"Adam Canfield," said Mr. Brooks. "I need a word with you."
The teacher had his grade book open. He placed a sheet of paper under the row of boxes beside Adam’s name. "Notice anything?" asked Mr. Brooks.
Over half of Adam’s boxes had dots.
"Do you know what those dots are?" asked Mr. Brooks.
Adam was pretty sure he did, but was hoping against hope there was just the teeniest little chance they might be good dots.
"Class participation?" asked Adam.
"Tardiness," said Mr. Brooks. "We're three weeks into the school year,
Adam, and you’ve been late to my class ten times." It was true. Adam's row of boxes looked like it had caught the chicken pox.
He glanced out the door. Jennifer was waving frantically.
"I don't like to make too much of these things," said Mr. Brooks, especially with a good student, but—is there a problem, Adam?"
Was there a problem? Of course there was a problem. Adam was the most overprogrammed middle school student in America. He was on the verge of being enriched to death. The whole world plus Adam's parents were yelling at him to hurry up or he'd be late for his next activity. Late for baritone horn lesson, late for jazz band, late for marching band, late for the Math Olympiad club, late for the Quiz Bowl Gladiator meet, late for Geography Challenge, late for soccer, late for swimming, late for snowflake baseball, late for running club, and, yes, late for weekly rehearsals of the Say No to Drugs Community Players. No matter how hard Adam tried to concentrate on where he was supposed to be next, in the end he always seemed to be the late, late Adam Canfield.
And now, because he was getting yelled at by Mr. Brooks—his favorite teacher—for being late to World History, he was going to be late for the principal. Late for his meeting with Mrs. Marris! It was amazing how a few little problems could multiply and destroy a person.
ADAM CANFIELD OF THE SLASH by Michael Winerip. Copyright (c) 2005 by Michael Winerip. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Excerpted from Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip. Copyright © 2007 by Michael Winerip. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.