Chapter Description: Images for this story can be found at the following web...... https://sites.google.com/view/comedy-ars-characters/home
I walked quickly. I wanted to make sure that I would not be late for anymore classes. Since my locker was in between my Spanish and English class, I stopped by it again to pick up my copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. I think every kid has to read that.
My locker was near the girl’s bathroom, and when one girl exited, Duchess and Starline happened to be right there, ready with their personalized brand of insults.
“Ewwwwww, your legs are so hairy,” said Duchess.
“They are soooooo totally gross.” Added Starline.
I had no intention of rescuing a damsel in distress, but I did make the comment, “You don’t have to be mean, girls.”
Starline huffed back, “You’re picking the wrong side, Derrek.”
I recognized the ‘damsel’ from homeroom as Sally Sukkemsilli and I gave her a thumbs up along with the remark, “Keep your spirits up.” Then I picked up the pace and headed off to my third period English class.
But the girl ran after me and tapped my shoulder. “Wait, what’s your name?”
I quickly replid, “I’m Derrek. I’ve got to get to class.”
Arriving before the bell, my English teacher, Mrs. Epiginia Bullutis was nothing like Senorita Gato. She was built like an army tank and seemed to move in slow motion.
The seating chart was all messed up in her room because there was an odd arrangement of two-student tables. I got paired up with Randy Pantz of all people, the bane of Mr. Victum.
“Derrek, you have to be careful,” he told me. “The Bullutis boobs are registered with the FBI as lethal weapons. Her FBI code name is Two-ton Tina Galento. Last year, she was walking down an aisle and her left boob hit a kid in the head and he suffered a massive concussion.”
“Is that really true, Randy?” I asked.
“Hell, yeah! You know how many things I could fit in just one of her bra cups? I’ll bet those boobs weigh at least 50 pounds apiece soaking wet. And she buys her Tee-shirts from Omar the tent-maker so she can enter the wet tee-shirt contests.”
“I think you’re exaggerating a bit, Randy.”
“Nuh uh … Listen, Derrek, if she’s talking to you, never make direct eye-to-boob contact and never smile. It’ll really piss her off. Just don’t talk to her boobs. And don’t ask her if you can touch them to make sure they’re real … cuz they are.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“And don’t ask her if she has back problems … And don’t ever pay her boobs a compliment cuz it’ll sound totally phony … And don’t ever tell her that you’re more of a ‘butt’ man.”
“She hasn’t seen her feet in twenty years.”
“I hear you, Randy … it’s enough already.”
“Class,” said Mrs. Bullutis, “take out sheet of notebook paper and a pen. We’re going to start the year with a bonus quiz. You can earn extra credit by listing the names of all the Shakespeare plays that you know and indicating whether they belong as Comedies, Histories, or Tragedies.”
(Wow, we’re actually doing school work.)
Okay, I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare, but there’s a bunch I remember just from being a 28 year old … King Lear, MacBeth, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Ceasar (Am I running out already?) Much Ado about Nothing, A Comedy of Errors (I think that one’s a comedy) Did he write Romeo & Juliet? Let’s put that one in tragedies.
I thought seventh grade would be a snap. Wait I remember ‘Love’s Labor Lost’. Now I’m really struggling … Was ‘Henry the 8th’ one? What about ‘Charlemagne’? I wonder if we’ll have to read these this year.
Mrs. Bullutis began making the rounds to check on how the students were doing with their quiz. When she got to our table, she hovered behind us for a full minute, making me nervous.
Then she leaned in for a closer look at our work, both Randy and me. It was too close for comfort. The clothing over her left boob was rubbing against the right side of my face. I tried to lean away from it.
Without warning, the teacher reached forward and down, with two hands, and grabbed our quizzes … after which, she crumpled them up and threw them in the waste basket.
I looked up at the instructor with a bewildered expression. “I don’t understand, Mrs. Bullutis. What did I do?”
She scoffed, “It’s not what you did. It’s what you both did. I will not tolerate cheating from any of my students. The answers on both of your quizzes, you and Randy, were identical … including ‘Charlemagne’ which Shakespeare did not write.”
I was shocked. “But Ma’am, I didn’t—“
“I don’t want to hear it, Derrek. It’s obvious the two of you were in cahoots. You boys may think you’re hot stuff because you can walk all over Major Victum, but cheating doesn’t fly in this class.”
The teacher went back to her desk and returned with a half pad of paper … (Oh shit! Another detention?)
I explained, “But I already have a detention today from Miss Gato.”
“Then pick another day.”
Randy piped up, “Can we pick a day when we don’t have football practice?”
“What?” I said with alarm. You’re on the football team too? Jesus Frickin Christ, why did I come to this school today?”
“Pick your poison,” said the instructor.
“How about Thursday?” asked Randy.
“Randy, are we off from football that day?”
“Yeppers.” he nonchalantly answered.
