This week’s story is Pokémon fan fiction, more or less. If you like that sort of thing, you should check out our best selling-ish YA anthology Heathers.
Walking to School | Evangeline Jennings
It is raining. My mom is going to ask me to take the bus to school. I am not allowed to walk in the rain.
I take my morning pills with a root beer from the fridge.
I am not allowed to ride my bike because I fall off and sometimes I explore when I should come straight home.
I would rather walk in the rain than sit in that yellow box for twenty minutes surrounded by kids who do not want me there.
Better still, I would rather stay at home.
In the end, Mom drives me. It always takes longer in the rain and it is going to make her late for work again. She is not happy but what else can she do? I know this is how she feels because I hear her on the phone telling her new boyfriend she will not be able to make their date for lunch because she has to take me to school – what else can she do – and she will need to make up the time if she wants to keep her job. He shouts at her down the phone. I miss my dad.
Mom drops me at the bottom of the cul-de-sac close to the portables. It is easier for her and I prefer it too. I walk the last hundred yards because I am normal.
My first class today is English. My teacher lets me read my own book if I do not disrupt her lesson. The class is talking about The Hunger Games. I read it when I was eight. The movie was much better. That is the sort of comment that my teacher does not enjoy. She wants her kids to like the books they read.
I have the brand new Pokédex – all one thousand two hundred and twenty four Pokémon, including details of Type, Abilities, Gender, and Weaknesses.
I only scored seventy percent on yesterday’s Math test. My teacher is an idiot. I got every answer right but she could not read my writing. I must show Mom the advertisements for the latest tablet PCs. My grades would be much better if I could submit electronically. I have promised her I would not play games when I should be listening.
Kangashan raises its offspring in its belly pouch. It lets the baby out to play only when it feels safe.
My lunch is a salami and cheddar cheese sandwich on a poppy seed bun with a juice box and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. That is what Mom makes for me on Tuesdays. Tonight we will have tacos. This is Taco Tuesday. That is called alliteration.
The cafeteria is crowded. I stand in the corner and look for a safe table. By which I mean a table where I can eat in peace. I do not get bullied anymore.
It is Heather. She lives next door to me and Mom. She used to be my friend. “Hi, Heather.”
I have not spoken since I said goodbye to Mom and my voice is slow and scratchy. She smiles anyway. “Do you want to eat with us?”
She is pretty, but her friends do not like me. “No. Thanks.”
“Your friends do not like me.”
Charizard’s fire burns hotter if he has experienced harsh battles. His biggest weakness is rock. It does four times damage.
After my tacos, I watch Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. Marceline the Vampire Queen is singing a song to Princess Bubblegum when the doorbell rings. It will be Mom’s new boyfriend probably. I cannot remember his name. I do not want to. Mom’s new boyfriend does not like me.
Marceline the Vampire Queen sounds like Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. Before her song ends, there is a knock on my door. “Travis, honey, you have a visitor.”
I do not have visitors. Not since I started Junior High.
After I pull on a t-shirt, I open my bedroom door. It is Heather. She looks at me and laughs. I know she is not a mean girl so I think about what that means. Looking down I see my shirt is inside out and I have no pants on, only boxers.
“You need more time?” Heather asks.
I cannot speak. I nod and close the door.
Heather is in the kitchen talking with my mother when I come out again. My t-shirt is on the right way and I am wearing jeans. This time I am perfectly normal.
Forretress is a bug type Pokémon encased in a steel shell. Its eyes are all that can be seen.
Heather and I sit on the porch and Mom brings us lemonade.
“I’m really sorry,” she says, “that you think my friends don’t like you.”
“I am sorry they do not like me.”
She laughs. Then points at the basketball hoop over their garage. “Remember when we used to play together?”
“I do.” I was terrible. She was very good. Her elder sister Lauren even better. I cannot play sports although I am very strong. Stronger than all those football players.
“I’m still your friend, Travis.”
I do not know if I am about to be angry or sad. “Goodbye, Heather. I have had enough lemonade.”
To protect itself, Darkrai afflicts those around it with terrible nightmares. However it means no harm.
