“Did you hear any rumors about the new teacher?” I asked Kimber.
“I saw Tyler,” she said. “He told me that he heard she’s mean and gives lots of homework.”
“What does Tyler know? Remember, he fell down five hundred steps last summer and landed on his head.” I giggled. “Probably has a piece of his brain missing.”
“I never heard about that,” Kimber said with a suspicious smirk on her face.
Maybe Kimber thought I was embellishing—which I was—but just a little. It was true that Tyler fell. He even got stitches. But he only fell down a few steps. He didn’t lose any of his brain either, just a chip off his front tooth. He had stepped on a skateboard and flew off the porch. Those messy curls must have blocked his vision.
“It must have been the summer before Mrs. Murphy’s second-grade class,” I said. “You didn’t know him then. Anyway, I was the smartest kid in our fourth grade class, and Mrs. Murphy’s favorite. Hopefully, Mrs. Murphy left that information in my records for the new teacher. “I’m not a bit worried.”
“You weren’t the smartest. Evans Ames was the smartest. And Lauren was her favorite,” Kimber said.
“Well, maybe second smartest—and second favorite.”
Kimber rolled her eyes and twisted her mouth so her freckles stretched into short gingerbread smiles. “Whatever!” she said.
Evan Ames didn’t look smart, but he was a straight-A student. Kids teased him because his clothes didn’t match and his mother cut his hair. After everyone found out how smart he was he gained respect. He also gained a ton of candy if he let you copy his homework. That’s probably why his two front teeth rotted out.
His mom drives him to school in a puke-green, two-seater car.
I always wondered where his dad sat when he rode in the car. Then I found out he didn’t have a dad. Soon, I found out many kids like Evan went to our school, only not all as smart. My heart hurt for those kids. I couldn’t imagine not having my dad.
“How was your summer?” Kimber asked.
“Disney World was great!”
“I thought you went on a cruise?” Kimber said, and squinted her beady eyes at me.
“I did. I stopped at Disney for a couple of weeks. I even met Mr. Disney.”
Kimber’s smile returned, and she seemed excited that I met Mr. Disney. I knew Walt Disney was dead, and I prepared to say I was only joking if she called me on it. But she didn’t.
“Wow! What’s he like?” Kimber fixed her eyes on me while she twirled the end of her pigtail.
“He’s very nice,” I said. “He gave everyone in my family free ice cream. I also went to Epcot. It was great! Except for this movie I saw about how the world was made.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Some science guy said that the entire world made itself. He even said people were created from a big bang of energy. My dad was so mad she wanted to leave.”
“Because the science guy was lying—everybody knows God made the world.
Kimber looked confused. “That’s not what my dad said. He said that after the bang happened, the dinosaurs came—and after that, the apes came—then we came from the apes.”
Kimber lifted her chin and grinned like her dad was right and mine was wrong.
“I even went to the Museum of Natural History and saw pictures of ape-people.”
“Were they real pictures—taken with a camera?” I asked.
“Well, no, how could they be? They didn’t have cameras back then.”
“Exactly! I don’t look like an ape. You don’t look like an ape.” Maybe Tyler looks like an ape. “If we came from apes, why are apes still around? Why didn’t all the apes turn into people?”
Kimber’ eyes rolled upwards, like she thought her brain would drop the correct answer into her mind. “You got a point.”