Pauly looked back before closing the door and saw Principal Borden staring at his computer as if nothing had happened.
“What is this, a place to teach kids how to be ignored?” he mumbled.
“Now it’s two weeks of detention Witty! Anything else?” Principal Borden yelled just as Pauly closed the door.
Pauly was still mumbling when he came around the corner and bumped face first into Jack Morder.
“Watch it loser,” grumbled Jack.
“Sorry,” Pauly said, trying to move past, but Jack quickly stepped in the way.
“Two dollars or you can’t pass.” Jack said with a sneaky grin.
This was the last straw. Pauly couldn’t take anymore. He stepped forward with clenched fists and said, “You’re not getting two dollars. Now Move!”
Jack’s startled expression quickly turned to a glare as he puffed up his chest.
“Bzzzzz!” The recess bell rang and with it every door in the hallway flew open as an ocean of kids filled the hall, bumping and brushing against them.
Jack backed away slowly, “this isn’t over Witty. You owe me and I’m gonna collect!” He turned and disappeared into the crowd. Pauly slumped against the wall, catching his breath. This was turning out to be a really annoying day.
By the time the last bell rang, Pauly was ready to explode. Winfred had forced him to set at the front of the class during a spelling test, afraid he might cheat. And all through lunch and recess, Jack had pelted spit balls at the back of Pauly’s head. He was still picking them out as he walked home.
He knew Shari was in trouble because normally she walked the short distance to her house, but today he saw her parents pick her up. Pauly kicked a rock into the gutter, listening to it clank down the drain. As usual he was stuck walking the long way home, to avoid paying Jack’s sidewalk toll. Things had to change, he thought, but how?