A Time When It All Went Wrong by Colin Kelly

They say everyone has a double, a doppelganger, someone who’s their mirror image. What if you just met your double? What if you were a thirteen-year-old kid who’s gay and you just met your double?


Chapter 18: Lazy Sunday and Boring Monday      Story Index >>

Sunday morning Mom let us sleep in longer than what was usual for me. I heard her call me a couple times, but each time I fell back to sleep.

Finally Dad came upstairs to roust us outta bed. He knocked on my door, real loud, then shouted, “Get your lazy butts out of bed. Be downstairs in fifteen minutes or you guys won’t get any breakfast.”

That got us up. We did a quick visit to the bathroom then we got dressed and walked into the kitchen in just under fifteen minutes.

“Morning,” I said. Then I yawned, a big, long yawn. That made Todd yawn too.

I heard a familiar voice say, “Morning, guys.”

I turned and saw it was Scott. He and Josh were sitting at the kitchen table.

“Hi. What are you doing here?” I asked.

Scott turned to Josh and said, “Not a very nice way to be greeted, is it?”

“No, not a very nice way at all. Should we be insulted?”

“Nah, give ‘em a break, after all they just got up. They were probably playing some video game all night.”

“Don’t you think they should have thought that through instead of staying up until four or five in the a.m. this morning?”

“We weren’t up until four or five in the morning,” I said. “We hit the sack around ten o’clock ‘cause we were tired.”

“Besides, we didn’t know that we’d have surprise guests for breakfast,” Todd added.

We sat down across from Scott and Josh.

“Glad to see you made it to breakfast,” Dad said. “I would have hated it if you’d missed eating and ended up collapsing and dying later this morning from lack of nourishment. And I think you made a little mistake, Tony.”

“What mistake?” I asked.

“Just for clarification, you didn’t ‘hit the sack’ at ten o’clock. It was more like eleven-thirty.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Anyway, what’s for breakfast?”

“The usual fare,” Dad replied. “And, as usual this isn’t a restaurant, it’s self-service. You know where everything is, Tony, so you get to be the gracious host this morning. I’m going to go watch some football on TV. See you guys later.” He walked out, leaving the four of us alone.

“We have cereal, fruit, bread and bagels to toast, peanut butter, a couple kinds of jam, and maybe even cream cheese for the bagels. To drink we’ve got orange juice and milk, and I can make coffee for anyone who wants it. Actually, I’ll make coffee anyway because I want it to help me wake up.”

“We had breakfast at home,” Josh said.

Scott turned to Josh, put his index finger across his lips, and said, “Shhhh!” Then he looked at me with a silly fake smile.

“I’d like a toasted bagel, please,” he said. “What kind do you have?”

“Usually we have sesame and cinnamon raisin, but I’ll have to check. Josh? Do you want something?”

“If you’re going to make coffee and toast bagels I’ll have a cup of coffee, black, and a bagel. I don’t care what kind it is, but no garlic or onions. Please.”

“There are never any garlic or onion bagels in this mess hall,” I said.

I got up and found we had both kinds of bagels so I sliced two of each and put them in the toaster oven then got the coffee started. I put the orange juice, four plates, four glasses, and four knives on the table.

“Todd, Scott, either of you want coffee?”

“No thanks,” Scott replied. “Maybe a glass of milk, please.”

“I’ll have a glass of orange juice, and a cup of black coffee,” Todd said.

“I thought you didn’t drink coffee without milk and stuff in it, like a latte.”

“I’m gonna try your ‘black coffee to wake up’ trick and see if it works for me.”

“It always works for me. But if you drink too much you can get the jitters. The caffeine in coffee is a drug.”

“Despite the provided warning label, I’ll still try it. Maybe you should only make a half-cup for me, just in case I don’t like it.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Of course, you can add milk and/or sugar it you decide you want them.”

I put the container of milk on the table along with sugar, butter, jam, peanut butter, and cream cheese. When the bagels finished toasting I piled them on a dinner plate and put it on the table, then poured a mug of coffee for Josh, one for me, and a half-filled mug for Todd.

