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Every sixth word is success

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We sit alone in assembly, Georgia and I. No one ever seems to sit with us, unless there are no seats left. We’re a pair of freaks, to be honest.
Mr Jones shouts, as usual, telling everyone to shut up, his thick Welsh accent ringing over the chatter. He’s a short man, and rather chubby, with receding hair and beady eyes behind his glasses. He waves his right hand around in the air as he talks, pacing up and down in front of us, his left hand buried deep in his jacket pocket.
The projector flickers to life, the Welsh lecturer’s presentation glowing on the wall opposite. We groan, not just Georgia and I, but the whole year. Another assembly on being successful.
“What’s the point?” Georgia sighs. “No one listens, but all the teachers talk about is success. It’s mentioned in every lesson, every day. It’s unavoidable.”
“It’s supposed to spur us on and motivate us,” I parrot the previous lecture, “So we can achieve, and be the best we can be.”
“But it’s impossible to succeed,” Georgia starts to rant. “What we want to succeed in, the school tries to make us do something else. Like when they tried to make me do French instead of German for my exams, and how they pull you out of school to do Maths Challenges when you hate maths.”
“That’s true,” I nod. “But they have reasons. There weren’t any German classes running when you wanted do it, because there weren’t enough other people that wanted to learn German, and I get sent on Maths Challenges because my Mum puts my name down for them.”
“And remember when your whole French class were put into a foundation exam, when you wanted to do higher? You failed that exam, didn’t you? Because the mark scheme’s tighter.”
“Yeah. But I still passed with my coursework.”
“Only just.”
“Georgia,” I snap. She cocks an eyebrow, her hazel eyes sparkling with mischief. Her falsely purple hair falls messily around her head, a smile digging into her chubby cheeks.
“What?” her voice is high with mocking chastity. “I’m a good, innocent little girl. What did I do wrong?”
“I think you mean ‘who’, not what,” I grin, laughing.
Georgia growls with frustration. “No. I. Didn’t.” She separates the words, and speaks slowly, as if explain herself to a small child.
“Jordan, Rhys,” I count on my fingers.. “Aaron, Conner, Jake.”
Obviously, it’s all a joke. Georgia just has a lot of male friends, and a very dirty mind.
Mr Jones continues to babble. The presentation has moved on, the quote ‘I fear the notion of success stands in the way of success’ filling the screen.
“Georgia sighs. “Every sixth word is success.”
Frowning, I count them. She’s right. The sixth and the twelfth words of Ralph Emerson’s quote is ‘success’.
“It’s weird,” Georgia muses aloud. “Success. Short-term, and long-term goals. It’s like planning out your future. Deciding what you’re going to do with your life, before it’s started. I don’t know what job I want, where I want to live. And no one can tell what’s in the future.”
“Listen to you, getting sentimental!” I say jokingly. “Then we wonder why no one ever wants to sit with us.”
Georgia shrugs. “It’s for the best. I don’t like most other people.”
I eye her as the bell rings, then set off to lesson. Everyone around me chatters, about the party they’re having that weekend, their new boyfriend, or some girl they’ve fallen out with and want to slap in the face. Anything but the recent lecture.
I doubt Mr Jones will count that assembly as a success.



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