Ms. D wasn’t at school. Rumors out she hurt herself snowboarding over the weekend. I pictured her falling face flat in the snow… then stopped myself. Ms. D is the man; she’s not supposed to fall or get hurt. It’s like when I saw Dad get scared for the first time. Little Harrison was hiding under the stairs in our old house and cried “Boo!” when Dad walked past. Dad jumped in the air and yelped. Harrison snickered and Dad said, “Don’t do that!” I thought, “Why are you scared, Dad? You’re not supposed to get scared. I’m supposed to get scared.” And Ms. D isn’t supposed to get hurt.
So I sat in the newspaper room reading The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, which I’ve been wanting to finish since my birthday. It was nice to be in my own world and not have to worry about newspaper, or anything for that matter.
Then sixth period came along. I wasn’t there the class before, so I did my bookwork while Wall-E lectured about life after World War II. I finished my homework thirty minutes before class ended. My handwriting was sloppy. I ripped out a sheet of paper and copied the sloppy work to a nice clean sheet. I focused on my handwriting this time.
Wall-E’s room was dark because he had the projector on. The room was silent as Wall-E waited for them to finish writing and proceed to the next slide. But all the sudden Wall-E was standing in front of me, staring at my papers and smiling.
“Are you rewriting your homework?” Wall-E whispered.
I looked up at him, “What?”
“Why are you rewriting your homework?”
“I—I…” Why was I stuttering? “I thought it looked messy.”
He grinned at me, nodded, then walked up the aisle.
My face was on fire. Why was I so embarrassed? I felt so stupid… Like he figured out one of my mischievious plans. Like he caught me doing something bad. I felt stupid that he saw me rewriting my homework and caring about how my homework looked.
The bell rang. Back to Ms. D’s room. We had a hot substitute today. He was tall. Six foot seven. Anyone who’s six foot seven automatically makes it on the hot list. He waved at me. “Back again?” he said.
“Yup. I’m here for the next three hours.” I sat down and put my head down.
“Uhh you okay, Anne?” Kenzie said, walking into class with a box of pop tarts. Kenzie is a fellow AP friend and the OP/Ed editor of the newspaper.
“Uh-huh,” I grumbled. She threw a pop tart at me.
The ten other students walked in and the bell rang.
“Good news!” The sub said. “No quiz today.”
“Heck yes!” Kenzie threw her arms in the air. “No Heart of Darkness!”
“Bad news… Essay.”
“Dammit,” Kenzie dropped her head to the desk.
We all groaned as he passed out the essay papers.
“You guys!” I said, “We should all put the word ‘scandalous’ in our essays. Anywhere. Just stick it in there somehow.”
Josh rolled his eyes and shook his head. Two of the girls looked shock. But the burst out laughing and agreed. All of us would put “scandalous” in the essays.
Kenzie wrote a perfectly good essay. But her last sentence was, “Scandalous!”
I stuck the word in my thesis statement: “Although Arun’s scandalous experience in America…” ya dee ya duh. Bethany stuck in the sentence, “Arun’s host sister, Melanie, wore a scandalous bathing suit to the beach.” And on and on. Bomb diggity.