Amazing Kids! Magazine

Circus

By Nafisa Yusufali, age 12, Keller, TX

 

“Sydney! Sydney!” my mom yells urgently from downstairs. “Wake up or you’re going to be late for school!”

I bolt out of bed and look at my alarm clock and nearly have a heart attack. It’s 7:30 A.M and school starts at 7:45!

“Oh man,” I moan, “I’m going to be late again!” I jump out of bed and start getting dressed, moving way faster than my body wants me to at 7:30 in the morning. I brush my teeth and run downstairs, almost tripping and falling flat on my face. I grab my lunch and keys for my mom, who’s waiting for me in the dining room.

“What about breakfast?” she asks, getting out of her chair.

“No time for that!” I say, panicking. I bolt out of the door and into the car and unzip my binder to make sure that I had no homework due today.

“7th grade math, science, social studies, art…” I mumble as I check through each folder. Then I get to the last folder, 7th grade language arts. I open it and a piece of paper falls out onto the floor. I pick it up and turn it over and my arms nearly fall off my shoulders. The paper is about a project we are doing in L.A. You have to write your own script, write your own plot, and draw your own characters. This project is worth 75% of our grade for this semester. My eyes slowly crawl to the bottom of the page where the due date is listed, afraid of what I was going to see. It’s due March 30th. Today’s March 29th.

“Oh God!” I mutter under my breath so my mom won’t hear.

We pulled up to the school and I quickly put my stuff away and walk into the school.

Everything’s going to be okay, I think, trying to reassure myself. It can’t be that hard, and even if I get a 75 or 80 that’s all right.

When I come home from school later, I throw my stuff on its usual place on the ground and bolt upstairs. My room is a mess of clothes, shoes, colored pencils, markers, and food wrappers. I sit down on my desk and find a piece of notebook paper and a pencil.

Okay, Sydney, you can do this, I think, trying to come up with ideas for my play. I decide on a comedy, thinking that the class would like that. All I have to do now is create the actual plot and I won’t fail. I’ve got this. I mean, how hard can writing a plot possibly be?

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done I’ve my life!” I moan. It’s been one whole hour and I still haven’t come up with ANYTHING.

“What. Am. I. Going. To. Do!” I say banging my head on the desk.

I turn around and see my dog, Lacy, sitting on my bed.

“Lacy!” I exclaim, “How’s my baby doing?” My family always says that when it comes to Lacy, and it makes me feel like a mom fretting over her child.

“Oh, yeah! I just remembered! I need to know how Mrs. Mills wants us to present.” I walk over to my desk where the paper should be, and find it’s not there.

“I swear I put it right there.” I mutter under my breath. Suddenly, I hear Lacy cough and whirl around to make sure she’s not choking. Underneath her I see a piece of a sheet of paper sticking out that I had not noticed before.

“Lacy…” I say threateningly, “Please tell me you didn’t.” I grab the piece of paper from underneath her and flip it over. It’s my missing homework paper! Half of it!

“How am I going to explain to the teacher that the dog literally ATE my homework!” I groan. “Bad girl!” I say, scolding Lacy. I pick her up and put her on the floor outside my room. Maybe if I go online to Mrs. Mills’s webpage she’ll have the assignment. I go to my school website and find her page.

“Woo!” I sigh with relief. Right under her name is the page explaining the project we are doing. She wants the script to be handwritten neatly on white paper and the characters to be hand drawn and colored with colored pencils. Okay, I think to myself, now that I have this, I’m sure I can finish my project in time. All I have to do is come up with a plot and I’ll be good!

I walk back to my room and sit down at my desk, determined to come up with something. Suddenly I hear my phone ringing from my backpack and rush to go pick it up. I look at the caller ID and see that it’s my best friend Lindsey.

“Hello?” I ask, picking up the phone.

“Hi Sydney!” a cheery voice replies on the other end.

I’m just about to tell her that right now is not a good time, but judging on the sound of her voice, she’s not going to take no for an answer.

She then goes into extreme detail about what her family is planning to do for the summer.

“Wow Lindsey, that’s awesome!” I say, congratulating her. We both say bye, and I hang up and look at the time on my cellphone. I almost scream. It’s 7:45 at night! I had been on the phone for 45 WHOLE MINUTES.

Oh my gosh! I only have 45 minutes left until my parents tell me I have to go bed! I jump up from the floor and scramble to the desk. Okay, Sydney, you can do this! I think. Suddenly a light bulb goes off in my head. What if I did a story about a circus? The main character could be a girl who is a part of the show. It could be about her personal life and what she does after the show! I begin scribbling furiously on my paper, trying to create a decent storyline in the 45 minutes I have left. I throw in random events that I think are funny, trying to fill in the gaps and holes in my story as I go along. Fifteen minutes later, exhausted and with a cramped hand, I hold a complete story about 23-year-old Ruby, who works at a traveling circus. I carefully put the clean, crisp white printer paper on my desk so I don’t forget to take it tomorrow. I made sure to not include too many characters so I wouldn’t have to draw and color so much. The characters were finished in less than 10 minutes, and they are sloppy and messy, but I am so tired that I honestly don’t care anymore. I set the drawings on top of my story and thankfully crawl into bed. I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

“Sydney! You’re going to be late AGAIN!”

I bolt out of my bed at the sound of my mom’s voice from downstairs. I quickly change and grab my backpack and bolt downstairs, telling my mom that I don’t have time for breakfast. For the entire ride to school I keep on feeling as if I’m forgetting something important. Whatever, I tell myself, it’s probably nothing. I say goodbye to my mom since I won’t be seeing her for a couple days. She has to travel to Louisiana for work. I walk into my classroom and find Lindsey.

“Hey,” she says. “Did you finish your project?”

For a moment I stare at her blankly—then it hits me like a wall of bricks. The project that I spent ALL DAY trying to finish! No wonder I thought that I’d forgotten something. I’m about to call my mom when I realize that she’s on her way to the airport. My dad’s also at work, and my brother and sister can’t drive. Noooo! I screamed in my head. This cannot be happening. I walk back to my desk and slump forward in my chair.

This is it, I tell myself. My life is over, my parents are going to kill me. The classroom door opens, and I don’t even bother lifting my head, knowing it was my teacher. Then I hear an unfamiliar voice from the front of the room.

“Due to certain circumstances, your teacher, Mrs. Mills, will not be here today and has asked me to be her substitute teacher,” the stranger says nervously.

“Oh, yes, I forgot,” she adds. “Because your teacher is not here today, your projects will be due tomorrow instead of today.”

I nearly jump out of my seat and hug her. “Yes!” I say under my breath. I’m not going to fail!

At least that’s what I think, until I see the teacher passing out papers.

“Oh gosh,” I mutter. “Is that a test she’s handing out?!”