The Party

by Toby Pannone, age 12
The Party Toby Pannone is a New Yorker in 7th grade. He can tell you how to get anywhere on the MTA. When he grows up he wants to be a film director and he currently has his own Youtube channel called BIRDIECHANNEL!

“John got catapulted into GregBear’s mouth, as the teeth closed down on my head. Just as the teeth punctured my skin, I saw that GregBear was going to chomp a heart! I could feel my skull shatter, and blood started flying all over the place. “

Lying on my bed in the hospital, I thought back to my origin, the reason I was here. My IV started beeping. A nurse rushed in, a worried look on her face. She adjusted my oxygen mask.

 

“How are you doing?” she asked. I tried to say I was fine, but I couldn’t form the words with my lips. A squeak came out and she nodded, reassured.

 

“I wish I didn’t have to say this, but your condition is bad, and the doctor wants me to give you sleepy milk.”

 

My eyes went wide, sleepy milk meant . . . well I didn’t know. As the warm liquid was pumped into my veins, my eyes grew heavy. I wanted to live. As I fell asleep, words came . . . “Thank you.” And then . . . I was gone.

 

TWO DAYS… BEFORE IT HAPPENED

 

I was locked in my room and I didn’t even know why! I just woke up and I couldn’t open the door. I was a good kid, I did nothing wrong but got punished for being alive.

 

“They locked you in your room again,” my GregBear toy said. I had gotten used to its paranormal features. I walked over to my other GregBear’s Pizzeria toys. For some reason, Boxy the Fox’s head was missing. I also had the other two mascots, Chicar the Duck and Boney the Bunny.

 

“These are my friends,” I started to sob. I was locked in my room, with no freedom and not even a chance to go to my brother’s party in a few days. He was having his party at GregBear’s Pizza, and GregBear was my idol. He was so funny, at least on the TV. He was just really cool, and I wanted to be a TV star one day. I ran to the door and started slamming my hands on it, hoping I could get out. As I banged on it the door slammed into me and I fell still crying. The black started to close in on me from the edges of my vision.

 

“Tomorrow is another day . . . ”

 

I woke up. I was not in my bed, (I was still lying on the floor) but the door was open. I ran out, careful not to make any noise. I saw a clock showing the time, 5 p.m. I went into the living room, hoping to catch a rerun of GregBear and Friends. I then sat down in front of the television just as someone with Boxy the Fox’s head jumped out from behind the couch. My brother was just being his mean self. My heart ran a marathon in seconds and while screaming, I lost consciousness, hearing the words again.

 

“Tomorrow is another day  . . . ”

 

My eyes fluttered open and, through blurred vision, I saw my whole family. Together. Hoping. Crying. I was happy; but I knew.

 

“Hey, you miserable little twerp, get up! It’s your brother’s birthday.” Above me stood my step-dad, who walked away when he saw I was awake. He could be so mean, but he was a drill sergeant in the army, so he was used to yelling at everyone.

 

I got up and walked to my room. I couldn’t wait for going to GregBear’s pizzeria! I pulled on a clean shirt. My brother knew of my GregBear obsession and he liked teasing me about it, but it was his birthday, so he wouldn’t do anything bad or be mean. Right?

 

My step-dad held down the horn in our beat up Volkswagen for ten seconds straight. “You better be ready, you mistake!” he bellowed. “The party starts in twenty minutes! I thought I raised you to be better than this!”

 

I ran out to our car, but not before grabbing my secret, limited edition Mangled the Dog mask. As I stuffed it in my pocket, my brother started stomping around, most likely to find me.

 

The car shot down the street. I watched as the speedometer reached 50, 60 and then 70 miles per hour. In under a minute, we screeched to a stop. There it was, I could almost hear the angels singing and see the aura around it.

 

“Hurry up Phillip,” My brother said smugly, “GregBear’s waiting.”

 

BEEEP. BEEEP. BEEEP.”

 

“He’s still with us.”

 

“Is he going to be okay?”

 

“I can’t say for sure ma’am, his frontal lobe was bitten out by an animatronic bear!”

 

“What are the odds?”

 

“He has about a 15-20% chance of survival, his condition is worse than if he had cancer!”

 

“John! This is because of YOU! Don’t try and slink away! We have the whole thing on tape and you are going to JAIL because of your immature actions”

 

“Now sir, he is your son. You can get him out of jail.”

 

“N-O! He is going and that is final!”

 

I ran straight in. The A/C shot my hair back, but I kept going. No being restrained, no being locked away, no getting scared by jerks, just fun for me!

 

“Hmm . . . ” I muttered under my breath, “Room 3, Room 3 . . . Where is it?”

 

“Hey! Mini-John!” Oh boy. My brother’s friends, ready to tease me. “C’mon, the cake is over here!”

