Nice Guy Syndrome Chapter 10: When Does Hope Become a Delusion?

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Raymond journeyed back to his car in the cold night air. His brain falling half-asleep, his eyes wary. He was all alone walking on the dark desolate school grounds. It was a depressing sight. But his walk left him with a lot of time to mull around, pondering about his missed opportunities.

What if that epiphany I had was true? Could she only not love me because I'm hideous? No, I'm definitely not ugly; just look at that reflection!

Raymond turned his head and gazed into a reflection in a nearby puddle.

His eyes were closed.

***

After walking around the college grounds for some time, pretending that the reflection he saw of himself was that of an incredibly attractive man, hoping that Amber just couldn't appreciate good guys like him, Raymond saw a golden light cut its way through the darkness and heard a crowd of laughter. People had to be mocking him.

Raymond feverishly turned to the noise and saw a lit classroom. It was the academics center. The building looked so warm and inviting. It looked like the perfect place to go de-depress. And that's when Raymond got thinking,

(The center is open until 8:30 p.m. today. Amber might be in there (she is a hard-working student after all). Considering how miserable last weekend was, I should to go in there and see her one more time. Plus, I have some work to do, and Phil did say I should go into there to work on my social skills.)

But Raymond knew that he had to approach going into the academics center with caution. His sweatshirt was wet, stained, and sticky, So he was wearing his T-shirt of Sonic the Hedgehog. Meaning that if Amber ever actually saw him he would look like a total fool. Furthermore, if she saw him, she might think he was a creep (a complete betrayal of Raymond's moral principles). If anyone caught him it'd be suicide. Social suicide. Raymond had to see her without her seeing him.

So Raymond went to the backdoor of the academics center and peered through the door window. Inside, Raymond saw a room which was vacant of people, with exception to one young man that sat at a table on the other end of the of the room. On the right side of the room there was a small door, which seemed to lead to a custodian's closet. On the left side of the room was a small grey box that was that sat atop a table. At the other end of the room was a massive window that was high up on the wall.

Raymond slowly entered the room and sat at the table that one of his peers was sitting at. Raymond looked up and through the window and he saw a startling sight. He saw Amber and three of her friends all sitting in the other room. Luckily, they were all huddled in a semi-circle facing the wall opposite to Raymond.

Raymond couldn't help but make observations about the five girls:

One of the girls had black hair, and had a round, almost childlike face that projected a sense of cuteness. A projection that when hit upon an individual with slightest knowledge of what cuteness is, would cause them to wheeze out, "This is not a kitten, but a blood thirsty lion."

The second girl was blond, and dressed like how'd you expect one of those academic types to dress. Raymond was contempt with her, but contemptment does not produce a page-turner of a commentary.

The third girl was Amber. She made Raymond's loins in desperate need of the local fire department.

The fourth girl was something special. She was the girl who had blond hair, was lightly dressed, and projected the appearance of a Stacy. However, Raymond didn't see this girl as a Stacy, but rather a different kind of monster: a roastie. The kind of monster who gives a succubus a run for its money.

Raymond felt that this Roastie needed a special name like "Miss Interpretation" and "Miss Take". Raymond glanced again and saw the Roastie crumple up a piece of paper, and throw it into the garbage can, only to miss. Seeing that she missed the trash can, Raymond decided to name her "Mmmmharrrrraappp". Raymond didn't think she deserved a proper name.

However in this glance Raymond saw a certain chain-smoker sounding girl that he missed the first time around: Miss Take. She was sitting, looking uninterested in whatever was going on between her supposed friends, using her typical barrier between people: her phone. It was a depressing sight, but for what it's worth, she did seem to get some joy from her little device.

Now it was time to get some work done. So Raymond got out his assigned reading book, and started tearing apart the words on the page with his eyes. The book was ungodly boring. All the main character ever did was whine about how cruel the world is, pretending to be some kind of profound social critic, even though all of his thoughts boiled down to "Everyone's a dirty faker haha!" Even worse, the main character's thoughts were incredibly repetitive, with him constantly repeating catchphrases. However, even more repetitive was the plot, where all the main character ever did was call someone, and then spend an afternoon talking to that person with some of the most charismatically boring dialogue ever written. The book killed Raymond. It really did. However what really irked Raymond was the main character's backstory, which was next to non-existent.

In fact, it irked Raymond so much that now all he wanted was a happy-go-lucky book with a character that had a decent backstory. So, Raymond looked around the academics center for a book that looked like it had some half-decent writing. He then peeked up into the window, and after gazing at the bookshelf in the other room, Raymond happened to look at Amber's well-toned sumptuous back.

Hot damn! Her backstory is better than the stellar works of fiction of old, like Dante's Inferno, Hamlet, and the Bible! That gives me life. It really does.

Raymond then sat there, and decided to read more of his book. And like any young man his age he opened up his backpack, pulled out his phone, and decided to browse the internet while listening to music for awhile (the early workings of a master procrastinator, no doubt!).

But as Raymond started going on his phone, he noticed that the man who sat beside him had an aura of deja-vu surrounding him. And that was when Raymond remembered that this man's name was Fresco, and he was the guy who ran the school's gaming club. He was a pretty popular guy who Raymond would often see surrounded by a group of like-minded guys. Though, something about the guy tipped Raymond off. His beer-belly was whale-like.

(I bet that guy sure wishes he was popular with the girls. I bet he's worried that all those Chads and Stacy's are mocking him.Oh man, this song I'm listening to is catchy. I almost want to dance and sing along.

Aa KAMI-SAMA onegai
Futari dake no Dream Time kudasai
O-ki ni iri no usa-chan daite kon'ya mo OYASUMI!)

"Hello sir, can you please take those headphones off? Or are you doing something more important?"

Raymond heard a serene voice and took off his headphones. Fresco was talking to him.

"Oh," Fresco said looking at Raymond's book, "That book that you got there, it's a really great read, isn't it?"

There was a real sense of calmness and sincerity in his voice.

Raymond responded, "You want to know what I think of this book?"

"Sure, honest opinions tend to be fun to hear."

"Well, to tell you the truth, I absolutely love this book."
Raymond couldn't believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. He despised the book he was reading, but yet, he couldn't say those feeling to the man in front of him. It wasn't his ineptness acting up. It was just that Fresco was a man that emitted a certain kind of aura. He was a little ball of sunshine. Though despite this Raymond wanted to say something honest.

Raymond spat out, "Though there were a couple parts I didn't like." Saying anything negative to Fresco felt like you were lying straight to his face. "In fact, it doesn't look like we have many fun assigned reading books this quarter."

"Aw shucks, that does sounds disappointing. Well, perhaps I can look up a better professor for you to have next quarter."

Fresco then went on his phone, went on one of those rate my professor websites, and showed the results to Raymond.

Fresco went on to say, "Some of the professors at the top of this page should provide a more enjoyable class next year."

(This guy, he's-… he's …. he's a real nice guy! He's like a real life unicorn.)

"Oh, that's a relief. Thank you."

"No problem buddy. And by the way, you might also find my gaming club to be a stress reliever. Be sure to stop by if you're interested."

"Ok, I'll keep that in mind."

Raymond though wanted to ask about a question that had been riddling his mind for a awhile.

"Though I do wonder if something like joining a club would be a bad idea. It'd be really bad if all of that 'Let's all join a club to be happy!' rhetoric was all some kind of a delusion. That's just a thought though. "

"Well, I think if you'd try it and it made you unhappy then it'd be some kind of delusion. If your thoughts cause you pain, then that means your hopes were simply a delusion, but that's just my 2¢."

"Interesting."

"Great, but I'd like to ask, are you willing to do a small favor for me? I have to leave soon to pick up a friend. This means I can't fulfill my volunteered duty to reset the academics center's WI-FI tonight. All you have to do is open the box on left over there and hold down the red button on the WI-FI modem in thirty minutes. Will you do that for me? "

"Sure."

"Thanks!"

Fresco dug into his pocket and pulled out two key rings and gave one of them to Raymond.

"The silver key is for the WI-FI modem box. Well, I'm going to fulfill some of my other duties and then leave. See you later friend."

"Yea, g-goodbye."

Fresco then got up and left the classroom. With his exit, sitting in the room felt just as lonely and desolate as walking around on the school grounds. Raymond could only ponder about when he would talk to his little friend again. But with Fresco gone, Raymond had plenty of time to read his book.

"I'm done with this place. Want to go?"

"Sure. Let's go out the backdoor, it's faster."

Just as Raymond was about to get all cozy with his book, Raymond heard two muffled feminine voices speak out inside the next room, which sent chills down his spine. He desperately didn't want them to see his idiotic T-shirt or mistake him for some kind of creep.

(Oh god, all the things they'd do to me. Forget about social suicide; this would be a social massacre!)

Raymond ran towards the door behind him and violently twisted the door handle, but the door was locked. After a moment's thought, Raymond realized that one of Fresco's "other duties" must have been to lock the back door of the academics center. The only way out was to go through the pack of little terminators.

"I read this article recently that said that most drug-dealers live with their moms."

"Wow. See, I was right when I told you about the moral leprosy that comes with being a mommas boy."

"No, they aren't living with their mothers because they're mommas boys. They're living with their mothers because most drug dealers make less than the guys working at Mickey D's and they need to leech off their parents to even make poverty level earnings."

"I ate at Mickey D's once. All I remember is the taste of rubber in my mouth."

"Are you sure you're not a drug dealer?"

The voices were getting closer. Raymond quickly began filling his mental bank with options that could keep him from being seen by the girls.

(I could try to turn off the lights but those girl's undoubtedly don't need their eyes to spot me (they can smell fear). I guess could hide underneath the tables, but then I could easily be seen if one of the girls clumsily drops their phone on the floor and goes to pick it up (A public sport of the modern age, no doubt!). Perhaps I could try to quickly sneak around them and exit through the door as soon as they come in, but that would require me to impair their vision to work, and that just leads back to turning the lights off an-)

KLICK! KLACK! KLICK! KLACK!

Raymond heard the dooming sound of the door handle twisting.


At which point, Raymond's mental bank fell into bankruptcy.
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