Chapter 1A Chapter by Amber
I guess I shouldn’t even go in there. They said no, well actually fist they said yes, and then they said no about 12 times. I pace around in a circle, looking at my feet, then at the sky, then back down, I move toward the door, then away. I close my eyes and force myself; I guess I don’t really have anything to lose, right? I mean if I go in there and they said no, they’ve already said no, but if I go in and they say yes then they cannot take it back. I walk in. The hallways are so big. The carpet is probably made of silk and the lockers are probably made of gold. The halls are also silent, not like they would be at my school; there, there would be smoke drifting in the hallway from the stoner boys in the bathroom and the sound of face sucking face from s****y couples hiding behind trash cans and drinking fountains. I was pretty sure our lockers were actually blue at one point but now they are a peeling brown color and the hall carpet that used to be a brown color was now stained with a rainbow of yellows, browns, and blacks from liquids and other items I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know about. At this school there were fancy black cameras on the top of the ceiling to watch out for burglars who were going to sneak in at night, at my school there were metal detectors to check for murders and gang bangers that might be attending our school.
Stay focused. Class 153? No, Class 158, No? Keep walking; keep walking, turn left, and go straight, ugh, why did I not write this down, name plates. Look at the name plates. The name plates also looked made of gold. They were located to the left of each door, even the names sounded high class. They were not even teachers, no this school was too good for Mr. and Mrs. they were Dr. Minerva and Dr. Crevette. I took another right, that was it, I remembered because he was not Dr. he was Journalist Craynor. Journalist was one of those fake titles not real teachers gave themselves, like when P.E. teachers called themselves “coach”. Should I knock? No, I should not, that would just give them the chance to shut the door in my face. I had to barge in, barge in dramatically and state my case and refuse to leave until I got what I wanted or they called security to carry me out of there. I do, I storm in, but not in a dramatic way. I open the door swiftly and take about six steps in when all of the students start staring at me as if I had just returned to a classroom after going to a bathroom. Mr, no wait, journalist Craynor groans, he was probably expecting me, he was probably giving his class busy work so that he could sit there tapping his pencil on his desk waiting for me to make a semi-dramatic entrance.
“No, Joey” Make that 13 no’s. “Leave” He stands up and points at the door. I really do almost turn around, I just about turn on my heel, rush down their pampered hallways and make my way out of this school and on my way home and never to come back again. The boys in this classroom all whisper to each other the word “girl” and do not take their eyes off of me, or off of my chest at least.
“I am not leaving” I say, I take another step forward, he groans again and sits back down. “You told me yes.” My anger is bubbling up, I never even realized I was this pissed about the situation until this exact moment when I was directly in front of the man who was literally crushing my dreams into tiny ant size pieces. “I was better then everyone.” I slightly yell, my words get a little bit louder every time I speak. “I worked my a*s off! I was the one you picked, I deserve this!” I truly and yelling now, I am probably echoing into the empty hallways, my voice dancing off the golden lockers.
“You are a liar Ms. Benson” He pracitcally yawns as he taps his pencil impatiently on his desk. I am not important enough for a Dr. title, nope, I am and always will be Ms. Benson, maybe one day Mrs., but never Dr. “I do not allow liars, or cheaters into my classroom. Being in this classroom is a privelage, and requires honesty and determination I am sure that you do not posses.” The boys in classrooms eyes’ all bounce back and forth between me and Journalist Craynor.
“I have earned that privelage. I am not a cheat. I passed your test, I wrote your essay, I was the best, you chose me.” I say, stepping again one step closer to him. And I was right, he did choose me. This was the best junior journalism class in the country, probably in the world if you didn’t count those crazy super geniuses who lived in Korea. That was always my dream, to be a journalist, and this practically guarunteed your acceptance to any newspaper or news reporter job in the country that your heart desired. Of course it was never an option, for a poor white girl like me who lived in an apartment that was probably the size of most of these boys’ bedrooms. Then a kid dropped out, for some reason, no one questioned it, and Journalist Craynor put out a scholarship for anyone who wanted to be on the staff, it included a test on Journalists, and newspapers and a essay on a random subject so that he could asses your writing ability in a stressful scenario. The scholarship was online and whomever he chose as the best got not only into the class but also a full ride into this school, there was only one problem.
