Larry had a proclivity for underwear. It was all he ever wore and since he lived under the heated sun of Arizona, he was never cold. You would think people would go berserk over some strange kid walking around in his whity tidy’s all the time but nobody seemed to really care. For the most part, Larry thought that people didn’t even notice. And the even crazier thing about all of this is that when Larry sat down his underwear, well, they disappeared, just up and left his body, like they were never there, but, when he stood up again, they reappeared, as if nothing had ever happened. Because of this, Larry became comfortable with his body at a young age and since his life had always consisted of underwear, he didn’t think to question his circumstances. Nobody seemed to notice or take offense, and so Larry didn’t know to care either.And Larry was happy so, as I said, there was never any real problem. He liked colors. He found underwear in all the colors of the rainbow, any color you can think of, underwear that was striped or polka dotted or both, underwear with different sayings or patterns on them, everything from the crazy to the nasty, and Larry was happy. But, as Larry grew older, he was also becoming curious. His situation began to make less and less sense. Nobody seemed to ever make any comment of any sort about Larry’s appearance despite the insanity of his choices or the simple fact that he was wearing underwear. And as the saying goes, “Curiosity killed the cat…” 1The harsh buzz of the alarm sounded into his ears as the grogginess of not enough sleep and the effects of too much caffeine (or not enough) slowly dragged him into a wakeful state. The noise coming from the alarm clock was unbearable and he quickly threw the closest thing he could reach, a white Nike tennis shoe, at it as hard as he could and he crawled out of bed. It, as always, fell over backwards and shut off, leaving only a dull echo of the red glowing light shining throughout the room. Walking over to the dresser, he pulled out his favorite pair of underwear; a sea colored scrap of cloth with hints of a darker rain forest green. They were like any other pair of male underwear known as briefs, but the colors were outstanding and he considered them very comfortable; he pulled them over his legs with an ease and stumbled out of his room into the harsh light of the day. His mother, Mary Anne, was waiting in the kitchen. She poured a glass of Florida’s Best Orange juice for him as he ate his cereal. It was Chex this morning and what he ate most mornings. She watched him leave and before he left, gave him a noisy peck on the cheek. The kitchen smelled like overheated oranges. He walked to school. It was only a mile and despite the heat it felt good to be out in the open air instead of sticking to the vinyl seats of a sweating school bus. He loved living in Arizona. The dry air suited him. His family once took a trip to New York and he spent the whole time in the hotel room with a very intense migraine and numerous blankets wrapped around his shivering body.As Larry walked, he thought. He’d seen cars beep at pretty girls or woman wearing skimpy clothing as they made their way down the main avenue and he’d seen hecklers yell out to people wearing to much or too little and yet he had never gotten a shout out from anyone but his teenage friends at school who never mentioned his superb collection of underwear. He had a pair for each and every 365 days of the year and was proud of it. His thoughts drifted from the lack of attention his attire received to the many colors of underwear he owned to his wondering if he could match a pair of underwear to the desert sand and scrub around him. Last year’s prom, he had worn a tuxedo decorated pair and his family had the picture of him and his prom date on the mantel to prove it. It stood next to the portrait of his sister in 2nd grade and his older brother’s photo in his army uniform. Larry’s skin glowed oddly next to their professionally well done and well dressed photos, even though his was taken by the same professional company.His thoughts continued on this tangent as he walked but were interrupted when his friend, Jeremy zoomed by and then pulled to a shrieking stop in the middle of the busy road. “Hey, want a ride” he bellowed from the window of his 1989 Firebird convertible. His parents had money and Jer knew how to spend it. The car was souped up, fixed up, everything you can image, tinted windows, leather seats, and a base system you wouldn’t believe… Larry hopped in quickly before they got run over and he and Jeremy began discussing the latest Halo game on their way to Tombstone High School.First period was English, then gym. He’d always hated gym but done a decent job at it. He was no athlete but rather an average kid, blending in and getting middle scores. Science was his subject. He always felt sorry for the girls who would do anything to get out of gym and just couldn’t seem to keep up. It was here his mind wondered back to the whys of the life he lived. For some reason it had never bothered him before, but his mind kept going back to how different he was today. Everything he did was standing out to him and he knew he was different from the other students. It was time he found out why. Nobody else dressed like him, nobody went naked or showed so much skin. He was, for the first time it seemed, observing all the absolute layers of clothing people put their bodies in. He could not understand how they could stand all those clothes, didn’t they itch? Or get hot? Wasn’t it a pain when they had to go to the bathroom? The questions flooded his mind and his curiosity was engulfing him once again. Normally, he didn’t wear the school regulation gym uniform either. All the other students became a blur of dark green and a silver gray, not Larry; he was a balloon above the crowd. You could spot his pale freckled skin and naked torso anywhere in that gym class, no matter the crowd. Anyone else not in uniform wasn’t allowed to participate in gym class, but Larry was never reprimanded. He doubted if the gym teachers, Don Hooks and Wilhelmina Stewart, even recognized his existence, let alone knew his name. In most gym classes, Larry never even entered the locker rooms. And if he did it was to joke around with his friends. Today, Larry entered the locker room with a purpose in mind. Instead of chatting around and playing the class clown as he usually did, he borrowed somebody’s gym uniform. That’s right, he borrowed somebody’s gym uniform, and instead of just wearing his usual briefs, he grimaced and slid the much hated dark green and silver garments over his untouched skin. He hated everything about it, the feel of the thick polyester and cotton made him feel stifled, trapped, owned, and