Timmy was nervous as he stood in front of the door to the counselor’s office. First day of school was always nerve-wracking, and it was compounded by having to go to an entirely new school after he and his mom moved here from London. He cleared his throat, adjusted his tie, and went in.
“Hello Ma’am,” he addressed the imposing woman behind the counter, “My name is Timmy, and I–”
“WRONG!” the guidance counselor yelled, leaning over in order to really bellow it into his face. “Try again!”
“Uh,” Timmy stammered, licking his lips and blinking back tears. “I… that is, I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to–”
“WRONG!” she bellowed again, her voice several notes higher along the bellow-shriek continuum.
Timmy took an actual step back in the face of her fury. The speed with which the woman’s face was turning red made him worry momentarily about the possibilities of hypertension and poor blood pressure. Most of his fear was, however, focused squarely on himself.
“I don’t know what you want,” he all but pleaded. His vision was blurring slightly from the tears that welled, but as yet remained unspilled, in his eyes. He wrung his hands and shifted from foot to foot as he waited for her next outburst.
She surprised him. She sighed instead of yelling. “Look, kid… Timmy, was it? The entire point of a preparatory school like this one is to train you and mold you to become what you are meant to be. We take this responsibility very seriously here at the Shelley-Byron Academy. I don’ t know what things were like at your old school, but here you will deport yourself with the proper decorum at all times, do I make myself clear?”
“Y… yes ma’am,” Timmy stammered, taken quite aback by her little speech. Of course, he should have known better.
“WRONG!” her voice was fully in the ‘shriek’ side of the spectrum this time. “What is wrong with you? Are you brain damaged?” she continued to scream into his face, leaning over the counter and looming over him. “Now, do it right!”
Timmy swallowed hard and very nearly collapsed, his knees were shaking so hard. He stammered meaningless sounds for a moment as he screwed up his courage. Finally, something snapped deep inside him. His spine straightened and his eyes narrowed. “YEAH,” he bellowed right back at her, “I hear ya! Now shut up or I’ll rip out your belly and wear your guts for garters!”
The guidance counselor smiled brilliantly, showing off crooked teeth to go with her warty, bent nose. “Much better,” she said, nodding calmly. She held out her hand for his transcripts, which he gave her in silence. Timmy was too embarrassed to say anything else.
She looked over the records, nodding to herself. Finally she typed something into the computer and the printer on the counter hummed to life. She took his schedule from the printer and handed it to him. “Here you go. And welcome to the Shelley-Byron Academy For Young Monsters, my good troll,” the witch gave him another gap-toothed smile.