Rated: ASR · Short Story · Teen · #2289883
This is based off of the "Not Just Another Brick In The Wall" prompt
|The bright fluorescents shone white light over everything, the desks of thick plastic, the rows of supplies sitting on the back table, and on every tired seventh year in the room. Mr. Parriott was on another rant again, speaking about who knows what but definitely not the Doppler Effect.|
"You see," he said, "she didn't respect me or what I believed in. And you boys remember. When you're older, girls will be less--" he waved his arms around, trying to find the word.
"Exciting." He settled on. I didn't pay attention to the other things he said. I looked out of the window, staring at the bright blue sky. It was completely clear out, not a wisp of a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to play outside in the local soccer field. I knew the boys from the neighborhood would probably already be outside, because they were homeschooled. I tugged on my itchy uniform, watching the sun from the corner of my eye.
"Berry!" I heard Mr. Parriott's voice rise. I turned to see him stomp up to my desk, slamming his hands onto it.
"Y-yes, sir?" I asked, my voice betraying me.
"Why do you think it is imperative for you to listen to me?" He asked, his voice getting louder and shriller.
"B-because you teach us?" I stammered.
"Exactly!" He yelled. He turned back towards his desk and the large chalkboard mounted to the wall. "I am teaching you about the world!" He grabbed a stump of chalk and began roughly drawing the Earth.
"This," he pointed to a random point on it, "is you! And I am teaching you about all of this!" His face was getting red.
"More like how you lose girlfriends!" Someone yelled out from the back of the class. But I didn't even have to turn to know who it was.
Noah Hartley was Redland Academy's troublemaker. Every school had one, and he was definitely ours. His mop of black hair was unruly as much as he was, and his eyes were piercing blue.
"Hartley!" I turned quickly to see Mr. Parriott's beet red face as he marched over to Noah.
"Yes?" He said, nonchalantly.
"What makes you think that you can do that?" Mr. Parriott's words were an angry jumble of letters and syllables. And Noah seemed to be enjoying every minute of it.
"My brain," he said.
"Your brain," Mr. Parriott said, pointing a stubby finger at Noah's head, "is NONEXISTENT!!" His voice ran up to a loud roar, and even Noah was nervous at this point.
"Well, that's not very nice." A nervous quiver had entered Noah's voice.
"Headmaster's, NOW!" He pointed at the door in an angry jab. Noah obeyed for once, getting out of his seat and walking out of the door.
"Now." Mr. Parriott's voice was back down to his usual low grumble. His face was pale again, and the last of his angry words trickled out as he walked to close the door Noah left open.
"Where was I?"
"How was your day, Robin?" My mother asked as I walked through the door.
"Interesting," was the only word that came out of my mouth.
"What do you mean by that?" She asked.
"Mr. Parriott yelled at some kid," I said, fumbling through the cupboards for something to eat.
"Why?" She asked, her voice immediately concerned. I located a granola bar and bit a large bite off the top to avoid the question.
"Robin," my mother said.
"Tell me now." I swallowed the bite and before I could take another one, my mother snatched it out of my hands.
I began, "Well, Mr. Parriott was talking about something--"
"What was he talking about?" My mother interrupted.
"Girls." I cringed at the word. Since starting a boys' school, I have rarely hung out or even been around girls other than my mother.
"Girls? Why?" Her voice was curious, but also worried.
"I dunno. He does that sometimes," I looked out of the window. "Are the boys playing soccer?"
"Yes, but finish your story." My mother was demanding as usual.
"Well, I was bored and looking out the window and he came up to me and yelled at me," I winced at the thought of it. "And he was explaining how he was teaching us the world--" I paused. "But someone yelled out he was teaching us about how he loses girlfriends." I was expecting my mother to side with Mr. Parriott and say something about kids respecting their boundaries, something straight out of Mr. Parriott's quote book. But, she surprised me.
"Well we have to do something about this!" She exclaimed.
"What?" I asked.
"He's a seventh year science teacher! Why would he be talking about girls?" My mother handed me back my granola bar. "Is this an occurrence often?"
"Nearly every day," I said.
"Is this your science journal?" my mother asked, holding up the crisp new journal that had been opened no more than four times.
"Yes," I said, my voice small.
"He hasn't been teaching you anything!" She said, flipping through my journal.
"I stopped taking notes after the first week," I said, pointing to the dates. "It wasn't worth it anymore."
