Chapter 1
How much do you believe?

***

It was Physical Education. The worst kind of education that Riverside Junior College had to offer. Granted it was the only college that was well- known for driving their students up the wall. Literally.

Huffing and puffing to the rhythm of worn rubber against tarmac, the two boys of 02Humans3 jogged side-by-side, taking in the scenery of supposed-pretty young things as well as inhaling the industrial smog that always seem to permeate the air twenty-four hours a day, every day, every week, month and year. The drill sergeant barked orders at them to hurry up and their pace quickened slightly so that they may join the other sheep in the senseless slaughtering.

"Alright. I want you boys to do three sets of ten pull-ups and then five sets of sprinting and then I'll let you off for the day. Anyone who tries to cheat will have to run another four rounds around the track." The small group of boys looked out onto the red circular track, where the hot sun baked the asphalt till steam oozed from its miniscule pores from the ground.

Someone gulped.

"You know. El managed to get tickets to the premier of the Lord of the Rings movie." Quentin exhaled as he got down from the bars. He glanced over at his friend, Trent, the perpetual dreamer with his head permanently lodged somewhere in the clouds. Yet at the mention of Lord of the Rings and tickets, the life spluttered back into his eyes and he gave the former a bewildered look.

"Huh? Lord of the Rings? El? How? Who?" Quentin smiled and bent down to stretch his calves, waiting for his turn at sprinting.

"El. Eleanor? You know, my girlfriend?"

"Yes yes there is only one Eleanor in this school. What I meant was. how did she get it? Who did she kill? Hell, who did you kill?" Quentin laughed and the drill sergeant cast him a dirty look that sent him choking. He sprinted whilst Trent waited.

"Well, her brother works for Shaw Brothers and he does the distributing and public relations work and all that crap. So he managed to get two tickets and El asks if you and Syl want to go."

"Wait, why isn't she going? Wait, hold that thought." Trent took his place and ran. He wasn't an athlete by nature, but if running and getting a timing of less than ten seconds meant that he'd be free and safe from being subjected to more human torture, then he'd run like he was in the Olympics. By the time he staggered back to Quentin, his face was flushed and his mouth was gaping open, trying to filter out the clouded skies of River Valley so that copious amounts of oxygen could be absorbed back into his system.
"So yeah. You were saying. How come El's not going?"

"Because I can't go. I told her she could go with Syl or you and she just shook her head."

"But hasn't she been ranting to you about Lord of the Rings ever since she saw the trailer the other week?"

"Yeah I know. But you know El."

"Sylvia can't go, she's got to attend some important dinner with her family."

"Damn. That's two tickets gone to waste. And they were VIP seats." Both males were silent for the moment. Quentin rubbed his chin, frowning a little at the stubble that had begun to manifest. He could have sworn he shaved this morning. Trent plucked at his shoestrings, random thoughts swimming along in his head occasionally piecing together to form a coherent, if not weird, train of thought.

"Why don't you go?" Trent blinked out of reverie.

"Who? Me? Why me?"

"Well, you're a greater fan of Tolkien than I am. Sides, I know you and El knows you and since me and Syl can't make it, that leaves the both of you."

"And you think El would want to watch it with me?"

"Why not? Its not as if you've got the plague or something. And sides, I know you and I trust you. So how bout it? I don't think I'd be able to go watch it with her any other week. Nationals are coming and Coach booked me in for training every other day of the week."

"Well, who asked you to join track and field anyway? God knows what you see in running aimlessly for a piece of flinty metal."

"Oi. Don't diss my passion. Look who's talking, Mr. I-stay-at-home- the-whole-day-watching-lesbian-porn-and-wanking. Ouch!" They both laughed as Trent punched Quentin in the arm.

"I don't watch lesbian porn. Hentai's more to my liking." More laughter ensued. Some of the girls turned over to glance in their direction. Some giggled, some merely raised their eyebrows.

"Well, are you okay with it?"

"The movie? Yeah. Tell El to message me or something."

"No prob."

The bell rang, signalling the end of the lesson and the boys trudged off into the washroom, joking and laughing about pornography and tasteless smut. The thoughts of one centered on running and winning trophies and honour for himself whilst the other rotated slightly on the axis of the Arts, poetry and prose.