Sunday, August 9, 2015
1st 5 Pages August Workshop - Pennington Revision 1
Name: Valerie Pennington
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Title: Opposites Collide
I’m honestly surprised that The Murph hasn’t kicked me out of school yet. The problem that he continually runs into is that I’m not (usually) physically violent. I’ve instead crafted my words into their own weapon. While this lands me in his office regularly, he has a hard time justifying giving the boot to one of Lambertville High’s top students, especially when we are barely scraping by in the state-wide testing department.
“Miss Beckers, you may now come in.” I look up to see Principal Murphy standing in the doorway, his imposing height belittled by the fact that he is wearing a toupee and suspenders.
As I take my regular seat in the worn leather chair in front of his name plate, he shuts the door behind me and ascends to his throne. This isn’t my first rodeo and I know better than to talk before he has his grand commencement. He spends a few seconds studying me while I sit up in my chair in attempts to make my mere 5’1” stature seem taller and more formidable. Dark red hair resides in my patented Mulan bun on the top of my head giving me a little extra height. My brown eyes roam the familiar posters and achievements on the wood-paneled walls as I wait for him to speak.
He dramatically sighs. “Charlotte. Would you care to explain to me how exactly you came about calling Mr. Carl Young a, what was it? Oh yes, a ‘misogynist and narcissistic pig’?”
“Sir, I understand how this reflects poorly on my character, but I felt that his sexist comments needed to be addressed.” I say in my best “good student” voice.
“And you had to be the one to address them?”
“It isn’t so much that it had to be me as much as it wouldn’t have been anyone else.”
“Why is that?”
“Carl’s beloved by the masses. I’m not saying that he’s a bad guy, but I do believe that popular and unpopular alike need to be educated on these matters.”
“While I appreciate the effort, your words won’t get you out of this mess. You have a reputation for verbally attacking students and it must stop now. I’ve talked with some of your teachers and the school secretary, and we feel that detention isn’t a suitable conscience for your most recent misconduct. Instead, all I require of you is a sincere apology to Mr. Young.” He says with his patented “checkmate” smirk.
“But sir—“ I object. I try to make it a habit of not blatantly lying and an apology to Carl would be a steaming pile of crap.
“Before you say anything else, I would like to remind you that I have a large sway in who gets picked for the prestigious Leaders of the Eastern Academic Division program. Now I propose that you do as I ask and apologize to Mr. Young.” He throws down his trump card and waits as it takes effect.
Before I can say anything, there’s a knock on the door that alights his smarmy face with a million watt smile. He tells whoever it is to come in while he gestures for me to stand up. I turn around and my eyes land on Carl. His “Roaring Lions Baseball” shirt is stretched over his defined arm muscles but even his nice body can’t detract from his crap personality. I try not to roll my eyes as he greets our beloved principal. He stands at the back of the room and I make my way to stand in front of him. His face looks so smug that I could punch him but I resist the urge as I see The Murph creep around his “Just Learn It!” poster.
“Hello Carl.” I grit out through my smile.
“Charlotte.” Carl returns with a phony look of dejection.
I take a deep breath. It’s now or never. “Look Carl, I’m sorry for calling you a misogynist and narcissistic pig. I don’t even know you and I judged you unfairly. You seem like a, uh, nice guy who I misjudged. You have a right to your opinions as I have a right to mine. I shouldn’t have jumped down your throat and I apologize for that.” I breathe a sigh of relief after delivering a fairly convincing apology.
“So, you don’t think those awful things about me?” His lip quivers. I discretely roll my eyes. I know he’s doing this to get under my skin but little does he know the LEAD program is much more tempting than punching his pretty-boy face.
“Not at all.” I smile, thinking happy thoughts.
Instantly he brightens up, but the sudden change makes me suspicious, like it has more to do with a new idea than my apology. He quickly shouts his forgiveness at me as he turns to The Murph and shakes his hand before leaving the room. His departure is tinted with a little too much self-satisfaction for my taste.
I stay where I’m standing but move my body until it faces the only remaining person in the room.
“Miss Beckers, as a junior, I expect you to be an example to your fellow underclassmen and that means staying out of trouble. Do you understand?”
“You may go.”
I quickly walk out of his office but slow down while I wait for him to shut the door. Once he does, I make a beeline over to the school secretary, Miss Walkens.
“Thanks Miss W, I know that you had a lot to do with the ‘lack of a detention’ thing.”
“You’re a good student, despite what some of the staff may think, and your dreams shouldn’t be ripped away that easily.” Even though Miss. Walkens is only in her mid-twenties, she talks and acts like a Southern mother. Her hair is much bigger than the accepted standard in Michigan and her clothes include a lot more scarves and cowboys boots than anyone here.
I give her my first genuine smile of the morning. She’s become my calm after the storm that is our lovely principal. I’m not sure if it was the constant exposure to me or if we just have compatible personalities but we’ve developed a mutual respect for one another.
“I’m glad you think that. Brown University can’t get rid of me that quick.” I laugh.
“You are gonna just have a ball when you get chosen as a representative for our school to the LEAD program. A few weeks without trouble will just whiz by.”
“Well, I don’t know about that.” I let out a hearty laugh. Still, it’s nice to know that at least one staff member believes in me.
“Have a great day, Charlotte.” I hear the smile in her voice as I head into the zoo that is my school. Wild students stalk through the halls getting from one destination to another as I join in. Once I enter the feeding area, I spot my best friend, Hunter.
“What’s the verdict, Gremlin?” He asks as I take my place next to him in line. The nickname started in seventh grade when we first watched it; he says it’s fitting because Gremlins are mischievous by nature. He’s clearly delusional. I take in his standard uniform: casual khaki pants and a loose-fitting V-neck on his lanky body with perpetually messed up brown hair. Objectively speaking, he’s attractive but none of the girls here are intelligent enough to look past his jocklessness.