All Because of Three Little Screws

Nicolo Petrosino, age 11
All Because of Three Little Screws Nicolo Petrosino is a middle school student who loves writing, Transformers, parkour, skateboarding, and calisthenics. He lives in Brooklyn with his mom and dad and loves working out with friends. Nicolo is sarcastic and stubborn, but he swears he is a good person, although his friends are saying otherwise in real time.

“‘WHY DOES TIM NOT HAVE A CHAIR, AND WHY IS THERE A BROKEN CHAIR THERE?!’ Ms. M screeched. Don’t understand? It makes sense. Here is the full explanation.”

“WHY DOES TIM NOT HAVE A CHAIR, AND WHY IS THERE A BROKEN CHAIR THERE?!” Ms. M screeched. Don’t understand? It makes sense. Here is the full explanation: 

It was the second month of third grade. During math class, Kevin was studying hard. The problem he needed to solve was 58 + 65. He did the math. It was 13. He carried the one to the tens place, and the 5 + 6 was 11. He wrote down his final answer, and then realized he made a mistake. The eraser rubbed hard against the flimsy sheet of paper in his notebook.

Kevin, you’re so stupid. Yeah, I know. No, I mean you need an award. Shut up! No, you should shut up, you’re the dumb one! SHUT UP!!! This was one of the many conversations he had in his head during the day. He had forgotten to carry the one! Kevin quickly added that one and his final answer was 123. He was about to raise his hand to share his answer with the class, when he heard a slight thump under his chair. He poked his head under his chair to investigate the odd sound. To his surprise, there were three screws under the seat. He raised his hand.

“Yes, Kevin.” Ms. M had called on him.

“Um…” Kevin started. “There are some screws under my chair.”

Ms. M stopped her rant about how this class was the worst class she has ever had to teach (this time it was because someone had forgotten to carry the one) to come over to Kevin’s seat at table three and calmly picked up the screws out of Kevin’s cupped hands.

“Thank you,” she said, not too enthusiastically. Ms. M went back to her post by the SMART Board™ and put the screws on a low bookshelf that was part of their class library. She made nothing of it and continued her rant.

Flash forward to a little bit past the halfway point of the school year. They had a one time substitute since Ms. M was out on family business. They were working on a math worksheet again, and everyone was relaxed that day because of the substitute. The entire day was chill, so Kevin swiveled his chair for the umpteenth-million time to talk to Jeremy. There was a slight ping-pang on the floor, and before he realized it, the seat of his chair became another backrest. As it rose up his back, the last screw had fallen out. He remembered the beginning of the year and thought to himself, So that’s what the screws were from. It made more sense to him now, but he still was not happy about his current predicament. He got up, put the seat back into the correct position and hauled the chair into the back of the room, then hauled it over people to eavesdrop on their conversations. Someone was in the middle of a heated argument with one of the other students about which word the person should use in a sentence: their, there, or they’re. He put the chair down and on the way back to his seat — or lack of seat — he made a quick detour to the empty seat that no one sat in. He brought it over to his seat (the others were still going with their debate, by the way) and put the chair at his desk. 

Moving on to a different side of the story, you get Isabell and Ted. Isabell was a bright student, just like Ted. They both finished their math work and wanted to check their answers with one another. Isabell went over to the seat no one sat in after talking to the substitute about it. Since there was no seat, the substitute brought Tim’s chair over because Tim was absent. However, Isabell and Ted forgot to put Tim’s chair back; this resulted in — best way to put it — disaster the following day.  

The next day, all the kids lined up outside. The buzz and chatter of a new day was in the air. The class watched Ms. M walk slowly down the stairs like a sloth crossbred with a snail who made out with a tortoise. All of the teacher’s pets yelled at everybody to get into two distinguished lines. Ms. M stood in front of her class waiting for two of the most perfect lines that she had ever seen in her life, and about 45 seconds later, she led the class up the back staircase.  

The hike up the staircase with their backpacks was a hard one, but they got used to it after a while. They didn’t like the thought of having their strict normal teacher anymore, but they knew that there was no getting out of it now. They passed the door from one kid to the next. 

Not even half of the class got through the door when Ms. M screeched, “WHY DOES TIM NOT HAVE A CHAIR, AND WHY IS THERE A BROKEN CHAIR THERE?!” 

Kevin leaned his head back and casually said, “I don’t know.” He was only halfway lying. He did not know, at that point, why Tim did not have a chair. 

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