1: The Beginning of the End of My Life
My life is so over. Those were the words that raced through my head as I ran down the hallway. I was definitely going to score an ‘F’ on my science project. And as if that wasn’t enough, Roy was hot on my tails, chasing me around the school like some rabid canine.
It was supposed to be a simple task, an easy-peasy assignment that even a two-year old could complete without any problem. Does watermelon generate electricity? Of course, everyone knew it didn’t. I put it in front of the class, plugged a cable into it, connected it to my cell phone and, ta da!, point proved. Easy, right?
Which was what warranted my surprise when Mr. Foster said to me in that nineties boombox voice of his, “Mr. Sanders, care to explain to the class your demonstration?”
I mean, what in the world was there to explain?!
I was so furious at Mr. Foster and the turn of events that I literally began to feel my temperature rise in anger, almost like I was about to explode. But it was the watermelon that exploded, dumping all of its rich red content no other person but on hotshot, big time bully, hater of my soul, professional killer, Roy Henderson- come on, you big delicious ball of trouble, why him of all people?
“Sanders!” he bellowed and that was all took for me to run out of the class even as Mr. Foster screamed detention at my back.
Roy chased immediately me with one thought on his mind; destroy me. And that was how he had been chasing me all day long. So, like I said, my life was over.
I rounded a bend and saw Roy standing right in front of me, quickly backtracking just as he threw something at my head and shouted, “You’re a dead man, Troy Sanders! You hear me? Dead!”
I had to admit that that was actually an improvement in our relationship ’cause he never called me man before; he preferred to go for duck or dweeb or something like that, I’m sure you get the picture.
I got tired of running round the school like some hopeless bunny, which was what I was kinda was at that moment, and so I decided to lock myself up in the Janitor’s office. An extremely bad idea, it turned out to be.
As it happened, two of Roy’s uncountable minions seemed to have predicted that the office was going to be my destination eventually and was already waiting for me in there, grabbing me by the shirt as soon as I foolishly dropped the keys on the table.
“Please,” I begged desperately as they lifted me off the ground and dragged me kicking and screaming to their master. “I’ll do anything you want me to do. Don’t take me to him, I’m pleading!”
But my plea fell on deaf ears, which wasn’t all that surprising. I was a nobody in that situation. But Roy, he held all the power.
“Think you could run forever, Sanders, is that it?” Roy said as soon as I was made to kneel in front of him, the “you’re so about to be dog meat” grin on his face so wide even a bird would have a hard time crossing it. “That you could just make fun of me and get away with it.”
Everyone had gathered to watch my humiliation, as usual. And knowing Roy like I do- that boy so loves putting on a good show- he wouldn’t have the decency to make it quick.
Well, the least I could do was control the narrative.
“You know what, Roy? I don’t care for this ridiculous game of yours anymore. The watermelon incident wasn’t intentional. In fact, it wasn’t supposed to do that at all. It was an accident and I’m very sorry,” I said, shooting my best “I really don’t care” glare. “But if your brawn is so big that it doesn’t give enough room for your brain to comprehend it, then please, make this quick. Unlike someone, I have a science project to get back to and Mr. Foster isn’t exactly great at waiting.”
Unfortunately, it was until the words had truly left my mouth that I realized that perhaps that wasn’t the best narrative I could have gone for- I mean, what’s a smart aleck statement supposed to solve?
Before I could begin to take my words back, Roy suddenly swung at my face in anger, the ferocity behind the blow causing a shockwave that seemed to shatter my jawbone and then reset it back; all while I screamed like a doe hit with a buckshot. But that wasn’t to be the end of it. No, not by a long shot.
Just I was still reeling from the pain on my face, Roy punched again in my side, making me feel as if I would never take in another breath into my lungs again. And he added it up with several punches to my face once more- God, that kid may be dumb in class but he was definitely above par in the assault section.
It was beginning to seem like the end was really near when all of a sudden, he left me alone. “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” I heard him say in his trademark “Alpha Roy” tone that usually have the girls swooning and all the boys bowing.
I looked up and realized to my horror that what Roy had in his hand was my French assignment paper- oh God please, not the assignment. Anything but the assignment.
