The Out Man | Teen Ink

The Out Man

September 6, 2014
By bourgeoisiehater GOLD, Weaverville, North Carolina
bourgeoisiehater GOLD, Weaverville, North Carolina
13 articles 3 photos 19 comments

The Out Man




John Lakes was a mysterious kind of guy. Not anything like your everyday businessman. He would wear knee high socks and was commonly known as The Out Man. He was not strong, nor weak, yet no one dared to address him. He could walk into a room and people would clear a path in case he needed to walk through. He had an angry look to him, even when he was happy or just calmly waiting for the bus. For a while he was all people could talk about. You could walk into any room, sneak down any ally, and you’d hear his name.

                                   CHAPTER ONE-PART ONE

John was only eight when he found out that he was much different then any of the other children. He spoke as if he were an adult. He dressed in suits and said he was smart. It’s not that he wasn’t smart. He was beyond smart, only he didn’t know it yet. Everyday life was either boring or sad for John. His father worked in Florida as a NASA engineer, while his mother was just a stay at home mom. Not much out of the ordinary. But school was a whole different story. If you were to come into John’s classroom and look to the back corner, you could find what looked like a young boy trapped in a man’s body. There would be a desk, papers neatly stacked, with a pencil lying across that paper stack without a care in the world. Behind the desk was not a teacher, but a boy. You’d see John holding a book in his left hand with a snack in his right. Every once in a while John would stop his reading to grab a handful of the snacks to scoop out of his hand with his tongue. But when it came time for a lesson, he would only pay attention if the topic interested him. He was usually intrigued by history lessons especially when they were about space or inventors and engineers. When there was a lesson on space he would think about his dad and how his dad worked at NASA. Then he would zone out and mostly daydream about when he would get to see his dad that Christmas and all of his dad’s engineering stories that would be told over Christmas dinner. Strangest thing was that his teacher never once bothered to call John out when he wasn’t paying attention. For his teacher knew that John would grow up to do great things.

                                   CHAPTER TWO

“No! Do you hear me? No!” A voice called from inside the phone. John had heard those words many times and was not one bit offended. Every day he would be searching phone books for someone who would like to sponsor his idea for a machine that could contact the spirit world. But every time he asked, his answer was no. Being a twenty four year old man gave him many privileges, all but one, the only one that he actually needed, that is. His dad died when he was only fourteen and since then he was on a quest to contact him. He would write notes on pieces of ripped receipt paper and let them fly away out his window on windy days. Some of the notes made it all the way to the city. Other times they would only end up on a neighbor’s front porch or balcony. He was strange, as any other smart person is. His strangeness led to many rumors in which none were true, of course. But with so many rumors and so many people, it was a lot to handle. So John was mainly in his house. He was not lazy, not at all. You could be driving past his house and hear sounds of engines and gears coming from his basement. And when there were no sounds, it never meant that John was sleeping or relaxing on his couch. That meant that he was out, either buying something, or hanging out with the few people who did not perceive him as weird.

                                   CHAPTER THREE

“It’s The Out Man!” a parent whispered to a young boy. The young boy, who couldn’t resist, turned around, and there he was, The Out Man. It was only on rare occasion that you could see him. The Out Man, being only a few feet away, muttered to himself, “It’s John!” Not that it mattered anymore. But the young boy did not look at The Out Man because he was strange or because he wanted to make fun of him. The boy looked at him for the exact opposite reason. The Out Man, the boy thought, was just like him. The boy continued to stare, and John stared right back. They were both lost in deep thought. Then suddenly the boy’s mom grabbed his head and turned it to face her. “Don’t stare!” she scolded. The boy nodded. Just then John had a sudden urge to do something about the situation. John sneaked towards them like a ninja, but still, everyone stared. The boy’s mom didn’t even see John coming. So when John reached the mother and her child, he tapped the boy on his shoulder. The boy looked neither scared nor worried. Just a bit surprised. But the mother, well that’s a whole different story. “Hey. I’m Sam.” The boy addressed John. “Hey,” John replied. “I know your real name can’t be The Out Man.” Sam prompted John. “It’s not. My name is John. John Lakes.” “Nice name you got there.” “Thanks.” “You’re welcome.” Sam smiled. There was a sudden indescribable feeling of happiness that spun around between only the two of them for a brief moment. “How old are you, Sam?” John questioned. “Almost 10.” “What grade are you in?” “I’m in Four-“ Sam’s mom intervened. “You do not know this man!” Sam’s mom scolded. “But mom, I feel that I do.” “You cannot feel that you know someone!” “You can if you’re me!” “Not anymore you can’t! We’re going home. Right now!” Sam’s mom yanked him away from John and spoke in a barely audible whisper. John strained to hear their conversation, but couldn’t. Since there was nothing more that John needed to do that day he walked home. On his way home a joyous, sparkly kind of wind followed him.