Mom tries to be patient with me as she explains. I understand but she does not. Normal people do not need charity.
I take my nighttime pill with a sip of lukewarm root beer. I hope it does not rain tomorrow morning.
In Wednesday Science, I have a Teacher’s Assistant. They say she is there to help me focus on task but the truth is that no one else wants to partner with me and the administration uses her to prevent it becoming an issue. The school is not allowed to discriminate against me. The school has a responsibility to provide me with a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to my individual needs.
I ignore my Teacher’s Assistant. I do not need her help. Science is easy. I would prefer to partner with another kid.
On Wednesdays, I have a Lunchable. My mom tells me the food all looks and tastes like plastic but I have been eating Lunchables all my life. This is my new favorite Lunchable: a turkey and cheddar cheese sub with an Oreo cookie and a Chiquita Strawberry Banana Smoothie. It is a good source of Iron, Calcium and Protein and there is no added sugar.
For some time after its birth, Bulbasaur grows by gaining nourishment from the seed on its back.
I think Heather watches me eat but I am not sure. When we were little I played with her and Lauren every night.
I do my homework on my laptop before dinner and print it out. Mom puts it in my special binder for me while the pasta is simmering on the stove. On Watch-A-Movie-Wednesday night, we follow our pasta with popcorn and watch one of our favorite movies. Tonight we have selected Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. My favorite characters are Luna and Neville. Luna is very pretty and has a beautiful voice. I have learned not to point out the differences between the movie and the book, which was the longest in the series. I wait for the omissions but I do not say anything. I do not want to ruin the movie. The biggest mistake they made was cutting short the scene in which Harry’s father torments Severus Snape.
It is raining again on Thursday morning. Mom does not even try to persuade me to take the bus. She calls Miss Paige who lives next door and is Heather and Lauren’s mom. Miss Paige is very kind and drives me to school. Heather sits in the front. We listen to the radio. I do not like music if I do not know the singers from TV. Heather walks into school as if she is dancing.
After a rainy day, the flower on Venusaur’s back smells sweeter. Its scent attracts other Pokémon.
I cannot find my homework. It is not where it should be. My teacher says I can hand it in late but I will lose ten percent of my grade. When I get home, Mom finds it for me. She put it in the wrong enclosure in my binder.
“Honey, you need to look for things if they’re not where you think they should be.”
“I am sorry, Mom. I will try to do better.”
There is no alliteration on Friday. To celebrate the end of another week, Mom orders pizza from Papa John’s. We stopped using Pizza Hut after they got my order wrong for the second time. I have pepperoni with black olives. Tonight she does not order a pizza for herself.
“I’m going out with Jeff, Trav. You’ll be fine on your own.”
My mom’s boyfriend’s name is Jeff. I will be fine on my own. I eat pizza in my bedroom and watch my favorite video game run-throughs on YouTube. I leave two slices of pizza for breakfast and log on to play Minecraft. If people are mean to me, I usually ignore them but sometimes I attack and kill them.
Squirtle shelters in its shell when attacked and strikes back with spouts of water at every opportunity.
On Monday, I walk to school. My backpack is heavy but I am strong and there is nothing I can leave out. The bus passes me at the traffic lights. Heather waves. The boy in the seat behind her pulls a face at me. That is not normal behavior.
They are holding tryouts for the football team this afternoon. Someone had taped the notice to my locker. I peel the tape away in a single strip without tearing it. Why would anyone think I should try out for football? I am strong but I am not good at sports, and none of the football team would play with me anyway.
I hand in the homework I could not find on Thursday. My teacher smiles and says she will let me off the ten percent penalty. I ask if she would do that for any other kid and she blushes. I know what that means.
During Advisory I have my weekly meeting with my counselor. I tell her everything she needs to hear.
She asks if I have felt anger since we talked last.
“No.” That is a lie.
“You haven’t wanted to hit anyone?”
“No.” That is the truth. I would never hit a girl.
The cries of Jynx sound like human speech. However, no one can understand what it is trying to say.
It is raining when school gets out. I am not allowed to walk in the rain.