As soon as I sat down, Josh said, “A scullery maid’s job is never done, is it Tony.”

They laughed, and I responded, “Funny ha-ha.”

As we ate, Todd asked, “Other than the free breakfast, what brings you two guys over this morning?”

“We figured that you two could take us on a bike tour of the area,” Josh said. “Since we just moved here we don’t know all that much about Hillcrest.”

Scott looked at Josh, shook his head, rolled his eyes, then stage whispered to him, “It’s Hillview, we live in Hillview.”

“Okay, okay. Hillview, Hillview, Hillview,” Josh said. “So, if you two don’t have anything else planned, you can give us a tour and keep repeating the name of the town so I don’t forget it.”

I looked at Todd. “Did we have anything planned for today?”

“Nope. Hey, I just had a great idea! How ‘bout we take Scott and Josh on a bike tour of our city?”

“You know, Todd,” I replied, “you always come up with great ideas.”

“Thief!” Josh growled. “Here I’m the one who gave you the idea to do a bike tour of Hillcrest… uh, Hillview? I don’t know, whatever. Anyway, you stole it.” He snickered.

“Scott, you never told us Josh was majoring in standup comedy,” I said. “This is what, his first week in the class? Of course, based on the repartee we’ve just heard, he certainly couldn’t have been in class any time longer than a week.”

Scott laughed. “So Todd’s idea is okay with you guys?”

“Yeah, except there’s one problem,” Todd replied. “I don’t have my bike here at your house, Tony. It’s at my house, and that’s three miles from here.”

“Hey, not a problem,” Scott said. “Todd, you can use my dad’s bike.”

“He won’t mind?” Todd asked.

“Nah. He never uses it, so it’s like practically brand new,” Josh replied.

“Okay,” I said, “I’m going to tell Dad what we’re going to do, then we’ll walk to your house and get your dad’s bike, assuming he agrees, and we’ll go on our ‘tour d’Hillview.’”

Scott decided to phone home about loaning Todd the bike, and he got his dad’s okay. We walked to Scott’s house, with me pushing my bike, and left from there for what turned into a five hour trip around the city with me and Todd playing tour guides. We stopped for lunch at McCovey’s. It turned out that Josh is a fan of the San Francisco Giants, and there was a lot of Giants’ memorabilia in the restaurant. They had over a dozen TVs playing pro football games since preseason had started.

Todd pointed to the screen nearest us. “See that guy on the field with the doctor and coach kneeling next to him?”

“Yeah. Who is it?”

“I don’t know, and that’s not the important part. What’s important is that could be you in your first game, lying on the field injured waiting to be carted off on a stretcher the way they’re doing with that guy now.” Todd grinned.

“Why did you decide to go out for football, Tony?” Josh asked.

I told him an abbreviated version of how Kiernan Mach tried to smash me into the lockers and I moved aside and he injured himself, then I’d met with Coach Kavanaugh and he asked me if I’d like to try out for freshman football.”

“You actually said yes?” Josh asked, looking at me like he thought I might be crazy or something.

“Why not? If I don’t like it I can quit and I’ll still get to use the weight training room this semester. Usually you have to be a sophomore to take the Weight Training class.”

“That’s the only reason he decided to try out,” Todd said.

“So you want to build up your muscles?” Josh asked.

“Yes. I figured it would be a good way to exercise and focus on developing my body. Regular PE class doesn’t do that. Besides, the nearest gym that’s nice is a long way from here.”

“That’s pretty sneaky,” Josh said.

“Maybe, but I might like playing football. Only way to find out is to try out for the team.”

“Good luck,” Josh said. “It’d be cool if you made the team.”

“Thanks.”

“You know, I oughta check out that Weight Training class myself. I didn’t know Wilson had a class like that. It might do me some good,” Josh said.

“You’re strong enough as is,” Scott said.

Josh just grinned at Scott, and that make him groan. I just laughed. That made me think of something.