“Will you please tell me the name of this school.” He said, not making eye contact with me. I started to do that thing when I’m nervous where I look at my feet, then the ceiling, then vise versa.
“William Juniors Private Academy for Boys” I mumble. He finally looks up to make eye contact with me.
“Louder” He says while continuing the tapping of his pencil.
“William Juniors Private Academy for Boys” I repeat, practically up to my yelling vioce once more. My mouth is starting to get dry " Another side effect to me being nervous.
“Correct. William Juniors Academy for Boys.” He stand once more, pusching his wheely chair aside so he can step more towards me, probably attempthing to become more intimidating . Its working. “And you, Ms. Benson, are not a boy.” Oh really, thanks for clearing that up for me because I was kind of confused on that particular subject.
“The scholarship did not specify it was only for guys, it said that it was for any American citizen from ages fifteen to eighteen, that’s me.” I will not back down, I will not back down.
“You said your name was Joey.”
“My name is Joey.” That had always been a particularly difficult situation for me. What was I supposed to do? My dad wanted a boy so he named me Joey. This was especially hard when I was twelve and had decided I wanted short hair, with no girly body yet it was extraordinarily difficult to convince people that I was indeed a girl. It was not the same situation with a girl like me who was name Elizabeth or even Sam, but, no, my name was Joey. But this moment, one of the only moments in my life, I was glad I was named Joey. I know that I could not possibly had been the only girl that applied for this scholarship but Journalist Craynpr had probably seen the applicant name be something like Julia or Sidney, and had automatically deleted it, " I suddenlt fely bad for any boys name Leslie " but of course he had seen Joey and like everyone else in my entire life, assumed that I was a guy. It was his own fault, he did not have a little box to check F for female and M for male. “You knew this was for boys. With your test results you obviously knew this was a school for young men only. You took advantage of your name and tried to deceive me.”
“Yes I did know, but I thought that if I was good enough it wouldn’t have mattered, and obviously I was good enough, and yes for once in my life I took advantage of me having a guys name. I earned this. I was better than everyone else in the entire country.”
“You are talented, yes, but the answer is still no.” Make that fourteen no’s.
“I’ll sue” I yelled, me and him were only about a foot away from eachother now. I suddenly remembered the other twenty something boys still in this class watching us intensely and probably wishing that they had popcorn. Where did I come up ‘I’ll sue’ I didn’t have the money to sue anyone, even if I did it was not like I knew how to sue anyone. He laughed. Yes, I realize now it was a stupid thing to say, but I’m going to act like it wasn’t.
“Go ahead and sue, this school has definitely faced a law suit or two in its day and we are fully prepared for this sort of hormonal behvior.” Hormonal? I understand stupid, but hormonal? Think, Joey, Journalist Craynor, what do you know about Journalist Craynor? He worked for the New York Times for ten years, won the Golden Pen award two years in a row, got offered a bunch of money to teach this class, he’s thirty, he, wait, that’s it.
“You’re thirty.” I said, checking my shoes and the ceiling for one more time.
“Excuse me?” He said blankly, clearly caught off guard.
“You are thirty years old and worked for the New York Times for ten years, correct?”
“Yes, But "“ No but’s, I had to get my point across now.
“You were the youngest writer in New York Times history. You were not an intern even, you were an actual journalist. You wrote front page articles, traveled places and interviewed people that older much more experienced journalists had never even done.” I was on a roll, but my throat was still dry, I had to catch my breath, and when I did, he started talking.
“Would you please get to the point.”
