“Mrs. Hollister, I really need an extension on my writing assignment.”

She looked up from her papers, flicked eraser crumbs off the blotter, and peered over her turquoise-framed reading glasses. Her desk smelled like White-Out and Sharpies, which was doing my foggier-than-normal head no favors.

“What would be the problem today, Mr. Thompson?” she growled. “Another hangnail?”

I hated when she brought that up. I used that excuse once on a dare. It was never supposed to be taken seriously. Who knew she was regional chair of the Correcting Unclipped Nailbeds Trust?

Of course, things didn’t get any better when that Schweikert kid found out and told everyone she was head C.U.N.T. of Southwest LA. He’d always been such a quiet kid.

“No ma’am, the nails are great, thanks. Your cuticle oil is aces.” She stuck out her bottom lip and blew her bangs off her forehead.

“Look, I’ll cut to the chase, Mrs. H. I’ve had this really bad sore throat sinusey thing. Mom thinks it’s esophageal cancer. Alleve wasn’t cutting it so I’ve taken a bunch of codeine. It’s nice. Pain’s a little duller, but everything’s in slow motion.”

“Back to your desk. Start writing.”

She’s so mean.