“Nine minutes and thirty five seconds,” grumbled Mr. Brandt. “Looks like you’re barely safe.”
…Why do you sound disappointed?
The remainder of gym class was spent with Mr. Brandt explaining the course outline. Starting tomorrow they were to go to the locker rooms, located on the first floor near the back door entrance, and change into school gym clothes. Everyone had already been pre-assigned a locker and their pre-ordered clothes would conveniently be in those lockers tomorrow.
Electives were after Gym, but Mt. Brandt had not given the class any instructions on where to go, so Arnold walked back to class 2-08. Sure enough, the rest of his class was already there, crowded around a chart written on the blackboard. Arnold slowly made his way through the crowd until he could see the chart clearly. The chart was organized by elective, and after a few seconds of skimming, Arnold spotted his name.
Theater, room 1-20: Arnold, Carl, Don, Emily
Damnit. Why am I always matched up with the weird people?
Arnold left the classroom and made his way to room 1-20. Arnold walked in and saw, to his surprise, that the room was completely empty of furniture except for a few chairs in the back of the room.
“Hello!” a cheery voice greeted Arnold.
Sitting on one of those chairs was a smiling old lady.
“Hi, is this theatre?” Arnold replied.
“Yes, you’re in the right place. Take a seat on the floor anywhere you like.”
Arnold sat down near the entrance, and waited as other students began to fill the room. This was the only class Arnold had with students outside his homeroom, and it was refreshing to see new faces for once.
However, that moment of bliss ended abruptly as a familiar figure plopped down next to Arnold.
“Hey, Arnold” said Carl, smiling. “Looks like we’re in the same elective class.”
Arnold grimaced as another familiar figure sat down next to Carl.
“Why are we sitting with him?” said Emily.
“Hey, come on, he’s my friend,” Carl replied.
“Look, Emily," said Arnold. "I already told you this before. I don’t know what Carl has told you know, but he’s been lying to you.”
Carl looked at Arnold and gasped. “What?”
"You know exactly what," Arnold snapped.
“Are you for real, Arnold?” said Emily, her eyes narrowing. “Even now, Carl still defended you, and you have the nerve to turn on him and call him a liar?”
“Indeed, Carl is an honorable young man,” a voice behind Arnold interjected.
Arnold turned around as Don sat down behind him.
“From our conversation this morning, I have confirmed that Carl is indeed one who treasures the educational system. As the saying goes, one who upholds the educational system cannot be a liar,” Don continued, as Emily nodded in agreement.
What the hell kind of saying is that?!
“First of all, those two things have nothing to do with each other-” Arnold protested.
Don’s gaze pierced into Arnold’s. “You know, I’ve had my doubts about you, Arnold, from the very beginning. I’m beginning to suspect that you aren’t respecting our educational system. Anyways, I won’t tolerate any more insults against Carl.”
“I wasn’t insulting-”
“I’m not going to repeat myself.”
Arnold glanced at Don’s bulging arms and wisely decided to keep his mouth shut.
Carl put one arm around Arnold’s shoulder then leaned close to Arnold’s ear and whispered, “Do you see that? They’re all on my side. Now, if you don’t want things to go even further, I suggest you hand me over a picture of your cousin tomorrow.”
The message sent chills down Arnold’s spine. This guy is nuts.
“Ok, it looks like everyone is here!” the old lady in the back of the room piped up. “I’m Ms. Stevens, and I’ll be leading you guys in Intro to Theatre. First off, let’s divide into three groups. They will be your Theatre group for your first assignment. Now, raise your hand if you want to be a group leader.”
Arnold shot his hand up at the opportunity. If I’m group leader, I can make my own group, and I’ll make sure I’m not stuck with any of these guys.
Arnold looked around, did a quick count, and realized the class was pretty small; excluding the people from his homeroom, there were only around ten or so other kids. A twinge of panic hit Arnold has he realized five other kids had their hands up.
“Alright, you,” said Ms. Stevens pointing to a student. “You.” She pointed to another student.
It was now between Arnold and two other students.
“And you.” Ms. Stevens pointed at Arnold.
Yes! Arnold breathed a sigh of relief.
“Now, group leaders stand up and walk to a wall of your choice.”
