I wake up by the sound of my cellphone’s alarm just like every other weekday. Today is a Thursday. I finally convince myself to get up and brush my teeth. Then I wear my clothes. Let’s see, black pants, my white t-shirt with the muscular pug on it and… black converse shoes? Nope. Hmm…
I look at myself in the mirror that hangs in my room, right next to the door. I think I’ll go with my black and grey running shoes today. After I check myself one more time in the mirror – can’t disappoint the ladies, now can I? - I go downstairs. I know that Shila, my dad’s exotic eye candy, has already prepared my sandwich, as she always does. So I go downstairs to the living room, and from there to the kitchen, and there it is! Another disgusting peanut butter sandwich waiting for me on the kitchen table. It’s not that Shila doesn’t know that I hate peanut butter. I think it’s a gesture of control for her, you know, like “I’m your mom now and you should obey me blah, blah.” I don’t know, I don’t mind my dad’s hot new wife.
When you are a famous dentist who owns an entire dental clinic, then I guess getting a wife 25 years younger than yourself comes as a perk of the job. Shila is 25, originally from some Asian country. She’s been living in the states since she was five, and then she decided she wanted to become a receptionist at a dental clinic when she grows up, and I think you can guess the rest.
Never mind her though, she’s probably in the pool right now. I grab my sandwich and go back in the living room and then past the entrance hall and to the front door. I open the door to our front yard and the garden: my dad’s second obsession in this house. Guess what’s his third obsession? His son? Nope. His freaking 1968 Shelby, which has been parked in the garage ever since I was born. I come at 5th or 6th on his list, if I’m lucky!
So I’m walking in the garden, and right after I’m past the dandelions my, allergy kicks in. I take out a tissue to cover my running nose as I reach the gate. I can see James, the household’s driver, through the bars. I wave at him. “Hi James, how’re you doing?”
“Good, good. Still can’t handle the dandelions?” He asks. He’s a cool dude, used to be on some minor basketball team. I’ve had some one on ones with him, he’s still good enough to block me. Did I say I’m on the basketball team? Well now I did.
“Nah, man. I swear I’m gonna burn that shit someday.” I reply as I get in the front seat next to him.
“Wow,” he says, trying to look serious. “I don’t think your dad would like that language, or that thought, for all it matters.”
“Sorry, it’s just so annoying to start your day with a stuffed up nose.” I say apologetically. Not that I think saying words like shit matters. There, I said it again. Shit! Anyway, I respect James enough to let him play the adult from time to time, even though I’m 17 now and he’s just our driver.
We both spend the rest of the 15 minute drive taking about the games. He and I are fans of different teams and like always, I try to convince him how pathetic their team is. He just doesn’t get it, I mean who the hell misses seven shots in a row? James’ favorite team’s point guard, that’s who!
So we reach my school, High Hope High School, or the triple H, as we call it. I say goodbye to James and get out of the car. The students are walking towards the door in groups. I look around to see if Kyle is here, and I see him talking to Tina. So you’ve finally done it, huh Kyle? I approach them.
They suddenly stop their conversation just as soon as they see me. “Hey guys.” I say with a fake smile.
“Hi Sam.” She says callously. She then smiles at Kyle, turns back on her heel, and walks toward the entrance.
Kyle looks at me with guilt, “What’s up Sam?” he says. He’s acting weird this morning.
“Kyle, did you ask her out?” I ask him. His face tells me all I need to know.
“Do you have my sandwich?” he says. So he’s deflecting. Oh poor Kyle.
“You did, didn’t you?” I yell at him. A couple of my classmates in Biology look at me curiously as they pass by, but I’m too busy to pay any attention to them.
“Yeah. I did.” Kyle finally says, looking at the brick wall next to him, in which he’s found sudden interest.
“Dude, I told you she’s…” More people are looking at us now, so I lower my voice and take a step toward him to get closer. “You know she’s the biggest bitch in the school.” I say quietly.
“Dude, you’re mad at her cause you missed your chance with her.” Kyle says, still staring at the red bricks.
