My Name is not neither an Herb nor a Spice is the second chapter of Stranger in a Strange School.
In second period, Tina Kwee sat in her desk. She didn't pay attention to who came in, only thinking about she hated a certain obnoxious idiot. So much so that she didn't notice a rather expressionless faced, square looking guy talk to the teacher. Then her thoughts were completely demolished by angry shouting.
"What did you just call me?" Tina looked at the boy, new to the school, her age, wearing one of those newsboy caps and had impossibly grey eyes.
"I'm sorry it was just a slip of the tongue!" The teacher looked at the boy who just a few minutes ago seemed devoid of all emotion.
"What did you just call me?" Tina would have stood up but the last thing she wanted to be doing was making the news instead of reporting it. This boy was strange.
"Will you calm down?" The teacher did not look happy with his new student.
"My name is neither an herb nor a spice!" Tina started to think about what the new boy had just said. There was only one name that she thought of that would be the same name of a herb or spice and a boy: Basil. That alone could be very unfortunate if people kept pronouncing it as the herb instead of the name. No doubt this was the new student that Lee had mentioned when she bumped into him on her way to class.
"Alright, I'm sorry, now can you please go sit next to Tina?" The teacher pointed at the seat next to Tina. She watched as Basil turned his head and was horrified as the angry look on his face turned into an expressionless one. It was just like how Lee had described it, like Basil was in a trance. But something weird happened. Basil's eyes seemed to shine as if he recognized her from the morning's news. His expressionless face turned to one of shock and he nodded to the teacher's instructions. Tina watched as Basil sat down next to her, not looking a little a nervous.
"Basil?" Tina spoke to Basil just before he started to look down at his desk. The grey-eyed boy turned his head, the nervous look from a few seconds ago still there. "Hi!" Tina raised a hand and waved at him.
Basil's eyes darted from her hand to the floor. There wasn't much of a distance so why was she waving? "Hi." Basil was unusually quiet, from the brief description Lee had given and what she had just seen, Tina expected him to either be loud or… she didn't know what but not quiet. "You called me by my name, not by the name of whatever the hell that is."
"Well, I don't think it would be nice to call you by the name of the herb." Tina expected him to insist that she call him by his last name: Hagen. Strangely, he did not. She watched as Basil turned his head muttering something under his breath, something about… threatening a fire extinguisher? From these first moments of knowing Basil, Tina thought he was a nice guy, odd and maybe a little shy but still a nice guy. While waiting for the five minutes in between classes to end, Tina looked at the cap that Basil was wearing.
"So… from that hat I'd guess you're into the news." Tina didn't expect an answer but she got one.
"No, just like the hat." Basil's voice was quite and shy. He didn't turn to look at her he just looked at his desk. What did he do most of the time look at the floor? She was actually surprised to look at her and asked "Do you know Lee Ping?"
"Uh, yes." Tina tapped her foot quietly. First muttering about threatening a fire extinguisher now asking if she knew Lee? Did this guy have any pattern to how he interacted with people. "You do know that he pranked the entire school, right?" Tina winced when she finished her question. Basil was new so he wouldn't know about that.
"Did he?" Basil turned his head back to his desk. "I had no idea." Tina continued to tap her foot.
"So do you want to join the news team?"
"No, not really." Basil scratched his right ear. Tina jumped a bit when she noticed a scar behind the ear. "I'm kind of shy."
"So I've noticed." Tina swallowed and then asked about what she just saw. "So… h-how did you get that scar behind your ear?" This question caused the emotionless look on his face, the look that Lee had seen during his entire first period, to show up.
"It doesn't matter." Basil turned back to looking back at his desk and then class began. Tina didn't speak to Basil again after that. Truth be told, she was unsure about him, wondering why there were times that seemed like he was in trance. She did think he was a nice guy, it was just that she wondered why he was in that trance-like state sometimes and wondered if it could be connected to the mysterious Coral Grove.
Basil was originally going to have a strange verbal tic where he would use two words with the same meaning in the same sentence. Hence the title.