“Hey!” Ally called out cheerily.
The blonde girl greeted Arnold with an enthusiastic wave, which Arnold wearily returned. The two were standing outside the school’s main entrance.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” said Ally. “You look down.”
“Rough day,” said Arnold.”
“Huh, weren’t you really excited for high school?” said Ally. “What happened?”
“My classmates and I aren’t exactly on the same page,” said Arnold, who decided against going into more details. “Anyways, what about you? How was your first day?”
“It was great,” said Ally. “I met a girl that works at a small café after school a few blocks from here. You wanna go check it out now?”
And so the pair arrived at a small one-story yellow-brick café. As Ally pushed open the doors, she was greeted by a wave from a girl at the counter.
“Ally, you came!” The girl was skinny and lean, with sleek long black hair freely flowing down her shoulders. She was wearing a black t-shirt with the café’s logo, a teacup being stirred, on the left breast.
At the sight of her, Arnold froze at the doorway instantly. She’s the girl who saw me in the bathroom with my pants down!
“Hey, Cindy!” Ally replied with a smile.
Luckily, Cindy didn’t seem to have noticed Arnold yet. Arnold, still at the doorway, holding the door open with one foot inside, shifted his brain into overdrive as he tried to create an excuse to get out of the situation.
Arnold was brought back to reality when Ally called out to him. “Hey, what’re you doing, Arnold? Come meet Cindy.”
Arnold took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves, and closed the door behind him. Mustering a smile he approached the counter. His eyes met Cindy’s.
Does she recognize me?
“…Hey, I’m Arnold,” Arnold said hesitantly, extending out his hand. This’ll be the test. I doubt she’ll want to touch my hand after what happened.
“Hi, I’m Cindy.” She smiled and shook Arnold’s hand.
Arnold breathed an inner sigh of relief. Whew. Looks like I’m fine. Maybe she doesn’t recognize me. Or maybe she never saw me in the first place and I’m just being paranoid.
“I’ve heard a lot about you Arnold. Ally told me you’re really good at writing. We have a student-made newspaper at school, and I’m actually pretty high up in the organization. I can get you in if you’re willing to do the work, and it’s as good as Ally says it is.”
“Really?” said Arnold. “That’d be great,
“Awesome. So, to qualify you for the newspaper, we’re going to need a test run first. Our school has three different newspaper groups, and the one I’m in is simply called The Paper. We’re a lot different from the other two newspapers as the topics we discuss are, how should I put it? Unique. We do a lot of hands-on investigating for our material. Anyways, if you’re up for it, give me your number and I’ll text you the details of your first assignment.”
As other kids from school began streaming into the café, Cindy could no longer talk to the two of them, and so Arnold and Ally both ordered a bubble tea and sat down at a window seat.
After chatting for half an hour, they finished their drinks and the two walked home together. They both lived in the same apartment complex located in a residential area ten minutes away from Fort Nor Private High School. Arnold lived on the fourth floor, and Ally lived on the second. The two entered an elevator in the main hall and parted ways when Ally got off on the second floor.
Arnold sighed as the elevator doors closed and began to move up again. He still couldn’t believe all the things that happened during his first day of school- it was all too unreal, as if he was in a story and the author was some kind of diabolical maniac who got off on making the life of a high school freshman as awkward as possible.
As Arnold was recounting the day’s events, he was jolted to attention when the elevator came to a sudden screeching halt. The door didn’t open.
“It looks like we’re stuck in here,” a voice next to Arnold called out.
With Arnold in the elevator was a middle aged lady and her dog, a young golden retriever. The lady pulled out her phone and dialed a number.
After her call, she gave Arnold a reassuring look. “Don’t worry. An elevator mechanic will be here in ten minutes.”
Arnold breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t know what I would do if I was alone.
His relief was cut abruptly when he felt liquid hit the bottom of his pants. Confused, Arnold looked down and saw that the dog was peeing on his shoe.
What the fuck!
Arnold quickly jumped away, but the damage had been done: the dog’s piss had already entered his shoes and now his left sock was soaked.
“Oh my god,” the lady said, giving Arnold an apologetic look. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Normally Arnold would be furious, but the lady was making such an apology he simply couldn’t will himself to be mad at her. Besides she was the one who called the elevator mechanic over anyways. And he couldn't really be mad at the dog either- after all, it was a dog.
And so, Arnold stood in the elevator, piss all over his shoes, trying desperately to keep his sanity in check.
Next Chapter Release Date: 1/19/15