he couldn’t breathe. It took him a while of practicing short, sharp breathes to keep him from hyperventilating, and then, slowly his breathes returned to normal. The uniform felt itchy and foreign to his skin and Larry didn’t want to think about the last time it had been washed. As he was getting the uniform on, he was oblivious to the rest of his classmates. When he was finished dressing he looked around the classroom to see people’s reactions. He expected fanfare, big raucous applause, or, on a more practical level, jokes and weird looks. Nobody said anything as they filed out of the locker room. There was no visible reaction whatsoever. Larry shrugged and continued into the gymnasium. He walked up to Mr. Hooks who was standing over in the front of the gym with his yellow notepad and attempted to ask him about the upcoming track meet that Larry was participating in as a member of the track team. Mr. Hooks was in charge this period, he was a dark burly man with too much chest hair and not enough of an attention span. As Larry asked his question, Mr. Hooks ignored him. Larry repeated his question and received no response. “Maybe he’s in a bad mood” Larry thought, perplexed. Mr. Hooks was known for ignoring students when he felt like it. But, after they were done there warm up’s, the generic push up’s and sit up’s, stretches, and whatever else the gym teacher could think of, the man gave a speech. Larry couldn’t hear the speech. It was as if he was lip synching without the sound. Larry tapped his next door neighbor; a pimple faced brunette who always seemed to think she knew everything, to ask her what was going on. Nothing happened, she didn’t even flinch, and she was the jumpy type. “What the ****” he said aloud. Nobody turned, nobody reprimanded him, and nobody even looked at him. He walked out of the gym, confused. He walked through the shallow hallways, tapping the graffiti covered lockers as he went. When a particularly pretty blond and busty teenager he had never seen before passed him, he shouted “Hey, Sexy” and there was no acknowledgement. He was not normally the type to shout at random strangers, busty or not, but he wanted to see if there was a reaction. She didn’t even turn her head to look at him when he passed. He kept walking, thinking rapidly as his feet kept moving. Before he knew it, he was pacing the long hallways of the school. Back and forth, he’s feet traced the worn gray tiled floor beneath his feet. As uncomfortable as the itchy too starched uniforms were, he decided to keep it on, see what happened. He felt shitty, why would everyone ignore him? Larry wanted to calm down and let his perplexity play out. His next class… history; it started in a good half hour. Well, he’d skip the rest of gym and go hang out in the library for a while. While he wasn’t much of a bibliophile, he did enjoy the cool calm quietness of the library. It was the only place in school that was ever really empty and the librarian was always flexible. She never cared if you were supposed to be in class and there were rarely any students in there, expect for the last minute crammers, and a few stray students who were also skipping and too absorbed in there work or problems to take notice of anybody else. Larry walked to the library much calmer then before. He had to pass the gymnasium and leave the building in order to get to the library and he felt more aware then ever as he walked. The tag of the uniform shirt and shorts were continually itching him. He noticed the change in tile color as he entered the newer part of the school and he wondered where Jeremy was then. His English teacher, Mr. William Coley, was walking toward him in the hallway and as his footsteps approached, Larry though “Oh, ****, I’m going to get caught” and he looked for a place to duck out of the way but he couldn’t find one. Mr. Coley was known for his strict nature and wishy-washy personality, two qualities that did not bode well together. They were at a turn in the corridor and there were no classrooms that he could duck into. He was about ten feet from the door leading to the library. And he could just see Mr. Coley’s pink face emerging from the book he was reading as he walked when Larry decided to make a run for it. Larry ducked and hit the door, running right past a startled Mr. Coley. Larry hid with his body pressed up the side of the building waiting for the teacher to come rushing after him. The door never opened. Nobody came rushing after him. It didn’t make sense to Larry that Coley, as the students called him, hadn’t seen him. He was right in front of him and nobody could get that much into a book. The uniform was still bothering him though and he had had enough for one day. So, he took it off. Once again he was not to sure what to expect. He carried the uniform with him as he entered the library and an overwhelming and unsettling relief hit him when he heard the usual cheery greeting of the librarian. He borrowed a piece of paper and pen from her and sat down. The thoughts began rushing at him in a flood. The only thing that seemed to make sense in his mind was to think of all this as a science experience, objectively. Her titled his paper “The underwear project” and smiled to himself. In the scientific method you have an observation first. Well, he wasn’t quite sure what his observation was so he wrote what he made some notes of what he knew as a start. Then was the question, which was easy. Hypothesis is next and your hypothesis is always an educated guess so he made a list. 1) I am invisible with clothes on. 2) I am visible in briefs. 3) My underwear disappears when I sit down. The whole list already sounded ridiculous to him, but he figured it was a place to start. For the most part it was still a jumble of his thoughts. He thought for a minute and then modified number 1 to be: I am invisible with clothes on at school. Larry wasn’t sure how people would respond to him in clothes outside of school. Listing things or using the scientific method was a way to organize his thoughts. In the back of his mind he heard the bell ring, rolled his eyes, returned the pen, picked up the paper and the uniform, and headed off to History class. The rest of the scientific method he wasn’t certain of yet anyways. The prediction and the actual experiment were next and he had to think before he embarked upon experimentation. School continues as a blur and he had more trouble than usual concentrating. So far, Larry’s paper read like this: The Underwear ProjectObservation: I wear underwear everyday. Everyone else wears clothes. No reactions…? My underwear disappears when I sit down. I am comfortable in my underwear and comfortable with sitting. I am uncomfortable clothed. Nobody cares. Question: What the **** is going on here?