“You were so young, no one thought you could be a journalist, they all wanted you to be an intern, they wanted you to wait till the age you are now to be what you were ten years ago. I can do this, if you could do that, I can definitely do this, I am talented enough, you’ve already admitted that.”
“This is not a matter of the talent that you may or may not have. This is about principles and rules, the fact that you knew what you were doing was wrong but still did it, no matter what the rules were.”
“Isn’t that what you did? They all told you that you couldn’t do it, but you showed up anyways, you went to the scenes, you wrote articles, you sent them in, you went to the editors office, you did everything until they finally gave you the job.” He was silent, probably reminiscing. Thinking back to his first article he wrote, the first one he got published, thinking about when security came to remove him and he jumped out a window and landed into a bush. I really had too much free time if I knew that.
“Fine” He said
“And for the record.” I stopped, wait did he just say fine, fine was like yes, right? Fine was like yes but more refined. “Wait? Fine? You mean I’m in?” he sighed, took four steps back to his wheely chair and sat down, he looked exhausted.
“You are right. You deserve this, more than anyone, not only did you earn it, but you know that you earned it and you fought to keep it.”
“Wait, are you serious?” and no, that was not me who said that, I would not have questioned his judgement, I took the deal with no further questions, but this was some boy. A boy had been going back and forth between me and journalist Craynor for the entire conversation. “But she’s a girl.” He slurred the word girl as if I was a disease or an alien here to infect his planet, squeeze out his insides, and feed him to my creepy purple alien babies.
“Yes, Mr. Prince, we have established that she is indeed a girl.” Thank you. “Everyone” professor Craynor started to announce. He spoke as if the whole class had not already been listening in on the conversation this entire time. “This here is Joey Baldwin, your new classmate. She will be on a trial period for one month here at this school.” Trial period? No one said anything about a trial period. “She will work as an assistant in this class until that period is over and me, and me alone, will decide whether she has earned her position here or not. So, if you need anything ask her. Ms. Baldwin” He swivelled his chair in my direction. “This is Josh Prince, the editor for this class, he oversees the school newspaper, yearbook, and anything else we do, besides me, he pretty much is in charge. Yes, you will be an assistant to everyone, but first most an assistant to Mr. Prince.” He gestured to the boy who was outraged by my gender that was sitting right next to where I was standing. He looked at me, no that’s not strong enough, he glared at me, but then he came to the same realization as I did. He was in charge of me. I mean other than proffessor Craynor he had the final say whether I stay here or not. Even though I could already tell that it would take every bit if self control I had to no stab him with a fork, I would have to act as though I worshipped the ground he walked on, and I might have to. “I” He stood up once more and walked over to the still open classroom door “am going to go talk to Dr. Hershey” he looked at me “the principle here” then back to the rest of the class “ and tell him about our new addition.” He looked at his watch, then at me “there are twenty minutes remaining in this class. You may stay here and get to know your fellow classmates, then go home for the rest of today and I will bring your paper work over tonight for your parents to sign.” He turned around and left.
I stood there. No one said anything. Should I say something? Should I sit down? Everyone is still staring at me, it’s like a dog when you have a treat in your hand, or the Mona Lisa, their eyes were always following you. Josh stood up, slowly, but he stood up. He held his hand out to me, still glaring at me, but it was a kinder, more forced glare.
“Welcome” He said. He has a strong handshake. Josh was tall, six, maybe six foot one feet tall. He had curly light brown hair that was long enough that it was bushy but short enough that it could not be considered an afro. He had a handsome face with thick eyebrows and dark, almost black, eyes. He had dimples that made his face look kinder than it was and white teeth that probably took years of braces, head gear, and torture from any siblings or friends, to look the way they did. I looked down at his hand that was still shaking mine. Handshakes could definitely be an awkward moment between two strangers. It had to be a unanimous decision on when you both let go of the others hand or you just keep going on forever. He took his hand away luckily at the exact moment I did too. “Please sit” he said, gesturing to the seat were he was sitting. I sat. Everyone was still staring at me, no moving or whisperiong or anything else t o make this less awkward, nope, they were just staring. So I chose one boy, the one in the back of the class that looked the youngest and had straight blonde hair, he was staring at me just like everyone else, but then I started to stare at him. Not because I thought he was cute or he had food on his face, just so I had something to look at.
