Oh, what a setback. It was partly my fault for not closing the door on my brand new Chrysler as tightly as I should have, but my friends, Madeline and Jocelyn, decided to go on a quick joy ride... and ended with them striking our garage door with my car, so that was around $260 or so for the garage door and another $200 for the car. Ah whatever, it happened. So, as punishment for my negligence, my dad put me in the passenger seat for about a week. Then the car came back and I still had to let him drive me around for another week, even to school.
After two weeks, I had my car back, but the punishment wasn't over. Between the expected "no going out late, finish homework then straight to bed" business, whenever I took the car out, I had to park it in the garage from now on. Before I was still parking it on the curb, but this is to make sure for certain that no one does anything stupid like last time. And to put the cherry on top, I had to place the tarp over it too. This was over the course of about a month.
I finally got my own ride back after a month and was on the road again in April. I got back to hanging out with Josie and Maddie, while also giving them the stern talking to they desperately needed.
"Clearly, you're reckless, Maddie," I started, "but stealing a car? You can't measure how lucky you are that you're not in juvie. The same goes for you!" I snapped at Josie.
"What did I do?!" she asked. Now isn't that adorable?
"More like what you should have done. Could you not have stopped her before she got into the car? What kind of mother are you?"
"And where did you learn to drive, Maddie?"
"I learned it from watching you!" she complained.
"Is that a good excuse?!"
This continued on for a while; crap like this is why we're referred to as the family. As you could imagine, Josie and I are the strict, but loving parents and Madeline is the child since, well, she's earned that place. But let's not be too harsh on her. It's her 17th birthday and lucky for us, Logan was still playing in the theaters, so we had plenty of time. Fingers crossed that we make it before the previews finish.
After the movie, I dropped the girls off at their respective houses and while the punishment was off and I could park the car anywhere (in a tree, under a bus, in my nose...), I was still putting it in the garage for safety. Guess Dad was right about teaching me to keep an eye on my stuff. By Monday, our English teacher gave us all an assignment. We were reading up on Shakespeare in group projects (boo), but thankfully we could choose our partners (yay) and the family immediately grouped up with me (goddammit!). For our assignment, we were to rent a book of Shakespeare's plays, sonnets, poems and the like and make a presentation on it. Sounds easy enough.
The teacher, Mr. Wayne, didn't specify whether it had to be the school's library or the public library that any one of us could go to, and the project was due on May 22, three weeks from now. Loads of time! We could get it done the first week, and spend the rest of the time watching movies! I thought to myself, forgetting who I was working with. The easy part was to go to the library and grab a book. Deliberating on what the project looks like, especially with these angry chimpanzees, was the more interesting part.
Like I said, finding a big book of Shakespeare's writings was very easy; the librarian pointed us to a ginormous, 1,500 page book of Shakespeare's writings and gave us a two-week deadline. Now we just needed to choose which one of his plays to present for the class. As quiet as we were, the discussion still had the chaos of the bunker scene in Downfall.
"So, what do you girls think?" I started, in a low, whispery voice, "which play are we doing?"
"I've been meaning to read Othello," commented Josie, "what about you, Maddie?"
"Can we do Julius Caesar?" she almost shouted.
"Sorry. So, what do you think, Korey?"
I had the deciding vote between Othello and Julius Caesar, and I was honestly torn for a bit. I saw the Othello movie with Laurence Fishburne a while ago (pretty good, go watch it) and I already know the story of Julius Caesar from our history class. Covering Caesar would mean less reading (at least for me and Josie) for us since we could just highlight the most important plot moments, though we'd be working off the combined forces of cliff notes and memory, which would probably make for a sloppy presentation.
For Othello, we'd be learning all at the same time and could spend longer on a more fleshed-out project. However, this would mean more time reading and I'm not dying to have the librarian dog me for a late book. And of course, we could spend more time on the Julius Caesar option, though it would be redundant since we recently finished that lesson the week prior. In the end, I went with Maddie and chose to do the Julius Caesar one since we were the most recently educated on it.
