Heyy. Let me explain this story first. In English earlier this year, we read The Gift of the Magi by O'Henry. So we had an assignment to write a story with the same situational irony. I wrote this. Not my best, by any means, but it's a short story, nevertheless. I wrote it, like, a page or two longer than it was supposed to be, though. No point deductions, though. I got, like, a 98 or something. Wo0t.

The Gift of the Magi: Revisited

Peter LeRue glared out the window, then down at the list on his lap, then at his prized CD player on the floor. It had been an excessively long day, and had become even longer when he had looked at his calendar, which was marked "October 3rd: 1 Year Anniversary" in large blue letters. Today was October 2nd, and Peter had totally forgotten that tomorrow would be one year since he had started dating his present girlfriend, Artemis Levin. Now Peter had to buy Artemis a gift, the best gift she'd ever gotten. The first problem was finding the perfect gift for Artemis. The second problem was a major one; Peter was broke.

The boy glanced down nervously at his CD player. It had cost him a fortune to buy it; it was the most expensive thing he owned--a portable CD and MP3 player with a built in AM/FM radio. Peter took that thing everywhere he went, and listened to it when he should've been doing his homework. If Peter should ever have lost his CD player, his world would have come crashing down around him. It was a beauty, and the only things he cared about more than his CD player were his girlfriend and his mom.

He passionately gazed at his CD player, his eyes ligering on the play button. It was the most expensive thing he owned. And he was out of money. And he had to buy Artemis a gift before tomorrow. It was the most expensive thing he owned. Expensive. If he sold it, he'd probably get one hundred dollars, more or less, plenty of money. . . . But no, it was his favorite thing, and Peter didn't know what he'd do without it. He would just have to sell his CDs or some old books. . . . But they wouldn't be worth nearly as much as his prized portable CD player. . . .

The young LeRue boy glanced at the clock mounted on the music store's ugly white wall. 4:47 pm, his life was over. Peter handed his favorite, most expensive piece of equiptment, along with a recipt, lovingly over the counter to a man wearing a plastic yellow nametag saying, "Hello, My Name Is TED."

"Er, 'Ted,'" Peter began timidly, "how much will I get back? I mean, I paid a good hundred bucks or so when I bought it. And it is in mint condition."

The man over the counter examined the CD player carefully. Then he examined the headphones. Quickly, he rsponded, "Well, I'd reckon if it's still in mint condition, which is amazing, by the way, then we'll just give you all your money back, which would come to one-oh-two-fifty. And my name's not Ted. I'm Frederick. Ted's my brother. Get it straight." The man shook his head, clearly irritated, as he handed over Peter's money.

Peter took a deep breath and accepted the money. He couldn't believe he had done this, and all he was thinking about was how Artemis had better appreciate his gift.

Artemis jumped on her bed, higher and higher, thinking rapidly. She had to buy Peter the perfect anniversary gift, which was no problem. She already knew that she was going to buy him the "Bethlehem Musikfest 2004 Collection," on account of the fact that Peter had had an allergic reaction to peanuts the week of Musikfest and missed all the concerts except for one, which was the ├╝berfamous Wiggles concert (Which Peter didn't end up going to, and personally, I think that was a good choice.).

Miss Levin had known to get Peter this because he'd wanted to go to Musikfest and also because she knew he'd love anything that could be used on his prized CD player. He was addicted to music, and if he didn't have professional music, he'd be drumming on a table or humming the last song he'd listened to.

Artemis had a small dilemma, and that was money. She had enough to buy him a CD or two, but Artemis had been planning to buy him the whole 6-CD collection. She knew Peter would be happy enough with one CD or even none for that matter, but since it was their first anniversary, she wanted him to be on Cloud 9. Artemis stopped jumping for a second to think of how to get enough money. She'd already asked her parents for money, but they'd claimed that she got an allowance, that it was her choice how she spent it, and that she wasn't going to get any more money. She had thought about taking up a babysittng job or something, but that would take too long; she needed the cash now. She could sell something, but Artemis knew she had nothing of much value.

