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Ch. 1: Todd Carpenter
Prologue: My life is like a child’s ride...predictable, cheap and only goes in two directions...back and forth....I just wish it was less back and more forth.....
The seasons were changing very gradually in the late winter of 2012 for Chicago, the students exiting Fort Monte High were all still wearing their heavy winter coats and snow boots. However, the weather was not terrible enough to cancel most schools in the county, so all student and staff members had to be present. By 4:35 most of the teachers in the literature department had already checked out for the day, except for one on the top floor. A series of seniors flooded in for last minute advice on their essays, and juniors studying for the upcoming test prevented this him from leaving. It was towards the end of the final dismissal bell that Mr. Carpenter could leave his classroom.
d*mn it...another day of staying after...I didn’t even have time to finish grading these b****rds last essays.
Mr. Carpenter collected his possessions and held the door open for the students exiting his room.
“Bye Mr. Carpenter!”
Just get out
“Thanks again for the help!”
“Have a good night, see you in class!”
“Thanks you too....”
Finally...there all gone
Mr. Carpenter walked out of the building and took the back entrance out (most of the students parked their cars in the front). As he entered his car he hit the wheel in a fit of anger
F***! I still have to grade 6th periods essays! D*mn it all! ....Another day at the library
It was a short drive to the library from the school, so Mr.Carpenter didn’t really mind, and after his fit of rage he did remember that he had to pick out the next book for the seniors reading assignment. He parked his car in the closest space that he could find and walked into the library with a fast pace. He walked so quickly that he didn’t notice the girl walking slowly to the door and accidentally pushed her aside.
What a weird looking girl
Weird was a polite word used to describe her. The girl looked like one of those Harajuku Japanese models that you would only find in those imported magazines. Her hair was a very unnatural bleach blonde and looked like it had been cut by a lawnmower. She had on a red leather jacket with a Sex Pistols under-shirt and long black pants (one leg solid black, the other cheetah print). She looked up at Mr. Carpenter with a look that was more confused than upset.
Upon entering he did not give a greetings to the librarian who without fail gave him a smile every time he walked in. Mr. Carpenter sat in the far back corner where no one would disturb him and he began setting up his laptop and grading papers. After about an hour or so his mind began to wonder.
I hate grading all these quizzes and essays! It's a pain in the a** because they all say the same f***ing thing. They follow the instructions on the rubric like a bible. D*mn AP students...Once I finish grading this units essay I have to began and design one for the next unit, make a rubric, answer the same stupid questions on the rubric, collect, grade, and the cycle begins again....back and forth...
After another thirty minutes Mr. Carpenter finished grading most of 6th periods papers and some of last week's quiz in his pile, he decided to take a break and work on another assignment. He grabbed the next assign book from his suitcase and began skimming through.
Story of my life, it's just another book about a boy who wants to impress his father to the point of madness, but in the end never really amounts to anything...
Mr. Carpenter looked away from the book for a moment and continued skimming taking notes. He took note of the main characters transition period between chapters and the main character's reaction his own demise. As the continued his notetaking, Mr.Carpenter began reading aloud to himself without ready thinking.
God! I can't freakin read this anymore!
Mr. Carpenter threw the book aside and sat in silence. He rubbed his forehead for a moment and gathered his thoughts together.
I’ll just go back to grading those essays...besides I only have like what...ten left?
The essays were long and tedious, every single one of the essays were at minimum five pages in length. He graded mostly the content of each one and skim over for grammar mistakes. On average he gave all the essays anywhere from an 85 out of 100 or 75 out of 100.
There is no original thought, no feeling in any of these papers. Everything is perfect in content and grammar...they all followed the rubric brilliantly...Maybe that was my mistake. My work was so out of the norm...I never followed the “rubric” that my editors and agent wanted me to follow, and now my punishment is reading and assigning books by authors who did follow the “rubric” of writing and giving those assign books to students who know nothing but following the rules...
Mr.Carpenter sat in a silence that was so unnerving; he put down his pencil and and folded up his laptop and simply sat in the back of the library-motionless-miserable. After a moment or so he started grading the final few papers without any other distractions. About 20 minutes later Mr.Carpenter checked his ipad and looked at his schedule, he still had to think up of another essay topic for next unit.
The next units essay would be centered around the relationship between the main character's internal battles and his father's external frustrations.
“The main character worked night and day doing anything and everything to impress his father-the head of the village.”
“He climbed the high mountain as his father wanted.”
He went to law school like his father wanted
“He fell down the mountain”
He failed out of law school
“However, he limped back to the village, believing that his efforts would be recognized.”
He drove three states south praying that his father would support him.
“When he arrived back to his village the shame that he brought to his father ended the old man's life.”
His father hasn’t spoke to him since
“Death brought the boy internal peace, the boy was free to follow his our path, to climb his own mountains.”
He tried to climb, but in the end he fell...
“...I wish to God that fall had killed him...”, Mr.Carpenter vocalized.
You want an essay topic you little b****rds! Fine here’s an essay topic! Why am I should I live?! What’s my reason for life?! What’s my mountain to climb! I have no more dreams-no more hope for anything beyond this! This aweful back and forth cycle!
He wrote in a frenzy, paper crumpling,people staring, but he didn’t care. He stood up and headed towards the door.
I need a smoke
Ch 2. Kimmy Fukushima
Prologue: When I was a little kid my mother told me that I could grow up and become a princess or a world famous doctor/ballerina/discoverer of a new race. I believed her...I still believe her
Two streets down the street from Forte Mount High sat another public school- Carter’s Falls. Carters’ Falls was one of the best public schools in the area with the highest academic success in the state. Around the same time that Mr.Carpenter left Forte Mount High, Kimmy Fukushima was still cleaning the tables in the courtyard.
