For nearly fourteen years his mind had been soaring miles above, but Elliot Thomas was still stuck down on Earth, in the boring town of Sinchester.
Alone in his tree house, he glued feathers to his wingsuit, readying himself for the day he would join the phoenixes and quetzalcoatls in the sky.
"Dinnertime!" cried his mother from their house across the yard.
Elliot sat at the center of the table. A TV dinner was challenging his BO as the dominant smell in the room. On his left, his mother yammered about her day at the ER. On his right, his father was absorbed in his smartphone.
As for Elliot, his eyes were fixed on the ceiling fan, the most fascinating personality within a ten-foot radius.
In homeroom the next day, Justin Shmakovski threw a crappy paper airplane at him.
Within seconds, Elliot had built a superior vessel. He stood up on his chair and swiftly launched the Papierflieger at his unsuspecting enemy.
Zoom, splort! The marvel of paper aviation lodged itself in Justin's tender eyeball.
"Mr. Thomas!" bellowed their teacher. "Go to the principal's office!"
Later that day, Elliot was cooing quietly to himself as he bought a candy bar in the lobby.
Casey Wichtitz was smoking nearby and sneered at him. "You'll never fly, Stinky Crow," she laughed. "Why don't you go jack off to some bird porn? I bet you do more fapping than flapping!"
"Fuck you!" screeched Elliot, as he ran for the door.
It was dark out by the time Elliot meandered home. On the sidewalk, he passed a gaunt man who stared at him intently desperately, even.
The man opened his mouth and said, Hooveewaaah! Ooveezah!
Elliot had planned to eat his candy bar tonight, while he finished his masterpiece, but he instead held it out to the man. "I know what you mean," he replied.
The schoolyard was packed the next morning as Elliot's classmates waited for first bell.
Caw, caw! As one, the students turned toward the gate and saw Elliot dressed head to toe in his wingsuit. After a moment of shock, they burst into laughter.
But they were already far below him. He swooped through their midst and into the school. Caw, caw! He bounded through the halls, zigzagged up the stairwell...
Cawww! The school let out a collective gasp when they saw Stinky Crow on the roof. With a triumphant snap! he spread his wings...and a moment later, he had leapt.
The next two seconds were the most beautiful of Elliot's entire life. He could feel their eyes upon him; he was flying, and their awe was keeping him aloft.
Ten minutes later, as guidance counselors wiped bits of Elliot off sobbing students and the police struggled to piece together the story you are reading now, Elliot's teacher looked down at the wreckage of the boy on the pavement, and never forgot what he saw.
One bloody hand had formed a peace sign. The other was giving him the finger.