Chris sat outside the principal's office, trying to slow his breathing. He wrung his hands nervously as he awaited his doom. Chris had never been in the principal's office before and was not thrilled about breaking his record.
Chris squeezed his eyes shut and whispered to himself, "It's okay, Chris. There's nothing to be worried about...."
"Except for that one thing...." Mouse said, turning lazily to Chris, "You know the story, don't
"I still hate you." Chris said, but added, "No, I don't know the story."
Mouse gasped and explained, "Wow, really? Well, sometimes if the principal gets really mad, then she picks a student in the office at random and spontaneously expels them!"
Chris tried not to gasp, thinking about whether to believe her or not. Could he afford not to?
He crossed his arms, "Yeah, sure. How come you haven't been expelled yet? You've probably set a record on how many times you've been to the office."
Mouse shrugged, "I'm special."
Chris laughed, "Oh, I get it. You were joking, weren't you?"
Mouse turned to Chris and said sarcastically, "No, I was serious."
Chris pouted and said, "Well, you don't have to be so sarcastic."
"I never said the principle wasn't The Devil." Mouse said, staring straight ahead as the door to the principal's office swung open.
Chris's breath shorted out and Mouse chuckled, "Amateur."
Chris stared in horror at the intimidating woman walking toward them and tried not to look too terrified.
Mouse leaned over and whispered to him, "That's the principal."
"Really?" Chris choked as the principal approached them. She took in Chris's black eye and split lip, Mouse's bloody nose, etc.
The principal said sharply, "Hello, Mouse."
She turned to Chris and studied him, "I don't believe I know you."
Chris swallowed and managed to say, "I-I'm Chris Harper."
The principal's face softened up and, surprised, she said, "Chris Harper? From the honer
Chris nodded meekly and stuttered, "Y-yes, Ma'am. F-for the past six years."
The principal scowled at Mouse and folded her arms. She said sharply, "Mouse, why did you hit this poor boy?"
Mouse looked offended and pointed at Chris, "I didn't hit him! He jumped on top of me and punched me in the face."
The secretary and a few others of the office staff snorted and Mouse glared at them and shouted, "Hey! He caught me off guard!"
The principal looked between Chris and Mouse and said, "Uh-huh, and who do you expect me to believe? The girl that comes to my office at least twice every day, or the boy who has been on the honer roll for six consecutive years and has never had to come here?"
"Hey! I only came once last Thursday!" Mouse said defensively.
The principal clenched her teeth and said, "I. Don't. Care. Why don't you two come into my office?"
Mouse grinned at Chris, who was now about as white as a sheet and his hands were shaking at his sides.
They went into the principal's office and sat down. Chris was sweating now and the principal said sincerely, "Now, now, you don't have to look so nervous, Honey."
She turned to Mouse and said sharply, "How about you go ahead and tell me your side of the story."
Mouse rolled her eyes and said, "Okay, here's what happened, Carol."
"For the last time, Mouse, you call me Mrs. Nelson." The principle said shortly.
Mouse said curtly, "Sorry, Carol."
Mrs. Nelson gave her a look, but let her tell the story.
"So," Mouse said, "As I was saying, here's what happened. So, all my friends were ignoring me and I asked them why and Chris said that I was useless. So, then I dumped a lunch tray of the crud you call 'food' all over him. You know, usually he wouldn't have done anything about it but cry, but this time, he picked up a nearby fire extinguisher and hit me with it-"
"Now, you're making that up, Mouse!" Chris sputtered.
Mouse put her hand on Chris's face and said, "I'm not finished with my story, Christina."
"Mouse," Mrs. Nelson said with an edge to her voice.
Mouse coughed loudly, just to annoy Mrs. Nelson, and continued her story, "So, Chris hit me with the fire extinguisher,"
Chris glared at Mouse, but she took no notice and kept talking, "And it hurt. So, then I told him to stop and he wouldn't, he just kept hitting me!"
