The Book of David Monday, August 27
First day of school, first period. Mrs. Harrison is making us all keep a journal for English Literature. We don’t have to turn it in. We just have to write in it for the first ten minutes of class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—or the last ten minutes, whichever she decides that day. It’s weird to write with a pen in class. Usually I take notes on my laptop. My hand is already cramping up. The good news is that my handwriting is so atrocious, I’ll be the only person who can read it, so I don’t have to worry about anyone else deciphering this.
When Mrs. Harrison announced the journals, Tyler groaned like Coach was forcing him to run line drills. Mrs. Harrison told Tyler there’s something physiological that happens when you write with a pen or pencil on actual paper. He said, “Yeah, my brain shuts down because it’s so bored.” She just rolled her eyes and told him to “hush.” Tyler said he didn’t have anything to write about, and she told him the point is to not stop, to keep your hand moving across the page even if you think you don’t have anything to say. Then she held up a legal pad and a pen at the front of the class and pretended to write across it while she said the words out loud as an example:
“I have nothing to write about in my English class, but my crazy-ass teacher is making me keep a journal anyway. I hate her so much, I have smoke coming out of my ears, which I wish was
coming out of the bong I can’t tell anyone I own because my name is Tyler Riggs and I’m a starter on the high school football team and if I get caught I will lose my scholarship to one of the forty-seven colleges that send scouts to Hillside High to watch me play. Plus, I will not get to start in the game on Friday night, and my pretty cheerleader girlfriend will think I am a loser.”
The whole class cracked up—even Tyler. Mrs. Harrison is our favorite teacher. She’s tough, but she says stuff like “crazy-ass” and makes jokes about pot, which she can get away with because she’s such a good teacher and because her husband is the music pastor at the big Baptist church most of us attend. She’s up front every Sunday, singing in the choir.
Actually, nobody knows who the starting lineup is for sure yet. List will be up this afternoon before we hit the locker room. Coach has been playing both me and Tyler at QB this summer. I’m glad two-a-day practices are over, but I’m nervous as hell about him posting the lineup. Tyler’s my best friend and has been since seventh grade. I know how much this means to him. We’ve been pushing each other since we were in junior high—lifting, running, making sure our grades are decent—and it all comes down to this: Only one of us can be starting QB our senior year.
Tyler’s got seven pounds on me, but I’ve got two inches on him. He can rush like a locomotive (takes three linemen to drag
him down), but I can leap and scramble. Under pressure, he likes to tuck the ball and plow down the field like a tank. I fall back and look for the pass. It’s all up to Coach now.
Mrs. Harrison is right about the scouts, too. They’ve been hanging around practice all summer. Tyler told me last week that he’s ready to give a verbal commitment to Arkansas. I’ve been holding out for Oklahoma.
I just heard this new kid sitting next to me flip to his third page. He’s writing like his arm is robotic. His hair is wet and he’s wearing a T-shirt that says THE SMITHS. I wonder if that’s his last name.
Dang. Mrs. Harrison just told us to wrap it up. Can’t believe it’s been ten minutes already.