An act of kindness and bravery emerges into an unexpected friendship between two boys
| Two days ago I hung like a frayed out of style coat, stuck in a narrow locker for an entire period of a ninth grade school day. The cramped space dark, except for the three blades of light that poked through the vent holes. Locker 119 quickly earned it's reputation as a prop for practical jokes; it has been my assigned cubby since school started and in part an intraday domicile for me ever since high school began. At least my feet rested on the ground. It was an improvement from the first day of school this year, hung on the outerside of my locker by the pants introduced to everyone with a sign taped to my head that read "Welcome to high school My name is Tom". |
"What the world?", the need for a bathroom just increased as my nerve endings all said hello to me at one time.
I shook the ring out of my ears and with the spare time I had thought about how the year started.
Homeroom wasn't in the middle grade west wing hallway anymore now that I moved up to 9th grade. The basic routine stayed the same, more freedom now one for example. while I stared out the peep holes of the locker the hall omitted any trace of a hall monitor. We moved into upper school and were awarded more independence and freedom, no need for hall passes ended.
"Hey, Mr. Helphurt, In here! In Here!" I hoped my voice, that changed octives between vowels, squirmed out enough to make it to the my teachers ears.
Head up, with a grinn ear to ear, Mr. Helphurt bobbled his head, dragging his incognito black sneakers in a shuffled mannor by the surge of students who passed from the opposite direction. In a kind mannor, the students recepricated with smiles of their own, wider in size. They turned their heads and witnessed mr helpurns incredible achievement of a big and tall body packed into an average size lab jacket. The buttons pulled and he showed off the red wool sweater where it poked through the jacket in a neck tie to belt patterned row.
Drowned by the clanking sound of lockers my voice feigned by the beat of the rythm of clasped locks, Mr Helphert continued on after he spun his head in nearly one hundred and eighty degrees rotated in each way and then back when he replied, "Tommy can't stop to talk now, late to class, see you in there." Again he scoped around to find me as he continued.
"No wait, Mr Helphurt, In the locker!" Tom kicked the locker as much as he could leverage his foot in the small place crowded with library books and the crackling of the tin metal vibrated a sound that whispered in the hall but amplified backwards into the storage place that Tommy stood squashed.
Bang, this time the hit to the locker came from the hall, "Is that you in there Tommy Wommy, need your Mommy?" The brute spit the words right into the locker vent.
"Nice Breath, Brutus!" Tommy was certain the remark could hardly be retaliated, there was the protection of an 1/8th peice of metal wall that seperated the noses of Brutus and Tommy.
Bang, the sound drummed into the concealed space that still enveloped Tommy. "See you chump", the pack otherwise known as wolves, school's mascott and common name for the footbal players ran off to their classes.
Introduce Helphurt again
Anyone who resembles a football player probably knows the exact location of my locker. I am beginning to believe that it is a rite of passage to get on the football team to somehow violate my locker or me in some way. Last week, I was vacuuming out the baby powder that was puffed into my locker making the new look frost of my jacket rather embarrassing. I am getting a little used to the reputation and that is what is concerning me. It is fitting too well. Bottom line is that I have just learned to accelerate my step based on the size of the hallway pedestrians.
A wise remark here or there was really all I had on the asset side to ward off all the humiliation and stand on my own; problem is there was only ten percent of the class that gets it. It was the quick wit but even more of an asset was my quick foot speed. Being just a bag of bones, I was agile and light on my feet. I was underrated in strength because any one who could carry my entire set of subject books home daily had to have some strength. In fact, on that basis, I was stronger than any of the football players who rarely carried more than one book a night home.
I didn’t have much of an arsenal to ward off the big guys and the more I was picked on the fewer friends I was picking up. I liked that I could make just about anyone I bumped into smile, but at the same time frustrated that it was at my expense.
I really need to change the way the way things are going if I am going to maintain any positive future reputation at all. Even the scholastic and Glee club is having trouble extending the relationship beyond the brick walls of the school. What is it going to take to change the direction of the constant abuse? I’ll just have to discover the stink bomb and that will bring me into the forefront of the popularity as soon as it comes round. Until then, I will jus at keep working on our experiments in the lab under the guise of saving the world or alternative energy solutions. That was all I needed to tell Mr. Helpern to get him to open up his lab to me at off period hours to experiment. He really is a cool guy and I have the suspicion he really knows what I am up to. He even made a side comment that one of our experiments had a sulfur odor and suggested we might be getting somewhere. Up till then it has been the same botch of green that seems to keep repeating itself. One of the reasons is probably the lack of chemical supplies we are allowed to use under school advisement. This led us to working with more natural or manmade materials.
The science room was not normally used for advanced experiments, but since I had such a passion for science and the interest in alternative green fuel standards, Mr. Helpern let me perform some fairly generic tests during his free period without classes. Mr. Helpern got along just great with me. He wore his same uniform from his former career; Grumman's aerospace uniform, the traditional starched shirt, tie waving the USA flag colors and the navy suit pants which at this point in his career ride up slightly higher on his ankles than back in the day at Grumman.
This time Mr. Helpern and I were convinced the Petri dish was harnessing a new form of energy, heck it wasn't that long ago that paint remover was derived from a soybean extract.