“Henry Milo. Can I see you for a minute?” asked my English teacher, Mrs. Cobalt as I was walking out of her class. I turned, annoyed, and walked back towards her desk.
“Yes?” I asked as politely as possible.
“I think you should take a look at these grades.” She said holding out a grade book to me. “You’re failing.” She said sternly. I looked and true enough right there on the paper next to my name was a big fat F. “Now there are many things you could do to raise this, like extra credit. How would you like that?” I was barely listening, lost in my own little world about how I could be failing, but replied anyway.
“That’d be great I guess… if I’m failing.” I say.
“Ok. I’ll find something for you and let you know.” She said hurriedly. I didn’t answer. I just walked out of the room.
I didn’t care about English, that’s why I didn’t do the work, and therefore, that’s why I was failing. Mrs. Cobalt pissed me off. She was one of those English teachers with the high pitched, smarter then you voice and I always felt like she judged me and looked at me weird. “How would Batman deal with this?” I thought to myself as I walked down the hall away from her room. “Well first of all Batman wouldn’t even have to worry about failing, because Batman would actually care and work hard in school, like he did when training to join The League of Shadows.” I continued on with this line of thought and came to the conclusion that Batman would take whatever punishment was given to him and would do all the extra credit he could and help out and raise the grade so he wouldn’t get grounded for the rest of eternity.
Chapter 1: Extra Credit
I woke early and rolled over not wanting to get up. I rubbed my eyes and looked for the comic book, lost somewhere in my bed, that I had been reading when I’d fallen asleep. I rustled around the covers and couldn’t find it. I groaned as I leaned over the edge of my bed to look for it on the ground. I found it half way under the bed the front pages all crumpled from falling and sitting like that all night. I smoothed out Batman’s face on the front cover and returned it to its hiding spot under the mattress. I flopped myself back down on my pillow and rolled over putting my face in the pillow smelling to sweet smell of the laundry detergent. Then the phone rang; the sharp ears buzzing, jolting, clang of that phone. I groaned and waited for someone else in the house to pick it up. But no one did. So I pulled myself out of the soft comfortable solitude of my sheets, out of my room, and down the hallway to where that phone hang awkwardly and sudden on the wall. I picked it up and a rather high pitched voice that I knew all too well from the lectures at school said, “Hello?”
“Hello.” I replied halfheartedly.
“Is this Henry?” The voiced asked.
“Why yes it is.” I said almost sarcastically.
“This is Mrs. Cobalt, your English teacher; sorry for calling so early. But, I have an extra credit assignment for you.” I think she expected some kind of response from me, but I gave none, so she continued. “There’s a nine-year-old boy who needs a tutor. And I assigned you to be it. It’s a perfect chance to pick up your grade in my class. His name is Kevin Angeleno. You are to meet him today at two PM at the library. Is that ok for you?” I wanted to groan. I didn’t want to have to babysit some stupid little kid to raise my stupid failing English grade.
“Sure.” I said trying not to sound too annoyed.
“Great! Thank you so much Henry. I’ll be so very proud of you if you do well on this.” And then there was a click and nothing as she hung up the phone before I could even give any response.
This time I did groan as I walked back to my room got back into my warm smooth bed, and pulled the covers way up over my head. Who cared about some kid who wasn’t doing well in school? He was probably some stuck up little brat who just wouldn’t work. He’d be one of those kids who dressed like they were all ghetto and had gelled up hair. And he’d probably look at me and call me a nerd, which was probably what I hated the most.
I pulled out the Batman comic from under my mattress because I needed something to calm my nerves. I lay back in bed and opened to the page I had been on last night before I’d dozed off. Batman was saving people from a terrorist attack, and Cat Woman and Stephanie, the girl who had tried out to be Robin, were overlooking a secret villain meeting that was going terribly airy. This meeting would lead up to the outbreak of gang battles throughout Gotham city that would push Batman to the edge making him admit he needed backup. Just like my meeting with Mrs. Cobalt and the way everything would soon blow up in my face.
I got up an hour later. The sun was peaking in around the edges of the shades and the room was starting to get light. I walked out past the phone that hung awkwardly on the wall and down the tight old stairs the creaked every other step, and into the small custard yellow kitchen where my mother was slaving over the hot stove. My mother was one of my best friends. She was an amazing woman who took care of me, the youngest, my older brother who was about to leave for college and my older sister who had to be a pain all the time mostly without the help of my father who worked a lot but loved his family. I was the baby of the family physically, but I wasn’t mentally. I had always been more mature than my adopted older sister and I was always on the same page as my immensely smart child prodigy of an older brother.
We adopted my sister when she was four. I was two at the time and don’t remember much of it. But I do know that all my mother wanted was a girl and when she didn’t have one, she adopted one. But what she didn’t know was as soon as my sister, Leslie, turned 12 she would become a raging ball of hatred that would push my mother away. And that’s where I came in, her favorite child and her baby boy once again.
I walked over to my mother and kissed her on the cheek. She turned and smiled at me sweetly and went back to the bacon she was cooking. I sat down at the round five person table and looked down at the worn and knolled wood. I ran my finger over a big brown swirl and tried to get the words out of my mouth that I was failing.
“Hey mom….” I stared and trailed off.
“Yes Henry?” She could tell there was something I didn’t want to tell her, so I just spit out the words as fast as I could and then ducked for cover.
“Mom I’m failing.” I said in an extremely hurried voice. Then I put my head down on the table and covered it with my hands as if a giant bomb was about to be dropped. There was a long pause and I could tell it was one of her disappointed pauses as she thought of something to say.
“What class?” She finally asked.
“English,” I said shortly.
“English? How hard could English possibly be? You speak the language don’t you?” She was angry.
“Yes but….” I trailed off because I didn’t have a reason for failing English. It was an easy class I just didn’t like it, or the teacher.
“Too many comic books,” She went on. I ignored this completely but knew that wasn’t the answer and hated that she would suggest that.
“Well you see there’s this tutoring thing that I have to do for extra credit. And my teacher said that if I do well with this I can bring my grade up to at least a C. And if I start working in there too I could get it up to at least a B.” I waited for my mother’s response which she didn’t give for a long time.
“I’m very disappointed Henry. You do know that.”
“Yes.” I said and hung my head.
“Well you have to work hard on this then. Who are you tutoring?”
“Some nine-year-old kid named Kevin Angeleno. He’s probably just gona be some stuck up kid who just doesn’t feel like working, and will hate me, and not listen, and think I’m a nerd.”
“Well Henry you shouldn’t judge this boy before you meet him.” She says in response to that. She always says things like this as if they’re going to make me a better person. I didn’t answer her just kind of rolled my eyes. I went to the fridge and pulled out a piece of fruit which I took back up to my room grumbling thanks to my mother as I went.
I lay in bed eating my fruit and reading Batman for a while until I finally forced myself to get up, get dressed, and go see this stupid little kid to make him a smart little kid, and that was that.
this is the prologue and chapter 1 of the novel im working on. comment if you like it and i'll post more of it.