“Why do you two share a bedroom?” I asked.

“My folks are repainting the other two bedrooms. This is a temporary thing,” Josh replied.

“Not temporary enough,” Scott said.

“Is it that bad sharing a bedroom, especially if it’s temporary?”

“Nah,” Josh replied. “The trouble is, the room we’re in is the smallest bedroom, so it’s pretty crowded in there with two double beds, two desks, two dressers, and one closet.”

“So how long’s this going to last?” Todd asked.

“Not long,” Josh replied. “The painters already finished and the new carpet is being installed on Wednesday. Friday my friends Lane and Bill are coming over to help us move the furniture, then Scott can move his clothes and other stuff into his new bedroom and Lane and Bill will help me move my stuff into my new bedroom.”

“Scott, I can come over to help to help you move into your room,” I said.

“See, I told you he’d volunteer,” Josh said to Scott.

“Yeah, yeah,” Scott said, then he looked at me and grinned. “Thank you, Tony, that would be great.”

I laughed at them, then shook my head. “Sibling rivalry. I’m sure glad I don’t have to experience that.”

“Tell me about it,” Scott mumbled.

“Okay, we’ve toured downtown,” Josh said. “What’s next on the itinerary?”

“Larkey Park and the Lindsay Wildlife Museum,” Todd said. “So, if we’re ready, let’s pay the bill and get going.”

There was a brief argument about Josh paying for everyone’s lunch. Josh said he should pay because he and Scott shanghaied me and Todd today and talked us into the bike tour. Besides, his dad gave him money and told him to pay for our lunches. That direct order from his dad made sense so he won and Todd and I didn’t pay.

We biked out to Larkey Park and watched some guys from the Las Lomas swim team race each other, saw the model trains, and toured the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. We decided that we’d had enough for the day and took it easy riding home. We did make one stop. As we passed the new fitness center on Main Street I said I wanted to check it out. The others agreed, probably because it meant being able to have some time to rest. The gym and all the equipment and two pools including a lap pool impressed me. I decided to talk to Darryl Chiu in my next Football 1A class. His said his dad was a trainer here, so maybe he could get me a discounted membership.

By the time Todd and I got to my house it was almost time for dinner. We were famished from the long ride today. Well, maybe not famished, but for sure hungrier than usual. Mom even commented when we both went for third servings of lasagna and salad.

Dad had recorded 60 Minutes on our DVR so after dinner we watched the show. They had an interesting segment about a girl at a high school in Oregon who’d been bullied at school and cyberbullied too, and what her parents did to force the school to finally do something about it. Todd and I commented that we were glad our schools had a third-strike rule about bullying. I was also glad they didn’t have a segment about concussions. That could have ended my high school football career right then and there.

Todd and I went upstairs after the show ended. I got my football textbooks and did some reading to prep myself for the week. Then I thought about my seventh period schedule for the week.

We’d have our Health class, or as Todd liked to call it, ‘Sex 1A’ class, the next two Mondays; so no football those days.

Wednesday and Friday I’d have my first Weight Training classes. It sounded like a lot of work and sweating and sore muscles. But a good sore, I hoped, because I needed the exercise.

Thursday I’d be introduced to the first practice session on the football field. ‘That should be fun,’ I thought to myself. Then I thought, ‘You’re being facetious.’ That’s a great word, facetious. I decided that I’m going to find where I can use it more often, like in my English and Creative Writing classes, without it looking like I’m just trying to use a big word to show off.

I started to nod off, so I closed my Football for Dummies book and put it in my backpack. I checked to make sure all of my homework assignments were there, then I went online to the school’s Blackboard system and made sure that the assignments I posted had been accepted by my teachers. I saw that my short story had been picked up by Ms. Porzio, but my English assignment hadn’t been picked up yet by Ms. Holbrook.

Todd sat on my bed, leaning against the headboard. He was reading something on his tablet.

“What are you reading?” I asked.

