Naked In School – Chuck & Simmie

I was roused out of a sound sleep in which I was having a dream. The
dream was about Julia Roberts and me. We had just reached the point
where I was undressing her when the loudest ringing I ever heard pulled
me out of it. I woke to find it was my alarm clock. I slapped it and
turned over to try and return to my dream. But then I remembered. It was
Monday. The first day of school. Shit!

I hate school. I especially hate the first day of school. And worst of
all that I hate is the first day at a new school. I would be a sophomore
this year. It was the first day at my new High School. Nathaniel Hawthorne
High School. I dreaded it. As I got out of bed to get ready, I thought
about what was ahead of me.

I would be the “new kid”. This was my fifth school in the last 8 years.
It seemed that every time I got settled in a new school Mom would move
us to another town. The last place had been a big city. But now we lived
in a small town. Norburgh. Geeze, was that ever the right name for this
burgh. It was a small enough town to only have one high school and it
was a four year school. That meant that most of the other kids would
know each other. I would stand out as a stranger.

One of the reasons I hate school is the teasing and bullying I always
got from the other kids. Why? Let me count the reasons. New kid.
Glasses. Buck teeth. And my name, Chuck.

My mother is a fan of Chuck Mangione. She loves him and his horn. The
year I was born his album “Save Tonight For Me” was big and she loved
it. Her most favorite song in the whole world is “Give Your Heart A
Chance” from that album. I have heard it so many times I go crazy if I
hear the first two notes. Any way, she named me after him. Chuck. Doesn’t
sound bad does it? But there is always some asshole who will say it. You
know. “What’s up Chuck?” And there is always a partner to answer.
“That’s another name for vomit.” And so I would be called vomit for the
whole year. Lovely huh?

So there I am with a name that is perfect for jokes, the new kid,
glasses, buck teeth and oh yes, acne. Well I’m only fifteen after all.
So I was the perfect target.

Over the years as I moved from school to school I had learned to
disappear. I called it my invisible man routine. I did nothing,
absolutely nothing that would attract attention. I never raised my hand
in class. I made sure my grades were passing but not high enough to be
labelled a “brain” or “nerd”. I didn’t go out for anything . No sports.
No clubs. Nothing. I went to school and put in my time and went home as
soon as the last bell rang.

All this was going through my mind as I dressed and went down for
breakfast. Mom worked nights as a psychiatric nurse. She took care of
nuts. So I didn’t see much of her during the school year. Only on
weekends and holidays. I grabbed a bowl of cereal and wolfed it down. I
was ready as I ever would be for the ordeal.

Part of my invisible man bit was my schedule. I made it a point to
arrive at school with just enough time to get to class before the late
bell. Even on the first day I knew the schedule and timed my arrival. I
had received an orientation folder when we first went to the school
after we moved here. It was three weeks before the end of my freshman
year and they decided that it was stupid to make me attend new classes
for just three weeks, so they gave me final grades based on my averages
at my last school. It meant I passed them all, but just barely. We had
signed me up for the required courses and I had memorized my schedule
and the location of my classes. I knew when and where I was to be and I
knew how to get there.

I checked my watch as I neared the school. Just about right. Five
minutes to final bell and I had just enough time to drop my stuff in the
locker they had assigned me. I pushed the door open and rushed down the
hall to my locker. I opened it and threw in my junk and closed and
locked it using the combination lock I had with me. Still a few minutes
and I would be in my seat right on time. My first class was Algebra 2 in
room 101. That is on the main floor right past the office. I almost made

I was at the door to the classroom when I heard the scariest thing a
student ever hears at school. The voice of doom came over the
loudspeakers. “Chuck Nagel report to the Principal’s office. I repeat.
Chuck Nagel report to the Principal’s office.” Shit! What now. I hadn’t
been there long enough to be in trouble yet. I turned and walked into
the office.

When I got in the office I stood at the counter waiting for someone to
notice me. Then I saw her. You remember the Wicked Witch of the West
from the Wizard of Oz? She worked in the office and according to the
name on her desk she was known here as Mrs. Risley. I was told it
sounds like grizzly.

So I stood and waited. Finally T W W looked up at me with a raised
eyebrow and croaked, “Yes?”

“I’m Chuck Nagel” I managed to get out.

She motioned to a door at the end of the counter. “Go right in. Mr.
White is waiting for you.” Mr. White is Tip White, the principal. He had
seemed like a fairly nice guy, for a principal, when we met with him at
the end of last school year. I headed to his door, opened it and walked
in. He was sitting behind a big desk with two hard chairs in front of
the desk facing him. There was a little kid sitting on one so I sat on
the other. I wonder what she’s here for?

