“’Manda!” yelled one of the boys from the corner, shaking his fist like he was a cast member from Jersey Shore.
“Shut up, Greg,” she said, hitting him with her folder.
Kristina sat back in her seat. The room was slowly caving in upon itself. How could she compete with this girl? She looked down at her fingernails, with tiny specks of Cheeto dust still caked underneath from lunch. There were small specks of pink nail polish left over from the 4th of July part she’d gone to with her family but the flourish had chipped away as her summer dragged on in uneventful tedium.
Amanda stood in the front of the room, setting up her papers like she was giving a speech to Congress. Her shoulders shot back and her face lit up in a phony smile.
“Alright. Welcome everyone to the Jackson High Journal. My name’s Amanda and I’m going to the editor-in-chief this year. If you were here last year, you know the paper wasn’t really run so great…” Like a trained stand-up comedian, she paused for the laugh break. “But this year, we’re going to really step it up and get this paper popular again.”
Journalism conference? Kristina’s heart started to pound. This was serious stuff. Looking at the handout made her head swim. Amanda wanted to turn the low-budget 2 page monthly paper into the New York Times. Daily blogs, weekly papers, features in every issue. Each reporter would have a beat and do interviews to post on the website.
“I have a sign-up sheet in the front. I want you guys to sign up for which sections you want to do. It’s first come first serve. I want to make sure we’re completely covered each issue,” Amanda said, tapping on her fuchsia clipboard.
The sections were bulleted on the back page of the handout. Features. News. Entertainment. Sports. Opinions. She couldn’t decide which one seemed worse. News would be interesting but it required talking to complete strangers and that wasn’t going to work out. Entertainment could be fun, but the idea of attending every play and musical event bored her to tears before she could finish reading the description.
She was going to sign up for whatever and then quit. Just sign her name and send Amanda an email tonight saying she was too busy. No strings attached. They’d hardly remember she was there in the first place.
Amanda started the sign-up sheet at the other end of the room. The nervous knot that had been pulled harder and harder throughout the meeting began to loosen. It didn’t matter what she got stuck with. The boys fought over the pen and hit each other in the arm to get the prime spots. Probably sports, so they could talk to all their friends and get class credit for it.