The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 64
The pedalo

On our way home, while stopped at a traffic light, a young boy approached the passenger window of Rupert’s car. He smiled and waved at me in a desperate attempt to sell some roses.

‘Girls like roses, right?’ I asked my brother.

‘Yes,’ he replied in an ‘It’s obvious’ tone.

I opened the car window and bought a small bunch. The light turned green, and we continued our journey. A few minutes later we had arrived at the bridge next to Shelley’s house. Rupert stopped the car. ‘Are you going to give those to her now?’ he asked.

‘I should. I mean, that’s why I bought them, but I don’t know if she’ll be home,’ I replied, feeling nervous. I had never given a girl roses before.

Rupert waited for me to get out of the car, and then, when I turned around, he pointed to Shelley’s house, in a way that I knew he wasn’t going to let me go home before I had tried to give Shelley the roses. I rang the bell. ‘DONG!’ The door opened and Rupert drove off.

Luckily, it was Shelley who answered the door this time. ‘Are those for me?’ she asked.

‘What? Oh, these?’ I asked, feeling silly. ‘Yes’, I replied, holding them out.

Shelley gave me a hug. I still had the roses in my right hand. We held onto each other long enough to know that we were both enjoying it. Shelley took the roses. ‘We need to talk,’ I said, suddenly realizing that it sounded like I was about to break up with her, even though we weren’t actually dating.

‘I know,’ she replied in sad voice. ‘Come inside.’

We walked to the kitchen where she put the flowers in a vase and filled it with water. ‘We could chat on the pedalo,’ Shelley suggested. In case you haven’t heard of a pedalo before, it’s like a little boat that one sits on and pedals in order to propel it. Shelley’s family had a two seater pedalo, which was waiting in the lake, right next to their garden. I agreed, and we climbed into the pedalo and pedalled out onto the calm lake, passing some mallard ducks and Egyptian geese.

‘My mom told me that you wanted me to come to your birthday party,’ Shelley began. ‘I like you Nathan, but I don’t think that anything can happen between us unless you became a Jehovah’s Witness.’

‘Or, unless you convert,’ I added.

‘Right,’ she responded slowly.

After a moment of silence I spoke, ‘Can we not just be open minded about this, and have a discussion? You tell me why you believe what you believe, and I’ll explain my beliefs. Then we can try and figure out the truth together?’

‘You make it sound so easy. I don’t think it will work, but I’m willing to try. Not today though.’

‘Okay, when would suit you?’ I asked.

‘There’s a man that I want to include in the discussion. He’s a Witness who really knows his stuff. He’s very easy to talk to and has a very clear and logical way of explaining things.’

‘Okay,’ I said, feeling confident that no matter who I spoke to I’d be able to be able to prove my point.

‘I’ll chat to him and arrange a meeting then. I’ll let you know when he’s available.’

I agreed.

‘So, how was your day?’ she asked as we pedalled under the small bridge.

‘It was really good, actually,’ I replied with a slight echo from the bridge.

I continued to tell her about Beyond Insurance and going surfing and the job offer.

‘So you’re pretty excited about this new job. Aren’t you going to miss programming?’ she asked.

‘I’ll never give up programming,’ I replied. ‘Just because it won’t be my main function, doesn’t mean I’m never going to write programs again. What about you? Are you studying?’

‘I’m studying graphic design at Triple A, the advertising school,’ she replied.

We spoke for a long time that day, about our childhood, our families, our ambitions and interests. Two hours went by until we had made our way back to Shelley’s house and climbed out of the boat into the garden. ‘My parents will be home soon,’ she told me. ‘I really wish you could stay, but I think it’s better that my parents don’t see us together too often. I’ll call you and we’ll figure out a time when we can have our religion chat.’

I left feeling very happy and optimistic in spite of the big problem.


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