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How To Be Awesome, Chapter TenWhen morning arrived in earnest, Canada opened his eyes feeling calm and lucid. He hadn’t returned to his dream from earlier, but he felt as though there were some sort of resolution as he slept. When he opened the front door, ready to greet the day, he was not surprised nor disappointed to see that Prussia was not there waiting for him.
“That’s okay,” Canada told himself. “Prussia’s taught me well. I can be awesome on my own.”
He strode down the street, nodding and smiling at other nations as he passed them. Each and every nation returned a friendly greeting. When Canada arrived at the fruit shop, he saw that no one else was there. Rather than feeling relieved, the way his old self did, he was somewhat disappointed that no one was there. Canada examined a few granny smith apples, wishing for someone to come by so he could be awesome with them. It was no fun being awesome alone. When C
How To Be Awesome, Chapter NineThat night, Canada dreamt of walking forever in a lonely grey forest. From time to time, he caught fleeting glimpses of lights flickering somewhere in the distance, but they would always fade to darkness before he could chase them. After what felt like a thousand false starts, Canada fell to his knees and let the cold earth begin to consume him. He disappeared, as if vanishing into quicksand. When he was up to his shoulders, a comet blazed over head. Shocked, Canada leapt to his feet, leaving the hungry earth beneath him. He ran like lightning after the comet, which seemed to slow down as though it were asking him to pursue it. As Canada burst out of the woods, the comet morphed into a little yellow bird.
“Excuse me,” said a familiar voice. Canada opened his eyes. He startled. Kuma... Kuma... Kuma-junction was standing over him.
“What is it?” Canada mumbled.
“I need your help, Canadoodly-doo,
How To Be Awesome, Chapter EightBack in the shelter of the basement, Canada began to feel stronger. He and Prussia rearranged the room’s sparse furnishings to resemble a sort of restaurant setting. Then they made their way to the edge of the staircase and pretended they were entering for the first time. As they walked toward Prussia’s coffee table, Canada figured he should say something. He couldn’t think of a word to say, though. The awkwardness of practicing with Prussia was gone, but it was still hard for him to imagine his dear friend as a stand-in for anyone else. Sensing that Canada was struggling, Prussia started the conversation for him.
“So, Canada,” he said in a lilting falsetto. “What’s your favourite thing to do on the weekend?”
“Um... I guess I like... Wait.” Canada stopped in his tracks.
“Can you please talk in your normal voice?”
“Okayyyy,” Prussia said
How To Be Awesome, Chapter SevenDay Two of awesomeness training began bright and early. Canada had been awakened before dawn because Kuma-journalism was making a racket. The white bear had tried to make himself a snack in the wee hours of the morning, and had caused all the pots and pans to fall out of the cabinet and across the kitchen floor. Not only did Canada wake up much sooner than he’d wanted to, but the first task of the day for him was to tidy up. He didn’t bother to reprimand his pet, because he knew his words would go unheard. Besides, it was hard enough to remember the name of that Kuma... Kuma... Kuma-jazzy.
After a frustrating morning involving a shortage of toothpaste, a shower drain clogged with white fur, and an ill-placed leather bomber jacket with a “50” on the back, Canada stumbled out the front door. He was surprised to see that Prussia was outside his house, waiting for him.
“Prussia?” Canada asked. “How long wer
How To Be Awesome, Chapter SixSoon, the two were back in the relative security of the basement. Canada observed Prussia once more, although, by now, everything seemed to have gone back to normal. Before Canada could figure out if there was something he should say, Prussia took the lead.
“Time for more training,” he said. “Pretend I’m Taiwan.”
Prussia crossed to the far side of the basement and struck a pose. He shifted his weight onto one leg and rested his hand on his hip. Tossing his hair, he turned to face Canada. Canada clapped his hands over his face in embarrassment.
“Yoo-hoo!” Prussia called through pouty lips.
“Taiwan doesn’t act like that.”
Prussia dropped his pose.
“Well, what did you want me to do?”
“Just be normal.”
“Okay,” said Prussia. “I’ll try to take it down to normal levels of awesome.”
Canada smiled as he watched Prussia be awesome for
How To Be Awesome, Chapter FiveThe two nations rocketed up the stairs and soon found themselves in the kitchen. The lovely scent of coffee filled the air. It was accompanied by the happy sounds of friendly conversation and coffee bubbling as it brewed. With a shy smile, Canada nodded politely toward the three nations who were seated around the kitchen table. Austria returned the gesture, but as soon as he took note of Prussia’s presence, he scoffed and excused himself from the room. Once Austria was gone, Prussia folded his arms and smiled smugly.
“Is he okay?” asked Canada, gesturing toward the door through which Austria had just exited.
“Yes, he’s fine,” said a voice from behind the sports section of a newspaper. “He’s just being a baby.” Peeking up from behind the newspaper was a head of brown hair, decorated with a flower. The third nation at the table, Germany, gestured for Canada to take Austria’s old se
How To Be Awesome, Chapter FourGermany’s house was warm, inviting, and spotlessly clean. Prussia led Canada past several lovely-looking rooms and stopped in front of an unusually heavy door. Normally, such a door would be used for an external side door or an exit to a garage. It was strange to see a door like this inside a house.
“Here we are,” said Prussia. “My awesome home.”
With a sweeping gesture, Prussia pulled the door open, revealing a set of cement stairs that led down into blackness. He plodded down the steps, waggling his fingers at Canada to signal him to follow. Canada paused at the top of the stairs. He wondered if Prussia was serious. Soon, a light flickered on from somewhere downstairs, reminding Canada that Prussia was waiting for him. He hurried down the stairs and soon found himself in a large and dark expanse of space.
“Just give me a minute,” said Prussia. Prussia traipsed around the room, tuggin
How To Be Awesome, Chapter ThreePrussia charged down the street, high on enthusiasm and drunk on beer. It was a struggle for Canada to keep up with him. Every time Prussia staggered, Canada tried to anticipate where he was walking, and eventually he found it easier just to give up and lag behind.
“Oh, no,” said Prussia. “Never do that.”
Prussia stopped in his tracks, allowing Canada to catch up. As soon as Canada was at Prussia’s side, Prussia let himself lean on him a little.
“You’ve got to walk with confidence. Know where you’re going and march there like the sidewalk belongs to only you.”
“But, Prussia,” said Canada, squirming under Prussia’s weight. “I don’t know where you’re going.”
“Then just stand,” said Prussia. “But do it with confidence.”
They paused. Canada obliged, or at least, he tho
How To Be Awesome, Chapter TwoThe sun was burning overhead by the time Canada had run out of breath. He fell against the side of the nearest building. With his hands on his knees, he stared at the ground as he let the sweat pour down his face. Silently, he cursed his brother’s name once more. He forced himself to focus on how angry he was at America, if only to forget how humiliating it was when Taiwan looked at him like that.
“Pathetic,” he panted. “I’ll never be cool enough to beat America... to impress Taiwan... to even get noticed... or remembered... by anyone!”
Canada sniffed. A few teardrops joined the sweat that ran down his face. He let himself collapse against the side of the building and he stared up at the callous blue sky. After some indeterminate amount of time, Canada noticed the sign above the door. It would seem that the building he had fallen against was a bar, and now seemed like as good a time as any to have
Red Riding HoodI want to believe people so badly when they say they won’t bite
that I contemplate climbing into their smiling jaws
thinking that it might be better to be split in two than left hanging.
But always, I draw my red hood and flit back into the forest
running in the shadows of pathways, never stepping into clearings
because I’ve spent my whole life in the wilderness
and I still can’t tell the wolves from the woodsmen.
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