A Picture Project

Chapter One

"Welcome to hell!" my teacher yelled while he walked through the door way, slamming it shut behind him. He let out a loud maniacal laugh as he did it. Everyone laughed as we finished taking our seats.

Feet were propped on desks, sketch pads were out, and cameras were being examined. There were few rules in this class, and which rules were intact hung behind Mr. Fletcher's desk like the Ten Commandments. They were actually referred to as the Ten Commandments, as Mr. Fletcher (AKA, the Preacher) had them printed on a picture of Moses holding two rounded stones.

No Cell Phones
Always Use Your Imagination
No Food
No Drink
Always Be Ready to Capture
Capture Natural Colour
Only Original Work
Creative and Illegal Aren't Far Apart
Living Beings Always Add Character
Work With Passion

"First day back, and you guys are graduating!" He clapped loudly as he plopped himself at his desk. "Guys, listen to me. For real, listen to what I have to say." He took a pause where he looked at everyone in the eye.

"Well, let's hear it Preacher," Jami, a short Philipino, said from the front row.

"I thought all summer about what I'd have this class do. You guys aren't coming back next year, and I want you to go out with a bang. Your senior project is going to be done in groups of two." He took a deep breath, examining our reactions. "It's got a title." The Preacher: always talking slowly, meeting everyone's eye—making it dramatic.

"Go on," I said, looking through the viewfinder at a bunch of dried up roses perched on a corner desk.

"Never Would I Ever." He said it simply, and looked around, waiting for our reactions. After a minute of silence, he set us all with glares. "Come on, it's brilliant. You guys are growing up and moving on at the end of this year, and I think you need a project that challenges your forming outlook on the world."

"So, I have an idea of what you mean, but what is this exactly?" Louis Croak asked.

"Ah, yes. I'm pairing you guys up, and you get to take that title anyway you'd like. One picture or drawing, or sculpture each week up until the end of the school year."

"That's it? No more details?"

"That's it. Of course we'll do some side projects, but I expect a forty picture/sculpture collage on the last week. This is your senior year. You guys are going out with a boom."

He called out names of partners, unfortunately pairing me with Nix Varlie. The bad boy of our school. I could see it now: me planning the idea, all the photos, getting my usual A, and having him share the credit for work he didn't even contribute to. He slept through most classes, and was barely passing Chem. I only knew that because I worked in the office for Work Experience, and I might have accidentally seen his file.

I nodded grudgingly, cursing my luck.

"Okay, disperse, my artists. I look forward to next week with you all."

I quickly gathered my stuff and caught Nix before he could run out the door. "So, where should we meet to plan our project?"

He looked annoyed at me, and shrugged his shoulders. "Doesn't matter to me." Of course it didn't.

"Tim Horton's, tomorrow after school?" I asked.

"Sure." Without as much as saying goodbye, he was out the door. I envied the people around me, talking to their partners excitedly about their projects already.

"Miss O'Flynn, a word?" the Preacher asked before I could leave. I hung back while the others left then nodded to him.

"What's up?"

"I just want to make sure you don't go assuming things about Nix. He's a gifted photographer, like yourself." I couldn't picture Nix behind the camera.

"And I shit rainbows," I muttered.

"Shitting rainbows, albeit a captivating thought, isn't possible. Give him a chance. And be open to his opinion. I paired you two for a reason. He needs to pull himself together a bit, and you need to loosen up. I think it will do each of you good."

I sighed as I made my way to the door. "Alright, Preach."

"Oh, and Grace?"

"Yeah?" I asked, pausing under the doorway.

"Like the world renowned ice princess said: Let it go." He fell into another fit of laughter as I made my way out.

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