Chapter 1: Double Trouble I
No matter where they go, precocious 8 year olds Lindsay and Ryan seem to be the catalysts to most of the trouble in Miss Jenkin's second grade class, and sometimes things get a little too out of control.
“Ryan! Lindsay!” The teacher’s voice bellowed over the class as she addressed the two second graders that were, once again, disturbing the rest of the class with their antics. “Face forward and pay attention. I don’t want to have to warn you again.” She gave them a stern look, brow furrowed.
The two put on their best puppy dog faces, pretending that they genuinely felt bad about disturbing their teacher. As soon as she turned back around, the two troublemakers side-eyed each other.
Ryan pulled a face, exaggerating and mimicking their teacher’s disapproving look. He waggled his head side to side, miming her scolding them. Lindsay had to suck in her lips as she tried not to let the laugh escape. Her cheeks puffed up with the effort, which Ryan took advantage of. He reached over and poked her cheek, forcing a fart noise from her lips.
Some of the surrounding students giggled at the noise, and the teacher visibly tensed. She spun around, but the key troublemakers had their noses to their notebooks, pencils clasped firmly in their hands. She twisted her lips before turning back to the board and resuming the lesson.
Ryan eventually braved a look up at Lindsay, catching her with pens in her nose. She tilted her head back, giving herself an exaggerated double chin and a goofy smile before launching the pens from her nose.
The boy couldn’t contain his laughter as well as his friend could, and he let out a snort and a giggle, biting his lip as he tried to keep from getting in trouble. He was about to stick his own writing utensils up his nose to see if he could launch them farther than Lindsay when the teacher snapped at them.
“Alright! That’s it! Ryan, you switch seats with Jon. Pack up your things, and move desks.” She directed, pausing the lesson as she waited for the two students to exchange spots.
Ryan stood up slowly, turning to his friend and saluting dramatically like a soldier off to the front lines.
Lindsay returned his salute, “Good luck, my friend.”
“And to you.” Ryan backed away, hand extended as he continued the dramatics, eliciting giggles from his classmates. It was getting harder to maintain a straight face.
“Today, Ryan, you’ve interrupted our class more than enough.”
Ryan turned back around and walked over to where he'd been directed, placed all of his things on his new desk with a frown. He didn’t want to be over here with all the goody-two-shoes. He had been condemned to the back left of the classroom while Lindsay sat in one of the middle rows all the way to the right.
Lindsay looked back at Ryan with a pout and a shrug; they had been bound to get in trouble eventually, she supposed. It was nothing particularly new to either of them. Jon suddenly blocked her view as he put his stuff down on Lindsay’s desk, trying not to show how annoyed he was with having to move from his friends. Jon was a somewhat quiet kid who was always doodling something in his notebook.
“Alright class, I’ll be handing out your social studies packets. I want you to work by yourselves for the time being.” She went to the first person of each column of desks, handing out stacks of packets before heading to her desk to correct the spelling tests from earlier in the week.
Jon was clearly not happy about being uprooted from his low-key spot in the back of the class. Instead of working on the assignment, he opened his notebook to a new page and began to doodle an unflattering picture of his troublesome classmates alongside his teacher. He was so absorbed in it that he didn’t notice that Lindsay had caught on and was observing the picture.
“Hey,” the girl whispered, finally grabbing Jon’s attention, “is that me ‘n’ Ry-bread?”
Jon was hesitant to answer, glancing at the teacher who was sitting at her desk. Her attention was on whatever she was doing at her desk. He deemed it safe enough to answer, “You weren’t s’pposed to see it.”
“It’s awesome! I gotta show Ryan.” Lindsay held out her hand, expecting Jon to give the drawing to her.
The boy glanced back at the teacher again before ripping the page from his notebook. He tried to stealthily sneak it to her while whispering out of the corner of his mouth. “How’re you gonna get it to him?”
Lindsay held onto the drawing a moment longer, waiting until their teacher had scanned the class and was satisfied with their level of attention and silence. She made sure everyone was working before turning back to her grading.
