Prologue


Max and Ruby's Awesomesauce List of Things to Do before We Kick the Bucket:

1. have sex

2. smoke

3. try pot

4. play the ultimate prank

5. experience the vomit comet

6. go bungee jumping

7. Save a life

8. Make a movie

9. Ride an elephant

10. Be nicer


Ruby was not – was not! – responsible for thefirst six 'to dos'.

Max and his weird-ass alpha male brain wirings could be thanked for that; Ruby liked to think she actually had a bit of substance to her. Good, good, as long as her pride was still intact. Max wouldn't mind if it was at his expense – he was a pretty easy going guy.

It was a sweltering summer's day when Max and Ruby began the List. Ruby was fourteen, and Max was thirteen. Everyone else their age was either playing video games or watching TV, but in creating the List, they had begun to pave their path to enlightenment, or so Max's copy of the National Geographic insisted. Of course, the magazine's suggestions ran along the lines of 'go on the trek of a lifetime and visit Lhasa's Potala, a beautiful thirteen-storey fortress' as opposed to, say, 'try pot', but this was no mere stuffy list; it was awesomesauce and awesomesauce it was.

Then they heard the delicate patter of Mrs Pullan's heels on the front porch, and smarming up to Max's mother under the lure of the Neapolitan ice-cream they spied amidst her shopping bags, they promptly forgot about the List.

This incident resurfaced in their minds when they watched The Bucket List five years later, after their final exams.

The movie was awe-inspiring.

Even Max, despite his compulsion of commentating through movies (which he did purely to spite her, Ruby suspected), was silent throughout it, absolutely entranced. And without exchanging a single word, this much they knew: the List had been resurrected.

Buried under several years' worth of assignments and candy wrappers, they took their sweet time in unearthing it. Once the yellowed paper was in sight, Max, ever the closet eccentric, cried "Halt!" and returned with a pair of tweezers. A strange thrill came over Ruby as she unfolded the paper and her fingers trembled, struggling to keep a hold of the stupid tweezers. Max smirked, but there was no denying that his eyes were brighter than usual.

"Awesomesauce," he murmured, tracing the word with the tip of his index finger. "We've changed a lot since then, huh?" His tone was surprisingly wistful.

They certainly had. Like the little deviants they were, they'd already experimented with smoking, drinking, sex (though never with each other – even they had their limits)… you name it. And the memory of their first encounter with pot never failed to amuse. How cool they thought they were, huddled under the chimney in Max's room so that his parents wouldn't chance upon the giveaway scent. High on adrenaline and high on the pot itself, they'd sat in the cramped flue, succumbing to the occasional fit of laughter and revelling in their small rebellion. Ironically, it was the noise that gave them away in the end. The 'getting caught' part hadn't been so fun, but what a glorious, glorious youth they had.

Ruby stopped herself mid-thought. Glorious youth? For god's sake, she still had her entire life ahead of her.

"Three out of ten," she hummed. "Not bad."

"What are you talking about? We've done number four too, remember?"

Well, this was news to Ruby. "Uh?"

"The paint juice," he prompted. "Marcus Dorkus? Year seven?"

Oh, that. Apparently, the boy had severely selective memory. "Max m'dear, trying to convince someone to drink paint-tinged 'orange juice' is not my idea of 'ultimate', especially if it doesn't actually work. You were still holding the paintbrush in plain view. An orange brush."

"Huh."

"Huh," she echoed.

"Well, we've got three months until university starts to perfect a prank, so what say you?" Max sniggered. "Let's get back at Mr Duncan now that he can't threaten us with death, or worse, expulsion!"

Three months came and went, but the novelty of the List never quite simmered down. If anything, it became an intrinsic part of their lives – their secret 'thing' which kept them together, even while everyone else split ways for universities and lost their high school friendships.

Sometimes, Ruby wasn't sure if that was a good thing.


Disclaimer: I do not own anything that looks familiar.


Author's note: Hey hey chickadees, thanks for reading! As always, all feedback (positive or negative) is very much appreciated, and please let me know if there are any typos and errors!

Rated T for language and sexual references.

© Copyright 31/07/2009 Sylviana (FictionPress ID: 622101). All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of Sylviana.