Lunch was hopeless; he was nowhere to be found. My endless quest began to tire as Ponce de Leon became my traveling companion. My brother was missing, so I sat there alone and ate my lunch. I spent the majority of my lunch time searching for him so I only had a few minutes left to finish it. Eating alone sucks and I wondered how long it would take to make friends. Luckily I didn't have time to dwell on my solitude; the bell rang and I resumed my path to enlightenment once more.
Geometry made me uneasy. I was carrying a C average in the subject back in California; l wondered if I could do better at this school. I made my way through the halls and managed to find the room.
It looked like an ordinary classroom except that that this one was active and more boisterous than normal. Two geometric tools sat on the green chalkboard. A worn triangle and a compass, both made out of wood. Most of the seats had been taken, either by people, books, or notepads. Not knowing what to do, I stood by the teacher’s desk. I noticed an empty seat by the front of the class. I placed my notebook on the desk and went to the pencil sharpener along the wall.
Suddenly I felt a presence; there were two of us standing there. A boy with curly hair, brown eyes, and a friendly smile stood next to me. He looked mixed; I was sure he was only half Asian.
"Hi, I'm James. Are you new to this class? Are you a freshman?" he said.
"Yes, I'm new and I'm a freshman", I replied.
"Well, I don't think you should sit there. You should sit by me, there are upperclassmen in here", he said.
Perplexed; I didn't know what to think. I've been in classes with upperclassmen before, so this conversation seemed like another strange meeting. Feeling no signs of a threat, I collected my belongings and followed James to his desk towards the back of the class. I sat in front of him.
"Hey kid, are you a freshmen?" said a deep voice to my right.
"Yes.", I replied and turned to the voice. He was big Asian kid. Dark skin, black hair, brown eyes; taller than my brother and with a much wider frame. He wore a collared shirt, had brown coke bottles glasses, acne, and his hair seemed a tad greasy.
"My name is Renno. You should respect your upperclassman and listen to me", he said in an oppressive tone.
Another troubling introduction; is this school an insane asylum? Or am I stuck in the middle of a bad TV show. I let out a deep breath as to give myself some condolences.
Suddenly, Renno grinned. I realized he was joking and James started to laugh. Maybe these people were normal.
"Hi, I'm Mike", I told them as we started our introductions. I soon found out that we all had the same lunch period.
"Who is the teacher?" I asked.
"Ms. Pensikowski", said Renno.
"She is mean and strict, but I've actually learned something", added James.
Suddenly the class became quiet as she entered the room.
The teacher stood by her desk and looked at me and said, "You must be new. Come over here."
While talking with the teacher another student came into the room. He looked a bit wary and he seemed out of breath. He said was lost and that he was new to the class. Ms. Pensikowski told him to sit at my original destination. Afterwards class went on as expected.
Halfway through the class I noticed two boys exchanging what seemed to be a note. Then I heard it. It was a familiar sound, “Zip!”
“Now what could that be?” I thought.
"Zip", I heard it again. Some of kids next to me began to snicker.
"Zip" a third time, but this time it sounded too familiar.
I could see the originator of the note silently mouthing "You are an idiot, don't you know how to use it? Give it back to me."
Then it was tossed back and I saw it, a green lighter. What the heck where they doing with a lighter in the middle of class?
The teacher turned and looked suspiciously around but the gremlins were nowhere to be found.
With a single flick, the black haired boy found fire. He was a stout fellow and he was about the same height as me. However, his eyes were devious and his smile was filled with intent.
The co-conspirator, the bigger blond kid was still looking at the chalkboard. Slowly, the black haired boy leaned over from his adjacent chair and put the lighter under his pants.
A few moments later, the blond kid suddenly jumped, and both were smiling at each other. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was shocked and silent. Renno on the other hand began to snicker convulsively. He could barely control himself.
The teacher turned and saw them. She seemed a bit upset and said, "Joe get back into your seat, now! Richie stop goofing around. Geometry is not for clowns!"
Joe and Richie returned to their seats and class resumed. But the ceasefire didn’t last long. A few minutes later, I heard it again, "Zip.” I leaned down the aisle way and saw Richie's hand below the new kid's desk.
"Ouch!" screamed the new kid as he leapt out of his chair. The entire class was laughing and quite a few kids, uncontrollably. I only managed to control myself when I saw Mrs. Pensikowski’s red face.
She turned and looked angrily at the new kid," What are you doing! Sit down, now."
The new student feeling quiet embarrassed and probably completely unaware as to what just happened, stood in shock. With a few hand gestures, he tried to explain the pain, but no words came out. Feeling humiliated he sat down.
The class was still laughing until the teacher told us to quiet down. The remaining 10 minutes passed by quickly and without incident.
As I got up, I turned and said to Renno, "Who are those assholes?"
"Well, they are a pair of class clowns. Joe and Richie, I can't believe we are in the same grade. You'd best stay away from them, because they are trouble and they can kick your ass too", replied Renno.
Right, I said to myself. Stay away from them; it’s too easy to pick on a 90 pound freshmen.
As we left the room, I turned to James and said "Thanks."
He nodded, smiled, and said, "Hey, do you play D&D?" as we walked down the hall.
Little did I know at the time, that trouble came in black haired packages named Joe. I could have heeded Renno's warning back then, but fate would not allow it. If I did, I would probably have a lot less to write about. And by the way James, thanks for saving me from the frying pan.