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The Cafeteria War
An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle
“I-I don’t understand how this happened,” Mrs. Thompson said in a daze as she stared down at what was left of her experiment.
Johnny sighed heavily from her right. “These things happen.”
“There was no way to stop it,” Sebastian said from her left, shaking his head in sympathy.
“B-but it was just a simple experiment,” she said, glancing up at the damage the steam had created. “I don’t understand how this happened. It was just steam.”
“It’s a mystery,” he said, grabbing her arm just as Johnny grabbed her other arm and as one, they stepped back, taking her with them just as a section of the ceiling in the shape of a perfect circle suddenly fell.
“How am I going to explain this?” she mumbled to herself as she stared down at the floor, probably not expecting them to answer her so they didn’t.
“What’s our next class?” Johnny asked as they returned to their seats and grabbed their bags, ignoring the horrified stares that followed their every move.
“Computers and Technology,” he said, sharing a smile with his brother as they headed for the door.
“Excellent,” Johnny said, chuckling as they walked past the small group forming around Mrs. Thompson and what was left of their experiment.
“Sebastian and Johnny, why don’t you take the last lab table,” Mrs. Spring said as she handed them each a thick packet. “We’ve been working on this for the past week. Don’t worry about catching up. You can take it home and work on it if you need more time.”
“Thanks,” he said absently as he took the packet and looked down at it with a frown.
“You can use the computer to help you find the answers,” she said with a smile as she gestured for them to take their seats, but he couldn’t move.
He just stood there staring down at the first question, wondering if this was a joke. He looked up in time to catch Johnny’s questioning look, probably wondering the same thing. Hoping that he’d misread the first question, he looked back down at the first page and felt his stomach drop.
- What is a computer?
This could not be happening. It just couldn’t. He glanced down at the second question, hoping against hope that it would be more of a challenge only to discover that the second question was even more frightening than the last.
- How do you turn on a computer?
Praying that this was a mistake, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out the small piece of paper the front office had given him this morning. He looked down at the paper, wondering if they’d accidentally placed them in the remedial class, but no, there had been no mistake.
This was the Honors class.
When they’d told him that he was going to skip a few grades and go straight into middle school, he’d been excited. He’d been looking forward to all the new classes, hoping to finally take a class that he enjoyed. He’d always hated school, hated sitting there, struggling to stay awake while the teacher went on and on about something that he’d learned when he was two.
“This class is going to be a waste of time,” Johnny grumbled as he walked past him.
He didn’t say anything as he followed his brother, because there wasn’t any point. They were going to be stuck here for three more, depressing, years. Man, he wished that they were still back in elementary school. At least there they could put their heads down when they were bored and take a nap.
“Are you going to do this?” Johnny asked, absently flicking a hand towards the packet as he turned on the computer
“No,” he said with a chuckle as he turned on his computer and sent up a silent thank you when he saw the modem, a T1 connection. “I’ll give Matthew ten bucks to do it for me.”
“Sounds good to me,” Johnny murmured in agreement as they both glanced up to make sure the teacher was still at the front of the class. When they spotted her sitting at her desk, reading a newspaper they decided to see what they could learn about their new school.
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