Note: You can also find this piece here on ff.net.
Summary: Arthur and the gang are sophomores at Elwood City High. Watch as they go through the ups and downs that come with teenaged life. Rated K+/PG for some violence, some language, and some adult situations.
George and his father looked up from the worktable as someone knocked on the door. George’s mother had a platter with sandwiches and a pitcher of lemonade. George retrieved it, careful to place the items on a suitable surface. After Wally broke his sixth-grade year, falling into too many pieces to put back together, he’d started helping his father carve. He’d made a major flaw when making Wally, but they’d fixed that now. George had three dummies, one for him to keep and two to sell. He’d sell them at the state fair when it came to town, but now it was time to help his father.
“George, I registered you for high school today,” his mom called, trying to make conversation to the busy men. She had barely seen her husband in days thanks to a custom cabinet order, and her son had helped him the entire time.
“That’s fine, Mom. You can put the schedule on my desk. I’ll look at it later,” George muttered. He’d shoved an entire sandwich in his mouth, making his mom scowl darkly.
“You were held back, George. You’ll be in remedial classes because of…because of this!” she cried, kicking a mahogany board lying near the door. “I’m sick of this, from both of you! You aren’t making enough money to support us, and now my son isn’t in the tenth grade like he’s supposed to be!”
The “conversation” with George was now an attack on his father. In the few moments they’d spoken over the last few days and weeks, each conversation had become an argument. He didn’t want his wife in the room anymore, but her ploy with George was the perfect cover. Now they were screaming too much for George’s comfort, so he slipped into the house with the pitcher of lemonade, curling up on the couch to drink straight from the gallon-sized container.
He knew his grades were awful, but he was cleaver enough to hide that from his mother. He’d passed math because of his woodworking skills. The shop teacher recommended a more hands-on test to his algebra teacher, who reluctantly agreed. His English teacher, despite accepting a hand-carved sculpture near the end of the year, failed George with a fifty-six. His science and world history were just as bad, but shop class held his greatest average, a perfect one. Not many people could do that, but George wasn’t thinking about it while he took the course. He wanted to prove himself to his classmates that had abandoned him.
After Wally broke, George was a mess. Arthur and Buster tried to cheer him up, but after a while they decided just to move on to something else. Buster had already started talking about leaving then, and Arthur was his usual self. George didn’t fit, and no one else really spoke to him. Sue Ellen was leaving to follow her father’s ambassador position, and Fern was so knee-deep into books that she barely noticed the world around her. The only one who spoke to him was Muffy, but she just laughed at him not having the money she did whenever they crossed paths in stores.
“He’s your son too!” George’s father screamed. The screams and yells were louder now, thundering out of the workroom with such force that people were peeking through their curtains again. The first for this fight was George still being the subject after so long. Usually they’d gone on to his long hours, his lack of attention to her, her constant babbling about things no one gave a damn about. This time it was all George, George, George.
He finished the pitcher, moving upstairs to be with his dummies. His main dummy, Wallace Senior, was made in an attempt to recreate Wally one day, but George had ideas for two others first. One was Master Cheerio, a British-inspired piece with a top hat, monocle, and a suit with tails, which took a year to make in itself. The other was Madam Ling, a Chinese dummy he had yet to sell. Both were kept in display cases that he could take to fairs—
And both lay shattered on his bedroom floor. Dummy parts were scattered all over the tattered room, the dummies themselves probably used to cause the damage.
George sank to his knees, broken glass stabbing at him through his work pants. His favorite, Wallace Senior, lay shattered on the side yard. His ninth grade schedule lay on his bed, staring at him with a look at said, ‘You deserve it.’
“You did what?! Are you trying to turn him from both of us?! You’re a stupid bitch and I want you out!” his father screamed, running to the side yard to retrieve the pieces. His “wife” moved upstairs to pack her things, a light smile on her face.
“I hope you’re happy with yourself, George,” she whispered as she walked past. He couldn’t hear her. He didn’t want to hear her. He couldn’t, didn’t, wouldn’t. He was gone to them.
Do you guys need links to the other chapters? Is it easy for you to find them? Let me know please.