Chapter One of "Plummet"
by George Gordy
6 A.M. in the morning, the alarm clock goes off. Chris Winslow has to go to school. He wakes up, turns the alarm off, and hops in the shower.
He showers for about five minutes, comes out, brushes his teeth, and puts on his clothes. His outfit: a white, button down shirt, faded khakis, and old, worn-out loafers. He walks downstairs where he sees his dad John. "Good morning dad," Chris says as his dad is drinking a beer.
He gives Chris a mean stare for a couple of seconds, and continues drinking his beer. Chris stands there for a little while longer.
"What are you looking at boy?" John asks. "Walk your ass to the bus stop."
He opens the door, and walks down the street to the school bus stop where he sees local tough guy Mike and his crew.
"What's good boy, where my money at?" Mike says.
"I don't owe you any money, what are you talking about?" Chris replies.
"Well you do now."
As Mike is about to punch Chris in the face, the bus comes.
"Imma beat you up when we get to school," Mike says.
As Mike and his crew get on the bus they all sit in the back, Chris sits right in the front seat and the bus drives off. The driver continues two more stops until she gets to Edgewood High School.
As soon as the bus pulls up to the school driveway, Chris runs off the bus and goes straight to the Principal: Miss Applegate's office.
"That little bitch ran to the principal's office!" One of Mike's friends yells.
"Alright," Mike says, "I'll see him when I see him."
As soon as Mike walks in the school, he is confronted by Miss Applegate; a stern lady who does what she can to protect her students. "If any of you put your hands on Chris," Miss Applegate says, "The only person you'll be seeing is me."
"Yea whatever," Mike says, sucking in his teeth.
"Excuse me?" Miss Applegate asks.
"I ain't say nothin."
"That's what I thought."
She walks back in her office, where she finds Chris crying.
"What's wrong hon?" she asks.
Chris replies "He won't leave me alone, I've never done nothin' to him and all he does is beat me up and pick on me."
Miss Applegate wipes away his tears and says, "Aww hon, I told you if he ever does it again just tell me."
"No, I need to stop being scared of him; I wish I could just stand up to him," Chris says.
"No!" Miss Applegate says. "Violence is never the answer. If he confronts you again just ignore him, and if he puts his hands on you just push him away. You're a smart kid, there's no reason for you to ruin your permanent record and possibly even your life by fighting."
"My life sucks," Chris says.
"Don't say that," Miss Applegate says. "You have a couple more years to put up with all of this, and then you're out of here."
"No," Chris says, "It's not just that."
"Then what is it?" Miss Applegate asks, "Trouble at home?"
"Can I trust you?"
"Honey, of course you can."
After a long pause, Chris takes a deep breath and says: "It's my dad; ever since my mom died of breast cancer he's been really angry and bitter, couple that with the fact that he got laid off from the assembly plant recently. He's started drinking a lot more than usual and he comes home late at night, sometimes early in the morning. He takes his anger out on me and belittles and yells at me all the time, he treats me like crap."
"Oh no," Miss Applegate says, "This is serious, have you talked to the School Social Worker?"
"I'm afraid to," Chris replies, "He'd probably kill me, if I tell anyone."
The homeroom bell rings.
"Alright Chris here's a late pass," she says. "Now head off to homeroom we'll talk later."
Chris replies, "Thanks for always listening to me Miss Applegate, bye."
Miss Applegate says "Anytime hon, if you ever need anything just know you can always talk to me. I'm your friend, and I'm here to help."
"Thanks Miss A," Chris replies.
Chris and Principal Applegate have a very close relationship that goes back to when he was in middle school. Miss Applegate was actually one of Chris's sixth-grade teachers before being promoted to Principal at Edgewood High School. Chris, who is very intelligent, was her favorite student. Even after sixth-grade, Miss Applegate continued to mentor and encourage him; especially after he started to get bullied.
The late bell rings as Chris walks into his homeroom, the teacher asks him "Why are you late?"
"Sorry I was talking to the principal," Chris says.
"Well do you have a pass?" the teacher asks.
"Yes I do."
"Okay, have a seat." the Teacher says.
The announcements come on, the students stand up to say the pledge, sit down, and Miss Applegate comes on the intercom, she makes a few announcements about school events before making a speech about bullying:
It has come to my attention that we have a crisis both here at Edgewood High, and across the country; this crisis I speak of is bullying. Everyday millions of children are bullied, teased, and tormented by fellow classmates. I would like to remind all of you to treat everyone with respect and that there will be consequences for anyone who thinks that they can abuse other students and this goes for everyone. Thank you and have a nice day.
Following the speech, everyone looked at Chris knowing that the Principal was making the speech in response of what had happened to Chris that day. Chris, in embarrassment, puts his head down and a kid next to him calls him a snitch. Then the bell for first period rings and everyone leaves, on his way to class Chris runs into Mike again who confronts him.
"What's up yo," Mike says, principal can't save you now boy!"
"Leave me Alone!" Chris shouts.
Mike tries to grab Chris but he pushes him away.
"Hey yo, he squaring up wit' you!" One of Mike's friends says, laughing.
Mike then slaps him across the face, stunned, Chris curls up.
"Don't you ever try squaring up wit me B--ch!"—Mike grabs him by the neck—"I'll beat yo' ass boy!"
Then a voice comes out of nowhere saying, "Ay yo' leave him alone." It was Mike's rival, Craig.
"What, you can get it too," Mike replies.
As Mike and his clique, and Craig and his crew walk toward each other a teacher comes and says "Alright, break it up guys before I send all of you to the office." Everyone runs to class, and Craig walks up to Chris.
"You alright man?" Craig asks.
"Yea, thanks for helping me."
"Don't worry about it homie," Craig says, "My name's Craig. You can't be lettin' him mess with you all the time."
Chris replies "What am I supposed to do, I can't fight him."
"Man everybody knows Mike's not about that life," Craig says. "Just stick wit' me for real and you'll be alright".
"Okay thanks," Chris says.
"What's yo' name homie?" Craig asks.
"Oh, my name's Chris."
"Oh alright, see you around man."