Mouse glanced at Chris, but was disappointed by his calmness. She said, "So, then I had to defend myself, so I hit him back."
Mouse folded her hands in her lap and Chris said quietly, "She's wrong."
Mrs. Nelson nodded and smiled tightly, "That's an interesting story, Mouse. Did your little friends help you come up with it or was it all you?"
Mrs. Nelson turned to Chris and said gently, "Now, Chris,"
Chris tensed up and Mrs. Nelson said, "Would you like to tell me what actually happened?"
Chris stared at her and said without thinking, "You're not going to drop me into a pit of fire?"
Mouse bursted out laughing and Mrs. Nelson told her to be quiet and not to lie to the students. Mrs. Nelson smiled tightly and said, "No, Chris, I'm not. Pay no mind to Mouse's ridiculous stories."
"Yes," Chris said shakily, "Doing that never seems to turn out right for me."
Mrs. Nelson nodded and said, "So, can you please tell me what happened, Chris?"
Chris nodded quickly, "Oh, yes, I beg your pardon. Er...."
Chris looked guilty and Mouse rolled her eyes, "Spit it out, you baby!"
Mrs. Nelson hushed Mouse again and Chris tugged on his collar nervously, "Um, okay.... W-what happened was....."
He took a deep breath and said, holding back tears of stress, "We were all angry with Mouse— M-my friends and I, that is— And so w-we weren't talking to her much. Mouse told us that we didn't have the right to be mad at her, which I think was untrue. B-because the day before, she, um....."
Chris blushed and Mouse rolled her eyes, "I kneed him in the crotch. My friend, Christina here, is just too much of a prude to say it herself."
"Mouse, you're interrupting me." Chris said.
"Yes," Mrs. Nelson said calmly, "Go on, please."
Chris swallowed and said, "So, I told Mouse that maybe she didn't need us and that maybe we weren't the best choice in friends for her. I figured she would want friends that would just let her get away with being rude to them-"
"You know what, Chris," Mouse said, "I-it's a b-bit h-hard to unders-stand you when you're t-talking like th-that. You sound like Lydia, dude!"
"Will you please let me finish, Mouse?" Chris said, trying to stay calm.
They didn't speak for a bit and Mrs. Nelson said, "Please continue, without interruptions."
She eyed Mouse and Chris said, "Um, yes. O-of course. So, um, I told Mouse that maybe we weren't important to her and maybe she wasn't the nicest little thing. Then, she poured her lunch all over me! The whole lunchroom was laughing, and....."
Chris sniffed and blinked back tears. Mrs. Nelson nodded for him to go on, "It's okay, tell me. I'm the principal."
She smiled and Chris looked at her uneasily, but nodded. "Um, okay.... I.... I got mad and I...."
Chris looked down guiltily and said, "It's true, I hit her."
Mrs. Nelson nodded, looking serious, "Thank you for telling me the truth, I know that can be hard."
"Can I go now?" Mouse said, picking her teeth and putting her feet up on a chair.
"No." Mrs. Nelson said, moving the chair so Mouse would put her feet down.
Mrs. Nelson picked up the phone and asked Chris, "Chris, would either of your parents mind a call at work?"
Chris tilted his head to the side and said, "I-I beg your pardon?"
"Your parents' phone number, Chris." Mrs. Nelson said gently, "Which one should I use?"
Chris's face fell and Mouse grinned. Chris stuttered, laughing nervously, "I'm sorry, er.... What for?"
"I have to call your parents, Chris." Mrs. Nelson said, "I have to tell her about what happened today."
Chris's jaw dropped and he stared at Mrs. Nelson, "M-my parents? Y-you have to tell them?"
Mrs. Nelson nodded and a second later Chris was out cold.
Mouse started laughing her head off and Mrs. Nelson called the nurse in to help Chris.
At the end of the day, the secretary's voice crackled over the intercom and said; Will Angela Harper please report to the principal's office? Angela Harper, to the office. Thank you.
