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My day began with my mother's voice in my ear, going on and on and on about my grades and the crap dye job on my hair. Dad had already gone off to work, so he was spared one more coronary moment by my hands. Liz did nothing but stare at me from across the table. Her mouth hung open.
"Wow, Eric," she breathed, giving me a disgusting view of half-eaten cereal in her mouth.
"Look, if my prescription was updated, we wouldn't be having these accidents with Punk 'N Go, would we?" I retorted.
Mom rolled her eyes as she set down empty glasses by our plates. I immediately filled mine with milk. "All you need to do is tell us if you think your eyes have gotten worse, for heaven's sake. It's not as though setting up appointments with Dr. Stubbs means cutting your jugular open and sticking a straw in it." Mom glanced at Liz, who'd redirected her jaw-dropping to her. "What?"
"Fine, fine. I'll make an appointment, but I'm not changing my hair color. Seriously--what's the fuss? So I've got blue streaks in my hair. Big deal."
"Streaks?" Liz echoed. "What streaks? You look like you've just shampooed in Smurf blood."
I narrowed my eyes at my sister but took the high road. In boring arguments like this, it was always best to keep that stiff upper lip and not respond. It said a lot about character, especially with me being three years younger than Liz. What was it about adults that they forgot what it felt like being a teenager?
"Anyway, Eric," Mom continued, "there's this matter about your grades."
I sighed. "Yeah, I know."
She kept talking as she bustled around the kitchen. My grades stank, what was up with my Chemistry exams, why couldn't Idemonstrate as much interest in Geometry as I did Art, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam? I waited until her back was turned before fishing out my little vial of blue food coloring from my jacket pocket, which I quickly unstopped and emptied into my milk. There were only a few drops left as I'd made good use of my supply, and I made a mental note to wander off to the supermarket for reinforcements after school. The resulting color wasn't as deep as I hoped. Nothing stole one's thunder more than a sky-blue concoction, when one intended something along the lines of denim.