“A sci-fi story, The Martian. It’s about a U.S. astronaut who’s accidentally left on Mars. The others think he’s dead, the instruments in his suit show that he’s dead. But the instruments were trashed when he was caught outside by an unexpected sand storm and he’s just injured, not dead. The story is about how he handles being by himself, how he grows food in the hab, that’s the habitat unit left behind when the others left, and it’s where he lives, and all the problems he runs into and the solutions he comes up with. It’s great!”

“It sounds like it would make a great movie.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure.”

“How far along are you?”

“Thirty-one percent, so I’m almost a third of the way through. This is a long book.” Todd grinned.

“I’ll have to find it and download it.”

“I got it for $2.99, but it’s a lot more expensive now. If you can wait until I finish reading it, I’ll loan it to you.”

“Thanks! That’s way cool. Do you know how to loan it to someone?”

“No, I’ve never done that before. I’ll have to go online and find out how loaning works. Shouldn’t be too complicated.”

“Cool. Say, I’m gonna shower and so on and get ready for bed.”

“Okay. I want to finish this chapter then I’ll come in and join you for our shower.” He wiggled his eyebrows, and I laughed at him.

When we got in bed we hugged, then Todd asked, “Did you set your alarm?”

“Uh huh. See the red light next to the time?”

“Yeah. That means it’s set?”

“Yeah. There are two alarms, one is my wake-up alarm and is always set to six thirty a.m. All I have to do is click it on, which I did. My wake-up alarm has a different playlist than my second alarm, the one that has Let Her Go repeating over and over like you already heard. The wake-up alarm has the entire Passenger ‘All the Little Lights’ album.

“Why do you get up so early?” Todd asked.

“You mean why will we get up so early. We’re a long way from Wilson, and the school bus we have to take stops at Trimble and San Miguel, three blocks from here. We have to be there by seven twenty-five or we’ll miss the bus and my dad will have to drive us.”

“Sheesh! Can’t you ride your bike?”

“Yeah, but that would take about thirty-five minutes if I’m lucky with traffic lights. It could take as much as forty-five minutes. If I miss the bus and tried to bike to school I’d be late. I tried it a couple times during the summer and I also discovered I’d be all hot and sweaty by the time I’d get to school. It’d be worse coming home because that time of day is hotter.”

“Not so good. Of course, I don’t have my bike here anyway.”

“I didn’t think about that. It’s another good reason for us to get up on time and get to the bus stop on time. Scott and Frank take that same bus.”

“What about Josh?”

“Scott told me Josh has a friend who drives to school and he picks up Josh and a couple other guys.”

“Too bad we don’t have a friend who has a car,” Todd groused.

“It’s not likely. You have to be eighteen and pass a driving class and your driving test, otherwise you can’t carry passengers.”

“Bummer. It sucks being too young.”

“That is true!”

I yawned, and so did Todd.

“Goodnight, Todd.”

“Goodnight, Tony.”

~~~<<>>~~~

I’d closed my eyes and the next thing that that I knew was waking up to Passenger’s Things That Stop You Dreaming blaring from my alarm. What a perfect song!

I yawned, then threw the covers off.

“Come on, Todd, let’s get up.”

“Go’way. Lemme sleep.”

“No! Get up. We don’t want to be late to school.”

Todd yawned, then stretched. “Alright! Shut off the fucking alarm.”

“What would Heather do if she heard you?”

“Yeah, yeah, sorry. She’d punch me in the arm. I say that girl’s got brass knuckles built into her knuckles.”

We got up and I shut off the alarm. Time for the first day of our second week as freshmen at Wilson High School.

~~~<<>>~~~

It always seemed to me that at every school the classes on Mondays were always the same. Boring. We’d turn in the homework we did over the weekend, we’d review what had been covered the week before, and we’d get more homework to turn in on Tuesday. Boring.

During lunch Todd and I told the crew about how we’d discovered that our dads are twins and were adopted by different families as babies and didn’t know about each other, and that we’re first cousins and that’s why we look alike. It seemed that everyone had questions, and we seemed stuck answering them until Heather dragged us away to a quiet table outside.

