by Elsa Stoff
The bell rang, and everyone rushed to their fifth period class, vacating the halls before teachers began to patrol. Mr. R yelled at Mike Halloway, as always.
“What are you doing? Put out that cigarette and get to the principal’s office.” The student reluctantly shuffled down the hallowed out hallway.
Senor Suarez’s class began to fill with Spanish IV students. Dillon Rodgkins walked into the room with his friends right before the bell rang. It was the first day of school, and nobody was ready to return to the harsh world known as high school.
“Class, please sit down,” the teacher at the front of the room said to the rows of empty desks.
Dillon and a group of guys pushed their desks together. Erica and Keith, the “it” couple of the year, sat next to each other by Dillon’s group. Erica’s fellow cheerleader, Edna who went by Tess, made a move to sit on Erica’s other side.
“Ew, what are you doing? That seat’s reserved,” Erica snapped at her, with attitude.
“Um, who’s sitting here? I don’t see anyone’s stuff,” Tess responded, wanting to fit in.
“Emily told me she’s going to be a little late to class,” Erica said, knowing that Emily wasn’t even in that class.
As soon as Tess left, Alyson Brookes slid into the open seat without a word of protest from Erica. The class was abuzz about summer excitement, and the class’s token ginger, Garrett, was talking about an intense party that had occurred a week before.
“The cops totally busted us. It was intense,” Garrett caught Ricky up on the details.
“I can’t believe I was stuck in Montana during all this,” Ricky shook his head.
“And did you hear; Dillon knocked up Cassidy!” Garrett exclaimed.
Garrett’s head flicked to where Cassidy was glaring at him.
“Just kidding,” he retreated further into a slouch at his desk.
A small blonde woman in the front of the room stood waiting for the class to settle down.
“Class! Please cease talking!” the noise level in the classroom gradually decreased, until the teacher found it appropriate to continue. “I’m Miss Webb, and I’ll be your substitute today. Grab a textbook and do the work on the board.”
A senior came running into the class in the middle of her speech.
“It’s been seven minutes since the bell rang. Who are you?” she demanded of him.
“Brandon,” he laughed, out of breath.
“All right, get a textbook and sit down,” she wrote his name down on an attendance slip.
Brandon shuffled to a seat in the back of the room sans textbook. Dillon, Garrett, and Ricky got up and turned Senor Suarez’s CD player on. Shakira’s newest single filled the classroom. Miss Webb figured this would be okay, as long as they were able to do work and listen to music simultaneously.
That plan didn’t exactly go well for her. Dillon got out his phone and texted his friend Calvin, telling him to join them. Two minutes later, Calvin roamed into the room. He pumped up the music, and the class reciprocated by talking louder to hear each other over the Spanish lyrics.
Miss Webb looked frazzled and worried that a supervisor would walk in any minute. She started to hand out the books herself, seeing that only one girl had collected one.
“Here, let me help you,” the girl perked up, and joined Miss Webb, “I’m Cassandra. You may know me because my dad owns Wonder Bread.”
Miss Webb smiled at her, “That’s nice.”
They finished passing the books out, and Cassandra sat in the corner of the room by herself. She started working on the grammar sheet. While she conjugated verbs in the imperfect tense, Alexa kicked a hacky sack around with some football players.
A new guy joined them, “Hi, I’m Sebastian Killaroy.”
Keith nodded at him, “Hey. I’m Keith, quarterback.”
Dillon spoke up, “Dillon, running back.”
Alexa’s ponytail bobbed up and down as she introduced herself to the new guy, “Alexa, kicker.”
“Like soccer?” Sebastian asked.
“No. Like football. Like kick the ball through the goalposts after a touchdown.”
“Oh. Ok.” Sebastian said timidly.
“Everyone judges me, because I play football. I’m not a guy!”
“No, no, I mean that’s cool. There’s something cool about me too. I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I do happen to be the descendent of Private Kilroy who was defended by Samuel Adams in the trial of the Boston Massacre,” Sebastian informed the class.
“You idiot! That’s not how he spells his last name!” Alyson Brookes shouted from across the room.
“That’s not true! You don’t even know how to spell my last name, nonetheless his,” Sebastian defended himself.
“It’s on the back of your sweatshirt you idiot,” she said.
Cassandra added in, “Saying ‘you idiot’ twice is redundant. Though you’re right; that’s not how you spell Kilroy.”
Alyson glared at Cassandra menacingly, and then she backhands her across the face.
Tears start streaming down Cassandra’s face, “My dad will sue you! He owns Wonder Bread!” She ran to the bathroom crying.
Keith yelled across the room to Dillon, “Dude, can you get my phone out of my bag?”
“Sure,” Dillon rifled around Keith’s backpack.
“No phones allowed! School policy!” Miss Webb tried to curtail Dillon’s effort to get the phone out.
He just ignored the substitute and produced the cell phone from the backpack. Dillon tossed the phone to Keith and was about to disregard the paper stuck to it, when the title caught his eye.
“Is this poetry? You write poetry? Really man?” Dillon laughed.
Keith emitted a nervous giggle, “No! It’s a rap. I was writing it for English, hoping to like, make the teachers mad with the curses… and stuff…”
“OK,” Dillon paused, “Wait, then why does it say Ode to Erica. ‘Your eyes are iridescent flowers that shine like a glimmering star.’”
Keith blushed, “I write poetry, ok? Do you have a problem with that?”
Dillon thought about it, but Calvin, who was listening to the whole thing, spoke up first, “No. It’s cool.”
“Yes,” Dillon finally said.
Calvin shook his head, “No.”
“Yes,” Dillon glared at Calvin, “I think Keith’s a pansy, and so do you.”
Keith glared at the floor throughout this exchange. Ricky decided it best that he cut the silence, so he pumped up the music to maximum volume. Now Latin music was streaming from the speakers, and a bunch of the students were fist pumping. Dillon hopped up onto the teacher’s desk and started awkwardly jerking his hips back and forth. The class collectively rolled their eyes at him.
Miss Webb ineffectively yelled for him to get down. In the middle of the song, there was a loud beeping sound signaling an announcement.
“Ladies and Gentleman, I am now putting a lockdown into affect. This is not a drill. I repeat: make all the necessary preparations for a lockdown,” the principal said through the speakers.
The music stopped, and the class froze with panic.
To be continued…