Black Magic - Chp 2 Major Revisions

Chapter 2

            He was so going to get it.  However, the class ate it up.   He looked at me with a smile.  I could do nothing but just smile back, and I was sure Bret saw the evil behind it.  He didn’t care.

            “She is an avid baseball fan, which is good for me, but I’m going to have to convert her into being a Padre fan because right now she loves Chipper Jones and those Braves.”  The class laughed at this, and I couldn’t help but join them.  “Actually, I’m just kidding, and she’s probably going to kill me after this.  I’ve asked her out three times and she’s turned me down.”  He was so full of it.  It was six times.   “She’s actually a very good track runner.  As a matter of fact, she’s the reigning state champ in the four hundred meters and was the anchor of Roosevelt High’s state championship sixteen hundred meter relay team.  It’s about time the track squad had some decent sprinters.” 

I never told him that.  He was starting to scare me a little bit.  At least, he didn’t say anything else that would surprise me.  When he was done, he strutted back towards his desk like the big man on campus he apparently was.  I spent about a second dreaming of about fifty different ways to slap the smug look off his face.  I thought better of it, but it would have been a great way to make a name for myself.  It also would have been a great way to get myself suspended on the first day of school.  That would have been even more embarrassing than what I just went through.  I was not sure that he was trying to be mean with what he did.  However, if he actually thought this was funny, then I could see why he was single.  He would deserve it if I didn’t speak to him again for the rest of the year, but I couldn’t stay mad at him.  It was just impossible.  That didn’t mean that I was going to let him know that.  I had other ideas.

I wasn’t going to put those ideas in motion in the near future.  It seemed Mrs. Ross had other ideas also.  Those ideas basically constituted one main goal:  to make our lives miserable for the next eight months.  She started out by telling us how dreadful our presentations were.  I didn’t know what this lady expected from what little guidelines she actually gave us, but she had no business being pissed off about the content of a one minute presentation with only five minutes to prepare.  It turned out, however, that her main gripe was our horrible grammar.  She had the opinion that ninety percent of people write in exactly the same way they speak.   If we didn’t use proper grammar when we talk, we really could not expect to all of a sudden write perfectly.  I wasn’t surprised by this.  I had heard it many times.  It was one of Mom’s favorite speeches.  Yet, Mrs. Ross wasn’t going to have this problem corrected by having us make more presentations.  No, that would have made too much sense.  She planned on giving us written punctuation tests.  Three for every different punctuation mark.  She did not divulge into specifics about which punctuation marks we would be responsible for, but the basic goal was for us to ace the first test, resulting in us not having to take the other two.  If we didn’t ace the first, but aced the second, then we didn’t have to take the third.  If we didn’t ace any of the three, the three scores would be averaged out.  In simple terms, get a perfect score the first time to end the agony.  We would also have a test every Friday, in addition to the punctuation tests.  Anything that she mentioned in class was fair game on these tests, and she wasn’t talking about just the present week either.  The tests were all cumulative, or anything that she went over in class starting right then was testable on any given Friday until June.  That included punctuation, lecture points, vocabulary, and literature that were assigned reading.  All were fair game.  This Friday’s test was going to be the only test that was going have a chance of not being difficult.  I couldn’t see the entire class’ reaction to this, but it was easy to imagine what it would be.  It seemed having a carefree senior year was out of the question.

“I don’t know why you’re all looking so shocked,” she said.  “This is a college-preparatory senior English class.  How do you think it’s going to be after you have graduated? It’s not going to get any easier.”  She probably said that every year.

Maybe that F I got earlier actually was an omen of future grades, and I wouldn’t have to worry about college.  It got even worse.  She then handed out Vocabulary Workshop books by Jerome Shostak, and I almost died.  I thought I had escaped those god awful Shostak books when we had moved.  Those books caused effigy in students everywhere.  Well, at least we didn’t have to do all the exercises inside the books, or at least she wasn’t grading them, which was different then saying we didn’t have to do them.  We just had to make sure we knew what the words meant, and it sounded a little too good to be true.  Those Shostak books were like math and couldn’t be memorized without practice.  I was sure some of my classmates didn’t recognize the trap to ensnare laziness.  It wasn’t genius, but it did make me like her a little. 

