Saturday Morning Classes

March 19, 2013 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

We’ve decided to put up a draft script for one of the scenes in Painter Story. The scene selected is actually the very first one, and no doubt it’ll end up rewritten before we even get to the point of releasing a demo! Still, it does serve to give some idea of the tone of voice of the story, and provide a bit of insight into a couple of the story’s characters. Read on to enter the world of Painter Story.

The drizzle of rain against the windows threatens to send me back to sleep. I look around the classroom, bored and tired.

I’ve been here only a month now, and already everything is awash in the grey of numbing ennui. The town, the school, home… All of it feels like deja vu. As if I’ve seen it all before.

And why not? We’ve moved around so much, that one place just blends into another.

When you think of it that way, it makes sense that everything just feels the same. That there’s nothing really there to latch onto.

I hate it.

I stare out the window, ignoring the chatter of my classmates as they mill about in the room. In return, they pay no attention to me.

It’s probably better that way. Getting to know them, making friends… it just makes things all the more difficult when my family inevitably moves on once more.

It was once said it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. But after so many moves and ended friendships, I think it’s better to not face the pain of loss.

As I continue to stare out the window, an argument elsewhere in the classroom pulls me out of my reverie.

I turn to look, and see a girl facing off against a tall, skinny guy, and a short, round one. Another girl stands behind the first one, looking like she’s about to cry.

Angry Girl
“Leave her alone, you two!”
Tall Guy
“Give it up!”
Short Guy
“Yeah! Don’t get in our way!”
Scared Girl
“Augh! Go away, please go away!”

As everyone in the classroom turns to pay attention, I recognize the arguing students.

The angry girl is Nakadate, our class rep for the student council. The girl cowering behind her is another girl from our class, whose name eludes me right now.

The two guys are Ogawa and Matsukura, who besides also being members of the class, are infamous as aggressive recruiters for the school’s manga club.

That probably explains the scene. They’re probably harassing the poor girl to join them, and Nakadate got in their way.

… Or so I think, until one of them lunges at the scared girl. No, not at ‘her’, but at the sketchbook she’s holding.

“Give it to us!”
Scared Girl

The scared girl actually starts crying as Ogawa gets a grip on the sketchbook and tries pulling it away from her. It looks pretty ridiculous, especially since he doesn’t seem to be able to take it from the girl. How embarrassing!

“You can’t draw us like that! Give us the sketchbook!”
“Give it up!”
Scared Girl
“Waaaah! Help me, help me!”

Even Nakadate joins in on the struggle. She has one hand on the sketchbook, and tries slapping Ogawa away with the other.

“Let go of her sketchbook, you creep!”

I feel like I’m watching a really depressing slapstick routine. Everyone in the room is watching these four squabble over the sketchbook. Some look downright amused by it, but to me it just seems dumb.

Just as it looks like an actual fight is about to break out, the teacher finally arrives in the classroom. Casting an angry glance at the troublesome group, he says that he wants to see the four of them at the end of the day.

With the drama brought to such a sudden end, the classroom settles down fairly quickly, and it isn’t long before the first class of the day begins.

I’m bored to tears. Classical Japanese has never been an exciting class, but after the earlier fracas, this class couldn’t be any duller. From the muttering and note-passing all through the room, it seems like everyone else agrees.

Random Classmate
“You mean she was sexually harassing them? That’s a change!”
Random Classmate
“I saw it, it was a BL picture of them.”
Random Classmate
“This is such a terrible class. When will we ever use this stuff?”

The teacher either doesn’t notice or is ignoring all the chatter and note-passing, but eventually, the din of students whispering and tossing scraps of paper about gets to be too much for Nakadate. Ever the busy-body, she just has to disrupt things even further.

“Shut up, all of you! We’re in class, so pay attention!”

The shock from that only lasts a few minutes, though. As the muttering and paper-flapping continues, Nakadate realizes things are out of her hands. Part of me is amused by this, but there’s another part of me that agrees with Nakadate’s anger.

Eventually the first class ends. The noise of the classroom goes up, driven by both relief that Classical Japanese is over and by renewed interest in the struggle at the beginning of the day.

