“It’s Personal” by Gabe Higbee

“Greed, Sloth, Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, and especially you, Wrath, please, please behave yourselves, just for today! I can’t have you messing up my presentation!”

“With a persona as boring as yours, we can’t help spicing up your life. Though I dare say it’s just yours!” Pride mocked in his usual, teeth-grindingly, snarky voice.

“Don’t worry about me, Skyle,” Sloth assured me, “I’ll try not to take over.”

I sighed. I must look like a crazy person right now, a small, brown-haired kid, who looks too short to be an 8th grader, talking to myself like a madman. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had multiple split-personalities. They’ve plagued my life since childhood:  taking over my brain at random, and making me do stupid stuff.  

The first one of them to appear was Wrath, who acts like the demon on my shoulder. Then came Sloth, the lazy version of me, and Gluttony, the extreme version of me who acted like a daredevil on energy drinks. After that arrived Envy, the cry baby; Greed, the rude uncle version of me, who also acts like a cowboy; Pride, the snarky personality who thinks he’s a prince; and finally Lust, who’s trying to get me a girlfriend. I’ve never told anybody this, however, but everybody notices how much of a weirdo I am already, so telling them I have a mental disorder isn’t too helpful.

“Hey, Twitchy!” Greed alerted me in his cowboy accent, with his usual rude nicknames, “The bus is coming in four minutes.” I grabbed my backpack and ran out of the house.

“Forget the bus! Let’s run it!!” Gluttony suggested, as I sprinted to the bus stop.

“I’m never going to have a normal day, am I?” I muttered to myself defeated.

Luckily for me, Gluttony took over my brain, and I was able to race to the bus stop on time (he was not only extreme, but had more endurance than my regular self). When I finally made it to class, Sloth crying in my brain, I collapsed into my seat. I sat through that and an hour and a half of Math class, almost getting a detention when Greed started judging my teacher’s fashion choices. Finally, it was lunch.

I sat down at a table by myself, until a kind girl my age decided to join me at the table. It was a nice thing to do, but it was the most painful lunch of my life, as I trembled in my seat, hoping Lust didn’t make a move.

“You are truly a majestic being,” Lust said, taking over my body as I struggled back.

“What?” She asked back, taken back by surprise from my sudden change of mood and terrible pickup line.

“You are like a beautiful crimson rose, drifting among the ferns and weeds; a true spectacle of beauty!” I winced in my brain at the cheesy poem.

“Oh, um . . . ok . . .” she startled, as I (mentally) slammed my face into the table. Lust, seeing he had failed to get me a “perfect soulmate,” gave up, and I took control of my body; but it was too late to do anything.

The girl got up awkwardly and left the table, leaving me alone there again, Envy made me slam my face into the table (but it was alright, I wanted to do that anyway). I felt my lip quiver, but not from Envy and sadness, from rage at Lust. But then I stopped as I felt Wrath starting to wake up.

I know the feeling of him waking up very precisely: it felt like a longing in your stomach, a long ancient longing for destruction, for justice, like a volcano brewing. I always felt Wrath, even before he was an actual personality of mine, he was wound into my soul, along with everybody else’s; he was a curse in the truest of ways. Wrath has always been the most extreme of my personalities, a spirit of unending rage that slept through months (if I was lucky) until eventually, my anger wakes him up and he takes over my body. I fear for not only myself, when he takes control, but also for people around him. I only had a little while ‘till Wrath took over. I got up hurriedly and ran out of the lunch room through the hallway. I felt Wrath about to wake up.

“Hey! No running in the hallway!” A random kid said, grabbing my arm. I knew this kid. The kid’s name was Peter; Peter always was one of those snotty kids who always gets on your nerves, and I especially despised Peter! That was enough to wake Wrath up. As Peter began to tell me off for running, Wrath took over.

“What did you just say?” Wrath asked Peter, as I watched in horror, and maybe a bit of satisfaction (I wasn’t Peter’s biggest fan after all), but mostly horror!

“I . . . uh . . . said that,” Peter stuttered back, fear so thick in his voice you could cut it.

