Be Yourself
Matthew, Age 12, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Rob was walking home from school when he thought to himself, “Why do I always mess up?” He had gotten almost home when he saw a few kids playing kickball. He thought to himself, “Today is my day.” Rob walked up to one of the kids and said to him, ”Can I join your game of kickball”.

The kid replied,” Sure, you’re on that team. All the batters had gone, the bases were loaded, last inning. It was Rob’s turn to kick. Rob got an extra fast head start; he closed his eyes waiting to hear the sound of the kickball and BOOM! He started running to first base; by the time he had gotten to first base, he saw it. He had kicked the ball and the catcher had gotten the base runner going to home out. His face turned red and he got very upset because they were all laughing at him. His face looked like a rainbow turning all different colors, and he stumbled all the way home.

His dad walked into the room. He saw Rob’s head buried in the pillow. He thought about how he couldn’t give Rob very much because he had not been a good inventor, but he kept trying to give Rob the best he could.

His dad came up and said to Rob, “Are you alright?”

Rob buried his head deeper into the pillow and mumbled back to his father, “No.”

Rob got up and said to his dad, “Why do I always mess up? I try so hard not to, yet I do.”

His father, not knowing what to do, said,” You are who you are. Maybe being who you are can help you.”

Rob said back to his father, “What if I don’t want to be me?”

His dad says back, “Messing up might help you someday, trust me.” Rob walked away back outside to the shed. His dad decided to let him cool down, and he went to the grocery store. Rob decided to go for a walk and he started for the town.

Rob got to the town. He decided to take a look in the antique shop.

The cashier said to Rob,” Hello.”

Rob said “Hello” back. He saw expensive vases and he saw high tech lamps. Then it happened: he tripped over his shoelace and knocked down a lamp. The vases caused a domino effect. All the lamps went down, knocking each other lamp over until the whole store turned to ruins.

The cashier was standing there, ready to explode. He yelled at Rob, “That is going to come out of my paycheck and you’re banned from the store.” Then the cashier proceeded to pick up Rob and throw him out the door. When Rob got up, he saw a picture of himself and his name hanging on the door that said “banned.” Rob frowned but walked into the parts store. There he looked up and saw a new upgrade for his type of parts that were 50% off; he was about to pick it up when the cashier looked through the window, saw the “banned” sign on the other store’s door, and walked up to Rob, picked him up, and threw him out the door. Once again when he got up he saw a sign that said “banned” with his picture and name on it. He walked into an alley on his walk home; then he tripped over a drainage pipe into a huge trashcan. While he was in the trashcan, he heard men talking.

One man said to the other, "Yes, it is almost complete, no worries at all.” They both walked in through a door and Rob got out of the trashcan. Despite the fear of danger, he caught the door before it closed and carefully crept in. His eyes got wider. What he saw on a super computer was remarkable. On the computer it said days and hours until robots shutdown. He was trying to get a better look when he tripped over a can of oil and boom! By the time he got up, they were already halfway up the steps. Rob jumped up and ran out the door.

They had got out the door going after Rob when one screamed, "Stop that boy!" Rob ran past the antique shop and the parts store then all the way home.

When he got to his house he had been gasping for air, and he said, "Dad, I saw people trying to shut down all robots.”

His dad replied back, "No one would do that, Rob. Just because you want attention doesn’t make it right to lie to me”. Rob stared at him for a long time then walked away. He thought to himself if his own dad wouldn’t believe him, no one would. He then climbed into bed and fell asleep.

The next morning, Rob woke with an idea. He made toast and ran to the police station.
He walked up to the sheriff and said,” I saw someone trying to shut down all robots."  The sheriff jumped up and said,” Tell me where you saw this.”

The sheriff said, "Hop in the car.” Rob nodded and went into the car. Rob told the sheriff the directions to the place he had seen this. When they finally got there, Rob opened the door and there was nothing. All of the computers, oilcans, and everything else was gone. He started to burn up from low oil and embarrassment, so he went outside and drank a can of oil.

The sheriff walked out and said to Rob, "Are you okay? There is nothing in there.”
Rob said, "They must have moved it."

The sheriff said, "Rob, I will let this one go, but I don’t want to see you here again.”

The sheriff drove off in his car, and Rob stood there in awe. He was about to walk away, when he saw a note that said, “Base moved to Mount Tech. This note will explode in 0 seconds.” Rob chucked the note in the trashcan and dove to the side when he heard a small boom. “Well, I guess there is only one way to do this,” Rob thought. “Go to Mount Tech.”

