Monday, March 15, 2010

Chapter 3: Mr. Evans Office

“Mr. Young.” Principal Evan’s eyes moved to watch me as I staggered into the chair across from his desk. On the wall behind his desk, Principal Evan’s had hung a large American flag. At the moment he was standing straight and tall directly in front of that flag. I was prepared for him to point at me and say, “Uncle Sam needs you!” I sat closer to the edge of the chair, ready to stand and solute. However, instead Mr. Evan’s sat in the large chair behind his desk.
My mind began to race frantically. If I wasn’t being drafted, why had I been called here? I couldn’t think of anything I had done wrong. This could be about the Professor Sneugler incident, but that hadn’t really been my fault. If anyone, the drummer who had dropped his stick should be sitting here squirming. Leaving things lying around is dangerous! Especially if I’m around! My tortured thoughts became frantic and I was about to fall to my knees begging for forgiveness when Principal Evan’s began to speak.
“It has been brought to my attention, by a reliable source, that you are well known by the entire school body. You have the highest grade point average of anyone in Bethel High, and you have never spent any time in detention.” I was beginning to feel better about being here. I could handle all this praise. I sat up taller in my chair and could feel my chest rising. Maybe having two whole friends didn’t place me in the popular and cool section of well known, but at least everyone in the school seemed to know enough about me to stay away from me.
“For this reason, I have decided that you are the perfect candidate to run for class president.” I began to choke on the breath of air I had just taken. (Breathing can be a dangerous thing sometimes.
“But, but, but…” Principal Evan’s waited patiently for me to finish my motorboat impression and go on. “I, I, I don’t know anything about running for class president!”
Principal Evan’s gave me an indulgent smile. “Mr. Young, no one knows anything about anything until he tries to accomplish it.”
“But, Sir!” I stammered… “I’m allergic to public speaking! Crowds make me break out in hives! Not only that, but you couldn’t pick a worse person to represent the school body! I might catch the school on fire. Besides, I don’t believe in climate change or going green… or, or anything a good, self respecting politician would!” My mind continued to scramble for reasons I could not and should not run for class president. I hoped that Principal Evan’s would listen and believe that I was telling the truth, but he continued to smile at me with that condescending and indulgent smile.
“Mr. Young, I am not asking you to run for president of the United States. You have nothing to worry about. Nothing you do or say will be held against you in a court of law. Think of this as a simple class assignment.”
“But, Sir…” I tried again, but Mr. Evans held up his hand to silence me. He stood up again and put his hands across his heart.
“Some choose greatness, son, and others have it thrust upon them. You must do this for the sake of honor, justice, and school pride.” I could almost see the American flag waving behind him. I could almost hear patriotic music being played. Then the school bell rang.
“That will be all, Mr. Young. You will be given a pamphlet with the rules and regulations for the race within the week.” Principal Evans sat back down and began shuffling through some papers on his desk, effectively dismissing me. I got up in a daze and managed to find the door. I stepped out into the now crowded and noise filled hallway. Which class had I been in before I was summoned to my own execution plan? I pushed my way through the crowd hoping my feet would remember the way. This was going to be a long day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chapter 2: Sandy

“Herbert!” I looked down the length of the hallway to see who had called out to me. It was Sandy Evans, the principals daughter. You might as well know that Sandy is one of my best friends, even though she is a girl. We’re in most of the same classes, and she has kind of appointed herself my personal bodyguard. I suppose Sandy is kind of cute, if you can see past her thick lensed glasses. They magnified her eyes and made them look huge. Sandy has her own quirks. She fancies herself somewhat of a detective. If anyone can sniff up a conspiracy where there is none, it’s Sandy. Just the other day, she told me that she suspected the school nurse of stealing drugs from the school medicine cabinet and selling them on the black-market. I told her that our 70 year old nurse, Mrs. Salve, probably could find a better way to earn money than selling aspirin, Band-Aids, and antibiotic ointment to drug dealers. She still has Mrs. Salve under close investigation, but if it that’s what floats her boat, I wasn’t about to sink it.
“Herbert.” Sandy was practically on top of me now, her magnified eyes sizing me up. “Are you on the case too? “ I stared at her in confusion.
“Look, Sandy, if you’re talking about the investigation on Mrs. Salve, than no.” I spent too many hours in the infirmary having my limbs sewn back on. I wasn’t about to get on Mrs. Salve’s bad side.
“Don’t be silly, Herbert.” Sandy’s replied. “The case around Mrs. Salve is closing in. I just have to bide my time until she slips up and makes a mistake. I’m talking about a whole new case! We just caught wind of it this morning!”
“We? Whose we?” Sandy rolled her eyes as though she though my question silly.
“I’ve got Brock investing some classified information for me.”
“Brock? You’re having Brock help you on one of your cases?”
“Of course! I can’t exactly walk into the guys locker room, now can I?” She was giving me that, “Are you stupid look, but I didn’t answer since she never really asked the question aloud. I decided to change the subject instead.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to have Brock help you? He’s so… so…”
I suppose now’s as good a time as any to tell you about Brock. Brock was my other best friend. We made an odd trio. I was an averaged height nerd with a knack for disaster. Sandy was extremely short, kinda cute, with an overactive imagination. And Brock… Brock was the biggest kid in school and was extremely popular among the ladies. However, the size of his body seemed to have robbed some of the nutrients from his brain. He was constantly stating the obvious or being surprised at simple common place things. I suppose he could have fit in with the popular crowd, but he didn’t try. Brock had joined our little group, and we were glad to have him.
“But to have him on one of your cases, Sandy? Aren’t you afraid he might give up your undercover position or something?”
“Well, who else was I supposed to ask, Herbert? You avoid the locker room like it’s a leper colony. Brock loves to spend time in the gym. He’s the perfect undercover agent for this case!” I could see her point.
“Okay, I guess that makes sense. What is this case about?”
“Mr. Young.” I turned slowly to my right were Principal Evans was standing. What do you know! I had made it all the way down the scary hall to his office without knocking anyone over or blowing anything up! “This must be my day!” I thought. However, the look on Principal Evan’s face told me otherwise.
“Mr. Young,” His voice was always calm, with a rich and almost spooky quality to it. It made me shiver. I did not call you to my office to have you converse in the hallway. You may enter my office.” I turned to look at Sandy one more time before entering the office of doom. She was smiling adorably at her dad.
“Sandy, shouldn’t you be in class?” Mr. Evans asked.
“Yes, Daddy.” Sandy answered brightly. “I just wanted to make sure Herbert made it here safely.” She gave him a sweet smile, before turning to go back to class.
I turned back to her dad, who was smiling down the hall at her retreating image, before he turned back to me with a serious gaze. He turned without saying anything to me and entered his office, leaving the door open behind him. I took a deep breath before taking a step into Mr. Evans office, only to trip over the doorstop. No, maybe this wasn’t my day afterall.

