The
Underachievers
CHAPTER
1
School = Braeden Drool
There is no way I am going to sit in detention for six hours on a Saturday, let alone five Saturdays. I’d rather be suspended. Heck, expel me. Please! I can’t even stand school on regular school days. School is so lame and boring. I should just run away and become a rock star or an artist. Dumb laws. Jim Carrey, Eminem, Albert Einstein, and tons of people never finished school and were successful. Why do I have to suffer?
My heart skipped a beat as the door handle turned a bit making a clicking sound. I waited...false alarm. I started drumming on my chairs arm rests with my thumbs. I don’t even realize I’m keeping a beat most of the time. I annoy people all the time with my toe tapping, finger tapping, or if I’m holding anything like pencils, utensils, or drum sticks. I can’t help it, I’m a drummer. I look over at the door for the millionth time. Come on! Can’t we just get this over with? Sometimes I think the principal purposely stands out there letting me sweat bullets. She’s evil.
I slide down in the chair and blow out a loud breath. I kick the desk and look at the door again. What will get her attention? I chance standing up to stretch. I look out the window. In the far field a PE class is running laps. Lame!
I pull a leaf off of the indoor tree and tear it to tiny pieces. Most miss the planter and fall onto the ugly gray carpet. I look at the photos on the wall. I’ve seen them many times. I can’t help looking at the one of my principal’s daughter. She’s in high school and totally hot. Not that I’d ever admit that to anyone, ever, in my whole life. She totally has to be adopted. My fingers find the handle to the file cabinet. I look down as I give it a pull. I am always tempted to find my folder which is somewhere tucked in tight with all the other folders. My permanent records. I wonder what mine say...
“Tell him I’ll call him later,” calls a women’s voice in the main office. “Thank you Rose.”
I push the file drawer shut and sit down hard in the chair. Just as the door opens and in walks my fate on high heeled shoes that appear to be made out of some exotic disco snake from the 70’s.
“Mr. Coleman, I’m beginning to think you live in my office,” said Principal Callahan as she set some papers down on her desk. I could smell her old lady perfume. Not that she is that old but I’ve smelled that same scent on older ladies. The strong smell was sure to hang on to my nose hairs with an iron grip and no mercy. She sat down and stared at me. I hate when she does that.
“So, what do you have to say for yourself Braeden?”
“Nothing,” I said. I mean what was I supposed to say? We both knew what I did and my actions literally explain what I was thinking.
“Braeden...” Mrs. Callahan exhaled as she folded her long witch like fingers into a shelf to rest her chin on. “What would possess you to spray paint ‘school sucks’ on the entry wall of our school? I’d really like to know why you did it.”
This was new. I tried not to smile. Did she really think I might be possessed? Could I use this as an excuse? I could just see her and my worried mom pulling me against my will into the nearest church for an exorcism. I could conjure up my best demon voice insisting I would never leave Braeden’s body. The priest would hold up a cross, read lines from a bible, and toss some holy water on me. Then I could pretend to wake up and remember nothing of the past few months or so. My mom would be all like, “I just knew he was a good boy and would never do such things.” How cool would that be? Yes, I’d like to plead possessed, Mrs. Callahan.
“Braeden! There is nothing funny about what you did. You are in serious trouble,” scolded Mrs. Callahan.
Had I laughed? “Sorry,” I mumbled.
“Well unless you have something to share with me, your mother agreed to the Saturday detentions. She is sitting out in the main office waiting for you. You are dismissed for the day. I expect I won’t have to see you in my office until Saturday,” Mrs. Callahan added in a warning voice.
I grabbed my backpack swung it over my shoulder and walked out of the principal’s office without looking back. Just to see another sour faced woman glaring at me. My mother stood up and I followed her out, relieved she didn’t start bawling me out in front of the office ladies.
Mom stopped in the entry way and whipped out her cell phone. Next thing I know, she was snapping pictures of my ‘art’ work.
“Mom! What are you doing?” I asked hoping no one walked into the entryway right now.
“Taking pictures of what you did to show your father,” she snapped. “Should I take one of you in front of your work there? Go on, go pose for me.”
“Mom stop, this is embarrassing,” I said.
“Well, you should be embarrassed! This is disgraceful.” she said waving her hand at the wall I spray painted ‘ SCHOOL SUCKS‘ across. “I am so disappointed in you, Braeden. And you know I don’t like the word ‘sucks’.”
“Sorry but, ‘School is not my cup of tea,’ didn’t seem strong enough to convey my feelings. Besides it would have used up all my spray paint.” I grumbled.
