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Message Man

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tyler joseph is not so bad himself at all.

josh wakes up with a headache, and one earphone in his ear and another one around his neck, with music still playing. then he remembers, that he fell asleep late at night after tyler had left, whilst trying to edit that video. it's still a series of some random clips not connected together, and if josh doesn't hurry up and post it shortly, people will get impatient, what leads to them being annoying, even though they have probably already been ever since he moved to columbus.

the latest video on his channel is from over 3 weeks ago. in a few days it will be the whole month, and that is really unusual of him.

he would get nervous every time people told him they were waiting for new stuff, that it had been four days already, so then he would upload something - no matter what - quickly.

his schedule has always been messy and never regular, but at least a little more organised than now. he would post something every day, or every 2 days, or twice a week; whenever an idea occurred in his head, and that was happening quite often.

a head is full of ideas, when you spend one half of your day in big city buzzing with life, and the other half in your room scrolling through the internet. the ideas are not always really clever.

the video from 3 weeks ago wasn't so interesting; it was just the one he had planned to public anyway, the one, where he explained, obviously, what had made him move from nevada to ohio, how were things in his new place, and what were his thoughts about the situation in general. he didn't mention leaving youtube, but considering, that his account is clearly dead at the moment, people are probably assuming, that he's slowly deciding to finish this fragment of his lifetime, or at least appear some time, but it wouldn't be the same after all, and that he is being quiet about this to not cause any drama.

but he's not going to, he repeats it to himself again. it's actually, what his whole life depends on. he makes money from that; money, which he saves for his future, and which he sometimes gives to his parents to help them in need. it become his job, no matter, how funny it sounds, and no matter, how easy it looks, he's not independent at all.

it all started a few years ago, when he was 16 and got his first guitar for his birthday. it was, to be honest, a big surprise to him. sure, he had always wanted to have a guitar, even though he didn't know, how to play, but after his parents had bought him drums, he had never expected anything else from them. for a few months he was still thinking, that they didn't do that from pure generosity, but apparently they did.

he couldn't read sheet music and didn't know any chords, but learned to play one song watching tutorials, and that's when the odd idea of showing it to someone appeared in his head. not exactly to someone. to people. dozens of people. hundreds of people. dream big, kid.

he did a guitar cover of a song now even knowing, how to play guitar, and only knowing that song by heart. it didn't seem so difficult. he could learn to play another song afterwards. he didn't even think about showing himself drumming, because people were rather obsessed with boys with guitars. at least that's what he had been thinking.

after a few months he realized he had sucked, and till today he regrets picking a guitar to his first ever video instead of drums he had been already comfortable with for a few years.

he most probably didn't gain viewers by his astonishing talent or his amazing image, but because of constant pathetic begging people from the street to watch him. after a few months literally everyone from his neighbourhood and the area around it knew about his youtube, and no matter, if they weren't going to even check him out, they knew, that it existed, and how desperate josh was.

he was desperate to that point, that he asked his teachers one day, if he could visit every classroom and tell people, that he, a student from their school, was trying to be a musician, and if they could help him out a little.

it was pathetic and probably unfair, but he got, what he'd wanted, so he didn't mind it at all.

people didn't seem to mind either, when he had decided to add some new content other than music to his channel. it wasn't an easy nor quick process, but a successful one. and that's how it still goes.

most of people related with youtube have one embarrassing video, that caught most attention of people. josh is one of these people.

and even though he doesn't regret making that video, the idea was dumb and childish, and not the one he wanted people to know him from. still, he kept making similar videos after that one.

it was 24-hour overnight challenge in target he decided to do with a few of his friends, colin, rian, jack and spencer. they tried to stay the whole night in target store, when the doors would be already closed. if they'd got caught, they could get arrested, for real.

they entered the store at 11 p.m, which was closing at 12 a.m. so they had an hour to run away from security and hide. two of them got inside earlier to watch the security and employees, and then the rest of them went after them, but separately not to get anybody suspicious.

despite one employee wandering around, josh managed to hide on one shelf behind baby pram boxes. colin and spencer probably did too, but he didn't know; josh was the one filming. rian and jack, who had entered earlier, left the store and situated themselves in a car to observe things from the outside.

after the announcement, that store was being closed, two of the boys joined josh and they stayed completely silent behind the boxes, limiting themselves only to whispers. there were dozens of alarms and cameras on the ceiling.