"Well in this case you can just kiss your future goodbye!" She slammed the journal shut. "How are you going to past your science tests without any science lessons?"
"I dunno." She looked me dead in the eyes.
"Robin. I'm signing you up for tutoring." For once, I didn't argue.
"This is your tutor, Matthew," my mother said. The tall boy gave a slight smile and a wave. He wasn't that much older than me, with long black hair and was wearing a Redland T-shirt.
"Hello." His voice was deep, but it had a warm quality to it.
"Hi." I couldn't help but feel conscious of the way I looked, with my windblown ashy blonde hair, all messed up from soccer earlier that day.
"Since I won't be home, Matthew offered to take you to his family's house," my mother said, breaking the silence.
"Oh. That's great," I said, hiding the anxiety in my voice.
"So I'll be going," my mother said. "Learn a lot, Robin." I waved goodbye as my mother walked out of the garage door, and a few seconds later, the whirring of the garage doors opening filled the room.
"We should probably get going," Matthew said. I nodded. He led the way down the paved sidewalks as we walked in complete silence. Neither of us wanted to initiate conversation, for whatever reason. But as we got to his house, I couldn't help but speak.
"Nice house." It was a two story house, made of bright red bricks. The only other place I had seen that was Redland, but those bricks had long since faded.
"Thanks," he said as he walked up to the front door. He pulled a key from his pocket, twisting it in the lock until it clicked. The door squeaked open, revealing a small foyer with a little shoe rack and an umbrella stand.
"My mom will kill you if you wear those in the house," he said, pointing at my dirty sneakers. I quickly slipped them off, setting them on the shoe rack.
Upon walking through the doorway into the living room, I noticed how un-cluttered it was. The books were organized(by color) in a little bookshelf, the TV stand had cupboards filled with video games and movies, and even the kitchen was spick and span.
"Matthew! Is this your tutee?" A voice came from the kitchen.
"Yeah, mom. Don't worry, I made him take off his shoes," Matthew walked over to the little half wall separating the kitchen from the living room.
"Oh, hi!" A woman turned around from the oven. She looked like Matthew, with black hair and blue eyes.
"Your brother's hiding in his room," Matthew's mother said to him. Then she turned back to the oven.
"We best stay far away from there," Matthew said. "Let's go to the study."
The study was a small room upstairs with a wall of books and a desk in the corner. Matthew sat down on one of the plush chairs in the room, and I sat in the other one. But our quiet tutoring session was quickly ruined by loud rock music playing from another room.
"Sorry, that's my brother," Matthew said. When he got up to assess the situation, I followed close behind. The house seemed so clean, but also so cold, not at all like the warm and cozy atmosphere of my house.
"Be quiet," he said, banging on the door.
"No." A muffled reply.
"Yes." Matthew shoved the door open. The rock was louder, but the sound of my heartbeat in my ears was louder. Because sitting on a black beanbag in the middle of the room, was Noah.
"Berry?" He asked, looking directly at me.
"Noah?" I asked back.
"Do you two know each other?" Matthew asked.
"Yeah, he was the one who was stuttering his heart out to Mr. Parriott," Noah said, not breaking eye contact. I was kind of hurt that was the description he gave of me, but I ignored it.
"I guess, yeah," I said.
"What're you doing here? With my brother of all people?" Noah asked, clicking off the music.
"Getting tutoring. To pass Mr. Parriott's class," I replied.
"Well that's dumb." Noah flopped onto his beanbag again.
"Why? Are you just planning on failing his class and being done with it?" I asked.
"Of course!" He rolled his eyes at me. "What is that douchebag gonna tell me that I don't already know?" Noah glared at me. "Question 1: How do girls like their men?" His voice was in a high, mocking pitch of Mr. Parriott.
"You realize that no matter what, we will have a test on the things we were supposed to learn, right?" Noah paused. His brain must have not gotten that far.
"Uh, yeah. That's why I'm joining your study group," Noah said. He stood up and plastered a big smile on his face. "Let's go learn about science, you guys!" I couldn't tell if he was being serious. But when we walked back into the study and Matthew began tutoring again, Noah was paying attention, only giving little snarky comments here and there.
Over the next couple of months, our tutoring group became larger. And larger. Apparently Noah had lots of friends who hadn't thought as far ahead as graduating in five years. And those kids had friends, and those kids had friends. Soon, our group got so large we had to split it in two. And then in four. Soon there were almost twelve groups with seven kids in each. But I had stayed with Matthew and Noah and a couple other kids I barely knew. Most of the time we were at Matthew's and Noah's house, so I learned a lot about him. And he wasn't that bad once you got to know him, so I guess you could call him my friend.