Mr. White started what I expected was to be a lecture of some kind. “Mr.
Nagel, have you read all the material we gave you when you registered
last year?” I hadn’t read all of it but didn’t think it would be a good
idea to tell him that. I hedged a little.

“I think so Mr. White.”

“Good. Then you will understand when I tell you that you have been
selected to participate in The Program this week.”

I was stumped. It was something I had not read about. I remember seeing
the pamphlet but I hadn’t read it. Time to fess up I guessed. “Um, sorry
sir but I must have missed that one.”

He did not look happy at that answer. He reached down to his desk and
picked up a copy of the pamphlet and handed it to me. “Here. Read this

I opened to the first page and glanced at what it said. I couldn’t
believe what I saw. It said that The Program required a student to be
naked for one week of school. The student would be required to undress
at the entrance designated on arrival each morning and would not be
allowed to dress until leaving after school hours. That was as far as I
got. “No way.” I said.

“Yes, way. You have no choice in this matter Mr. Nagel. You will do as
required and you will start by undressing right now.”

I looked at him thinking he couldn’t be serious. But he was. I said it
again. “No way!” I mean come on. I wanted to be the invisible man right?
How could I do that if I was naked? Everyone would notice me. I would be
the laughing stock of the school.

“You will obey, Mr. Nagel. It is the law now and you have no choice, as
I said.”

I was scared and I was pissed. They couldn’t make me do this. They

I got up off the chair and headed out the door. “NO FUCKING WAY!” And I
was out of there. I just barely remember the little girl that was
sitting on the other chair, putting her head in her hands and starting
to sob. I had no idea what that was all about and couldn’t have cared
less. I dashed out the door of the office and down the hall to the main
entrance. There was a security guard there but he was watching for
anyone trying to get in, not out. I was past him before he had any idea
I was there.

I ran all the way home. I was mad as hell and there was just no way I
was going to put up with any shit Program. The phone started to ring
just as I got there and I picked it up so it wouldn’t wake Mom. It was
Mr. White. I didn’t wait for him to say anything but his name and I hung
up. I knew he would call back so I unplugged the phone from the wall. I
sat down on the couch and tried to think. What could I do? If it was the
law, Mom would have no choice but to send me back and make me take part
in it. I needed time to think.

Monday morning – Simmie

I sat there and cried like a baby. Here I was, 18 years old, a
genius (so they tell me) and crying like a baby. Mr. White was on the phone
in no time. He looked down at his desk and got the number from Chuck’s
records folder. I heard him identify himself and then look shocked. He
hung up and tried again. I guess there was no answer. “Wait here a
minute please Miss. Carter. I’ll be right back.”

I continued to weep but was starting to get control. I thought about my
being there. I had volunteered for The Program. They said I was too
young but I convinced them that I had a right to participate since I was
a sophomore and met all the requirements. I warned them that they had
orders to treat me just like any other student. I guess maybe I should
tell you about myself.

I’m Simmie Carter. I’m 18 years old as I told you and I am entering
my sophomore year of high school. I have been averaging two years of
classes each school year for a while now. They noticed my IQ when I was
in the second grade and began to push me ahead to keep it challenging,
they said. My mother is a professor of mathematics at the University and
my father is a research scientist working on some kind of secret project
for the government. I guess that explains my brains.

I was a freshman last year and didn’t like the way I was treated by the
other kids. They treated me like a baby. I guess they thought of me that
way. I am only 18 so I understand it really. But I don’t like it and
I want it to change. There was a lot of arguing when I told my folks I
wanted to be in The Program. That is until I told them the school didn’t
want to let me. That was all I needed to say. They went ballistic and
very soon I was notified that I would be allowed to participate. See, I
thought if I could be a part of the nude in school thing the other kids
would have to treat me like a teenager at least. I wanted that more than

Mr White came back and sat down behind his desk again. “I’m sorry Miss
Carter but I can’t allow you to be in the program without a buddy. It is
too late now to get you a new one so you will have to wait until we get
Mr. Nagel back. You go ahead to your class now and I’ll page you when we
find him.”

I knew from the look on Chuck’s face that he was not coming back on his
own. I suspected he was running by now. They would have to catch him
first and then force him to return. I thought he was angry about me and
that hurt. Why do they do it? Why do they treat me like a teen? I’m
smarter than a whole class full of them. Damn!