they came out after one hour and did something that seemed like a trip around the shop. they were aware of cameras and sensors, so they tried to be careful, but only at a beginning. after a few hours they were kicking balls and riding bikes along the aisles. they were loud and dumb, but josh still was probably the one most responsible there.

somewhere after 8 a.m. when the store had been finally opened again, they got out from behind the boxes, but at the same time some employee lady casually saw them. for some reason she was totally fine with that. she was probably thinking they were some kids having fun in the store and hiding between boxes. they hadn't caused any damage, so they left target as normal people, totally not having their whole night spent inside. it was just a clear luck, nothing else.

it was dramatic, and people liked it. they wanted more. josh gave him more. and that's how it still goes.

or at least how it was going. josh still has to fix his updating schedule and finally post something as quick as it is possible.

unfortunately, yesterday, he and tyler were doing everything except for editing the video brendon had recorded for him.

that's when josh thinks again, that tyler joseph isn't really who he was expecting him to be.

the first time josh saw tyler was in one of his videos. he still knew nothing about him, however, his videos made him feel strange and maybe uneasy. it was late at night and he was exhausted. maybe he didn't actually know, what he was watching. he still doesn't know. tyler was really good, and that was obvious, but the whole atmosphere of his channel filled josh with uncomfortable feeling, from the other side than music. music was amazing, beyond josh's expectations. just the atmosphere.

probably because josh is not used to that side of youtube at all.

after seeing tyler's artsy videos studied to every smallest detail, josh imagined him as a perfectionist kid, self-confident and talkative, and as loud as in some of his songs, even though he is still extremely shy in his videos and doesn't talk much. josh was just confused.

after seeing tyler in school for the first time, all of josh's expectations turned out to be incorrect, but made josh confused even more. the kid was full of mysteries; he would pass the hallways quickly with his face turned down, then stare at you with the corner of his eye in the classroom.

he is still full of mysteries, but josh is glad he got to know some of them yesterday. he got to talk to him for the first time, and it wasn't so bad at all, considering, how timid the boy had been. he seemed like he'd got comfortable around josh, and that's probably the most important. josh is a simple person; he doesn't want to gain enemies; if there's a possible chance to reconcile, then why keep the useless tension still?

hanging out with tyler seemed a little bit like building a trust with a small kid or a new animal you brought into the house. it's insanely difficult, because you are not aware, that sometimes your good intention can turn out to affect on another person negatively, but when you finally achieve the goal, it makes you happier and prouder than ever.

josh liked talking with tyler. he's different, interesting, intelligent; at least that's, what josh could perceive during the first time they hung out like friends. despite the amount of nervous laughter and awkward stares, they managed to find their mutual language, and turn their conversation into talking about everything and nothing at once.

josh found it adorable, how passionate tyler got, while he was explaining to him, how he posts his videos, and how he didn't want to watch the non-edited footage from school, when josh played it over and over again, how he was afraid of touching anything in josh's room.

if they are good right now, that's good. they are both doing similar job, and even though they create completely different things, they can still be business colleagues and share advices with each other. right? right.

josh gets up from his bed, postponing the video to the next time again. his phone battery isn't full, far from it, as the music was playing the whole night. this day couldn't start off worse.

he finds a random shirt in his closet and puts on the same jeans he wore yesterday, not even looking at himself in the mirror, but shuffling to the kitchen, where his family can be heard already.

"josh..." his sister sighs from behind the kitchen table as josh makes his appearance in the room. they all seem ready to go and rule the world, and he is looking like he just returned from the war for survival.

he takes a sit nonchalantly on one of the chairs, and out of blue there's his cat, called midnight, crawling onto his thighs and looking at the table from his lap.

"you could finally change your hair", his mom speaks up, when he's dully staring at the window.

"why?"

"it's still so bright it hurts my eyes sometimes," she tells him.

he smirks. "i'm sorry, but that's exactly how i deal with people these days."

his mom only rolls her eyes and comes back to get herself ready to work, but then his sister interrupts, "seriously, how is it still so bright? it's not even clear yellow, but some weird yellow-green neon—"

"it's called professionalism, ash," josh hums. "better eat, or you'll be late."

ash doesn't back down. "pink was better."

"maybe."

"she's right," his mom yells from the living room.

"i'm not going to change it anyway," josh shrugs. he used to change the color of his hair a lot, that he would have different hair in every following video. he doesn't change it so often now, but still dyes it a lot to keep the color intensity.

"why?"

"because i just had pink, and i don't come back to any color again. i never had yellow before, so that's why i'm yellow now."