Unlike the other personalities, Wrath doesn’t retain my regular stature and characteristics. When he takes control over my body, he changes my voice to that of a demon’s, and my body takes a frightening form: my eyes become a cloudy black, my skin turns a tone of purple (equivalent to what happens to a dead body’s skin), and my joints become crooked. So he had a reason to be scared, seeing a random kid turn zombie-like. I lost consciousness as I watched Wrath approach Peter.

I came to in control of my body again, and instantaneously jumped up to my feet. “What did Wrath do?!” I asked my other personalities. “The kid ran away before Wrath could do anything, so Wrath trashed your locker instead. Hopefully Peter doesn’t tattletale on you.” Pride informed me. I breathed a sigh of relief: Wrath had fallen asleep again.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Sir, but it’s time to get to class!” Envy whispered in his usual shy, sad voice. I rushed off to get to my next class. This is the worst they’ve been for the past month, and on the one day I need them to be normal, like a curse of annoyances I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life.

I made it to class, and sat down at my seat. I then waited through the other kids’ presentations, which all seemed so much better than mine. I started to sweat I was so nervous! Until finally it was my turn to present. I walked up to the front of the class and got ready to present. I felt Envy crying in the corner of my brain as all those eyes stared up at me.

Me.

Me, Skyle.

Me, the weirdo.

Me, the stranger.

Me, the kid nobody knows.

Me, the person plagued by seven annoyances in secret.

Me, Skyle, Wrath, Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Sloth.

Me, the person about to be publicly humiliated.

I felt Pride giggle as I stuttered announcing the title of my presentation “The Election of 1800.” The faces of the audience stared at me judgingly. I felt myself beginning to cry. But then, I stopped. I felt a surge of calmness, like somebody telling me that everything was going to be alright. I smiled nonchalantly, and began to give my presentation, and explained the first slide.

The presentation was going swimmingly; but then, my worst fear happened: Greed took over my body. I freaked out! Was he going to mock the teacher?! Is he going to ruin my presentation?! All I could do was listen to him. I hated them! They ruin everything! If I’m happy, they come to destroy it! Do they take some satisfaction in my tears?! They drive me insane, and there’s nothing I can do about it . . . even now, all I can do is watch Greed ruin everything. Watch them ruin everything.

“(Country accent) Dat Thomas Jefferson! He acts like he’s royalty here in ‘merica! Sorry to break it to ya, ya Francophile, but this is a democracy! I’m vot’n for dat Aaron Burr!” He said in his country voice. To my surprise, the class laughed!

“But Aaron Burr is even worse! He has no opinion on any subjects! Voting for him is like voting for a shoat in an allurement tournament! Thomas Jefferson has my ballot!” Pride added in a classy tone. The teacher smiled!

“Hey guys, what about that John Adams? Ain’t he running for re-election?” joked Sloth, before returning my body to me.

“Out of the question!” Gluttony hollered jokingly. This was going, but then, I felt Wrath appear! But to my surprise, he ranted,

“They’re all sorry excuses for candidates: Thomas Jefferson is a croissant loving, blockhead who pretends to be royalty; Aaron burr is an opinion-less toddler who wants to be president, just so he can be president; and John Adams, don’t get me started on John ‘Moron’ Adams! He’s out of the question!”

“Those were the opinions of the American citizens,” I lectured, feeling a surge of confidence. “Aaron Burr found support in the poorer, while Jefferson the richer…”

I finished the speech with flying colors, supported by the comedic remarks of Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, (surprisingly) Envy, and even Wrath! When I was done, I was met with applause; and not just the normal applause given to every other speaker: the five seconds of polite clapping as they left the stage. No. It was real, true to the heart applause: people were smiling as they clapped loud as they could, some even cheered, and it went on and on and on! After school ended, people congratulated me, gave me high-fives, patted me on the back! I felt Pride doing his happy dance. I went home, as school ended, and sat in my room, thanking my personalities.

“We thought it was finally time to help you, after all, you are the master of our body; and we’ve been nothing but a pack of freeloading parasites to you.” Pride responded to my thanks, in the warmest tone I’ve ever heard from him.

“Not our body, my body. You’re part of me too!” I replied, smiling. “All of you are part of me!” I added.

And for the first time in my entire life, I felt Wrath smile.

 

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