Carrie and Robert’s Field Trip (Part 2) – A Team PCPB Original Story

The field trip wasn’t going to start until second period so I still had to sit in my first class. Honestly, I felt like the only person who didn’t mind, not that I enjoyed class. But I didn’t mind sitting in class. Plus, it was the only class I got to sit with Robert, even though we’d both be going on the trip. At least, I thought Robert was going on the trip.

I was trying badly to pay attention in class, but thoughts of spending the day with Marshall danced through my head (Sorry, Robert). My daydreaming was disrupted when my teacher asked, “Robert, what are you wearing?”

I wasn’t the only one who snapped to attention. Robert was probably daydreaming about SOMETHING too (my money’s on Natalie Rowe, that actress he won’t stop talking about). But Mrs. Whitmore clearly knocked him back to attention. Robert answered, “It’s just the Rolling Stones logo.”

So that’s what that was – I was wondering why Robert was wearing a shirt with a tongue sticking out. Mrs. Whitmore said, “Robert, you know that sort of thing is against dress code.”

“Actually, I did not. That’s why I wore it.”

“Don’t backtalk me! You know I have to send you home for this.”

For someone like Robert, that would normally be a reward, but he picked the wrong day to wear that shirt. “Come on, you can’t send me home! It’s field trip day! I won’t even be IN school long!”

“You should have thought of that before you wore that shirt.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Yeah, I thought the shirt was gross, but it was just a cartoon. It wasn’t worth sending him home for. Both wanting to save Robert and stand up for what was right, I raised my hand. “Yes, Carrie.”

“Mrs. Whitmore, Robert is wearing a shirt over that. Can’t he just button it up? I mean if he does that, nobody’s going to…”

“Carrie’s right. Robert, if you button up, I won’t send you home. But don’t let me catch you in that shirt again.”

Not wanting to miss the field trip, Robert obeyed and started buttoning up his shirt. I could tell why he didn’t want to do that. His other shirt did not look good buttoned up. Robert commented, “Thanks, Carrie, I guess I can get satisfaction.” A few of my classmates laughed. I didn’t get it.

We were waiting outside for the bus. It was a beautiful day. Any reason was a good day for weather this nice. But this was the perfect weather for a field trip. Even better, it was the perfect weather to meet up with Marshall.

As I stood waiting, I looked over and saw Robert who didn’t look happy. Robert normally would have been happy for field trip day. But, as my mom would say, he looked like a storm cloud. I could tell he was still a little miffed about the shirt.

I walked up to him, “Robert are you still angry about that shirt?”

“I know it’s only a t-shirt, but I like it.”

It was nice to see Robert smiling again, but I could tell he was making a joke. I had to tell him, “I don’t get it.”

Just as quickly as I had Robert smiling, he was back to frowning. Trying to make him feel better, I asked “Are you okay?”

“Yes I’m okay.” Robert said that in a way that didn’t sound okay. (Hey, that rhymed!)

“Are you sure? You don’t sound okay?”

Robert barked, “I’m fine!”

Not wanting to make Robert any angrier, I said, “If you get to know her, Mrs. Winthrop is normally a lot nicer.”

“Yeah, it figures you’d say something like that.” Robert said with a sneer, “Do you remember two weeks ago when she busted me while I was trying to nap?”

“You shouldn’t have been sleeping!”

“Yeah, it figures you’d say something like THAT!” Robert folded his arms and looked madder than ever.

I hated seeing Robert so upset. “Come on Robert, you get to go on a field trip. Aren’t you happy to be spending a day out of class? A day away from math and… all that other stuff you don’t like? And you get to be out in the sun. And you get to be outdoors.”

“Yeah, that’s a good point. I am glad that you saved me from missing the field trip.” Next Robert started speaking in this strange, gravelly tone like he was an old man choking on something. “Now, because you did a favor for me, someday I will do a favor for you. Now, that day may never come.”

I wasn’t even sure who Robert was trying to impersonate but somehow I knew he was doing it wrong. But Robert gave me this look before he told me, “Christ Carrie, see a movie once or twice.”

One thing I did notice was that Robert had a pretty full backpack with him. “Hey, what’s up with the backpack? It looks pretty thick. I mean, we’re just going on a field trip. I mean are you trying to catch up on homework? I mean I’m sure you got to pack a lunch or something to eat, but that wouldn’t fill up your entire bag like that.”

“What’s in my backpack is for me to know and you to NOT find out.” Okay then!