Some of my class 'oohed' and I rolled my eyes. I glanced at Alice and she mouthed, Good luck. Well, what did that mean? Did I need luck?
I went down to the office and the secretary motioned for me to come in.
"Is something wrong?" I asked and she pointed to the nurse's office. I went in to see Chris lying down on one of the beds.
"Is he okay?" I asked the nurse.
She nodded and said in her weird, squeaky voice, "Yeah, he's fine. He's not hurt that bad, he just fainted."
"Fainted?" I asked, confused, "Why?"
"Angela!" I heard someone say.
"Mom?" I asked, turning around.
She ran up and hugged me, "Where's Chris?"
I gestured to where he was sleeping and she gently shook his shoulder, "Wake up, Honey."
Chris opened his eyes and said, "Mom! What are you doing he-"
Chris's eyes widened as if he had just remembered what was going on and he started babbling, "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, Mommy! I can't believe I even did that. Oh, I'm sorry!"
Am I invisible? I thought, kind of annoyed. I guess I shouldn't have been; Mom is Chris's, well, mom. She deserves to be his mother figure every once in a while.
Mom gasped and ran her fingers gently over Chris's bruised cheek, "Sweetie, does that hurt?"
Chris shook his head, but bit his lip. He said through clenched teeth, "No... I'm fine...."
Mom looked at him pitifully and said to the nurse, "Is Mrs. Nelson busy?"
"Hold on, I can check." The nurse said. Geez, that voice was driving me nuts!
The nurse left the room and a few minutes later, the principal, Mrs. Nelson, came in. She smiled at Mom, who said, "What are the consequences for what Chris has done?"
Mom was trying to keep calm, but Chris was hyperventilating as Mrs. Nelson called Mouse in. Mrs. Nelson said to Mouse, "Mouse-"
"I know, I know," Mouse said casually, "Four days suspension."
The blood drained from Chris's face and he squeaked, "Four days? D-does that apply to me?"
Mrs. Nelson nodded and said gently, "I'm afraid so, Chris. Getting into a fight at school is a serious thing."
Mouse gestured to Chris and said, "Why are you so nice to him? He started the fight!"
Mrs. Nelson clenched her teeth and said, "I'll see you next week, Mouse."
Mouse scoffed and left the room.
Chris was sitting in Mom's lap, staring blankly into space. Pale-faced and wide-eyed, he looked like he was going to have a stroke.
"Hey," I said, walking over to them, "You okay, baby brother?"
Chris said in a monotone voice, "Four-day suspension. That's going to stay on my permanent record."
Mom and I said in unison, "Really?"
Chris swallowed, "What will Dad think?"
I chuckled and thought, Way to go, Sport! You got in your first fist-fight! How manly of you!
"Come on," Mom said, standing up and taking Chris's hand, "Let's go home, Sweetie."
"It'll be that way for four days." Chris said wearily.
Mom nodded, smiling kindly and trying to cheer him up, "Yeah! It can be fun, Honey. Four days without school! Free time!"
Chris swallowed, "I'll have to get the homework from Alice. I'll call her right when school ends."
"You keep track of the exact time?" I said stupidly.
"You don't?" Chris said, eyeing me.
"I just wait 'till the bell rings." I said, "Am I supposed to know?"
Chris rolled his eyes at me and Mom put her hand on his shoulder.
"You know what?" She said gently, "I think you deserve a break. You're always working your little butt off at school, with homework.... It's good for you!"
She kissed Chris on the cheek and he said, "Well, all the other kids have to go to school."
Mom nodded, "Yeah, but not all of them work as hard as you."
Hey, Mom, is this really the best advice you can give Chris? I thought, You're better than everyone else, stop caring so much about school?
Mom patted Chris's shoulder and said, "You'll live, Chris."
Chris sniffed and nodded.
Chris and Mom got to go home, but I had still had to stay at school for another hour and a half. Hmm... Maybe I should give getting suspended a try. Heh heh, I'm kiddiiiiing.....