It was a bright spring day, with the smell of fresh leaves in the air. But inside Redland Academy For Boys, it was horrible. Mr. Parriott's girlfriend had broken up with him, and so he was venting to a class of thirty thirteen-year-olds.
"And she broke up with me! Just like that!" His words were angry and loud and all sorts of wrong.
"I was good in bed, I was a nice guy, but she just said no!" He kept talking. I glanced at Noah, who was studying forms of energy in his journal in the back of the class. He looked up and rolled his eyes at me, and I rolled them back. Since hanging out with Noah, I have become more like him, more brave. Just a couple weeks ago, I had volunteered to be a goalie in soccer, a position I had always wanted to play, but was too nervous to say something.
"Hartley! What are you reading about?" Mr Parriott walked over and snatched Noah's journal.
"Energy........light....what are you reading about?!" Mr. Parriott was getting angry, for no apparent reason, other than Noah studying.
"Why do you boys think it's funny to not pay attention to my lectures?" Mr. Parriott was angry now, if he wasn't before. Then he began to rip Noah's journal to shreds, each little piece of something he should have taught us.
"No, no, no, no!" He threw it all in the garbage, all of Noah's hard work in the trash.
"Headmaster's!" He pointed out the door.
"For studying?" Noah asked. "That's stuff we were supposed to learn six months ago!" Mr. Parriott was fuming.
"I'm teaching you more important things! I am the teacher, so you need to respect me! Now go!!" Mr Parriott slammed his hands on Noah's desk. Noah was definitely scared now. And it was very apparent by the way Noah solemnly got up and walked out the door.
"Now," Mr. Parriott said. "We can get back to my story." I couldn't help looking out the door, where Noah was forced to leave because he was studying. Studying! Maybe if Mr. Parriott wasn't such a bad teacher, he wouldn't have to. Well, what am I going to do? I thought. I can't let Mr. Parriott get away with this. I thought of maybe chewing him off, but that would give me a one-way ticket to where Noah was going. And then I realized. No matter what I did, I was going with Noah. So instead of confronting him, I got up and walked out the door.
"Berry! Just where do you think you're going?" Mr. Parriott's voice floated out of the open door.
"I'm leaving! I don't need your class anyways!" Noah, who was waiting outside the headmaster's door, looked over and waved.
"Did you get in trouble too?" He asked.
"Nope," I said. Then I heard another pair of feet behind me. It was Sebastian, a boy from our study group.
"Hey guys, are we still on for later?" He asked, his curly hair bouncing on his head. I just looked over at him. I couldn't believe he had done that because I had. But I snapped out of my thoughts and nodded.
"You all just waiting here?" Another boy walked out of the class. This kid I wasn't that familiar with, but I knew he was most likely in one of our study groups.
"Yeah," Noah said, elbowing me in the arm. I guess it was his way of saying nice job. A few minutes passed, me and Noah and Sebastian and the other boy(whose name was Elias) talking about random stuff. And then, I heard a loud screeching of desks and a shuffling of feet. The next second, the rest of the kids from Mr. Parriott's class just erupted from the door, Mr. Parriott's angry yelling following close behind.
"Where are all of you going? Come back right this instant!" His voice was loud, but it was quiet compared to all of them stampeding out of the classroom. I looked over and Noah was grinning. He jumped up and joined the group, leading them. Sebastian and Elias had already joined, but I was awestruck by the amount of kids who disliked and wanted to be rid of Mr. Parriott. Then I felt Noah's hand reach over and latch on to my elbow, pulling me to the front with him. We marched down the stairs, past all of the other classrooms, and out the front door. The warm, spring breeze was a nice change to the cool insides of Redland Academy For Boys.
"Nice job, Berry," Noah said.
"Thanks." I replied.
"I hope they fire him and replace him with a good teacher. Maybe a lady," Noah said, smiling. I gave him a toothy grin.
"And I guess we can proudly say that we got revenge," I said back.
"Not we. You were the one who started this," Noah's voice was more sincere now.
"I couldn't have done it without them," I said, gesturing to the kids playing around in the grass.
"Yeah, I guess. Redland's Revenge." Noah laughed and smiled at me.
"Redland's Revenge." I said, laughing.