Find more of my work at


Receive notifications when this site is updated:

Subscribe by e‑mail.

Subscribe by RSS.

List of categories

50/50 Exercise #36: Invisibility

I wouldn’t be in this mess if I knew all the rules of invisibility. Okay, that’s not strictly true. I’m here waiting for my dad to post bail because I pinched a video game from Radio Shack. I think with another lesson, I probably wouldn’t have gotten busted.

Let me back up.

I didn’t even know that there were rules of invisibility until last week, when I met Jerry. Jerry was the first guy I’ve known who can make himself invisible, like me. When I figured that out about him, he told me that if I kept his secret, he’d tell me about the rules.

“Rules?” I asked. “There are rules?”

“Yeah, man. You gotta follow the rules. There’s, like, at least 10 or 12 of them.” He kept his voice low, so I had to lean across the lunchroom table to hear him. “I figured them out on my own, but you don’t have to find out the hard way like I did. I’ll explain them to you. Just don’t rat me out.”

“Sure, okay.” So far, my invisibility still had a lot of holes. What could it hurt to learn from someone with more experience?

“First rule: Don’t walk in front of the TV. I don’t know what the, like, physics are or anything, but no matter how strong an invisibility you have going, walking in front of the TV while people are watching it will make you visible again.”

“Okay, right, I’ve noticed that too. What else?” I asked.

“Second rule: Stick to your routine. If your invisibility works good when you wear your Anthrax T-shirt and that eyebrow stud, then don’t ever take off the Anthrax shirt or the stud. Get it?”

“Oh, yeah, of course, so like, the invisibility is connected somehow to certain things?”

“I don’t know exactly how it works,” he said. “This is one I kinda figured out by doing some experiments. My sister thinks I’m, like, totally mental.”


“Rule number three: You’re more invisible around the ‘beautiful people.’ They can only see each other, and they make us more invisible when they’re around. Take Jordan, for example—if you stand near him, nobody can see you at all, even if your invisibility is kind of shaky at the moment.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen that effect. Stay close to pretty people. What else have you got?”

“Four: Some people can see right through invisibility. It doesn’t matter how well it works on your parents, your siblings, the really hot girls. Have you ever had Mrs. Foster for English? No? Well, don’t ever get into her class, because no matter how invisible you are, she’ll still call on you.”

I was about to ask Jerry what number five is. But right then, Ashley Martin came walking toward our table, stopped for a second to scan the cafeteria, saw somebody she knew, turned around, and moved on. When I turned my attention back to Jerry, he had disappeared.

Note: The topic is invisibility. This still needs a lot of work.

© 2008 Edward F. Gumnick

1 comment to 50/50 Exercise #36: Invisibility

  • Gayle, the cheerleader

    I like it though! An awkward teenager’s version of feeling invisible in their environment. Very clever! You always pull out the most interesting twists on the assignments. If I had gotten invisibility as a topic, I would have taken it literally and completely missed this subtle context. Good job!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting