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The school day was almost over. I had made it through my math, science and French tests without any major disasters. It was the last hour, and we were being released to the football field for our year-ending assembly.

Every year before summer our Principal, Mr. Deters, would talk to us about responsibility and safety. Nobody ever paid any attention.

I walked out through the gym doors and followed the other kids to the football bleachers. Sitting at the top was Whizzy. He waved at me.

The gray clouds had moved on and now it was very sunny and quite hot.

I noticed that Whizzy was standing when I reached the top of the bleachers.

“Hey, Phillip, watch this.” He pointed at a couple of 6th grade boys. As they started to sit, Whizzy let out a strange giggle. He grabbed my arm in anticipation. The boys lowered their butts and sat on the metal seats. They burst back up like being ejected from a toaster and grabbed their backsides. Whizzy exploded into laughter. “Did you see that?”

“Whizzy” I scolded.

“Come on, Phillip. That’s funny. They burned their butts.”

I just shook my head, and then proceeded to sit down and burn my butt.

Whizzy laughed even harder. I think he may have actually cried, but he hid his face.

Principal Deters began his speech, “Students. Thank you!” No one was clapping. “We have had another wonderful year here at Greenville Middle School. I want to congratulate this year’s 8th grade class. You will be moving on to our high school next year…” he continued to assault us with his speech for the next forty-five minutes. His bald- head reflected so much sunlight that it appeared that his body was a candle and his head a flame. I watched in amazement thinking he was going to have the worst sunburn tomorrow. Whizzy would probably find that hysterical. I found it quite sad. Boredom reigned, and I watched the different groups of students…all not paying any attention to Principal Deters either. Two boys in the corner of the bleachers were slapping each other’s hands in some random punishment game. The same group of 6th grade girls was texting on their cell phones and snickering. They were most definitely making fun of Principal Deters. I continued to keep myself occupied watching the other students when I noticed something strange.

“Whizzy, look. Isn’t that Billy Lawton with Rachel?” I pointed directly below us about twenty rows.

“What the heck? No way!” You could tell by the expression on Whizzy’s face that he wasn’t happy. He never got along with his sister, but having our biggest enemy becoming friends with Rachel wouldn’t be in Whizzy’s best interest. Or mine for that matter.

Billy made some peculiar gesture with his face, I assumed he was mocking Principal Deters, but I couldn’t see Deters’s face from all the sunlight beaming off his head. Rachel laughed. Way too hard I might add. Billy wasn’t funny…believe me. Mean…yes. Funny…not at all.

Whizzy stood beside me stewing in anger. I swore his reddish hair had turned a little brighter. He gritted his teeth and clenched his fist.

“Calm down, Whizzy. There has to be an explanation.”

“Billy Lawton…and my sister!”

He never really finished his thought aloud, but I figured it had something to do with inflicting pain and a lot of bad words.

Fortunately, Principal Deters had apparently finished his speech and announced that summer had started, because the student body erupted and everyone had leapt off the bleachers so quickly you could feel them sway forward.

Whizzy and I went back into the building to clean out our lockers and get our backpacks. The hallways were covered in papers that kids had tossed onto the floor. It had become something of a tradition at Greenville Middle School, but I wasn’t quite sure why. Janitor Findley swept the papers into a pile as we went past. He gave a crooked smile. “Good summer boys.”

We said thank you and walked out to where our moms would be picking us up.

Standing in front of the school, Whizzy and I planned our first day of summer vacation…baseball, bike riding and swimming!

“Hey, Wasn’t!” a cruel voice blast. Then Whizzy shot forward and stumbled to keep his balance. It was Billy Lawton. He had pushed Whizzy from behind, but Whizzy quickly regained his balance. I, however, would have hit the pavement for sure.

Billy was quite large…not tall, but thick. His was between Whizzy and I in height, but probably weighted as much as us combined. His arms were so big that they stretched his sleeves. The girls at Greenville Middle School fawned over him…apparently including Rachel who was draped around one of Billy’s large arms. It looked like she was hugging a tree branch.

“That’s not his name, Billy” I responded. I could immediately tell that Whizzy wished I hadn’t.

“He knows that, Phillip. Billy just isn’t smart enough to pro-nounce it pro-per-ly.” He over-enunciated.

Billy wasn’t stupid, though we wished he were. The vein in Billy’s neck pushed outward and his nose shrugged. I was well aware of what that meant. Whizzy had the unfortunate ability of pressing Billy’s button’s, which I still am not completely sure why he would want to…but Whizzy did it anyway.

Billy lunged at Whizzy and snatched him up in the air by his shirt. “Listen here, Wasn’t! You keep that up and it’s gonna be a long summer for you. We’re gonna be seein’ a lot of each other.” He tossed Whizzy into me and we fell to the ground. “I’ll see ya’ round, Wasn’t”

Then Billy did something I wished I had never seen. He kissed Rachel…ON THE LIPS! I almost vomited.

“Rachel!” Whizzy yelled. He struggled back to his feet. “Rachel, you cannot be serious? Billy. Billy Lawton?”

The Whizzenmog twins continued to argue until their mom picked them up.

“There’s mom!” Whizzy bolted for the car, nearly getting run over.

I could faintly overhear Whizzy animatedly describing the kiss.

“Mom, he’s lying!” Rachel yelled back as she entered the car.

I stood on the sidewalk and watched as the Whizzenmog family car drove away with them arguing inside.

“Bye, Whizzy.” I said out loud. Standing next to me was a small girl. She gave me a sad look as if she felt sorry for me. “That’s my best friend. He had to go.”

I normally felt uncomfortable. I was used to that, but I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole right about now. Then the bottom of my backpack broke open and spilled onto the ground. “Great day!”

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