We assigned roles for everyone: Josie got the cardboard tri-fold display, I wrote down the notes for everyone, and Maddie got the pictures to use for the display, mostly of Rome, the Roman senate, Julius Caesar himself, and the senators in the conspiracy. So, I won't delve into the story of Caesar's assassination since we all know what happened: Caesar conquers Gaul, declares himself dictator for life, king-averse Romans get worried, senators plot assassination, et tu, Brute?, dead man on the floor of the Roman forum. On Friday, May 5, we were at Josie's house designing the title at the top center of the display: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Over the weekend, we put down the names of each section: the left inner flap of was divided into two; the top introduced Shakespeare and his play and the bottom set the scene with lovely pictures provided by Maddie. The middle of the board had much of the plot elements to the left and the historical context to the right, also with pictures. The right inner flap had the conclusion of the play and its historical context with more pictures.
We had to treat the display like one of our own kids. In Jocelyn's home while she was writing the titles, she had to dodge her annoying older sister, Faye, or as Maddie, Josie and I liked to call her, Sasquatch because of all the body hair. She's also not a very pleasant young woman to be around, so dodging older sister was why Josie volunteered to write the titles down. Then the cardboard display went to Maddie who, with her parents, pasted the pictures under the appropriate columns. Lastly, we all met at my house and my dad helped us write the brief summaries in bullet points while one of us read from the book. And there. We were done.
We finished the project by May 11 and the rest of our classes had quizzes, tests or very light homework since the end of the year was approaching. We agreed to let me keep the display until the 22nd; we didn't trust Faye and I didn't trust Maddie very much. Not that I'd think she'd ruin it, but because I was worried about some horrible accident happening under my nose. I was an only child and my room was spotless, the only things I had in the room were my bed, a small couch, a TV, my games, the desk and my PC. I could leave the display there until the 22nd and we'd be fine; even a blind man could find it.
There was one small setback arising though: the library book. No big problem, just have it back by the 15th and I won't get smoked. Then the problem came. I didn't realize until after school that day that the book was due. Thankfully, it was at home in my room, so I could just drive back to the house, run up to the room, go back to the school and bring it back to the librarian. No hardships on my end... until I got to the house.
"Why is the police outside your house, Korey?" asked Josie.
"They found your dad's meth lab?" jested Maddie.
"No, and shut up," I said back to them, "What's going on?"
The officers told us that there were reports of burglars breaking into houses across the neighborhood, and since Dad had the day off, luckily he caught them when they moved to our house. That'd be a relief, except for the fact that the book and the project were both at my house and could've been at risk of theft if not vandalism.
Dad was there with the officers making a report, going forward with the charges and I was trying to ask him if anything was taken or damaged. It wasn't. Thank god, so I went up to the room, put the book in my bag after emptying it of my other notebooks, I hid the display in the closet so even if I'm worried about forgetting it next week I'll see it every morning until then. Back to the car and back to the school where I Sonic the Hedgehogged up the stairs to the library on the third floor.
I was trying not to make too much noise (i.e. pant too loudly) since some of the college prep and afterschool kids were having a lesson in there. I was explaining to the librarian that I'd forgotten about the book earlier, and she understood. She knew what kind of people Josie and Maddie were; if it was me and Josie or Maddie, we'd be fine, but put those two together and the stench of chaos is potent.
I don't know if other libraries do this, but the school library tracks the exact time of borrowing, so if you borrow a book at 2:58 PM, it's supposed to be back around that time. Driving to school from home takes about 15 minutes, so there was a tiny fee of 20 cents. Not gonna lie, quite stupid that the library doesn't let students rent out for longer than two weeks, but whatever. It's a good thing we got the project done in time or I would've been even more stressed.
So I returned the book, paid the miniscule late fee, and after a week, we brought the presentation to the class and it got us an A-. Awesome! And Josie and I didn't have to give Maddie time out this time.