Name: Benjamin James "Ben/Squirrel" Lichter
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Kite flying, romance novels, tabletop games, climbing (trees, rocks, fences), hiking, pop music
Appearance: Benjamin is a 5'5'' boy of slight build and narrow shoulders. His skin is cream-colored, with the parts of his arms and legs that stretch out from beneath his t-shirt and shorts a slight tan. His hair is chestnut brown and always has a somewhat ragged appearance, due to it being rather thin and less than cared for on a daily basis. A monthly visit to the hairdressers keeps it short, no part of it ever falling further than an inch below his ears. His face is pinched and lacks both a chin and cheekbones, with a round yet narrow jaw. His appearance resembles that of a fourteen year old more than a seventeen year old, with the small amount of perpetual black fuzz on his upper lip serving to affirm his youth more than his being near adulthood. He has a small but pointed nose.
His eyes are mud brown. He dresses himself for comfort, with his usual outfit being shin length cargo shorts and a t-shirt, adding a dark blue hoodie when the weather turns colder. His shoes are usually one of two pairs of sneakers, one black and white and the other red, but when going on trips, hikes or a kite flying session he instead pulls on a pair of old and worn hiking boots.
On the day he was captured he was wearing a faded green t-shirt, his cargo shorts and his boots.
Biography: Benjamin was born to parents Melissa and James Lichter in Coolidge, a town just outside Phoenix, Arizona, and spent the first eight years of his life living relatively peacefully. His father was a car mechanic and his mother a clerk at a local convenience store. They had met in 1993 while his mother was on a road trip with two friends that passed through Phoenix. After checking in at a motel they drove into the city to find a bar, where they had met James and a couple of his friends. They were both twenty two and struck up a conversation on the basis that they were the only people in the bar who weren't getting drunk. This was because Melissa was the designated driver of her group and James was a seventh day Adventist. At the end of the evening they exchanged numbers and parted ways. This was the start of a relationship that culminated in her marrying him two years later and them moving into a house in Coolidge. Benjamin was born two years later on 22nd May, 1997.
Though his mother wasn't church-going, his father, James, insisted on taking him to church every Saturday from the age of three, which, as well as talks he had with him, instilled a belief in God in Benjamin. He also had a few religious morals imprinted on him this way, of which generousness, modesty and a distaste for homosexuality in particular lasted. Though James raising Benjamin as a seventh day Adventist was a matter of contention at first, Melissa relented after she noticed Benjamin displaying the first two morals and giving credit to the pastor of the church's lectures when asked. The fact James never tried to convert her and resisted pressure from the pastor to do so also made her more lenient.
At age six Benjamin's sister Minnie was born, who had asthma and an extreme dust allergy, which forced his mother to take more time off work than expected and led to her getting fired. The reduced income put a strain on the family, with Melissa having trouble finding work that would allow her enough time off to care for Minnie adequately. After two years and reduced affection between Melissa and James, James had a two week affair with a teacher at Benjamin's school. While initially angry at James, Melissa realised that their love had disappeared and they mutually decided on a divorce. Melissa and her children then moved in with her father, Horace, who lived in a spacious three bedroom apartment in Kingman. The apartment was spacious due to his wife, Melissas mother, dying of lung cancer ten years previously and him not wanting to move out.
James, meanwhile, stayed in Coolidge and visited his children every second week. A year after the divorce, however, he was involved in a crash on his way to visit his children. He died two hours later of internal bleeding. This left Benjamin without a father figure, so he turned towards his grandfather for support while his mother grieved for the man who was not her husband but who she still considered a good friend. In order to bond with Benjamin and take his mind off the tragedy his grandfather introduced him to his hobby of kite flying, which Benjamin immediately took to. The peace of watching it soar gave him a reason to like it, but the fact he had some talent for maneuvering the kite through the air- the first time he really had that for something - settled the deal. Horace and Benjamin went kite flying in Sumac Park or outside of town once a week for the next several years, though Horace had to stop when his back started to fail him and he was forced to walk with a cane.
