"That's why I said you're stupid," the words fall out of my mouth like a bomb, "She got a 58 on her reading test, guys." The few who swarm me laugh, but I can sense them tensing up. Same as me.
Why am I like this?
"She's so dumb I bet she can't even read time."
The classroom erupts in laughter. Their hyena squeals bounce off the walls and echo in the hallway. A blaring noise that drowns out the girl's sniffles. A red flush taints her brown skin as her eyes water and shimmer with embarrassment.
I'm sorry, I want to say, but now all eyes are on me. They stare at me with such admiration for my witty remarks. A few in the back watch me with the same disgust and disdain as the teacher. Mrs. Newbury. A true owl -- Old. White. Lifeless.
She'll just tell me to sit--
The wooden chair scratches the dirty white tile. It screeches to a stop, silencing everyone. Mrs. Newbury stands.
"Mr. Johnson." She slams her wrinkled hands onto her steel desk. Shock waves rattle her bones and her arms begin to shake. "Principal's office."
What? She...she never sends me to...her. Why would she--
I stare at my dark brown hands, my focus tracing the white cracked skin webbed between my fingers.
What will she say?
My eyes flicker to the clock. With only fifteen minutes left in the school day, maybe I'll be off the hook. I know she's usually busy right after school.
Maybe she'll be eas--
"Mr. Johnson?" the gap-toothed secretary calls for me, snapping me out of my thoughts and back to reality.
"The principal is ready to see you."
My feet drag to the door and I see my reflection under the sign that says 'Principal Johnson.'