“D, See me after class,” was written in red across the top of his paper. It had been a free writing assignment for my third period English class, and it had been the first paper I had thoroughly enjoyed writing.
“In season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Riker, played by Jonathan Frakes, commented on Lieutenant Commander Data’s desire to be human by calling him Pinocchio.” That had been my opening line. I had spent days painstakingly, well, it wasn’t painful, I had enjoyed every minute of it, re-analyzing Data’s quest to be human, and comparing it to the story of Pinocchio, with Noonian Soong, Data’s creator, playing the part of Geppetto. I had written the paper from the perspective of a psychological journal piece. It was only supposed to be three pages and I had turned in seven. After class, the teacher had told me how disappointed she was in my choice of topics. She hadn’t even critiqued my writing style. I had almost failed because she did not like my topic.
At lunch that day, I had showed the paper to Jason, one of my friends, to see what someone else thought about it. Jason had just turned the first page and looked at me and said, “Are you serious? Is this really what you turned in?”
“Yes, I replied, a month ago. It took her a month to grade all of these papers.”
“You got what you deserved.”
“Why, what’s wrong with it. It was free writing, I was allowed to write on whatever I wanted.”
“Yeah,” he snorted. “I see that.” He handed my paper back to me and walked away, leaving me to finish my lunch in silence.
That had been Monday, it was now Friday and everyone had found an opportunity to say something derogatory to me, mostly calling me Trekkie, or even Pinocchio. I made it through the school day and after making it home on my ten-speed, I grabbed the mail from the mailbox and went inside.
Setting the mail on the counter rather hard, it fanned out, and I caught sight of an envelope with my name on it. Opening it, I began to laugh, rather heartily. I went up to my room and started making some phone calls. I will show them I thought. Monday, I will show them.
The first place I called did not even know what I was talking about, the second place I called had a few, but could not get a hold of thirty of them that fast.
“Thanks anyways.” I will show them, Monday, I will show them!. It had become a mantra, and by the end of Friday night, I had found all thirty of what I needed. One for each of them, and two for the teacher. Yeah, she deserved two. Saturday I borrowed dad’s beat up Mustang and drove out. It took me three stops, and at the third stop, where I bought twenty two of them, the lady helped me out to the car with the case they were all stuffed in.
“What do you need that many of them for? Christ, you have more,” she exclaimed as I opened the trunk of the blue Mustang.
“Just toss them in there. Carefully, please. I will show them.”
She smiled nervously and walked cautiously away from me after setting the case in the trunk.
I closed the trunk and went home. I now had everything I needed to show them. I spent the rest of Saturday, and all day Sunday preparing. Each student got one, and the teacher got two. I signed their names to each one individually and placed them in my backpack.
It would be easy I thought, I would skip out of second period a little early, Missus Hannah probably wouldn’t even notice, and I would be in that class room, third period English, before anyone else, where I could set up, and see their faces as they walked in.
That is what I did, and let me tell you, it was great. Mrs. Green was the last person to get to her desk, and looking down, saw both of hers sitting there. “What is this?” she asked.
“Let me tell you, they appreciated me,” I stood up. “I will show you. I will show you all. They appreciate me, now turn to page 33.” And I laughed as collectively I heard the pages of Titan Magazines Official Star Trek Magazine being flipped, to where they had decided to print my piece.