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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 25


DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.


A pop quiz in Spanish

Professor Cortez surprised Garrison's group with a pop quiz at the start of the class. The announcement of the snap assessment brought a chorus of groans from the students.

Garrison cleared his desk of everything but a pencil as Professor Cortez instructed. He and Calvin exchanged a worried look.

From behind him, Garrison heard Delaney mutter, "Like I really need a quiz this morning."

Why Delaney was still sitting behind him was a mystery to Garrison. He was sure she would choose one of the empty seats in the classroom following what transpired between them after the tennis class earlier in the morning.

Delaney leaned forward and hissed at Garrison, "I hope you're better at Spanish than you are at tennis."

Garrison rolled his eyes and refused to engage her in a tit-for-tat.

Professor Cortez went row by row, handing the person at the head of each row a small stack of half-sized papers while instructing the class to leave the quiz forms facedown on their desks until she told them they could begin. Garrison received the incoming quizzes from the boy in front of him - Ken or Kenny, Garrison couldn't quite remember - took one and handed the remaining two over his shoulder to Delaney.

Delaney grabbed them and said, "What? You can't even turn around and look at me now?"

Garrison ignored her jibe, blew out a breath, and picked up his pencil.

Delaney gets called out for sneaking a peak

Professor Cortez stood once again at the front of the class. She scanned the room and then asked, "If you don't have a copy of the quiz, raise your hand."

No one raised their hand.

Behind Garrison, Delaney muttered, "It's just a list of vocabulary words."

"Senorita Justice, turn your paper face down, por favor, as instructed," Professor Cortez commanded from the front of the room.

Garrison heard Delaney's hand slap the table behind him and assumed she'd turned her quiz face down but was not happy about being singled out.

Professor Cortez scanned the room again. She must have been satisfied that the students were all in compliance with her instructions because she told them they had five minutes to finish the quiz and gave the order to begin.

Garrison turned his paper over and read the instructions for the quiz. He read them carefully. The instructions were straight forward. The task was a list of ten vocabulary words in Spanish. The students were to write the English equivalent next to the Spanish word. The words were not challenging.

Professor Cortez is giving us an easy quiz to start with. This will give us all a good grade right off the bat. It will probably be the last easy quiz we see, too.

Garrison took his time and wrote his answers as neatly as he could. Handwriting was never his strong suit. Garrison's cursive was nearly illegible. His printing, while not neat, could be easily read.

When the professor called time, Garrison was checking his answers for the second time. His father's admonishment to never sit idle when you could be checking your work and improving it always sounded in Garrison's mind when he took tests and quizzes.

"Make sure your name is at the top of your paper, first initial and last name, and pass them to the front of your row." Professor Cortez instructed the class.

Garrison waited for Delaney to pass forward her quiz and that of the boy behind her. She alerted him to take them by swatting him on the head with the papers. He took them without a word, added his to the top of the pile, and passed them forward to - the boy's name came to him - Kent.

After the quiz comes the rest of the lesson

Professor Cortez went along the rows picking up the papers. When she finished, they all went into her black bag. Then she started on their next lesson.

Professor Cortez dismissed the class a minute early with the admonishment to study what they'd learned as the next quiz could happen at the start of their next session on Wednesday.

Kent stopped Garrison in the hall. "Was the quiz we just took the easiest you've ever seen or what?"

"Professor Cortez probably wants to start us all off with a good grade," Garrison conjectured. "I doubt all her quizzes will be as easy."

Delaney snorted as she pushed past the two boys. "You think. I hear the Senora doesn't like to give bad grades, so she makes all her graded work wicked easy."

"Maybe, maybe not," Kent said as Delaney hurried off down the hall. He turned to Garrison and said, "I'm not taking any chances. If Cortez does pop another quiz on us Wednesday, I'll be ready."

"Being prepared is always a good idea," Garrison said. "You can keep your grades up easier than you can bring them back up from a bad start."

Calvin and Mariah were the last students to leave Spanish class. They came into the hall deep in discussion.

"I told you she wouldn't tell you if she was or wasn't going to give us a pop quiz next class," Calvin was saying to Mariah. "Hence, the name pop quiz. It's a quiz the teacher pops on you with no warning."

"What did it hurt to ask?" Mariah countered. "Nothing. So, she didn't tell me. I'm no worse off than I was before."

"You would have studied like crazy either way," Calvin pointed out to his girlfriend. He looked up when he realized Kent and Garrison were standing outside the classroom, witnessing his discussion with Mariah.

Hurrying to History Class

"Come on, Garrison," Mariah said. "We need to get to history class before we're history."

Garrison noticed the double meaning of Mariah's statement. Calvin caught it, too, because he shut up about the pop quiz question.

"I've got a math class to get to," Kent stated. "I'll catch you guys later."

Garrison figured Kent was headed to Bear Hall since most math classes were held there. Garrison and his friends had a short walk from Leutze Hall to Morton Hall. The two buildings faced each other across a small green space quartered by sidewalks intersecting perpendicularly halfway between them.

When they arrived at their classroom, Garrison looked to see if Delaney was there. The seat behind his usual spot was empty, and no books sat atop the table. He was tempted to ask his friends if they wanted to sit in a different part of the class but resisted. It would be evident to Delaney he was trying to ditch her, which would only lead to more tension between them.

A boy Garrison didn't remember having seen in class the first week solved Garrison's conundrum for him by taking the seat Delaney usually sat in. The boy leaned forward, tapped Garrison on the shoulder, and, when Garrison turned to ask what he wanted, introduced himself.

"Hey. I'm Alan, Alan Chenowith. Did I miss much last week?"

Garrison's story continues in Chapter 26

© 2021 DW Davis

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