With the stealth of a thief in the night, Lindsay slid down off her chair and began to army crawl over to her friend, weaving between desks. Some of her classmates noticed and she shot them death glares, promising a world of hurt at recess if they gave her away before she reached her target.
Ryan was dutifully working on his classwork when he felt a tug on the edge of his jeans. He looked down under his arm and was delighted to see Lindsay had made it all this way. She silently handed him the folded drawing before turning her body around and starting to slither back.
The boy peeked up at their teacher before unfolding the paper, looking over the picture that Lindsay had given him. She had been drawn with scraggly witch hair, x’s for eyes, and had been given an ugly dress with a fat angry cat drawn on the front. Ryan had been given a maniacal smile with sharp teeth, devil horns, a tail, and ugly glasses with spirals in them. Their teacher was the star of the piece, however. She had been drawn with the body of a fat, lumpy lizard with pig’s feet barely able to hold up the massive body. She had tiny useless wings, and fire was billowing from her gaping maw, which looked like that of a demon-possessed cow. Yet, the artist had kept her lovely, flowing, blonde locks to ensure that the creature was still recognizable as their teacher.
It was impossible for Ryan to not chuckle at it.
The teacher had a special sensitivity for Ryan and Lindsay’s laughs, as they were usually up to something whenever she heard it. Her head snapped up, brow furrowed in agitation, eyes sharp when she noticed the redhead was missing.
At the sound of her name, the girl popped up from where she was lying prostrate on the floor. “Yes, Miss Jenkins?” The front of her shirt was covered in dirt from the floor.
Ashley sighed, fingers massaging her forehead, “What were you doing on the floor, Lindsay?”
“Just, uh, dropped my pencil. Couldn’t find it though.” Lindsay walked the last several steps to her desk and sat down, the very picture of innocence, though she could tell her teacher had stopped buying that look ages ago.
The exhausted teacher turned to whom she mentally referred to as Thing 1, “Ryan, what’s that?”
The boy jumped slightly at the sound of his name, and Ashley could tell that she had caught him in the middle of something. She got up and went to his desk, extending a hand in silent demand for the folded paper he had tried to hide.
Ryan knew when to feign guilt and when he should feel actually guilty. This was one of those rare moments that he felt bad about what he was doing. He slowly handed the drawing to his teacher, unable to look her in the eye. He could hear the sharp intake of breath when she saw it. He looked over at Lindsay, who also looked like she felt bad for what they’d done.
Jon was absolutely petrified. He wasn’t known as being a goody-two-shoes, but he sure wasn’t a trouble starter. He was so afraid that Lindsay and Ryan were going to rat him out, but he couldn’t do anything other than sit there and stare at his classwork. He could feel the uneasy tension that was starting to spread amongst the other second graders as they all waited for their teacher’s reaction.
Ashley went to the phone on her desk, picture gripped tight in her hand. She punched a three digit number and held the handset to her ear. “Principal Burns?”
The entire class let out a simultaneous ‘ooooh’ as they looked to the class clowns, who were slowly sinking in their desks.
“Yes... Yes... Lindsay and Ryan... Ye—Yes... Are you busy at the moment? Alright, I’ll bring them down... Thank you.” Ashley put down the phone before turning to the class.
Every student snapped their attention away from the teacher, pretending to be absorbed in their work as Lindsay and Ryan were removed from the class and lead outside.
Ashley left the kids outside as she went into her boss’ office, picture still in hand. “Hey, Burnie. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are acting up again. Look at what they drew!.” She presented the picture, and she could see that Burnie was trying not to smile at it. "They've been exceptionally distracting all day today. It's been nonstop with those two."
“You realize this is the third time this year they’ve had to come down, yeah?” He cocked his eyebrow, looking up at the pretty second grade teacher. He only heard stories, as he never had to deal with the two of them before. Matt would usually bring the hammer down, but he was out of town.
