Sunday, August 2, 2015
1st 5 Pages August Workshop - Pennington
Name: Valerie Pennnington
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Title: Opposites Collide
“Charlotte Beckers, please proceed to the principal’s office,” Mrs. Magnus announces to the class; this elicits a chorus of “oohs” with an annoyingly loud “again?” from my oh-so-mature classmates.
“Thanks”, I say as I reach for Mrs. Magnes’ hall pass; I would rather do anything, including take a trip to see the principal, than sit in her class for any longer. She explained on the first day of class that she believes in the just-world hypothesis (or more aptly called the just-world fallacy because it’s a mistaken belief) which states good will be rewarded with good while bad will ultimately be punished. Personally, I think it’s an excuse to read her romance novels and not pay much attention to her class, but I wouldn’t put it past her to be performing some elaborate social experiment.
Once I’m out of that zoo, I walk the very short distance to the front office; all of my classes seem to be within a few hundred feet of the front office, I smell a conspiracy.
“Well hello Charlotte, it’s been, what, three days? I think that’s a new record.” A smiling Miss Walkens greets me when I step inside the front office. She likes to give me a hard time for my “problem student” reputation, but I know that I’m secretly one of her favorites.
“Hey Miss W, how’s your day going?”
“I’ve had better days.” She sighs. “My fiancé got sick in the middle of the night, so I spent my night at a hospital surrounded by puke and florescent lights.”
“That sucks, I’m sorry. Is Jake better now?” Over the years, we’ve forged somewhat of a friendship, with us each knowing random facts about one another. I like her a lot but most importantly, I respect her. She’s never looked down on me or written me off, and her patience is legendary. Even I can appreciate that. Her smiling face has become the quiet before the storm.
“Miss Beckers, you may come in now.” I throw a smile to Miss Walkens before facing The Murph (or as other students respectfully refer to him, Principal Murphey).
“How are you today, Charlotte?”
“Please explain to me exactly how it came about that you called Carl Young a ‘misogynist and narcissistic pig’?”
Crap. “Sir, I understand how this reflects poorly on my character, but I felt that his behavior needed to be corrected and his… umm… ways needed be changed. It might not have come across as nice but I honestly think that he will be a better person because of it.” I throw out one of my charming smiles but he doesn’t fall for it.
“Oh Miss Beckers, you do have a way with words, but unfortunately for you, I need you to apologize to him. And before you argue with me, I am intentionally not giving you a detention because I know how much you are looking forward to The Lawrence Institute Summer Leadership Program. I am asking that you do this today and stay out of trouble from now on because I wouldn’t want anything to happen with that great opportunity.”
Ouch, that threat hit its intended target. “Thank you sir. I will be on my best behavior.”
“You may leave.”
Anger at having been dismissed quickly gives way to dejection. The Lawrence Institute Summer Leadership Program is my shot at getting into Brown next year, but there is still a little over a month until school ends and that is asking a lot, some might say too much, for me to keep my mouth shut for that long.
“What’s the verdict, Gremlin?” my best friend, Hunter, asks me in my next class. He started calling me Gremlin because he thinks it’s a fitting nickname (they are mischievous by nature) but it’s obviously not. I just tend to stick up for my beliefs passionately which gets me in trouble more than the average human.
“I have to apologize.” I huff out.
“Is it ‘too late to apologize’?” Hunter sings out, clearly proud of himself.
“Hardy har har. Ryan Tedder doesn’t even sing a-pologize; if you listen to the song, he just says ‘pologize’.”
“This punishment is making you particularly cranky today.” Hunter notes. Sometimes people are confused why we are best friends because he’s more of the shy, intelligent type while I’m not. The answer is simple enough: he doesn’t put up with my crap, and he always tells me the truth, whether I ask for it or not. It might not be a recipe for success, but it’s worked for us since elementary school.
“You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“See! It’s not that hard.” His triumphant smile makes an appearance.
I don’t dignify his response with an answer. Even though he can annoy the crap out of me, I really don’t know what I would do without him. As my aunt would say, he’s “good people”.
Just as I am about to dive into my peanut butter and jam sandwich, in walks Carl Young. Awesome.
“Go get ‘em tiger.”
I plaster on a slightly convincing smile and make my way to the table that holds an impressive amount of egomaniacs. Be nice, Charlotte.
Carl’s friend, Garrett Williams, nudges him when he sees me coming which seems to flip a switch in him and a smug little smile appears on his face.
“Well hello Charlotte, how are you today? Is there anything that you feel… compelled to tell this, what was it, misogynist and narcissistic pig?”
I swallow down all of my pride because I know that if I don’t come off as genuinely sincere, The Murph will follow through on his threat.
“I’m good, thanks Carl.” I push out through my forced smile.” I, umm, would like to apologize to you formally. I was out of line when I called you those names, and I will work on my self-control.” I take a breath before I lie to his face, “I’m sorry.”
My cheeks are starting to hurt because they’ve been holding the same position for too long, yet Carl doesn’t say anything.
“How are you?” I eventually ask.
“I’m not trying to be picky” I’m gonna punch him. “But that just didn’t feel sincere. You still think that I am those awful things you called me and that hurts.”Not as much as your stomach is gonna hurt in a minute.
Breathe. I look over at Garrett and all I see is a look of glee and anticipation. The Lawrence Institute Summer Leadership Program. Do it for The Lawrence Institute Summer Leadership Program. “I’m sorry for calling you a misogynist and narcissistic pig. You are quite a lovely guy.” I inwardly cringe. “I was in the wrong when I said those things.”
“So you don’t think I’m either of those things?” He asks with a look of pure glee.
“Not at all.” I grit out.
I want to punch him.
The last thing that I see before I launch myself at my table where Hunter and my sandwich await is a wicked grin that I want to smack off of his face. By the time that I get back, I’m nearly fuming but it will all be worth it when I get accepted into the Lawrence program. Eye on the prize.
“Umm Char, whenever you’re done with your rather extensive inner dialogue, you might want to see who is quickly approaching our table,” Hunter says, a look of confused amusement hiding in the depths of his mouth.