Troy Knightly

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It took Troy several seconds before he realized he was staring at a boy covered head to toe in dripping green slime.

“Oh, Timmy, not again,” Margaret groaned from behind Troy. Troy took a step backwards, and felt his back hit against an old bookcase.

Timmy wiped the green slime off his face.

“He made me do it!” he whined. He was several years younger than Troy. Probably ten or twelve, Troy couldn’t be sure.

Timmy looked helplessly from Margaret to Troy.

Margaret noticed Troy’s expression.

“See, New Guy, I told you. New kids never last long here at Mavericks!”

Troy forced himself to breathe normally.

“Wait a minute, I’m not new,” Timmy grumbled. “I’ve gone to Mavericks since I was six!”

Margaret rolled her eyes and popped another pink bubble.

“Timmy, what are you covered in, anyway?” she asked, sounding bored.

“It’s my green vegetable breakfast smoothie!” he said. “My mom made it.” Timmy grabbed a pink tissue from Margaret’s tissue box and began to dab his dripping, green face.

Margaret pinched up her nose at the green drips that landed on her desk.

Timmy sighed.

“He saw my smoothie and told me it was plant food. He said if I want to be a plant, I should eat my food from the outside in. So he made me dump it over my head!”

“Who did?” Margaret asked.

Just then, Principal Davis emerged from his back office. He put a file of papers on Margaret’s desk before he noticed Timmy.

“Good heavens!” he exclaimed, steadying himself against the shelf that held the aquarium. The fish zoomed quickly into their plastic castle.

Principal Davis saw Troy was still in the office. As he straightened, his face turned a nasty shade of purple.

“I’m sorry you have to see this on your first day, Troy.” The principal marched over to Timmy with his hands clenched in fists.

“Who did this to you, Timmy?” he asked.

Timmy gulped. “I can’t say, Sir. He’ll beat me up.” Timmy began to tremble.

Principal Davis’s face became a darker shade of purple. Troy thought the veins in his head would burst.

“I’ll ask you once more, Timmy,” Principal Davis said, trying to control his temper.

“Was it Red Adams who did this to you?”

Timmy paled, giving the man his answer.

“You may go to the nurse now, Timmy,” the principal said as his face returned to its fleshy, yellow color.

“Mrs. Normgarten should be able to get you cleaned up and provide you with a fresh uniform.”

Timmy scurried past Margaret’s desk and took a door on the left.

Principal Davis sighed.

“Send for Red Adams immediately,” he told Margaret calmly.

Troy picked up his discarded papers. He was about to head out the front door when it swung open.

A boy with flaming red hair came flying into the office. He grabbed Troy by the shoulders.

“Help me!” he screamed. “Don’t let them get me!”

Troy stared at the red faced, freckled boy. His eyes were a surprising, shocking blue.

“Help me!” the boy repeated, shaking Troy’s shoulders.

Principal Davis tapped the boy on the back. The boy’s scared expression changed unexpectedly into a nasty grin. He spun slowly around.

“Principal Davis, how do you do?” the red haired boy said with arrogance.

Troy realized the red haired boy’s apparent fright had only been an act. The boy stuffed his hands into his pant pockets. His uniform was dirty and wrinkled. It looked as if the kid had been rolling around on the ground.

Principal Davis crossed his arms and glared down at the boy. “Red Adams,” the principal began. “Why is it you’re always causing mischief?”

Red grinned, showing rows of crooked teeth. “You can’t do anything to me!” Red sneered. “My uncle donates money to this school!”

The man closed his eyes and put a hand to his temple. “How could I forget when you remind me every day?”

Red smiled in victory.

“But I’m sure you won’t be happy if I put in a call to your mother about Timmy.”

Red’s smile faded. He suddenly dropped to his knees and grabbed the principal’s pant leg. “Oh, please, Principal Davis, don’t call my mother!”

The man shook Red off his leg.

“Come now, you’re fifteen-years-old! Stop this nonsense,” he snarled pulling Red back up to his feet.

Red stood still, whimpering.

“This is your last warning, Red,” the principal said sternly. “If you cause any more trouble, I’ll have no choice but to call your mother. I’m sure you didn’t appreciate it when I had to call her last week.”

Red brightened. “I won’t cause trouble, Principal Davis, sir. I promise!” With that, Red turned and hurried away from the principal. As Red passed Troy, he shoved him hard with his shoulder.

“Ow!” Troy moaned as Red slammed the office door shut behind him.

Principal Davis polished his glasses on the corner of his shirt and hadn’t noticed.

The desk phone rang and Margaret answered it with a high-pitched, “Mavericks Academy front desk, Miss Margaret speaking.” She fluttered her eyelashes importantly and began to write on a pink notepad.

Principal Davis looked at Troy sadly. “I would expel Red if I could,” he said, “but unfortunately his uncle does give this school a lot of much needed funds.”

Principal Davis propped his glasses back on to the edge of his long nose. “Red Adams comes from a troubled family,” the principal said, almost to himself. “But as long as you keep your distance from him, he’s relatively harmless.”

Troy shrugged. “I’ll try, sir.”

Behind the principal, Margaret put down the phone with a final, “Thank you for calling.”

Just then Troy heard a bloodcurdling scream.

“What in the blazes?” the principal said looking around wildly. Margaret’s eyes bulged and she bit her pink nails nervously.

A Chinese woman with a very long, black braid stuck her head out of the door behind Margaret’s desk.

“Yes, Mrs. Normgarten, what is it?” the principal asked, looking at the nurse.

The woman glanced over her shoulder and then back at the principal. “Principal Davis, did you see Timmy?” she stuttered. “He’s covered in slime!”

The principal frowned and turned to face Troy. “Son, you had better get to class.”

Troy jumped. “Sorry, sir. I’ll go right away.”

Troy pulled open the office door and felt the hallway’s cool air conditioner soothe his burning face.

“What a crazy place,” he murmured as he made his way down the hall. He’d had more shocks than he ever expected in one day in Camberland.

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