The Wrongdoer

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Chapter 17: The project on Romeo and Juliet

Mike sat down in English class and instead of sitting down and staring at the floor, he decided to read a book like everybody else. After ten minutes, Ms. Rond alerted the class out of their reading.

“Since we have finally finished One on One by Don Aker, we are now moving into Shakespeare. I would like you to pair up with a partner and your first project will be one of Shakespeare’s plays. You will include a review of the play, when the play was created, and say what you liked about the play, what you did not like, and what you would change. You will then present it in front of the class. The project can be on Bristol board or anything you choose as long as it’s visible to the whole class.” Ms. Rond then began handing out sheets with written instructions on the project. “Now, I would like you all to pick your partners; but if anyone acts like an idiot, I’ll choose their partner.” There was the sound of a lot of chairs scraping the floor and soon the classroom was in an uproar of chatter.

Mike knew that usually when he had group projects he paired up with Ian because it seemed Ian was the only person who ever wanted to be partners with him. However, Ian had decided that he would like to work with someone different this time: Julie Hensonfield. Now Mike knew he would not have a partner. Everyone would be paired up and then Ms. Rond would probably assign him a partner. This would then lead to his partner probably ignoring him, since they didn’t want him in the first place, and just continue with the project as if he wasn’t there.

While Mike was wondering how he wouldn’t become a partner’s reject, Cindy was wondering who she should be partners with. She usually worked with Amanda and was about to ask her when she stopped herself.

If I became Mike’s partner, I might have a better perspective of who he really is. She stared at Mike sitting at his desk staring at the ceiling. It’s now or never. “Do you want to be partners?”

Mike was shocked and had to blink four times to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating or coming down with a fever. He tried to concentrate on what Cindy had just said. “Yes,” was his shaky reply not sure if what he thought he’d just heard he’d actually heard. Just then, Amanda walked up to Cindy requesting to be partners.

“I’ve already asked Mike.”

So it was confirmed, he wasn’t hallucinating.

“Oh, O.K.” Amanda was a little puzzled but left quickly knowing she would ask Cindy about it later. She ended up working with Jasmine Reimer who she had known since she’d been skating with her when she was four years old.

“I hope you have picked your partners!” rang Ms. Rond’s voice over the chattering. “Now everyone please get back to your seats and be silent!” Suddenly the class was dead quiet. “Thank you.” She then continued with her instructions. “Your review should be a maximum of seven hundred words. If I get a review that is thirteen thousand six hundred words, that review I will not even look at; and you will fail this assignment. Now that you have chosen your partners, I would like you to get together with them. Read the instructions carefully and I am here if any of you have any questions. You will have many days to work in class, starting today, so bring your information to class so you have something to do. Always come prepared. If anyone shows up with nothing for the work period, I will send them home. And I’m dead serious. Now, get to work. ” There was more chair scratching and soon the buzz of chattering occurred again.

“So what Shakespeare play do you want to do?” asked Cindy. Luckily for the two of them, they didn’t have to move.

Romeo and Juliet,” said Mike a little bit too quickly. He felt embarrassed by offering a Romantic tragedy. It was also the only Shakespearian play he knew really well and understood. He knew that he would still have trouble reading the language, but he hoped Cindy and all her glory could help him. But Cindy didn’t seem to mind with his choice.

“O.K. Do you have any books on Romeo and Juliet?”

“I don’t think so,” said Mike still regretting that he had mentioned the play.

“Well, we can always get books from the library.”

“Yeah, and if you want, I can type the review.”

“Sounds great.”

“O.K.” Mike looked up at the clock and found that it was ten-thirty A.M. They had another half-hour before their next period. He told Cindy that he was going to the library to look for a book on Romeo and Juliet or maybe find the bounded play. He got out of his chair and approached Ms. Rond’s desk; she was still marking the class’s One on One questions.

“Ms. Rond?”

“Mmm,” was her reply; she didn’t even look up as she furiously kept marking. It seemed all she was doing was throwing red lines everywhere.

“May I go to the library?”

There was a nod of approval without the pen leaving the page. Without another word, Mike walked out of the classroom.

The English room was located on the first floor and the library was located on the second so Mike had to walk up two flights of stairs. Barkley Middle School had three floors, but that excluded the basement where the pool was located. After Mike trekked up the two flights of stairs, the library was right in front of him. He casually walked in.

“Do you have a book on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet?”

The Librarian, Mrs. Cardell, nodded. She was putting away a few books in the F. section of the library.

“It’s in the play section.”

She was a chubby looking woman with a cheerful smile and seemed always willing to help. She had long black hair and was only an inch taller than Mike. Mike watched as she placed a book on the third shelf. She had to stand on a small ladder in order to get her hands even close to it. Instead of watching Mrs. Cardell struggle, Mike headed to the play section of the library.

The library itself was very organized. Signs littered the shelves that identified each section to the students. The categorized signage made it very easy for Mike to find the right section. Approaching S, he searched for William Shakespeare. In five minutes he had found a book on Romeo and Juliet. On the back of it someone had scribbled in block-lettered handwriting with a black magic marker,


Mike signed out the book and headed back to his English class. Once in class, he handed the book to Cindy.

“That’s all I could find,” he said as he sat down at his desk. “Let’s take a look at it.” He picked up the book and began reading. “Well, it says that a quarto version of the play was created in fifteen ninety-seven, whatever that means.”

Cindy took out a notebook and a pen, and began writing,

Romeo and Juliet


Mike kept flipping pages until he found something else. “It sounds like Romeo wants love, but he also fears love. This is what he says,

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,

O anything of nothing first created!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.

Romeo and Juliet’s family’s have a feud against each other.”

Cindy began writing,

-Romeo and Juliet’s families are having a feud

-Romeo wants love but also fears love.

Mike found the book he had chosen to be very helpful. Not only was it the full script but it also had the modern English translation and explanations to what was happening in each scene. It seemed like the idiot’s guide to Shakespeare. However, he wasn’t able to read anymore because the bell rang, signalling second period. Mike and Cindy gathered up their books and zipped up their bags.

“I’ll try to invite you over tonight so we can at least finish our ideas,” said Cindy as she put away her pen, the one Mike gave her, back into her pencil case and tucked her notebook under her arm. Together, they walked down the hall. Ahead of them, Mike could see Ian walking alone so he caught up to him.

“Hey Ian, how’s it going?”

“Great,” said Ian enthusiastically. “How about you?”

“Great too.”

“So whom are you working with on this Shakespeare project?”

“Cindy,” replied Mike joyfully.

“Well you’re lucky,” was Ian’s reply. He was happy for his friend.

“Yeah, I know,” said Mike. “Maybe I have a chance.”

Ian nodded. “So what play are you doing?”

Romeo and Juliet.”

“Wow, you’re doing a love play. Who thought of the idea, you or Cindy?”

“Me,” Mike said already feeling stupid. “It was kind of an accident; I just blurted it out without thinking.”

“But she obviously agreed.”

“Yeah, she agreed.” Mike sighed. “But I hope I didn’t force her to say, ‘yes”’

“Mike,” said Ian slapping his friend on the back. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can force anyone to do anything.”

“Thanks Ian.”

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