Spoon River Middle School
—copied from office file
I guess I understand why I’m doing this, sitting here writing this. It’s your way of giving me something to do, helping me “adjust,” as you adults like to say. To adjust to a new school, new kids. Whatever. And so I’m sitting here right now in a little room—part of your clinic.
Here’s what I see from my desk:
· Behind me is a concrete-block wall.
· Across from me is another concrete-block wall.
· To my left are three little rooms: two sickrooms with a bathroom between them.
· To my right, down at the far end of the room, is a nurse sitting at a desk.
· Right in front of her is the doorway to the main office. The door is open, so I can see little flashes of kids coming and going, teachers and secretaries doing whatever they do all boring day long.
· Just outside that door is some kid in a wheelchair. He hardly has a face at all—he must have been in a bad fire or something. I don’t know what he’s waiting for, a FedEx guy bringing him a new face?
Here’s what I hear:
· Some kid is barfing in the bathroom—did you know that? It’s not far from me, so I can hear pretty well. A lot better than I want to.
· In one of the sickrooms I can hear some kid snoring. That kid’s just tired, not sick. Does anybody care?
· The nurse is writing in some big black notebook, and she takes a deep breath every time she turns the page. Now that’s weird. What’s that all about?
I can’t believe she can’t hear that kid heaving his guts out in the bathroom—I’m about to get sick myself.
Not really. Hearing someone puke doesn’t really bother me. I don’t like watching it, though. Who would? Vomitus is not attractive. Do you like that word, vomitus? I looked up vomit words once, just to see. I used one of those big fat dictionaries, though, because the little ones they give you in school don’t have anything interesting in them. Just simple words and stupid pictures.
Anyway, vomitus is the actual stuff, you know—the junk that comes up when you’re puking. Vomitve, now that’s a good one, too. That’s something that causes you to puke—like most people would say that hearing another guy puke is vomitive. Not me, though. It’s just funny. What’s vomitive for me? School.
One of the best vomit-words is vomiturition—that’s the dry-heaves. You puke but nothing comes out. I hate that. I guess everybody does. I mean, I can’t imagine people who like sticking their heads in a toilet for no good reason. Not there ever is a good reason.
There are some other good vomit words, but you can go look them up yourself, if you’re interested, which you’re probably not.
Now, let’s see. What was I supposed to write about here? The paper you gave me says this:
Tell us a little about yourself. Write about where you came from, what your previous school was like, what your favorite subjects were, what you like to do when you’re not in school. Use your best English when you write.
I’m not sure why I even have to write some of this. I mean, you know where I came from. My mom wrote it all down on the forms we filled out a half hour ago. So if you really want to know where I used to live, where I went to school, well, just look on your own stupid paper.
What was my previous school like? It sucked. Like all schools. Like this one probably does.
Favorite subjects? Look at my grades. You have those, too. High grades mean I liked it; low grades mean I didn’t. So what do you see on the paper? High grades in English and history. Low grades in math and science. Which do you think I liked best, huh?
Actually, I didn’t really like any of my classes or any of my teachers. It’s just that writing is easy for me, reading is easy, and I have a good memory. What else do you need to get by? Math? Well, I don’t see any point in it. So why bother? I like science—I mean, all that stuff about evolution, stars, insects, cloning, dinosaurs, computers . . . who wouldn’t be interested in that? But I hate science class. Answer me this: If scientists are so smart, how come science teachers are so dumb?
The kid just quit puking and came out of the bathroom. His face was totally white, drained of all color. He looked at me funny, so I flipped him off. The nurse didn’t even look up. But the kid sort of smiled at me, and then just staggered back into the little sickroom and flopped on the cot.
Let’s see . . . you had one more question: What do you like to do when you’re not in school? Hey, do you think I’d tell you that? Perfect strangers? And why do you care, anyway? What’s it to you? Do you think any new kid tells you the truth? Let’s see: I like reading big fat books with small print, watching educational programs on television, volunteering in hospitals, and working at homeless shelters on weekends. How’s that?
The kid is heading for the bathroom to puke again. This time he flipped me off. That’s pretty funny. Later, I guarantee you, he’ll wish he hadn’t done that.
And the kid with no face in the wheelchair is staring at me. He’d better watch it, too.