After the three group leaders did so, Ms. Stevens continued, “Now, everyone choose a group to go to.”
Carl gave Arnold a grin.
Don’t you fucking dare.
Carl got up and walked up to Arnold, with Emily and Don following suit.
God fucking damnit.
“Let’s work together, Arnold.”
No! That’s not how this is supposed to work! What the hell was the point of even being group leader?
Arnold looked around the room and saw nobody else would be joining his group; the other groups were also filled with four people each.
…How did this end up happening?
“Alright, looks like you’ve formed your groups. Now, the first thing we’re going to do this year is a simple ten-minute skit on anything you’d like. You guys will have today and tomorrow to write and practice your skits. We’ll present them on Friday,” said Ms. Stevens.
“Well, Arnold? You’re the group leader. What do you want to do a skit on?” said Carl.
“I don’t have any particular idea,” said Arnold. “Do you guys have suggestions?”
“Hey, how about we each write down an idea and we pick one of them at random?” suggested Emily.
Everyone in the group agreed. They split a sheet of loose-leaf into four pieces and each of them wrote their own ideas on it. After crumbling up all four pieces, and mixing them together, Arnold chose one and unfolded it so everyone could see it.
It read: A boy falls in love with his cousin.
…What the hell is this?
Emily immediately turned to Arnold. “God dammit, Arnold, what the hell?”
“What? Why me?”
“This was obviously your idea.”
“No, that wasn’t-”
“It’s alright, Arnold. There’s no need to deny it. I don’t really mind the topic anyways. It’s interesting,” said Carl.
That idea was yours, you bastard!
“Carl is right. This is the fate that the educational system has bestowed upon us, and we must follow the educational system at all costs,” said Don.
“Wait, we’re actually doing this?” said Arnold. “We’re presenting this in front of the class, you know?”
“Why are you complaining? This was own sick idea,” said Emily. “Are you having second thoughts on bringing your sick cousin fetish to the table?”
“Can you stop?” Arnold snapped. “I don’t even know why you joined my group if you’re just going to be an asshole.”
“Ugh, whatever, I can’t deal with your freakishness any more. I’m moving to another group” Emily retorted. “And by the way, the only reason I came here was because of Carl."
“Hey, hold on. The educational system put us together,” Don began, but Emily ignored him and started walking over to the group opposite them.
Don moved to stop Emily, when Carl placed his hand on Don’s shoulder. “Let her go, Don.”
“Ms. Stevens is a representative of the educational system, yes?”
“She didn’t put together our group. She allowed everyone to form their own groups. Therefore preventing Emily to join a group would be going against Ms. Steven’s words,” Carl continued. “And that would be going against the educational system.”
“I didn't think of it that way…” Don bowed his head. “How could I not have seen that? Carl, you are indeed a righteous follower of the educational system!”
“But how are we going to do the cousin idea without a girl?” said Don.
“No, we don’t need to go with that idea anymore. That idea would indeed be mandated by the educational system since that was the idea our group of four decided on. But now, since Emily has left, we are now a new group and we are free to choose a new idea amongst ourselves,” Carl reasoned.
“I see,” said Don, his eyes widening. “Clearly I still have much to learn about the educational system.”
What the hell kind of conversation is this?
“… Hey, we still have the other three pieces of loose-leaf,” said Arnold. “Let’s just choose one of those.” And since I know the cousin idea was Carl’s, the remaining ones should be normal.
Carl and Don agreed. Arnold chose one of the remaining three pieces, and unfolded it.
It read: A man fights for the educational system.
No no no, this isn’t normal at all!
“Aha! A fine topic indeed,” exclaimed Don, a grin spreading across his face as he rubbed his beard in satisfaction. “I don’t mean to spoil the mystery but that idea was mine.”
“I already have a story in mind!” Don continued proudly. “It features Arnold, who will play a student who does not believe in the educational system. Carl and I will swoop in and change Arnold’s mind! It will be a marvelous skit indeed!”
“Great, it seems like we can leave the skit-writing to you, Don,” said Carl. “Bring in the finished work tomorrow and we’ll practice it.”
“Leave it to me!” Don proclaimed. “I’m looking forward to it!”
Next chapter release: 1/5/15