The
Underachievers
CHAPTER
10
Zealous Zoey
“Stay still Aria,” I said.
Trying to give Aria henna tattoos is never easy. She is too fidgety and I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my art.
“I am. Eew, you still chew on the ends of your pencils? I thought you gave that up,” said Aria.
“I thought you gave up being critical of my habits,” I shot back. “Stop moving!”
“My butt is numb. Is this a ninja star?”
“Uh, yeah please put that down,” I said. “Okay, focus. Would you rather lose your voice for a month or have to say everything you think.”
“Easy lose my voice for a month. I can always text. Zoey, would you rather lick a frog or kiss Jimmy from history class?”
“Can it be a quick kiss?”
“Of course not,” said Aria.
“Ugh. I guess I’d kiss Jimmy. Aria, would you rather eat a worm or kiss the school janitor?”
“Eeeew! Gross! I’d definitely eat a worm.”
I fell back on the floor laughing.
“Wow, I’ve never actually seen someone roll on the floor laughing. I guess ROFL is a thing,” said Aria.
Which made me laugh harder. “You are so gross!” I managed to say as I wiped tears from my eyes.
“You would kiss the janitor?” Aria asked.
“I don’t even want to think about that. But I could never ever eat a worm. I could almost gag just thinking about it.”
I composed myself and went back to the intricate tattoo I was making down Aria’s arm.
My bedroom door opened and my mother stepped in. “Oh Zoey! What are you doing?”
“She’s giving me a cool tattoo,” said Aria.
“Please tell me it’s not permanent?” Mom asked.
“No Mom, it’s a henna tattoo.”
“So it will wash right off?” Asked Mom.
“No, it should last two to three weeks,” I said.
“Oh no! Aria’s mother will never let her come over again Zoey. How can I explain this happening under my watch? This has to come off by Monday for school.” Mom said.
“My Mom won’t mind,” said Aria. “Besides I want to show it off at school on Monday.”
“You need to wear a long sleeve shirt Monday. Tattoos are not appropriate for school. Now why did I come in here? Oh, Aria’s mother will be here in an hour.”
“Hey, can she spend the night?” I asked hopefully.
“No you have to be up early for detention young lady. Maybe next weekend,” Mom said.
“I’m at Dad’s next weekend,” I said.
Just then our Maltese dog came running into my room.
“No, Dipper! Mom can you get him out.”
“Come on you little trouble-maker,” Mom said as she picked up Dipper and carried him out.
“Are you almost done?” Asked Aria.
“Yes, just give me two more minutes.”
“When you ran the books into the library today, I saw Zach across the street. I told your Mom I have a big crush on him and asked how I could get him to notice me,” Aria said.
“Are you kidding? You know she’s going to freak out and tell your Mom you’re too young to have a boyfriend.”
“I know, but she is so funny when she freaks out. She actually said, “You are a good girl, well pretty good. You have no business thinking about boys. You think about homework and where you are going to college. No boys!” She cracks me up,” said Aria.
“That explains the look of death she gave me when I got back in the car. You really shouldn’t make my Mom worry like that. It will just make it harder to talk her into letting us do stuff like walk the mall alone.”
“True. It just makes me so happy to make Mom’s freak out. You’re right though,” Aria said.
‘There! All done,” I announced.
“Finally!”
I handed Aria a mirror to check it out better. It turned out pretty darn good considering the girl can’t sit still. I made ivy vines down her arm with little hearts and cherry blossoms. The vine ended at the top of her hand and twisted into the letters BFF.
“Oh my God Zoey! This is so amazing!” Aria said.
“Better say ‘Gosh’ incase my Mom’s in ear shot,” I said.
“Oh yeah, sorry. You are good at this. I can’t wait to show it off. Thanks Zo!”
“You’re welcome. Wanna go make some microwave popcorn?”
“Yes, I’m starving,” said Aria.
The next morning my alarm started blaring at 7:00 AM. I held my pillow over my ears to muffle the sound. After a few minutes I got out of bed and turned the alarm off then shuffled to the bathroom, like an old lady, to shower.
After breakfast I got into the car and my Mom drove me to school. When I walked inside everyone was there already. Ben was wearing a candy kiss hat which made me laugh. I sat next to Savannah and showed her a picture saved on my cell phone of the tattoo I gave Aria last night. She showed me some pictures on her cell phone of some water color paintings she did. The girl has talent.
