It was another typical day in Biology; Mrs. Walker was lecturing us about the details of mitochondrial DNA. It was an interesting subject, but I was tired. The parasitic pace of the lecture didn't help either. On the plus side, this was my last class and freedom was only a bells toll away. Everyone at my table was silent and busy taking notes. I looked down at my notebook and saw a few misspelled Latin words and a sketch of the starship Enterprise. She was busy battling the doomsday machine. I've been working on the drawing since class started; though it was drawn proportionally correct, the perspective seemed a bit wrong. Hmmm, I need to work on that aspect.
"Mike, do you understand this stuff?" whispered Alison.
"What?" I replied.
"The DNA stuff that Ms. Walker is talking about." said Alison.
"Oh that stuff, sure. I haven't read the chapters, but it seems straight forward." I whispered.
"I'm usually good at Biology but this time, she lost me. Let's compare notes later." she replied.
"Well I don't take good notes" I said as I showed her my art work. She seemed surprised, but she did return a smile.
Normally, I would have felt like a real dork showing my drawings to a girl, but then again she wasn't any girl. She was Alison, and somewhere inside of me I was hoping she would learn to appreciate me more through my artwork. The odds were one in a billion, but I thought it was worth the risk.
"But if want me to explain it to you, let's do it after class." I added.
Seemingly out of nowhere, something struck our table. It came down mostly silent as it bounced around in front of me. It was round and I knew immediately what it was. It was the Raven, the messenger of bad news. The paper ball sat there, so I picked up and frowned. I looked at Alison, she seemed a bit shocked, but my other table mates started to laugh. I guess it was our turn to join the pranksters. From the corner of my eye, I noticed Mrs. Walker turning around so I quickly rolled the evidence off the table, away from her view.
Mrs. Walker continued to speak about how mitochondrial DNA was inherited from your mother and then she began to write the details on the blackboard. The instant she turned around, another messenger appeared. And once again it sat in front of me, but this time, I could hear the twin coconspirators laughing. I quickly picked it up and crushed it in my fist. Now what should I do? If I threw it back and get caught, I'll be in trouble. If I threw it back, I'll look just at guilty as those jokers to the rest of the class. Hmmm, what to do? What to do? If Ms. Walker caught me, I'll be listed as a trouble maker for sure. I've never been a trouble maker; however, my muscles ached. They were ready to take action; throwing a ball was innate to me. I have played baseball every year of my life since I was five. If I threw this ball, hitting my mark should be an easy task. OK, I decided what to do, I needed to find a target.
As I looked up, I ran into Alison's eyes. She was shaking her head, but didn't say a word. I could tell she thought it was a bad idea to retaliate, so I hesitated. Then it happened, I got struck. The paper ball bounced of my head and landed on the table. In stunned silence, I sat there and watched its final act. I became it's balletomane and watched it mock me until the final turn of its pirouette. Everyone at the table began to laugh, my face turned red, and I started to feel really embarrassed. Witnesses of the crime around the classroom started to snicker and then I got mad. I grabbed the ball and held it in my hand. I sensed a swell of rage building inside of me. I felt the ball growing ever so small as I crushed it in my hand, but then I saw it, the thing that made my anger vanish. Alison was smiling and she started to laugh. I can't explain it, but my anger was gone and I started to laugh with her as well. I suddenly I knew what I had to do. I looked towards the instigators and spotted my target, Joe.
I stood up, turned, and threw a fastball. Though he was two tables away, it hit Joe right in the chest. He frowned, looked me right in the eye and silently mouthed "what the f...".
“Oh shit,” I thought! Now I gonna get my ass kicked. Still shocked by my actions, I quickly sat down. I turned around to see my carnage and I saw a Joe that didn't look very happy. Once he noticed that I was looking towards his table he made a fist, pointed one finger in the air and rotated his hand to the left. His index finger pointed to his coconspirator. I couldn't hear what he was whispering, but I knew what he said. "He did it, dumbass."
