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Denny Dooper
Melika, Age 14, Ashburn, VA

Once upon a time there was a boy named Denny Dooper. Denny was a tall guy with brown hair and blue eyes. He was a poor worker in the town of Pancakeopolis. This town is too small to be pictured on a map, so don’t try looking for it. Pancakeopolis is ten miles off of a major city that everyone knows. Denny worked long hours getting paid minimum wage because he never really got any proper education. Denny loved his job, but he was very tired of the consistency of his daily schedule. Every day he would wake up at 6:30 on the dot to take a shower for fifteen minutes, and then brush his teeth with 250 strokes in three minutes. Next he would go down to the kitchen and fill half of his bowl up with vanilla Cheerios and cover the cereal with two cups of milk. I could go on forever about his routine, but that would take forever. I simply don’t have the patience to explain that for you. So let me start at the beginning.

Denny and his mother had been living in Pancakeopolis for almost their entire lives. Denny’s dad died when he was seven in a tragic football accident. Denny got a concussion so he couldn’t remember. His mother decided it would be best to keep the accident from him.

“Denny, when are you going to get a life and move out already?” Denny’s mom was very frustrated with Denny as he played his daily hour of Call of Duty 4. The videogame was very loud, so it would always bother Ms. Dooper. Denny played it anyway because he was very addicted to the game, like many other boys.

“I’ll be done in an hour! Leave me alone, Ma!” Denny shouted, his mind still focused on the game. He continued playing non-stop for the rest of that hour, leaving his mom frustrated. Then he continued his daily activities, with change on his mind.

The next day he vowed he would do something special that day. That morning he called in sick for the first time in fifteen years, and then ventured out into the streets of Montana. He started out trying out his hand-eye coordination at the gym, playing football with the other men there. He saw the guys playing and thought it looked really cool but oddly familiar. He decided to work out something other than his thumbs and asked the guys if he could join in. Turns out there was a football recruiter there watching him. It also turns out that he had impeccable football skills.

“How long have you been playing, dude? Your skills are pretty legit!” the recruiter said while approaching Denny. “I’m sorry that might have sounded weird since you have no idea who I am. Hello, I am the recruiter for the big football team in the state near here. We call ourselves The Big Football Team.”

Denny didn’t want to seem stupid in front of the recruiter. After all, this was the change that could improve his life. He quickly thought of the best thing to say for this situation, but then remembered that lying was a bad thing to do. “Umm, well, this may sound unbelievable, but I just started this morning.”

“No, seriously man, how long?” the man said in disbelief, confirming Denny’s statement. He quickly realized by the look on Denny’s face that he really was being serious. “Wow, you are a quick learner. I’ve got a meeting to go to, so why don’t you swing by my office later, and we can talk about your future as a football player.” He handed Denny his business card, and then walked off. The recruiter couldn’t stay long because he had other places to be, so Denny couldn’t talk to the recruiter more to get more details out of him. Denny stood there, unable to comprehend that this really happened. Once he came back down to earth, he was ecstatic, jumping around like a madman. He went home to spend the rest of the day bragging to his mother. He slept like a baby that night.

The smell of pancakes filled the room. He fluttered his eyes open to find his mother standing in front of him with his breakfast made for him. This was the beginning of the rest of his life….

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