The
Underachievers
CHAPTER
17
Braeden a bit blue
It was a decent day out so I rode my skateboard home from school. My buddies had been suspended for a few days for vandalizing the rock on school property. School was weird this week. Even people I didn’t know were congratulating me on winning the radio contest and saying things like, “Hey I saw you on TV!” The whole thing was so surreal. I’m still not sure it happened. I sort of like the attention and compliments but it’s annoying at the same time. Like I just wish I could turn invisible sometimes.
My teachers and parents are watching me all the time making sure I’m doing my work and don’t go back to my old ways. It’s scary that they all expect more from me now. Have I changed at all? I don’t know. I don’t know anything right now. I turned into the park. I popped an Ollie and went grinding down the rail. It was sick. I skated around the park doing little tricks here and there. The park only has one ramp that is cool for skaters. I headed toward a bench and did a hippy jump over it. I nodded at some girls who seemed to be checking me out. I’m sure I impressed them.
As I went down a walkway by the lake I saw someone painting. I headed their way to check it out. When I got too close to turn and leave I realized it was Mrs. Dunley from school. There’s nothing like running into your English teacher outside of school.
“Braeden! Fancy meeting you here,” said Mrs. Dunley.
“Yeah, I mean yes. Good to see you Mrs. Dunley.”
“You know there is a great skateboarding park by the mall,” said Mrs. Dunley.
“I know, I wish it were closer. This park is on my way home from school so I skate through here a lot. Did you paint that?”
“I did,” said Mrs. Dunley. “I like to stop and paint here after school for a bit before I drive home. It relaxes me. On nice days this park is quite beautiful.”
“You are really good. I mean seriously. Why don’t you teach art?”
“That was my plan but luckily I had English as a backup plan. Many schools, like ours, don’t have art classes sadly. That was such a wonderful thing you did trying to win money to bring art back into our school,” said Mrs. Dunley.
“Maybe. I mean I have to admit I did it because I want to take art classes. At least I’d have one class that wasn’t incredibly boring.” I noticed Mrs. Dunley’s eye brows shoot up in surprise. “Oh, no offense or anything!”
Mrs. Dunley laughed. “I understand, and I’m not offended. So what type of art do you like? Besides spray painting that is.”
“Funny. I like all kinds of art. I mostly paint with acrylics, sometimes spray paint. I’ve done some silk screening, that’s pretty cool. I draw a lot too.”
“Well let me know if I can help raise money for art classes. Savannah mentioned something about a fundraiser?”
“Yeah, hey! Principal Callahan is going to let us hold like an art exhibit one night. Since you know about art maybe you can help or be a judge or something?” I asked hopefully.
“I would love to do that Braeden. I know a few other teachers that have a love of art too. I’m sure they would like to help judge. How do you plan to make money?”
“Well, maybe a raffle or bake sale. Those are the only ideas we have so far.”
“You know, I taught at another school before I came to Mountain View. To raise money for their music program they raffled off these wonderful gift baskets. Each class had a theme and the students each donated an item for their class basket. There was a chocolate basket, an entertainment one, a craft basket, a movie night basket, and much more. Volunteers wrapped them up beautifully with clear gift wrap and bows. They made a pretty big chunk of money selling $1.00 raffle tickets to win baskets of your choice. It was a lot of fun too,” said Mrs. Dunley.
“Wow! That sounds like an awesome idea.”
I talked with Mrs. Dunley in the park for almost a half hour. She is actually pretty cool. I hope she gets to be an art teacher next year. She showed me some really cool painting techniques to make tree’s look realistic and stuff.
When I got home I was inspired to paint. Luckily I had no homework. Honestly! Liam was out with his lame friends, and my parents went out for dinner with some friends. So the house was mine. I blasted my music, played my drums, painted, ate pizza Mom ordered for me, and found an awesome horror movie to watch. Man, I wish I had my own place. This is the life.
Friday morning came way too fast. I probably shouldn’t have stayed up so late on a school night. I mean it was totally worth it, until I had to suffer for it in the morning. Luckily I slept in my clothes. I put on my hat and I was set. I actually fell asleep on the bus on the way to school. Not one lame kid was decent enough to wake me. So the bus driver had to wake me. He’s a scruffy older guy that smells like cigarettes, coughs a lot, and he was screaming in my ear. “You have to get off my bus kid! Try going to bed early!” I jumped up and got off his stupid bus.
My friend Jace grabbed me before I entered the classroom for first period. “Dude! Mrs. Bryant is giving a surprise test today. I say you and me sneak out of here quick and go bug Nate. He’s suspended but his parents both work. Cool huh?”
“Sorry dude I can’t skip,” I said.
“Come on dude! You have to go with me,” said Jace.
“Can’t. Say hey for me.” I went into class and sat down. Mrs. Bryant got up and shut the door. She looked over at me. I pulled my hat off quickly. I think she almost smiled.
“Okay class, take out your pencils and put everything else under your desks. I will pass out the test as soon as morning announcements are over,” said Mrs. Bryant.
It wasn’t a surprise test like Jace said. He probably just forgot. I know I should have studied last night but I have been doing my work lately. So I feel kind of prepared.
By lunch time I was starving! I totally forgot about breakfast. Hopefully there is something edible being served today. I lucked out, hamburgers and fries. I got a Coke from the soda machine. I looked around. Not surprising most of my buds were missing. I saw Savannah talking to Ben and went to join them. Zoey joined us too. I told them about my talk with Mrs. Dunley. It was great that we had some teachers helping out and they liked the raffle basket idea. We just had to get Callahan to set a date so we have time to arrange everything. We were all working on our art show pieces already. Of course when the school finds out I’m sure lots of others will enter too. I wonder how many artists we have at this school. It would be nice to know who my competition might be. The girls left a little early to let Principal Callahan know we had teachers that will help out, a fundraiser idea, and to make sure she sets a date soon for the big night.
I dropped into the nerd lab to let Sawyer know our idea. He seemed pretty psyched about it. He also asked if I would be free one of these next few weekends for some D&D. I told him I was totally up for it anytime. He’s going to ask everyone from our Saturday detention group, and a few of his friends. It should be pretty cool.
After school I saw Tyler. I told him about Mrs. Dunley and the raffle idea. He was psyched too. He asked if I wanted to shoot some hoops for a while at the park. I was totally up for it. The kid is actually pretty darn good at basketball. I had to show off on my skateboard for him. I taught him how to do a couple tricks. When his Mom swung by to pick him up I headed home.
Liam practically ran me over backing out of the driveway. Lucky for me I have quick reflexes.
“Watch where you’re going birdbrain!” I yelled.
Liam made a rude gesture and sped off down the road.
As soon as I got inside Mom started with the questions. ”How was the test? Do you have any homework? Did you finish that English essay?”
Why can’t a guy just come home and have a little peace and quiet for a while? When a person comes home there should be a rule that no one can bother that person for at least fifteen minutes. Let a guy get settled in, get a snack and stuff. Before I could even get a snack Mom made me bring the trash barrels up the driveway. I’m pretty sure it is Liam’s turn but whatever.
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