I was at a loss for words. "Oh crap," I had hit the wrong target! I'm a dead man now, I thought. And then, both of them started to laugh; louder than before with no signs of anger anywhere. For a moment I didn't understand it, but then I realized what happened. They were too overjoyed that they got another person to join the madness. Panic subsided; maybe I wasn't dead after all.
I turned around to looked at Alison. She still had that surprised look, but her smile made me know that she was OK with my actions.
"Joe!" yelled Mrs. Walker "What are you doing?"
Instinctively I turned and saw it, Joe was standing up with a paper ball in his hand. Looking at his body position, I knew the target was me.
"Oh nothing Mrs. Walker, I was just stretching." replied Joe as his pitching stance turned into a stretch motion.
"Go to the corner!" said Mrs. Walker. "You are being a bad boy. Sit in the corner until class is over."
It felt like elementary school and everyone in the class started to laugh out loud; it was a very funny moment. Even Joe was laughing, he knew he was caught red handed. As he walked by my table towards the stool that sat in to the corner of the classroom, he mouthed. "I'll get you next time" and smiled.
I returned the smile and responded with a silent "OK".
Class returned to normal for a minute until another paper ball landed on our table. I turned to see the instigator...
"Chad, go to the corner!" yelled Mrs. Walker. "You're being bad as well. Bad boys, bad boys both of you."
By the look on his face, he was surprised that he had been caught. Chad smiled and started to walk towards the corner where Joe sat.
"No, not that corner, the other one." said Mrs. Walker as she pointed to the other side of the room.
Chad changed directions and walked towards the other corner. I could tell he could barely control his laughter.
As I looked away from Chad, I noticed that Mrs. Walker was glaring at me. I sensed that her trust for me had disappeared. I knew she thought I was just another bad apple was waiting to be caught. Without saying a word, she said, "You behave now!"
Perhaps if she had more stools in the corner I would be joining Joe and Chad. But luckily there were only two troublemaker stools in the classroom. She never planned for three troublemakers at once. Three troublemakers, I thought. Hmmm, I never saw myself as one. "Interesting," I started to grin.
Class continued once again and this time all went well. At the end of class I reviewed the discussion with Alison and then she was off. I collected my things and began to leave.
As I was leaving the classroom I heard a voice, "Mike, Right?"
"Yeah that's my name." I turned around to see who it was.
"We'll I'm Chad. Nice to meet you." he said. Then we shook hands.
"It was you. Wasn't it?" I asked.
"Yup, Joe didn't hit you with the ball."
"Is Joe going to kick my ass for what I did?" I asked nervously. "I didn't mean for you guys to get in trouble."
"Ah, don't worry about it. We actually had a great time. I think Joe enjoyed scaring the crap out of you the most though. But don't sweat it, he's a great guy. You'll get to know him soon enough. By the way, you know Renno right? Renno, the big Filipino guy. You hang around him right?"
"Renno? Renno the tyrant, my overbearing nemesis,” impulsively, I began to nod.
"I've known him for quite a while," added Chad. "We are good friends."
Renno! Now it makes sense. He's the source of all of this mayhem. "Renno, yeah I know him." I replied with a smile. "Did he put you up to this?"
Chad smiled, but didn't answer my question. We left the classroom together and began to talk about Kadena, our common interests, and our common friends. Thus began a friendship that would never end.
Sometimes trouble and friendship come hand in hand and sometimes order comes out of chaos. Today seemed like one of those moments. I could have tried to avoid the trouble, but something inside of me told me not too. Luckily, I joined the mayhem and managed to come out unscathed. More importantly I came out with a new friend, and a life long one at that. I escaped being sent to the corner that day, but my luck would soon run out. A few weeks later my turn in the corner would come. Triggered by good fun, a spinning Petri dish, and like always in that class, chaos initiated by the two jokers in the back of the classroom.