Later in a Magazine

Horsehockey V - Episode 598

Connor, or as he preferred to be addressed as, "Connor Conn", even though absolutely nobody who knew him would acquiesce to those wishes, follows his angry parents away from Scott's funeral in the Scottish highlands towards a waiting car. Paul and Cathy Wilcox, Connor's parents, made it no secret that their only child's behavior and desperate need to be noticed and/or popular was a source of great embarrassment to them. There's probably no greater source of humiliation for two hard working parents than the realization that their only kid is a complete and utter loser.

As for Connor, even he knew that somehow, he had truly done it now. He really could not explain why he had ended up in Scotland a few days earlier. Maybe it was the need to assert his own independence, or perhaps it was a definite cry for some kind of attention that led him across the Atlantic to attend the funeral of a person who he had only been familiar with by reading about him on the internet. But, there was no mistaking that Connor had really screwed up by pulling his stunt, and the punishment when everyone got back to America would be two-fold: discipline for leaving the house while grounded after he got in trouble at school for swearing at a teacher, and even more discipline for stealing some of his parents' money and credit cards to finance his flight to Glasgow from the states. As they all got into the waiting airport shuttle, Connor saw the looks of anger and frustration on his parents' face. He sure didn't feel like a gangsta at the moment.

"Connor, as far as your father and I are concerned, this is the last straw!" Cathy started as soon as the vehicle accelerated towards the motorway. "It isn't already bad enough that you insist on going around dressed in those ridiculous clothes and talking like a rapper, but you stole from us, young man!"
"What the hell is wrong with you, young man?!" Paul shouted, unable to keep his tongue and temper in check any longer. "What in the hell possessed you to pull a stunt like you did earlier this week? You took money from your mother and me, you stole two credit cards from her purse, and you flew here without permission! Did you forget that you were grounded, Connor? The only place you were allowed to go was SCHOOL. I do not recall granting you permission to come all the way to Scotland, even if you had used your own money to do so!"
"Connor, kids who swear at their teachers don't get special privileges!" Cathy added, in a tone that suggested that she was talking to a six-year- old, not her 18-year-old son.

After a few uncomfortable seconds of silence, Connor finally spoke up. He is also upset enough to drop the suburban gangsta act and speak in his real voice: one that is higher pitched than he would have liked, and a voice that tended to only get higher when he became too excited. "B-but! I had to do this! I knew the guy, and he was a hero to me! When I found out he died, I needed to come here and pay my respects!"
"Pay your respects? PAY YOUR RESPECTS?!" snaps Paul. "Wasn't there another way you could have done that without stealing money from your parents and flying all the way over here without telling us where you were going?! Not only that, but remember, you were grounded!"
"The teacher provoked me!"
"No, she didn't, Connor!" replies Cathy. "Teachers never provoke students into swearing at them!"
"How do you know? You don't go to the school I do!"
"Excuse me, son, but we do know what happened that day!" Paul yells. "Your homeroom teacher was tired of you and that stupid gangster rap act you put on in school just because you're trying so hard to be 'cool'. All she did was suggest in a really nice way that you're trying way too hard to be someone you're not! You're trying too hard to be someone you have no business being. Your mother and I work very hard to keep a roof over your head, to keep you fed, to keep you away from those negative influences on the street and on television!"

For most of his life before Connor entered middle school, Paul and Cathy could be very overprotective of their son, making sure to shelter him from aforementioned "negative influences". Connor never really appreciated this, and he was lucky when his parents finally eased their grip on their son upon the transition into junior high school. Still, their psychological hold on Connor went hand-in-hand with his limited social skills, and he found himself often on the outside looking in when it came to his peers, who were more socially aware of just about everything. Realizing that he didn't exactly fit in with anyone, Connor went through phases over the years (as Josh Burbank mentioned in the previous episode), trying to find a role that fit naturally, and one that the popular kids would at the very least, acknowledge. Paul and Cathy tolerated the heavy metal stage, as well as Connor's rather embarrassing period as a "skater" who was seen carrying his skateboard far more often than just trying to ride it. But, two years ago after Connor threw away his skateboard and fully embraced hip-hop culture, his parents truly realized that something might be wrong with their son. Naturally, this period was the most difficult, due to Paul and Cathy's aversion to that culture, fashion and music. It probably goes without saying that their son's insistance on parading around in baggy clothes and cheap jewelry while flashing imaginary gang signs while awkwardly spitting out catchphrases, slang, and various profanities also did not sit well with his folks.

"Also, Connor, your mother and I have had enough with this rap music phase you're in! When we get home, all of those clothes are going into the garbage! You're going to dress normally from now on, and you're going to talk like a normal person!"
"Mom! Dad! This is who I am! You don't understand!"
"That's not true, young man!" Paul retorts.
"Connor, you're a faker!" Cathy adds. "Do you know what happens to people who go around acting like something they're not? You're not a gangster! And your dad and I know that when you were carrying around a skateboard for two years, or when you had long hair and pretended to listen to rock music before that, you were always faking it. You weren't being true to yourself. Don't you ever feel embarrassed by acting that way at school, and in public?"

Connor could not answer that question, and he felt tears welling up in his eyes.

  1. The argument continues well into the airport, on the plane ride home, and all the way back to the house.
  2. Connor kicks open the car door and dives out.

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Lord Reaibn Daenorth (credit to Ben McClellan)

6/7/2019 2:05:29 AM

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