The
Underachievers
CHAPTER
4
Bubble Gum Ben
“All junior janitors please head to the front entryway for a lunch break.” The speaker blared.
“Yes! Lunch! I’m so hungry I could eat my lunch!” I joked.
“You are so weird Ben,” Zoey said.
“Thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment. Let’s go, lunch ladies.” I replied.
“Uh, Ben,” said Savannah, “You can carry your own supplies back.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot.” I grabbed my cleaning supplies and ran toward the entryway.
“No running Benjamin!” Scolded Principal Callahan.
I set down my stuff and waited by Tyler and the other two boys. Zoey and Savannah appeared. Principal Callahan told us to go wash up in the restrooms and come back. I guess we are eating in the entryway. As we washed up Tyler accidently hit the soap thing too hard leaving a small puddle on the floor.
“We don’t have to clean the bathrooms, right?” Tyler asked.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we do,” said Braeden as he tossed his crumpled paper towel and it went straight into the garbage.
“Two points!” I yelled.
Braeden just walked out. I dried my hands, wadded up my paper towel…shot…and missed. Tyler shot over my head and made a basket!
“Dude, that was awesome,” I said giving him a high five.
“Thanks,” Tyler said. On the way out he jumped up slapping the upper doorway.
I jumped and tried to touch the upper doorway too. Major miss.
We went back to the entryway and grabbed our lunches. Principal Callahan had bottled waters in case anyone forgot a drink. We all spread out on the benches. I opened my paper bag to see what my Mom packed for me: PB&J sandwich, potato chips, baby carrots, a juice pouch, a few pieces of Bazooka bubble gum, and a Hostess cupcake. Awesome! I pulled out the chips and juice first.
“I love chips! I made this comic once about a super hero named, Chip Man and his super dog Ruffles. He had a Son Chip too. He was a chip off the old potato. Get it?”
Zoey just shook her head. I saw her smile though. I’m pretty sure she is warming up to me. My Mom said girls like a boy that has a good sense of humor. I’ve got it made. I’m a natural class-clown and I make funny comics all the time. If you need a good joke, I’m your man.
Man I was so hungry I ate just about all my lunch. Even a few carrots when that was all that was left. I guess we were all hungry. There wasn’t much talking. I unwrapped a couple pieces of bubble gum and popped them in my mouth. Chewing gum helps relax me so I can focus a little better.
Tyler was now laying on a bench like it was a bed. His feet were hanging over because he’s so tall. Man that kid has big feet too! The kid with the glasses was totally slouched and had his eyes closed.
“Hey, do you have a pen?” Zoey asked.
“Uh, no. Sorry,” I said.
“Darn,” Zoey muttered.
“Why?’ I asked.
“I just felt like drawing,” she said.
“You draw too? I love making comics,” I said
“I gathered,” Zoey said as she appeared to be trying to draw on her arm with her finger nail.
“What do you draw?” I asked.
“Whatever,” she said. “I just like to draw designs on my arm when I’m bored. It would be super cool to be a tattoo artist.”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“Lunch break is over!” Announced principal Callahan. “The gray trash can is for garbage and the blue for recycling. You know the drill.”
Everyone tossed their garbage and recyclables in the cans.
“I see crumbs on the floor,” said Principal Callahan. “Do I have a volunteer to sweep up?”
“I will,” I said.
“Thank you Ben,” Principal Callahan said like she was surprised someone volunteered. “Here is a broom and dust pan. When you are done I want you to spit that gum out, too.”
Man! I hate that you can never get away with chewing gum in school. I don’t see what the big deal is. I swept up around the benches and emptied the dust pan into the garbage. I brought the broom and dust pan back to Principal Callahan.
“Are you finished sweeping up the floor already?” She asked.
“No, that’s quite impossible, but I swept up all the crumbs that were on the floor.” I joked.
The left corner of her mouth curved up as she shook her head. “Did you spit your gum out?”
