Stories on My Mind: #teacherswrite Week 2

Today’s Monday Warm Up for #teacherswrite resulted in the creation of this graphic:

Screenshot 2014-07-14 at 11.11.15 PM

If one thing is clear from all those ideas, it’s that I have a story finishing/rewriting issue to work out. I revisited a main character from one of the stories last week because of a Teachers Write prompt which is a baby step in the right direction at least. You’ll find that scene below.

“You’re here late,” Mrs. Carlson said as she carried a large stack of books into the English office. “I thought Nigel had the latest issue of The Bent Quill all sorted out.”

“What?” Chance said. At least that’s what he tried to say, but the pencil eraser between his teeth got in the way. He dropped the pencil onto his sketchbook.

Mrs. Carlson let the books drop onto her desk with a thud. “If your magazine isn’t having kittens, why are you here, Chance?”

Oh. He pointed down at his backpack, “I had a lit question. My tutor’s got midterms this week so I thought maybe you could help. Got bored waiting so I was drawing.”

“It’s Tuesday, Chance. There was an after school staff meeting like usual. That’s why it is the one afternoon week no one’s up here for student help.”

Chance shrugged. “No big deal. I can come back in the morning.” He started to close his sketchbook, but Mrs. Carlson pulled it out of his lax hands. He jumped up, trying to snatch the battered book back. “Give that back,” he demanded hotly. His brain sluggish, it took several awkward moments to realize he shouldn’t yell at his teacher.

Mrs. Carlson closed the sketchbook on Chance’s half-finished zombie. What existed of the creature was morose and a lacrosse stick without its webbing lay at its feet. The teacher offered the sketchbook back to Chance spine-up. She frowned in concern as he took it back and shoved it into his backpack so fast that the corners bent. “Not your usual work, Chance.”

He shrugged. “Some pictures are harder than others,” he mumbled. This had been a bad idea. He should have just gone home and asked about his essay tomorrow. It wasn’t even due this week. He started to pick up his bag. “See you tomorrow.”

His teacher crossed her arms. “Is your friend Vic in some sort of trouble?”

“Vic?” Chance repeated, his heart starting to pound.

Mrs. Carlson nodded at Chance’s backpack. “The lacrosse stick. Last semester you told me one of your former teammates would be in my creative writing class this semester.”

He had? If he said such a thing it would have been a ten second conversation. He’d played lacrosse all through middle school. He’d been forced to stop freshman year. Sure, he called Vic a friend, but their schedules just didn’t mesh. But their moms still talked. He’d heard things, but they weren’t things he wasn’t supposed to know. Not exactly. Doctor things. Med things. Psychiatrist things. He picked up his backpack and slung it across his shoulder.

“Yeah, I know Vic,” Chance said, searching for words to say. Something about how he said it must have worried Mrs. Carlson even more. Her face was starting to look pinched.

“He’s been sleeping in class,” she said, no longer dancing around things. “When he isn’t sleeping, it’s like he’s still not there. Do you know what’s going on with him?”

“He’s not on drugs.” At least, not those kind of drugs. The frustrating thing was that the doctors didn’t know for sure what was going on yet either. And while they fiddled around trying to figure it out, Vic was pretty out of it.

Mrs. Carlson raised an eyebrow, obviously expecting more. Chance shook his head. “Sorry, Mrs. Carlson. I can’t say anything more specific. I heard it from my mom who heard from his mom.”

“I can see not wanting to tell secrets, Chance, but if your friend is thinking of hurting himself.”

“No,” Chance said. “Nothing like that. He’s got a doc–help.” He was probably making things worse, but he was between a rock and a hard place.

His teacher closed her eyes. She was frustrated with the secrecy, but so was Chance. She chose her words carefully. “Seems like Vic needs a friend right now even if he can’t be much of a friend. You’d be good at it.”

I’ve got practice is what she means, Chance thought. It was shaping up to be a year of challenges. First the whole debacle at summer camp, then helping his girlfriend catch an identity thief followed by one of his longest friends ever going missing for a time.

Chance walked out of the English office, torn somewhere between amazement his teacher remembered one tiny conversation from last semester and concern for his old friend.



Categories: Teachers Write

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