The rest of the class didn’t live up to the shock the first half provided and when it ended, I couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.  Mr. Spencer decided to corner me at the door. 

“Well, I had heard the rumors,” he started.  “But I didn’t think it would be this bad.”

“You’re preaching to the choir here.  I knew even less than you.”  We walked into the hall, and he made no attempt to go in any other direction than wherever I was heading.  His decision was lacking in logic and common sense.  I didn’t have a clue of where I was going.   I continued. “I’m sure you can handle it, with you trying to get into Harvard and all.”    

“Too bad I’m not going to Harvard.”

“Yeah, just like I’m not your future wife, or your future anything for that matter.”

            “Ok, I’m sorry, but it was damn funny.”  That was an interesting way for this jackass to justify bad behavior.  He then switched gears.  “Where are we going anyway?”

            “I’m going to my locker.  I don’t know where you’re going.”

            “Can you even find it? I’ll go with you.”

            “I appreciate your confidence in my sense of direction.  However, I’ve been to it once.  I’m sure I can find it again.”

            “What about after that?”

            He was still smiling, the jerk. 

            “I’m not going to get rid of you am I?” I asked defeated.

            “Not if I can help it.  Besides, I help you; you help me.”

            “Help you with what?  Besides lessons in humility, you don’t seem to need much help.”

            “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”  He paused, and then a female voice called his name.  It was a voice he apparently recognized because his facial cringe was noticeable.  I actually enjoyed it for a split second, but I also recognized the voice, and I felt his pain.  It was kind of sad, since I’d only heard the voice for a total of one minute in class. 

            “Well, I don’t think that I’ll have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to help you,” I said.  He didn’t react except to sigh, but we didn’t stop walking.  As a matter of fact, we moved right to my locker talking about what we just went through in class.  I’m pretty sure he was hoping that if he just ignored her, she would go way.  It was also apparent he had dealt with this girl enough to know that wasn’t happening, but for the sake of his own sanity, he had to try anyway.  He leaned on the lockers to my immediate right not really saying anything of any significance. 

            This girl, whose name was actually Kendra Malloy, just walked up, stood between the two of us, and totally interrupted our conservation.  Properly excusing herself must not have been taught as proper etiquette.  To make matters even worse, she didn’t even acknowledge my presence.   She was cute, I guess, and on looks alone she would have been the type I would have expected Bret to like.  He wanted no part of her.  The look of pure hate on his face couldn’t go unnoticed.  However, she didn’t notice, or she didn’t care.  The latter was probably the more correct assumption because her next course of action was unwise.  It seemed her dad was having some get together, or something, and her dad, not her, wanted him to come.  I must have just met the first person who was stupid enough to believe that, and it wasn’t Bret.  His responses were priceless.

            “No.  I’m busy.”

            “Come on, Bret.  What could you possibly be doing that would be more important?”

            “I don’t know.  I haven’t figured it out yet.   When I do, you can just hold your breath until I show up.” 

Telling someone you are too busy washing your hair usually did the trick.  What he did say was mean, yet totally justified, considering who he was dealing with.  How did she attempt to get a guy, who clearly loathed her, to do what she wants?  Just insult him.  That was such a great plan, and it worked out really well for her.   I mean, the bitch still hadn’t acknowledged my presence, and she wasn’t going to take a simple no, or a really mean one, for an answer.  I, of course, had yet to say a word.

            “Look, Bret,” she continued.  “Just hear me out. The reason-“

            “What for?” he interrupted.  “I just said no.”

            “You’re not going to be my date or anything.  I just want you to take a friend of mine.  You haven’t met her yet, but I’m sure you’ll like her.”  She finally got to the real reason she was trying this nonsense.  I didn’t understand why she would ask. Actually, it was of a demand, but the results were going to be the same.  It was clear he couldn’t stand her.  His body language said it all, and from the little bit that I’ve talked to him; he didn’t exactly hold back any punches.  There wasn’t any way he would do anything she wanted him to do.  People aren’t usually going to do favors for people they can’t stand, and they definitely were not going to let someone they hate set them up with anyone.  It’s common sense, and at first, I didn’t think she was as dumb as she initially came off.  I was starting to reassess that conclusion, especially when she continued down the same path. 

