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a case of the crazies

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Okay, maybe sneaking into the chemistry lab wasn't such a good idea. That's what Peter's ass was telling him as it was ground into the hard detention desk, a pencil in one hand, and a burn on the other.

He wasn't trying to blow up the school, promise. There was just no good way of explaining that his mother locked up all the matches, and when they did that boiling experiment the flame looked so pretty, and maybe it had looked a little satanic when the twin janitors found him asleep at a table with all of the bunsen burners lit, but on his life he was a Christian.

Okay, maybe not on his life.

Nevertheless, half asleep, he was dragged to the office of the infamous Headmistress Glick, a hawkish woman who's motto was probably "if the kid doesn't behave, hit it harder" and told to wait under the bored gaze of vice principal Blaire, a man who's motto was probably "if I can still remember last night's PTA meeting, I need another shot." 

In the end, a deal was struck: Glick wouldn't call the police, and 'the troubled student' would attend after school detentions for the rest of the semester. Peter, feeling distinctly like he was getting off easy, enthusiastically agreed.

So there he sat, eyes downcast and teeth grit as he struggled to find a good position to put his arm in. A dozen or so students sat in the room with him but no one dared talk, leaving the room in a sort of eerie silence broken only by the ticking of the clock. 

He recognized some of the bored attendees, Miles Upshur, with his arm thrown over the back of his chair, his leg bouncing to the rhythm of a song he didn't know. Chris Walker, face contorted into a dreamy smile as he played with the pig keychain on his bag. Billy Hope, probably framed for another vandalism event, looking as miserable as always in the back corner. He wouldn't call any of them friends, but he felt security in the fact that no one acted up under the glare of the Headmistress.  

As the clock kept ticking and the walls seemed to close in, Peter let his mind wander. 

He thought of his mother for the first time during the afternoon. Her broken face seemed to loom over him against a backdrop of black, endless halfhearted scoldings pouring from her puckered lips. Maybe it would have been better to call before planning a stake out in the science room. Maybe.

The upside? His father (or lack thereof) was on another business trip for his shoddy car company and wouldn't be back to ground him for at least another half a millennia. 

Absentmindedly, he let his eyes slip close, his chin falling into the cup of his unburned hand. Trying to ignore the distant feeling that his flesh was still being singed from his bones, he felt himself edge closer to sleep. 


"UGH-" and then he was awake, hands clutched over his mouth and face red as thirteen pairs of eyes turned to leer at him. 

Correction: twelve. Across the isle, a boy sporting a shitty buzz cut and a ripped sweatshirt was face down on his desk, pounding the surface with his fist as waves of silent laughter coursed through his stocky frame. 

Realization: Eminem Ripoff Jr. had stomped on his foot. Cheeks hot and pride slowly withering, Peter opened his mouth to tell him off, defend himself, say something that won't result in seven more years of detention. 

Princpial Glick locked eyes with him. He closed it. 

"Back to work," was all she said before her icy gaze was flicked back down to her paperwork. Miles exaggerated a yawn and Chris continued to peer at him curiously, but no complaint arose. 

Fuming, Peter shot a glare across the aisle. The stranger had managed to compose himself and was staring straight ahead, perhaps trying to pretend he didn't look as if he was being electrocuted a moment before. Grudgingly, the boy argued with himself to let it go, clenching his fists and directing his anger back down at his desk.

However, there was something waiting for him. A crumpled piece of notebook paper that definitely wasn't there before sat in the middle of the surface. He eyed it suspiciously, snatching it up quickly and flattening it against the old wood. 

'WHAT'RE YOU IN FOR ?' Scrawled in barely illegible blocky letters, the message was accented by a sloppy drawing of a man behind jail bars. He glanced back across the row, meeting the stony stare of the student. 

What the fuck?

Frowning, he wrote out his response, making sure to mark little X's over the man's eyes. 'none of your business.'

He waiting a few minutes until he was sure their advisor was nose deep in her folders before taking the liberty to reel back and chuck the ball of paper directly at his head.

Satisfaction rose up in his chest when the action earned him a scowl. 

He didn't have to wait long for a reply, the paper narrowly missing his eye and landing in his lap. 'I STOLE CRIME SCENE PHOTOS FROM THE FORN FORENSIC'S TEACHER.'

'really?' The paper skid across the desk.

'NO. DID YOU SET YOUR HOUSE ON FIRE?' The note hit his cheek.

'no.' shoulder.

'LIAR.' neck.

'what's your name?' arm. 


'maybe.' nose.

'HOT.' lap.

"Class dismissed. If you fail to show up tomorrow it will be marked on your record." The headmistress shoved her tan Manila folders in a briefcase and clicked the latches shut, swinging it off of the table and stalking out of the cramped classroom. As the click of heels against linoleum echoed down the hall, the students started to file out of the door, leaving Peter to squint at the scribbled writing. By the time he looked back up, the stranger was gone.

What an asshole.