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The Day That Was Meant To Go Wrong

You know how bad days on American sitcoms go: the alarm doesn’t go off, you pick up the wrong lunch in a hurry, you miss the school bus, you smell because you just walked in the muddy rain (with no coat on because you forgot it) and then when you finally arrive at school (late), you find that you have forgot your gym kit so you have to wear the tight one’s in the lost gym kit box, then come out to find that you’re playing basketball (a game you absolutely hate) infront of the whole school and the gorgeous cheerleaders.

This could only happen in American sitcoms. Or so I thought.

Although it doesn’t exactly go the same way as I have just described, it certainly measures up. My name is Charles Alcott, but please don’t call me Charles. Charlie is how I like to be called. Anyway, the day was Friday 22nd June. The year, 2003.
The alarm went off twenty minutes late, even though I put new batteries in the night before. As I began to walk downstairs I was faced with a piercing scream from my mother, "Bring your washing down!!!"
"Ye-es mo-hom," I tried to say through yawning.
"And all your dirty cups and plates. I’m telling you, it’s a pig-sty in that room, I can hardly get in to your room. And open your window it bloody stinks in there!" she ranted, stopping every now and then to sip her tea. So I went back into my room and collected my shirt and trousers from yesterday, and my ONE cup and brought them to the landing. It was then that I was faced with the mornings first big problem. My father. My ‘Old man’. A big, tall empowering man with a one face look of anger. I knew exactly what was coming.
"That room is an absolute disgrace. You clean it perfectly but the day after it’s just a tip again. When you get home from school tonight your not going out until that room is absolutely spotless!" he said.
Why don’t parents understand that we want to keep it tidy, it’s just that when we put something on the floor we are too busy or too tired to pick it back up. Surely, life for them when they were young couldn’t have been that bad.
"When I was a kid I had to share a room with three of my brothers. We all had stuff, and there was nowhere to put it. But if we ever had as much as a spot on the floor we’d all get no supper, and be in bed at four o’ clock. Do you want that to happen to you?"
"No dad, I promise I’ll do it tonight for definite." How easy to make that sound believable. We teenagers are masters at it.
"Good. And as soon as you get home tonight I want you to give your report to your mom and don’t open it before hand…"
Oh shit!! Reports! Good results (if you ever got them) meant a tenner, bad results meant something terrible!! A million things whizzed through my head at once. How do I doctor the bad reports? I wonder if Miss Dickleby has really put the predicted grade she said she would? I wonder what the punishment this year is? I wonder how Kate has done? Ah! Kate, someone to put my mind at ease. The girl of my dreams. My first love. Started going out two years ago last month. She’s going to have done great. She’s a smart and beautiful girl. A boy couldn’t ask for more.
"……do you hear me?!" Dad finally finished.
I shook myself. "Yes Dad."
"Well listen properly then." he said. "Come on, hurry up. It’s ten past eight."
Ten past eight. I had twenty minutes left to get ready and leave for school. So I dumped my stuff back inside my room and went into the bathroom. Turned the shower on. No water.
"Mom!"
"What!"
"Showers broke!"
" I know!" Oh great. Thanks for telling me! Surviving on washing myself with every inch of the tap water, I managed to make myself clean enough for the day’s pressures. By the time I had finished sorting myself out I had five minutes before leaving.
"When’s the shower going to be fixed, Mom?"
" I don’t know."
" Hopefully it’ll be done to day because I’ve got a big shift tonight at work."
"What do I look like a plumber? If you want it fixed do it yourself!"
Oh yeah, I’ve got the experience. Just give me the wrench and I’ll be away. What is a wrench, anyway? Why do the parents always have to be in a mood in the morning? You should be happy in the morning. But I do find that I am the only one that thinks that.
Two minutes left.
No time for breakfast (again). No wonder I was thin. Quick drink and I’m off. No pop. Great. No time for tea or coffee either. Great. "Mom can I have some money to get some breakfast, please?" I asked.
"Want! Want! Want! That’s all you kids do these days. When I was your age, I had a six hundred paper a week paper round, and that only paid a tuppence," My God how old is my mom?! "Which is equivalent to two pounds fifty these days. You should do one. The exercise will do you good. Better than that chicken job you’ve got!" she said.
"Mom," now it was time for one of my rants, "have you seen the state of the streets and the type of people that hang around on them. All they see is a fluorescent bag and a chance to set fire to it, it’s contents and the person carrying it!! And anyway, how can you say that I need the exercise?! I’m wafer thin because of the lack of nutrition of a morning! And besides, the ‘chicken job’ pays o.k, it’s just that there are so many birthdays in this family!" I really had done it now.