"there are still other colors, josh."

josh raises his eyebrows. he can't believe he woke up to argue with his sister about his hair. "seriously, what's so wrong with yellow?"

ash shakes her head and looks at the rest of her siblings, who don't even care about their presence and eat in silence. "nothing, it's just really unusual."

"and pink was magically usual?"

"yes, especially among girls. but it looked cool to see a guy with pink hair. you looked badass."

"thanks," josh smiles to her. "but i'm not going to change it anyway."

"we'll see."

josh snorts. "yeah. you'll see."

they keep eating and watching each other, but josh is scrolling through his phone and just waits until 7:30 to leave the house.

"what's so interesting there, that you're not even going to eat?" his mom breaks the silence and brings josh back to reality.

"hmm?"

"how are things?" she asks.

"things..." he looks at his mom questioningly.

"at school, on the internet, how are you feeling? you haven't mentioned much since we moved here."

"it's okay here, i guess?" he answers, but his hesitation isn't convincing to his mother.

"be honest with me at least for once," she says sternly.

"i'm always honest with you," he tells her, looking offended. "i'm serious! it was terrible at first, but it's beginning to be okay."

"was it terrible? why?" his mother asks. josh can't believe she's being serious. they literally risked to take his whole life away from him, but that's probably the reason to be happy now. he would handle it better, if they told him earlier about their decision, which was huge, but they thought it would be better to tell josh to come to their room and tell him, that they most probably were leaving their house permanently in over a week. or josh was just too blind to not see them planing moving out two thousand miles away from home. still, it's not his fault and he has the right to be annoyed at them.

"why? you told me about that out of nowhere. i had literally no time to rethink it. besides, that was where i grown up and where everything was. there are still many people, who were my friends and who were helping me. now i have to begin from nothing all over again, and it's not fair. it's just hard." he says it more to himself than to his mother, looking down at the cat on his lap.

"i'm sorry, it was hard for kids, too, for everyone of us, but we had to. otherwise we would go bankrupt," his mother says, guilty.

"i'm glad you actually didn't." he rolls his eyes. he knows he will regret his words later, because that was not his parents' fault, too, but he doesn't care at the moment. maybe he's just selfish again. his mother knows he won't let her win. she stands up from the table and heads to the living room. "why would you bring this back? i'm okay now."

"josh, that's great," she says from behind the wall. "we are really sorry for all of this. i hope you will understand it some time. not everything in life goes according to plan."

"i know," he hums.

"i'm really sorry, josh." she looks at him again, making her appearance in kitchen again.

josh rolls his eyes and laughs. "mom, it's okay!"

"okay, i'm leaving now. me and dad won't be back probably until late evening. don't burn the house down, all of you," she calls from the hallway.

"we're not 5-year-olds. now leave, you'll be late," josh smiles at her.

"oh, josh, i almost forgot," she begins again. "there's a package for you here. i received it yesterday, because you were too busy with your friend to come downstairs."

josh stands up, grabbing midnight with his hand. "oh, really-"

"yeah." she turns to josh. "you really should introduce me to your friends sometimes."

he closes his eyes and sighs. "mom."

she only nods her head and looks at her son. she will be extremely late to work if she keeps doing that.

"why would you want to know my friends? to embarrass me in front of them?"

"i knew all of your friends in vegas," she tells him.

"don't talk about vegas!" josh interrupts. he's had enough of this topic for today. "don't talk about vegas. and of course you knew. why wouldn't you? you're so stubborn."

"sure. listen, it's just nice to talk with some teenagers other than my kids, who never shut their face for a minute of a day."

"talk with teenagers? i need to make them talk with me, first." josh immediately thinks about tyler, who hardly even spoke to josh, and now he would talk freely with his mom? very interesting.

she looks at him sternly. she's very stubborn. "you could just introduce your friend to me, and not sneak out of the house thinking, that i didn't see anything. something like see, mom, you came late, but this is my friend—" she pauses. "what's his name?"

"see? that's why i don't invite my friends over here anymore." his mom raises his eyebrow. he rubs his face dramatically, putting the cat on his shoulder. "it's tyler. will you leave me alone now?"

"you should introduce him to me in person—"

josh gives up and raises his arms. "i will! okay! now go to work, you'll be late, and i don't want you to almost go bankrupt again."

"it's not the topic to joke about, joshua."

"yeah, it isn't. okay, mom. leave, bye." he opens the door for his mother and holds it until she leaves the house, closing it behind her. he sighs loudly, coming back to where his siblings sit and letting the cat fall on her paws onto the floor.