October 22, 2012
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The bell rings and I spring from my desk, stopping only at my locker before I rush for the doors. The weekend is waiting, a crisp fall weekend none the less.

“Say Maddie-”

“No.” I respond curtly and keep moving, brushing past the pimply boy with disgust. The idiots at my school will take the slightest pause as interest in their pitiful cause.

“Maddie, I was wondering-”

“Nope.” Don’t talk to anyone, they’ll take it as weakness. Don’t make eye contact. They’ll sense a malleable spirit and rush in for the kill.

“Hey! Wait up!” Before I can respond, a perfectly manicured hand reaches out and grabs my arm, twisting me back to face my attacker. I curse silently, mentally gauging the distance to the door. If I hadn’t stopped at my locker I’d be out the door right now.

“Maddie.” The voice sneers, gum snaps and the scent of sickening vanilla perfume slaps me in the face. I fix my gaze on a faded poster promoting “Alexis for President!”, determined not to look at the idiot holding me here.

“I know you can hear me, Maddie.” I slowly lower my gaze until I’m staring into Laney P. Warner’s sky blue eyes. She smiles prettily. “I need to know when to meet you.” I see her perfectly plump lips move and hear the sound of her voice, but I don’t understand a word she says. I don’t speak stupid.

“For the history project,” she continues after an awkward silence. “Mrs. Payne made us partners, remember?”

I frown, but then I do remember- our names being called, us exchanging phone numbers, me grabbing a prompt from Mrs. Payne’s folder. “No thanks. I can do it perfectly well on my own. You won’t have to worry about a thing.” I yank my arm free and walk as fast as I can to the door, ignoring her pitiful protests.

Idiots. The school’s full of them but Laney Warner is the head of the pack. Cheerleader? Check. Blonde hair and a makeup obsession? Check. Boy crazy? Oh yeah. Honestly, it’s a wonder Monroe High gets the test scores it does, with so many idiots running around. It’s so much simpler for us all if I do the project on my own. She’ll get a good grade, I’ll get a good grade, and Mrs. Payne will have the pleasure of reading a well written, well researched report. There’s nothing like a certified genius’s take on American History.

I walk home silently, admiring the leaves’ glorious hues and composing poetry inspired by the brilliance of autumn. Around me, idiots trudge home with their heads bent over their frivolous gadgets, frantically typing. I can only imagine their conversations.

“Hey :)”
“Plns 4 wknd?”
“N, U?”
What idiots.
I arrive home, ignoring my sister’s plea to watch “Hannah Montana”, or “iCarly”, or whatever nonsense she has herself hooked on now, and head straight for my room. It’s white. Minimalist. Tidy. Sleek. Bare. Whatever you want to call it. The bedroom is a serious place, meant for homework and sleeping, and there is no need for distractions.

I pull out my history assignment, closing my eyes and fantasizing about the plethora of topics available to me. Benedict Arnold, Valley Forge, the Albany Plan. It’s no wonder a sigh of pure pleasure escapes me. But then I look at my prompt. I look again. And again, staring at that tiny slip of white paper.

“Prompt # 7: Compare colonial communication to social media today. How would the American Revolution been impacted by the use of modern communication?”

Oh. Oh my. I think frantically, mentally flipping through every book I’ve ever read, every newspaper I’ve ever glanced at. I know enough about social media, certainly. I could chart the rise and fall of Apple stock since the introduction of the iPod. I could provide a complete biography of Mark Zuckerburg. I could describe, in minute detail, the inner workings of a cell phone. But it’s the wrong knowledge and I’m not going to deny it. Mrs. Payne wants the social, active side of communication, not the technology aspect. But no genius could possibly be expected to know anything about Facebook or Twitter. That’s an idiot’s field. Only an idiot could possibly know about any of that, people like Anna, or Katie, or Josh, or… Laney.

It’s with trembling fingers that I punch in her number. She’s still an idiot; she’s still an idiot I chant silently to myself. Just because I need her help doesn’t make her smarter than me. She’s still an idiot, after all, from her bleached blond roots to her pedicured toes.


“Hey Laney. It’s Maddie. Listen- I really need some help on this report.”

That’s all it takes. And as she talks on and on about Facebook, Twitter, blogs, iPads, iPods, and Instagram, I listen with grudging respect.

She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

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This article has 24 comments. Post your own now!