Josh came up with the idea for everyone to say there name and they would start with the back at the class. The boy with the blonde hair. If he had them say their favorite color too we would be in pre-school again. Everyone said their name’s just as directed. The blonde boy was name Sean Junior. There were a lot juniors in this class. Kids’ who were name Junior were the result of a proud father, a proud wealthy father who wanted to be remembered through his son. That’s why they sent their kids’ here. Where they could make their dads proud and name their sons Sean the third. As we went around there was a Michael Junior and a Richard Junior. There was even a Christopher the fourth. Some kids had not so proud parents though, because they were name Kyle, and Tanner, and Jared, not juniors, just the plain names that their fathers would not be remembered by. When that was through we continued to sit there. Josh went to journalist Craynors desk aand started fishing around in his droors. He finally found what he was looking for a stack of thin gray paper. A newspaper. He handed it to me.
“This was our last issue of the school newspaper.” He said buoyantly. Any he had a right to be buoyant about this paper. It looked like the New York Times but with a different title; The William Juniors Standard Examiner. My school paper was not on fancy newspaper paper like this was, no, it was a monthly single sheet of paper that said things like new school policies about how vodka was still vodka whether the students put it in a milk carton or not, the paper usually ended up as paper projectiles to be thrown at teachers and unexpecting teenage girls. It was the first issue of the year and on the cover was a large picture of journalist Craynor. He looked like a high class British citizen with his largely rimmed retangle glasses and his tweed jacket with leather spots on the elbows. But he was not British, I was pretty sure that he was from Minnesota. Maybe one day I would be so successful that people would think I was British. He had a short beard and cold blue, almost silver eyes. He was well built and sat in the photo as if he was in a waiting room at a dentist office. I flipped further through the paper. It had real articles in it, about the hurricane scare in Florida and the terrorists in Israel. It even had a section for the funnies. Most teenagers’ favorite part of a newspaper was the comics, actually it was everyone’s favorite part, but not mine. They were never funny. Ever. The ones here, however, were all original work of the students in this classroom. Impressive.
The bell rang while I was still in the middle of the William Junior Standard Examiner. Everyone’s eyes were still on me as the boys’ all left the classroom to go to their other classes, maybe they were going to lunch. I was now realizing that I was hungry. I stood up and entered the hallway that was now filled with identical teenage boys. They had different hair color and all that stuff, but the uniforms made them look like one massive blob of rich guys. The uniform was black leather shoes, tan khaki pants, a thin black leather belt, a light blue shirt tucked into their pants and was buttoned all the way up to their neckline, then a black and silver striped tie with a William Junior pin on it. The smell of hair gel burned my nose and the smell of axe cologne made my eyes water. And I thought it was bad when they were staring at me in the classroom, the hundreds of eyes of all the boys in the hallway were on me. They were still going along with their activities; getting items from their lockers, talking to their friends, walking to class, by why they did this their eyes were on me. My eyes went to my feet . To the ceiling. To my feet. To the ceiling, the entire way out of the building.
It was starting to sink in. I was in, right? Yes. I was. He said yes, I had witnesses. He could not take it back. I was in. What’d this mean exactly. I was in the program, yes, but what about the school? An all boys school where I would be the only girl. Wait was there even a girls bathroom? What would happen if I was innocently sitting in my biology class when all of a sudden I had to pee? Where would I go, would I just sit there, I mean come on, you can only hold it for so long. That’s it, I cant go to this school. It would be to much work. It’s not even worth it if I can never pee. Breathe. I was psyching myself out, I did that a lot. Besides, there was no going back anyways. I needed this. My family needed this. And even if I didn’t want to go, how would I decline. Would I just decline and be like “Yeah, journalist Craynor, thanks for the offer, but never mind.” No, I was in for the long run, no going back now.
