This story is by Ameera J and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Take that you no good jalapeno!’ the calluses on my fingers burned but I couldn’t stop writing. I leaned over the table so somehow I could write faster to finish my summer writing assignment. “His ears ringed, and he felt paralyzed as the screech burned his eardrums, and he collapsed to the floor” “Muhaha, how do you think I got my name? Senor Spicy, I’m invisible!” My pen dropped in exhaustion and I realized that it was past nine o clock. The first school day was tomorrow, and I didn’t know what to expect for my middle school debut. I knew what I was planning to wear, my plaid green uniform, where my class was, next to my old one, and who my teacher was, Ms. Michelle. I never had her, but I was always jealous of who got to have her as a teacher, mainly because her class spent the entire day working on arts and crafts; She was different from the other middle school teachers. My half-sister, Danielle, and I are three years apart, and she had Miss Oz last year for seventh grade. Every day she had homework that she wouldn’t finish until after dinner time, and some nights her plate staled in the microwave. I was just glad I had Ms. Michelle so I could have a teacher that I liked before Miss Oz. Whenever Danielle would have some free time, she didn’t play barbies with me anymore; instead, she talked on the phone for hours and mostly called Miss Oz a B-word and told whoever was on the other line no wonder why she’s a Miss and not a Mrs. I felt like I lost my sister that year. I don’t think I should plan on us being friends from here on out, considering she would be a high schooler soon. Even though we did go to the same school, I felt like I was a ghost, and she only acknowledged my existence if I had a dollar so that she could buy a snack with her friends after school. I stopped carrying money with me, and she stopped talking to me until we were home. I hated Miss Oz for ruining my sister. I knew it wasn’t only my sister who she ruined either because the girls who used to be in Mrs. Michelle’s class were unrecognizable. Miss Oz’s students always looked like they were getting ready for battle, and their personalities were stripped, almost as a requirement. Whenever our class walked past them, she glared at us with a sly smirk, like she knew she would make us robots by the time we were in her class. I didn’t want to think about Miss Oz anymore. I just wanted to think about arts and craft Fridays with Mrs.Michelle and my plan to soak it all up before the year was gone. Even though my sister was fast asleep in her bed I faced her, hoping she would have some sort of tingle knowing I needed her right now. I needed an ending for my story, and I didn’t know how to end it without it being an overdone ending.
Before I knew it, the incessant dinging of our old-fashioned alarm clock went off. Danielle and I put on our finally matching plaid skirts, took turns brushing our teeth, and walked out the side door in silence. My mom insisted on a picture before we could make a run for it to the car, but this time I didn’t protest. I didn’t think anything could ruin my mood; for crying out loud, I started my first day on Arts and crafts day. I was so excited that I forgot that I had never finished my ending. The rest of my class and I found their seats, and we waited. We waited an unusual amount of time for our teacher to come into her classroom. Bathroom? Coffee break? I didn’t really think hard about it, I was just waiting for her to bring out the bedazzler. Finally, after some time, the heavy door creaked open, and a heel creeped out until the rest of her made it to the door; but this wasn’t Mrs. Michelle.
“Hello class, my name is Miss Oz, and I will be your sixth-grade teacher this year. I know you were not expecting me, but Ms. Michelle is sick and won’t be teaching this year. We’ll take a few minutes to become situated, then I’ll call you individually to discuss your summer writing assignments.” I felt sick. The throwup that kept swishing in my throat was distracting me from listening. Miss Oz placed the papers in her briefcase on her desk and the entire room was dead silent.
“Does anyone want to share what they did this summer?”
We all stared at each other, still in awkward silence. I didn’t really want to tell them my summer consisted of staying in my room and rereading the Hunger Games series. My incredible boredom led me to braid my hair like Katniss’s, which only backfired when I accidently braided gum into my hair.
“Nobody? Fine, I guess I’ll start going down the roster to discuss your assignments.”
So she began, one by one, calling us down and judging our assignments on her throne across the desk while we begged for mercy. I was glad my last name started with Y, being the last one besides Brenda Zufan. She was gloating her eyes at Jasmine, whose last name I couldn’t pronounce but started with an A. Our class was small, ten girls, and before I knew it, my time had come.
“York. Laney, York.”
I shakily handed her the paper; she uncapped her menacing red pen and began critiquing my paper through the glasses that were far down her nose bridge. I watched in dread as she carved several red question marks. My mind raced. What did I forget? My name? Date? The title. How did I not think of a title? Stupid, stupid.
“Is this all?”
“No, there’s an ending.”
“I haven’t finished yet.”
As she handed back my paper, I blurted out, “I know my title, it’s called Spicy Justice.” She pushed back her glasses to see my face clearly. “Interesting, but I need an ending by Monday.” I finally felt my breath return to me.
I thought about at least a hundred different endings, none of which did my title any justice. I layed awake at night as my stomach growled. I crept down the creaky stairs to grab the hidden popsicles we kept in the freezer, partially to satisfy my hunger but also to feed my procrastination. Suddenly, I saw something in the backyard window, almost as quick as the Flash. As I held onto the banister, I heard the door swing open. My heart dropped as I heard an unrecognizable voice pierce the silence, screaming “LANEY, HELP ME.” I rushed to the commotion in the garage, ignoring the gut feeling telling me to run inside and hide under my covers. I wanted to believe this was all a dream, but the red and sticky fingerprints on the doorknob proved I wasn’t sleepwalking. As I peered under my mom’s van, I was mortified to find Senor Spicy in Dr. Scream’s chokehold. Senor Spicy weakly turned towards me and motioned his eyes in the direction of some duct tape. Dr. Scream was too consumed by his bloodlust to notice me and knew what I had to do. I held my breath as I shimmed behind him, frantically grabbing with my sticky fingers for the duct tape roll, whose end seemed impossible to find. Time was running out for Senor Spicy, and I had to act quickly. I grabbed a metal bucket and threw it over Dr. Scream’s head, pulling the handle to stop him from hurting Senor Spicy, who yelled to me to let go and brace myself. I trusted him and surrendered the ability to hold myself up, falling to the ground, and covered my ears. Even though the bucket had muffled his scream, it still rattled my spine. Senor Spicy grabbed the duct tape and got to work. Once he was finished, he looked over to me and said, “There’s your ending.” I bolted inside the house, past the sticky puddle of cherry popsicles and what remained of Dr. Scream. I jotted down an ending that I knew Miss Oz’s red pen wouldn’t dare touch.