Artifacts
along we were in the assignment. In order to do that, I knew I had to leave before Korie and the Wahoos could get to my house.
    Stepping into the semi-dark school hallways, the place was eerily quiet, making the sound of the squealing metal doors and my squeaky sneakers on the freshly cleaned floors sound a lot scarier.
    Reaching Bartholomew’s classroom, the door was cracked open enough for me to see Marcus Braverman and his mom and dad sitting in those same stupid seats in front of his desk.
    Bartholomew’s mouth was moving and Mr. and Mrs. Braverman were at the edge of their seat hanging on every word. I knew what he was saying probably sounded caring and concerned, but he didn’t mean any of it. To me, he always talked like he was doing you a favor.
    I couldn’t hear what they were saying at first, but leaning closer to the crack in the door made it a lot easier. That’s when I heard the statement I thought would make my head explode.
    “Would you and your parents be interested in entertaining the idea of extra credit?” Bartholomew offered.
    “He’d love to do extra credit,” Mr. Braverman said. “He’d love to do anything that allows him not to have to go to summer school because we have a big summer planned.”
    “Extra credit would be great,” Marcus muttered.
    Bartholomew thought for a moment. “I’ve never done this before, but Marcus, if you come back to my classroom after school, we should be able to forge an agreement which allows you to make up the credit and avoid summer school. Will that work?
    Marcus nodded like a bobblehead doll.
    Never done it before? I stepped back from the doorway.
    Hearing the desks slide around, I knew the Bravermans were coming out.
    I slipped and slid down the hallway, taking a quick turn into one of the open classrooms. Then I peeked back around the corner.
    The Bravermans were walking toward me as one big happy family. I could almost see the smoke coming out of Marcus’s ears, the wheels turning as he tried to figure out exactly what he’d have to do to get his extra credit … and how long it would take.
    The hallways started filling up with kids as the bus doors popped open and unloaded. I knew Korie, Crunch, and the Wahoos would see my bike in our spot and try to catch up with me.
    Korie was the first one through the doors. Her head snapped one way and then the other and the moment she saw me, her face lit up.
    She used her all-state hurdler form, jumping over backpacks, short middle schoolers, and ginormous musical instrument cases to run the forty yards between us in a sub five-second time.
    Hitting the brakes as she approached me, she went into this great, looooong slide. I grabbed her at the very last moment to slow her down and swing her around to safety. “They could use that speed on the football team.”
    She laughed.
    She has a great laugh.
    “I could have slid a lot farther if I had just my socks on. Why are you in school so early?”
    “I wanted to thank Bartholomew for helping out Crunch,” I said.
    “Crunch is helping him more than he’s helping Crunch,” Korie said.
    “Yeah,” I agreed. “And there’re a lot more kids helping Bartholomew. I just heard him make the exact same deal with Marcus Braverman.”
    “What?” Korie asked.
    “Yeah,” I nodded, “he’s meeting with Marcus and some of his friends after school to ‘discuss the terms of his extra credit.’”
    “Wahoo !” Two strong voices poured out from the other end of the hall. As Mouth and Tank marched toward us, kids dove this way and that, some even sending themselves crashing into the lockers.
    There was a line waiting for high-fives running the length of the hall that Korie just ran.
    As the Wahoos were about to start through the fans, Crunch broke into the line and started high-fiving everybody before they could pull their hands away.
    “Awesome!” Crunch said, bounding over to us. He raised his hands up. “ Wahoo! ”
    Tank and Mouth stood back along the lockers

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