It’s all over. I’m too young to die. I feel like puking. This is not good. If Mrs. Navis wants to talk to mom, she is not going to say ‘I want to tell you what a great son you have. I wish he were my son.’ More likely she has been keeping a secret journal about me. I think this is illegal. I wonder if Dexter and Rupert will run away from home with me? We could go to Gramma’s. I think she might hide me out for a week until everything blows over
I say, “Why does she want to talk to you, Mom?” I hope I didn’t sound scared.
Mom answers, “Mrs. Navis didn’t say. She only said if I had time, it wouldn’t take long.”
I say with a flicker of hope, “I bet it’s about the candy fundraiser. They have one every year.”
“Oh dear. I hope not. That is a lot of work. I don’t have time for it,” says Mom.
I toss out a ready excuse for Mom to use to skip the meeting. I say, “Best way to avoid it, Mom, is to email Mrs. Navis and tell her you’re busy. You don’t want to miss your yoga show.” Right away, I know this is lame. Mom is going to see right threw it. What was I thinking?
Typical Mom. She says, “That would be lying, Vinnie. I wouldn’t be setting a good example for you. You know how Dad and I always want you to tell the truth.”
“I know. You’re right. It’s best to always tell the truth,” I say. I’m doomed. I’m done for. I’m finished. It’s all over. I can imagine the ride home. Mom is going to talk non stop. I have to listen and nod my head and keep apologizing. When we get home there goes my tablet, there goes my PS4 time, there goes my play time with Joey. I’ll have to do chores. It will be lights out by eight. I’ll be in kid prison. It will be worse than prison. My only chance to survive will be to be on my best behavior today in class. It will be tough, but somebody’s go to do it.
I sit next to Joey on the bus. I say, “You hear about the math test?”
Joey says, “Mom told me. She made me practice and practice. You’re pretty good at math, Vinnie. I bet you do real good.”
I answered, “Why don’t you show me how you do the math problems. I’ll tell you if you’re doing it right.” Cool move, right? It would have been the coolest move, but the bus stopped and Larry Burke got on and sat in front of us. Larry turned around and the three of started talking. Math was the least of my worries. Larry wanted us to come over after school and play basketball. He said he’d invite Matt and we could play two on two.
The next thing I know is the bus is in front of the school. Doctor Crossman is on the sidewalk next to the security guard.
I grabbed my backpack, get off the bus, I say, “Good morning, Doctor Crossman. Have a nice day.”
“Thank you, Vincent,” Doctor Crossman says smiling at me. I think I scored some points.
“Hi,Joe,” I say to the security guard. Maybe he’ll put a good word in for me the next time I get sent to the principal’s office. I got sent to the office three times so far this year for behavior issues, but Dr. Crossman wasn’t in. Instead, they sent me to the counselor, Ms. Turner.
This is how the conversation went. Ms.Turner said, “Vincent, do you know why you were sent to the office?”
I really try to bring humor to situations, but it is not always appreciated. I said, “To get paper supplies?”
Ms. Turner said, “Vincent, you are in trouble. Do you want your parents involved?”
What’s a kid to say, “Yes, Ms. Turner, I want my parents involved?” This was a dumb question that only adults use. Only someone who is a few cookies short of a dozen would say yes. My dad uses this expression when he talks about the people he works with. I only listen to mom and dad when they say something useful.
I answered, “No, Ms. Turner.”
She said, “Why were you sent to the office, Vincent?”
I said, “A simple misunderstanding, Ms.Turner. I thought Mrs. Navis would like the drawing I put on her desk.”
“Vincent, why would Mrs. Navis like a drawing where you drew a picture of her with a tail and horns on her head. Vincent, don’t laugh. This isn’t funny.”
I took a deep breath and tried to think of something that wasn’t funny. I thought of having to sit through Paster Martin’s boring sermons. My mind is always some place other than church. I said, “I’m sorry. I will tell Mrs. Navis I was wrong and I’ll apologize. I promise it will never happen again.”
“Do you really promise, Vincent?” asked Ms. Turner.
“Cross my heart,” I said. At the same time I was crossing my toes on both feet. Everyone with one brain knows that crossing fingers or toes makes it okay to tell a lie. It’s only lying when nothing is crossed.
“I’ll take you to the library. You stay there until the bell rings. Then you return to class. I’m counting on you to keep your promise, Vincent.”
“You can count on me, Ms. Turner. Thanks for keeping my parents out of it. They have terrible tempers.” It’s always good to toss something like this out because it makes the teachers think they’re protecting you.
Ms. Turner said, “Do your parents hit you?”
I didn’t see this one coming. I said, “No, but they like to lecture me for hours.”
I think I wore Ms. Turner out. She wrote something down on a piece of paper and sent me to the library. The only thing wrong with my drawing of Mrs.Navis was that I didn’t put a big scar on her cheek and give her a crooked smile. Otherwise, it was pretty good likeness.