Chapter 4 | Grayson and Jeremy vs the World



The Arts Department office was…well, you know how people complain that sports always gets funded and art doesn’t? That’s pretty evident in John Adams High School. The Arts Department office was messy as hell, there were papers and boxes everywhere and cheesy motivational posters tacked to the walls that looked over ten years old.

“Is anybody here?”

“Yeah, hold on!” a voice replied. I walked further inside and looked around ‘til I spotted the guy who replied. It was a guy that looked like he was a student here, and he was standing on a chair fixing one of the motivation posters from falling.

“Rise again when you fall,” it said. Well, that was certainly ironic.

“There we go,” the boy said when he finished fixing the poster. He climbed down from the chair. If this was Grayson, which I thought it was, then Grayson had brown messy hair and was almost as tall as me, though a few centimetres short. “What are you here for?”

“Oh, um, are you Grayson Adler?”

“That would be me, yes,” he said. “Are you interested in a job, or…”

“Oh, no, that’s not why I came -”

“But that would pretty great,” Grayson said. “I do all of the organizing here and as you can see, it’s a daunting task.”

“Uh, no, I’m good…Ms. Samuels actually sent me here,” I said. “She said to talk to you.”

“Isn’t it a bit too early to start wondering about your grades?”

“No, that’s not why -”

“Especially considering that you’ve only been here for three days?”

I looked at him in surprise. “How do you know who I am?”

“When you come in two months into the school year, you’d be pretty hard not to notice,” Grayson said. “I don’t know what your name is, though. I mean, you know mine, so it’s only fair that I know yours.”

“Jeremy,” I said. “Jeremy Anderson.”

“Jeremy? Cool name,” Grayson said. “So if you’re not here for a job and you’re not here for your grades, what are you here for then?”

“I’m here for Paint Splatt?”

This took Grayson by surprise. “Paint Splatt?”

“Yeah, that art show in New York? Ms. Samuels wants me to join.” I shrugged. “I guess I’m just keeping my options open. She said I could get the information from you. Do you have a brochure or something?”

Grayson looked at me in confusion. “The deadline for Paint Splatt applications was over a month ago.”

Wait, what?

“Well, maybe Ms. Samuels forgot or got mistaken,” I said. “Anyway, if there’s nothing I can do, I guess I really should go -”

“She wouldn’t forget, she’s one of the organizers of the event,” Grayson said. “Why would she tell you to join Paint Splatt when the deadline is way past? When exactly did she tell you this?”

“Yesterday,” I said. “She was browsing through my sketch pad. She said my sketches looked good. Maybe she just forgot. It’s possible.”

But Grayson didn’t look confused anymore. In fact, he was smiling like he couldn’t believe what was happening. “Let me guess, you sketch landscapes and the like?”


“Unbelievable,” Grayson said. “So I get the new guy, huh?”

“I, um…what do you mean by that?”

“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news,” Grayson said. “The good news is that there’s a way for you to still get into Paint Splatt. The bad news is that I’m going to have to look at your artwork before I tell you any of the details.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t get bring my sketchpad today,” I said. (This was the truth. I was scared a teacher would confiscate my sketchpad again, and this time I wouldn’t get it back.)

“Tomorrow then?”

“Tomorrow is Saturday,” I said. “I…visit my aunt Mrs. Basil Frankweiler on Saturdays.”

Grayson arched an eyebrow. “Oh, yeah, I know her!” he said. “She works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, doesn’t she? Oh, and isn’t she good friends with Claudia and Jamie? Plus, isn’t she from that book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?”

I chuckled. “Okay, you caught me,” I said. “It’s just…I have this event that I really want to go to tomorrow.”

“Relax, I have somewhere to go to tomorrow as well,” Grayson said. “I just forgot tomorrow was Saturday. Monday, then?”

I nodded my head.

“Good call on the fictional character as an aunt, though,” Grayson said. “I mean, it wouldn’t have ever fooled me. E.L. Konigsburg is one of my favorite authors. But it definitely would’ve somebody else.”

“Maybe I should’ve used Miss Maudie Atkinson instead?”

“Who’s Miss Maudie Atkinson?”

I laughed as I stood up and picked up my bag. “Oh, you don’t know her?” I said. “She lives across the street from Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch.”

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