My Gramps was telling Mom one time somethings stay with you all your life. I think this is one of those things. I knew it was all over as soon as Dr. Crossman sent Billy into the office. Billy was going to crack faster than an egg when my mom makes my dad his Sunday omelet. When Billy walked into the office, I thought I could hear him crying. The door closed behind Billy. Dr. Crossman stayed in the hallway staring at my beautiful drawing. I had to think fast. Since I am too smart for my own good, my mind traveled faster than the rocket roller coaster at the amusement park.
I figured the office secretary probably put handcuffs on Billy and was threatening to call the police. Strangely, Dr. Crossman was still studying the drawing. She flips it over, probably looking for a clue as to who drew it. I wonder if she wants me to sign it. It might be famous one day. She can take it on the Antiques Road Show and have it appraised. It is a genuine Vinnie.
I decide it’s time to make my get away. I take a deep breath and walk past her. As I’m walking past her I I say, “I hope you had a nice day, Dr. Crossman. If no one told you, you look very nice.” Some day I’ll learn to keep quiet and not try to be so cool.
Dr. Crossman glances up from the drawing. She says, “Vincent, you’re William’s best friend if I’m not mistaken.”
I answer, “Oh, he has lots of friends. I wouldn’t say I’m his best friend. I’m Rupert’s best friend. Rupert is home schooled.”
Dr. Crossman points a finger at me, “You know what I mean. In my office, Vincent.”
I’ll spare you the details. Billy cried and cried. It was pathetic. He didn’t even hold out for one minute. He said I drew the picture and showed it to him and asked him if wanted to drop it by the office door. I knew if I told Dr. Crossman the truth, she wouldn’t believe me. So I didn’t tell her Billy wanted to drop the drawing. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it.”
Dr. Crossman said, “I’m going to call your mother, Vincent.”
I said, “She’s having a conference with Mrs. Navis. You probably don’t want to bother her.”
Dr. Crossman left Billy and me in her office. She kept her door open and told the secretary Olga Patterson to check on us. Ms. Patterson looks like she could play football for the Patriots. Nobody messes with her. She really runs the school. Twenty minutes later, although it seemed like two hours, Dr. Crossman, Mrs. Navis, and Mom come into the principal’s office. Dr. Crossman tells Billy to go home. She tells him she is going to email his mother. Billy starts crying again.
I don’t want to go into the gory details. How would you feel if you were eight years old and you had three old adults taking turns picking on you? Here’s a sample of what went on. Doctor Cross sits behind her desk. I sit in a chair in front of her desk. Mom sits in a chair to my right and Mrs. Navis sits in a chair to my left. I am surrounded with no chance for escape.
Dr. Crossman has my drawing on her desk. She is staring at it. I almost start laughing. I bite the inside of my cheeks to stop from laughing. Doctor Crossman looks at me and says, “Vincent, blah, blah, blah and blah.”
Mom and Mrs. Navis nod their heads. They agree with every blah, blah, and blah Dr. Crossman said.
Mrs. Navis takes her turn. She turns to Mom, “Vincent is too smart. He blah, blah and blahs and blahs.”
Mom agrees with Mrs. Navis and Dr. Crossman and blah blah and blahs back to them. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. I keep nodding my head, saying I’m sorry, and promising to try harder. I sit on my hands so they couldn’t see I was keeping my fingers crossed. I’m hoping by the time I get home, Mom will calm down enough to be reasonable. When everyone is finished working me over, Mom marches me out to the car. I get in the passenger side and buckle my seat belt. I didn’t want to take any chances she might be tempted to toss me out the door.
When Mom gets in the car, she buckles her seat belt and turns to me, “Not one word. Not one single word.”
I let her start the car and pull out of the school parking lot. Then she starts up, again. “Vincent. You failed your math test. You made fun of Dr. Crossman. When Dad comes home the three of us are going to have a very serious talk about school.”
I didn’t want to get ground up again. I say, “Mom, Dad works so hard every day. Don’t ruin his day. I’m sorry. I promise to study harder. I will get a hundred on the next math test.”
Mom says, “You’ll do better than that. There is no tablet, no Playstation, no playtime with Joey when you come home until I see lots of improvement. And, I want a promise, no more drawing of Doctor Crossman or any other teacher. Do I hear a promise and no fingers crossed. Don’t think I didn’t notice you sitting on your hands in Doctor Crossman’s office. I knew what you were doing.”
“I promise, Mom,” I said. I showed her my uncrossed fingers, but I crossed my toes at the same time. You might wonder what lessons I learned from all of this. I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s too bad parents don’t remember how boring school was when they went to school. I’m in third grade. I have nine more years of school. Then it’s four years of college. Mom and Dad are already talking about graduate schools for me. I can’t wrap my head around it. All I want to do is ride my skateboard, play football and basketball with my friends, and play Mind Craft on my tablet.
As for Billy, he’s still my friend. I’m not mad at him. If Doctor Crossman hadn’t come out of the office right after Billy dropped my drawing, it would have worked. I’ll think of something else, but it will have to wait until everyone forgets about today.
As for today, I’ll go home, do all my math homework and study my spelling words. I’ll try a lot harder. When you’re getting all A’s parents forget about the other stuff. I know Mom will be watching me and she’ll check every answer. She’s really a nice Mom. I’ll ask her if I can go to Joey’s after I finish. I think she’ll say yes. I’m lucky to have Mom and Dad.