The ninth chapter of Uncharted Stars. I’d like to make a note here that I do realize that there isn’t quite enough action. Hopefully, from this point on, there will be more action (especially in the next chapter) but so far a lot of this novel has been planning talking planning talking planning talking. I will say this: this is another of those chapters, and I apologize. When I’m done with everything, I’ll certainly come around to edit to make these chapters more action-filled. But for now…enjoy Chapter 9.
I had their complete attention, alright. No one was talking over me.The room was completely silent as I, the greatest man in the world (not) stood in front of the white board as the rest trembled (also not), scribbling the words ‘Sport Day’ on a whiteboard.
Although I was standing with my back to the Council, I could feel the eyes of the people staring at me. It’s not a good feeling, alright, but it seems like the human body is conscious towards being seen. You just feel it in your skin, like the people’s vision has so much strength it can burn into your back. I thought I’d freak out then, and ran out of the room; it really was a horrible feeling, to be standing in front of a group of people. Please, take me away from here.
The only thing I wrote on the board was the words ‘Sports Day’. I stepped back to notice that I hadn’t wrote it quite as large as I thought it was, and the letters seemed pretty squiggly. Perhaps my hands were shaking when I was writing. They still were, sort of.
I swore quietly as I turned around to face the room. If there was anything worse than standing with your back being burned by eyes, it’s standing with your front being burned by eyes.
“Hello”, I started, and paused- which is pretty dumb to be honest. I hadn’t even thought about what to say. (That’s dumb too. Everything I do is dumb. Dumb people do dumb things. They don’t gain brain cells). “Uh…first off…I’d like to…uh…thank…thank everyone for…coming to this…um….this….unscheduled Student Council meeting.”
Will, who was sitting right in front of me, gestured with his hand to catch my attention. He was speaking silently, and while I’m no great lip-reader I understood what he was saying. Don’t splutter. Calm down. Speak with confidence. I don’t know how many times he’s drilled these things into me and honestly I’m sick with it, but I took a deep breath anyway. Pete energy, enter me now.
“The topic of today’s emergency meeting…is, as some of you already know, Sports Day.” I spoke very slowly, and not very loudly, but clearly and consistently enough. Not a lot of pauses. No ums and uhs.
“I’ve been told that normally Student Council would have begun work on Student Council a week ago.” Breathing time. “But, I was just…uh…I just became Student Council President a week ago. So we haven’t yet done any work on it.”
I could tell some people were becoming annoyed by how slowly I was speaking.
Too bad for them. Good enough for me.
“Well, Student Council, Sports Day is, in fact, a little more than a week away. I’ve contacted Mr Nicholas, and I’ve been told that t-shirts for the teams, which will be red, blue, green and yellow, have already been ordered and will be arriving a day before Sports Day. Drinks will be there. Apart from that, nothing has been planned- it’s all ours.
“Jinny and I have begun making some outlines for the events we’ll be having for Sports Day. I’ll read them out for you.” I pulled out a piece of paper from my shirt pocket.
“In the morning, from 8:30 to 9, we will have introductions and whole school aerobics to warm up.” I said. I heard some groans at the word ‘aerobics’, because, really, the popular image of aerobics is old women jumping around in a park, but this is done every year anyway. “Afterwards, during the first two periods, we will have court sports for middle school, and field sports for high school. Switch that around for the next two periods. This brings us to the final event.”
There were nods. People understood what the final event is, but I still felt a need to explain.
“The final event will be an event to finish up Sports Day. It’s a grand finale of sorts. It will also be worth the most points for the team. In fact, last year, the final event was worth as many points as all the other events combined. While I don’t necessarily agree with that, this is how big this is.”
No one said anything yet. There were a couple of raised hands, but no one yet interrupted. This council was more civilized than I had presumed.
“I’d like ideas from everyone about what to do for the final event, so if you have a suggestion, please raid your and right now and I’lll call on you and write your ideas on a whiteboard.”
I saw Alex, that excitable sixth grader, raise his hand, so I decided he’d be a good place to start. “Alex?” To be honest, by this time I was exhausted from all the speaking, and only the thought that refusing to go on and getting someone to do this for me would be perceived of as a weakness, not least by Jinny, kept me going.
“How about a swimming competition?”
“It’s too simple, but it’s a start.” I wrote the idea down on the board. “How about you two, Chip and Alison? What do you two think? I’m calling on both of you at the same time, because, you know, lovebirds tend to think alike.”
Well-played joke that received chuckles from the Council as a whole. Chip and Alison did seem like they were superglued to each other at the hand sometimes. Chip, the guy, who’s a glassed, thin but muscled with a reputation for being both a walking encyclopedia and an offline version of 9GAG, didn’t seem particularly impressed by my joke, so I guess I need to do some work on my humor skills.
“I’d like to suggest a sort of final event where we have each color pick the best person on their team for the event. We’ll make it a sort of super-race; say, you could start in the pool, swim, run down, go through obstacles on the field, and reach the finish line.”
“It sounds like a good idea, but since it’s just one person per team, that’d make only four people be involved in this. I replied.
“Well, I’m sure the school would enjoy the thrill of being a spectator for this sort of event.” Chip said. I didn’t want to dismiss his ideas quickly. He knew how to think outside the box, or at least that’s what I’ve heard about him, and his idea did seem pretty novel.
“I know where you’re getting at.” I said finally. “But it won’t work because an event with only a person from one team participating can’t be worth a whole load of points, can it?”
Chip understood and nodded, and Alison nodded too, so that confirms what I said earlier.