We met with her to talk about our campaign for freshman class president and vice president. She’d done a lot of work putting together a ‘marketing plan’ for us.

“I’d like you guys to take this home and read it, together, and then we can meet tomorrow and talk about it in more detail.”

“That’s a problem,” Todd said. “Tony and I live across town from each other so we won’t be able to meet tonight. But we can get together tomorrow night then meet with you during lunch on Wednesday. Will that be okay?”

“Sure.” She smiled. “I hope you like my plan. I’m trying to do everything on the cheap. The school requires that we itemize any expenses and the total can’t exceed twenty dollars. But that’s per candidate, so that means we have forty dollars to spend on your joint campaign. Turns out you two running together is a very cool idea.

“Forty dollars didn’t seem like it’d be enough. So I read the rules, and there’s nothing that says we can’t accept donations. So I went to Copy Shop and asked if they’d print five hundred flyers for us for free, and they agreed as long as they could print a small ad at the bottom of the page. We can paint our own banners. My mom said she’d donate an old tablecloth that we don’t use. It’s made of something called oilcloth and it’s light green. My brother’s taking graphics design classes and said he’d paint two banners for free. Cool, ‘eh?”

“Wow, you’re not kidding,” I said.

“Ya know,” Todd said, “speaking as the son of an attorney, I wonder how the school could let us use unlimited donations but limit each candidate to a max of twenty bucks?”

“I think they want us to go out and solicit donations. That’s probably considered a ‘teachable moment,’ or whatever they call it.”

I’d been looking through Heather’s ‘marketing plan.’

“This is really impressive, Heather. Where did you find a way to get the clip-on buttons? I’d think they’d be real expensive.”

“When I went to Copy Shop they had a big box of them in the back. I asked how much they wanted for a couple hundred of them and he gave me the whole box free. They’re left over from a ‘Save the Trees’ campaign at U.C. Berkeley. I went to Office Place and found inkjet label paper with two inch diameter labels, twenty labels per sheet, a pack of fifteen sheets. They had one pack left, so I bought it for $4.87 including tax. So far that’s the only expense we’ve had. We’ll print the labels, then the big job will be to stick them onto the buttons.”

“You are a fantastic campaign manager, Heather,” Todd said.

“I agree,” I added. “Everything you’ve included is clever and even a little sneaky.”

That made Heather smile. “Hey, don’t forget we have the meeting right after eighth period today.”

“Where is it going to be?” I asked.

“Room T-104, that’s in the Theater building.”

We heard the first bell for fifth period and headed for Spanish 3 with Mr. Markham.

When we got to our sixth period Biology class we saw that the projector had been reinstalled in the ceiling. So Mrs. Weil had us do the more complicated version of the ‘find the bone’ game. It was very funny because sometimes when a kid picked the wrong bone it seemed they’d done it on purpose. Mrs. Weil stopped that by reminding us we were being graded. That didn’t stop it from being fun.

Todd and I were the only ones of our group who have PE seventh period. On the way to the gym Todd bumped my arm with his.

“Sex 1A. I can hardly wait.”

“Jeez, Todd, stop panting so loud. People will think you’re having a heart attack or something.”

“I’m not panting!”

“You’re panting,” I told him. “It’s embarrassing. I’m going to let you walk ahead of me so no one’ll think we’re together.”

I tried to look serious, but I could help it and started to laugh.

“Dufus!” he said.

“At least I’m not a sex maniac,” I retorted.

“I don’t believe that for a second, Tony. I can see you’re all sweaty with anticipation.”

“I’m all sweaty because it’s hot out here in the sun and we’re walking fast to the Gym. How come you’re in such a big hurry?”

“I want a seat up front, that’s why.”

“Up front? Why up front?”

“So I have a better view of whatever they’re going to show us.”

“I’d rather sit in the back.” I smirked. “That way I can see all the hot guys getting all hot.”

Todd laughed. “That sounds like something I’d say, doesn’t it.”

