Chapter 1. Part 2

Mr Washington was giving a lecture about the asexual reproduction of eukaryotes as the boys wandered back to their desks. Which had been put on opposite sides of the classroom in an attempt to keep them separate and therefore minimize any sort of conspiracies they’d hatch if they sat too close together. Equidistant from all of them at the front of the class sat what they thought must be the new kid. Immediately they could see why they had got their special talk with Mr Bocker. They glanced at one another and exchanged smiles. Mr Washington, a World War II veteran with dark tinted glasses and a blazer which resembled a thrift store couch noticed this and addressed them directly. “So, as I see you boys had a meeting with Mr Bocker, let me introduce the new student we have in our class” The three all were stone faced, all three were trying to act as well behaved children. Mr Washington continued. “Boys, this is Rusty. Say hi Rusty” “Hi” Rusty said as he turned around in his desk to somewhat wave at all three at once. Trying not to look enthused in any way. He had long brown hair past his shoulders, an oversized Metallica shirt which looked as if it had been through the wash a couple hundred times so it had gone pale. Turning a strange hue between dark brown and dark grey. Mr Washington continued “Rusty is from Pittsburgh, and just moved here last week so lets all make him feel welcome here in North Dakota” Jason was wiping his nose as he looked at Rusty “Welcome” he stated, which emitted a series of giggles from all of the students. He wasn’t trying to be a jackass, just was trying to be nice. “Thanks?” Rusty replied. Scrunching up his face a bit in awkwardness. Mr Washington interrupted the exchange “So I’m sure you’ll all have time to get to know each other at recess. Now lets get back to Eukaryotes. Can anyone tell me some of the different structures which we have present within the cell membrane of a Eukaryote?” Jason raised his hand and answered “Lysosomes” as Jeremy began to doodle in the margins of his notebook.
Jeremy’s notebook margins were his favorite thing about school. He always took notes, as fast as possible, and without even thinking about what he was writing down. But his margins became places where giant fat cats with guns would swing on nooses only to find an ugly princess atop a dilapidated castle. His favorite comic to draw was one he had titled “Death Cat” which was simply a single frame (Much like Family Circus) all about a cat which would get into all sorts of trouble in whimsical ways. For instance, Death Cat Robs a Bank would show death cat in a mask carrying out a bunch of money, and the teller would have a banana stuck in her eye in the background. Death Cat was almost too absurd to be funny, that is, unless you were 10 years old. In that case Death Cat had become legendary. Jeremy was currently working on a death cat comic “Death Cat goes to the beach” when his attention was broken by a note plopping onto his desk. He unfolded the note which had been rolled tightly into a triangle and the paper tucked inside itself. “Draw Death Cat Asexually reproduces” the note read in red girly hand writing. Jeremy looked around trying to see who the note was from, but there were no leads. He then deduced that it had to have come from his half of the room since Marc had put it on his desk. And then he got it. Sitting right next to Marc, and looking at him right at that moment, was Jessica. A red pen in her hand, and a smile on her face. Jeremy’s crush ever since she sat in front of him last year. Jeremy smiled and looked back down at his paper. He flattened the note out as best he could, and decided he would attempt to draw Death Cat on the note itself. This way he had more space and could possibly impress Jessica with what he thought were above average drawing skills. He opened his textbook and began researching Asexual reproduction, as it is always a good idea to use source material for any type of illustration work he thought. As he looked over the images he could see that a lot of them were in 3d, which was disconcerting to Jeremy as many of his drawings seemed to stay quite flat, and perspective and 3d was something he was still working on. Nonetheless he carried on and put his pencil to paper and began his first attempt at a 3d rendering of Death Cat. As the minutes passed he had finished the head which had now been cut in half like a grapefruit. Inside of where the brain would be were multiple layers of membranes with small organelles inside performing different tasks. The Mithochondria looked like two giant kidney beans with DNA ladders cascading down from them. Death Cat had been split right down the center and pulled apart, with a stretching effect which had been achieved between the two halves. Much like what taffy looks like when you stretch it out between your fingers. Jeremy even began some new shading which he hadn’t tried before where he believed the shadows would be falling. It was a really good drawing, he thought, almost too good to give back to Jessica. As he finished up the final touches on the intestines which were now meandering all over the page he paused and looked at his drawing as a whole. He thought to himself “any more intestines and that’s going to take away from the dissected cat head. He put his pencil down and began to fold it back into a triangle. Mimicking all of the folds previously made by Jessica. It felt nice to do this, like they were bonded by some sort of paper folding ritual.
