Twenty minutes ‘til the last bell rings, and school will be out for the summer. Everyone in the class has been waiting for this day, and it is finally here. Even Old Mrs. Crabtree, our third-grade teacher, looks relieved school is about to be over and summer break will soon begin. She has given her best, but it has been a rough year.
How do I know? That’s what she’s said many times over the last week. But what do you expect when all the kids from Flamingo were placed in the same classroom?
Down the Street Bully Brad is also in our class sitting at the back of the room. Over the past year, he has been sent to the office four times, tying the third-grade record. I enjoyed watching Mrs. Crabtree march him down the hallway to see Principal Baker, thinking each time he’d be kicked out of school or at least out of our classroom. Unfortunately, he always came back. Even though he lives in the first house on Flamingo, at least I won’t have to see that bully every day.
Fifteen minutes ‘til the last bell rings and Goofy Steve is doing the funniest thing — he’s balancing a chalk board eraser on the end of his nose! Goof was always doing goofy stuff and kept our class entertained this year.
The tallest and skinniest kid living on Flamingo, with a face full of freckles and strawberry red hair, he even walked funny. He always looks like he was tripping over his own two feet — which made him a great running back for our street football team. No one could figure out which way he was running. If there ever was an award for being a class clown, he’d win it hands down. And now he’s just sneezed, sending a white cloud of chalk dust all over Bubba Hanks sitting right in front of him!
Ten minutes ‘til the last bell rings. It’s taken five minutes for Bubba to wipe all that chalk dust off, but he didn’t get mad. Who could get mad at “The Goof”? Besides, even though Bubba is by far the largest kid who ever lived on Flamingo, he is one of the nicest — a true gentle giant. But that all changes when he plays football.
As a defensive tackle, “Hank the Tank” roams up and down the field putting a crushing tackle on anyone running the ball. The only thing I’ve ever seen Bubba get mad at is Bully Brad, and for good reason. Brad is mean and a bully, two things Bubba doesn’t like at all.
Five minutes before the last bell rings and I take a last look around this room: Ski, the kid with no nickname, Blabbermouth Betsy, and Neighbor Thomas. I hope we’re all in the same class next year — especially Candy Samples.
She sits right in front of me. Perhaps I’ll get up enough courage to ask her to be my girlfriend and she’ll dump her current boyfriend, Preston Weston III, aka “Money Bags.” He doesn’t live on Flamingo, but rather one street over on the Duke of Gloucester. That’s where all the rich kids live.
But he doesn’t act rich. He acts like a regular kid and is the best quarterback our street football team has ever had. Preston plays more on Flamingo than on the Duke. Guess that’s because Candy lives on Flamingo, or maybe he likes being around all of us kids and playing on our football team. Either way, it was a win for us, and Preston is a great kid, and a great quarterback.
Two minutes before the bell rings and an “EEEW, gross! Not again!” ripples through the room. I know what has happened even before I look over at him. The kid we all call “Booger” was just caught doing what he always does. Hopefully, he’ll grow out of that bad habit over the summer.
As Mrs. Crabtree walks over and hands him a tissue, I realize he may grow out of that bad habit but will probably never get rid of his nickname. Booger is something that will stick to you forever.
The entire class starts to count down the last few seconds: five, four, three, two, one. Four things happen at the same time: the bell is ringing, the class is cheering, and a spitball hits the back of my head as Bully Brad growls, “Welcome to summer vacation, Spitball!”
Old Mrs. Crabtree yells, “Bradly McAllister to the office!” Third grade has ended as it began: with a spitball to the back of my head and Bully Brad being marched down to the office. At five trips to see Principal Baker, Bully Brad has just set a new third-grade record, but this time I don’t care much — school is finally out for the summer.
Hurrying down the hallway and bursting through the doors to outside, I open my mouth wide to take in a deep breath of summertime freedom … and accidentally swallow a bug.
A not-so-tasty but adventurous start to what was bound to be the best summer ever! I wonder what great adventures me and my three brothers, The Sister and all the kids who live on Flamingo will have now!
Read on next week, Dear Reader, to find out what happens on, “The First Day of Summer.”
[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]