 

I could hear it in their voices. There was no cake, at least, not for me. No fun, at least, not for me. They only came to torment me. Sure, I could call for Dad, but he didn’t even care about me. So, head hung low, I walked over to them and into the room. And, of course, the cake was chocolate, the one thing I was allergic to. I had to admit, my brother had planned a good party, but not for me. They had masks, balloons, colorful lights, streamers and confetti. They even had all-access passes to the arcade, and the stage with the GregBear Band on it.

 

“Phillip. If you can hear me, wiggle your finger.”

 

“BEEEP….BEEEP….BOoooooP.”

 

“We’re losing him!”

 

“Get the EHD!”

 

“No! He could lose all brain power!”

“Well, we can fix that!”

 

“NO, WE CAN’T!”

 

“Phillip! Before you go, I need to say-”

 

“Ma’am, this is a class 4 emergency! We need you to move-”

 

“This is unit 12-4 calling for backup. We have a patient with less than 50 bpm on our hands, over.”

 

“Copy that, sending backup, over and out.”

 

“Well Phillip, we know you love GregBear,” Lloyd, my brother’s friend, said, “So, we got you an all-access pass, too!”

 

On the outside, I kept a straight face, but on the inside, I was screaming with joy. A chance to see my Idol meant that things really were looking up! As we walked to the entrance of the main party room, I heard my brother snickering. He whispered something to Lloyd, and they both had a good laugh, evilly.

 

“Welcome to GregBear’s Band Arena!” a staff member said cheerfully. “We have a great show for you today! So take a seat, and I’ll leave you party animals to yourselves! Uh, but don’t get too close to GregBear, he needs his space too! Heh!”

 

No, don’t go, I wanted to call out to her. Couldn’t she see that sneaky look creeping over my brother’s face? No one seemed to understand that if rules could be broken, teenagers would break them. The lights started flashing as GregBear and his band rolled out. A spotlight landed on each one of them, their fur shining GregBear’s goldish orange, Chicar’s yellow, Boney’s purple and Boxy’s red.

 

“Welcome to our special performance,” GregBear said metallically, “Would the birthday gir . . . boy please come over with at least one friend?”

 

“Hey guys,” my brother said, “How about we all go over to GregBear!”

 

Wait? Did he mean me? Probably not, but . . .

 

Repeat, this is unit 12-4, we need backup, we need backup, over.”

 

“Copy that, we are sending the EMT upstairs right now. Try and wake the patient up, maybe with some meds, over and out.”

 

“Meds! That’s it”

 

“Uh, doctor?”

 

“Yes ma’am?”

 

“Is it normal for a patient to jerk around like that?”

 

“No, call for help! We need the best staff here NOW!”

 

“Unit 12-4 here, EMT has not arrived and patient is having violent spasms! We need a neuroscientist up here, and quick, over and out.”

 

“He’s flat-lining!”

 

“What is happening?”

 

“C’mon Phillip!” Lloyd shouted, “We didn’t get you a pass, just for you to sit there!”

 

What!? They . . . they were being nice . . . to me. I stood up and practically floated towards them on a cloud of happiness.

 

“Yeah Phillip,” my brother smirked, “We want you to get a nice, up-close talk with GregBear!”

 

Before I could get away, I was lifted up by eight sweaty hands and flipped onto my stomach. They pushed me towards GregBear as he said, “Happy birthday JOHN! Let’s sing the best-day song! So join in, and follow along!”

 

GregBear’s teeth chomped, as if it was supposed to look like singing. They gnashed, up, down, up, down. They pushed me so close, I could feel the cool metal of GregBear’s chin on my forehead.

 

“Up a little higher boys!” my brother said, “Now Phillip, give GregBear a little kissy-kissy!”

 

“It’s your best daaaaaay! Today! Birthday! Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy day!”

 

“GregBear will only love you if you love him!”

 

“He’s not in a coma!”

 

“Then how has he flat-lined without brain damage?”

 

“Should we do an MRI?”

 

“Not now! We don’t even know if he’s alive!”

 

“Wait! He’s coming up!”

 

“BEEEP…. BEEEP…. BEEEP…BEEEP.”

 

“What did you do?”

 

“Nothing!”

 

“He’s having a heart attack!”

 

“BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP”

 

“WHAT IS GOING ON?”

 

“BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!”

 

Time seemed to slow down, probably my fight or flight instincts kicking in. GregBear’s white teeth shined bright under the spotlights, but were tinted a pinkish-red, not from the spotlight. I could see the dulled shine of a rusty exoskeleton through his mouth.

 

“Haaaaave….a great day!”

 

GregBear’s teeth were pointy and sharp, as if he was a killing machine. I was being pushed, inch by inch closer to his mouth. Two hands moved onto the bottoms of my shoes and pushed me forwards while the other six rolled me forward the way a conveyer belt would. I couldn’t give him a kiss even if i wanted to, I was almost in his mouth.

 

“Heh, Heh, HEH! We hope you have a great time today JOHN! We also…”

 

Closer and closer. Why so close? I didn’t know. Under his lips as they moved up, and down towards my head. They would get in so much trouble for doing this. My life flashed before me. So it really did happen! I saw my mom, marrying step-dad. My brother with an evil look as they kissed. My life was horrible, and I was going to die! The rows of razor sharp teeth falling down onto my head. Out of nowhere one pair of hands dropped off my back and I heard a shoving sound.

