Too Much Information

Entry by: Seth Dinario

1st March 2018
Blood. Lots of blood. In the boat, in the sea. Coming out of the soldiers' heads and their bodies and their legs. Silent screams. Fountains of water. I don’t know how the camera didn’t get hit in the underwater bit. The bullets buzz through the water fast-slow, like angry wasps. That is a metaphor, I think. Mr Moncrieff taught us that last week. I want to think about that instead.

I ask Brain if I can think about metaphors, but he’s not helping just now. He *rolls eyes*, which I think means upset, or you’re stupid, or you stink – Damien Knowles did it in Computing yesterday when he called me ‘retard boy’, and Miss Schaffer didn’t even send him out. Brain also *curls up top lip* and tells me it’s similes. I don’t mean metaphors, I mean similes. If I listened I would know. So to punish me, instead of helping me think about metaphors or similes or whatever they’re called, Brain decides to carry on with the blood and killing and dead soldiers getting shot as they try to get out the boats on to the beach. Dead-dead-dead-dead-dead -

‘…Jonni! Are you listening?’

Most of 2B1 are looking at me. I can’t compute so many expressions at once, so I look at who spoke. I’m pretty sure it was Mr Moncrieff. He has *slant-down eyebrows* which I’m nearly eighty-five per cent certain means a bad thing. He spoke loud. Yes, probably bad. Angela Turnbury does a little laugh and a few others copy her and I curl up inside myself. I nod, looking at the table and a bad drawing of a willy.

‘What did I just say, then?’ Mr Moncrieff speaks in my direction. A few jeers. Brain throws a protective arm around me. I can’t move. Mr Moncrieff sighs. ‘Second year, that’s enough. I said ENOUGH. Jonni, just try to keep focused on what I’m saying. OK?’

I don’t like this. I don’t like all the eyes on me and I must be doing the muttering thing because the noise around me gets worse and Mr Moncrieff comes right over and tells me to wait behind after class. I stay quiet and nod again, but Brain holds up a red thing, it’s like a huge red sheet or something and it makes me feel burny and hot.

The rest of the lesson – something about imagining I’m a superhero – passes superquick and I’ve tried to do work, I really have but the hot feeling stopped me. At the end, the rest of 2B1 file out and Angela Turnbury does *squinty eyes* - I think that might mean she likes me. I read once that’s what cats do when they like a human. Then she’s gone. Mr Moncrieff asks to see what I’ve done today. I show him.

‘It’s not your best work, Jonni,’ he says. Not my worst, though! He coughs and stands over me. Hands on hips. He is very tall. ‘It’s not easy without Mrs Foster here, is it?’

Mrs Foster is my support for learning worker. ‘She’s been away. She’s been away for a while. Months, I think,’ I say.

Mr Moncrieff’s mouth turns up and then goes straight again. ‘It’s not been quite that long,’ he says. ‘But we both miss her, don’t we?’
I nod, very fast to show him how much I miss Mrs Foster. Brain doesn’t give me any words. He’s sitting with his arms folded.

Mr Moncrieff coughs again. Has he got the ‘flu? I heard people can get dead from that. The upside-down head of a soldier comes down slowly from the top of my vision. I try to concentrate on what Mr Moncrieff is saying but the blood leaks down the screen and I feel tilty. It helps if I just concentrate on the wall, the picture of a man with a beard saying words like “Wild Goose Chase” and “In a Pickle”, the picture says he invented these words but how can he have, it must have been the first people to speak, and they were before pictures. The blood and the dead soldier have gone. I feel less tilty now. Mr Moncrieff is looking at me and not speaking. He was saying about “change.”

‘What do you mean, change?’
‘Jonni, it’s just that you’re…well, you’re thirteen now.’
‘A big boy.’
‘Yes, in some ways you are. Do you know about puberty?’
‘Puberty.’ I try the word in my mouth. I’m not certain I’ve said it before, but I think I remember something about it in PSE. ‘Is it when you get hairs? Hairs. I – I think that’s it.’
Mr Moncrieff’s mouth twists and turns up again. ‘Yes, that can be part of it, Jonni. It’s more that you will get all sorts of emotions-’
‘Emotions?’ I’ve heard of this.
‘Yes. Feelings. You may not be able to deal with all of them at once. It can be an exciting time, but also a…confusing time. I just see how you act with Angela, and – and other girls, and I think maybe it’s distracting you in class. What do you think?’

I don’t think anything. I can’t. There’s too much information trying to get in. Brain is holding up the red sheet again. It’s bigger than last time. I start the muttering thing and I’m trying to say I’ll be late for my next class but I can’t remember where it is and I stand up anyway and move towards the door and out into the corridor. Red-red-red-red-red.

Mr Moncrieff shouts after me but I move superquick and I’m up and away from English but I can’t remember where the stairs go. I flinch away from the older boys and girls as they whizz and laugh past me. Bullets in the sea. Fast-slow wasps. I get to the top of the stairs and grab on to the balcony rail. I look at the tiny boys and girls down in the concourse, shoving and shouting and walking. I feel mixed up and upside down and supertilty. I think I see Angela. She’s a long way down.

If I turn dead, will I feel anything?