“Any other suggestions?” I asked. I hope not. I’d prefer to just come up with something quickly with Will and Jinny and quit speaking. It was draining me. Unfortunately, a guy that I didn’t particularly like raised his hand and didn’t even bother waiting for me to call on him. HE just started speaking.
“How about a water polo event?” Jason said abruptly. His voice was loud and clear, which is quite a contrast from my own. “The idea is simple. In two hours, the teams play a round robin, with different teams each time, and we’ll see who has the most wins in the end. It would require a lot of people, certainly, and still also be a spectator sort of thing. Many people would enjoy going in the pool after a long, hot day.”
Immediately, the people who were Jason’s main supporters began nodding and saying it’s a good idea. Soon enough, like an intellectual plague that spread from person to person, half the Council were nodding in agreement.
“I’ll put this up for a vote, but only when I’ve been assured that this has not been done before. Has it?” Pretty much everyone shook their heads. “Alright. Voting time, then! Raise up your hand if you like Jason’s idea.” More than half the room raised their hands, although I noticed Chip didn’t. Jinny also didn’t, Will didn’t because he wasn’t officially a Student Council member yet. Still, it was clear the idea had the majority of the Council in support. I nodded at the results.
“Fair enough. With the majority vote, I will have to approve the idea. Jason, we’ll need to talk about this to get the details sorted out. The rest may leave. Jinny, Jason, Will, please stay.” IMmediately, the whole Council rose out of their seats while I staggered into a chair and slumped into it.
I was completely exhausted.
“I can’t imagine doing that ever again.” I whined, when Will came to sit next to me. “Like, seriously, what the hell. I’m not Martin Luther King. I hate speeches. Why do I have to speak?”
“It’s the way the world works. Everything’s done that way.” Will said, and I must have gave him a pretty blank look, because he took a look at my face, sighed, and started explaining. “Think about it for a moment. Politicians don’t necessarily need to be skilled in administration to become President. They do need to be good with political crap though. Things like dirty dealings and public speaking. Be good with that and you’ll have the crowd cheering for you. You’re lucky. You never had to make an election speech. You’d make a good President, but you’re a horrible politician.”
“That is some profound enlightenment.” I mumbled in reply, not expecting a lecture on the flaws of the political species of the human race quite now.
“You do seem quite a natural as a leader though.” Will commented. I didn’t say anything, because I doubt he knew how exhausting that was. It isn’t natural, Will, it isn’t.
“Where’s the rest?” I asked.
“Jinny and Jason went to refill their water bottles. They’ll be back.” I heard the door swing open but instead of Jinny, I saw Chip. I was still slumped weakly in my chair and I tried to sit a little straighter. Just so tired.
“Hi Chip. I’m pretty tired. Do you need something?”
“No, I just wanted to ask if you’re really sure about that water polo thing.” His face was pretty serious. “For one, there’ll be problems with not enough people bringing their swiming gear. Secondly, it’ll take a long time. Are you sure you can fit it in?”
I waved. “I appreciate your advice, but it’s done. I’m not changing it now. We’ll have to make it work. I’ll talk to Jason about it. Thanks though.” Chip seemed pretty offended that he’d been so dismissed, so I added, “I’ll make sure I ask for any help if I need it.” Chip nodded, said goodbye, and left, and Jinny entered with Jason. They didn’t say anything together, because they weren’t among friends. Jason took a seat opposite me.
“So, the idea is pretty simple.” Jason said in a lecturing tone with no introduction. “As I said before: round robin. Team with most wins win the whole thing. Gets the most points.”
I nodded as if he had made an excellent point that totally furthered the conversation we were having. “Yeah, I get that. So…seven players per team. If we change the team each time, thirty-five players from each color gets to play. thirty-five multiplied by four: one hundred and forty people will be playing, unless some play twice. The entire middle and high school has a little more than two hundred people, so that sounds good to me.
“Preparations, though.” Jinny said. “Preparations preparations preparations. That means everyone needs to bring their swimming kit. And someone’s gotta make sure they know the rules.”
Jason shrugged. “Hardly a big deal. We make an announcement at Assembly before Sports Day. Sports Day is next Friday. We have Assembly Tuesday.”
I swore under my breath. I can’t do that. I had a feeling like Jason was prodding at my weaknesses. No doubts on whether or not he was intentionally doing it.
“I can decide that with…”I tried to find a word that wouldn’t give offense, something that wouldn’t make him mad. I didn’t want to deal with a mad Jason. “I’ll get something together with Jinny.”
Jason snorted. “Student Council isn’t a private thing for two people. I don’t know if you understand that yet. But whatever you say, Mr President.” The emphasis on the last word showed more than a hint of mockery. He left without another word more.
“Jesus.” Will sighed. “God damn. A North Korean state news report would’ve matched those sort of manners.”
I chuckled. “Probably. Everyone hail Jason the Great. He is your new lord!”
“Personally I like Chip’s idea better.” Jinny commented. “This sounds pretty boring.”
I shrugged. “We’re out of time for anything very fancy.”
“Jason’s an interesting guy.” Will said. “Keep an eye on him.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s a bull.” Will said. “He’s more popular than you, better known, with better PR. And look how obvious his distaste for you is. He doesn’t like you, I know that at least.”
“I know, I’m not that dumb.” I said irritably.
“He might also happen to be smarter than you, but I don’t like him either, and so if he’s smarter than you, he’d also be smarter than me, and I don’t want to admit that.”
“Wait.” Jinny said, raising a hand. “Are you connecting him with…you know, the attacks?”
“I wouldn’t make that connection this quickly. Not enough proof. Don’t want to accuse anybody. But watch out for that man, Jason. He burns with the fire of ambition and I think he’s ready to do anything to feed that fire and make it brighter. Watch out for him, Pete.