"Don’t take that tone with me young man. You’re not too old for a slap. If I’d have spoken to my mom like that I’d have got a clip round the –" I left her to carry on. I picked up my bag and walked out. As soon as I got out of the door, there infront of me was the second problem. The postman. Don’t get me wrong, Pat’s o.k, it’s just the stuff that he brings: dental appointments, bills, junk mail, more bills, late birthday cards (with no money!), and not forgetting bills. And today being Friday meant bills day. I had to escape being caught by my Dad with some bill I was responsible for.
"Alright, Pat?" I asked, making him give way through the gate. "What you got for us today, dare I ask." He reached into his bag. Here it comes. D-Day. He pulled out a huge wad rapped in elastic bands. Oh no.
"Bills by the looks of it. Oh, and some Somerfield offers." He answered.
"W-What bills?" I asked, trying not to sound nervous but failing.
"Oh I don’t know. Gas, telephone."
"NO! Telephone!" I screamed.
"What about it?" Pat asked curiously.
"Oh, nothing. No matter. Have a good day." I ran as fast as I could. Straight to my mate Joe’s house, then to my mate Frank’s house, then off to school. I had to slow down in the end though. My energy levels were low due to insufficient nutrition levels that morning. It was then that I explained to my friends that I wasn’t boff who was running to school to get extra homework before school started, but the fact that I was on the phone to Kate for nearly two hours the month before when my parents were away on holiday.
"So?" my mate Frank said.
"So? SO! Just because you’ve got a Dad who will let you do near enough anything, it doesn’t apply to all of us!" I screamed.
"Yeah, but," Joe began, " you can tell him straight: at least it wasn’t phone sex." I had known Joe to come out with some stupid things before, like the time we were walking through town past a travel shop and he said ‘Shall we go in, order a holiday then just not go!’ but this was unreal.
"Yeah, that’s really going to calm him down." The next problem. Rain, and lots of it. And because of the usual morning rush I had forgotten it and yet again was going to get soaked.
As my shoes sludged when I walked into form late, I was yet again gawped at by the class. I really thought they would be used to my entrances by now. Sadly not. But there she was. Glowing above the rest of the gawping faces was Kate. But there was something not right. She was glowing, but not smiling. Not gawping, but not smiling either. So, upholding my duty as boyfriend I squeaked over to her. "Raining out, Charlie?" asked Dickhead Daniel. I ignored him.
Dropping my wet blazer and bag to the floor I asked her, "What’s up?" She turned her back on me. Her friends made a semi-circle around her like bees protecting the Queen.
Then the evil bitch Emily looked at me with them cold, ugly eyes and said in her Satanic voice, "She doesn’t want to speak to you. Go away."
"What have I done wrong? Kate?" I was getting worried and anxious.
"Didn’t you hear me? She doesn’t want to talk to you, now go away." Said Emily, standing up and poking me in the chest with the last three words.
"Listen you chain smoking Satan worshipper, I think she can speak for herself. And seen as she’s my girlfriend and not yours, just sit your lard arse down and let me speak to her." Something I’d always wanted to say. It felt much better. I felt much better. Until Kate turned around and looked at me. Her eyes didn’t have that look that they usually do. They were different.
"Just go away, Charles. Please." She said. Something was definitely wrong. She’d called me Charles. As the bell rang she shot straight up, her friends guarding her all the time as if I was some great threat. What was wrong?

I skipped through the mornings lessons pretty untouched by bad luck, except for when I was picked to answer a question I hadn’t got a clue what the answer was. As soon as the bell rang for break I was out. I needed to know what was going on with Kate. My mate Richard said that it was all down to ‘Female hormones’. Whatever they are. He said not to worry so I didn’t as much. He knows quite a bit about stuff. He must read a lot of books.
So as I arrived at the normal area that all of mine and her friends hang out, I noticed that she was standing in the middle of her usual group with her mobile phone in her hand, smiling. Thank god! But then a thought flashed into my mind: Why say thank God? You haven’t sent her any messages. Have you? So I approached her. That’s when she hid the phone and all her friends were behind, back to back, whistling. "Feeling better now?" I asked, not sarcastically.
The smile, the happiness I had seen in her while she had her phone infront of her had gone. "Yeah, fine thanks. Listen, I’ve got to go to see Mrs-" No. she wasn’t going to go without ...
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