"Ah-ah-ask me, is Carl, is Carl having a bad day?"
"Is Carl having a bad day?" Over the last couple of weeks I had begun to get used to Geoff's unique way of controlling conversations by telling me what to say. We were in the computer lab during our free-time in Homeroom, I trying to SparkNote the chapters of Moby Dick that I had failed to read for class next period, and he had just came over and seated himself next to me, facing the opposite direction as me, back towards the room.
"I-I think... ya... he's probably just having a bah-bad day."
"Why do you think he's having a bad day?" At first I had been uncomfortable asking him questions. For some reason I had thought that he wouldn't really be able to understand me. And when I first started really conversing with him, I even spoke extra slow so that he could have time to think about each word, until one day he called me out on it and asked why I was talking like a moron.
"I-I don't really know. I think he's juh-just having a bad day." He paused, but he knew I wasn't satisfied with his ambiguous answer. "He won't... he duh-doesn't want to share his pah-pop tart with me. An-and I asked, I asked him nicely! But he said, he said, he said no..."
I turned around and saw Carl and two of his friends crowded around a computer looking at pictures of Megan Fox on Google. They were sharing a pack of pop-tarts.
"Hey Carl!" Oh crap, what was I thinking? He turned to look at me. Well, why not. "Why won't you share a piece of that pop-tart with Geoff over here?"
"I'm not gonna share my food with that retard!" he said, spitting out the word retard as if it had an awful taste in his mouth. "Besides," he added, nudging his buddies, "I don't want to get infected with whatever he's got!"
They burst out laughing. Geoff at first just looked away, pretending not to have noticed. But I knew that it had hurt him. He didn't even want the pop-tart, he just wanted to feel like a normal person, like one of their friends. I slowly turned back to my computer, resisting the surprisingly strong urge to go knock some respect into Carl with my fist. But my reasoning got the better of me, he and his buddies being football players and I a cross-country runner.
"Ya," I said to Geoff, "He's just having a bad day."