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Monday, March 26, 2007

Who is Ben Bennett?

At the age of 25, Ben has spent much of his adult life thus far in a shadow. This shadow arrose out of his own volition, teaming up with his best friend Chance Aubrey who always seemed to lead the way. Ben didn't mind this. He still doesn't. After all, it allowed him to play '2nd pass' as he called it, correcting many of the mistakes his partner made, without ever opening his mouth to work through them.

"It is better to be thought an idiot, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Ben always thought of this quote. Often times it plagued him, making him much more of a social parriah or wallflower, simply because he never took a stand...or a chance, as it were.

Ben was an only child. His youth was filled with extravagant tests funded by his otherwise absent parents- playing soccer for a week to see if he liked it; trying karate until they handed him a book on his second day; riding a bike for the first time at age 10. Whatever the desire was, his patriarchs assumed it could be fulfilling if they'd just provide him with the means to do so.

Such was not the case. In fact, it was quite the contrary. Because of this, Ben became disconnected from children his age, often socializing with himself- creating characters, imaginary friends, reading books while other kids used the slide and swingset. Sometimes he'd even use different voices or accents, just to see what it felt like. But the shoes never fit.

When Ben hit high school, the days of teasing children were over. No longer "Ben-Ben" as his classmates dubbed him, he entered an entirely different realm of knowledge. He learned first hand how most people enjoy their ignorance, and that his witty word play could leave people both baffled and insulted. Ben's superior knowledge alienated him completely, save for a small group of kids that were cast aside.

At 16, Ben rejected the prospect of normality, striving to enter college a year early. This of course meant taking the exams early, applying early, etc. Just as Ben was learning to drive, the road of life was taking him away. Away from what he thought was a sheltered and pathetic life. Winding up at college a year early, he got paired with someone he'd never met. Chance Aubrey was his name, a gregarious fellow on the phone, and a person that seemed to always have something cooking at all times.

Upon his arrival at school, Ben and Chance looked at each other, and decided that they were a good fit as friends, roommates, and companions on the journey ahead. Ben saw it as a yin and yan- reinforcing each other when it was needed, and indeed it happened often. Several times in their first weeks, Ben helped Chance prepare papers, study for tests, and practice speeches only to see him arrive at class and wing it- earning comprable marks as Ben, but with little to no effort.

This always frustrated Ben, but like anything else- Ben adapted it to reinforce his life, and ended up learning a great deal from Chance. His wallflower days behind him now, thanks to Chance and his lifestyle, Ben and Chance were inseperable.

By their junior year, it occurred to Chance that with Ben's knowledge and average-joe likability, that they could forge a business partnership and make a lot of money. While Ben was intrigued by the idea, part of him also cast it aside as Chance's drunken "brilliant ideas!" He gave it some legitimate thought, and decided that there was a place in today's modern world for 2 genuine people doing what they do best: person-to-person interaction.

It was around that time that Chance realized they were out of beer. This may seem trivial to most, but it was a turning point in Ben's life, and a moment he'll forever remember. Later that evening, as Ben slept, Chance went out and staged a few paranormal presences in their building. By the next morning, it was the talk of the block.

"Did you hear that last night?"
"How could I not...I sleep on the top floor...I'm really worried that there's a ghost in the attic.""Me too...somebody needs to do something!"

And somebody did. Knowing Ben was still in the dark, Chance bravely volunteered to enter the building catacombs and attic areas, crawl spaces and rooftop. While the crowd looked on, he entered the building showing a countenance of true bewilderment. Ben was hesitant to let him go alone, and quickly chased after.

As they reached the attic, or staging area as Chance would later call it, Chance explained his plan, the bamboozlement of the building, how it would affect the news and local townspeople. Though Ben was hesitant, he could never ignore reason....and in this case, their reasoning was sound: they needed money and they provided peace of mind. In some ways, it was a very noble thing. In more ways, it wasn't.

A few years passed and Ben began having serious doubts about what they were doing: swindling innocent people for a dime. 2 years and still no real signs of paranormal activity. And while the logic in Ben's mind made him want to believe...the avarice in Chance's eyes made him want to walk away every single day.

If only there were proof...surely that would lay his weary head to rest. Or was it the not knowing that intrigued him?

Maybe their next job will hold the key...or at least give him the guts to approach Chance and make a change.