prose2 - 1. Note: This was in the last batch of prose, but...

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1. Note: This was in the last batch of prose, but this is a newer version—my bad. Please disregard the last one. Phil Aaron, our RA, is about five or six important years older than us, though it seems like more. He has well groomed facial hair, glasses that look sleek and no larger than absolutely necessary, and a broad-shouldered physique that suggests running or cycling or swimming or something like that. He looks like bookishness that’s aged well, and at the moment, he’s issuing a ban on peanuts. “Peanuts,” he says. “No peanuts, peanut butter, peanut powder, peanut oil, peanut products, or products containing peanut products. Some people here can be very, very allergic. And maybe you aren’t, but either way it’s not a good idea because even if you keep them to yourself, maybe a little peanut grease ends up on a doorknob and gets spread around. So don’t buy anything like that from the vending machines. If you have any with you, please, hand it in. You’ll get it back at the end of the month.” I zone out a bit once or twice and admire the blue hue of the carpet. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing here, but I rarely am. *** This isn’t college, but it’s like it. It’s a summer program called Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (or CTY, for those who either find the full name cumbersome or feel self-conscious about classifying themselves as “talented youths”). Basically, teenagers roughly ages 12-16 are chosen by test scores and spend a summer month studying at a college. My parents had urged me to do it to me the year before to help my college
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résumé, but I’d managed to dodge it by going to the local church and swapping the month-long college program for a week-long church trip to a Navajo reservation, despite being a noncommittal agnostic with no vested interest whatsoever in instilling Christianity in the indigenous people of northern Arizona. But I’d dodged CTY nonetheless, and my college résumé was still coming along nicely. It wasn’t that I had anything against CTY—or knew anything about it, or even what it stood for—it was just that, in the interests of candor, it didn’t seem like anything could hold a candle to staying at home, earning easy money at my summer job, going to the movies, and playing videogames. But then the next year came around, and I decided to go, enrolling in a cryptography class and thus beginning my long history of studying fun subjects that have nothing to do with anything. *** Our hallway is the sort in every college dorm, except we’re segregated by gender, and everyone’s door has a picture of two X-Men, pop culture avatars to call our own. I find the door with my name. Under my name is a picture of a half-mechanical villain that I later find out is named “Apocalypse.” Next to Apocalypse is my roommate. He’s the Juggernaut, and his name is Phil. I push the door open. My roommate is thin, lanky, and looks rather proper, with a collared shirt and a
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prose2 - 1. Note: This was in the last batch of prose, but...

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