You can kiss your respective summers goodbye.
Because it’s the first day of school.
Which means it’s the first day of the end of your lives, my little ones.
Even at this early morning hour, this preliminary juncture, the worst is obvious: forced smiles on swollen faces, looks of uncertainty and alienation clouding bright eyes, expressions of anger and resentment directed at seemingly oblivious mommies and daddies—“You wretched bitch! How can you just leave me here?!? I was an eighth grader! I was at the top of my game! No one stepped up to me, I was a god!”
And now you’re shit. Toilet scum. Barnacles clinging to the underside of a social Titanic, cursed to begin the hellish uphill climb that is high school. You don’t want to be here. Sure, you’ve heard the stories of blowjobs behind the bleachers, smoking in the restroom, cheerleader slumber parties, midnight raves—but you know as well as I do, my little darlings, that you shall be denied any of the more heady adolescent pleasures. You four are the exceptions, the anomalies, exiles, outcasts prematurely ejected from your previous schools because of three painful commonalities: you’re twelve years old, you’re gifted, and you’re freshmen here at Boca Linda High. You’re terrified, shaking in your sneakers. Without proper guidance you’ll spend the next four years of your lives leaning on your various crutches in a vain attempt to scrape by.
Let’s start with you. Theo Smole. Brown hair, brown eyes, glasses, short and compact, darling—for now (puberty almost certainly has a few cruel tricks in store for you). You’re the smart kid, aren’t you? You look smart. Smart and worrisome. Worrywart. That’s what you are. Worried about your first day, your first grade, whether or not the cafeteria provides vegetarian alternatives to chicken-fried steak and cheeseburgers. You’re wondering if you’ll have to share your locker with a putz, if you’ll have to shower naked with the older, bigger boys after each and every goddamned gym class. You’re worried that despite this being a smoke-free campus, I have a full ashtray on my desk. Well, the campus may be smoke-free, but this room is my domain. Has been for thirty years. Know why? Because I get the job done. No beating around the bush in my office.
Moving along: Ernest Goodale. The fat kid. Curly brown locks, perennially matted—hat hair. You’ve got girth, I’ll give you that, but I doubt it’ll do more than earn you a barrage of fat jokes as you struggle to convince everyone you’re merely “big boned.” You’re looking at me with a carefully-trained expression of detached contempt, as if you’ve got better things to do besides sit in some old hag’s smoke-filled cave while she picks you apart piece by piece. The sad part is, you don’t have anything better to do. You’re twelve fucking years old. Between school and Internet time at home (most of which you no doubt spend gaming or masturbating to free adult site previews), there’s nothing going on in your life. Too old to be amused by kiddie pastimes, too young to be of interest to your female peers. And you’re fat.
Jan Kounicova. The foreigner—and the poor kid, from the look of you. Tall for your age. Everything slightly tattered—even the hairdo, with its frizzy-not-spiky, 99¢ Store blond dye job. I’ll admit, you’re a looker, with those broad features and cute muscles of yours. If you had an ounce of self-assurance (and if your parents could afford it), you’d make a good football player, or maybe a wrestler—but you can’t keep eye contact for more than three seconds at a time. You might fit in with the jocks except for the fact that you have a girl’s name. I don’t care if it’s “John” in Brno; in America, Jan is short for Janet. Get used to being a closet jock.
Eva Taylor. The girl. Blond. Ponytail. Jogging suit. Brand new sneakers. Pretty and petite, albeit noticeably bug-eyed. Like Jan, you’re athletic. However, where he probably got his physique out of necessity, walking four miles to and from school everyday, it’s obvious you’re the product of teenybopper parents raised on an abundance of fresh salads and 24-Hour Fitness memberships. Valley girl in the making, not yet annoying, as you’re still flat-chested and conservative with the makeup. Could go both ways once the boys start to take notice, though. I’d say there’s nothing outright wrong with you except that you’ve suffered the grave misfortune of being lumped together with the Runt Squad. Obviously it’s of vital importance to your parents that they keep an open channel between themselves and their daughter’s educators. Goddamned socialites.
So, yes, children, it’s the first day of school, and I, Mrs. Rebbecca Thrailkill, am your guidance counselor.
God, I’m going to need another cigarette.