I walked through the parking lot full of fancy Mercede’s, Jaguar’s, and Audi’s. I was even pretty sure I saw a limo somewhere in there. My truck, hard to miss in pretty much any parking lot, was like a hobo with one sock and two teeth showing up to a white tie party at the white house. But I liked my hobo truck, it had character. Even though that’s just something people say when they’re describing something old but they still loved anyways. It was a big vintage black ford with tall wheels and a pair of fuzzy pink dice on the rear view mirror. They had character too. I bought it about a year ago with the money I saved waitressing at a diner called Benny’s that was about ten minutes from my house. The car had a tendency to break down unexpectedly and I always had a fear that I would be going up a hill and the wheels would literally just pop off and I would be stuck there. Lucky for me the mechanic in my neighborhood lived on the apartment directly above from my family; he had agreed to fix my car when it was in dier need as long as I agreed to watch his four year old twin boys whenever he felt like he needed to make a trip to the store or in other words go drink beer at a bar, but whatever, a free mechanic was nothing to complain about.
I took my key out of my pocket when I heard someone yelling and panting behind me. “Hey, wait!” I almost didn’t turn around. I didn’t want to hear anymore complaints about me going here. At least not before I even started going here. But I turned around anyways, and I turned right into the boy that was yelling my name. I remembered him from class, he was the short blonde kid that I was staring at while everyone was staring at me.The one named Sean Junior. He had proud parents. As I turned around I wacked him in the face with my elbow and fell backwards onto the pavement. I clasped my hands over my mouth and he shook his head. Either trying to realize what just happened, or he was checking to make sure it still worked.
“Are you okay!” I gasped, as I knelt down on my knees next to him.
“Watch where your swinging that thing.” He said looking up at the sky as he stood, with his hand over his nose. Was he bleeding? Did I make him bleed! Not even my first day and some rich sophmore is already going to sue me. Awesome. Once I actually got to see him standing up I saw that he wasn’t really that short. About an inch taller than me. Even though that didn’t mean that much, I was like 5’4. I was actually thankful at times for having a name like Joey that people would tease me for, that distrated them from calling me things like Shrimp or The Midget. He really needed to cut his hair. It was almost to the point where he could put it in a pony tail, he looked like a hobo, like my truck, except for the preppy uniform, rolex watch, leather shoes, and perfect teeth, he totally could’ve been a hobo. “And yes I’m fine.” His voice sounded muffled with his hand over it. He took off his bag and unzipped the pouch, he reached out inside it and pulled out a newspaper. “I thought you might want to keep this.” It was the schools newspaper.
“This is what you wanted?” No rude remarks? No comments on how I’m out of my leaugue? He really just wanted to give me a newspaper.
“Yeah, is that a problem?” He took his hand off his face once he was sure he wasn’t actually bleeding. Yay, now he couldn’t sue me. Wait. Was that a British accent?
“No, thanks, I just wish you wouldn’t have ran into my elbow, that really hurt.” I said, fake rubbing my elbow. Talk again. Talk again. He looked confused.
“Me?” Yep, it was British. “Your elbow?” He paused. “Are you seriously blaming me for this?” British accent. Now THAT was cool. No one at my school had an accent of any kind. Unless you counted the kid who wore a bandana and talked like a pirate. Wait, umm, did he say something?
“Well you’re the one running down the middle of a parking lot.” There were other boys also coming down the parking lot. They either wanted Adam or me, I didn’t want to accidently injure anyone else so I slid into the drivers seat of my truck. I was now at least a foot taller than him. “And thanks for the newspaper.” I said, putting my key into the ignition. He looked like he was about to say something, he didn’t even notice the boys that were about to swarm around us. I drove away.
© 2012 Amber
Added on May 27, 2012
Last Updated on July 14, 2012