1 week ago:

Jamal walked into assembly looking nervous. It suddenly hit him that he was not with his friends. No Alex, Lenni, Tina, not even Rob. Suddenly a girl bumped into him and smirked "If it isn't Jamal. It looks like they'll let anyone in these days. Well I guess you were smart enough to catch Max Mouse…." Said Erica Dansby "spoil sport." She muttered under her breath.

Jamal couldn't resist a smile. Finally someone he knew. "I didn't know you'd be here."

"It should have been obvious. Computers are the future." She said "You going to sit down or what?"

Jamal followed her to a seat and listened to the lecture.

Today:

"Casey!" yelled Jamal "What'd I tell you about getting into my stuff!"

"Jamal no yelling in the house!" yelled his Grandmother.

"There's peanut butter all over my essay!" Jamal growled

"Casey." Said Grandma Cici disappointedly

"Sorry Jamal." Said Casey

"You better hurry if your going to print another one in time." Rob said quietly.

"Yeah yeah I'm hurrying." Jamal sighed. He grabbed a piece of toast and ran back upstairs.

"I'll walk Casey to school." Rob called "It'll give you more time."

"Thanks man!" called Jamal

"We better hurry if we're going to catch up to the others." Casey said.

Casey and Carmen walked in front of the others. Gabby and Tina chattered to each other. Lenni was trying to get the right words to her latest rap and was testing it out on Rob.

"Not bad." Rob said "But…."

"I know I know. It's missing something." Lenni sighed.

Alex groaned "I don't see how you have time. We're going to die in science today."

"Oh come on Alex; It's only a review session." Lenni laughed "It's only the second week of school how over our heads can they be yet?"

They started to disperse to their own schools. Rob walked into his homeroom and sat next to Elyse. They'd been assigned to work on their literature study project together. "How far did you get?"

"I'm done with it." Said Elyse.

"Done? With the entire book of Pride and Prejudice?" said Rob

"Yeah it was so awesome. The character development and all, it was so alive. I could not put it down." Elyse whispered excitedly "I'm going to do my part of the mural on it, when the funding goes through."

"Mural?" Rob said in a confused voice.

"Yeah, Mr. Williamson is working on a city grant to paint a mural at the park. My proposition is literature is a world of adventure. Every student could put in a book scene." Elyse said excitedly.

"That sounds cool." Rob grinned

"You ought to join us, I bet you've got tons of great ideas." Elyse said excitedly.

"I'm much better at words." Rob said sheepishly.

"You know Rob, a writer needs experience in lots of things because you draw off of your own experiences, you've heard that right?." Elyse said quickly.

Rob nodded but in the middle of his nod Elyse said "Great then I'll see you tomarrow at the meeting. Oh don't be late. Bring your sketches. I knew I could count on you. This is so exciting!"

Rob blinked a second trying to comprehend what just happened.

Jamal's face was just a grin after school. "I take it that you got into that research project?" Tina laughed.

"Yeah that or he finally got a date with Janelle." Alex laughed.

"Mr. Brinkly loved my essay. He said he had never seen a better written one. I'm on the chemistry project." Jamal said happily.

"Congratulations." Lenni said. Casey hugged Jamal.

"Yeah you deserve it." Said Gabby.

Carmen stuttered "C-co-co-con" she banged her foot on the ground and looked down embarrassed.

Suddenly Jamal's paper glowed Good job! You will do a great job!

"Thanks guys." Jamal said happily he wrote a thank you to Ghostwriter too.

They went marched into Jamal's house for cookies to celebrate. They all sat in Jamal's room goofing off.

"It's twice a week after school." Jamal explained to them.

"Man I wish I was good at science like you are." Alex groaned "I'm going to fail our quiz tomorrow I just know it."

"Well what is it on?" Jamal asked "Maybe I can help you out."

"It's on the scientific method. It is so boring." Lenni groaned.

Jamal grinned "but guys you should love that part."

"Why?" said Alex.

"It's a lot like solving a case. Here, look." Jamal pulled out a piece of paper.

"When we solve a case first we have to come up with suspects, you know people who might be involved and why we think they could be responsible. Well a hypothesis is like that. You try to explain something with what you know."

He wrote down "Hypothesis: like finding a suspect. You do not know if its true but you think it might be."

"After that you come up with an experiment. It's like finding evidence. If your evidence shows someone is innocent you cross them off your suspect list. If an experiment shows you hypothesis isn't right it means you need a new one. You can change it or start with a new one."

He wrote down "Experiments: collecting evidence."

"Except you can not just prove something like in a case. If the hypothesis seems to be true after a while it becomes a Theory. That means it's probably true but it needs more evidence to be sure. After it's proven over and over again it's a law. That means it is true." Jamal said "It's kind of like making sure you have enough evidence, except it takes longer."

Alex thought a minute "You know it kind of does make sense now." He smiled. "Thanks."

"Not a problem." Jamal said.

"Watch closely." Gabby said "Con-"

"C-c-con." Said Carmen

"Try saying it really fast." Tina suggested.

"Congratulations." Gabby said quickly.

"C-congwidliatilian." Carmen yelled. She turned scarlet at the attempt.

"What are you up too now?" Alex asked Gabby slightly annoyed.

"I'm teaching Carmen how to talk without stuttering and stuff." Gabby said

Casey nodded "If she talks better maybe she'll talk more."

"C-c-conwadilawin J-j-jamal." Carmen said carefully her brow furrowed.

"Thanks Carmen." Jamal laughed good naturedly, but Carmen put her head in her hands she looked upset.

"NO really Carmen." Jamal said "It was really good. I could understand what you meant to say."

He shook his head. Carmen and Casey started to write jokes to each other though.

"I didn't mean to upset her." Jamal muttered.

"I guess she's just a little sensitive about it that's all." Lenni said "I think she knows you weren't laughing at her."

"What are you drawing Rob?" said Casey

Rob turned pink now "Oh nothing."

Suddenly Carmen wrote "It's Treasure Island!"

"Yeah, you can tell?" Rob said excitedly. Carmen nodded and wrote "You wrote the Admiral Benbow Inn on it."

"Whoah! I didn't know you could draw at all." Gabby said "It's not half bad but it's a little crowded."

"Yeah I know." Rob said "It's going to be part of a mural they want to put in that new section of the park."

"Cool!" Alex said

"Yeah everyone is doing their favorite book." Rob said.

"You think we can all submit something from our favorite books?" Gabby asked.

"I don't see why not." Rob said "Elyse didn't say that it was only for our school."

"I'm going to do Clifford!" yelled Casey

"I'm going to draw Harriet the Spy!" Lenni said quickly.

"Sherlock Holmes." Alex said contemplatively "I can pick one really cool mystery but which one." He muttered to himself.

"Let's all make sketches." Said Jamal happily.