"Emerson Watts," my first period public speaking teacher called.
Through my already drooping eyelids (let's see you stay awake through such a boring class that early in the morning!) I saw her head pop up from where she'd been dozing on her desk.
"Here," she answered.
I winced; he hadn't been calling roll. I winced again when I saw Whitney Robertson (queen of the Walking Dead) notice her checking for drool. Poor Em.
"Loser," Whitney hissed from her seat.
I gritted my teeth. I've long gotten used to the Walking Dead's treatment of Em and me. But I still hated it.
Em made a comeback of some sort, but I don't know what it was. She mouthed it, and I couldn't see her face from where I sat, directly behind her (unfortunately).
I could, however, see Whitney's response: You wish. Hmm… Now I was intrigued.
But I couldn't ask her, because Mr. Greer yawned and said, "Em, I wasn't calling roll. It's time for you to give the class your two-minute persuasive oral piece. We're going in reverse alphabetical order, remember?"
Again, I thought, Poor Em.
She got up from her seat and slowly walked to the front of the room. When she turned around, she looked sick. I tried to look encouraging, but I was so tired…
"All right, Emerson. You've got two minutes," Mr. Greer said, looking at his watch. "And… go." He turned on the stupid oven timer he uses.
"Females make up thirty-nine percent…"
I dozed off. I couldn't help it; it was so early! A few parts made it through the fog of sleep into my brain, though:
"…A study…percentage of computer degrees…decreasing over time…educational system…" I think I heard someone snoring. I remember wondering why Mr. Greer didn't do something about that…
"…short-shorts…Lara Croft from Tomb Raider…" Huh? Wake up, Chris; that sounds interesting! "glow in the dark dinosaur stickers…"
The next thing I knew, the oven timer was going off.
"Thank you, Em," Mr. Greer yawned. That's encouraging. Even the teachers aren't fully awake during class. "That was very persuasive."
"No, Mr. Greer," she said, with a huge – and fake – smile. "Thank you."
I heard her come back to her seat (my eyes had closed again). Then Mr. Greer started talking again.
"Now, who do we have next? Oh, yes. Whitney Robertson? You're up."
I could hear the smile on his face. Ugh. I almost started gagging. I knew that if I actually had to listen to her for two minutes, I might actually lose my breakfast. SO I let myself fall into a real sleep. I hate Whitney Robertson, and all of her cronies. I didn't even hear the timer ding when she was done. It wasn't until the bell rang to signal the end of class that I opened my eyes.
I heard Lindsey Jacobs (Walking Dead crony #1) say to Em, "You're just jealous."
Uh… What had I missed?
"Totally," Whitney agreed. "And you got one thing right, Em. No matter how hard you try, you're never going to look this good."
They left then, laughing like that snub had been the funniest thing in the world, before I could tell them how wrong they were. Em was beautiful. At least, she was to me. But maybe it was just as well. I mean, Em and I were best friends. She didn't think of me as anything more.
"You can bring up those points next week if you want, Em, when we do rebuttal persuasive pieces," Mr. Greer offered.
If my brain had been functioning properly, I would have laughed at the very sarcastic way she said, "Thanks, Mr. Greer." Then she turned to me. "Thanks to you, too. You were a big help back there."
I rubbed my eyes. "Dude, I heard every word you said," I lied.
"Oh, really?" she asked with raised eyebrows. Crap. That's why you don't try to lie to your best friend. "What was my assigned topic again?"
"Um…I'm not sure." This was another lie. I knew her topic was females in the computer industry. I was just teasing her. "But I know it had something to do with short-shorts. And glow-in-the-dark dinosaur stickers."
She shook her head, obviously not finding my joke funny, and left me there, blinking tiredly after her.