Third hour was gym. The three gorillas were there. I should have expected them. PE was probably their best class. They sneered at me, but I ignored them.
The teacher, Mr. Murgott, wore shorts and trailed an odor of BO. Everyone called him Coach. After taking attendance, he ushered us outside for some exercise. We staggered in single file. Some kids had dressed out, but others wore street clothes so I didn’t feel too conspicuous. I followed the class onto a track surrounding the football field, careful to avoid my three friends.
“Take a lap,” Coach Murgott ordered. “No screwing around.”
I started at a trot, but soon found myself running. It felt good to stretch my legs after being cooped up inside. I thought about Brittany and the way she smiled when she saw me.
She recognized me. I knew I made an impression that day in Video Stop. Wish I hadn’t knocked over Darth Vader, though. I winced, remembering, and then pushed the thought away.
That didn’t matter. She was here. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her in class. I wondered if there was a way to switch seats with the girl sitting beside her. Maybe I should play dumb and ask for her help with my homework. Maybe I should ask her out.
I ran faster, thinking of where I might take her. The Coffee Café? Nah, she’d want to go somewhere dressier than that. The Olive Garden.
Suddenly Coach stepped before me. “Hold on, boy. Pull it in here.”
I slowed and circled around to stand beside him. I was panting, but not hard.
“Have you ever considered trying out for the football team?” he asked, eyes wide. “You’d make one heck of a wide receiver.”
I looked across the field, unable to believe I’d left the rest of the class halfway down the track.
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