“Come with me and I’ll introduce you.”  She started to grab his arm and pull him away, but he quickly moved out of the way.

            “If you hadn’t noticed, I was in the middle talking to someone.”  Oh, I was sure she noticed.

            “I’m disappointed in you, Bret.  Being nice to the new girl is so overrated.”

            “Apparently, so is having manners,” I retorted.  Staying quiet was no longer an option.  I couldn’t help myself, and considering what I had just witnessed, it was long overdue. Besides, doesn’t being disappointed mean there was some kind of expectation?  What could she possibly expect of Bret when he’d made perfectly clear his hatred of her?   She looked at me like she was wiping me off the bottom of her shoe.   

            “Oh, Please.  You went to Roosevelt.  What do you know about manners?” 

            “I know enough to know it’s rude to interrupt two people having a conversation without excusing yourself.”  I wasn’t at all impressed by this harpy.  “My parents taught me that at home when I was two.  That’s why it’s called Home Training, which, after this performance, it’s obviously clear that you don’t possess any.”

Bret couldn’t do anything but snicker.  I never took my eyes off her and kept a smile on my face, while she stood there fuming.  I quietly waited for her next response, not that I cared.  However, I knew she did care, and I immediately gained the upper hand by default.   As a matter of fact, I automatically won.  It didn’t matter what she said, I still won.  Smart people never got into arguments when they cared and the other person didn’t.  The one who cared always lost.   The person who cared always took it too personally.  Kendra could say whatever she wanted.  She could insult me as much as she wanted, but the insults didn’t have any effect if I didn’t care.  However, there was only so much I was going to be able to take, and I had come close to having quite enough.  When that happened I would probably just take her head and slam it into the lockers.  That would show her how Roosevelt High girls were. 

However, Bret had other ideas, and since this was basically his decision anyway, he could do whatever he wanted.  He put his left arm around my shoulders, and then he look me in the eye with a look that basically said to go with it.  I was more than happy go whatever way he wanted, even though I really wanted to slam that bitch’s head into the locker.  In a very nice, but forceful, way he told her to find someone else.  It was a lot better than she deserved.  He rather smoothly led me away from her.  Oh, he was definitely a ladies’ man, even though he was snickering.  It wasn’t that funny.

“Home training?” he asked when we were safely out of earshot. 

“You don’t know what that is?”

“Humor me and help a white brother out.”  Understandably, I groaned at this, and he just laughed.    “Is she still back there?”

            I turned, looked and then said, “She’s gone, so you can move your arm now.” 

            He complied and actually did it without making any wisecracks, which was welcome.  We actually had a pretty nice conversation afterwards.  There wasn’t any of his ridiculous flirting.  He wasn’t trying any of his outrageous tricks to prove that he’s funny, even though he was more successful at being funny when he wasn’t trying.  The more he talked, the more I was starting to get the feeling  his whole macho player vibe he was giving off earlier was all just an act, kind of like he was playing the part that he was expected to play.  Since he wasn’t playing that part, he was more enjoyable to be around.

We got to my next class easily enough, and it turned out that his class was actually close by.  For a place that seemed so confusing, it was funny how close everything seemed to be.  

“So,” he started.  “When am I going to get your number?”  I couldn’t tell whether he was joking or serious.  

            “Have you lost your damn mind?”  My shock was totally evident, as was my annoyance.  “You had to have because otherwise asking me that question was just stupid.”  

            “Oh come on.  You know you want to.”

            “‘You know you want to.’  What is this, some kind of porno movie?  Even if I wanted to give you my number, you are seriously deluded if you thought I would actually give it to you after what you pulled in class.”

            “But wait –“

            “Stop.”  My interruption was as dramatic as it was quick and hard.  I even brought out the “talk to the hand” bit minus the neck weaving.  “No. Just no.”  I then turned and walked off, leaving him standing there.  It had to be done.  I didn’t know what I would have said to him had I stayed.   I went into class and quickly took a seat in the row closet to the door, near the back of the room.  I did that on purpose so I didn’t have to look at him because I was still fuming.  When the bell warning bell rang, I finally looked up and he was gone, even though I was sure he couldn’t see me from the angle where he would have been standing if he was actually still there.  I instantly tried to buckle down.  I was sure he was going to be the least of my worries. 




