The Holographic Charizard, by Jake Raffaelli

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having moral principles. It was a foreign word in my childhood, but it was about to unexpectedly have a huge influence on my development as a person.

I was always a slightly awkward child. I had a couple friends, but instead of hanging out with them I often chose to stay indoors doing my own thing. My older brother, on the other hand, was a cool, rebellious teen at the time. He had his group of friends who were also rebellious, and I wanted to fit in with them.

One day I got the chance to prove myself. I was hanging out with my friends: Sasa, Dejan, Nick, and Adam. We were hanging out upstairs in the apartment hallway area, a place in which we frequently gathered. They were comparing their Pokemon cards, which is something I was never very into. I was more into Dragonball Z than Pokemon, but that’s neither here nor there. Nick, who wasn’t really my friend, he just hung out with my friends, kept bragging about his favorite card he had just gotten.

A holographic Charizard.

While zoning out from the constant bragging delivered by Nick, I remembered a trick my brother once taught me. It was a simple, nifty little trick in which you slip the card into your sleeve while no one is looking and the card simply disappears.

I started off small, taking only the cards that come in every pack, the cards that you have ten copies of. I felt so sly, nobody noticed that a single card had gone missing. My confidence

was growing, cooking up a storm. It was time I went for the unprecedented card.

The card was so precious to Nick, he hovered over it like a hen hovers over her egg. I felt as though he’d never let it out of his sight. After a few minutes had passed, Adam was feeling courageous. He challenged Nick’s Charizard with some minuscule card.

Nick laughed arrogantly, “Ha! That card is nothin’ compared to my CHARIZARD!” He reached for the card to shove it into Adam’s face once more, but the podium beneath Nick had suddenly collapsed.

The card was in my sleeve.

Nick lost his cool. As he ran home to his mom, I went inside and showed the card to my brother. He was pleasantly surprised, and placed the treasure into the little safe he had for all of his best cards. Suddenly I heard Nick’s mom outside.

I joined the others back outside, so I wouldn’t look guilty. His mother was hysterical, screaming so loud it must have echoed for miles.


My story didn’t budge.

“I don’t have his card; I don’t know what happened to it!” I responded innocently, shaking with fear.

Finally my mom came to the rescue, “Jake is a good kid. He would never have taken that card!” she explained; all the while I snuck back to the safety of our apartment.

The guilt consumed me after my mom had said that.

I begged my brother to give me the card so I could return it, but he insisted that everything would fly over soon enough. The guilt was eating away at me like maggots feeding on a dead body. After reflecting on this moment for months, something good finally came from it. While my brother influenced me to do something bad, I learned that it wasn’t worth it. That’s when integrity began to replace guilt’s consumption within me, and I began to grow into a better person.

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