the short story project


Catherine Bowers


          “Did you hear?” “Did you see?” I tried to ignore the millions of questions being asked to me for as long as possible, or at least until I find a seat on this damn bus. My name is Jacob, but people call me J for a reason I don’t even know. “Yeah, yeah. I saw it. I was right there for heaven’s sake! Now give me a minute! I have a video!” I wasn’t stuck in the middle of a fight by choice, but why not film it? I HATE high school. Now, I know people say hate is a strong word, but it’s the right word. I mean, what else am I supposed to say? Strongly dislike? No. “Wait, who fought who?” “Newman and that new kid, Ty.” “Hasn’t Ty been here long enough not to be new anymore? I mean, he’s been here, what? Two weeks? Maybe three?” Shoot! I left my phone in Mr. Paido’s room! And his class is across the whole entire school! My stupid busdriver would never wait for me! “Oh, well. Sorry you guys. I left my phone in my math teacher’s room.” “Damn. Who do you have for math?” “Mr. Paido. Who do you have?” “Ew. Same. I do NOT like his class. He gives so much homework to us, and…” I didn’t hear the rest. Didn’t care, either. I probably wasn’t missing out. But Emma! Now that’s something I care about! Nobody else really notices her, but I sure the hell do. “Emma! I saved you a seat!” Good, got her attention yelling from the back of the bus, but I also got the rest of the bus’ attention. “Oh… Uh. I actuually got Sarah to save me a seat already. Sorry… Uh… Jhayden, right?” Forget it. She doesn’t even know my name. Well, I should forget her, but she’s just so hot. “Hey ‘Jhayden!’ Got a girlfriend, huh? Oh, wait! That’s right! She doesn’t even know you!” Of course Rett would comment. And of course the whole bus thinks he’s funny! Of course everybody has to laugh with him! At me. God, I hate high school. 


           New day, but it’s still only Wednesday. But at least I’ll get my phone back today. My phone! If I don’t have my phone, then I don’t have an alarm! If I don’t have an alarm, I don’t get up for school on time! “Mom! What time is it?” No answer. I forgot. Ever since she got a job, the only other person in the house every morning is Berry, our fat Labrador Retriever. I hate mornings. 


            “So, you decided to show up for class at 9:57 in the morning? Thank you, Mr. Toleman. Please join us for the rest of class. That is, if you feel like it?” Raymon’s class. Biology. Disgusting and boring. “Sorry, Mr. Raymon. My alarm didn’t go off.” “Jacob, I have your alarm. You left it in my class yesterday.” So I didn’t leave it in Mr. Paido’s! Saves me a trip to math class. “Sorry again, sir. I was just in a rush.” Who the hell took my spot this time! Gracie. I hate Gracie. Time to sit by the new kid, Ty. Or, as some people say, he’s not new anymore. He’s also supposed to be the “best” drug dealer in the whole school. Cool. What a waste of time. And breath. Don’t forget breath. “Hey, is anybody sitting here?” “Yeah, you. Now hurry up before you draw attention to me.” What is he talking about? He loves attention. Oh, his juul. Yeah, me sitting down is the reason for any attention drawn to the big ass cloud of smoke coming from his sweatshirt sleeve. Me. Whatever, I’ll slam my books if I want, which I did. BOOM! THe textbooks hit the table with a successfull thud. “Mr. Toleman, can I help you?” “Oh, no, sir. i just dropped my textbooks.” A glare from the drug-boy? That’s it? Whatever, it was worth it. “What the hell are you doing, man! Tryin’ to get us all in trouble?” Ew. His breath smells like plasticy mangos. Should I tell him he just dropped his juul on the floor? Nah, he’ll be fine.

            “Mr. Toleman. Could you please stay behind for a moment? I would like to speak to you in private.” Sure. Fine. He probably just wants to give me the assignments from the beginning of class. But then, why is the dean with him? “Mr. Toleman, are you an honest person?” The Dean of Students is asking me if I’m an honest person? Why? I’ve never gotten a grade lower than 80% better yet have done anything. “Mr. Toleman, what is this?” She hands a long USB out to me. A juul. Oh my god. She thinks it’s mine? She must not know about new kids. They aren’t good kids because they’re new! But if this got on my record, I would be ruined! No colleges would accept me! I imagine it now: DRUG ABUSE RECORD, in big, bold print across my transcript. “It wasn’t me! It was that new kid, Ty! I swear! You couldn’t think it was me! I’ve never even had bad grades! I-” Panicking! Great! “Mr. Toleman, I’m not accusing you of this, although I do know of Mr. Ishelo’s, or Ty’s… bad habit. Thank you for being honest. You may go now.”


        Two days after the incident. Ty is suspended, and I’m scared. All of his friends, or should I say customers, ride my bus, and I don’t want any trouble. “Hey, snitch! You better watch your back! We know you told the Dean about Ty’s juul!” “Yeah, you gonna get jumped, bro!” Great. Look’s like I don’t have a choice. Trouble it is. 



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