Friday, May 6th 2011
It’s a really beautiful day here in Southern California. Again. But not everything is as sunny as it seems.
My friend Mandy let a boy in her Spanish class go all the way, and now she’s pregnant. Trevor has a secret drinking problem and it’s starting to affect his schoolwork. Suzanne got kicked off the swim team because she got caught taking cocaine in the locker room. And I just found out my parents are getting a divorce.
Oh, how I regret the day we moved into Afterschoolspecialville.
Last year, when we still lived in Anytown, life was great. Sure, we got a ton of junk mail, but that was a minor inconvenience compared to all the good times we shared. Mom had the best garden on the block. It was hard work, but she loved it. Sis had just made head cheerleader and was the student council president. Becky and I were going steady, and I was on the verge of a major breakthrough in my research on cold-fusion technology. To this day, I feel that if we had only lived in Anytown for a few more months, I could have solved the energy crisis and totally destroyed the current global economic structure. But one day Dad got a huge raise and a promotion. We were all so excited for him! Then, the other shoe dropped: in order for him to assume his new title, he had to transfer to the Home Office. So after a long family meeting in the den, we all agreed it was the best thing for the Johnson clan. We packed up all our belongings (even little Scruffy!) and waved goodbye to Anytown. Little did we know we were also waving goodbye to any semblance of normalcy.
It’s not that I don’t like Afterschoolspecialville. It’s a really picturesque town full of pretty houses and laughing children. The weather is great and there’s hardly any poverty. In fact, if it wasn’t for the 25-story Addiction Treatment Center and the massive cemetery, you’d never know it was Tragedy Capitol of America.
I walk to school every day, like most kids in Afterschoolspecialville. My path always took me past a certain house on Elm Street, just off Main. And every day Helen Hunt would crash through the second floor window after a hit of Angel Dust. The first time I witnessed this I was horrified, as anyone would be. I remember running over to see if she was ok; she just rambled on about taking something her boyfriend gave her in chem lab, and there were bugs crawling all over her. After a few weeks of this, I wised up and changed my route. Even now when I cross Elm, I can hear glass breaking in the distance.
My school, Afterschoolspecialville High, is really nice — from the outside. Inside is a totally different can of stew. I try to be an optimist, so I guess I could say I’m happy the class sizes are small and each student gets a lot of attention from the teachers. I try to overlook the fact that 60% of the student body has run away from home. Charlie the lonely fat kid was found dead last month in the middle of the track, near an overturned hurdle. When they cleaned out his locker, they found —you guessed it— illegal diet pills. Scott Baio almost died when he attempted a high dive, drunk off his ass. I was at a party where he drank so much he passed out and peed himself. It seems like everyone in this school drinks. Dinky Hocker, whose mom works with drug addicts, painted some graffiti on the side of the school, “to get attention.” You can’t even go the the bathroom, what with all the ODing, abortions, and bulimics hogging all the stalls. There’s even one kid who sells homemade toothpaste. He swears it’s going to make him rich, but I think he may be a little retarded. I mean, who the hell would buy homemade toothpaste?
Sure, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I don’t think my family will ever be the same since the “big move” to Afterschoolspecialville. I don’t know where I belong, now that Mom and Dad are splitting up, and I’m starting to eye the liquor cabinet. Sis has taken up smoking cigarettes since learning she’s adopted. And little Scruffy got creamed by a car driven by a couple of kids who were high on grass. The sound of their maniacal laughter will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Maybe I’ll give that nice guy Lance Kerwin a call. He’ll know what to do.
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