I’m really good at math, but the quiz is going to be on the stuff I had for homework. My stomach hurts and I can’t tell Mom I used her iPhone calculator to do my homework. I pick up Rupert and pull him tight against me. I say, “Buddy, we’ve been through a lot. I’m in big trouble. You got to help me with this math test. I don’t know how to do it.”
Rupert smiled at me like he always smiles at me. When I hold Rupert tight against me, he always makes me feel better. I give Rupert a hard squeeze and say, “Thanks, Rupert. I have my confidence back. Like Dad always says, “Think positive.”
I call out to Mom, “Thanks for making me study, Mom. I don’t want to fall behind. I think I’ll double check my math while I lie in bed.” It’s always good to let your parents think you’re into studying. It makes them feel better. I decide to study for a couple of minutes. It won’t hurt. I pick up my homework folder and pull out my math homework. I look at the first problem. It is a word problem. These are so stupid. Listen to this:
Josh starts his day starts by helping his dad pick pears. His dad told him that yesterday the workers picked 40 boxes of peaches from each of the 6 sections of the peach orchard. How many boxes of peaches did the workers pick yesterday?
This is why this is a dumb question. First, I live in a city. I don’t know anyone who picks peaches. Even if I did know someone who picked peaches, why would I care about how many boxes of peaches were picked the day before? There’s only two numbers so it must be 40 and 6. All I have to do is to figure out if I add them or multiple them or subtract them. I’m already bored. This is too much for my brain after a soccer game and chicken soup. I’ll think about it in the morning. I drop my homework folder to the floor. Mom always tells me to put it on my desk. The floor is much more convenient when I am lying on my bed. I need to relax. Before I can relax and play with my tablet, I go the bathroom, brush my teeth, and floss between the front three teeth. I don’t have time to floss the rest. When I’m finished I go back to my room and put on my jammies. I get into bed and get under the covers. I pick up my tablet and turn it on.
A minute later, Mom knocks on my door. I stick my tablet under the blanket and reach over and grab hold of my homework folder. I say, “Come on in, Mom.”
Mom comes in. She sees the homework folder lying on the bed in front of me. Mom says, “You need to give your brain a rest, Vinnie. I’ll put your homework folder on your desk.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I say.
Mom gives me a big hug. Dad is right behind her. He’s not to be outdone, Dad lifts me up out of the bed and throws me over his shoulder like I was a rug or something. He carries me out of the bedroom and around the house. This is our evening ritual. Dexter is chasing after us barking. Dexter does this every evening. I think Dexter thinks Dad will throw him a treat.
Dad comes back to the bedroom and drops me on the bed like I was a pillow. I like this. Next thing I know we’re wrestling. He lets me win. When he starts to walk away, I toss my soft football at him. He catches it and tosses it back. He turns his back to me and I throw it again and pop him off the back of his head.
Dad’s says, “I didn’t see that one coming.”
Mom and Dad are really nice. I should try harder. I shouldn’t get into so much trouble. The truth is, I can’t help myself. It’s the way I am. I wonder if I’ll get in trouble all through life. Timmy Peters never gets in trouble. Mrs. Navis is always telling the class to be like Timmy. Not. No way. Not for me. His idea of fun is doing extra math examples. My idea of fun is putting a sticky on his back saying hit me. Oh, did I get in trouble for that one. If Sarah Jones didn’t rat me out, it would have been the perfect crime.
The next thing I know Mom is gently shaking me, “Vinnie, Vinnie, time to get up. It’s a big day at school today. You’re going to have a math test. I forgot to mention Mrs. Navis wanted to see me at the close of school. She said it was a brief meeting. You won’t have to take the bus. You can ride home with me.”