AthenaMarisaDeterminedbyFate This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm
This is really good! I like the character's opinions of other people in her school, and how she looks down on them. You really know how to give a protagonist human flaws, and it made this a good story!
CammyS replied...
Dec. 16, 2012 at 8:44 am
Thank you!
KnitsandPurls said...
Dec. 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Overall, you had a wonderful, meaningful idea and exucuted it smoothly. There were several bits that were very stereotypical, however. "Cheerleader? Check. Blonde hair and a makeup obsession? Check. Boy crazy? Oh yeah." This sort of thing has been written a million times before. I especially loved the part about the texting. I would love to see a more fleshed out ending. Thanks for writing this! --KnitsAndPurls
CammyS replied...
Dec. 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! I do agree that some ideas were steryotypical, but that's how I wanted my character to seem. Because she's so much smarter than everyone else, she looks down on them and is rather steryotypical in her discrimination. I did love writing the the texting! Thank you so, so much!
CammyS said...
Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:42 am
Thank you so much!
weaselruler said...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm
Arg, sorry that comment is so confusing, it didn't pick up my line breaks.  Also, just wanted to say that I liked your writing style a lot and it's a good little story.
weaselruler said...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm
Paragraph by paragraph: 1:  I would delete "none the less" 2:  comma after "say" 3:  change period after "contact" to a comma so parallelism is established between the 2 sentences 4:  nada 5:  Love the first sentence.  Maybe delete "here" at the end 6:  The writing is fine, but I'm confused, you said the hand grabbed Maddie to face her attacker (the pimple boy) but the attacker is really Laney.  Clari... (more »)
CammyS replied...
Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:41 am
Thank you for the advice, weaselruler. I enjoyed the ending myself, but I did struggle with it a lot when I was revising. I couldn't make the change in Maddie to sound natural and really flow well. I agree with you on the TV show names, it would have sounded better if  I had left them out. Thank you again! 
Atl.Braves03 said...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm
I liked the coming into-ness of the story. I'm glad the character changes in the end. My only thing to mention would be that the actual change happens really fast. One second she thinks she's the greatest and the next she's changed. It's just a small thing and it's more of an opinion than anything else. Anyways, it was a good read. I liked it :)
CammyS replied...
Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:45 am
Thank you for reading!  And as I told mysterySanity and weaselruler, I had so much trouble with that ending, its a wonder it's not ten times worse. You know how it is, once you've been through something that many times, you're completely biased. :) 
mysterySanity said...
Dec. 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm
I loved the complete flip around at the end.  With all the characters that are geniuses and not afraid to flaunt it out there in the fiction world, it's nice to see one acknowledging that sometimes a not-so-genius person might have a better view on things.
CammyS replied...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:52 am
Thank you so much mysterySanity! I'm really glad you liked the ending- I must have rewritten it 10 times. I couldn't get Maddie's change in heart to sound naturally. But by the end i was really happy with it and I'm thankful you are too! The next time you post a story or poem or whatnot, let me know and I'd be happy to take a look at it for you. :)
shinegirl24 said...
Dec. 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm
Hi! You really did a great job with this; I love the characterization of Maddie. I loved the balance in how you made her both likeable and flawed, which really helped me relate to her. Awesome job, and keep writing! Also, thanks for the comment! :)
CammyS replied...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:47 am
Thank you so much shinegirl24! I really wanted Maddie to be flawed, and have that flaw really show, but I also wanted readers to like her and sympathize with her. It's nice to know that I succeded. Thank you! 
CammyS said...
Nov. 10, 2012 at 7:16 am
Thank you jettabug! That really means a lot to me.
jettabugThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm
This is a great story, much different from modern stories written by adults. Most adults' stories will end up with technology being the bad guy, but in yours it was the complete opposite. Great job!   Also, I noticed that you're studying the same things as me. Cool! Haha.   You're a great writer. Great job! I love how you repeatedly use "idiots" as a noun, and this is a great story about judgment and why NOT to do it. Great job!!!
KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm
First, I love how you consider sleeping a hobby. Second of all, I thought that the story was interesting, and fresh. It was nice to see it from a different take, and how it shows that people have different strengths. I liked it.
CammyS replied...
Nov. 6, 2012 at 6:34 am
Thank you KatsK! And yes, I do take sleeping very seriously
guardianofthestars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm
Haha this made me laugh.  I like how you had the two opposites come to a grudging respect for the other.  Very interesting and very enjoyable to read.
CammyS replied...
Nov. 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm
Thanks guardianofthestars! It means a lot to me:)
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