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The Shadow Club Rising by Neal Shusterman

The Shadow Club Rising by Neal Shusterman

Author:Neal Shusterman
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Published: 2012-01-19T01:24:23+00:00


Shaditude

PLAYING THE BAD kid is hard work when it doesn't come naturally, but I was a quick study, and I was motivated. Tyson helped some. He was never really a bad kid himself—he was just kind of creepy—but he did understand what it took far better than I did. He treated it like a joke as he taught me the ins and outs of being unwholesome.

"This is the way you slouch in your chair," he said as we sat at the kitchen table. "You lean way far back from your desk."

I tried it.

"No," he said. "You're still too close. Your hands can still reach your schoolwork. You gotta slouch far enough away— maybe even tip your chair back a little bit—so that there is no way you can get to anything on your desk without major effort."

"Oh, I get it. It's kind of like your textbooks are repelling you."

"Exactly." He walked across the room and watched meagain. "Okay, the slouch is good. Now pretend I'm the teacher. What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to stare at you," I said. "Like I can see through you."

Tyson shook his head. Wrong answer.

"Naah. That might have worked for Greene, because he was trying to see through you first. With a teacher you want to look away."

So I tried looking away.

"No, not out of the window—then it seems like you're just daydreaming. You can't look down either. You have to pick a blank spot on the wall and look at it, so that it's very clear you're not looking at anything. Everyone has to know that you're doing it on purpose."

I took a deep breath and sighed. "Is all this really necessary?"

"Hey, you're the one who wants to look bad."

I went out before dark and bought some new clothes. "Bad" clothes. Shirts and pants that had the ragged and rude look of defiance. When I got home, I modeled them for Tyson. That's when he started to get worried.

"What's the matter?" I asked. "Did I get the wrong clothes?"

"No," Tyson answered. "It's just that . . . I don't know . . . You don't look like yourself, Jared."

I turned to look at the mirror on Tyson's closet door. He was right. I looked like my own evil twin.

"Well, this is how I look now."

He shifted his shoulders uncomfortably. "Why do you want to do this?" he asked.

But I didn't tell him. I had my reasons, but right now I couldn't share them with anyone.

When I left Tyson's room, I ran into my mom in the hallway. Mom, always to the point said, "I don't like when you dress that way, Jared."

I wasn't surprised that she didn't like it. What surprised me was the way she said it—like I had dressed this way before.

"It's what everyone's wearing."

"You're not everyone," she said, then added, "you want to dress like that, you wash those clothes yourself. I won't do it."

I wore the clothes to school the next day, and the effect was instantaneous. I got double takes from everyone in the hallway—kids and teachers alike.



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