And YES, I'm cheating and backdating.
Everyone at school knew Wendell Wassey was a weirdo.
It wasn't just that his name was Wendell Wassey. Made for great nicknames, such as Wendell Wussy, Wastey and…the biggest stroke of genius yet…Wendy. But his name alone wasn't enough. There had to be more.
So people latched onto the fact that he wore glasses straight outta the '50s, held together at the nose with masking tape. They also seized on the way he always wore the same outfit to school. Trackpants in a distinct shade of grey, along with a t-shirt and tie. I know—weird, right?
Then there was his weird living arrangements.
Fact was, he didn't seem to even have any living arrangements. Rumour had it that in the school records, the field for his residential address had been left an empty dotted line. Some people said that there were two letters and a symbol in that space, where usually you'd find a street number, street name, suburb and more than likely a postcode. Not so on Wendell's file, apparently. Instead he just had two letters: an N and an A. Oh, and the symbol /, which together with the letters equalled N/A.
'Course, that was all just rumour.
Truth was, I didn't give much of a shit about bored people's idle speculation. I didn't give the smallest nugget of shit ever about what he did after school, how he even got there in the mornings—it wasn't an easily accessible campus, no roads nearby—or whatever the hell else. I had more important things to care about, you see, 'cause Mr. Peterson had just paired everybody off for the World War II assignment, and guess who I wound up with?
That's right. I got stuck with Wendell Wassey.
I gave a pretty damn huge shit about that.
My hopes of getting the assignment done in class so I didn't have to get together with Wendell in an extra-curricular fashion were dashed pretty early on.
Like when Wendell didn't even show up for class, for example. If anyone had a hope in hell of understanding the assignment question, it wasn't me. And I couldn't even ask other people in class—they were all too busy with their own assignments, which were different from Wendell's and mine.
Yeah. Peterson gave every pair a different question.
I mean, what a dick.
Even if I could've got away with doing the whole assignment myself—and I would have, if it were possible—I had no idea what the question even meant. "Experiment with something the pedagogy wouldn't necessarily sign off on. Report your findings. Think outside the box." What the fuck did that even mean? It was something a weirdo like Wendell would say, but of course that couldn't be the case—Wendell wasn't the teacher, to set assignments like that. Mr. Peterson must've come up with this shit. Still, the question just had shades of Wendell all over it.
It positively stank of the guy.
No wonder I couldn't understand it.
As class ended and all the students filed out, Peterson stopped me to hand over a small scrap of yellow paper. "Wendell's address—and some instructions I can't decipher. Maybe you'll have better luck…"
For a moment I frowned stupidly at the teacher, putting two and two together. Or trying, at least. Wendell had given him a note to give to me? Why the fuck would he do that? Why not just come to class like normal people did? That I'd seen, Wendell didn't skip classes. Ever. He just wasn't that type. The moment passed, however, 'cause there was something weird in the way Mr. Peterson was looking at me. Maybe it was in the way he was standing. His head slightly cocked to one side, his mouth looking unusually slack. Or maybe it was just the weird fuzziness in his eyes, like they'd begun to film over with cataracts.
For some reason, he reminded me of Wendell too.
Everything reminded me of Wendell today. 'Cause I was bloody well cursed by the guy. Ugh. But there was nothing for it but to get on with things. The sooner I got this shitty assignment done, the sooner I could step out of Wendell's weirdo clutches.