Arnold, with his stomach full of chicken and Kool-Aid, went to the locker rooms. He had been assigned locker 15. Inside, he found a school-issued lock and the Gym uniform: a blue short-sleeved shirt and shorts. Arnold changed, and headed to the schoolyard. He winced as he remembered what had happened at Gym class yesterday, and vowed to do better this time.
“Alright kids,” said Mr. Johnson. “We’re going to run more laps today. Pair up with your partners. We’ll have you guys run two at a time. As long as your partner keeps running, you must keep running too. This is called comradeship! If anyone of you abandons your partner, you will get ten points off your final grade! Alright, the first pair to run is… Carl! Let’s see what you got, you, and…er….your partner.”
“My name is Arnold,” said Arnold, quite indignantly.
“Yea, yea,” said Mr. Johnson, not bothering to even look at Arnold. “You guys will run first.”
Arnold felt a pat on his shoulder. He didn’t need to turn around to know who it was.
“You ready for this, partner?” Carl grinned. “You’re not gonna collapse like last time, are ya?”
Arnold and Carl began running, slowly and steadily.
“Hey, pick up the pace!” Mr. Johnson roared.
“Yes, sir!” Carl yelled, accelerating.
Arnold panted as he rushed forwards to match Carl’s pace. After two laps of nearly sprinting, Arnold was dripping with sweat, and panting heavily. He stole a look at Carl, and to his surprise and despair he saw that Carl seemed to be completely unaffected by the running.
Carl, noticing Arnold’s struggle, smiled smugly. “I’m not going to stop anytime soon, Arnold. Unless…you give me a picture of your cousin.”
Arnold was too tired to say anything back, and instead focused his entire willpower on bringing one leg in front of the other. Pain jolted down Arnold’s leg with each step as they passed the third lap. Arnold struggled to maintain his pace, and found himself slowly being outrun by Carl.
“COME ON! Step it up!” Mr. Johnson yelled.
Arnold gritted his teeth, mustered all his energy, and boosted his speed to match Carl’s once again. However, just as Arnold caught up to Carl, Arnold’s shoe hit the bottom of Carl’s shoe.
Arnold fell forward, bracing himself for the fall by putting his hands out in front of him. The smooth ground met his soft palms violently and Arnold screamed as the skin on his palm was forcefully ripped downwards as he fell to the ground. Carl, although he was thrown off balance, did not trip and remained unharmed.
Mr. Johnson sighed loudly, and without an ounce of empathy commanded, “Carl, bring him to the informatory.”
Carl nodded, running back to Arnold, and lifting Arnold onto his shoulder. Ten minutes later, Arnold was laying down on a bed in the nurse’s office on the first floor, and Carl walked back to the schoolyard.
The school nurse, Ms. Lora, was a cheerful plump lady in her mid-thirties. “What happened, sweetie?”
“I fell during Gym class,” said Arnold, realizing how lame that just sounded.
Ms. Lora bandaged Arnold’s bloody hands and then asked, “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“Alright. You should be fine then. Head on back to class.”
Arnold thanked Ms. Lora and headed back to the schoolyard. Although his body was not heavily damaged, his pride and dignity had been destroyed in those ten seconds.
“Welcome back, boy” sneered Mr. Johnson as Arnold arrived at the schoolyard. “You’re lucky you didn’t cause Carl any injuries. That’s ten points off by the way.”
Instead of punching Mr. Johnson, both because his hands were injured and because he’d likely end up in jail, Arnold looked around the schoolyard. To Arnold’s surprise, Carl was still running at top speed. The class cheered as he finally stopped after one final lap.
“Good job, Carl,” said Mr. Johnson. “You’re not even tired, are ya?”
“No, I can still keep going,” said Carl. “But I didn’t want to take up other student’s time.”
“Good lad,” said Mr. Johnson, patting Carl on the back.
Carl smiled and walked over to Arnold. “If you fail Gym, you have to take summer school. I’m sure you don’t want that Arnold. I can save you, Arnold. I have the power to do so. All you have to do is give me a picture of your cousin.”
“Fuck off,” Arnold said, giving Carl a glare.
Carl backed a step and raised his hands in mock fear. “You’re making such a scary face, Arnold. I’m just letting you know what you have to gain by cooperating with me. No reason to be so aggressive.”
Half an hour later Mr. Johnson dismissed the class and they headed towards the locker rooms. Arnold opened his locker, and quickly changed out of his Gym clothes, placing them on the floor next to him. He reached into his locker for his regular clothes but his hands landed on metal. His clothes were missing.
“Looking for these?” a familiar voice behind Arnold said.
Arnold turned around, in his underwear, and saw Carl holding his clothes.
“What the hell are you doing?” said Arnold. “Give me back my clothes.”
Carl sighed. “The world is a tough place, Carl. You want these clothes. I want your cousin’s picture. But we can’t always get what we want, right?”
“Stop fucking around,” said Arnold, taking a step towards Carl.
“You should pay more attention, Arnold,” said Carl.
Out of the corner of his eye Arnold saw two guys reach down and before Arnold could react, they took his Gym clothes, and ran to the back of the locker room.
Arnold, naked and embarrassed, was left standing there, his face turning a deep shade of red. Arnold took a deep breath and lunged at Carl.
“Not so fast!” Carl yelled, throwing Arnold’s clothes, where two other boys caught them.
Arnold, now powerless to do anything, stopped in his tracks.
“Didn’t I tell you Arnold?” said Carl. “I have power. If you side with me that power will be used to benefit you. However, should you go against me, this is only a taste of what will happen to you.”
Carl snapped his fingers and the four boys now holding Arnold’s clothes threw them back at Arnold’s feet.
“Remember that, Arnold.”
Next Chapter Release Date: 2/16/15