Jeremy tapped Marc on the shoulder, as he grasped the tightly folded little triangle which contained his precious Death Cat drawing. Marc put his hand up to his shoulder in a non chalant manner as his fingers searched for the note. Jeremy placed the note into his fingers and Marc grasped it, placing it on the inside of his palm, and then face down on the desk. Mr Washington looked straight at Marc. But Marc held his ground and didn’t flinch, keeping his hand covered on the note. Mr Washington went back to the board and continued the lecture as Marc slowly grasped onto the note once again. This time he was holding it close to his body as his other hand wrote diligently. Looking up at Mr Washington in a most attentive manner he then began to stretch out his arm which contained the note to the end of his desk. Jessica glanced over, keeping an eye on the progress. Jeremy’s eyes were transfixed on her, so much that their unspoken communication at this point had made him feel increasingly anxious about the notes arrival. He began to second guess himself. “Maybe the intestines were stupid” he thought. “Yes, definitely stupid.” He continued on the pathway of self doubt as Marc had now positioned the note between his two fingers and was blocking the view of Mr Washington with Alex who sat in front of him. Jeremy was now so nervous that he had begun to draw in the margins of his Science book. He couldn’t take it any longer. He had to get the note back. He feverishly scribbled on the pages of his textbook now, openly drawing new diagrams underneath photos of cell walls and membranes. “Marc” he whispered. Marc tilted his head back to listen. “Give me the note Marc” Jeremy continued. Marc’s face was confused now. Jessica looked over and scrunched up her eyes and shook her head at Jeremy. “Give me the note Marc” Jeremy reiterated. Jessica was now in on the conversation. She turned slightly in her seat and looked right at Marc. Her hand moved slowly to the side and fingers motioned for the note. Jeremy’s heart was sinking. “Don’t do it, give me the note!” Jeremy stated a bit louder. Jessica then glanced in a disgusted manner at Jeremy and moved her hand back to her desk. Purposely trying to show the both of them that she no longer had any interested in receiving the note. Marc’s hand was now back up by his shoulder and Jeremy could grab the note if he wanted “Give her the note Marc” he stated. Marc was perplexed at this point, but was still entertained by the entire encounter. Anything was better than Eukaryotes. Marc then moved his hand back to the desk with the note. He then placed his pencil on the edge of his desk, on the side nearest Jessica. When Mr Washington turned his back he flicked his pencil off the desk and as he grabbed his pencil with his right hand he acted as if he was supporting himself with his left (which contained the note). In one swift movement it was over. And the note lie on Jessica’s desk, her hand flat on top of it. Jessica looked back at Jeremy, her hand still on top of the note. Grasping it she then put it in her right hand by her side. To her right sat Rusty. As Mr Washington babbled on about single celled organisms he attempted to pull down a screen from above the blackboard. Jessica’s hand outstretched to Rusty. “What! No!” Jeremy thought as dread flooded over him. “What is she doing?”. Rusty looked back at her and lowered his hand as if he knew the drill. Ben had taken notice of the entire affair from across the room and looked over at Jeremy. Ben was smiling, Jeremy was completely bewildered at this point. Jason just continued to take notes and answer questions, completely oblivious to everything going on unspoken behind him. And then it happened. Just as the final handoff was about to be made, Mr Washington noticed. Jessica awkwardly pulled her hand back in an attempt to hide the note. She even coughed and put it up near her mouth. But it was over. They were busted. “Jessica, do you mind sharing with the class what it was that you wanted to share with our new student Rusty?” Jessica was devastated, looked like she may cry at any moment. “Jessica” his voice bellowed as his hand stretched out, palm up. Jessica was holding it gently now, and she slowly raised her arm as she dropped it into Mr Washington’s large and weathered hands. He unfolded it as he stood in almost perfect posture, the type the military teaches you. “Draw Death Cat Asexually Reproducing” Mr Washington stated, a bit of a smile slmost graced his lips as he turned the paper around for the whole class to see. Shrieks of laughter and chaos briefly broke out before Mr Washington squashed everything. “Jeremy, up to the board, write your name and put two checks after it. Jessica, up to the board, 2 checks” That was 30 minutes after school detention for the both of them. At which point Mr Washington crumpled the paper in his hands, and threw it into the trash. As they both were taking their seats the bell rang out. The class all got up in unison and began making a mad dash for the playground. Rusty stayed behind and as Mr Washington was trying to corral a gaggle of students he pulled the drawing out of the garbage and slid it into his pocket.

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