“Trust me, I know.” Ashley pinched her brow once more, “They’re both incredibly smart, and I’m afraid that their minds aren’t being challenged so they’re acting out.”
Burnie considered this for a moment. “Alright, well, bring ‘em in. I’ll talk to them. Then maybe we can see if they’re apt to skip a grade.” He smiled warmly at Ashley who returned the look. She stepped out of his office and looked to where the kids were sitting.
Ryan and Lindsay looked at each other, sharing a look and silently communicating ‘here we go again’ before heading into the office.
The two returned to class like heroes long thought dead. The other students turned in almost perfect unison, watching as Ryan and Lindsay sheepishly returned to their seats.
Ashley took a deep breath of relief. It looked like Burnie had somehow managed to talk some sense into them. “Alright class—”
Just then, the bell rang, signaling that it was time for recess.
“Freeedooooom!” Lindsay bellowed, leading the tidal wave of kids to the coat cubby before the class headed for the door, all of them antsy as they waited for their teacher to lead them outside.
Ashley grabbed her coat, sighing in defeat, ’Maybe a break will do them good.’
Chapter 2: Double Trouble II
The children reign supreme during recess. Some take it more literally than others.
Within the first five minutes of recess, Lindsay and Ryan had divided the class; even roping some of the first grades they shared recess with into their game.
Lindsay was perched atop the play structure, kids scattered amongst it guarding every ladder and slide. She was laughing down at Ryan who stood on the ground, a small army of children behind him.
“You will never take the tower, Ryan! We’ll kick all your butts!” The other kids backed her up with confident cries and taunts of their own.
“You may take our lives, but you’ll never take...our freedom!” Ryan cried dramatically, raising his arm and signaling the attack. His soldiers swarmed the play area, climbing up wherever they could, or simply attempting to bowl past Lindsay’s guards. Some of the kids had fun pretending to be vanquished, trying to make the funniest ‘dead faces’ that they could, while others kept giving themselves super mega ultra powers that could never be overcome or defeated.
The rules didn’t matter. It was all about who stood atop the tower at the end of recess.
Ashley watched as the two clans waged war over the play area. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were absolutely terrifying in how they managed to amass so much power in so little time. The first grade teacher was equally in awe.
“Holy shit, Jenkins. Your kids terrify the shit out of me.”
Ashley looked over at her mustachioed co-worker, “Well, yours aren’t exactly innocent either, Geoff. Besides, you had those two last year. You know how he is.” She pointed to a couple of kids that flanked Ryan, obeying his every command. “Who’re they? I feel like I should be keeping an eye on them.”
“Ah yeah, that’s Gavin in the black jacket, and Ray’s the one with the glasses. God damn...have fun with them.” Geoff laughed enigmatically as he ran a hand over his hair. “Those two are some sneaky little fuckers.”
“You should watch your mouth around kids, Geoff. I swear, they have super hearing when it comes to listening in on things they aren’t supposed to hear.” Ashley looked around, making sure that none of the tykes had heard Geoff’s foul language.
Suddenly, there was the loud cry of a child in sudden, unexpected pain. Ashley and Geoff hurried over to break up the roughhousing to find that Ryan and Lindsay had already put the game on pause and were both crouched over a fallen soldier.
“You okay, Michael?” Lindsay was gently rubbing his back as Ryan crouched down in front of him.
“It’s okay if you wanna go to the nurse. You fell pretty far, looked like it hurt.” Ryan helped Michael up and supported him as they went to the teachers, surprised to find that they were a lot closer than initially thought.
“He fell off the top of the slide and hurt his arm.” Lindsay explained as Michael sniffled, gently cradling his injured limb.
“Let’s get you to the nurse, okay? C’mon.” Ashley could be impressed by the troublemakers’ leadership later. Right now, she had a crisis to deal with.
Geoff looked down at Lindsay and Ryan. “That was a good job you two did.” He lowered a fist, and Lindsay and Ryan went in for the fistbump.
