Sofia looked at the entrance exam and crossed her eyes. This was her chance out of her miserable mistake for a life. Her mother was useless and her father, well he had escaped already and Sofia hated him even more for not taking her with him. This exam was his parting gift. If she could get through this with a good enough grade she was off to boarding school. It was supposed to be a “magical experience that would transform today’s promising youth into the leaders of tomorrow.” That chance at something better is why Sophia went to The Whiteside Academy testing center for this torture session.
Uncrossing her eyes she tried the problem once again. It started with two trains heading towards each other and ended with a reference to Groucho Marx. Thank God it had multiple choice answers, but those made even less sense. How the hell was this supposed to tell how good she was.
She circled c since she was told by Bobby Fredrick that most of the time multiple choice answers were c. She then erased her choice. Circling random letters based on Bobby made less sense than the actual letter c on the test.
Sofia looked at the clock. Time was running out, and she was pretty sure she didn’t have a single answer right. She reread the question and thought hard, but there still wasn’t rhyme or reason. She was about to give up but then decided that if she was going to fail that she was going to fail on her terms. She crossed out the text of option e and started to write.
“The answer is me getting into your school and getting me out of the hell I am in. I would totally destroy any obstacle you put in front of me that makes sense. But if you want an answer to this problem, I would have to say Princess Leah would land between the trains and totally dual-wield lightsabers to save both trains. Oh, and Groucho Marx would make her the honorary Marx sister.”
Sofia circled her answer about thirty times before putting her pencil down. She flipped her paper over and got up from her desk. The other kids, furiously writing on their papers, gave her evil stares as she broke the sacred bond of purgatory they all shared until that moment. She didn’t care because there was no reason to wait before going back to her useless life. When she walked past the proctor, he gave her his best-raised eyebrow trick, but it was lost on her.
She left the testing facility and began the two-mile walk back home. Sophia brainstormed what was going to be her next plan. She could run away from home, but would that be any better. Unlike her jerk dad, she didn’t have a stash of cash to make good on her mistake. She wasn’t going to go from a bad situation to something worse. Why couldn’t she catch a break? She kicked a random piece of trash on the sidewalk and stepped in some dog shit.
“What the hell?” Sophia shouted. “She looked at the sky. “Screw you!” The anger was followed by not being able to see, her eyes filling up with tears she refused to let go. She wasn’t going to give God, the universe, the flying spaghetti monster or anyone else the pleasure of seeing her break.
“Looks like you’re having a shitty day.”
The voice startled her, and she spun to see an older black woman with half her head shaved, and the other half in tight pink cornrows. She drove a black Tesla Model X and had so much jewelry on her fingers than Sophia wondered how she could hold onto the steering wheel.
The woman exuded confidence and capability, something that attracted Sophia, but she wasn’t going to let that show. Sophia drew herself up and began walking again.
The woman glided her car at the same pace as Sophia. “Want a lift?”
“Sorry, I’m not interested in being a prostitute or a drug mule,” Sophia said, dragging her fouled shoe.
“That’s good since I wouldn’t want that type of woman to be in my school.”
Now that stopped Sophia in her tracks. “What did you say?”
“So I guess we’ll have to get your hearing looked at.”
“Haha. You are funny, not.” Sophia crossed her arms. “What was that about your school?”
The woman smiled a cocky smile. “You can hear. “ She paused, but Sophia didn’t rise to the bait. “You wanted into Whiteside. I’m willing to give you that shot.”
“Sure, after that test? Please. You are some kind of perv who was watching for a kid to leave the testing center. Nice try. Go find someone else.”
“I enjoy spunk, but you need to pull the claws back right now, Sophia.” Sophia’s eyes bulged. “Yeah, I know who you are, and your answer to the problem was the correct one. Leah is always right, but dual-wielding is a bit much don’t you think?’
Sophia had to pick her jaw up off the proverbial floor. The woman smirked, but kept quiet, allowing Sophia’s brain to finally catch up. “You mean it? I’m in?”
The woman pointed to the passenger seat. “Get in. We’re going to be late as it is.”
Sophia started to walk around the car, but then remembered what was on her foot. “Look, you have a nice car and well…” She pointed at her feces covered shoe.
The woman shook her head and snapped her fingers. “One last time, get in or else I’m out of here.”
Sophia was about to say something when she realized her shoe was clean, the crap somehow had fallen off. Sophia didn’t understand what was going on, but she knew that this was her best chance to leave her shitty life behind. She ran the rest of the way around the car and hopped in. “Thank you,” she said in a quiet voice.
The woman put on a pair of sunglasses that looked like they cost more than everything in Sophia’s life. “We’ll see if you still think that in a month.” With that, the woman put the Tesla into ludicrous mode and punched it.