Monday came and I was ready for school. It was a restless weekend since the gang was a bit too active. Johnny's insane treasure hunt ran us wild on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon was all baseball; no wonder I felt so tired. I began to wonder how everyone else was holding up.
The monotony of classes seemed like the only place where I could find time to relax. At least I knew I wouldn't be spending the time running amuck and driving to who knows where in Okinawa. That felt reassuring. School was easy for me, as minimum effort usually turned into an A. Paying attention during class, well that's another story. My mind always tended to wander about, my notebooks usually had more drawings than words. Reading breaks typically turned into daydreaming sessions. On most days, I wished my desk came with a pillow. If I didn't figure out what teachers expected from their students, especially on exams; I would probably fall behind. I never really felt challenged in class. Luckily for me, school wasn't just useful for education; it also became the best place to get some rest.
I stood in one the major arteries of the school. As I looked down the hallway, I noticed the darker trim that ran above the pale yellow walls. A royal procession of tin soldiers constantly stood at attention on the floor; steel brown lockers lined both sides of the walls. This is where the sophomores herded; a pit stop between the lunch room and the photography lab.
In the middle of the hallway was my locker; it was on the second level of a set of double stacked lockers. It was a good locker to have since it was clear of graffiti, in reasonably good shape and only a stone’s throw from the junior’s lockers, where the gang collected.
Class just ended and I was at my locker collecting my notebook for the next class.
"One to go and then lunch; good, I need some food", I said to myself.
Smack was the sound that greeted me, as searing white pain began to infest my right shoulder. Though numb, I could still felt the presence of a large hand. A hand that I knew very well, I instantly understood who stood next me.
As I turned to see the demon; a loud voice boomed. "So kiddy, who are you going to ask? Or are you going to chicken out?"
"I'm not a chicken, plus it's not my turn Renno. I'm also not a reject like you." I replied with a smile.
Surprisingly Renno had a small grin. A tit for tat I thought, but something didn't seem right. His grin did not vanish. Suddenly, it dawned on me, the reality of the bet. Chad was at bat and I'm on deck! The depth of my ordeal set in; my face grew white, my smile vanished, and fear became my companion.
Renno was smiling now. This battle was over and he was the victor. He didn't say another word as he waved good bye and left for his next class.
The butterflies were back and there was no net to be found. Fumbling through my locker I managed to collect the rest of my things. I let out a sigh of despair and headed for class. As I navigated the hallways, I finally arrived at my class, but the big questions still lingered; who was I going to ask out?
I entered the classroom and noticed a few friendly faces. Conversations were rampant, but the room was silent to me. Outside of vision, my insecurities consumed the rest of my senses. Feeling that there was no easy salvation to my plight, I sat down, crossed my arms on my desk, and plopped my head down on my arms.
Suddenly the girl who sat in front of my desk turned around.
"What's wrong Mike? You don't look happy. What's wrong?"
Her name was Penni; Penelope to be more exact. But she liked to be called Penni, just like I preferred to be called Mike by my friends. She was about my height with brown frizzy hair and hazel eyes. Her complexion was fair and she carried a slender build. She was usually very energetic and always seemed to be in a good mood.
With my head still resting on my arms, I managed to say, "I'm fine Penni. I just have a lot on my mind."
"Are you ok, Mike?" came another soft spoken voice from my left.
As I turned my head, I noticed the long brown curls of her hair that covered a never ending smile. She was a tall girl; definitely taller than me. Though her height could easily come into mind first, it never did. She was half Japanese like me, but it was the softness of her voice and the glimmer in her brown eyes was what I noticed first. Her presence always brought a serene calmness to me. I didn't know what it was about her, but I always enjoyed talking to her.
"I'm alright Sara; I'm just a bit under the weather today."
"I don't like it when you look like this, so please, cheer up." she said with a smile.
“Thanks” I replied; it felt refreshing.
I picked up my head and looked at Penni, "I heard you bowled a 200 on Saturday, that's amazing. I've never done that before, but Ron and my brother do it every once and a while."
"Actually it was a 236, I've bowl over 200 plenty of times too." Penni replied with a grin.
"Oh master, you're so wonderful, maybe you can teach me your secrets," as I answered sarcastically with a bow.
Sara smiled, Penni started to laugh and so did I. It was always fun to joke around with my classmates.
Still giggling she said, "But if want, I can give you a few pointers. And if you’re really nice to me I’ll tell you secrets".
Suddenly a large collection of Menudo notebooks went crashing onto the desk to my right.
The three of us quickly turned towards the commotion.
"Mike, what happened this weekend? I heard some of your friends laughing out loud about a Japanese police station and a blue light" exclaimed Zoey!
Who was this girl? The SPs? A spy? Neither, she was just an overly inquisitive Menudo fan. Hmm...a Menudo spy girl. I started to picture Zoey in a spy outfit plastered with Menudo pictures. What a silly concept, but I could hear my imagination starting to giggle.
"Oh that, it's just a crazy treasure hunt we went on in the middle of the night. It's all Johnny's fault and the light was just the pinnacle of stupidity. Let me tell you all about it." I replied.
"I always thought you were a good boy. Mike are you really a bad boy?" said Penni.
With the face of an angel, I replied "No not me. Just my friends, I'm really a good boy."
But I could feel the horns starting to poke out of my head; feeling a little guilty I couldn't look Sara in the eye.
Suddenly an all too familiar voice entered the classroom, my eyes widened as I looked towards the source.
There were two girls at the door. One had long black hair and her complexion reminded me of a beautiful white sand beach; the other was an all too familiar face. Gwen was was talking to Marielle and both were headed this way. Marielle said "hi," but I was at a loss for words. It felt odd since I usually spoke to her candidly. But something kept me speechless; then I remembered it, she was on my list and I had yet to take my turn. Realizing my petrified state, I awoke from my hypnosis. Hopefully no one noticed. Luckily, talking to Penni was Marielle's top priority and I was allowed to swallow any exposure to my plight. Further feelings of uneasiness slipped away after the girls dove into their conversation. Realizing that hiding was better than gawking at Marielle, I decided to lay my head back on my desk. Moments later the teacher said, "Good morning class, today we will be discussing the effect of the printed word on humanity." We all looked towards the teacher and class began.
Marielle said "hi," but I was at a loss for words. It felt odd since I usually spoke to her candidly. But something kept me speechless; then I remembered it, she was on my list and I had yet to take my turn. Realizing my petrified state, I awoke from my hypnosis. Hopefully no one noticed.
Luckily, talking to Penni was Marielle's top priority and I was allowed to swallow any exposure to my plight.
Further feelings of uneasiness slipped away after the girls dove into their conversation. Realizing that hiding was better than gawking at Marielle, I decided to lay my head back on my desk.
Moments later the teacher said, "Good morning class, today we will be discussing the effect of the printed word on humanity."
We all looked towards the teacher and class began.