if anyone ever will. In fact, I do not know if Josue even truly understands himself. He is too strange, too awkward, too… incorrect. In a world full of cogs and gears, working together to create something bigger, Josue is a rubber duck. He blocks the gears, interferes with their work, and nobody has the slightest idea how he came to be here.



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