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If The Roles Were Reversed
In retrospect, it was a bad idea. It wasn’t my idea, but then again, my ideas don’t usually involve pop tarts, hair spray, orange juice, a cafeteria full of adults, and the national anthem. It was my best friend Dale’s idea. It was also his dare. But I didn’t rat him out for various reasons.
The first reason being he has never, ever ratted me out. The second one was, he’d already gone to detention thrice and he didn’t want to get suspended which was what would happen if he got caught breaking the rules again. His parents would, understandably, kill him, and as he has said before – I don’t want to die yet. The third being the fact that I was stupid enough to take the dare.
The dare, in all its consequences, was glorious, and so absurdly stupid it worked. So the cafeteria was holding a meeting with the school’s staff, and Dale just happened to know. He also ‘just happened’ to have a can of hairspray, a carton of orange juice, a box of expired pop tarts, and a thirst for trouble in his backpack.
The plan was for me to jump on one of the tables, scaring the hell out of the teachers in the process, hand out the expired pop tarts, pour orange juice on the closest person’s head (which was mine, yes I poured orange juice on my head, smooth.) Spray hair spray on any possible creature, then run like hell out if there. Oh yeah, and all while singing the national anthem.
So I got caught. And now I’m sitting out here just waiting to be sentenced. Luckily for me, I can talk my way out of anything. I mean anything, last summer alone, I talked twelve waitresses and one vet out of charging me anything. So I bring out my big guns when the principal, Mr. Jessen, begins questioning me.
“So why exactly, did you disrupt the most important teacher meeting of the year, Mr. Pinn?”
“I was dared,” honesty is the best policy, well until you begin to lie.
“And who dared you exactly?”
“Me, myself, and I,” I answer, this is where the lying comes in.
“So you dared yourself, to do,” he spreads his arms widely, “this.” I can tell he doesn’t believe me. I shake my head, orange juice spilling onto his desk, he flinches, Mr. Jessen is a very neat person.
“Dared isn’t the right word exactly, maybe challenged, or set a goal.”
“A goal?” He raises an eyebrow, “to do,” again his arms spread out widely “this.”
“Yes,” and figuring I might as well take it all the way, I grin, “I think achieved it.”
“Well I think you achieved your…goal, Mr. Pinn. But why was that your goal in the first place?”
I shake my hair out again, orange juice droplets flying everywhere, the smell is beginning to bother me.
“I wanted to smell like orange juice,” I look at his crossed arms and add, “and I wanted to show patriotism in a fun way.”
“…Fun…is not the word I would use to describe this Mr. Pinn.”
“I understand that the action wasn’t fun, Mr. Jessen, but in all honesty the idea was pretty fun, no, not the idea the concept.”
Mr. Jessen looks at me.
“Sander,” he says “you used to make me proud.”
I look up, and gulp, my eyes watering.
“You were an honors student with big plans, and opportunities, now you’re in the bottom classes, barely passing them, in and out of my office every other week,” he gets down to my level, taking in the orange juice, “your efforts have been minimal, Sander. If you cared like you used you wouldn’t be here. But I have a theory, that much care never really leaves a person, so what do you care about Sander? Riddle me that and I will let you walk out of here free.”
“I care about orange juice,” I shrug, flecks fly everywhere. He is not amused. “I care about chasing a lone butterfly to the end of the earth just because the colors caught your eye. Persevrence.”
“Your analogy, Sander, was exceeding terrible.”
“How about I put it this way – I care about not feeling like I want to throw up everyday. About pushing yourself to the breaking point, it’s that what life is pushing so hard on your willpower you snap.”
“That was…a way of putting it. What happened to you Sander?”
“It is what it is,” I stand, “and what it is, is that I don’t want to be here anymore”
I walk out the door, and me, being me, take off my shirt in the process. Mr. Jessen coughs behind me, I grin even though he can’t see it. I know where he wants me to go.
The advanced science class, that’s where he wants me to go; well it doesn’t have to be science. But I’m in a science mood. Everyone looks up when I come in. They all know me, of course they do, I’ve spent five years in the same classes as these people. They are all, really good people. I never fit in with these fools.
“Sander, you’re shirtless,” Beatrix, the girl that everyone says I look amazingly like, the girl who told me her life story which was horrible, by the way. Beatrix, the girl who points out the obvious, says this.
“I was aware,” I say.
“Except I wasn’t aware you were such a smart ass.”
“Me? A smart ass, have you looked at yourself lately?”
“You should know, I don’t own any mirrors,”