Chapter 1: Professor Sneugler's Class

I was filled with trepidation as I walked the long, empty corridors of the school. My destination was the principal’s office, but these hallways had never seemed so long. I put my hand over my heart to muffle the sound of its rhythm.
I could hear it bouncing off the walls and brightly shining tiles of the floor.
“Shhhh…” I whispered, hoping my heart would take the hint. Just then trumpets joined the beating of my heart. I jumped, tripped on my shoelace, and SPLAT, fell on my face. After picking myself up, making sure I hadn’t broken my nose, and checking out the new tear in my slacks, I sighed with relief. That wasn’t my heart beating after all. It was Professor Shneugler’s class. They’d been practicing a song for the end of the year ceremony since of beginning of the year. Each orchestra member had his or her part memorized by heart. I had tried out for the cymbals, but had managed to slam my nose between those two shiny pieces of metal one too many times. Mr Shneugler held back his temper, but let me know in no uncertain terms that there was no room for me in his world of music. My disappointment was keen, not because I had any great aspirations of becoming the world’s next famous cymbal player, but because Cynthia Smith was the lead violinist, and I would have done anything to be near her. Even getting my nosed slammed between two sharp pieces of metal seemed worth it. But it was not to be. As it was, Mr. Sneugler begged me to stay away from his classroom. Of course, that was after I had tripped over a drummer’s stick. So technically, what happened next was the fault of the drummer who was careless enough to misplace his stick. But no matter whose fault it was, I tripped over the drummer’s stick into the drummers set. After I untangled myself there, I fell into the orchestra pit right onto Cynthia Smith. That day was one of the worst days of my life and the best days of my life. Cynthia spoke to me!
“Get off of me!” she shrieked. And I did. Only to run into the piano, which for someone’s convenience (but certainly not mine) was on wheels. I hit it with enough force that it and I began to roll rapidly across the floor right into the brass section of the orchestra. It was actually quite a masterpiece of confusion, my specialty. There I was sprawled on top of a rolling piano, which was picking up speed as it rolled through the brass section of the orchestra. Shrieking band members leaped our to my way, each holding on to their instrument as though it was a child in danger. Professor Shneugler stood behind his desk, sputtering and blinking through his bifocals. When the finally came to a halt… “BANG – ching”… against the opposite wall, my handiwork was something to behold. M. Shneugler continued sputtering before his eyes turned to focus directly on me.
“Young man! Ged oud uv my clazz!”
“But, sir!” I said, trying to explain and apologize at the same time.”
“No. Do nod speak. Ged oud uv my clazz!”
It probably would have been a humorous sight if I hadn’t been the one who had caused all of the trouble. All the band members were cowering in corners as I made my way to the door.
“I really am sorry. If you want I can help…”
“NO! Leab my clazz!!!”
So I left. I could hear the sigh of relief as I shut the door. Funny, that’s the same sigh I heard when I was called out of Biology class to go to the principal’s office. I couldn’t see the connection. It wasn’t as though I had knocked anything over or blown anything up… yet… today…
I suppose it’s about time I introduced myself. My name is Herbert. Herbert Young. I’m 13 years old and I’m in the 7th grade. You know how everyone is usually labled in school? Every highschool has their jocks and their preps, and their nerds. You may not have guessed yet but at Franklin High I’m considered a topnotch nerd. Hey, everybody’s good at something. My specialty just happens to be studying and destroying things.
My dream is to invent something in high school that will let the world know that there really is a brain connected to my large hands and feet. You may be asking how someone who can’t even bang two pieces of metal together without getting his nose tangled up in between them thinks that he’ll ever be good at anything. Well, I’d be the first to admit that I’m a clutz, not quite world famous yet, but working on it.
As far as looks go, I’m fairly average height, but my feet and hands must be on steroids. They’re too big for my body and usually send me flying down stairs or dumping my lunch into some unsuspecting and innocent bystanders lap. I like to think of myself as an undercover superhero… in a scientific sort of way. You see, my inventions always seem to work when I’m alone, but something always seems to happen when I try to show them to people. I’d give you examples, but I think you’ll understand if you stick around. Just don’t stand too close. Back up a little. A little more. Okay, you should be safe from there, but I’d check my insurance coverage first if I were you.