I don't own Star Wars or any of the characters. They belong to George Lucas.
~~No More Laughter in My Life
I remember a day, long ago, when I was waiting for a shuttle to land. I was on Ralltiir... my homeworld. My mother told me that Ralltiir was starting an exchange program with Taanab. My little brother, Erik, was sent to Taanab. The guy who came to live with us was named Wes Janson. I was sixteen at the time. I remember it like it was yesterday...
The kid strolled off the small carrier with a gait that reeked of self-confidence. A scrawny man, the Minister of Education on Taanab, followed him. The man’s gait was meek, even beaten. I have to wonder what happened on that trip, but all I can say is that Mr. Bathurst, that was his name, was very happy to leave Wes behind. I managed to catch a barely audible conversation with my Father. Mr. Bathurst said something along the lines of, “You can keep him.”
Wes looked innocent enough, but I knew better. The kids that could muster that angelic expression were always trouble. The best way to deal with them is to ally with them. Sort of the, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, attitude. And so I did. “I’m Derek. Welcome to Ralltiir.”
He smiled. By the Gods that smile scared me. “Janson... Wes Janson”
The ensuing weeks were spectacular... the best in my life. I laughed, I cried, and I help Wes pull pranks on the school principal until we both got suspended.
The one that got us suspended was spectacular. We put industrial-strength adhesive on the toilet seat in the staff refresher. And who should be the next person to use it, but our dear principal... Sucker. He was really peeved about it. I don’t think being stuck to the toilet-seat was all that bad. However, having to go through the embarrassment of having over a dozen people see you with your pants down, while they try to pry you loose is apparently rather infuriating. And the process did cause almost every hair he had in the region, to be yanked out completely. No doubt that was quite painful. So perhaps it was justifiable for us to have been suspended over that. However, our principal was really quite a calm fellow. He called us down to the office and then asked us calmly which of us did it.
I almost admitted to it... We would have been better off if I had. But Wes has always been rather vicious when it comes to pranks. Do you know what he said? “I’m sorry, Sir. Neither of us was responsible. However, if you want us to investigate it, I’m sure we can get to the bottom of this.”
That pushed our principal over the edge. We were both suspended... and if a secretary hadn’t been there to restrain our principal, Wes might have gotten strangled...
During our week-long suspension, Wes got really bored. He said that I never did anything. I told him that I had my holograph collection. He scoffed at it, calling it ridiculous waste, when I could have been planning and committing spectacular pranks. Always I replied, “It’s my hobby.” During that time we got into a few fights and Wes started calling me Mr. Hobbie, as a taunt. But by the end of the suspension, I helped him pull a prank on my parents that would become legendary on Ralltiir.
Suffice it to say, Wes had me plant a holocam in my parents’ room. He then broadcast it live, on the local holovision channel. Wes and I were grounded for the rest of his stay. My parents received fabulous reviews from the local HV network. I don’t even want to know what was recorded, though I can surmise a few things. After that, Wes shortened my nickname to Hobbie, and it became a friendly nickname instead of being spoken with venom. Soon after though, Wes had to leave...
“I’m gonna miss you, Hobbie.” I knew he meant it. We’d become the best of friends in our short time together. I would really miss him. He was going back to Taanab and I was going to the Imperial Academy. Wes was planning to follow me, saying we’d pull the best pranks on Carida since Mako Spince blew up its moon. I told him I couldn’t wait, though I hoped he wasn’t planning anything that spectacular.
“I’ll see you on Carida next year, Wes.”
And then he was gone. The shuttle left and my parents and I waited for the shuttle bearing my brother to return. It never did. An Imperial Cruiser destroyed it because they believed a known rebel named Barid Mesoriam was on board. That rumour was false, but even if it had been true, what right did the Empire have to take my brother, my baby brother, away from me... He was fourteen for stars’ sake. I’ll always hate the Empire for that.
I go to the Academy in a few days. When they’ve trained me, I fully intend to defect to the Rebellion. I don’t care anymore. Maybe Wes will join me and maybe he won’t. All I know is, as long as the Empire exists there’ll be no more laughter in my life.
Humour and angst... Almost gave myself whiplash with this one...