Well, it was the obvious answer. I wonder why I didn’t predict it though. Last year, that was out junior year, I caught Tina checking me out a couple of times. You know, tall dude on the basketball team, it was to be expected. The difference was that Tina is one hot girl. She’s not that tall, like 5’8” I’d say. She has dark blonde hair, green eyes, tanned skin, the whole package, and I almost fell for that, I mean who wouldn’t? But then the new student came to town: Ashley.
God, she IS something. The guys don’t consider her exactly “hot”, but she has some kind of special cuteness to her, you know. When a girl isn’t exactly “beautiful”, but she’s so cute you’d pick her over any other girl! That’s how Ashley is. She transferred to our school when her older sister came to our town. Her sister was a clerk at some gallery whose name I never bothered to ask, and they wanted her to manage their new branch in our town. That’s how she ended up in the triple H.
Anyway, Tina and I had been on a couple of dates when Ashley came. I saw her first in the chemistry class. A brunette with light skin and very deep blue eyes. Her features were small: a small nose, small yet full lips that blossomed whenever she laughed, and a very soft voice. She is shorter than Tina though, maybe 5’4” or something like that, much shorter than me, but it never mattered. I was in love the second I laid eyes on her. Needless to say that Tina wasn’t happy when I told her we weren’t going on any more dates. That’s what Kyle just refered to. As if I needed Tina or something.
“Dude, this girl is nuts, seriously.” I tell him, trying to convince him for the hundredth time this month. “You know David, her ex? She screwed him up so bad, I swear, he fears everything female now! The dude will probably go gay soon.”
“Look, Sam.” He replies, looking at me this time. “Can’t we, like, agree to disagree? We’re already going on a date this Saturday. Maybe David wasn’t the right person for her.”
“Alright.” I finally give up. It’s his ass on the line anyways. “As long as you’re happy I guess. Here’s your sandwich.” I give him the peanut butter sandwich as I’ve been doing every day for the last two years, then we move inside the school. Our first class is biology, and then chemistry. No basketball until this afternoon….
So, now I’m sitting next to Kyle in biology class, staring at Mr. Lewiston without really listening to what he’s saying about amoeba. I picture Ashley. Her every feature, how she smiles, how she laughs, how she walks, how she plays the violin, I picture her doing all these things, and then some other things. Get it? OTHER THINGS, hehe.
When Tina realized I had stopped dating her because of Ashley, she was furious! I mean, throwing her soda at my face furious. That’s when I noticed her evil side. She and her best friend, Suzanne who is a redhead, began making trouble for Ashley. They talked a lot behind her back, spreading rumors, putting a bad word for her with the teachers, all the nasty stuff they could do to a stranger with an unknown background, which was a lot. Little did they know, that’s what I needed to get close to Ashley.
One morning, in junior year, a couple of my teammates and Kyle, the traitor, were hanging out behind the school near a corner when the already sensitive Ashley passed by and walked around the corner, they began talking about her. How she was a slut, and how she was expelled from school before, all the crap Tina and Suzanne had cooked up. Little did they know, Ashley was eavesdropping on them around the corner. She did that a lot back then, I guess she wanted to find out why everybody avoided her. That’s when I arrived at the scene like a hero to defend the damsel in distress, yelling at them for being such assholes to Ashley. I swear, she looked so beautiful when she smiled at me in appreciation, with tears still in her deep blue eyes....
“SAM!” the voice suddenly takes me back to reality. “Sam, I asked how many cells an amoeba has?”
Oh crap, I wasn’t even listening. “Umm… one?” I say out of the blue.
“Good.” Mr. Lewiston says, resuming the lecture.
I was right? Well, guess you ought to get one lucky answer after so many wrong ones throughout high school. Mr. Lewiston is still talking about amoebas in his monotones tone. He’d make hella more money if he recorded his lectures and sold them as some sort of sleep therapy.
My next class is chemistry, same as Ashley. She sits in the front row, and I sit at the back. Doesn’t matter where I sit though, she seldom talks to me since she broke up with me only months after our first date. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and we’d been in a relationship for some time. I had felt that she was annoyed recently, but I didn’t pay her much mind. I was living the dream, a lovely girlfriend, four consecutive wins just after I’d been assigned as a forward, and Shila didn’t seem to mind me anymore. I had it all, until she went ahead and ruined it.