She jumped off the bed, knelt down, and bent over to pull her long black hair up into a bun. She could sell her little sister. Everyone loved her, and Artemis couldn't care less if she was gone. But her parents would. . . .

Artemis froze like a deer in the woods that had just heard a gunshot. She stared at what lay before her eyes, under her bed, in a large messy heap. A million thoughts raced through her head at once, and she knew what she had to do. She had to sell them. Every last one of them, she'd have to sell to some random thrift store, where they'd eventually, in turn, be sold to some other little boy or girl who needed some adventure, or to some teacher whose class needed something to look foreward to every day.

Artemis stood at the counter as she stroked the bag containing her books, the memories of her childhood and teen-hood captured in every glossy, rumpled page.

Artemis had decided that if she wanted to remain the single object of Pete's love (besides his CD player), she'd have to sell her beloved books. The girl was obsessive about her books. She had read each and every single one about three times and become attatched to them all. She had daydreams about the well-sculpted characters, dreamed of becoming a hero like Captain Underpants, wished she could be loved like Dinnie Doon was, and longed to become famous like Molly Moon. Artemis was attatched to these books, and they were as much a part of her life as her real live friends were. She was uneasy about parting with them, but she would be even more upset if she were without Peter.

As though she had no control over her own body, Artemis handed the bag full of books over the counter and automatically collected her money. A single fat, salty tear made its' way down her frowning face as she made her way out of the junk store, never to see her books again.

October third had arrived, and Peter felt somehow incomplete without his prized CD player, but he figured that as long as he could still have Artemis, he would be fine.

They had scheduled a picnic lunch in the park for twelve o'clock, and at noon, that's just where they were, sitting on a red and white checked picnic blanket, chomping on ham sandwiches, since Peter was allergic to peanut butter.

"I think it's about time I gave you your anniversary present," Peter announced to Artemis through a mouthful of potato chips. "Or do you want to grace me with a gift first?" he asked her, grinning into her beautiful dark eyes.

Artemis shook her head. "Oh, no, no, no! I have to give you your present first! Happy anniversary!" Artemis said as happily as she could, though there was a hint of sadness in her voice as she thought of her books. She handed him a large boxed parcel, which he took and opened with great care.

Peter stared down at the Musikfest CDs for a long, long time, speechless. He smiled slightly, but as he stroked the CDs, Artemis could tell something was wrong.

She shook her head. "I-I-I don't understand!" Artemis said, choking up. "I mean, I thought you wanted them! On account of how you missed Musikfest live. . . ." Peter looked up at Artemis. His large left blue eye was twitching slightly. He sat still, frowning at her. Artemis began to weep. "I sold all of my books, every last one of them, just to buy you these dumb CDs that you wanted so badly, and you don't even LIKE them?!" she yelled hysterically. (Many random passerbys stared at her as she began sobbing dramatically.)

The boy shook his head and scooted to sit next to her. He hugged her and then ran his large hand through his blond hair. "No, no, no. . . ." Peter paused for a second, then smiled and began laughing.

Artemis stopped sobbing and wiped her eyes. "Why are you laughing? You don't like my present, I can tell, and nothing's funny here, so why are you laughing? Of all the things i've seen, this is the wierdest!"

Peter shook his head and, still laughing, combed Artemis' long black hair out of her face. "No, no, honey. It's just that I sold my CD player to buy you your present. And you won't believe what I bought you!" He threw back his head and laughed.

The girl frowned. "You sold your CD player for me?" She shook her head. "Why? what did you buy me?"

"Open it." He handed her a large box. Arrtemis opened it slowly and gasped, then began chuckling with Peter.

"You sold you CD player, you favorite posession, to buy me a bookshelf for my books, my favorite books, and I sold them to buy you a collection of CDs to play on the CD player you sold. I think that's magnificent!" And they sat next to each other and laughed and laughed in a little park in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and ate their ham sandwiches and laughed.