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The Boy Who Laughed Last - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a place called California there lived a boy named Elvis. Elvis was short, seriously lean, always dressed shabbily, and had big glasses; which explained why everyone in junior high called him DORK.
Everyday in school was social torture for him. It’s been that way since pre-school. You name it, he has experienced it: wet willies, getting locked in a school locker, getting showered with disgusting food in the school cafeteria, gotten laughed at in class, being the gym teacher’s favourite prey ... the list goes on and on.
   His daily experience made it no great wonder that he hated school. What made it even worse was that he loved getting knowledge; there was nothing more marvellous to him than LEARNING. This made things very complicated. It made him not know if he hated school or loved school. Surely, if you took away the bullying and name calling, school would be his fourth most favourite place in the world to be in but now because the two went together, school was a place he rather not be.
   Elvis’ best friend Paul was treated just like he was. He hated school too but like Elvis he was an ‘A plus’ student.
   One day Paul suggested to Elvis that they learn Karate so they can defend themselves plus earn cool points considering that those who knew Karate in their school was considered as super cool.
   After some careful consideration Elvis agreed. He knew however that he would need his Mum to pay for the Karate lessons so when his Mum was in a really cheerful mood, he started his overrehearsed speech about how much he had always loved karate, how karate is delightfully educational, and wonderful and blah – blah – blah-lly awesome karate is.
   His Mum waited for him to finish his speech. She was a wise woman. “Ok! My big man, what’s really going on?”
Elvis loved his Mum Dearly and never could keep anything from her. She was the only one that showed him love. The only shoulder he could lean on when the world seem all so cold. He couldn’t help it, he just poured out everything – the true reason why he wanted to take karate lessons.
   “Come here”, his Mum said lovingly as she put his arm around him. She began to explain that she was in a similar situation when she was in collage although her suffering was much less compared to his. She told him that the other girls didn’t like her, gossiped about her and did every petty thing she could to get at her. She said they got to her real bad so she wanted to change and be more like them. She wanted to exchange her quiet-peaceful-regular library customer life for their life of vibrant, non-book reading, everyday night club going life but a female professor who was following what she was going through told her that if the people she is thinking of changing to be more like just to gain their acceptance could see the big picture, they would be the ones changing to be more like her.
   The female professor told her how much she admired her and that a few years after she graduated when she met those people she wanted to be like at a collage reunion, she shouldn’t be like them.
   The professor told her that those people may be laughing now - laughing at her and calling her uncool but the truth is: in life the laugh that matters is the last laugh.
   The female professor pointed at her and said, “You would have that last laugh if you continue being who you are but if you should change to become more like those ignorant girls you would laugh today but not laugh tomorrow.”
Elvis’ Mum told Elvis that it was 3 years after graduation that she met those girls she wanted to be more like and she understood what the professor meant.
   Elvis’ Mum told him to lean on Jesus and he shouldn’t stop. That when we are weak, then we shall say we are strong, because he is our strength. One with God is majority and with God on our side we can face anything.
   Elvis felt much better and in his heart he decided right there and then to continue being him. He’s not going to learn karate (something he knew he hated) just so he can beat up the bullies or be counted amongst the cool kids that know karate.
   The next day his Mum followed him to school and complained to the principal. Although the outcome of that quest reduced the social injustice committed against her son, she knew it won’t end it. She could only keep praying for her son, be there for him and fill his heart and mind with the word of God.
Elvis’ friend Paul however led to his parents and go the money for him to take Karate lessons. He went on to become the most popular guy in school. His crowning moment was when he beat up the biggest and meanest bully in school. Soon he became too cool to be seen with his old friend Elvis. Soon he didn’t understand why Elvis did the things that he did.
   Elvis too wasn’t thrilled with who Paul had become. He wondered if Paul couldn’t notice his grades where dropping.
   Elvis and Paul soon grew far apart and soon as though they had never known each other before, Paul was one of the cool kids that made fun of Elvis.
   Twenty years later Elvis now a full grown man, walked into the second largest car manufacturing firm in the world. It was a firm he founded. He was the man at the top – the man who employed the CEO. He didn’t needto be at his own company. He rarely visited it. Even if he never visited it for the rest of his life all profits would still go to him, he didn’t need to work neither did his kids. A fat bank account would never be a problem in his blood-line for the next three generations.
   As Elvis and his bodyguards were about to enter a lift, they noticed a genitor calling out to them. Elvis wanted to allow his bodyguards take care of it but there was something familiar about the genitor’s face so Elvis told them to hold back.
   “Good day Sir, Do you remember me. I’m your old friend from junior high – Paul”, the genitor said feeling proud to once have known somebodyso high on the social ladder of the world.
   Whoa- -! Elvis made the connection, it was Paul. Suddenly a flashback of what his Mum told him when he was in Junior High raced into his mind. It was when she went to a college reunion that she saw how the cool kids (she had once wanted to be on of) turned out, that she understood what the professor said about the last laugh.
   Now looking at Paul he knew exactly how his Mum felt. He was not going to laugh at other people’s predicament but he was been given the privilege to laugh last.


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