Principal Callahan had us put our cell phones and lunches on her cart and told us she expected each of us to apologize to Mr. Dan for not asking permission about the mural. Personally I think he should apologize to us for painting over our artwork and making us have to work to get it back the way we had it.
When Mr. Dan came out Principal Callahan told him we all had something to say to him. We all apologized. I think we made it sound pretty sincere. He seemed happy. We gathered around him to get our first jobs of the day. I suddenly found myself looking at his face and lips. I remembered the ‘would you rather’ question. No way, could I kiss the janitor. No way! Ever. Gross. Then I thought of eating a worm. Oh man, disgusting. I closed my eyes, and told myself over and over to think happy thoughts.
“Zoey!” Mr. Dan said.
I opened my eyes. “Yeah?”
“Are you okay? You had a look like you weren’t feeling well,” said Mr. Dan.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said.
“Good. Go join Savannah in the girl’s locker room,” said Mr. Dan.
I walked over to Savannah who had the cleaning stuff we needed already. “You okay?” She asked.
“Yeah, totally,” I said.
We had to scrub the lockers and clean the benches in the locker room. It smelled like someone had recently cleaned the showers with Clorox or something.
“Who has time to leave graffiti? There is always such a rush to change for P.E. and hurry into the gym. Then an even a bigger rush to shower, change and get to next class.” Said Savannah.
“I often hang out in here longer or ask to use the bathroom during class. Then I just stretch out on one of the benches or doodle in a notebook or something.”
“So, is any of this yours?” She asked. She pointed at a collection of graffiti on the row of lockers.
“No. I don’t heart anyone and if I don’t like someone I don’t scribble bad things about them,” I said.
“Can I ask you something Zoey?”
“Shoot,” I said.
“Why are you in detention?” Asked Savannah.
“For having an opinion,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“Let’s just say my class got into a bit of a debate and it got pretty heated between my teacher and me. I took it too far, told her off, called her something really bad, tipped my desk and left class. Oh, and I wasn’t sorry one bit,” said Zoey. “Plus Callahan was tired of teachers complaining about me. My grades have dropped and stuff. So here I am doomed to spend more time in this nightmare called middle school. How about you?”
“Wow, my story isn’t that interesting,” said Savannah. “I just sort of stopped caring about things. Like getting good grades and doing my best. I mean what’s the point unless you love something. Like art. If I could do art all day I’d have good grades. I stopped doing homework, I’m completely unorganized, and I got caught skipping classes and stuff. So my parents were called in and I was sentenced to Saturday detentions.”
“If only we could do art all day,” I said.
We got a later lunch today. It is so defeating to work our butts off cleaning this stupid school, just to come back every Saturday to find it all messed up again. Middle schooler’s are pigs. Half the student body seems incapable of getting their litter into the trash and recycling barrels. There is always a bunch more graffiti. Not even artistic graffiti like mine. Just vulgar stuff, made up rumors, announcing who loves who, and other boring stuff. It seems like a major waste of time to clean this place just to have everyone mess it up. We should just leave it until kids pick up their own garbage.
We got to spend the last hour of the day working on our mural. Not nearly enough time but it was the best part of the day. Ben is such a klutz sometimes. He accidentally bumped his tray of paint off the top of the ladder and it landed right on Tyler’s head. How perfect is that? Tyler wasn’t happy but he wasn’t mad about it either which was cool. He started shaking his hair at us making the rest of us look like those speckled eggs. We cleaned everything up so we didn’t get in trouble. When Callahan came out to give us our stuff and lock up after us she just shook her head when she saw what a mess we were. Ben told her we all came down with detention pox and would be out of school for a week or two. She just said she would see us all, on time, Monday morning.
My mother was five minutes late which was annoying. When I got in the car my younger brother Owen was in the backseat with headphones on. I noticed they were plugged into my iPod and I had a fit. Why can’t my Mom make sure he doesn’t get into my stuff? So rude. I told her she could make it up to me by letting Aria come over. Then she ruined the rest of my day by telling me I had to babysit Owen for a few hours with no friends over. She had some sort of business dinner. Life stinks!
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