“Damn straight!” Lindsay cursed before the two of them scurrief off to start up a new game.
“Hey! Don’t—! Ahhh, don’t say that...” They were already out of earshot before Geoff could scold them properly. Geoff felt a smile spread over his face as Ryan and Lindsay headed off on their own to play. Those two were going to grow up into some pretty incredible people, he could feel it.
Chapter 3: Double Trouble III
Jon feels guilty that Lindsay and Ryan got in trouble on his behalf.
Jon was terrified. There was an icy guilt that had settled in his stomach the second Miss Jenkins had picked up his drawing. He hadn’t so much as dared to look up as Ryan and Lindsay were taken to the principal’s office.
Now he was even afraid to approach them at recess, despite how fun their game seemed to be. Although, after seeing his classmate get hurt he began to think maybe it had been better to sit that one out.
Once recess was over and the class had been lead back inside for free time, Jon finally mustered up the courage to confess to the teacher.
“Um, Miss Jenkins?”
Ashley turned and looked down, surprised to see Jon had approached her. “Is everything okay, Jon?” She couldn’t ignore the guilty look on the boy’s face. “Did something happen?”
Jon heaved his chest as he took a deep breath to gather his nerves, “Ryan and Lindsay didn’t make the drawing.”
Ashley instantly understood, but she could see that Jon needed to get this out on his own. She was curious, however, about how Ryan managed to get a hold of it. Actually, the more she thought about it the less of a mystery it was.
“I, um..." Jon took a deep breath, shitting his eyes, "I...I drew it. I’m really, really, really sorry! I didn’t mean for Ryan and Lindsay to get in trouble, and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Ashley nodded, “Thank you for owning up to the drawing, Jon, and I hope you’ve learned your lesson. It’s not nice to write or draw mean things, because you never know who will see it.”
Jon nodded in understanding.
“Aaand, I think there are two more people who would appreciate an apology.”
Jon was confused for a moment before his eyebrows shot up in realization. Lindsay and Ryan had gotten punished on his behalf. Jon looked around the classroom, eventually seeing Lindsay chilling on a beanbag with a big book of cats.
“Awww, this one’s wearing a top hat, look!” She lowered the book to the floor, and as Jon circled around, he saw that Ryan’s upper half was poking out from under Lindsay’s beanbag reading a book on medieval knights. Weirdoes.
“Meh, it’s okay. The one in the sweater was cuter.” Ryan looked up as they were approached.
“Hey, Jon,” Lindsay greeted. “Did Miss Jenkins give you your drawing back? Cause Ryan and I wanna keep it.”
“Spoils of war always go to the winner, yanno?” Ryan threw in.
“Uhh, no," Jon shifted awkwardly, "I think they threw it out.” The pair sighed in disappointment. “But I wanted to say sorry for getting you in trouble.”
Ryan shrugged, “Meh, we’re kinda used to it.” He shifted under the beanbag, “Linds, get off I can’t move.”
“Not gonna happen.”
“Guys, I’m serious,” Jon pressed, “I’m trying to say I’m sorry.” He balled his hands, frowning in annoyance. Couldn’t these guys take anything seriously?
“It’s okay, Jon, we know. It was nice of you to tell Miss Jenkins, though. That was new; most people let us take the fall and run with it.”
“Ryan’s trying to say thank you, Jon,” Lindsay explained. “Wanna read books with us until break time is over?”
"Well..." Jon pulled the corners of his mouth down, trying not to smile, "...okay.” A smile broke out as soon as he turned around. He went to grab his sketch book and plopped down on the bean bag next to Lindsay, the two of them pleased by Ryan’s wheezed complaints.
"By the way, we're totally going dumpster diving to get that picture back. I'm not letting Miss Jenkins or anyone else throw out that masterpiece." Lindsay was firmly adamant about this.
Jon looked at his notebook, seeing the indents of his anger fueled drawing. "I've got a better idea," and with that he got to work. Not the way he'd normally go about making friends, but he'd take it.