            The other three classes before lunch went as expected.  I didn’t get anymore unexpected, but needed, help.  The results were I ended up being late to the last two classes, both of which had me traveling from one side of campus to the other and then back again.  I could still smell that ocean breeze while walking through what was referred to as the courtyard.  The name was misplaced.  There wasn’t any grass that would constitute it to actually be a yard.    It was all concrete.  It was still great to actually be able to walk outside without actually being accused of cutting class.  It was a whole new experience that I welcomed, even though I knew no one.  I was more than happy to stay out of the spotlight, and the last few classes made that easy, since there wasn’t anyone I knew in those classes. 

After that fourth class, Advance Biology, Angel was waiting for me to go to lunch.  As we started to walk, I filled her in on the details of what happened in English Class.  Her immediate laughter was not encouraging.  Some friend she was supposed to be.

“What?” she asked in responsive to me questioning her sensitivity..  “It’s funny.  The only reason you don’t this so is because he did to you.”

“But why would he?”  I protested.  “It’s not like he knew…”  I trailed off when a thought suddenly occurred to me.  “Angel, what exactly did you tell him?”

“Not a whole lot.  I basically told him I had met you and that you had went to Roosevelt High before here.  I didn’t tell him anything important.”

“He knew about the state medals I won last spring.  That doesn’t classify as superficial information.”

“That information didn’t come from me.  I only told him your name and where you went to school. I didn’t know you had actually won stuff.  You never told me, which isn’t your fault.   We never talked about it in detail, but it’s not surprising he was able to figure out the rest.  His sister, Brianne, graduated last year and ran track for us.   She was a pretty good distance runner from what I understood.  Figuring you out would have been pretty easy from him.  He was probably at the meet himself, since his dad was good about making the two of them support each other.”

She had a real quick explanation as to how he could have known, but it did make sense.  I actually knew his sister, and had talked to her many times this past spring at meets and the like.  As I recalled, she was better than pretty good.  I went on telling her about the whole deal with Kendra, and Bret and I last moments talking to each other.  She cringed at the latter, and she didn’t have a witty comeback or an explanation for his bad behavior.

“Yeah that was pretty odious.”  She seemed genuinely confused.  “That doesn’t seem at all like him.”  Then she changed the subject back to Kendra.  “It’s good to see that he’s still holding his ground when it comes to her.”

Holding his ground was kind of an understatement, considering that he clearly couldn’t stand her.  I told Angel as much.  Her basic response was considering Kendra was his ex; holding his ground was all Angel really expected of Bret when it came to Kendra.  Basically the history of those two consisted of Kendra treating him like a trophy while they were dating, even to his face.  It seemed there was no love lost between Angel and Kendra either and, with Caleb and Bret being best friends and Angel and Bret being good friends also, I correctly guessed there wasn’t a ton of double dating going on.  According to Angel, Bret had really liked Kendra, at least at first.  In the later stages of their relationship he really couldn’t stand her, but stayed with her anyway to keep up pretenses.  It seemed her dad really liked him, and he saw Bret as the perfect companion for his not so darling daughter.  That wasn’t fair to a guy who hadn’t even finished his junior year of high school.  Soon, Bret just hated her too much to even keep up pretenses.  I found it hard to believe people did things like that in real life.  I those type of things only happen in horribly written romance novels.

“I thought they were the most lopsided couple yet,” Angel finished.  “They have two totally different personalities”

I wasn’t so sure their personalities were all that different, just Kendra was a lot more evil.  “They both are full of themselves.  That’s one thing that they have in common,” I said.

“But isn’t everyone a little full of themselves.  Some are just more full of themselves than others.

“There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.”

“Good point.  I’d take Bret’s brand of being full of himself over the wannabe Mean Girl’s any day.”

            “What is with that anyway?  It’s like she’s trying to be that person, but can’t quite pull it off.”