I opened my mouth to show her it was gone and then impressed her with how I could ripple my tongue.
“Stop that Ben. That’s just creepy.” Said Principal Callahan.
“Tough audience,” I said walking away.
Four lucky people got to stay and primer the big wall someone spray painted on. Sawyer, the kid with the glasses and I had to go around scraping gum off the bottom of desks and tables. It was pretty despicable and hard to scrape off.
“This is so gross, who does this?” Complained Sawyer,
“Obviously a lot of kids,” I said. I didn’t want to admit that some of the rock hard colored lumps we were scraping at were probably mine. Either because I had to hide my gum quick before I got caught or because I was too lazy to walk to a trash can. By the looks of the under part of all these desks and tables just about everyone was doing the same thing.
“Hey Sawyer, why do worms taste like chewing gum?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” said Sawyer.
“Because they’re Wrigley’s!” I laughed. “Get it? Wrigley gum? Worms are wiggly?”
“Yeah, I get it,” said Sawyer.
“Okay. How about this one,” I said. “What’s the difference between a train and a teacher?”
“Many things I’m sure,” said Sawyer.
“A teacher says, ‘Spit out your gum!’ While a train says ‘CHEW CHEW!’ Get it?”
Sawyer sort of laughed.
“What do you call pieces of chewed gum stuck under a table?” I asked.
“My current nightmare?” suggested Sawyer.
“A sticky situation!” I said cracking myself up.
“You are nuts,” said Sawyer.
“Hey, did you hear on the news about the two peanuts that were walking down the road? One was assaulted!”
“Alright! Enough with the corny jokes, geez. And I don’t want to hear one about corn now,” laughed Sawyer.
“If you change your mind…” I added.
“I’m good, thanks,” said Sawyer.
It turns out that Sawyer is a pretty cool guy. He is totally into role playing games like “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Warhammer 40,000,” and “Magic: The Gathering.” I think he’s going to invite me over to play one sometime. He totally paints all the figurines for his games, too. So cool!
When detention was over I was pretty exhausted. I hadn’t planned on working my tail off. As if my day weren’t crummy enough, my older sister picked me up. She had her doofus boyfriend with her too. My sister is a junior and he is a senior. I’m pretty sure she is only dating him so she can go to two proms. I sat in the backseat. Subjected to her boyfriend’s blaring ludicrous music. It was literally ‘Ludacris,’ too.
At home I needed to chill out and do some serious comic journaling. I create my own comic book characters that also help me tell my story in my journal. If I’m ever going to go back and read my old journals one day they may as well be super cool. Plus if future generations find my journals, I would want them to know how creative and artistic I am.
Today was kind of a lousy day. So I decided I needed advice from the wise Raghnall. He is a three legged ant character I came up with, who is highly inspirational. Since he only has three legs, (the front and back leg on the left and the middle leg on the right) I designed a special skateboard-like vehicle for him. He can steer the motorized vehicle with his antennae, or manually steer it with his three legs which fit through three little holes strategically placed where they were needed.
I began sketching my tiny guru friend and looking forward to his advice about my unfair day. An ant can carry up to 20 times its own weight. They work very hard to gather food, too. So I am guessing he won’t have a lot of sympathy for me. Some tough love is probably what I need, though. If a three legged ant can accomplish anything, then I really shouldn’t complain too much. The key word being ‘shouldn’t.’
“Hey, little dude. Coloring?” Asked my sister’s boyfriend, Ty.
“Ever hear of knocking?” I asked not looking up.
“Amelia and I are going to get some ice cream. Wanna come?” Ty asked.
“No thanks,” I said.
“Whatever dude, catch you later,” said Ty.
I looked at the clock. My Mom would be home in the next half hour anyway. So, a little quiet time for me sounded good. After two minutes of quiet my cousin Lucas called, though. So much for quiet journal time but talking with my cousin was just as good. Even if he gave me a hard time about getting detentions.
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