by Robert Swartwood

“—and what I told her was she had to chill out, you know? I said look, you need to calm yourself right now—” 

“—like she doesn’t even get me. I texted her this poem, this haiku that was supposed to be sweet and shit, and she—”

“—didn’t call me last night? I could have sworn—”

“—my God! Mr. Pringle was looking at us and I swear he knew that it was Claire, I mean, you could tell it by the way his eyes were all—”

“—that kid, yeah, right up there, the one with the earphones. Fuckin’ douche bag is what he is. I dropped my books and he was walking by and—”

“—long you played, what, five or six hours? Shit, that ain’t nothing. I once played ten hours straight and for—”

“—nuggets and mashed potatoes, I think. Or maybe it’s roast turkey again. God, I hope not. I hate—”

“—my dad’s like, what the hell do you think you’re doing, and I’m like, what, you got a problem with it, and I fucking thought he was gonna hit me, right there in the kitchen, with my mom watching us. But then he—”

“—essay question was it, the one on Roosevelt or Kennedy? ‘Cause I sure as hell didn’t study for—”

“—look at me like that. She’s a bitch and she knows it. Fuck, I’d say it right to her face. I’d say—”

“—sweet, man, really. I didn’t think we’d pull it out but right there in the fourth quarter Jeff blocked a shot and I got the rebound and—”

“—today? Are you serious? Of course I didn’t study! You said the test was Friday. You said—”

“—see the skirt on Melissa? Like she’s wearing a fuckin loincloth, it’s so short. And I can’t say this for sure, but I don’t think she’s wearing any—”

“—sorry, okay? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. It’s just sometimes with the guys around—”

“—overslept by like an hour, and when I made it Miss Abbott gave me this dirty look and, well, you know how it is with her, always PMSing about some stupid shit, and then—”

“—only remember the first couple. They were A, C, D, B, A, C, B, D. Here, I wrote them down. You can—”

“—and I said to her ... shit, there’s the warning bell. Check you later, dude. See you at—”

“—today? Nobody fucking told me the test was today. Now I’m really fucking screwed. Just what—”

“—sleeping with Bobby Mitchell. Really, I heard they did it this weekend at Bobby’s mom’s house while his mom was—”

“Good morning, Michael. Ready for today’s exam? Go on inside and take your seat. The bell should ring any moment.”

Robert Swartwood won the 10th Annual Chiaroscuro Short Story Contest. His work has most recently appeared in elimae, Every Day Fiction, Boston Literary Magazine, Six Sentences, and 55 Words. You can visit him online at http://robertswartwood.wordpress.com