Chapter 2: Chapter One: I apologize for inconveniencing my learning community

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 586
Comments: 3

“You were supposed to do your HOMEwork at HOME.”

“I...“ I glance over at Maddie, trying to think of a comeback, but before I can Mrs. Emerson picks up the paper and reads it out loud: 

“Comrade Napoleon represents Stalin, because of the way he manipulates the other animals into thinking he’s a trustworthy leader.”

She sighs, in a horse-like way. “Charles darling, why is Maddie’s name on this paper? Are you doing her homework for her again?”

“I-“ oh shit, “I just happen to know that Maddie had a six-hour workout with her volleyball coach yesterday and by the time she-“

“That doesn’t matter. And I think you know that. You’re just choosing to break the rules.”

I look down, nodding a bit. “Well, I’m sorry, Mrs. Emerson. But I just feel you should know what Maddie had on her plate yesterday.”

“WELL, Maddie, darling,” Emerson turns around to Maddie and grinned a grin of pure wrath resembling Edna Mode from the Incredibles, “If you tell your coach you can’t play because you have English homework, she’ll tell you you’re just lazy. And if you tell me you can’t fill out this one question, well I’m going to tell you you’re lazy. And you too, Charles darling.” 

 

She picks up my paper and shows it to the entire class, reading it out-loud. 

“NAME: CHARLIE BURRELL, DATE: SEPTEMBER 29th, 2016.” She sighs, this time more like a donkey than a horse. “Charlie, it’s the 28th. You don’t even know today’s date. And other than your name and date, you’ve written nothing. You know what the punishment is for violations of academic integrity like this?”

“I apologize for...”

“Yes. Stand up and tell the class that line from The Giver I love ohh so much.”

I stand up lazily:

“I apologize for inconveniencing my learning community.” I say, really sarcastically.

A few kids laugh.

“No, darling, say it like you mean it. With passion.”

“I... apologize for... inconveniencing my learning communityyy” I say again, in this really sad sounding voice, wiping fake tears from my eyes.

A few more laughs break out and Emerson rolls her eyes. “Fair enough,” she says.

 

Emerson turns around to this smart girl named Lina Razza. “LINA, DARLING? Would you like to read your answer before the class?”

Lina blushes, looks down at her paper, then picks it up and reads it. “Okayy...” she glances at me and clears her throat. “Ahem ahem. In George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novella Animal Farm, Comrade Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin. Like the Soviet politician, Napoleon quenches the support of his fellow citizens by feeding them fascist ideologies and communist dogmas of equality.”

Emerson’s face lights up like she’d just found a 20-dollar bill on the ground. “That rocked my socks off, Lina. If only everyone here had a functioning brain like yours. But anyways, my children, lets continue.” She waddles over to her desk and picks up a stack of blank papers.

I know it’s unfair to assume this- and I have no direct proof of this- but I think any teacher who refers to her class as “my children” is probably either a cannibal or a mass murderer. 

“We’re going to do a group project,” she continues, “relating to one of the key concepts in Animal Farm, and connecting that to an issue in the Soviet Union. You will get in groups of three.”

 

I glance at Robbie Buckley across the room, who nervously holds up three fingers, and I shrug. 

Who the hell is gonna be our third person? No ones gonna work with Robbie except me. 

As Emerson goes on about the project (I assume it’s kind of important information) I take out my phone from behind my desk and check instagram. 

I scroll through some memes on a spongebob account, looking for content to steal/post on my own page/get credit for as if I actually made them.

One of them shows Spongebob with his eyes looking really tired with the caption “me wondering why I’m always tired when I haven’t gone to bed before 3am in months.”

I try not to laugh but giggle out loud a little which of course causes a couple people to turn around and look at me like I’m a total moron.

I get so lost in memes that before I knew it the bell had rung and we were free to leave the dungeon of Comrade Emerson’s AP English Lang class. 

As I’m throwing my backpack around my shoulder, Maddie comes up to me.

“Hey Maddie,” I look down, my hands in my pockets. “Sorry I couldn’t do your work for you last night. I know I promised.”

“It’s ok, Charlie. I should’ve done it.”

