August 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm #657379
Mjorgonlar the Bringer of Lamentations was an exchange student in our senior year.
Our school had hosted others, such as Minna from Finland and Nigel from Manchester, but Mjorgonlar was different. He brought a lot of swagger with him, laughing about castles he had raided and royal families he had slaughtered. The thing was, we didn’t know any of those people, so we assumed he took it as a sign of our fearlessness.
“You do not know the saga about the pillaging of Radiskell?” he’d ask.
“Surely, you must have knowledge regarding the plundering of House Sigsmundottir?”
“Um, not really. Sorry.”
Mjorgonlar may have resembled a Frazetta painting who put the Colonist mascot of our school to shame, but he was fun to hang out with. The English club once had an open mic night and Mjorgonlar did a bit about setting a monastery on fire. During a talent show, he demonstrated his proficiency with a war hammer. And at a pool party, he cooked three goats and drank an entire keg by himself.
He played on our football team and we went to State that year. An undefeated season. We usually routed our opponents. Literally. Mjorgonlar would work himself into a warp spasm and games almost always ended with blood eagles and Mjorgonlar carrying off the opposing teams’ cheerleaders for a night of defilement.
Academically speaking, Mjorgonlar fared well. His philosophy of dividing and conquering got him through math classes. He would laugh uproariously during health and sex-ed, bellowing that life should be lived in the manner of the gods, fearlessly and expectant of death at any moment. Driver’s Ed sometimes posed a challenge. “Turn signals, brakes…,” he’d say, “a fine war horse need not these things to crush enemies and conquer distant lands.”
When it came time to announce the King and Queen of Prom, there was no question as to who the King would be. When his name was called, Mjorgonlar let out an ear-shattering scream of victory and took his place on stage, seated on a throne that we adorned with papier-mache skulls. Even though there was no jurisdictional authority, we still played it up for him, yelling “All hail Mjorgonlar, the Harbinger of Woe!”
As the school year began approaching the month of June, Mjorgonlar became a little more subdued, perhaps even introspective. “I will miss the days spent with all of you,” he said in-between sighs, “because the oceans of my destiny are calling, and my return depends on the will of Odin.” Then he put a couple of unsuspecting classmates into headlocks until they passed out.
On grad night, we all went to Disneyland. Mjorgonlar enjoyed the Jungle Cruise and the Matterhorn but hated Small World. During the submarine ride, several of us caught him a little misty-eyed when he saw the killer whale fighting the squid. It probably reminded him of something he’d seen before, long ago and far away.
Most of the class went to the beach to see him off. As the evening sun descended to meet the horizon, Mjorgonlar unfurled his sails and set to the sea, waving to us and us to him. Those who were not crying rallied to give him one last war scream, like the ones we did during our football season. He responded in kind, and then his ship became indistinguishable from the distant waves.
We recently held our 35th class reunion at the high school. Mjorgonlar’s name came up and we all remembered him with fondness. Someone said there was a picture of him in the glass case near the office and several of us walked past our old classrooms, through the now quiet halls of our youth, to see it.
Time and sunlight may have faded the colors, but you can still see that picture today: a framed 8 x 10 of us in our football uniforms, all sweaty and smiling, taken during that winning season. And there, right in the center, is Mjorgonlar, holding aloft two bloodied heads in silent victory.
It was a good year.
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