            “It’s simple really.  She has the looks and the bad attitude to pull it off.  The problem is she just too damn stupid to pull off Mean Girls type machinations.  And she assumes everyone else is stupider than she is.  It’s very easy to put her in her place, as you have found out.”

            “It was a little too easy, which takes all of the fun out of it.”  We had made our way to the cafeteria, and it was as one would expect.  Everyone was sitting in their respective groups.  We took a table near the window, and talked a little more about nothing in particular.

            After about five minutes, I finally got to meet Caleb.  It was about time, and it only took all of about three months.    He looked as I might have expected him to look.  He was the total stereotypical jock.  He was big and built and that was basically it.  There wasn’t anything really to set him apart from any other guy in school.  He wasn’t ugly by any stretch of the imagination.  I was not impressed.  He didn’t have the wow factor Bret possesses, and it was funny how I was using Bret as the standard of comparison.  It seemed logical because everyone else did too.    

Angel seemed to think Caleb had it and that was all that really mattered.  However, something was missing for me.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.   It didn’t get any better once he kissed Angel once he got to the table. The kissing didn’t seem romantic at all.  It was like he, or both of them, was going through the motions.  I found it quite weird those two had been dating for about three years, and not once did he stop in to the mall to see her.  He never stopped by the store, or even came to the mall during her lunch break.   Still, what the hell did I know?   I was single.   He had brought company.

            “You must be Crystal,” Caleb said.  “You’re even prettier than Bret said.  I had to drag him here to apologize for acting like a jackass earlier.” 

 I liked him already, even though he was speaking with a fake southern accent.  Prettier came out as “purtier”. Wasn’t he born here?  Maybe he was auditioning for some role in a movie.  Why else would he want to purposely sound like a redneck?  He was going to put in more practice to make it sound believable.

            “Oh, I’m over that.” I said. “Thank you anyway though.”

            “Yeah, when did you get over it?”  Caleb asked.

            “Right after you said I was pretty.”

            “Good,” Bret piped in.  “That must mean I’m in the clear.”

            “Not so fast pretty boy,” I said.  “You still haven’t apologized.”

            “I thought you were over it,” Bret protested.

            “I am.” I clearly was having fun with this.  It was about time for him to squirm a little.  “That still doesn’t excuse you from actually apologizing.  It just means I’m more likely to accept it.”

            “Oh, she’s a feisty one.  Isn’t she, buddy?” Caleb asked Bret.

            “Why are you talking like that?” Those were the first words Angel said since the boys showed up, and she was clearly irritated.  “The last time I checked, Beverly Hillbillies’ Day was not a part of Spirit Week.  Even if it was, that’s over a month away, so stop it.  You sound like a moron.”  Caleb looked like chastised kid in that instance.

            “Yeah.  She’s feisty,” Bret said to Caleb.  “That is one of the things like about her.” Bret said.

            “Shove it, mister,” I said.  “And I’m still waiting for that apology.”

            It was hilarious watching these two jocks look like scolded grade school kids.  I crossed my arms and looked at Bret.  I can play the “Shanay-nay” role, also known as the Shaniqua-Laquita role, when it was appropriate.  It was rare and really not attractive, but it sometimes works.  The problem was in this particular instance I couldn’t do it without laughing.  The whole table cracked up, but he did apologize.  It appeared to be sincere.  He still wasn’t getting my number. 

            The rest of lunch went mostly as that conversation between the four of us, and it would have been a lot more enjoyable if Bret wasn’t smiling at me all the time.  It was like he was a little kid if there was any indication that his flirting was not some kind of sick joke.  It was the only thing that annoyed me about it all.  He was doing it to be funny, and he didn’t know me well enough to do that.  Of course, if he really wasn’t serious than it really shouldn’t matter.  However, he was in my head, and that was probably what bothered me the most.  Maybe, it was his intention.  It was definitely something I was going to have to do something about. 

            When lunch was over, Angel and I made our way to Calculus, which was my last class of the day.  The best part of being a senior was getting most of the required classes out of the way the last three years.   For the most part, the year should be a breeze.

            “I think he likes you,” she said.

            “What? Who?”

