A/N: HERE IT IS, MY DEARS! The sequel to "Days in the Life of a 5 Year Old", entitled "Tales of a Fifth Grade Nobody". Yeah, the title's depressing (a little play on the title of the Judy Blume book 'Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing'...), but it's for our darling Mark who's trying to find his place in the big fifth-grade world. Enjoy! R&R, please!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own RENT or its characters, nor the book "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing." Jonathan Larson owns RENT, Judy Blume is the author of "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", so that obviously means I do not own it.
Ten-year-old Mark Cohen took a deep breath and swung his heavy backpack over his shoulders.
It's the first day and my backpack's already heavy...
It was true. His mother had packed all of his school supplies needed for fifth grade in his small blue backpack. And it was weighing his small, skinny body down. As he was heading into the oh-so familiar schoolyard that he'd entered each morning for the past five years (well, 180 days of each of those years, that is), he felt himself feeling like he was slowly, slowly sinking down onto the concrete floor.
Little did he know that he actually was. Before he knew it, he found himself on his hands and knees, his backpack crushing his back more with every second.
"Hey, Mark, what the heck are you doing? Crawling? We ain't in, like, preschool, dude."
Mark looked up at who had made that crude remark and wasn't at all surprise to see his best friend Roger Davis towering over him. Mark stood up and brushed off his pants and hands.
"Hi to you too, Rog," he replied sarcastically.
Roger patted his back playfully, sending Mark almost flying to the ground again. "Hey, Marky. Nice to see your smiley, nerdy face again."
Mark adjusted his glasses. "I'm not a nerd. And, Roger, come on, don't call me Marky anymore! That's kid's stuff!" he whined.
"Sure, Marky," Roger said absent-mindedly.
Mark rolled his eyes. "Where's everyone else?"
Roger pointed across the schoolyard to where a group of children had gathered in a tight bunch. He ran over to them, Mark sluggishly following behind him, mumbling, "Ow...ow..."every time he took a step.
"Hey, guys, Marky's here!" Maureen cried loudly as she saw the two approaching them. Everyone waved to Mark as he finally stopped in front of them and let his backpack slide off of his shoulders and onto the ground with a loud thud.
"Wow," Tom Collins, one of Mark's closest friends, said, "Whatcha got in there, Mark?"
"Everything but the kitchen sink," Mark muttered. Everyone laughed.
Angelo, preferably referred to as Angel, let out a great big sigh. "Can you guys believe it? We're gonna be in middle school next year!"
"Aww, come on, Angie," Mimi Marquez whined, thinking nothing of the fact that she was using a girl's nickname to refer to her friend. Ever since Angel had told them to refer to him as 'Angie' way back in kindergarten, the name had stuck with the group of friends. "Don't even talk about middle school. I can't believe we're in fifth grade!"
Joanne Jefferson pulled her hair back into a ponytail with an elastic and smiled. "Yeah, haha, we get to boss all the little kids around, 'cause we're the kings and queens of elementary school!"
Maureen randomly put an arm around Mark. "I haven't seen you all summer, Marky! Where have you been anyway?"
"Dude," Roger said, "Maureen's right. Tom and I called you like, a billion times. You never picked up."
"And when you did," said Tom, "You always said you 'had to go' or whatever..."
"My mom took us to the beach and stuff..." Mark said quietly. He paused, his eyebrows furrowing. "Roger?"
"Since when do you say 'dude'?"
"Since, forever, dude! Geez!"
Mark knew that as soon as he walked into the classroom that he was scared of his fifth grade teacher. Old and gray-haired, Mrs. Wright was the most hated teacher in the school. She was very strict and hated any class she got. Mark gulped. This wasn't going to be pretty.
"Sit down, fifth grade," shouted Mrs. Wright. The children shuffled to their seats and sat with their hands folded.
"Now," the teacher began, "As you may or may not know, my name is Mrs. Wright, and I will be your fifth grade teacher this year." She wrote her name on the board. The chalk squeaked on the board and sent chills down Mark's spine. Roger covered his ears with his hands. When Mrs. Wright turned back around to see Roger doing this, she glared at him.
"Is there a problem, Mr...Davis, is it?"
Roger quickly unblocked his ears. "Um...yes, ma'am, it's Roger Davis, and, um...no, ma'am, there isn't no problem..."
"There isn't any problem, Roger. Any," Mrs. Wright corrected. Mark, Tom, and the rest of the bohemian friends tried to stifle a fit of laughter as they watched Roger blush.
"I would appreciate it, then, if you did not cover your ears while I am speaking. Do you understand, Mr. Davis? I would like to start off on the right foot here without any disturbances."
"Yes...Y-yes Mrs. Wright."
"All right, then. I would like to go around the room and have you all state your names. We'll start in the back of the room---you, there, with the blonde hair and glasses way in the back."
Mark had been too busy hiding his laughter and nudging Tom's shoulder with a smirk on his face to be paying any attention.
"Excuse me!" Mrs. Wright snapped.
Mark looked up abruptly.
"Is there something funny?"
"No, no...No Mrs. Wright," Mark said.
"Then state your name, please."
"M...Mark...Cohen," Mark choked.
"Thank you. Next..."
Mark had been told by his sister Cindy over the summer that the best way to stay out of trouble is to write down in a notebook what NOT to do in certain situations. It seemed like a decent idea. So he took out a pen and one of his brand new notebooks and wrote:
NOTE TO SELF: Don't ever get Mrs. W ticked off.
This wasn't the Back-to-School morning I imagined...
He put his notebook in his desk and glanced at Tom, who was staring wide-eyed at Mrs. Wright. Tom was always very easygoing, and for him to get freaked out by something or someone, that person or thing would have to be really crazy. And that, Mark concluded, was what Mrs. Wright was. A crazy old witch.
Mimi leaned over to whisper to Mark, "It's gonna be a lonnnng day, Marky."
Mark had a feeling that Mimi was right.