“Yup.”

“Well, thinking about it, I agree. The back row, at one corner if we can.”

We got to the room and walked in. I guessed we were among the first to arrive because there were only about twenty guys, sitting sort of randomly and leaving empty seats between each other.

“Let’s sit over there,” Todd suggested, pointing to two seats in the next to the last row on the right side, near the other door to the room. Eventually lots of guys arrived and sat down in seats in the middle and the back of the room. We heard the final bell, and a teacher I’d never seen walked to a lectern and started the class. His name was Randall Hilton, and he was the varsity football coach and the tennis coach.

When Health and Reproduction finished for the day we got up and left for our eighth period classes. Both were in the Language Arts building, then after they were over we’d have to go all the way across the campus to the Theater building for the school office candidates’ meeting. Somehow that didn’t see fair.

“Well, that was sure disappointing,” Todd said, referring to the first ‘Sex 1A’ class. “It seemed more like something we’d have in Biology.”

“I learned a lot of information about anatomy,” I said. “Especially female anatomy.”

“Eww. Unfortunately you’re right. Too much information!”

I bumped Todd’s shoulder and laughed. “Don’t forget, we also found out a lot about male anatomy. With photos.”

“True. I like the one with the whole screen filled with teen guys’ crotches lined up so we could see all of the different sizes and shapes. I didn’t know there was so much variety.”

We arrived at the Language Arts building and Todd headed upstairs and I walked down the hall to my class.

We met after his Journalism class and my Creative Writing class and walked all the way across campus to the Theater. At least this time we didn’t rush like when we went to the gym, and I didn’t sweat. Well, I didn’t sweat as much.

We walked in and looked for Heather, but she hadn’t arrived yet. At the front of the room two guys stood in back of a table. I noticed a sign hanging in the front of the table that read, ‘Student Office Candidate Sign Up’. Two girls walked up and were given clipboards then sat down and started writing on what looked like a form.

One of the guys behind the table saw me, and called out, “If you’re planning to run for an office, you need to sign up here.”

“Okay, thanks, but we’re waiting for someone,” I responded.

After about a minute Heather arrived.

“Hi, guys. Sorry I’m late. We had a substitute in my eighth period Algebra 2 class and she wouldn’t let us leave until she wrote the assignment for tomorrow on the board. Like, why didn’t she do that earlier?”

“Maybe she thought school wasn’t over until three-thirty instead of three-twenty?” Todd suggested.

“Whatever, peeps were yelling about missing their bus, and some left telling her to put it on Blackboard and they’d download it tonight. She said she’d do that, so the rest of us bailed too.”

“We have to sign up at that table,” I said, unnecessarily pointing to the only table in the room.

“What, you’re in a hurry?” Heather asked.

“Jeez, don’t be so snippy,” Todd replied. “And don’t you dare hit me for saying ‘jeez’ which I’ve now said twice.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “This turned out to be a bad day.”

“Why? Just because of Algebra?” I asked.

“World Geography and Algebra 2. Both were not fine. Both had subs who didn’t know what to do or where we were in the class or how to teach the subject, and didn’t even know anything about the material. Hmm… I guess the Algebra 2 sub did know that material, but the World Geography sub didn’t seem to know as much as those of us in the class did.”

“You did have a shitty day,” Todd said.

“I’m going to give you a pass on that one, mainly because I did have a shitty day. But you just watch it, buster. Your days of using swear words are over as of now. Capisci?”

I made an audible gasp. “Todd, let’s go sign up before Heather starts hitting you.” I got up and walked to the table.

“What office?” the guy manning the table asked.

“Freshman class vice president.”

“Name?”

“Tony McKinley.”

“Show me your student ID card, please.”

I showed it to him and he handed me a clipboard. “Okay, fill out this form and return it to me.”

I quickly looked it over.

“It says I have to attach a copy of my student ID card. I don’t have a copy of my student ID card, just the original.”

“We don’t actually need to have you attach a copy; just ignore that part. Show it to one of us again when you turn in your sign up form.”

