Cast of Thousands, Chapter 6


Jess' Journal Entry

October 2nd, 2002

Dear Diary,

Today I turned in my essay for Social Studies class. Ms. Woods said she would read them all over the weekend and give them back to us next week. She said that when we get them back we might have people read theirs to the class for extra credit and then get in a circle and have a class discussion about different families and "share our experiences." She's really big on sharing people's experiences.

Junior high school is weird. It looks like a jail. There are all these hallways with little bushes and things along them but with big black iron bars between us and the plants. And it's really dark in the hallways cause not much light gets in from above the plants cause our part is all concrete and stuff.

And they have two big buildings of classrooms that look exactly the same except that one has orange carpeting and one has I think green. So the only way I know where I am is to look at my feet. And then sometimes I forget which is which. I know English is orange but where is orange? And is the next class green or orange or in a science room or an Art room.... Stuff like that.

It's getting better though. It's not as hard to keep track of where I am or where everyone else is or where I should be.

There are some interesting clubs too. There's a poetry club that I really like that my English teacher runs. He's nice. And he shows movies like Dead Poets Society. There's an underwater-basket-weaving club too which I think is kind of interesting just cause it's such a weird club to have. And there's French Club and stuff. I wonder if there's a Spanish Club?

It's nice that there are all these clubs cause otherwise it's kind of scary and lonely in there. I don't know anyone except the people I already went to school with and they're not even all in my school. A lot of them went to the other junior high school cause they lived too far away. I think I only know maybe twelve people in the whole school now. I'm like a tiny little guppie in the ocean or something.

Especially in between classes when I have to swim upstream to get anywhere.

More later!

Love, Jessica



Jessie bounded down the stairs singing her favorite Harvey Danger song. "Iiiii, I wanna publish zines... and rage against machines... I wanna PIERCE my TONGUE it doesn't hurt it feels fiiiine...."

"Maybe when you're sixteen," Kelly said automatically. She was standing at the ironing board trying to press the wrinkles out of some crumpled papers.

Jessie giggled. "Aw, you're being all domestic."

"These permission slips have to go back to your school today or you can't go on any field trips or um..." Kelly looked at the papers. " up ever again, apparently. And they went through the wash."

"Fine with me," Jessica said, cheerfully pushing bread into the toaster.

"Yeah, well, you're not the one who has to live with you being at home all day," Kelly said lightly. "Grumping about being bored, melting your brain with cartoons, chasing the cat up and down the stairs...."

"All right, all right," Jessie said, grabbing the toast. "I guess it's illegal for me to drop out now anyway."

"Not till you're sixteen," her mother repeated, sweeping the iron with a flourish. "There, I think these are done. You never had such crisp and well-groomed permission slips."

"It's a credit to this great nation of ours," Jessie said solemnly, and then started giggling hysterically.

"Did you get into the Sugar Bombs?" Kelly said, amused. "Here, take these before I put them in the dishwasher by accident."

"Moms! Sign them!"

"Oh, right. I'd forget my head if it wasn't bolted on." She scrawled in all the appropriate spaces and handed the papers over. Jessie snatched them and her toast and grabbed Kelly in a hug. "Bye Momster! See you after school!"

Chapter 7?