Mom shot me that look that would make even the meanest drill sergeant shut his mouth and try not to wet his pants. I followed her out to the car. My mom walks really fast when she’s mad and I practically have to jog at times to keep up. I got in and slammed the door shut. I noticed my mom did the same. It was a long, silent ride home. I needed to open the window to let out the thick, angry air that was practically choking me.
As soon as the car was parked in the garage I got out and made a beeline for the door. I grabbed a soda can from the fridge and hurried to the stairs.
“Hey! Get back here mister,” ordered my mom.
I grudgingly dropped my backpack by the stairs and quite possibly muttered a swear word under my breath as I walked back to the kitchen. My mom sat at the table with a bottled water. “Sit,” she ordered again. I sat across from her slouching in the chair and stared at the fringes on the side of the place matt. I think I saw a ketchup stain. Or maybe it was barbeque sauce.
“Braeden, what is going on with you?” Started mom. “You were never much of a trouble maker until this year. Please talk to me... Are you hanging around with the wrong kids? Being bullied? Struggling with something? You’re not sniffing weird things are you?”
“Mom! No! Geez.”
“Well then explain to me why you are suddenly not handing in homework, your grades are dropping, you’re defacing school property, and walking around with this ‘I don’t care’ attitude,” Mom demanded.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“I don’t know is not going to cut it anymore, Braeden,” Mom said seriously, “I need you to talk to me.”
“I don’t know! I mean, school is boring and a waste of time.”
Mom’s eyebrows flew up. “School is not a waste of time. Education is very important. You need to start hitting the books and taking school seriously. I expect to see your grades go back up. Now, if you are struggling with some classes I want to know. Your dad or I can help you out, or we can get a tutor for you....”
“I’m not struggling with learning!” I blurted. “They aren’t teaching us anything new! It’s all stuff I already know and it’s total torture!”
“Well,” started Mom, “if you already know it all, why are you not taking advantage of that and getting straight A’s and asking to be moved into some AP classes?”
“Are you kidding? Advanced classes are just more work. More homework. School is a waste if you don’t get to learn what you are interested in,” I tried to explain.
“Braeden... are you saying school is a waste if you don’t get to do what you want? So, if there was skateboarding 101, heavy metal band class, and graffiti all over your school, it would be great?”
“No,” I said annoyed. “I mean, yeah that would be cool but I’m saying they should teach what we need to learn for the future.”
“News flash, they are teaching you what you need to learn for the future,” Mom said.
“No, they are teaching stuff I already know. Say I want to be an artist or a rock star, shouldn’t I learn stuff to make me prepared for that career? Why would I waste my time learning about being a banker, a politician, a chef, or other stuff I don’t want to be?”
Mom exhaled loudly. “Listen, right now you are getting a basic education and learning things all people should know. This is the time to try out different things, explore your options. You need a well-rounded education so you can do whatever you want to do in the future. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this in the best way, it has been a long day. Why don’t you go think things over and we will talk more when your Dad gets home.”
“Great,” I said sarcastically. I got up to head to my room.
“Oh, and do your homework!” Mom added.
I scooped up my backpack by the stairs and trudged up to my room.
Closing my door, I dumped my bag in the closet, turned on some tunes, and grabbed my drum sticks and practice pad. I let the music drown out all of my thoughts and frustrations as I beat away on the pad.
After dinner I underwent intense interrogation by my dad. I bravely hung in there through psychological ploys, verbal trickery, and the disappointment stare. I, Braeden Coleman, remained uncooperative and gave up no important information. After twenty minutes, restrictions established by my parents were made clear. I was stripped of some important freedoms such as phone, online, and hanging out with friend’s time. Plus I report to detention at Guantanamo Bay, I mean Mountain View Middle School in precisely three days at 0800 hours sharp. Sir yes sir!
I continue to maintain my beliefs. School really does suck. Adults don’t understand. Art, drums, skateboarding, pizza and girls are all deserving of my full attention. John Bonham is the greatest drummer ever. And one day my art will be known worldwide. Maybe my drumming and skateboarding skills too. Not to mention my rugged good looks and modest attitude.
Up in my room I considered doing some homework. However I made a better choice for my own well-being. I decided on sketching a totally awesome tyrannosaurus rex crushing my school. (Disclaimer- No Students were harmed in this picture that I am aware of.)

Keep Reading

Chapter 2

Savannah’s Perspective

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