Undeclared
Addicts

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Addicts

Ron bursts into the hallway, running down to his room with limbs flailing in a fluid motion that oddly resembles some kind of upset amoeba. "They're giving away money! Money! They're giving it away!" he chokes, unable to get the words out fast enough. Steve jumps up. Shaggy charges out of his room, half-done pulling his shirt on. "I want money," he says, interested. Heath gasps, "They're giving away free money?" Ron blazes back out with his posse in tow, still trying to spread the financial gospel. Rachel and Lizzie aren't really sure what it all means, but they follow anyway because if it can get Ron running, it must be huge.

Rounding a corner, Steve sprints gamely behind Ron, whose arms are still flapping. Shaggy's face is pointed skyward and his legs are pumping furiously. This may be the first time he's ever run. Suddenly, they screech to a halt. "This is going to change our lives," pants Ron. "It's...beautiful." Sure enough, standing before them is enough to make cash-strapped students and rectangle fetishists swoon with lust: a gigantic Guaranteed Freedom Access Card, flagging a booth giving plastic pieces of heaven to anyone with a pen, a real-sounding address, and a yen for a free t-shirt. "The real cards aren't that big," clarifies Ron, "but they're good, too."

Back in the dorm with Heath, Ron announces that he's going to employ the card for enormous financial gains. Heath prefers to stare at himself in the mirror, make popping noises, and manipulate his mouth into bizarre positions. This not only assists with the aspiring actor's diction, but helps him cope with the tense, tricky times in which a girl's tongue appears in his mouth. Ron invites him into the plan. "No, Ron, I don't want in," Heath states levelly. "Haven't you noticed I'm a thespian? I have no need for money. I live by my craft." Except Heath blunts the "p" in "thespian," so that it sounds like he's proclaiming himself a "thesbian," like he's some sort of Ellen DeGeneres actor-lesbian. They do have the same hair, I've noticed. Ron interrupts my musing to point out that online investing is as much a craft as acting is. "Online investing is for desperate fools," Heath insists. Whatever, Union Jack. As if the Queen isn't an E-Trade junkie. "Right," Ron allows. "Except for me, though." He shows Heath his monitor -- Ron is tracking Anatomical Industries' stock, ticker symbol ANAID. The company recreates human stomachs in petri dishes. "That's just wrong," Heath shakes his head. "People shouldn't do things like that." Ron is indignant. He is affronted. He is staunchly pro-stomach. "That's not wrong!" he sputters. "Every old guy with an ulcer is going to want one of those dish guts. My dish guts." He says this with the kind of fatherly pride a stomach has never before been given. I picture him raising a young stomach from his dorm room, feeding it milk and cookies and chicken soup and petting it every night while reading it soothing bedtime stories, like Even Daddy Pukes Sometimes and Timmy Tummy and the Terrifying Tapeworm. And, "dish guts" is just pretty fantastic. Heath shakes his head at Ron's excitement about getting rich "from the ailments of old men." Ron's grin brims with glee. "I hope you enjoy your little shallow, soulless existence in front of your computer," Heath patronizes. Ron nods his head and blathers, "I just made $150 right there while you were saying...something...I don't even care what, 'cause I made $150."

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Undeclared

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