It’s so cold today; I seriously hope the weather gets warmer soon
Kimmy cleaned most of the tables inside and hated outdoor clean up, however, it wasn’t the weather that she hated. The weather was cold and numbed her body, but what was even colder was the stares that she received from the other students who stayed after for a club or sports team.
Kimmy tried to stare back at them but how could she not?
“Hellooo! Kimmy dear! Where are you?”, The head lunch lady called out.
Kimmy brushed her chopped up hair to the side and answered, “I’m over here! Just getting the tables!”
“How about you call it a day, it’s far too cold for you to be out here. Why don’t you let me handle it.”
“Are you sure? Because I could stay and finish the rest.”
“I won’t have it! Besides, I know that you have a huge math test coming up next monday.”
“Thank you so much Ms.Patterson!”
Kimmy rushed inside and stored away her hair net and gloves. She grabbed her backpack and ran out of the school.
Prefect! Now I have time to finish my History project! I seriously hope the library has an open computer
Carter’s Fall was even closer the the local library than Forte Mount High, so Kimmy didn’t have to worry about catching a city bus. She walked slowly up to the parking zone and took her time getting to the entrance (she ran the two three blocks over, so naturally she was extremely out of breath.) As Kimmy was approaching the door, a man cut her off causing her to drop her note book in the thick snow.
Darn it! What’s that guy's problem?!
“oh sorry”, he said in a very low voice
He turned around to the check if she was alright but he made no attempt to help her pick up her things. After about a moment of gathering her things Kimmy walked into the library. She smiled at the librarian and politely asked her how her day was and make small talk until the conversation died.
Unfortunately for Kimmy, every single one of the computers had been filled by the time she made it to the computer section.
Great. Oh well, I do have a test to study for, and I could just read ahead.
She sat around the computer section waiting for the first person to get off, this isn’t the first time this has happened to Kimmy. Once Kimmy had to wait over two hours to get her hands on a computer.
As she was waiting for a open spot Kimmy pulled out her novel for literature and read all of the chapters for the day. Her AP literature class is focusing on Asian folk stories from China.
Honor, pride, and tradition...nothing I hadn’t heard before.
The young boy lived in a village with his father. The two lived very humble lives, however, his father wanted more. On the outlands near the high mountains in the Toug Shu Path held a powerful legend. In the highest mountain there was rumored to be a piles and piles of gold left behind from the former titan of the land. Desperate for a life filled with wealth and fame he boy’s father forced him to climb that mountain in hopes that his son would live a better life.
I came to America for that same reason...
He climbed the high mountain as his father wanted, however, the boy was weak and in the end he fell and broke his leg. He limped back to the village, believing that his efforts would be recognized. When he arrived back to his village the shame that he brought to his father ended the old man's life. Death brought the boy internal peace, the boy was free to follow his our path, to climb his own mountains.
I think he knew that there was nothing up in those mountains. I think he only climb that God Forsaken thing for his father...A life like that is no life at all.
Finally after a long wait a computer spot opened up, and without a moment's hesitation Kimmy grabbed the seat and claimed it as her own. To her luck she ended up getting the slowest one. As she was waiting for the computer to load up and accept her password, Kimmy heard a grunt. At first she ignored it, but after three more loud grunting sounds Kimmy glance over.
It’s the man from before.
He looked like he was almost in a trace. His eyes were casted down on a large stack of papers.
I wonder what his problem is?
Kimmy went back to her research and didn’t pay him anymore attention for about another forty-five minutes. It wasn’t until she heard a loud smack on the hardwood table. The man slapped down his laptop and walked out of the libaray in a fit of rage.
Ok, Now I’m curious.
Kimmy finished her typing her last sentence and packed up her notebook. She walked over to his desk and sat down in his seat. Kimmy turned around paranoid that he could be right behind her.
What am I worried about? The way we ran out, I don’t he will be back anytime soon.
She flipped through his papers and folders and noticed all the graded papers and gradebook.
Ok, so it’s safe to say he’s a high school literature teacher.
Kimmy continued flipping through the essays and actually began to read a few of them. After skimming about three she came to a conclusion.
This guy is the hardest grader I’ve ever seen. What’s his problem?
Kimmy was losing her interest and was beginning to think that there was nothing out of the norm about this man and decided to go back home. When she stood up and Kimmy noticed a crumpled up piece of paper directly underneath the table. She leaned under and grabbed the wad. Kimmy soften out the paper and read its’ content.
“ Why am I should I live?! What’s my reason for life?! What’s my mountain to climb! I have no more dreams-no more hope for anything beyond this! This aweful back and forth cycle!”
Kimmy stood there for a moment longer staring at the letter---speachless. Suddenly, she re-crumpled the paper and threw it to the ground.
How dare he! What does he have to complain about?! He has a job,a stable income, a family! I have nothing! I should be the one with no dreams-no hope!...The hurricane and nuclear spill took everything from me! He has every opportunity to change his life! While...I....wait...stop.
“Stop.”, Kimmy said out loud.
“Stop. Think of what mom would say if she could see you now.”
You’re no better than he is if you keep thinking like that. He’s no different than you. Scared...lost....confused.
Kimmy picked up the paper and soften it once more. She flatten it on the table and pulled out a pen from her backpack.
She wrote quickly hoping that he wouldn’t walk in to see her at his table. When she finish Kimmy folded the paper neatly and placed it right on top of his laptop. She smiled to herself and walked out.
She waved good-bye to the librarian, and walked out the exit. It was at that moment that the distressed man walked back in the library. Kimmy turned and gave him a half smile. As he walked through the doors, Kimmy glanced back once more