As lunch period began, Arnold remembered his task for the school newspaper. He looked around the classroom; most of the students had already left to get lunch at the first floor food stand. Only four kids remained; they had all brought lunch from home. Arnold saw that Emily was one of them. Well, I’m not going to talk to her. The other two kids were seated together and talking; Arnold didn’t want to interrupt their conversation and he wasn’t comfortable approaching a group anyways. And so Arnold decided to turn to the last kid, who sat alone at the table next to him.
“Hey,” said Arnold, approaching the kid. “You’re Andrew, right? Hi, I’m Arnold.”
A pale-skinned boy with fire-red hair eating what looked to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich looked up at Arnold with a blank stare. Arnold waited for the boy to greet him back, but the boy didn’t say a word, and so Arnold continued, “I’m doing a survey for the school newspaper. What food would you like to see in the cafeteria when it opens?”
“…I don’t know,” the boy muttered.
Arnold, taken slightly aback, replied, “Well, uh, what’s your favorite food then?”
“I don’t have one,” the boy said in a near whisper. “I just eat whatever I can get.” Arnold was surprised when he saw the boy was shaking. “Um, can you leave me alone now?”
Well, I guess some people are just like that. As Arnold got up and decided to go visit other classrooms, a shadow loomed over him, and a stern voice filled his heart with dread. “What are doing now, Arnold?”
to face Emily. “What do you mean?”
“Are you trying to find a new victim after what you did to Carl?”
“What the hell are you talking about? I’ve told you a thousands times now Carl is a liar.”
“You’re clearly trying to intimidate Andrew. I saw you walk up to him, and say something probably threatening. Look how quiet he is, he’s trembling with fear.”
No, he’s just shy.
“Look, all I did was ask him what his favorite food was. I’m doing a survey for the school newspaper. Ask Andrew yourself.”
“Of course he’s not going to tell the truth with you here. I’m onto you, Arnold. I’m not going to let you have things go your way anymore.”
The pair’s heated discussion was interrupted when a dark-skinned boy peeped his head into the classroom, and yelled, “Arnold!”
Within a second, Tyrone was next to Arnold, with his fist out. “Here, brother.”
Arnold awkwardly fist-bumped Tyrone. “Uh, hi, Tyrone.”
Tyrone noticed Emily and saw her angry face. “Why hello there. I’m Tyrone, you know my boy Arnold?”
Emily’s eyes widened and her hands went to her mouth in shock. She turned to Arnold, her face pale. “Y-you… you associate with… them?”
“Ay, what’s that supposed to mean?” said Tyrone indignantly.
“You’re even worse than I thought,” Emily took a step back. “You’re probably not just a school bully. You’re probably in some sort of gang. You probably kill people. Oh my god. Oh my god. I-It’s not safe here. I’m not safe here.” Without another word, Emily took her belongings and abruptly left the classroom.
“Ay, man. Is she alright in the head?” said Tyrone to Arnold.
“Uh, no, I don’t think so.”
“Anyways, man,” said Tyrone, taking off his backpack. “Let us feast, my boy!”
Arnold’s eyes widened as Tyrone pulled out an entire rotisserie chicken and two packs of Kool-Aid from his backpack.
“Ay man, I know this ain’t Perdue, but this shit is up there.” Tyrone zipped open another part of his bag and pulled out two knifes and forks. “I was lookin’ er’where for ya by the way. Us black folk gotta stick together, you get me?”
But I’m not blaaaack!
Arnold could only smile meekly and nod his head in agreement. I wonder how long my tan is going to hold out.
“Oh, right. I’m actually doing a survey for the school paper. What food do you wanna see in the school cafeteria?” said Arnold.
“Hmm,” said Tyrone. “I’d love me some good watermelon and sweet potato pie. Mashed potatoes ain’t bad either. You part of the paper now?”
“Yeah, I just started.”
“That’s great man. We need some representin’ in this school, you know? I looked around yesterday and today and you know what? We the only brothers here, man. It’s sad but it’s the truth. I’ve only got you in this hell-hole man.” Tyrone laid his hand on Arnold’s shoulder. “I don't know what I would do without you, man.”
Arnold smiled weakly. There’s no way I can tell him the truth now!
And so, the second Lunch of the school year came to a close.
Next Chapter Release Date: 2/9/15