"She's such a loser. Hey Loser! Where did you get that sweater Loser? The Good Will?"

I put my head down even farther and quickened my pace. I'd learned to just ignore the many comments that flew my way day after day. That particular one came from Jacquelyn Rask.

Jacquie Rask was the most popular girl in school. Even the grade nines knew who she was. She was a gorgeous size three brunette with perky breasts. She was also dating the most popular guy in school.

Kevin Pink was a tall, blond quarterback. He was built quit nicely and had a great smile. He was a very good-looking person. The only problem was that he was exactly like Jacquie. He was cocky and very full of himself.and he was just as cruel as Jacquie.

"I don't know, Jacq," Kevin said. "That sweater looks to be of too high of a quality to be from the Good Will. She probably just pulled it out of the dumpster beside her house."

"Hey, Pink, man. How do you know what kind of quality is at Good Will? You shopping there, man?" That was Jamal Davis, Kevin's best friend.

I didn't hear the comeback. I was too far away. It was all pretty routine, anyway. Kevin and Jamal's play fighting could have gone on for at least an additional ten minutes.

"April, hi. You're just who I wanted to talk to," my English teacher, Mr. Jenkins, said to me when I entered my first period class.

"Really? What about?" I asked.

"There is a formal writing contest that is opening next week. The deadline is in a month and a half. I wanted to encourage you to enter. You have a definite chance of winning."

"Are you sure I should enter? I mean, I don't think I could actually win a formal writing contest. It just -"

"April," said Mr. Jenkins, "You won first place in the poetry contest last year. I think you'll be able to handle this contest. Especially since your last essay brought your English mark up to ninety-seven." Mr. Jenkins smiled.

"Ninety-seven percent? I have a ninety-seven percent? Oh, wow, thank you Mr. Jenkins." I couldn't believe it. Ninety-seven percent. That should bring my average up to at least a ninety-five.

From behind me, I heard Jacquie say in a mocking voice, "Oh, wow, thank you Mr. Jenkins." There was laughter from Jacquie and her follower cheerleader friends. I smiled a small smile to Mr. Jenkins to say thank you, and then headed to my seat at the front of the class with my head down.


"Excuse me," I heard from behind me as I picked bits of french fry and bread crusts off of me. I turned around to see one of Jacquie's cheerleader friends.

"Yes," I replied as another piece of french fry pelted the side of my face. Christie, Jacquie's friend, started to laugh.

Through her laughter, she managed to ask, "We were just wondering where you got your clothes from. Because, see, they are just so in style. Or at least they would be if it were the 40's. I mean, did you steal that outfit from your grandmother, or something?" Another french fry. This one fell short of my face, and landed directly in my bottle of juice.

I stood up and left the cafeteria with trails of laughter following me. Maybe I'll go to the library, I thought. At least in there they can't throw french fries at me.


Thank goodness, I thought when I finally got home from school. Now I won't have to deal with those people until tomorrow. Tomorrow. That made me laugh. There was never any tomorrow. Every day was like the one before it. The same teasing faces and taunting tones were present every day in the same cruel routine.

The phone rang. I checked the call display. The number was blocked. I had learned t never pick up the phone when the number was blocked. Unfortunately, my mother has not.

"April, honey, are you home?"

"Yeah mom," I yelled back up the stairs.

"You have a telephone call."

"Okay." I picked up the extension in the kitchen. "Hello?" I asked. I heard my mother hang up the phone in her bedroom. "Hi, honey," said a mockingly sweet voice.

"What do you want, Jacquie?" I asked.

"You have to change that attitude you have, Loser," Jacquie said, her voice turning harsh. "You never walk away from one of my girls while they're talking to you, April. It's just plain rude. And you know I can't stand rudeness. You better watch your back, bitch." Then the line went dead.

I sighed heavily to myself and hung up the phone. "Who was it?" my mom asked. She was now downstairs, and preparing to make supper.

"Oh, just a friend from school," I lied. "She just needed to get the math homework from me."

I went to my room and put on the first c.d. of my favourite music group. All I wanted to do was to close my eyes and let the music surround me. Actually, to be honest, what I really wanted to do was talk to Angela.

Just then the phone rang. I grabbed my cordless telephone off of my bed and turned it on. "Angie, baby, take me away from here," I said as soon as I put the phone to my ear. "I don't know how much more shit I can take."

"It'll be okay, April. Jacquie won't do anything to you despite her threats, and to give you a break from the french fries, I'll close the store tomorrow at lunch. You can come over on your lunch tomorrow, and we'll picnic on the floor."

"The picnic sounds great. I'll take the bus over. But I'm not too sure about Jacquie. I think this threat might ring true. I think I am going to have to watch my back." "Don't worry about her. She can't hurt you physically and you know it."

"I know, Ange, but it's not my body I'm worried about. It's my mind. She's breaking me down, Ange. I don't know what to do."

Just then my mom picked up the extension. "April, will you please come down and help me with supper?"

"Sure mom, just a second." My mom hung up the phone in the kitchen. "I can't wait to get my own apartment," I told Angela.

"You only have to wait three months," she said. "Three months, and you'll be able to talk without your mom around."

"I can't wait," I said unenthusiastically. "I'll see you tomorrow at lunch."

"Alright. Bye, babe."


I hung up the phone and made my way downstairs. My mom was busy stirring the pasta. While I was putting spices on the chicken, my mom asked, "How was school today?"

"It was alright," I said. "Mr. Jenkins wants me to enter in a formal writing contest. He also said that my mark went up to ninety-seven."

"April, honey, that's great. Are you going to enter the contest?"

"I don't know," I said, opening a can of creamed corn. "Maybe."

Just then my younger brother came bursting through the front door. "When's supper going to be ready?" he yelled before even saying hello.

"When it's finished cooking," my mom answered.

"I know that, dumb ass. What time will it be ready?" I gave my brother a look.

"In about twenty minutes," my mom replied.

"Yeah, well, hurry up," my brother said going upstairs to his room to smoke another joint. "I'm hungry."

"You shouldn't let him talk to you like that," I told my mom firmly. "You aren't helping him by letting him say and do whatever he wants."

"I know, April, but he's just so sensitive. I don't want to hurt him or get him angry."

"Mom, he's sixteen. I know Josh can make his own choices, but at least set some ground rules. An example being no more smoking in the house."

"You burn your incense in the house. What's the difference?" my mom asked turning over the chicken breasts.

"Fine, mom," I said stirring the corn. "Raise your delinquent son however you want. I'll be out of here in three months anyway."

I fought back the urge to cry. Daddy would never have let josh get so out of control, I thought to myself. Oh, daddy. I miss you..


"Alright everybody, pop quiz," my physics teacher announced. My entire class moaned.

"We can't write a test today, sir," Jamal Davis said trying to hold back a smile. "We didn't have time to study."

"That's the point of a pop quiz, Mr. Davis," Mr. Korben said. "It's to see how much you remember without the aid of emergency cramming."

I turned my head slightly to look at Jamal. He and Kevin were being as immature as they usually were. They were mocking Mr. Korben, all the while giggling like young schoolgirls.

At least he has good hair, I thought of Kevin. I wonder how it would if-

"April, would you please bring the attendance down to the office?"

I nodded my head and stood up to bring the attendance down to the office.

"How come she gets to go during a quiz and one of us can't?" asked Thomas Riley, another of Kevin's buddies.

"Because she's smarter than all of you jocks put together. You, unlike her, need the extra time."

"That's painful, sir," Tom said. "My feelings are hurt." Tom wiped away a pretend tear.

"I feel for you," Mr. Korben said. "You have one half hour to complete the quiz. You all may now begin."