Stupid Fast - By Geoff Herbach


This could be a dark tale!

It’s not.

I don’t think so.


I can’t sleep. It’s 1:03 a.m. Almost September. The weather is warm, even though it’s football season. There’s this huge moon in the sky, but I can’t see it from the basement, where my bedroom is. I saw it plenty.


Dark tale? My dad did commit suicide.

Not so dark? I’m me. I hop up and down.

Where to start?

Not in the ’70s, when Jerri was a little girl. Not ten years ago, when I was five and found Dad dead in the garage. How about last November?

I should really be exhausted. But I’m not.

I, Felton Reinstein, stand on my bed because I can’t sleep.



I am not stupid funny. I am stupid fast.

My last name is Reinstein, which is not a fast name. But last November, while I was a sophomore, my voice finally dropped, and I grew all this hair on my legs (and other places) and then I got stupid fast. I’m serious.

Before my voice dropped in the fall, when my class was outside for gym, I played flag football and felt like trying for some reason. I was pretty good because even though I hadn’t yet fully gone through puberty like all the chuckleheads in my grade, and never tried before and wasn’t even interested in the slightest, I’ve always been good at sports (a fact I hid by not trying) but not ridiculously good.

Then Thanksgiving came, and I couldn’t stop eating and I couldn’t wake up before like noon, which drove Jerri nuts, and I grew taller and got all this crazy hair.

The hair was like corn coming up in June. You look one day and there are sprouts in the dirt, but mostly, you see dirt, and then like a week later, those sprouts aren’t sprouts but corn and are already knee-high and you can’t see the dirt at all.

I ate too much at Thanksgiving, about a thousand pounds, and I couldn’t wake up in the morning, and I sprouted hair. A week later, I had a thousand pounds of hair everywhere.

Then because my voice dropped, I got moved to baritone for the Christmas concert, which was bad news because I didn’t know the parts at all, so I sang the tenor parts except an octave below, which you could totally hear.

And it went on. I kept sleeping and eating, and Jerri yelled at me to get out of bed, and I yelled at Andrew to stop playing the piano so I could sleep. So Jerri yelled at me for yelling at Andrew and I’d get pissed and get out of bed and go to the refrigerator and stuff bread in my mouth because I was so hungry. Then Jerri would yell at me for eating too fast, and Andrew would shout “Felton’s a pig!” and on and on all winter—my pants getting too short and my shirts looking shrunken, not covering my belly button, which is gross (Jess Withrow and Abby Sauter told me it was gross), and Jerri and Andrew shouting at me and me shouting back.

Jerri never yelled before November.

And then in the spring, my gym class had to go outside to run the 600 yard dash for some physical fitness test thing (apparently the last one we ever have to do), and I was just mad, all wound up from all the yelling and my clothes not fitting right, and when Coach Knautz, the gym teacher, yelled go, I took off. I ran like an angry donkey, a very fast one, even though I didn’t care about winning. I just needed a release. I sprinted all 600 yards. And I beat everybody, even the other fast kids, by about 150 yards. People were screaming, “Look at Rein Stone go!” Peter Yang, my second best friend, whispered, “What happened to you?”

“Hee-haw!” I shouted and pumped my fist.

Peter Yang rolled his eyeballs and walked away.


Jerri—who happens to be my mom but also a big hippy who doesn’t like hierarchy, so she’s always had me and Andrew call her by her first name—was all puffy and weird during dinner that night. She was a crossing guard at the middle school at the time. The middle school is right next to the high school but lets out a little earlier so the high school kids don’t scare and beat the pee out of the middle school kids. She was out there on the corner when I ran the 600. She saw it. I