I watch as Wundt opens her manly bag and takes out some stuff. She is asking us to go to her desk to get some kinda powder or something. Oh she just called my name; let me go to her.... Right.
"yes..." I'm about to say before Nadia the nerd chimes in.
"Sorry Ms. Wundt..." she says in her annoying voice. Well screw her; Wundt is turned away from me to answer her question. I don't have time for this. I want to get back to my seat and out of her sight before she asks me something. I grab a couple of vials from her open bag and start walking to my desk again. What was I saying?
Oh, Ash! I look at Ashley's black hair, her head is down and she’s taking notes. Such a smart girl, all straight A’s. She even let me cheat off her in history once, though she said she’d never do that again. Ms. Wundt, our chemistry teacher, is showing how to mix two liquids, and then apply heat to the mixture to create some chemical reaction I haven’t even heard of in the entire semester. her hair is shoulder length, and she is tying it in her pony tail. She does it whenever she wants to concentrate or do something serious.
I look at the small Benzene torch on my desk. Students around me are fumbling with their stuff as well, thoush none of them seems to have the kind of vials I have on my desk. Hmm. Ms. Wundt doesn’t believe in theoretical learning. She wants us to actually do all the experiments ourselves, with her watching over us. She’s in her mid-thirties, I think, and she is extremely sharp when it comes to cheating or not paying attention in her class, and that means that I have to actually listen to what she says. What was I saying? Oh Yeah. One night after watching a movie at the theater, Ashley dropped the bomb.
“I think we should end it, Sam.” She said, in her low, soft voice.
“What do you mean?” I replied.
“I mean we shouldn’t see each other outside the school anymore.” She went on saying some stuff about not having the same personalities, and me being a different person than what she’d originally thought. I didn’t really listen to what she said after the words "not seeing after school" came out of her mouth though. I did throw a fit, now that I remember. It wasn’t… pretty.
“Sam, did you create the compound?” I suddenly hear Ms. Wundt say.
“Yes ma’am!” I answer her with the most sincere tone I can imitate.
“Then why isn’t the compound the same color as your friends’?” Ms. Wundt replies, looking at the other students in the class. I look around too, they all have a purplish liquid in front of them. Mine is still transparent.
“You have until the end of the class to create your reaction, Sam.” Ms. Wundt says, her voice is serious. “Or you’ll lose the lab score.”
Damn it, just what I need. Failing in senior year is not an option, not after all the effort I’ve put in cheating and greasing people up in the past years. I look at the small amounts of different chemicals in front of me, and put the transparent liquid on the Benzene torch. I pour some powder that looks like salt into it. No change. I look around for help.
Everybody is busy packing up, I look at my watch. It’s about 3 minutes before the class is finish. I look at David, who’s sitting next to me at the back, away from all the girls.. He doesn’t pay attention to me at all. I look again at my watch: two minutes and a half remaining. Damn it, maybe I’ll get lucky twice in one day? Stranger things have happened before. I snatch the small vial of red liquid from Dave’s desk.
“Hey, what’re you doing?” he protests. I don’t look at him, instead, I take a peek at Ms. Wundt who’s bent down on a girl’s desk, talking to her. I pour the red liquid in my transparent one, and add a little of whatever I have in front of me, then increase the Benzene torch as much as possible, praying to see whatever reaction Ms. Wundt meant to teach.
Nothing happens. The class is finish now, and everybody starts to stand up and go out. Ms. Wundt approaches me with a sad smile.
“Looks like you won’t get the score for this part, Sam.” She says, looking at my now boiling compound. It’s still transparent. “You’d better clean your desk, put everything on my mine. I’ll take care of them later.” She continues, and then she walks out the door in a hurry. Ashley stands up and runs after her.
It’s not good, I needed the score to have a chance at passing this term, but now I need to somehow cheat off somebody. I look at my chemical compound. It’s still boiling, and it’s still colorless. I reach to turn the torch off.
