The Idiom Wizard: Chapter 3

As fate would have it, I ended up in detention with Donald after school.

Donald laughed when I sat down at my desk, but I didn’t actually do anything wrong. Dad was just late getting home from wherever he was, so I chose not to walk back because I didn’t have a key to get in our house yet.

Now, I know, I know. You’re probably thinking why in the world would I pick detention over sitting on my porch? Easy! I didn’t want everyone waving and saying their dumb hellos while I was trapped outside my house!

Anyway, Mom was probably still at work. She’s a nurse and works a lot. But I’m not sure why Dad wasn’t home. As I said before, he’s a writer. Normally he never leaves the house except to walk our dog, Bonzi, so that’s probably where he was. He’s very forgetful (Dad not Bonzi) and gets lost in his own mind a lot. Mom calls that daydreaming, but he says it’s more like “exploring the riches of one’s imagination”.

Whatever that means.  

The door to the classroom opened and that girl Hannah, who smells like cupcakes, came in holding an armful of books.  

“Hi,” I said when she sat down next to me. “How did you get detention?”

“Oh, I don’t have detention. I just come here to study because it’s quiet.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I don’t really have dete—”

“Shh!” she said, spitting in my eye on accident. “It’s not quiet if you keep talking.”

Mr. Green came in next. He sat at his desk and said, “This is detention, and you will stay quiet and in your seats until this buzzer goes off in 30-minutes. Or,” he added, flipping open his idiom book, “your parents will be notified that you have detention tomorrow, too.”

“But I already got detention tomorrow,” Donald said.

“Then you’ll have detention the day after that.”

Mr. Green didn’t look at us once. If he did, he would have realized that some of us (ME!) weren’t actually in trouble. Instead, he just buried his face in his book and kept mumbling, “Fascinating,” over and over. Man, whatever he was reading, it must have been super interesting.  

“Psst,” someone said behind me, but I didn’t turn around.

“Psst,” that someone said again. Only, this time he threw a balled up piece of paper. It bounced off my head and fell to the floor.

I couldn’t help myself. This time I turned around to see. I expected it to be Donald picking on me again, but I was wrong. It was the kid in the blue hoody who (obviously) got detention for sleeping in class. I hadn’t even noticed him before!

He took his hood off and a mushroom of dark, springy hair popped out. “Go on,” he whispered, pointing at the balled up piece of paper on the floor. “Read it.”  

I picked up the piece of paper, unballed it, and read:

Hi! I’m James. I collect worms. What’s your name?

I grinned. This might be fourth grade, but it’s not every day a kid tries to become your friend by hitting you upside your head with a balled up piece of paper.

I said, “My name is—”

“Shh!” Hannah hissed.

I stuck my tongue out at her. Geesh. Girls can be so bossy.

I started to say something else, but Hannah raised her hand to tattle, so I shut my mouth.  Instead, I grabbed my pencil and scribbled a message back to James:

Greetings, Earthling. My name is Billy. But my friends call me Red because of my hair.

I balled the paper back up and tossed it at James. After he read it, he held up his red crayon and gave me a thumbs up.

Then Donald leaned over his shoulder and snatched both the crayon and the note away from him. “Ha,” Donald mumbled, reading my note. “More like Little Red Riding Hood.” He took a bite of the crayon and grinned at me. “You know,” he said, chewing the crayon, “because you’re a sissy.”

“Hardy har har,” I said.

“Shh!” Hannah said. “And being a girl doesn’t make anyone a sissy.”

Mr. Green cleared his throat. (That’s what adults do when they want kids to be quiet.)

I raised my hand.

“Yes, Billy?” he said, looking over the top of his book.

I said, “I don’t really have detention, sir. Can I leave?”

He said, “Didn’t I just see you throw a piece of paper?”

I didn’t know how to answer that. If he saw me, then he wouldn’t be asking. Would he?

“I believe I did,” he said, answering himself. “So, no. You now have detention for throwing things in my Detention.”

Donald laughed.

I did not.

“However,” Mr. Green said, “Hannah can leave whenever she wants.”

“I’m okay,” she said. “I’m reading a wonderful book about a Gold Fish who marries a cat.”

“Then, by all means, take your time. Now, if you other three don’t mind, I’d like to get back to reading my book.”

“That the book about the idiom wizard?” Donald blurted out.

Mr. Green raised his eyebrow. “Yes.”

“Does it have spells and stuff?”

“As a matter of fact, Donald, it does.”

James said, “I thought you already read that book?”

Hannah huffed. “You can read a book more than once, you know.”

“Well, how was—”

“It’s okay,” Mr. Green said. “Fair question. To answer it, the last time I saw this book, I was younger than each of you and couldn’t read yet. Sure, I remember the pictures, but now it’s fascinating being able to read the words.”

I said, “Can you read us a spell?”

“No, no,” Mr. Green answered. “Don’t you remember the warning on the first page? None of these spells should ever be read aloud. And spells are not to be taken lightly.”

All of us, even Ms. Goody-two-shoes, Hannah, sighed in disappointment. I turned my attention back out the window. It was still raining outside and there was a big fiery ball slashing through the air towards the school. But nothing interesting.

Wait. What?!

I looked again, but the fiery ball was gone. A second later, something crashed in the hallway outside our class and shook the room.

Mr. Green dropped his book and jumped to his feet. “Stay in your seats,” he said, before rushing out into the hallway.

I’m not kidding when I say I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever seen an adult move. The four of us sat watching the door as things banged against the lockers out in the hallway, followed by an awkward silence.  

“Hey, Lil’ Red?”

I jumped at the sound of Donald’s voice. When I looked back at him, he was standing on his desk and wiggling his butt at me.

“Oh, grow up,” Hannah whispered.

“Yeah,” James agreed. “And why’d you eat my crayon?”

Donald ignored them and glared at me. “I dare you to see what’s going on out there.”

“No way.”

“Then I double-dog-dare you to go read a spell from Mr. Green’s book.”

“Nope,” I said. “You heard him. Spells aren’t to be played with. Besides, I’m not getting in trouble for getting up.”

Donald folded his arms across his chest. “Scaredy-cat. I’ll do it myself.”

He walked to the class door and put his ear to it. Then he walked to Mr. Green’s desk and picked up the wizard book. “Man, this thing is old,” he said, flipping it open and looking at a few pages. “But, wow! It’s got some cool pictures of—”

The doorknob to the classroom turned and the door began to creak open.

Oh, boy. Someone (Not me!) was about to be in big, big trouble…

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