            “Who else would be I be talking about?” Angel asked.  There were two guys there.  Of course if she was talking about Caleb, then she would have problems.

            “Don’t be stupid.  He was just joking around.”

            “I’m sure he wasn’t.”

            “Really?  It sounded like joking to me.  He was laughing too much, and it made it difficult to take him seriously.”

            “Believe me.  I’ve known him a longer than you,” she said.  “He acted the same when he was first with Kendra.”

            “Well now I can understand why she treated him like she did.  It is irritating.  I continued, “But look how that turned out.  He hates her now.”  Why did I care so much?

            “Kendra and you are no where nearly the same person.”

            “I would hope not.  I couldn’t fathom being as stupid as she is.”  Angel laughed at that.  “I don’t even think I would be the type of girl that he likes.”

            “Oh, now I see,” Angel answered.  “It’s not that you don’t think he actually likes you, which by the way is wrong.  It’s that you don’t think he would like a person like you.”

            “What is the difference?”

            “Well if he did like you, you would kind of be missing out.  You’re not giving him a chance because you don’t think he would like you.”

            “You know.  You never asked me how I feel about him.

            “Does it matter?” she asked.  “You don’t think you’re his type so it doesn’t matter if you like him or not.”  She paused.  “Do you?”

            “Do I what?”

            “Oh quit stalling,” she said.  “You know what I’m talking about.”


            “Oh you do.  That is so awesome.”

            “I wouldn’t say that.  He does have potential though.  If he stopped acting like a jackass, then, who knows?”

            “You’re full of it.”  She stopped and looked directly at me.  “If you didn’t like him, you wouldn’t be worried about it so much.”

            “Maybe, it could just be that it’s annoying.”

            “I’m still not buying it.”
            “Okay,” I said defeated.  Angel could at times be stubborn.  “Even if I did like him, can you imagine what my mom would say if I brought him home?”
            “What would she be so mad about?” Angel asked.

            “Isn’t it obvious?” 


            “Oh please, you’re not that stupid,” I said.  “How about bringing a white boy home?”

            “You don’t have a lot of choices in the quality black guy department to choose from here, or any black guys at all for that matter.”

            “I don’t think that is going to make much of a difference,” I said.  “She would probably rather I didn’t date at all.”

            “Why would she be so upset?  She works in a place full of white people, and this isn’t exactly the nineteen sixties.  It’s the twenty-first century.”

            “Things are all ways different when a person’s kids are involved.  She might not mind interracial dating when other people do it.  Me?  Not so much.”

            “That would mean that she actually does mind it.”

            “Whatever.”  I changed the subject.  “What is with this school and the baseball team?”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Well,” I started.  “Why are guys on the baseball team the studs of the school?  I mean it’s usually the football and basketball teams that are supposed to be the cool guys.”

            “You obviously haven’t seen our basketball team,” Angel pointed out.  “They are just dreadful.  They make Woody Harrelson look like Kobe Bryant.”   

            “Dreadful?  Channeling Simon Cowell, are we?”  I quipped.  “What kind of cheerleader are you supposed to be?”

            “Don’t change the subject.”  Angel was really good at keeping the conversation where she wanted it.  We entered class together and sat next each other in the center of the room.  “We’re talking about you and Bret.”

            “I don’t think the words ‘you and Bret’ belong together in the same sentence.”

            Angel was not impressed.  “Whatever.  Try and resist all you want.  You won’t last past a week.  He likes you, and he’s not going to give up easily.”

            “He doesn’t like me.  Stop it,” I said as the bell rang starting class.

            “Deny it all you want.  He likes you, and at a minimum, you are intrigued by him.”

Angel was right.  He did intrigue me.  Then again, a lot of people intrigued me, so it really didn’t matter.  I had other things to worry about at that moment, and the last thing I wanted to worry about was some crazy white boy chasing me around school while I was in arguably my hardest class.  We both ended our conversation and dug in to advanced math.


Elton4562   Elton4562 wrote
on 5/8/2010 1:02:34 AM
Hey, This is very well written. Thanks for sharing it. Looks like you haven't enabled the rating system, but I'd give it a ten if I could. Elton

Novel / Novella
writing ajodom
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