The torch is off now, and I grab my compound to put it on Ms. Wundt’s desk…but…something feels wrong. The liquid is still boiling, and it is changing color… but not to purple, it’s… green…no, it’s blue now! And it is boiling although it’s now in my hand, and not on the torch anymore.
Damn it, what have I done now? I should put it back on my desk before it…. Suddenly it explodes in my hand, its content splashing in my face and torso. I cover my eyes, they burn so bad. What the hell will I do if I go blind for this shit?
My eyes still hurt, and my entire body is itching like crazy. I manage to open one eye despite the pain, I see… it’s really blurry. Focus…focus…. I can see my desk? No, just the bottom of my desk. I guess I fainted for a minute there, and I fell down. I try to sit up, I feel cold all of a sudden.
I manage to sit up despite the weird sensation in my body, my eyes still hurt. Let me see where my chair is, I’d better rest there for some time… wait, something is wrong. I’m sitting up, but I can still see the bottom of my desk, what the hell?
I look at my body to see what position I’m in, guess I’m still confused from the blast. I see my naked legs, and naked crotch. What? I jump up on my feet, suddenly feeling exposed. The class has changed, it’s like… it is bigger now. I look to my left, I can see a crumbled picture of a bad ass muscular pug. Is that my t-shirt? Why is it so big? There are four giant metal pillars behind it. I follow them up with my eyes, just to see the bottom of my chair. Then it hits me, I’m small.
But is that even possible? This must be some sort of mistake. I slap myself as hard as I can, ouch! Then I open one eye. Nope, it’s still the same. I’ve shrunk down. What should I do now?
I notice Ms. Wundt’s desk at the end of the class, it’s like the length of a football field from here to there, but I have no choice, I have to get to her desk and get her attention somehow. I begin to run, feeling the cold floor under my bare feet.
I’ve been running for a good 20 seconds now, and still there’s more than half the way to go. This is crazy! It’s just our class room! As I get closer and closer to the desk, I notice Ashley’s sling back pack still lying on the floor next to her chair. She must’ve forgotten it. I run past it, it looks so freaking huge compared to me. I must be like 2-3 inches tall, max. I was six foot two less than five minutes ago!
The floor suddenly shakes beneath my feet, and I hear footsteps getting louder and louder. I think someone is running outside the class, what if they come inside? I wouldn’t want some of the guys on my team to see me like this, it’s so freaking embarrassing. I stop running just a few feet past Ashley’s back pack. There’s no better cover to hide behind nearby. I pause there, my heart beating like crazy in my chest. The footsteps stop right behind the door, and I see the door knob turning.
I waste no time. I dive behind Ashley’s backpack, hiding there. I can feel my heart beat faster. The person is now in the class room with me, but what if it’s Ms. Wundt?
The footsteps start coming this way, I freeze there behind the back pack, my back still against it. I can see my chair and my desk from here, my clothes are lying there on the floor, with shattered glass everywhere. I think whoever is in the room is going to check them out, which means they’ll walk past the backpack, and they’ll see me if they turn around. I look around for a better cover, any cover. There is none. The footsteps are getting closer, how can one person walk with so much force?
I look up, and see the side pocket on Ashley’s backpack. I immediately jump up, and hold on to it. As I struggle to pull myself up, the footsteps stop just inches from the backpack. The fear of being discovered gives me new strength, and I pull myself up and slide into the side pocket of Ashley’s black and grey backpack. I want to look out to see who the person is, but suddenly the world around me starts to move, and I feel like I’m in an elevator that’s going up at the speed of light. The shakes stop, and I feel that the back pack is moving. I sit here in the dark, thinking what to do next.
I finally manage to muster up enough courage to look out to see what’s happening. I raise the top cover of the side pocket with my hands to sneak a peek. I can see the floor moving fast, and two legs coming and going out of my view rapidly. I recognize the back of Ashley’s converse shoes. She’s walking to her next class, completely oblivious to my tiny existence in the side pocket of her small, black and grey sling backpack.