1 I Accidentally Vaporize My Maths Teacher
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.
If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.
Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.
If you’re a normal kid, reading this because you think it’s fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened.
But if you recognize yourself in these pages – if you feel something stirring inside – stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it’s only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they’ll come for you.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My name is Percy Jackson.
I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.
Am I a troubled kid?
Yeah. You could say that.
I could start at any point in my short miserable life to prove it, but things really started going bad last May, when our sixth-grade class took a field trip to Manhattan – twenty-eight mental-case kids and two teachers on a yellow school bus, heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at ancient Greek and Roman stuff.
I know – it sounds like torture. Most Yancy field trips were.
But Mr Brunner, our Latin teacher, was leading this trip, so I had hopes.
Mr Brunner was this middle-aged guy in a motorized wheelchair. He had thinning hair and a scruffy beard and a frayed tweed jacket, which always smelled like coffee. You wouldn’t think he’d be cool, but he told stories and jokes and let us play games in class. He also had this awesome collection of Roman armour and weapons, so he was the only teacher whose class didn’t put me to sleep.
I hoped the trip would be okay. At least, I hoped that for once I wouldn’t get in trouble.
Boy, was I wrong.
See, bad things happen to me on field trips. Like at my fifth-grade school, when we went to the Saratoga battlefield, I had this accident with a Revolutionary War cannon. I wasn’t aiming for the school bus, but of course I got expelled anyway. And before that, at my fourth-grade school, when we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Marine World shark pool, I sort of hit the wrong lever on the catwalk and our class took an unplanned swim. And the time before that… Well, you get the idea.
This trip, I was determined to be good.
All the way into the city, I put up with Nancy Bobofit, the freckly red-headed kleptomaniac girl, hitting my best friend, Grover, in the back of the head with chunks of peanut butter-and-ketchup sandwich.
Grover was an easy target. He was scrawny. He cried when he got frustrated. He must’ve been held back several grades, because he was the only sixth grader with acne and the start of a wispy beard on his chin. On top of all that, he was crippled. He had a note excusing him from PE for the rest of his life because he had some kind of muscular disease in his legs. He walked funny, like every step hurt him, but don’t let that fool you. You should’ve seen him run when it was enchilada day in the cafeteria.
Anyway, Nancy Bobofit was throwing wads of sandwich that stuck in his curly brown hair, and she knew I couldn’t do anything back to her because I was already on probation. The headmaster had threatened me with death-by-in-school-suspension if anything bad, embarrassing, or even mildly entertaining happened on this trip.
‘I’m going to kill her,’ I mumbled.
Grover tried to calm me down. ‘It’s okay. I like peanut butter.’
He dodged another piece of Nancy’s lunch.
‘That’s it.’ I started to get up, but Grover pulled me back to my seat.
‘You’re already on probation,’ he reminded me. ‘You know who’ll get blamed if anything happens.’
Looking back on it, I wish I’d decked Nancy Bobofit right then and there. In-school suspension would’ve been nothing compared to the mess I was about to get myself into.
Mr Brunner led the museum tour.
He rode up front in his wheelchair, guiding us through the big echoey galleries, past marble statues and glass cases full of really old black-and-orange pottery.
It blew my mind that this stuff had survived for two thousand, three thousand years.
He gathered us around a four-metre-tall stone column with a big sphinx on the top, and started telling us how it was a grave marker, a stele, for a girl about our age. He told us about the carvings on the sides. I was trying to listen to what he had to say, because it was kind of interesting, but everybody around me was talking, and every time I told them to shut up, the other teacher chaperone, Mrs Dodds, would give me the evil eye.