(First time visiting during this year's A to Z Challenge? Start here.)
"Hand-to-hand combat. Nine a.m." Bryan read aloud.
Great works of British literature. Ten a.m.
Fundamentals of water polo. Eleven a.m."
He threw the paper on the floor. "What is this?"
His directress's face was unperturbed. "That," she said. "As you well know, is your class schedule."
"Don't I have any say in this?" he replied.
"Actually, no, you do not. This was all outlined in your welcome packet that you received last week." The directress, third assistant to the headmistress, was named Miss Prim. Or so she said. "The machine determines class schedules basic on your needs, as assessed by your physical fitness tests, entrance examinations, and psychological screening." She picked the paper off the floor with two fingers. The word 'daintily' rose to Bryan's consciousness. This made him chuckle, as Miss Prim was three hundred pounds at least.
Miss Prim scrutinized the schedule through her half-moon glasses. "Based on what I see here, young man, it appears that your major deficits are of a physical nature. You also appear to be somewhat culturally ignorant."
Bryan did not fully understand what Miss Prim was saying, but he got that he was being insulted. He looked down at his knobby knees poking out of his frayed khaki shorts. He didn't need anyone to tell him that he had "deficits of a physical nature," but that didn't mean he wanted to hear it from this lady.
Just as he was about make a rude insinuation about Miss Prim's own physical capabilities, she started speaking again.
"I believe you will find the afternoon classes more to your liking," she said, handing back the paper.
Bryan kept reading, this time to himself.
2 p.m. - Robotics. 3 p.m. - Advanced Calculus. 4 p.m. Cartography.
Cartography? he thought. Map-making? Seriously? Whatever. Math and robots were his thing, and if he had to slog through mornings full of jock-strap-crap to get there, well, he would. What choice did he have?
Miss Prim interrupted his thoughts. "If that is all, you are dismissed. Your first class starts in twenty minutes." She eyed his fraying hems and neon green sneakers. "You will find your school uniform in the closet of your dorm room. You had best wear it, lest your class schedule be further amended."
Great, so even the math and robots weren't a sure thing. He'd have to haul it to get to his room and back before nine. And, so far he'd been at this school for three hours without being offered a single thing to eat. Some plea bargain.