Benjamin didn't stand out in elementary school and got passable grades, though he had a certain mischievous look that made teachers keep an eye on him. His grades dropped dramatically in grade 9 following the death of his father, though he managed to pass anyway thanks to the intervention of his grandfather. He made a few friends while in elementary, though he lost contact with most after starting at a local middle school. He never went to church again following his move to Kingman, since his mother was willing to let James take him, but not to do so herself. Both in elementary and middle school Benjamin became known for clambering up trees and other vertical objects, which, along with his face, earned him the semi-affectionate moniker "Squirrel". He didn't do this to impress his friends, but because it was fun, and did it even when they were not around. He reduced this habit after starting at Cochise, however, and the nickname was only remembered by some of the friends he kept from middle school. Benjamin had discovered he liked to hike in middle school as well, after a field trip had gone wrong and the entire group had to walk for three hours back to the bus. While most of the other children slumped, dragged their feet and complained, Benjamin had noticed he loved taking in the nature and views around him, waiting to see what was over the next hill and simply threading along methodically without responsibility, though he couldn't put that into words at that age. He begged his mother to allow him to go hiking outside of town, but she wouldn't let him go alone at his age and didn't have time to go with him that often. Going hiking with his mother became a rare treat.
After moving to Kingman, Melissa did odd jobs before landing a job at a convenience store in the town with an owner who was sympathetic to her plight. She still worked there at the time of writing. Minnie grew up not knowing her father, him having died when she was three, but with lots of love from her mother, brother and grandfather making up for that. Benjamin developed a bond with his sister that was stronger than that of most siblings - her being sickly made him very protective and her not having a father made her look up to him instead. This did, however, make it more difficult for Benjamin to make friends, due to him spending a lot of time with her. He would accompany her to the jungle gym in Sumac park and watch her while there, read her Dr. Seuss, go and get ice cream with her, play dolls with her and a host of other things. His mother was glad that he looked after his sister as much as he did, since this gave her the ability to put more hours into work and earn more money for all of them. At school Benjamin was mocked for hanging around with his little sister so much, and while this made him unhappy, he never resented her for it. It did make him resentful of the people mocking him, however, and this made him prone to be flippant with people who didn't take him or his actions seriously, which carried over to later in his life as well.
One refuge he had, besides kite flying, was music. The radio had always been on in the Lichter's household, and Benjamin liked to listen to whatever was popular at the time because of that. This was the only real strife between him and his grandfather, who preferred the radio off and hadn't even owned one himself before his daughter and her children moved in with him. The conflict was resolved when his grandfather got him an Mp3 Player for his eleventh birthday as well as the album of the top 50 hits of the year. He also promised to by him the new album every year, as long as the radio stayed off when he was home. Benjamin agreed. Other electronic devices he was exposed to were his mobile phones, a cheap flip phone from 2008 first at age twelve, a hand-me-down from his mother, and a Nokia Lumia at age fourteen, neither of which he could use for games, and his mother's laptop, which he was only allowed on for school projects. His mother didn't like the idea of him playing video games or using the internet for fun and took steps to make sure that didn't happen.
While his patience was great while babysitting his sister, it wasn't in regards to other areas of his life. He started a few projects, amongst them building a large kite, but gave up on them all rather quickly. He worked when he needed to, such as for school or when his mother insisted, but didn't carry through when he had to motivate himself and would go and listen to his music instead. This attitude made him continue not standing out in middle school either, with him getting a GPA of 2.73. He had an equal disinterest in in most subjects, though his favorite and best by a small degree was geography whenever climate was the topic, since his kite flying made him somewhat interested in why the winds blew as they did. This was averaged out after the field trip where he had discovered hiking, however, as topographical maps distracted him from the lesson by making him imagine himself wherever they showed.
At age thirteen, Benjamin discovered romance novels. One sweltering and windless summer afternoon, when his mother was at the doctor's with his sister for a check up and his grandfather was at city hall for jury duty, Benjamin was poking around in some cardboard boxes in his mother's bedroom looking for batteries for the TV remote. What he found instead was his mother's small collection of romance novels from her high school years. Not finding the batteries and not willing to depart from the air conditioned apartment, he flicked one open at a whim, the "Scent of the Sea". To his surprise he was soon engrossed. He saw the prose was generally flowery, hyperbolic and uninspired, but despite that was intrigued by the idea of a story set around a romance with a happy ending being certain. His own romantic feelings towards girls he had met hadn't become concrete yet, with him becoming smitten with a girl and forgetting her the next day, and he was confused and frightened by them. The book both comforted him and invigorated his imagination.