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for that talk with Robert to get any more awkward. The bus arrived.

On the bus, I was sitting next to my friend Suzie from band. For such a long trip, I wanted to sit next to a friend. The only thing that stunk was Suzie knew me a little too well. Suzie said, “You’ve been awfully quiet. Got something on your mind?”

Not wanting to tell Suzie about my little date with Marshall, I just said, “No!”

“I’m just not used to you being so quiet.”

“I just… have a lot on my mind…” Sadly, I lacked Robert’s ability to just make up stuff on the fly.

Speaking of Robert, I was trying to avoid talking to Suzie I was worried talking to her might get me to tell her about me and Marshall. So I turned around, and I saw something I thought I’d never see: Robert Tolkien reading a book. I leaned over my seat and asked, “Robert, do I see what I think I’m seeing? Are you reading a book?”

Robert gave me a look that I couldn’t decipher. It was definitely an unhappy look, but I couldn’t figure out if it was a “Please don’t bother me, I’m reading look” or an “I just don’t want to talk to YOU look.” Either way, it wasn’t good.

Still, Robert answered, “I’m reading Different Seasons by Stephen King.”

“Really, what made you want to read that? Is it for a book report or something?”

“If you have to know, my mom and I struck a deal where she won’t buy me any new video games until I read a book first. My mom took me Barnes and Noble and bought me a bunch of books I was interested in.”

“That’s cool. I wish my mom would just take me to Barnes and Noble and take me on some kind of book shopping spree. What did she buy you?”

“We were there for like an hour. I bought this, Silence of the Lambs, Ozzie Osbourne’s autobiography, The Natural, and a collection of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I told my mom that all the books she bought me probably would have amounted to a new video game, but she was just happy I found books that interested me.”

“Any Lord of the Rings books?”

“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that one before…”

Better change the subject… “So what made you pick that book?”

“Mom recommended it. She knew I loved The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me. So she suggested I buy the book. I also hope mom lets me cheat and counts this as four books, but I don’t think I’ll trick her that way.”

“Do you like it?”

“I’ll say this much: Mom sure knows how to recommend a book. Though I have to say, even though Red is described in the book as white, I can’t stop imagining him as Morgan Freeman!”

I laughed because Robert was right. “Hey, if you’re going to read something, you might as well imagine it in Morgan Freeman’s voice. I mean, he’s got that smooth velvety voice, I mean that guy could read anything and make it sound good.”

Sounding more like himself, Robert said: “You should hear my spot-on Morgan Freeman impression.”

Robert read a passage from the book in his… um… Morgan Freeman impression. Despite what he claimed, Robert couldn’t do a Morgan Freeman impression if his life depended on it. Still, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I politely told him, “That was really good.”

“I’ll you one thing,” Robert said, “I should write a book about my exploits. That thing would fly off shelves!”

For once, I agreed. I really wished Robert would actually write a book. The guy had such a big imagination, and if he applied himself to something like that instead of just making up stories so people would like him, things might turn out better for him.

Case in point, Robert dove in: “After all, who wouldn’t be interested in reading about how I taught Kendrick Lamar how to dunk?”

Ben Giggard wasn’t sitting that far away. He said, “Hey Robert, you know Kendrick Lamar is a rapper, not a basketball player, right?”

“I know. He’s a rapper, and I taught him how to play basketball.” One thing about Robert that did impress me – that boy always, always, always had a save.

Waiting for messages from Marshal, I kept checking my phone. Robert may have teased me about being a book worm, a nerd and a band geek (that’s not actually the word he used. The word he used was a lot meaner and a lot less PC). But there were good things. For example, unlike half the kids on that bus, I could sneak my phone onto the bus. (Boy howdie, I was breaking all kinds of rules that day.)

Suzie noticed this, “That’s another thing: You keep checking your phone. You’re not one to do that.”

“Could you keep that down? You know if I get busted, they’ll take my phone away!”

Suzie whispered, “Okay, I won’t call attention to it, but you have a what? A phone from 2006? You couldn’t possibly have any games on that thing.”

“What I’m doing with my phone is for you to know and me to NOT find out.” I don’t know what was more awkward – that I just insulted my friend or that I bungled Robert’s quote from earlier. “I’m sorry, Suzie, I just don’t want to talk about why I keep checking my phone. Try to understand.”

“Hey, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay with me.” Boy, the rest of that trip was uncomfortable.