It was still a few minutes before my first class would let out so I
walked out of the office and into the room next door for my Algebra 2
class. Miss Rocker looked at me but didn’t say anything. After the class
let out she stopped me and asked what had happened. She knew I was
supposed to be in The Program, and I had to explain what went wrong. She
tried to assure me it would be all right soon. I just nodded and went to
my next class.

The day dragged on and I didn’t pay much attention in my classes. I had
study hall second period and American History after that. I could get
any work later to catch up. I was too busy thinking about Chuck. I was
hoping he would come back and would accept me as his buddy. If he didn’t
I knew they would use that as an excuse to drop me from the list.

I had lunch fourth period. There was still no word from the office so I
went to the cafeteria and went through the line. I don’t know what they
served me. My head wasn’t there. I went over in a corner and sat down at
a table. There was room for six at the table but nobody came over to
join me. I knew they wouldn’t. Who wants to be seen eating lunch with a
little kid. I sat there and tried to think what I could do about Chuck.

Monday Afternoon – Chuck

I sat in my room trying to think what I could do. There was no way I was
going to go around naked in school. As far as I could see that only left
one choice. I had to run away. If I stayed they could force me. Or
rather, they could force Mom to make me do what they said. He had said
it was the law. I had to run.

I packed a few things in a duffle bag and took my savings out of my
dresser drawer. I always kept a stash of cash there for emergencies.
This was definitely and emergency. There was about $20 there. I stuck it
in my pocket, grabbed the bag and headed out.

Over the summer I had found a place where I could be alone. It was a big
park not far from my house. It had a large section that was like a
forest. I had explored it and found a place that was hidden and off the
trails. I went there now. I was sure nobody would find me. It gave me
time to think.

Monday afternoon – Simmie

After I finished lunch, I headed for my fifth period class. It was
English Comp upstairs in room 205. As I passed the office heading for
the stairs I saw Mr. White. He stopped me. “I’m sorry Miss Carter but we
haven’t been able to find Mr. Nagel and so you will not be allowed to
participate in The Program today. We will try to get it settled tomorrow
after we talk to his mother.”

“Yes sir. Thank you.” I started to head for my class but then I had an
idea. I checked to see if Mr. White was watching. He wasn’t. There were
a lot of kids in the hall so I would not be noticed. I went to my locker
and put all my books in it. I checked again for any teachers or staff.
None around. I headed out the door and was away from the school before I
could be noticed. I knew where Chuck lived. I lived just a block down
the street from him. I headed to his house.

When I reached his house I saw a police car outside. I stayed out of
sight and watched. After a few minutes the door opened and a cop came
out. I saw Mrs. Nagel at the door saying something to him as he left. I
waited for him to drive away and then I went to the door and knocked.
When she opened the door I could see Chuck’s mother was very worried. I
asked if I could come in for a minute and she stood aside.

We went in and sat down in the living room. “Mrs, Nagel, I want to help
find Chuck. Do you have any idea where he might be?”

“No. I told the police that I have no idea. If I knew I would have told

We talked for a while and I tried to get her to think about where he
went during his summer off from school. The only place she could think
of was the park. I knew that park well. I didn’t let on where I was
going but I thanked her and left.

I’m a kid. A smart kid. I know what kids like and what they do. I headed
for the park. From talking to his mother and from seeing him at school
and around the neighborhood I knew Chuck was a loner. If he went to the
park he would look for a place to hide where he wouldn’t be seen. But he
would get hungry. Unless he had taken food with him, and his mother had
said she didn’t think he had, he would be coming out for food soon.
Teenage boys do not go a long time without eating.

I got to the park and found a place where I had a good view of the whole
area. I sat down and waited. I waited a long time. I started to think I
had been wrong. It was getting late and I needed to get home or my
parents would have a cow. Then I saw him. He was coming out of the
trees. I let him go a little ways before I got up and followed him. I
was right. He went to a little store near the park that sold groceries
and odds and ends. I waited and then followed him when he came out.

I kept my distance as he wound his way through the trees. He seemed to be
watching but I guess he didn’t even notice some little kid. He was looking
out for an adult or maybe a cop. He finally stopped at a little clearing
and sat down to eat. I gave him a few minutes and then walked into the
clearing. He nearly choked when he saw me.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“Looking for you. I want to talk to you about The Program. I was supposed
to be your buddy in The Program this week. They won’t let me be in it
unless you come back.”

Monday evening – Chuck

I don’t know how I missed seeing her coming. I guess I was just not
worried about a kid. I damned near choked to death when she surprised me.
I asked her what she was doing there and she told me about not being
allowed in The Program without a buddy.

“But you’re too young to be in High School much less The Program. Why do
you want to be in that damn thing?”