“Fine, I grumbled. “And why did you copy off me?”
“I didn’t do it.” He responded with an innocent look.
I just shook my head. I had to let it go and move on at that point. I remembered that Randy said ‘I didn’t do it’ about a dozen times in Mr. Victum’s class.
The rest of the period, Mrs. Bullutis got us prepped for the plot of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. To this day, I still don’t know what the title has to do with the story.
“Class,” she concluded, “this week you’ll be responsible for reading the first 100 pages in the story.”
There was a collective and very loud groan throughout the room.
“Get used to it,” she told us. “You’re not in elementary school anymore. You’re all big seventh graders now.”
I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”
Third period mercifully ended. In my first three periods of seventh grade, I managed to acquire two detentions. The day had not started well. But now, it was on to lunch, a major social challenge for any twelve-year-old.
Waiting in line to pick up goodies gave me a chance to survey the cafeteria and search for a landing spot where I wouldn’t appear to be socially awkward. Nobody used money anymore to pay for food. I was given an ID card which Sammantha had loaded up with $100 which would keep me fed for awhile.
I selected pizza, a fruit cup, milk, and a brownie … and then surveyed the landscape. Madeline Dazilme was already with a group of girls, so that was out. But then I noticed Hoshiko was by herself and actually doing homework while she ate.
I approached her table, and I still had a Japanese sentence I hadn’t used yet. “Koko nee swatay moey deska?” (May I sit here?)
She positively beamed when she heard me say that and eagerly pointed to the chair across from her. “Hi!” (yes).
“Adams,” someone called out.
I pulled out the chair at the girl’s table.
“Hey, Adams!” the same deep voice yelled.
I turned around to see who was calling me. It was Big-O, Otto Brown, who I had sat with on the bus this morning.
“You’re seat is HERE.” he said forcefully, pointing to an empty chair at his table.
Accompanying Big-O at the double table were nine other boys, presumably all on the football team. I knew better than to decline his invitation. Team loyalty meant a lot in a team sport.
Reluctantly, I had to smile and say, “I’ll talk to you later, Hoshiko.” I hated to hurt her feelings, but this decision was obvious. My place at a lunch table was dictated for me.
I knew that how I handled myself at this first lunch with teammates would go a long way toward determining how much fun (or lack thereof) I would have this entire school year. I was sure that some of these guys would be playing basketball and baseball too.
I was nervous as hell. I was a spy, an imposter … a 28 year old man sitting down at a table with twelve-year-old boys and attempting to ‘fit in’. Okay, I had to remember to have confidence and a relaxed smile. Don’t let them smell my fear.
With those thoughts in mind, I chose to speak first, as I took my seat across from Big-O.
“Hey Big-O.” Then I glanced down the long double-table. “I’m Derrek Adams. Let’s see who I know already.”
Then I pointed around the table. “Randy and Goro are in my math class. The other guys in my homeroom are Batty, Grey Wolf, Showkat, and Cocoa Conley.”
The short, muscular boy sitting next to Big-O stood up and offered his hand across the table. I took it. This kid had a wickedly strong grip.
“Welcome to the ‘Nads’,” he greeted me. “I’m Dilinger X Von Chompion. I’m the leader of this clown car.”
“What does the ‘X’ stand for,” I queried.
The other nine boys yelled out, “EXTREME!”
He added, “If you need me, you can find me in the weight room.”
“Wow,” I said. “This team is like the United Nations. You got guys from everywhere.”
“Listen, Derrek,” said ‘X’, “everyone here is a token. Everyone’s a stereotype. And everyone has fun with it. For example, my highly elusive running back sitting to my right is ‘Showkat Gokool’. With a name like that, I was totally shocked and stunned to find out that he was black.”
X continued, “Our Asian player is Yat Yim. We don’t know what country he’s from and neither does he … doesn’t matter. Can you guess what his parents tell him?”
“He has to be smart?” I offered.
“He has to get straight A’s or he doesn’t play … not too much pressure there … But his name is Yat Yim and we just call him ‘Y-Y’.”
“But Why? Why?” I asked emphatically.
“Ooooooohhhhhhhhh.” There was a collective groan across both tables.
X commented, “You’re gonna fit right in with this group of idiots, Derrek.
Yat Yim explained, “Hong Kong was our family’s last stop. Before than, I’m not sure. We’ve moved around a lot.”
“Anyway,” said X, “with a ‘Von’ in my name, that makes me German, so historically, I shouldn’t be fond of the guy at the end of the table. But there’s two reasons why that isn’t true.”
“One is the fact that he’s the best wide receiver on the team, and my number one target as a quarterback. And two … I have to give him a lot of credit for having the balls to name himself ‘Penis’ … Meet Putz Goldfarb.”
My fears doubled when Putz set down his slice of pizza and stared all the way down the double table, directly into my eyes. If he recognized me as ‘Precious’, my school year would be over even before it began.