There is some language or violence that may not be appropriate for people under thirteen years of age.
An innocent Redondo Beach man puts together pieces of a puzzle to discover where things took a wrong turn in his life. This is his story.
It was February 21, 2008, Adams Middle School was in session. When Alexandros Martinez was walking to class, he saw Katin Powell talking to Mr. Jon Pede. The following day, when Alex was getting ready to go to lunch with Raymond Gelsey, both boys saw Katin monitor the lunch line. It was revealed yesterday morning that Pede talked to Katin about being the lunch line monitor.
The next few months, everyone got used to their routines. Katin kept on monitoring the lunch lines, Ms. Carol Beck has been giving checks to students, and Raymond and Alex eat lunch with Ms. Judy Cawby's kids. One day, Alex felt heartsick about Ms. Julie Rosadini, since she was moved up to 6th grade teacher. Alex was certain that Ms. Rosadini will be back to teaching Special Education Math and Science next year. The trouble was that he and his classmates will be in high school.
In summer school with Ms. Margaret Burbano, Ms. Gayla Albrecht announced that Rosadini would not teach SDC in 2007-08. She was offered to stand in for Ms. Melanie Semel-Deck, who fell ill and could not teach that year. As a result, Beck was hired as Rosadini's replacement. Knowing the direction that Beck's class went, he longed for Rosadini to return as SDC teacher. Alex was certain that Beck is not teaching at Adams School forever.
Years had gone by. It was Senior year. Christian Martinez's first year at Adams Middle School was also Alex's last year at Redondo Union High School. When Alex was looking at the middle school website, he wanted to see if he could pay a visit to his former teachers (i.e. Gearin, Rosadini). He found out that Beck is no longer the teacher at Adams. Kellie Ma now teaches Special Math and Science.
At one of the Friendship Circle meetings, Alex remembered Ms. Beck and brought her up in a hangman game. The hint was: "She no longer teaches at Adams Middle School". Students kept guessing letters until the answer was "Ms. Beck". Connie Atkins said that she saw Ms. Beck at the beach over the weekend. Alex told her that she is no longer teaching at Adams, which he is happy about. Raymond was concerned on why Alex doesn't like Beck. He responds that he brought Beck up, since Kellie Ma is now the teacher. Connie was familiar with Ms. Ma. Likewise, she adds that Beck was a nice teacher that Connie really liked. No one ever talks bad about Connie's favorite teachers.
The next time Alex played hangman with the club, he got the entire class to participate. It was the same as last time, but he added another hint; "this teacher was replaced with the real sweet Ms. Ma". This statement implies that Kellie Ma was better than the previous teacher Ms. Beck, who was horrible than her replacement. Students kept guessing random letters, with Mannal Haddad incorrectly guessing "Ms. Jost". Alex said that "it must be a retired teacher from Adams Middle School".
Only two letters shy of getting the puzzle complete--the answer was MS. B _ _ K--Ms. Jodi Rhodes, in charge of RUHS' Friendship Circle lunch club, walked over to the board to see what Alex was writing. She yelled at Alex to "erase the hangman game" since "it wasn't nice to be happy that someone is gone". Alex tried to reason that Ms. Beck was not a great teacher. Rhodes, however, said that Alex can keep the hangman game up on the board, as long as the next round was appropriate to the club.
Her arrogance put Alex off so much that he wrote a letter to Rhodes once he left Redondo Union High for El Camino College. Angered at what Rhodes did in March 2012, Alex mentioned the hangman game and how Rhodes yelled at him to erase the hangman game which wasn't very nice. Alex said that he was going to make Rhodes feel bad about what she had done.
Days later when classes were back in session, Christian Martinez, an 8th grader at Adams, received a voicemail on the house phone from Lori Shimkus of the Redondo Beach Police Department. Once Alex came home from class, Chris talked to him about what happened that the police called the house. Knocking was heard at the door, so Chris told Alex to answer it since it is probably the police.