“So people will stop treating me like a little kid. I’m a sophomore just
like you and I want to be treated like one. Just because I’m only 18
doesn’t mean I’m still a teen. If I’m smart enough to be there they
should treat me like all the rest of the kids.”

“Well, I think you’re nuts to want to go naked around there. The jerks
will just make fun of you and tease you like they do me. And besides
there is no way I’m going back. Are you going to tell them where I am?”

“No. I won’t tell. I think your wrong about how they’ll treat me but I
won’t be part of forcing you to go back.”

This kid was smart and cute and seemed to understand what I was feeling.
I was sorry to have messed up her plans but told her plainly that there
was no way I would go back. We sat there for a while talking. She told
me about herself and I told her about myself. It turned out she had seen
me around during the summer but had been afraid to talk to me because I’m
older. She thought I’d tease her like the other kids. I told her there
was no way I’d do that. Besides I was the invisible man. She laughed and
asked what that was. I explained how I kept off the radar around school.
She thought it was terrible that I had to do that and miss the fun you
could have in school.

Monday evening – Simmie

We talked for quite a while. I listened to his stories about the many
different schools and about his “invisible man” routine. It made me sad.
He seemed like such a nice guy and nobody would give him a chance. He
had been moved around so much he had no friends and felt like he was an
outsider where ever he went.

I tried to talk him into going home. I told him his mother was worried.
It was no good. He just wouldn’t listen. I asked what he planned to do
and he told me he might go back to the city where he used to live. He
thought he could get a job there and live well enough. He laughed and
said he would use his “invisible man” trick to keep out of sight.

It was finally getting too late for me to stay. My mother would be
furious as it was and I had to get home. I promised again not to tell
anyone where he was. I left him there and went home, trying to think
of a solution to both our problems.

When I got home I called Chuck’s mother. I told her I had seen him on
the street and he was okay. I tried to make her feel better but maybe
I shouldn’t have. It didn’t seem to help. I told my mother what had
happened and got yelled at for cutting classes and being out late. I
didn’t tell her where I went. I said I was upset and just went for a
walk. I don’t think she believed me but she knows I’m as stubborn as
she is so it was dropped.

Tuesday – Simmie

I went to school the next morning and had to put up with a long
lecture from Mr. White about leaving school without a pass. He had
heard from Mrs. Nagel about me seeing Chuck. He tried to get more
out of me but I insisted that I didn’t know where he was and had
just run into him on the street.

Mr. White again said that I could not be in the program without a
buddy. He said he’d try to set something up for the next week. I
shocked him with my answer.

“If it’s okay with you Mr. White, I’ll withdraw my request to be in
The Program. I’ve seen what it does to a nice guy like Chuck and I
think I’d be better off not taking part. You never wanted me in it
any way so that should satisfy you.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way Miss Carter, but perhaps it would be best
if we granted your request. I will remove your name from the list for
now. If you change your mind before you graduate we can talk again.”

I thanked him and left. The rest of the day was boring as usual. I
took a few minutes in each of my afternoon classes to see what they
had covered while I was gone and then ignored the rest. I was way
ahead of them any way.

After school I went home and changed into my “play” clothes and headed
for the park. I walked into the trees quietly and when I was sure
nobody was following me, I called out to Chuck to let him know I was
alone. There was no answer.

I searched the clearing and saw no sign of him. He was gone. I sat
down and wept. I liked Chuck and wanted him to stay. I was hoping
we could be friends. Another dream of mine that would not come to be.

Chuck Nagel never came back. I would see his mother once in a while and
she told me she got cards from him now and then. He had someone mail
each one from a different city so they couldn’t find him. He said he had
a job and was okay. After a while I stopped asking. It made me too sad.

I graduated from High School the next year at age thirteen. I never did
take part in The Program. The law said you needed to serve one week in
order to graduate but Mr. White gave me credit for the week I was
supposed to be in it with Chuck. He didn’t want me to be naked in school
with all those older kids and I never asked to be a part of it again.

The Program was fairly well received at Nathaniel Hawthorne High School.
They had a few other problems with kids like Chuck but they went right on
with it any way. A few kids managed to be excused from it by shrinks
who said it would be dangerous. But the majority served their time with
no trouble.

I think it sucks. When I finish my degree I intend to start working for
a group that wants to modify The Program. I don’t see any problem with
volunteers but I don’t think it should be mandatory. There are too many
kids out there like Chuck who might be permanently damaged.

Oh yes. I’ve grown a lot and developed a good figure too. I look a lot
more like other students at the University and so I don’t get teased
any more. I even go on dates with “older” men some times. 🙂