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Joseph's Day At School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Joseph climbed aboard the yellow school bus with a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. I must be forgetting something, he thought as he found his usual empty seat four rows from the front. I have my lunch, my math book, my permission slip, my report for Mr. Burkin's class ...

"Oh, no!" he groaned and slapped himself on the forehead, just as the bus pulled away from his gravel driveway, leaving him with his pudgy hands and nose plastered up against the frosty window.

No matter how many times he searched through his book bag - thinking maybe that through some miraculous event the report was there. All he could excavate were a few gum wrappers, one with chewed gum in it, and a newsletter he was supposed to give to his parents.

Joseph didn't learn anything the first four periods of that dreary Monday morning. His head was fogged with thoughts of his report, neatly typed, laying on his desk, mocking him. Visions of Mr. Burkin's evil grin as he marked a big, red egg-shaped zero in his grade book, surrounded by students laughing, taunting and torturing him. He would be sitting in the corner wearing a pointy dunce cap, he could just feel it. Of course, his obnoxious conscience wasn't helping any. It kept repeating: How could you be so stupid?

Finally, lunch arrived, but poor forgetful Joseph wasn't hungry even though he had his favorite: ham with relish on pumpernickel. He managed to pawn his sandwich for a quarter to call home to beg his mother to save him, like she had done many times before. The shiny coin fell with a hollow click. He held his breath as he punched in the numbers and let the phone ring once. Twice. Three times. Maybe she's vacuuming and can't hear me or maybe she's taking a bath and will be down any second, he kept reassuring himself. Eight. Nine. Ten. It was then that Joseph remembered that his mom was running errands all day and that he would probably have to get off the bus by himself. The butterflies that had been plaguing his stomach were now multiplying faster than rabbits. He slammed down the phone and began banging his head against the wall, which he thought to himself was perfectly normal under the circumstances. But he stopped as soon as he noticed his peers giving him strange looks.

Sixth period was spent making excuses. My printer broke. All it would print was weird numbers ... No, no, no. Ummmm ... Oh! How about - my little brother started teething and thought the disk was a chew toy. No, he'd never believe that. The disk ran out of room and erased my file. No, he wouldn't buy that either.

Seventh period arrived somewhat suddenly. By now Joseph's overactive imagination was worsening his plight. He imaged Mr. Burkin sending him to the principal's office for reprimanding. He slowly opened the door to view a stern principal loudly tapping his ruler in his outstretched palm. He motioned toward a black curtain which an assistant quickly pulled back to reveal ... an electric chair!

"A subtle price to pay for forgetting your report! Now sit down. The experience may be a little shocking!" The principal grinned, bearing rows of pointed teeth dripping with saliva. Joseph didn't know which was worse: his plight, the principal's bad jokes or the principal's pungent breath. The assistant began tightening the leather straps over his wrists and ankles. Next, he placed the metal ring over his tousled dirty blonde hair and pulled down the lever.

BZZZZZZ! The obnoxious bell woke him from his reverie with a start. Joseph stood up and sighed deeply as he walked slowly through the dull, crowded labyrinth of hallways. He closed his hand over the doorknob to E-3 as it whispered an inaudible click when turned. He peered through the open crack and saw a stranger sitting at the desk. Summoning his courage he walked up to the woman and said "What's going on?"

"I'm the substitute teacher, Ms. Gray," she replied and seeing the anxious look on his face added, "Your reports are due tomorrow." 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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alikazamx This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm
Adorably cute! Made me smile at the end. Keep up the good work!
 
DifferentTeenThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm
haha amazing job at putting that feeling into words! I hate when that happens, pulling away from your house knowing theres nothing you can do to get that assignment you left at home. kudos!
 
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