I sat down in the first row of seats and began filling in the form. By now there was a crowd at the table, and Todd was like third in line. When he got to the table he got the guy that I talked to.

“Where’s your clipboard?” he asked.

“I don’t have one yet,” Todd replied.

The guy closed his eyes and shook his head, then looked at Todd.

“What office are you running for?”

“Freshman class president.”

“You can’t run for both president and vice president.”

Todd caught on. “I’m not running for both, I’m just running for freshman class president.”

“Where’s the clipboard I gave you a few minutes ago?”

“You didn’t give me a clipboard.”

“Yes, I did. Let’s see. Your name is Tony McKinley.”

“No it isn’t. My name is Todd Anderson.”

“Lemme see your student ID card.”

Todd showed him his student ID card.

The guy stood up and turned to call the teacher. Todd grinned and said, “Hey, wait a minute. Let me tell you what the deal is.”

Todd then told him an abbreviated version of our story, and when I heard him say my name I worked my way through the crowd at the table and handed him the clipboard with my filled in form.

The guy laughed. “You two really had me fooled there. Man, you look like identical twins but you say you’re cousins?”

“Yes,” I replied, “and we were born and lived in different parts of the country and met for the first time last Monday. Todd’s from Chicago, I was born in Glendale.”

“That’s interesting. Whatever, good luck, guys. We’re going to start the meeting as soon as we get all of the registration forms back, maybe ten minutes. Just have a seat until then.” We walked to the back corner of the room where we’d been sitting, then Heather walked up and had me move over so she could sit between us.

The teacher running the meeting was Mr. Neilson. He taught junior and senior level math classes like Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus. Those were classes I’d be taking unless I took them during summer session at Sand Hills Community College, and only if I would get high school credit for them.

Mr. Neilson ran the candidates’ meeting like he’d run a business meeting. No jokes, and the things he discussed were limited to the election and the rules. He told us to pick up a rule sheet as we left, and reminded us that we’d signed the form and it stated that we agreed to comply with the rules. He emphasized the twenty dollar limit, and that receipts were required. He also said that donations were okay, but we’d need receipts for those as well. There were a few questions at the end, but since he’d answered almost everything in his talk I didn’t learn anything new from the Q and A session.

When he finished he said, “That concludes the meeting. Remember to pick up a rule sheet on your way out.” Not even a ‘good luck’ or ‘have fun’ — man, what a dry teacher he’d be.

“Well, I didn’t learn anything new, did you, Heather?” I asked.

“Only that I need to get receipts for the donations, and that donations are okay.”

“I saw you walk up and talk to one of the guys after most people turned in their forms. What was that about?” I asked Heather.

“I wondered how many people signed up for freshman class president and vice president. Todd, you’re going up against three others running for president. Tony, you’re going up against two others running for vice president.”

“Is that good or bad?” Todd asked.

“Best would be no one other than each of you. I read somewhere that the more candidates the better for the ones who are favored to win. It splinters the vote.”

“So you think we’re the ones favored to win?” Todd asked.

“Absolutely. No doubt about it.”

“What happens if the top two or three or however many candidates end up tied?” I asked.

“There’d be a runoff. And don’t ask, because I don’t know what would happen if there was another tie.”

“I’ve got an idea,” Todd said. “Write the names on three-by-five cards and have a drawing. First name pulled is the winner.”

I saw my bus. “Gotta run. There’s my bus. See you tomorrow.”

As I rode home I thought about Tuesday. It promised to be a duplicate of Monday, with new material covered in our classes.

Continued


Thanks to Cole Parker for editing A Time When It All Went Wrong


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This story and the included images are Copyright © 2015 by Colin Kelly (colinian). They cannot be reproduced without express written consent. Codey's World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted. Original image is Copyright © stock.xchng. 'I Dreamed a Dream' lyrics from Les Misérables are Copyright © 2012 Cameron Mackintosh Overseas Limited.

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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don’t want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren’t supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!