We arrived at the farm. As soon as we stepped off the bus, I realized something. In all the excitement – the field trip, meeting Marshall – I forgot to take my allergy medicine. Once I stepped into that fresh air, I felt like my closed up, my eyebrows started hurting, my eyes were tearing up, and I felt like somebody was choking me. I was going to see Marshall like this? He was probably already on his way, and this was one of my only chances to see him, so I couldn’t blow it now!

Robert was the first person to notice. Golly, I remember when I would have obsessed with Robert and wanting to look good in front of him. I wouldn’t want him seeing me with eyes all watery and my nose running like it was. Come to think of it, I didn’t much like Robert seeing me like this now.

Either way, Robert said, “Carrie, you that choked up about being at a farm?”

“I’b dot crying! I have allergies!”

“Carrie, I’ve tried using the line ‘I’m allergic to school’ too. It doesn’t work.”

Suzie saw I was leaking from the eyes and handed me a tissue. (Say THAT five times fast!) “Thanks, Suzie.”

Suzie’s gesture was awfully nice, but I don’t think it would do me a whole lot of good. By the time I was finally going to see Marshall, I’d probably be sneezing and tearing all over the place. Still, it was good to know Suzie and I were still cool.

First stop on our tour of the farm was someone showing us the process of bundling hay. My class, Robert in particular, had a look I recognized. They all had that familiar “I badly want to look at my phone right now” look on their faces. Being the only with the chance to do that, I checked my phone to see if I got that message from Marshall. Ugh, still nothing.

I was trying not to check too often. The way I saw it, if he hadn’t texted me already, that text wasn’t going to be there five seconds later. If one of my teachers saw me with my phone, it would be taken away from me. And if that happened, I sure wasn’t going to see Marshall. Also I could probably get away with checking every now and then. If I kept digging into my hands every few seconds, people would get suspicious.

After the hay – who even I’ll admit wasn’t the most exciting guy – we were back outside, which I both loved and hated. I loved it because I liked being outside. It was a beautiful day. Who wouldn’t want to be outside? Someone who had terrible allergies. Which was me – and that’s why I also hated being outside. My eyes weren’t exactly watering as badly as they were, but I felt like my nose was going to close on me.

In between events, we saw cows and sheep and horses. I kind of wanted to take a picture, but that would have exposed me. Not to mention my phone didn’t take pictures. Our teachers were trying to get everyone else interested in the animals, “Look, it’s a cow!”

Robert’s face seemed to say, “I’m bored out of my skull, but at least I’m not in school.”

Our next stop was some kind of steel mill for making horseshoes. Outside of the mill, they had a stable of horses. I was so excited to see them, I grabbed Suzie by the arm and blurted out, “Look Suzy, horses!”

“Yeah, Carrie, I see them.”

“Oh, wouldn’t it be fun if we got to ride them?”

Robert chimed in, “For once, I agree with you Carrie. I would like to ride a horse or two. I used to work in the rodeo. I got to ride a lot of different animals. Bulls were fun to ride, but my God were they unruly! Personally, I preferred horses because they could wild, but they were a little more maj…”

“Robert,” Ben Giggard interjected. “I’d be surprised if you could get a job a rodeo clown.”

It was obvious Robert was ticked at Ben shutting him up again, but I knew Robert. He’d probably stay quiet for a while, but he wouldn’t let something like that get him down for very long.

Inside the steel mill, this guy was working on putting steel shoes in a molten oven. Not going to lie, this guy was a lot more fun than the other guy. He was loud, but he was fun. We were on an elevated platform, but this dude was loud enough we could hear him hollering all the way up there.

“Good morning, campers! You ready to learn about horseshoeing? I bet you saw my friend Doc Boy talk about bailing hay. I guess not because you’re still awake.” My classmates all laughed at this. “I’m kidding, y’all! Doc Boy is a good guy – boring as the day is long, but still a good guy!

“Sorry we couldn’t get a little closer, but it’s hot as a furnace down here! Probably because it is a furnace!” (Another laugh) “But you all don’t want to come down here!” He took off his hat to reveal that he was bald as a coot. “This is what happens when you get close to all this fire! It burns your hair off!”

This got another laugh from my classmates. Even Robert was laughing a little. As this guy talked about metal crafting, I saw Robert look really excited. I sidled up to him, “Robert, are you enjoying learning?”

“This guy’s funny! If every teacher was like this, I’d probably enjoy school!” Didn’t want to talk too long. One of the teachers might have busted us. Speaking of busting me, I decided to check my phone. My date with Marshall was about the only thing that could distract me from someone this funny.

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