I honestly didn’t know how I even got into detention. It seems as though as soon as you yell some taunt at a teacher for giving you a B-, you’re branded for life. And that was in third grade. Now whenever I’m caught whispering in class, they immediately think it has to do with them giving me some bad grade.
And it didn’t.
But they didn’t care about what I had to say, obviously. Besides that, I never had the guts to say what was on my mind unless it had to do with my grades.
“Miss Sterling, this is the fourth time this week that you have been caught whispering insults to your classmates,” Principal Eisenwater
“Actually, I was asking what the directi-” You know what? I thought. Let her think what she wants. It’s not as though I’ll be here for the rest of my life. Who cares?
Yet something inside me was having a huge panic attack. My parents were in Rome- which was why I was doing my best to get anything that would be considered “wrong” in their eyes out of my system before they came back. Sure, it may not make sense to you, but it did to me. My parents were those people who had a lot of things to say, and most of it wasn’t good. If I did one thing wrong while they were around, I’d be hearing about it until next Tuesday, maybe even longer.
“What was that?”
“Mrs. Lowes says that you were whispering in her class. Why is that, Miss Sterling?”
“I was asking my classmate for directions, m’am.”
“And if you were listening, Miss Sterling, you wouldn’t have had to ask for directions.”
“I was listening, m’am. I just-just-”
“Just what, Miss Sterling?”
“I was working on homework.”
“For another class,” I snapped. “No, I’m doing homework for no good reason.”
“Attitude, Miss Sterling.” Principal Eisenwater said, tapping her finger on the desk in front of her. “Mrs. Lowes has been kind enough not to give you weekend detention. She still believes that if she gives you reasons to be good, then you might snap back to who you are when your parents are here.”
“It was a one time thing, Mrs Eisenwater.”
“And hopefully your lunch detention will be a one time thing, too. There were three other students who ended up getting detention on the same day, from the same teacher. Coincidence, yes?”
“It’ll be a good coincidence if the kids are half-way decent. Am I stuck with them?”
“Again, Miss Sterling. Attitude. I haven’t brought myself to call your parents yet, but I might still. It’s best to keep it - what’s the word you kids use? - chill.” I fought back the urge to tell her that she didn’t use the word in the correct context, and instead sat straight in the seat, staring straight at her with my chin jutting out.
“Yes, Mrs Eisenwater.”
“Now: Mrs. Lowes says that all these children would have potential if they tried. So she’s given you all a chance to raise your grades up. An extra credit project, if you will. But it’ll be a punishment.”
“Sounds fun.” Principal Eisenwater rolled her eyes.
“Chill, Miss Sterling.” And this right here, I thought, is when I tell her that chill was SO last year. “Your assignment is to create a new bacteria. If you successfully create one - which you probably won’t - you will be excused from any other detention you’ll quite possibly get in that class, and your grade will be raised up a letter grade.”
Wait. Excused from every detention from that class? Count me IN! “I can deal with that.”
“Then you are excused, Miss Sterling. You have to report to the lab in the ninth grade hallway at lunch. Don’t let me catch you in the cafeteria.” I got up, grabbing my school books and lunch. Walking to the door, I reached for the silver handle and then-
“Which students will I be working with, Mrs Eisenwater?” When I turned around, she was smiling the sort of smile that bordered on a smirk. As though she knew I wasn’t going to like who I was paired up with.
“Raven Goldfree, Reed Black, and Lorelie Ford.”
And then, I stepped out of the room.