Sixth Grade Sense

Pete figured there would be a lot of reading in sixth grade, but he didn’t count on adding the minds of his teachers and classmates to the list. Knowing what they think can be helpful sometimes, but it can also get complicated — ESPecially when Pete discovers the substitute teacher is thinking about a big robbery.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s some kind of trick. Well, that’s what most of you are thinking at least. Kyle in Denver is thinking of the number seventeen. And Cindy in Tucson, well, you shouldn’t be thinking about that for a few more years.

I’m sorry. How rude! For those of you who can’t read minds, my name is Peter Powell. I’m eleven years old and the only child of Lawrence and Angela Powell of Urbana, Illinois. My dad is a professor at the University’s computer lab. And my mom works at the public library. My parents are thinking of having another child, but they don’t want to tell me and get my hopes up. Newsflash. No hopes here. I like getting all the attention.

I know it’s hard to believe that I can read minds. Heck, it’s hard to believe I can even read a book considering how poorly I was doing in English class up until this year.

I didn’t realize why I was so distracted during quiet time until I was at the school psychologist’s office in the beginning of sixth grade. Everyone at Jackson Middle School, Andrew not Michael, thought I had ADHD. Ms. Hornbauer freaked when I asked her what ADHD meant. She figured I must have overheard my parents talking about it. Oh, it stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

I started telling Ms. Hornbauer how I hear people talking when their lips aren’t moving, and she suddenly got all weird. I mean, weirder than she already is. That’s when I heard her thinking about testing me for ESP.
I was going to ask her what ESP stood for, but luckily she thought it. It’s Extrasensory Perception, the ability to read minds or see the future, sometimes known as the sixth sense. I guess it would be the fifth for me, along with sight, hearing, taste and touch. I don’t smell very well. I mean, my nose doesn’t pick up smells very well. I don’t stink, at least not anymore. I started using deodorant last year, and I shower once a week, whether I need it or not.

Anyhow, I got scared when Ms. Hornbauer began thinking about how we could go on talk shows together. I might have been excited if it was Mr. Davenport, the history teacher. He’s cool. But I started getting images of driving all over America in Ms. Hornbauer’s Volkswagen beetle. Everyone calls her the French Horn. She doesn’t even speak French, so I think it’s because of how she smells. I don’t think she uses deodorant. I told her I heard about ADHD because I had listened to my parents talking. I know it’s not right to lie, but it’s also not right to make anyone ride all over the country with the French Horn.

Once I realized that all the other kids didn’t hear everybody’s thoughts, I started doing better in class, which was good. I was already nervous enough starting middle school.

Unfortunately, Rodney Bell was waiting to see the French Horn right after me. He was the biggest kid in school, even bigger than the eighth graders.

“Hey, E.S. Pete,” Rodney yelled. “Hurry up! I don’t have all day, dude.”

Rodney had heard Ms. Hornbauer ask if I had ESP and thought it was funny. He was right. I was able to read his mind. He was also wrong. It wasn’t funny. If you think someone likes being teased, think again.

Anyway, being psychic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Like, when I broke the lamp in my parent’s bedroom. I knew I was going to be grounded for two weeks. Did that help me get out of it? Noooo! Another problem with reading minds is that it’s not an exact science. I mean, I usually know what you’re thinking at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind. Or, that you’re not wrong.

I learned that lesson the hard way when I tried to read Casey Grant’s mind during our math test. She thought she was great at math. She thought wrong. Miss Johnson almost accused us of cheating because we both had the same exact incorrect answers. Luckily I sit across the room from Casey, so Miss Johnson knew we couldn’t have looked at each other’s papers. I don’t see why it’s cheating if I can read someone’s mind. You’re supposed to use your head to do the math and that’s exactly what I did. How come it’s not cheating if you’re good at math and get a hundred percent?

I guess there are some good things about having ESP, though, especially in middle school. It’s a tough time, trying to figure out what the world expects of you and what you expect of the world.

My parents always say not to worry too much, “Everyone else is just as confused as you are.” Well, I happen to know that is true. Sometimes, they’re even more confused. Especially when there is a school dance coming up. I wanted to ask Casey to go with me. I was just waiting for the right time.

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