Thing is, if anything happened to that assignment, my French teacher, Miss Trask, would have my head for dinner; and that wasn't an hyperbole.
“Roy, give me that!” I shouted as I lunged for it. But no sooner was I in midair that his goons swarmed and plucked me out of it, holding me back even as I struggled like a demon on a sugar rush.
“For the final payback.” He heard up the paper to my face, giving me one final “kiss your ass goodbye” smile before tearing all of my hard done work before my very eyes- yep! There was definitely no saving me now.
I heard the bell ring for next period and my would-be assassins finally let me go, not that I wasn’t a dead man. Like I said before, my life was over.
As it turned out, my next period just happened to be French and Miss Trask was going to be waiting for me and my now-destroyed assignment; and just so I hadn’t made it clear enough, Miss Trask wasn't a woman you want to cross.
After going on and on about how my funeral was going to be for about an hour or so, I finally started my trip down to French class. Not surprising, the class was empty; it was twenty minutes after the period ended after all. But Miss Trask was still there, still at her desk with her table filled with classwork and assignment papers. Thinking about it, I never could imagine her being somewhere else apart from school, and I didn’t think she ever was.
It was important to note that Miss Eveline Trask wasn’t the typical teaching teacher-looking type. For one, she was young, like “totally dateable but never actually goes on date” young- don’t ask me how I know- She’s slim, like someone who had or was considering a future career in modelling. She had a black hair which was styled in a bob that always never seemed to grow beyond its set length no matter what time of the school year.
An heavy French-accented English speaker, it had never really been proved if she was really an immigrant from France who traveled to the United States as a child with her elderly grandma like the rumours said; and she never confirmed nor debunked them either.
However, what made Miss Trask popular wasn’t her age, or shape, or enigmatic background, it was her personality. She was one of the most feared teachers in the school, and not just because she kept a wicked-looking wooden ruler on her table at all times which had proven more times than could be counted that she wasn't afraid to use it and on anyone. She was a hurricane, a strong-willed woman that no one could dare to offend or trifle with; and that was whom my next challenge was on a day that couldn’t get any worse.
“Miss Trask,” I called in my best innocent ‘Please don’t punish me’ tone.
“Hello, Troy,” she replied when she looked up to see me standing there; she was the only teacher who addressed students by their first names. “Missed you in class today.”
“I had an accident,” I replied, still in the tone, “and so did my assignment.”
Her brows furrowed immediately in anger or confusion, I couldn’t decipher which. “But that assignment was supposed to be on my desk today,” she said, her heavy French accent getting heavier as she spoke. Yep! She was definitely angry- somebody please, kill me now, I don’t wanna live anymore.
“I’m sorry, Miss Trask,” I said, and I really was. “Please give me some overtime, I promise I’ll have it on your desk in no time at all.”
I crossed my fingers behind my back as I pleaded and hoped like hell that whatever saint or spirit was in charge of students getting overtime for the work they should have submitted would descend from above and help me convince her that I was worth it. That overtime was all that stood between me and another fat, filthy F; and even worse, summer school and my graduation being suspended.
Miss Trask sighed after a long time, the air coming very loudly in the otherwise quiet room. “I don’t think I can, Troy,“she finally replied, effectvely dashing my hope against the rocks. “You seem like a nice boy and all, and I really do want to give you the overtime. But you already requested me an overtime which I gave. Two weeks ago, in fact.”
“Please,” I begged, although at that stage, I didn’t think there was anything that could have saved me besides a miracle.
She tapped her pen lightly on the desk as she thought. Then she said after some time, “Alright, I’ll give you another overtime, but only until tomorrow morning. You fail to hand in your assignment to me by then and I’ll have no choice but to score you an F on it.”
And it’s “hello, summer school” for me.
The slight problem for me now, which was actually a big problem, is that the new overtime was lot less than the previous one; and I still had to pay a guy ten bucks to get it done the first time. How the hell was I supposed to get a guy to help me or even the money to pay him within that time frame?
Yeah, Miss Trask hadn’t saved me. I was still a dead man, so dead.