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The Milk Incident of 2007

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March 17, 2007.
“Ugh, another assembly? I wonder what this one’s about.”

“I think it’s something to do with ‘Got Milk?’.”

Fourth period had just ended, and the entire student body was piling into the fifties-styled, built-to-fit-five-hundred-people-sized gym. Seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen took their place in the bleachers while we eighth graders took our place on the newly renovated hardwood floors. I took my seat on the mascot’s ear next to my friend, Phyllis, and sat waiting as we discreetly drew Sharpie smiley faces on the bottom of our Doc Martens.

“Clap once if you can hear me. Clap twice if you can hear me. Clap three times if you can hear me.”

The assembly was officially beginning as Sister took the microphone.

“Today, we have something to celebrate. Sherry Wilson entered her essay in the ‘Got Milk?’ contest and won a grant for our school. Now, you should all take an example from this young lady. She blah blah blah. Facebook is bad. Blah blah blah…Milk!”

Milk? Heads snapped up around me. I watched as groggy seniors and daydreaming juniors lifted their heads from off their hands and started to slowly look around the gym.

“Milk!” There it came again—the hoarse scream that echoed off the mint-green walls of the gym. I jerked my head side to side to see where the obnoxious scream had come from. Suddenly, a wave of brown and tan came rushing towards me. It then all happened at once—the cries of barbaric desperation, the colossal stampede towards the gym backdoors, and the bewildered, hungry looks on the faces of those surrounding me.

“Phyllis? What’s happening?” I turned to my friend, looking for answers, but her eyes had turned wide. I suddenly didn’t recognize her. Her pupils were large, round black holes of hunger; her lips, quivering, were curled back, revealing razor-sharp incisors, and her breathing had dramatically quickened in a matter of minutes.

“Phyllis?” I shrank back in horror. But she didn’t respond, instead, she leapt to her feet and joined the stampede that was headed for the back doors. All around me, people started to look like Phyllis—wide eyes and sporadic breathing. What was going on? I was so confused. Thinking of nothing better to do, I joined the stampede. As I attempted to shove my way through the barbaric crowd, I was pushed into a senior who barred her sharp teeth and roared “Move!”

I squeaked and quickly moved away from her. Finally, I was able to shove my way through the vicious horde. As I reached the front, I was mesmerized by the sight in front of me. There it was-- the milk—the cafeteria milk that had been missing for a year. Ever since Hurricane Katrina struck a year and a half before, the school’s cafeteria had been closed—the lunch lines abandoned, the Styrofoam trays empty, the serving spoons hollow, and the refrigerator that held the milk lifeless and bare.

I was instantly overcome by the epidemic. My mind raced; my heart quickened, but I would not allow myself to be taken over by this wave of pandemonium—no, not me. I turned on my heel, ready to fight my way back out of the crowd when I unexpectedly felt a sweaty, moist hand deathly gripping at my ankle.

“Milk…milk…I need milk!” I stared in horror at the girl whose fatal grip was turning my ankle white from lack of circulation.

“Martha?” I exclaimed in disbelief. Martha Lee was one of the most composed and studious people I knew; her hair was always in a slicked-back ponytail, her shirt tucked in, her name tag on straight, and her notes neat and orderly, not a letter in the margin.

“Milk, milk, milk…” She cried out in exhaustion. Her ponytail was halfway in and halfway out, her blouse was rumpled and un-tucked, and her name tag was tilted slightly to the left. This was not the Martha I knew.

“Martha, get out of here! This isn’t safe!” I yelled over the mass of noise. Martha’s head then fell to the floor, and she was gone.

“No!” I sank to my knees and buried my face in my hands. Minutes later, a large crashing sound echoed throughout the small gym lobby. I quickly lifted my head out of my hands and stood up to see what had happened. There lay face down, on top of the now-smashed milk boxes, a rather small girl I recognized from my English class whose name was Sarah. Milk spilled out from under her, and for a second, everyone was quiet. Was she hurt? Unconscious? Alive? No one knew, but a moment later, little Sarah lifted her face, dripping with milk, and the chaos started all over again.

“Get up!” snarled a cranky junior. Sarah then scrambled to her feet and ran towards safety, an un-smashed blue carton tucked furtively into her sweater.

“It’s almost all gone! She killed it! She killed the milk!” Someone yelled from the surrounding swarm.

“I see one!” Another shouted. Off to the side, just beyond the spilled milk and cardboard fragments, there lay one, lonely, untouched milk carton.

“Mine!” A scream came up from the mob before everyone dived towards the carton. People came up for air, and hands thrashed forward as everyone fought for the carton. What was happening? I was standing along amongst the mob on the ground, looking for a place to hide when I suddenly spotted the “Got Milk?” employees. They were standing on their tip-toes with their backs up against the wall, trying with all their might to stay out of the crazed pack. They wore horror stricken faces and disgusted expressions.

“Help!” I screamed from my place across the lobby. Hands were flying up, and hair was being pulled. “We need to stop this!” I yelled. “This is getting out of hand!” I looked at them with the utmost pleading in my eyes, but, instead, they looked at me, shrugged their shoulders, and darted for the door. I finally made my way out of the throng of insanity and started towards the door. However, there, as I was about to open the door leading out of the gym, lay next to me a carton of 2% chocolate milk—my favorite. I quickly picked it up. How could I resist? It was laying there all innocently just waiting to be found, calling my name. Tara…Tara…Tara… it whispered. I succumbed, opened the carton, and gulped it down. Ah…that hit the spot. I tossed the empty carton in the trash can beside me and walked out of the doors, never once looking back.

On March 17, I survived the Milk Incident of 2007.





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