                                   CHAPTER FOUR

When John got home, it was dark. The first few stars had appeared in the night sky. John liked to think that actually, it wasn’t night. It was only dark. The reason for that is because it is not night in another part of the world. But still, he understood that he needed to sleep. He got into his pajamas, a long faded black robe with stains from food and machinery scattered about and a pair of plaid boxers. Turning out the light, he got under his down blanket with a few feathers hanging out like nails from a broken board. John curled his legs up against his stomach considering it was a chilly night and he was not in the mood to pay for heat yet. His sockless feet touched making his toes sweat just a tiny bit. Separating his feet a few inches apart, he tried to sleep. But his mind kept thinking. He thought of his childhood memories, and new inventions he wanted to test out, but most of all, the boy he had met that day. He pictured the boy in his mind, trying to remember every possible detail. The boy’s deep, muddy brown eyes, his surprising curiosity at such a young age, the unruly way in which Sam’s hair was tossed as if he’d run through a tornado and survived. Sam had reminded him of someone, at the moment of its happening, John did not figure it out. But with a night’s worth of thinking, he had vaguely remembered who Sam so closely reminded him of. The resemblance was of John’s dad. In the process of all of that deep thinking, John had dazed off and fell asleep.

                          CHAPTER FIVE

When John woke up he yawned and peered out his wide bedroom window. The birch trees glowed a golden yellow in the morning light. John smiled, for morning was his favorite time of day. After getting dressed in his usual; a navy blue suit with a snow white tie, he ate breakfast. For breakfast he had a bowl of cinnamon raisin oatmeal and decided to treat himself with a chocolate chip cookie. After breakfast he wanted to investigate something.

John stopped by the town hall just before the clocks  striked twelve. Inside there was a woman in a tan suit and wide rimed glasses sitting at the reception desk.                  

"Hello sir. May I help you?" She asked.

"Yes. I'd like to see the records on a boy named Sam," John replied.

"Who are you exactly?"

"John Lakes," The lady almost fell out of her seat in surprise.

"Is something wrong mam'?"

"No sir," She now sounded like she was answering to a military commander.

"So can I see the records on the ten year old boy named Sam?"

"Yes sir,"

"Do I have to sign anything?"

"No. Just keep it private,"

A few minutes later the lady came back with the records on Sam James.

"Thank you mam'," John said. John then brought out his cellphone camera and took a picture of every page so he could carefully examine it later. After handing back the records on Sam, John slipped out the door into town like nothing had ever happened.

John was hungry considering he skipped lunch. So he walked, pushing through the cold, to the small supermarket on the end of Spruce street. As he entered, he kept his head down and grabbed a cart. He got a few looks as he went down each isle to collect his next weeks supply of food. He grabbed many boxes of frozen pizza and three gallons of milk. As he was shopping an announcement came over the loudspeaker, "If you can answer 50 trivia questions right you can win a round trip ticket to any place in the U.S!" John knew this was just what he needed to visit the place where his dad used to work. When the announcement finished he bought his groceries and found his way to the place in the store that the contest was being held and he took a seat. When word got out that The Out Man was sitting amoung the croud people were looking all around them to see where he was. By the time everyone knew where he was there were 8 empty seats around him. John was used to this of course, so it didn't bother him much.

The game had ended and John had won. He didn't jump up and down in excitment though. He calmly accepted his tickets and walked home to study the records on Sam.

John came inside shivering, considering it was a cold night. He tossed his old red coat onto the foot of the stairs and hurried upstairs.

He went into his room and sat down on his bed to examine the photos he took earlier that day and he took note of the obvious. 1.) Sam James was his full name. 2.) He was ten. Which is how many years it has been since John's dad had died. 3.) Sam was born in Florida.

Now John had his facts. He would be flying out to Florida tomorrow.



It was late when john got off the plane. He stopped by a convenient store before checking into a hotel. In the convent store he found pamphlets on NASA with websites on the back. He was going to use these websites to research about NASA. He would have to know much before he sneaks inside. Back at the hotel John got on his computer and looked up a map of NASA and found the room it is claimed that his dad died in, room F7. He would be going there tomorrow. He just had to have a disguise. John had decided that he was going to disguise himself s an engineer considering that engineering is what he is best at.

It was early afternoon when John got to NASA. He opened the wide glass doors and peered inside. He would need to find a lab coat lying around in order to make it into the room his dad died in.

John’s shoes clicked steadily as he made his way through the long corridors of NASA searching for a lab coat when finally he found one. He then slid on the long white coat, adjusted his tie, and headed off to find the room he was searching for. After hiking up six flights of stairs, considering he was scared of elevators he found the room. The room looked as if it hadn’t been entered in years. There were grey cobwebs coating most of the walls and dust creeping along the cold floor. John looked around. There was a medium sized box cloaked in an old sheet hiding in the far corner of the room. John decided he was going to investigate.

Under the cloak he found a machine. It reminded him so much of the machine he wanted to make, the one that can contact the spirit world. So then, John thought that maybe it was a machine that can contact the spirit world. That would be able to prove why his dad died. He could of died by making the machine wrong and being sucked into the spirit world then he could have came back as the boy he met that day, Sam. The mystery has been solved, John decided.


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