“I mean I was gonna do it yesterday but I had to post some fire content, I don’t know if you saw it.”

She giggles. “I know your memes are a priority for you, Charlie. Plus they always cheer me up.”

“Oh really? I’m glad to hear that.”

From the hall I hear a few guys call Maddie’s name. 

“Hey, I gotta go,” she says.

“Well... good luck with your volleyball game tonight, Maddie.”

“Thanks. Good luck with your shitposting tonight, Charlie.”

We both laugh. Then I hear a voice behind me:

 

"Charlie?"

I turn around and see the one and only Robbie Buckley standing there, DS in hand. "You're gonna work with me, right Charlie?" 

You'll fail if you work with Robbie again. Guaranteed, epic failure. 

But who else is gonna work with him? 

"Yeah of course, my dude," I tell him, looking around the classroom. "You know Robbie, I bet if we put our heads together we might get at least a solid forty percent."

"At least sixty, possibly," he says, in a legit level of seriousness.

"Well, maybe if a miracle happens. But if we want to get a decent grade we'll need someone whose intelligence doesn't make the Geico caveman look like a Rhodes Scholar."

"Maybe Maddie could be our third person?"

"Yeah..." I glanced over my shoulder to see if Maddie was still there. "Aw shit, she's gone. But we got more time tomorrow, we can find someone then."

“That sounds like a plan. Maybe this time we’ll at least get a D.”

“Hey Charlie I have to piss real quick, can you wait for me?”

“I’ll be in the lobby!”

I walk out the door, into the hallway so crowded it would make the Titanic look like a ghost town.

All these people, crammed into this school, that I’ll finally be gone from soon.

Senior year, I think- September 29th 2016, wait no, September 28th 2016.

One more year until whatever’s next, I guess.

 

Suddenly I feel something hit the back of my head.

Ow FUCK! 

I look behind me and see Lina, holding her skateboard, carrying a huge stack of books about who knows what kind of nerdy physics stuff.

"Hi." Lina picks up the tennis ball, holding it up against my face. "I just threw a tennis ball at your head.”

"Yeah, I see that,” I say, as sarcastically as possible, “Felt it, too."

“Oh... well you’re not hurt, right?” she says, now looking kind of concerned.

“Yeah, I’m really hurt. You know, tennis balls cause punitive brain damage. So I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.”

She giggles, poking my chest through my hoodie with said tennis ball. "You're going to the bake sale later this week, right?"

"...The what?" 

“Emerson’s BAKE SALE. It’s at Lakeland Farms, between eleven and three on Saturday. Mrs. Emerson is bringing fooood.”

“Lina, I’m probably the least hip person you’ll ever meet when it comes to school events. Especially ones involving Emerson.”

“She handed out fliers and everything,” she says, using this fake-serious voice, “You should’ve been paying attention.”

“Well, I probably threw it in the recycle bin five seconds later.“

“I'll be bringing fresh, homemade, organic pumpkin bread. Promise to come?”

“I...”

“Charles, if you don’t come and try my bread it’s gonna be a rock tomorrow and not a tennis ball.  

If Maddie is there...

"Who all is gonna be there?"

"Uh, everyone? Me, Jenny, Maddie, Sasha, and like basically everyone except you."

“Well I don’t know Lina, I actually have a professional toe wrestling meet to attend, so I don’t know if I can come.”

“There is no such thing as professional toe wrestling, Charlie.”

“Yeah there is. And I’M the champion.” 

“Well then, maybe toe wrestle me sometime and I’ll prove you’re no champion? I bet my toes would own your weakling toes.”

“You know, maybe I’ll just put off my toe wrestling career and come try your bread if that means I don’t have to toe wrestle you.”

“Between eleven and three. Remember?”

“Well I suck at remembering things but I’ll sure do my best to remember this one.”

“In case you don’t forget, eleven and three!” she rides off on her board, narrowly avoiding trucking people down as she glides and spins across the concrete.

***

l there wait for Robbie as everyone leaves. A couple minutes later he comes running out. “Holy shit!!!” He yells. “FREEDOMMMMM!!!

“Another day, another NICKEL.”