 

“Oomph!”

 

The other two pairs of hands dropped and I was left hanging from the mouth of a killing machine.

 

“Beeep….beeep”

 

“Ma’am, I think Phillip might be okay.”

 

“Oh! Thank you so much!”

 

“Uh, sir? We, uh, have a situation over here.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“The, uh, other patient, uh, John, is, uh, going into cardiac arrest.”

 

“OH MY GOD!”

“How long?”

 

“Uh, about five minutes?”

 

“This is unit 10-5! We have a SCA-3-5 Emergency, over!”

 

“Copy that, sending backup, try and restart the heart, over and out.”

 

“He was doing so well!”

 

John got catapulted into GregBear’s mouth, as the teeth closed down on my head. Just as the teeth punctured my skin, I saw that GregBear was going to chomp a heart! I could feel my skull shatter, and blood started flying all over the place. Some of it was mine, some John’s. John started shake, as the teeth grabbed hold of my brain, sending grey matter flying. I saw John stop and whisper “I’m sorry!”

I woke up in an white room. I had a massive headache, and nothing was clear. The noise hurt my ears.

 

“We have a heart transplant planned for the older one and the younger one . . .  well, we’ll see how he handles it, maybe run an MRI on him, but there’s not much we can do if he’s missing his frontal lobe.”

 

I thought. The Doctor?

 

“What are the symptoms?”

 

My Mom?

 

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language and judgment. It is, in essence, the “control panel” of our personality and our ability to communicate. We can try to help but most likely he will have trouble doing those things, he would be considered ‘disabled severely’.”

 

What!?! Part of my . . . top? Was bitten out by a bunch of fake . . . sharp things?? Ugh! I couldn’t think straight, so I just closed my . . . seeing tools? And let sleep claim me?

“How you doing, Phillip?” My doctor was standing next to me.

 

“I…feel okay?”

 

“That’s great! Now, I wanted to let you know what happened, you are NOT a little kid. We want you to know. The bear bit a chunk of your frontal lobe, the control panel of your brain, out of your head. You might feel weird, or have trouble with basic things, but it is all to be expected. We are going to look and see what is going on, and then we might be able to fix it!”

 

What bear? Who, was this man?

 

“What aboot Jonhey?

 

“John? His heart was bitten into, but he got a transplant, and he’s doing fairly well!”

 

There was a strange feeling tugging at my stomach. What was it? I was hungry!

 

“I eem hoongry?”

 

“You’ll be okay…”

 

As I fell asleep, I looked ahead, better times were coming…

 

“Phillip?”

 

Mom!

 

“Mommy!” I shouted

 

“How are you?”

 

“I feel great! What happened?”

 

“You got an MRI,” the doctor butted in, “And we were able to replace the most important parts of your brain.”

 

“Mom?” I said, “I heard some, weird stuff.”

 

“Like what?” she seemed worried

 

“I heard stuff about John a-and me. Doctors and stuff”

 

Mom grabbed me and pulled me into a huge hug.

 

“Oh, honey! You were in such bad condition! You almost had a heart attack!”

 

She didn’t even mention John!

 

“What about John?”

 

She started to sniffle, and then sob. The doctor went over, probably to try and comfort Mom.

 

“Look,” he said, “It happens, and Phillip, well, he’s a great kid! Be happy that he’s . . . still here.”

 

What? I still had no clue what I was hearing.

 

“Mom! What happened to John?”

 

“Well,” she sniffled, “he,” she couldn’t help but choke on her words, “he went into Cardiac Arrest,” Mom sobbed out the words. “His heart stopped.” Her crying didn’t lessen, “and he died.”

 

She started to flat out scream and cry. Her eyes turned into waterfalls. I tried to sit up, but a wire attached to my head stopped me. The doctor cringed, but loosened the wire, so I could move. I grabbed Mom, and tried to help her, comfort her.

 

“Mom,” I whispered to her “I love you. You are the best Mom I could ever have. I know that it’s hard to lose someone, especially John. I thought he was a good guy inside, but I’m still here for you.”

 

My step-dad came in.

 

“Phillip, I’m sorry!” He said, “I’ve been so horrible to you, but you were born a couple months after your mom and I got married, and we weren’t expecting it. I wish I could have helped you grow up, but instead I ruined it. You know I was a drill sergeant in the army, I got used to yelling at people who weren’t family.”

 

He looked at his feet, but there was one more thing I knew he wanted to say.

 

“C’mon dad! Say it!”

 

“I love you.”

 

Toby Pannone is a New Yorker in 7th grade. He can tell you how to get anywhere on the MTA. When he grows up he wants to be a film director and he currently has his own Youtube channel called BIRDIECHANNEL!

 

Works Cited

 

“Frontal Lobe.” Frontal Lobe Anatomy & Pictures. Healthline Networks, Inc., 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.

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