Tuna Up For Trade

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“Ugh! Not another tuna sandwich. What was mom thinking? How am I gonna trade this?”
“What was that Anthony?”
“Nothing Mrs. Campbell!”

Here at St. Bernard Elementary we aren't allowed to trade food during lunch, but we do anyway. We have an under the table operation. (Its under the table because the teachers are too tall to see.) There is a lunchroom hierarchy set up where the type of food you get decides how cool you are. At the top we have people like Tom Lebowski, who has Zebra Cakes every day. After that comes the soda, then the Twinkies, then Cosmic Brownies, and at the bottom there are people like me, whose parents don't own a snack shop. I’ve been trying to get a Zebra cake all year, but I never have a good trade. Every day its the same thing. Tuna, tuna, and more tuna. How do my parents expect me to get further in life with chopped up fish? I need some real food, like a Twinkie or something. I’m trying to get some connections, and all I have to trade is this useless sandwich and maybe an apple. I will never be able to get a Zebra Cake from Tom.

I’ve heard around that Jacob sneaks soda in from his house. He has stashes all around the school. In his backpack, in his desk, behind the water fountain Maybe I'll be able to make a deal with him. He's a real skinny kid with white blonde hair that almost touches his shoulders. He has dark spots under his eyes that make him look like he really needs a nap and his uniform shirt is always untucked.
“Hey Jacob, have any soda?”
“Maybe, who’s asking?”
“Um, me. I just asked you.”
“Oh, well you gotta be careful around here. I heard from Becky, who heard from Jeremiah, who heard from his big sister Hannah that there is a tattle tale going around telling on anyone who trades.”
“Well I was wondering if I could get some soda. I’ve got an apple to trade.”
“Ha! That’s all you got? Come back to me when you get something worthwhile. If you get your hand on a Twinkie I'll give you any kind of soda you want.”
I’ve been searching all lunch and no one will trade me. I need better snacks. Jenny Perkins has one, but she refuses to trade, none of the girls will. Something about “breaking the rules.” Who needs em'!

* * *


My mom packed me a Cosmic Brownie today! I finally have a chance to get something good! Now its time to search for that Twinkie. At my table is Nathan Richards, hes got a pretty good looking Nutty Bar. I could get a lot with that.
“Hey Nate, you gonna eat that?”
“Well I was, but what do you got?
“A Cosmic Brownie.”
“Yes, I love those! Please trade!”
I’m in luck. “OK Nate, you gotta deal.”
With my new Nutty Bar I sneak to the next table and see Jimmy with the golden brown tube I’ve been searching for.
“Hey Jimmy, do you like Nutty Bars?
“Not really, what do you want?”
“I was wondering what it would take to get that Twinkie.”
“If you can find me some Scooby Doo gummy snacks I’ll trade you.”
I traded my brownie for a Nutty Bar, now I have to go searching for stupid gummy snacks. Then I can trade that for a Twinkie, then soda, and finally I can get my hands on a Zebra Cake. I only need one.
I see that Katherine has some. There is only one person in this darn school that has gummies, and it has to be a girl. Maybe if I bribe her she will give em' to me.
“Katherine, how much do you like gummies?”
“Lots.”
“How much is lots?”
“Enough not give them to you.”
“I'll give you a dollar.”
“Lemme see it.”
“I don’t have it on me...”
“I bet you don’t even have a dollar.”
“I do, I swear!”
“You shouldn’t swear, Mrs. Daniels said you’ll sit on the stumps for recess if you do. ”
“That doesn’t matter. I really need those gummies, and I will give you my milk for a week if you give me them.”
“Trading isn’t allowed.”
“It's not trading, we're just giving each other gifts.”
“Why would I give you a gift? You're a smelly boy.
“Please.”
“... Alright, fine. Make it two weeks of milk though.”
“Deal! Jimmy is about to eat the Twinkie, I’ve gotta go!
“Whatever.”

“DON'T EAT THAT TWINKIE!” I scream.
He looks at me in shock, the Twinkie dangling inches from his mouth.
“Did you get the Scooby Doo gummy snacks?
“Yeah, I got em' right here.”
“Those aren’t Scooby Doo, those are Spongebob.”
I look down in shock to see Squidward frowning back at me. I’m crushed, I was so close to
getting it. I go back to my seat, I’m not really in the mood for tuna and Spongebob gummies. Now here comes Mrs. Bitters, (or how I like to call her Mrs. Butt-ers.)
“Anthony did I see you trading your lunch food with Miss Katherine over there?”
“No ma’am, we're not allowed to trade.”
“Don't lie to me son, I asked Miss Katherine already and she said she gave you her gummies.”
“We didn't trade though. I said I’d give her my milk for two weeks as a gift, and she gave me her gummies as a gift.”
“Don't get smart with me! When you get back in my classroom you will clean my boards as punishment. Do you understand young man?
“Yes ma'am”
“And I will be giving these gummies back to Katherine.” She grabs my gummies quick as lightning.
“But she gave them to me!”
“I don't care.”
There she goes, gosh she's a butt! I wish I didn't have such a smelly, mean teacher. I really don't want to eat my lunch anymore. I turn around and see Tom staring at me hopefully, a pack of Zebra Cakes in his hand.
“Um... hey Tom, whats up?
“Are you gonna eat that sandwich?”
“No, I’m not that hungry.”
“Oh? Well I was gonna trade you for my Zebra Cakes. I love tuna, but my mom always packs me PB&J.”
“Really!?! Yeah, of course I’ll trade!”
“Cool, I’m kinda sick of Zebra Cakes”





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PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm
I really liked this  good work keep it up  could you please check out and comment on my story Numb.  i would really appreciate the feedback
 
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