He didn't even stop reading when he encountered the first part of the story that was about sex. His morals, as influenced by his Christian father, made him blush profusely, but he continued with bated breath. He had thought about sex before and felt bad when doing so, but couldn't stop himself, as most hormonal teenagers can't. He was halfway through the book when his mother returned with his sister. Minnie, only aged seven, didn't take notice, but his mother did. He was told off for rummaging through her stuff, but she was sympathetic to the fact he had become a teenager and started to teach him about sex. She also asked her father to instruct him on the changes she thought he'd be going through soon, which he did with some reluctance. She also let him keep reading the novels, though it was months before his curiosity for the books overcame his embarrassment at being caught.
His love of romance novels was something he didn't share with even his closest friends, but it still had a profound effect on his social life: At age fifteen he was invited to join a game of Dungeons and Dragons at Larson's and surprised his fellow gamers by getting the Dungeon Master to agree to his bard wooing and marrying a random shepherdess by role-playing it skillfully and tastefully. This experience gave an outlet for his romantic fantasies, as inspired by the novels, and made him good friends with the people in that game. This sudden influx of friends, when previously there were only two people he had really considered such (one of whom had invited him), was an eye-opener to him. This, combined with the fact Minnie was hanging out with her own friends more and more instead of Benjamin, gave him an impetus to be more active in making friendships and soon was part of a larger group. During the next years Benjamin would often be found in Sumac Park flying a sky blue box kite he had gotten for his sixteenth birthday, while his new friends picnicked nearby.
Benjamin stood out more in high school, but not to a significant degree. He briefly tried joining the Bible study in school and the writing club, but he found the former boring and the members of the latter intimidating. Not knowing for sure which subjects to take for how long he imitated his peers and chose all the core academic classes for all four years. He decided against taking a language class. His subjects started to vary from being average, with him becoming better at some and worse at others: English stayed average and he got a mean GPA score of 3.67 in history, a mean of 3.45 in physical education and a 3.37 in health class, but got a mean GPA of 2.24 in math and 2.11 in science. The overview course in freshman year had been average, but the significantly lower scores in biology, chemistry and physics pulled his GPA down. The electives he chose for freshman year and beyond were shop and cooking, since he thought they would be most useful in later life, but he swapped cooking for art in junior year after a particularly trying semester and was satisfied with the change.
At age seventeen, Benjamin still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He had two successful social circles, but neither gave him an idea which career might interest him. He had tried writing his own romance novel, since his role-playing was so successful, but he found it trite and lackluster and quickly gave up, as happened with his other projects. He couldn't see how kite flying or hiking could ever be anything other than a hobby. He looked into being a car mechanic like his father, but it didn't appeal to him as much as he had hoped. At the behest of his mother he applied for a couple of positions anyway to find something to do after school.
Advantages: Benjamin has past experience climbing trees and other things, though this has declined due to him not doing it regularly any more. He has learned to comfort people and be somewhat of a father figure, though his slight build and mischievous look does not give others the impression of a leader. His love for his family gives him a strong motivation to survive. He likes to hike, but has only ever done so for a few hours at a time and has no outdoor survival skills. He has some very limited experience in sewing, due to the kite making project he abandoned.
Disadvantages: His slight build gives him a disadvantage in a fight and his look of mischievousness can make people less likely to trust him at first glance. His connection with his family is a weakness as well, as it'll make him distraught the longer he is separated from them and more and more likely to betray others to see them again. He won't be good at hiding this and this will make him even more untrustworthy to his peers. The peers he himself distrusts or dislikes won't be treated with diplomacy, since he never especially tried to fit in or learned to be dishonest about his feelings. If there is a project that needs to be worked on its urgency needs to be clear to him, or he'll find it difficult not to get bored.
Designated Number: Male student No. 046
Designated Weapon: Etch-A-Sketch
Conclusion: The only way this kids making it far is if he finds a good tree to hide in. With such a lacking skillset and an even worse weapon draw, hell make for easy prey. - Trent Camden
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B046 - Lichter, Benjamin "Ben/Squirrel"[/DECEASED]
- Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm
Hey look I have a relationship thread
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Hey look I have a relationship thread
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