“Shit, it’s getting cooler out here,” Robbie says.

“I like it. It means it hoodies and sweatpants season.”

“And yoga pants season. Ooooh.”

“Yeah, that too,” I say, and roll my eyes.

“And for a fatass like me, less sweating!”

We both laugh. We turn the corner around the dumpster behind the school, past the liquor store, the farm supplies center, to the cornfield on the other side of the street, and finally to the big oak trees with the path that leads to my neighborhood.

There’s the faintest eyeliner of orange and yellow down the oaks and the faintest breeze in the sky. There’s birds all around the trees, the birds who are still hear before they floated off to Florida or Cuba or wherever birds go where we don’t see them.

One bird is on a branch chirping really loud.

TWEETWEETWEETWEETWEET-

“Yeah I know, bird, humans tweet way too fuckin much.” Robbie mutters. 

I laugh. 

“Charlie, do you think he’s chirping at us? It sounds like he’s telling us something really important.”

“Really important? How the fuck do we know what he’s saying? We don’t speak bird.”

“Just the look on his face, though.”

“Oof.” I sigh. “I mean I don’t know, my dude. Maybe they’re warning us that the winter is coming.”

“I mean shit,” Robbie sighs. “This year is gonna suck.” He sits down on a fallen tree 

trunk and crosses his pudgy arms. “I can’t wait to get out of this shithole.”

“Ohh, I’m sure this year’s gonna be cool somehow.”

“How though. Everything sucks fucking donkey testicles here.”

“I mean, it might seem like it. But look around and you’ll see stuff that make life beautiful and dope, like girls and waffle fries and grasshoppers.”

“I don’t know, Charlie. Do grasshoppers even still exist?”

We both laugh. “I don’t know, my dude. Been a long time since I noticed one either. Maybe we need a grasshopper storm.”

He giggles. “A what?”

“A grasshopper storm. I think it was Little House on the Prairie or one of those old books where grasshoppers just rain out of the sky out of nowhere.”

“Like drones?”

“Yeah, actually holy shit, maybe they’re just drones. Just like bees, right?”

“Bees aren’t real.” Robbie says in all seriousness. “They’re surveillance devices to gain our credit card info and other data.”

I laugh. “I mean who even knows at this point.”

Robbie nods, looking down at his shoes. “Alright Charlie,” he mutters, “I should probably let you go.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Robbie. Unless we’re dead or something, right?”

He shrugs and faintly smiles and holds out his fist. “Unless we’re dead, Charlie.” We bump fists and part ways.

I walk under the trees along the wooden fence where the white paint is chipping off, the leaves under my teeth and the blue of the mountains against the sky. I close my eyes and feel the breeze, not thinking of much, except how nice it’ll be when grasshoppers come pouring out from the sky and take over the world like flies on a corpse.


Submitted: February 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 CJ Spuddz. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Needless

This is a nice start! Your characters have been introduced well and I look forward to finding out more about them. Not sure why but Robbie and Lina intrigue me the most :) the Shrek quote at the beginning was a good way to reel me in personally. Looks pretty good! Can't wait to see what adventure these guys get into :)

Mon, February 10th, 2020 7:23am

BriannasBooks

A shitposting meme guy, I love Charlie already lol. This seriously reads like a published novel, it's off to an amazing start already! I really dig Charlie and Robbie's sense of humour, they're totally the kind of people I'd want to hang around lol. Mrs. Emerson reminds me of an English teacher at my high school that treated everyone like they were incompetent haha. Fantastic job on this first chapter, I'm looking forward to reading on! :)

Thu, September 3rd, 2020 12:34am

smircle

This was a good start! I can relate to Charlie way too much, especially with never knowing what date it is (I was convinced today was Tuesday but it's actually Thursday xD). I love how relatable it is and that you didn't hold back on that; it's very realistic, which isn't very common these days, so I admired the approach. The description at the end was good, and it was an entertaining opening chapter. Good job! On a side note, my French teacher used to call us a bunch of cabbages, and another always called us 'ladies' (all-girls school) when she was in a good mood, so it was a good judge of what we'd get away with in class xD

Thu, September 10th, 2020 11:59pm

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