In one corner of the room, avoided by everyone else, Matsukura and Ogawa mutter and plot, occasionally glancing over at the sketchbook girl. Whenever they look her way, Nakadate glares back, sending the duo back into their huddle. Meanwhile, the rest of the class clumps together into its various cliques, with everyone continuing to gossip about what really went on.

While all this goes on, I simply alternate between preparing for the next class, and observing the madness around me.

The teacher eventually calls everything back to order, and before long, the second class begins.

The class begins with a handout being passed out to everyone, followed by reports we had all written and handed in during the week. It’s a good thing the handout includes a list of references, because the topic of today’s social services class is so banal, and the teacher’s voice so droning, that I can’t focus my attention on the class. I guess after classes are done today, I should go to the library and look this stuff up.

After going through the handout, I re-read my report, including the notes the teacher added. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s enough to emphasize that I’m not working hard enough on social studies assignments.

I spend another few minutes observing the rest of the class. Everyone else looks as bored as me. A few classmates might even be sleeping. I wish I was.

Eventually the social studies class ends. After the life-draining boredom caused by the teacher’s lecture, the classroom is pretty quiet, compared to the morning’s earlier excitement. The teacher goes out of the room to have his own break, and I surrender myself to daydreaming.

Unfortunately, my reverie is soon disturbed. I look up to find none other than Matsukura and Ogawa standing around my desk. Wonderful.

“Hey Irogawa, could you believe that earlier? I can’t believe that girl drew us without asking, and wouldn’t give us the picture.”
“Yeah, that was pretty rude, don’t you think? Hard to deal with a situation like that.”

This is the last conversation I want to have today. But I doubt that complaining about that girl is what brought them over here. They seem a little too cheerful for that.

“What do you guys want?”
“Come on, man. Do you really want to be stuck in that lame art club for the rest of high school? You can’t be serious, wanting to hang out with them when we’ve got so much more to offer!”

What a surprise. They’re trying to recruit me, again.

“I already told you guys before, I don’t want to be part of your creepy little manga club. There’s nothing you can offer that’d make me join, so give it up already.”
“You gotta be joking! Seriously, we’ve got a lot of things going for ourselves!”
“Really! You know we’ve actually published a few times? Even sold well at the local comics fest. Why wallow in obscurity when you could get your name out there drawing for us?”

I’ve looked up what they’ve done. Terrible stories, terrible art. If they actually sold well, then I’m a Hawaiian. I wish these idiots would just leave me alone.

“Listen, I’m not being taken in by your stories. I’m not interested in joining the manga club. I’m quite happy with where I am now. So how about you leave me alone, before the two of you get embarrassed by the class rep for the second time today?”

I glare at them and stand as I say this. By the looks on their faces, I might have actually scared them off this time.

“Fine, fine. We’re not trying to force you or anything…”
“We’ll let you be for now. But remember, if you ever do want to do something awesome, our club will be open.”

Finally, the idiots go back to their own seats, leaving me in peace. I don’t believe that they’ll leave me alone, but I’m glad that I was able to chase them off without much of a fuss this time!

Before long, the teacher returns to the room and begins math class. Everyone’s still somewhat dazed from the boredom from the previous class, so things start off pretty quietly.

However, it doesn’t take too long before the noise and excitement of my fellow students builds up. It’s a half-day, after all, and everyone is looking forward to an afternoon free of school.

Surprisingly, even me.

Despite normally being a difficult class for me, today’s math class turns out to be fairly simple. While the lecture is as boring and impenetrable as ever, at least the assignment we’re given is straightforward and easily completed before the end of class.

With time to spare, I pull out my own sketchbook, and doodle a few things. It’ll not be too long before my current painting is complete, so it’s probably a good time to start thinking about what I’ll do next.

The chiming of the bell announces the end of this half-day of classes.

Once more I look out the window. Instead of the clouds and rain earlier this morning, the sky is clear and the sun shines brightly over everything.

Inside the classroom, the teacher beckons Nakadate, Matsukura, Ogawa, and the sketchbook girl over. Some of the other students follow, wanting to find out for themselves what went on this morning, but further dark glares from the class rep send them scurrying away.

As the rest of us leave the room, I take in one final look at the teacher and the four troublesome students.

I guess there’s not much else for me to do but some studying at the library, before meeting up with Kourin.