When Pauly came to the last block before his house, he quickly crossed the street to keep out of the way of Mrs. Fretterlane’s hose. She had a habit of spraying kids’ shoes if they walked in front of her flower beds. She watched him the entire way with narrowed eyes. If the hose would have reached, he was sure his feet would be wet.
Pauly broke into a run when he saw his house. He stepped inside and locked the door behind him, leaning against it and letting out an exhausted breath.
“Pauly is that you?” his mother’s voice called from the kitchen. She must have got off early today, Pauly thought, too tired to open his mouth. After a moment his mom showed up in the doorway, drying her hands with a dish towel.
“Is everything okay? You don’t look so good,” she said putting her hand on his forehead.
“Just a dumb day at school,” he said, standing to go to his room.
“Principal Borden called.”
Pauly burst out with all the days happenings, from Winfred’s test, to spit balls in his hair. His mom patted him on the shoulder, sympathetically.
“Why don’t you go soak for a bit. We’ll figure out how to deal with all of this when you’ve had a chance to relax.” She smiled, taking his backpack from his shoulder. A bath actually sounded really good, Pauly thought, heading up the stairs, relieved that his mom wasn’t mad.
The bathroom was a haze of steam by the time Pauly turned off the water. He piled all his clothes on the chair next to the bathtub, so he could wear them again, and slipped into the warm water. Leaning back, he stretched his legs out so they were hanging over the edge of the tub. He was already feeling better, but he couldn’t help thinking about the day. There was no way his mom was going to get him out of detention, and he had to deal with Jack himself. The steam and heat made his eyes feel heavy. He started to drift off, thinking about what he should do.