Theatre ended soon after Arnold’s group decided their skit was going to about the educational system, whatever that meant. Arnold, exhausted from the day’s events, trudged wearily back into room 2-08 for the last class of the day, and sat down at his usual seat with Carl, Don, and Steph.
“Welcome back class,” said Mr. Brandt. “I was going to ask how your first day was, but frankly I’m not interested. Moving on, you guys may be wondering what this ‘special class’ entails. We’re required to keep you guys in school until 2:15 so this class is just here to take up time until then. That basically means I can do whatever I want with you guys. I’m going to assign you guys various tasks throughout the year. Usually they’re just arbitrary things that I feel like making you do.”
“This class won’t be graded by itself, meaning it won’t turn up on your report card as a class. Don’t think you shouldn’t take this class seriously though. Instead, I’m going award you “stars” for each assignment, from 1 to 5, depending on how well you accomplish my special assignments. The top 12 ranked students with the highest amount of “stars” will have extra points added to their final report card grade, depending on their rank. If you’re rank 1 you get a whopping 24 extra points added to your final grade. If you’re rank 2 you get 22 extra points, and so on, with rank 12 getting 2 extra points. Here’s where it gets fun. Students below rank 12 will have points subtracted from their final grade, with student rank 13 having 2 points subtracted and student rank 24 sadly having 24 points subtracted.”
The class burst into a fevered clamor as Mr. Brandt finished talking.
“This is an outrage! You can’t do this, twenty-four points, and to our final grade? Are you insane?” One student yelled. “Even if you had an 88, that would end up becoming a failing grade!”
“Quiet!” Don roared, standing up and silencing the class. “I won’t stand you guys back-talking Mr. Brandt and the educational system. If you have any problems, you’re going to have to deal with me.”
Veins bulged from Don’s arms as his gaze crossed the room, making every student who fell under it cower in fear.
“Thank you, Don,” said Mr. Brandt. “Think of it this way, class. Do any of you really think you’re worse than half this entire class? I’m sure none of you do. As long as you’re above average, you’ll be gaining points.”
Mr. Brandt grabbed a piece of chalk and scrawled on the chalkboard: www.score.com/208. “Here is the website where I will update the ranks. Now, onto our first assignment.”
Mr. Brandt reached into one of drawers next to his desk and pulled out a small marble dispenser. “There are a total of twenty marbles in here. Five of them have a star painted on it; those marbles will get you one "star". Now, if you want a chance to get a star, you’ll have to pay a dollar per try.”
Isn't this just a bribe? This can't be legal. Right?
At first nobody in the class moved. Paying a dollar for a chance to get a star? The idea was crazy. After ten seconds of silence, Carl got up, approached Mr. Brandt, and held out five dollars. “Five tries please.”
“Very well,” said Mr. Brandt, pocketing the money.
Carl dispensed five marbles. He inspected them carefully in his palm, and grinned. Turning around, he showed the marbles to the class. A gasp resonated from the class as everyone saw that all five of them had stars painted on them.
“I never said the marbles were dispensed at random. I purposely set it up so that the first five marbles all had stars, to reward the courageous students who decide to go first,” said Mr. Brandt. “Looks like it paid off for Carl.” Mr. Brandt pulled out his phone, and after fiddling with it, “The scoreboard has been updated.”
Arnold quickly pulled out his phone, and entered the score website. The scoreboard was arranged by rank and currently Carl sat at rank 1 with 5 stars.
Carl grinned as he took his seat. “Looks like I’m the lead now."
“And down five dollars,” pointed out Steph.
Carl shrugged. “It was worth it.”
“I don’t have anything else for you guys today. You’re free to do whatever you want for the rest of the period,” said Mr. Brandt.
“This is crazy. We’re basically paying for our grades...” Arnold was about to say, but Don was next to him and Arnold knew Don would go off on another one of his educational system rants.
“So Arnold,” said Carl, motioning at Arnold’s right forehead. “I've been wondering. What’s with that one strand of blonde hair?”
“Ah, this?” said Arnold, interlocking his one blonde hair between his fingers. “I’ve always had one blonde hair. The weird thing is, I’ve had it pulled out before, and another one of the hairs in that area turns blonde in its place.”
“Wow, that’s pretty freaky,” said Carl. “Now, you remember what I told you earlier, right?”
Carl’s words flashed back into Arnold’s memory. “If you don’t want things to go even further, I suggest you hand me over a picture of your cousin tomorrow”
“…First of all, why do you want a picture of my cousin so badly?”
“Because you like your cousin.”
That makes no sense!
“That doesn’t even make any sense. I don’t like my cousin; you’re the one obsessing over cousins.”
“Actually, I believe you do like your cousin. Just ask Emily.”
“…You’re the one who told her that!”
“Now, calm down Arnold. I know you like your cousin, but you don’t need to make such a big commotion about it. I’m just curious as to why you like her. That’s why I want to see what she looks like.”
"Dude, listen. In the first place, I don't even have any female cousins,and besides the only cousin I have is ten years old-"
"Wait, so you're both gay and a pedophile?!" interjected Carl, putting his hand to his mouth in shock.
"What? Where the actual fuck are you coming up with these ideas?"
“Man, you’re into some weird stuff, huh?” Steph interjected, surprising Arnold; in the heat of the conversation he had forgotten that Steph and Don were also sitting at the table.
“I don’t want to hear that from you!” Arnold retorted.
“Calm down. I think I know why you’re reacting so violently, Arnold,” said Carl. “You’re afraid of coming out in the open. But don’t worry. Rest assured, I won’t judge you, even if you are a gay pedophile” said Carl. "...Although I might have to report you to the police."
“Look dude,” said Arnold. “I've had enough. Stop accusing me of all this bullshit. These are all lies."
“There’s no point in debating this. It’s already been established that you're gay for your ten year old male cousin. I know it, Emily knows it, and now Steph and Don know it, too,” said Carl. “Just bring a picture of your cousin and this whole ordeal will be over. I don’t know why you’re trying to make this whole situation to spiral out of control.”
“Arnold,” said Don. “Carl is a trustworthy member of the educational system, thus I believe him when he says you like your cousin. I won’t allow you to further object. I, too, am now expecting a picture of your cousin.”
What the hell??
“Well, now I want to see this cousin person too,” said Steph. “Don’t let us down, Arnold.”
What the hell is this???
“Well, I guess it’s agreed upon. Arnold will show us his cousin tomorrow,” said Carl, smiling.
No, no, no.
As Carl finished talking, the bell rang, signaling the end of Arnold’s first day of school.
Next Chapter Release Date: 1/12/15