Rob grabbed some cans of oil, some replacement robotic parts, and his rocket boots. He walked downstairs, ate his dinner while his dad was asleep, and started for Mount Tech. He flew all the way to the forest with his rocket boots where there was a no fly zone to prevent pollution. He walked into the forest and while he was walking a robotic snake attacked him. The robotic snake was squeezing the bolts out of him; he heard his metal creaking. His bolts were giving out when he remembered that although his rocket boots couldn’t turn on here, they could heat up. He turned them on by tapping his feet together. His bolts were creaking; they were about to give out when he stuck his foot on the snake and the snake slithered away. He walked a little longer, burning anything that threatened him in his path, and he saw daylight. He turned on his rocket boots again and flew to a river. He thought to himself, “Well, I can’t fly over this or my rocket boots will go out.” He gathered some wood and took some vines from the trees to tie it all together to make a raft. He used a long stick and half a piece of wood to make a paddle. When he got in the water and started paddling, he was immediately greeted by atomic alligators.

Rob used his paddle as a shield, and he yelled, "Stay back.” They didn’t listen and one jumped up, missing Rob by inches, but it landed on the other side of the raft and flung Rob to the other side of the river. Rob saw an alligator come flying at him while he was in the air. He did a roll and he felt the water come off the alligator. Rob landed on the other side of the river. Rob watched as the alligators ripped apart the raft and went downstream. Rob looked at his supplies. Everything was all soaked except for cone can of oil. Rob drank the last can and kept going.

Finally he saw it: there was Mount Tech. He was so happy he was almost jumping for joy. He started going up the mountain when he saw avalanche danger signs. He thought to himself, “As long as I keep quiet, this won’t be a problem.” Then he thought, “Oh, I can just fly up the mountain, so he turned on his rocket boots, which was just enough for the avalanche to start. He was dodging piles of snow and tons of rocks. He was almost to the top when one rocket boot went out. He was so close. POOF! The other went out and he grabbed onto the ledge, dangling thousands of feet above the ground.

He pulled himself up and said, "That was to close”. He was looking around when he tripped over a wire and rolled into a cage that closed shut when he was inside.

The same robot man he saw before walked up to him and said, "You again. I thought you learned your lesson last time.”

Rob said, "Wait, first who are you?”

The robot man said,” I’m Tim Techno Tics. And you are?”

Rob said,” I’m Rob. One more question: Why are you trying to take over the world?"

Tim said,” Well, while everyone is shut down, I can take all the army weapons and all the money. Then, when I turn you back on, I will be the supreme ruler.”

Rob said, "It will never work”.

Tim said,” It will, but don’t worry. You won’t live to see it.” A pit of lava rose from the floor, and a crane picked up Rob's cage and started to slowly bring him to the pit of lava. He was roasting like a pig. Rob thought about his family, especially his dad. He started to doze off, thinking that this was the last time he would see the world.

Rob woke with a start. His dad was flying with a pair of rocket boots by his cage.
His dad finally broke the cage door lock off, and Rob immediately hugged him. Rob said, "How did you find me?”

His dad said,” I installed a GPS in your system when you were a kid.” His dad also said,” I’m sorry for not believing in you”.

Rob said,” It’s okay.” Right when Rob said that, Tim walked out of this room yawning. Tim saw them and immediately summoned two robots.

Rob’s dad said,” I’ll get Tim; you get the two robots.” Rob looked up at the timer. There were only minutes left. Rob dodged both the robots. One robot came back and hit Rob into a pile of cardboard boxes. Rob came charging out of the pile and tripped over a can of oil, hitting a hammer that went flying into another robot’s head. “One down, two to go,” Rob thought. When Rob looked up at the timer, he saw the other robot charge at him. Rob ducked down. The robot flew over him and smashed into a wall. Rob saw the timer—there were zero seconds left. Rob sprinted for the delete file button. Zero seconds. Tim caught him, but his dad hit him off. Zero seconds. He tripped on a box and he went flying through the air. BAM! Deactivated. Rob landed on the button and deactivated the shutdown. Rob saw Tim in the upright position in some kind of trance. He kept repeating on corrupting files.

Rob yelled,” Tim got corrupt.” As he said that he saw a shadow trying to flee the cave. Rob turned on his rocket boots and tackled the man. When he took off the man’s hat and coat, he saw something he never suspected. It was the sheriff. Rob’s father took out his phone and dialled the police.

The next day, with news reporters surrounding their house, Rob said to his dad,” Maybe messing up isn’t so bad.”

Rob’s dad said, “Yeah, and thanks to us saving the world with my rocket boot invention. I can get you new parts because of how popular they are.”

Rob said, “Thank you, but I think I will keep these parts. They are who I am.” Rob messed up a lot after that, but he knew that messing up was who he was and you can make yourself whatever you want to be.
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