Alex opened the door to a slim, tall, non-breasted female police officer. It was Lori Shimkus, School Resource Officer for Redondo Union High School. She came to the Martinez house to talk to Alex about any issues he is having with Rhodes. Shimkus showed Alex a copy of the email he wrote to Rhodes over Thanksgiving. According to her, this message caused "quite an uproar at the Redondo Beach Unified School District".
Alex had a clear explanation for this mess. Alex's Senior Year at Redondo Union High was also Christian's first year of middle school since 6th grade now takes place at Adams. He heard that Ms. Carol Beck no longer teaches at Adams and that Kellie Ma now teaches the class. Some people, including Chris' science teacher Ms. Christie Behenna and the Hoyer's family-friend Grace Scotting, agree that Ms. Ma was really nice. Cue to Friendship Circle's RUHS School Meeting. Alex remembered Ms. Beck and brought her up in a hangman game, saying how happy he is now that Beck was gone. Rhodes walked over to the board to see what Alex was writing. She yelled at him to take down the hangman game, since it was not very nice to be happy that someone is retired.
For short, Rhodes yelled at Alex to take down the [not very nice] hangman game, which made him feel uncomfortable. In return, Alex intimidated Rhodes to see how she likes it. Friendship Circle did not matter to Alex anymore and that he and James Clark, whom introduced Alex to the FC in 10th grade with the Catalina trip in 2009, are through as both guys never talked since 2011. Shimkus peaced Alex out and told him to stay out of trouble. He had to inform his parents about Shimkus' visit to the Martinez house. They were not pleased about this.
Around Super Bowl Sunday and Chris' 8th Grade Science Camp trip, Shimkus sends Lorna Martinez an email talking about Alexandros Martinez.
While Alex was at Steve Mengel's house cleaning up, Vince and Lorna went down to the Redondo Beach Police Station to have a talk with Shimkus in person. She told them that Alex was still writing stories about Ms. Rhodes, even stating that he wants to kill her. The worst part is that Alex was using another person's account to publish the story. Lorna even mentioned that the mess was started because Alex wrote a hangman game [about Beck], which was not very nice. An ultimatum was imposed; if Alex was STILL writing stories about Ms. Rhodes in an intimidating manner, he could get locked up.
Heading home from Grandpa's house, Lorna told Alex to delete any stories about Ms. Rhodes online, which were deleted from Ideas Wiki subsequently.
The reason I wrote this story was to sum up that my mishap with Ms. Rhodes Thanksgiving 2013 was because she yelled at me to take down the hangman game about Ms. Beck. While I still liked Mrs. Rosadini because of her rules, Ms. Beck was not a great replacement. At least Christian Martinez's generation (AMS students in 2010s) had a better teacher for SDC Math and Science: Kellie Ma.
How The Mess Could Have Been Avoided
In all seriousness, there was another way to avoid the mess between Alex and Ms. Rhodes.
If Alex still found out about Ms. Carol Beck when Chris starts Adams Middle School in Fall 2011, given Lincoln no longer has the 6th grade classes, then he would find out about Ms. Kellie Ma being [Beck's] replacement. Connie Atkins already told Alex that Ms. Beck was a nice teacher and that [Atkins] liked Beck. She also tells Alex that "no one disses her favorite teachers". Alex still brings up Ms. Beck a couple of weeks later, even adding "the real sweet Ms. [Kellie] Ma" in the hint. Rhodes still yells at Alex to take down the hangman game, saying that it wasn't very nice to be glad that someone was retired.
Since Alex chose not to continue with Friendship Circle after leaving Redondo Union High School in 2012, he doesn't hold a grudge on Ms. Rhodes. This means that he doesn't think about Ms. Beck and how glad [Alex] was to hear that Ms. Beck is gone forever. Closing the book on Friendship Circle and studying Behavioral Science meant that Alex would move on from Ms. Beck, a past argument with Ms. Rhodes, and a visit from Lori Shimkus.
A sequel entitled Taking a Wrong Turn was developed as a follow-up to this story. That story talks about how Alex's time at P.F. Chang's ended on a rough note despite promising to find a new job once he got home from Christmas vacation.