A Corrupt King

April 9, 2008
By Connor Archard, Ardmore, PA

Julius Kingsly slid the mouse quickly across the desk and curtly double-clicked. “I hope this works,” he thought nervously as his hands shook violently. He clicked the mouse a few more times as his eyes darted about the screen, soaking in the loads of information being forced at them. He thought about how he had almost been expelled the last time he had tried to do this; he gulped. He quickly entered his school files and changed his grades from an assortment of D’s and C’s to A’s. He then hastily turned off his computer and walked out of his dark room and into the bathroom, which was located down the hall on his right upon walking out of the room.

It was a hot spring day, May 17, 2006, to be exact, one with little wind and a cloudless blue sky. The small town of Bellemonte, Delaware, was enjoying a sleepy Sunday afternoon, and even though it was nice out, Julius remained barricaded inside his parents’ generic mini-mansion. The whole neighborhood looked exactly the same; it was as if someone thought that hundreds of identical and uncreative houses placed next to each other in a cul-de-sac would look nice. Kids played outside on the cleanly cut green grass. The grass looked almost too green and was still sprinkled with morning dew which glistened in the noonday sun like little shards of glass that someone scattered all around. The grass danced in the gentle breeze

Julius arrived in his bathroom and, after relieving himself, stepped in front of the mirror, which was hanging on the wall. He stared deeply into his hazel eyes, which were greatly magnified by his glasses. His gaze drifted down his unshapely body and sagging stomach. He looked back up at his face and cringed at the mess of acne mixed with a small nose and ears. His lips bulged out because of the braces glued onto his teeth. He had pasty white skin and was slumped over because he felt that it required less energy than standing at attention. “I need to get out more,” Julius said softly to himself. He marched back into his dungeon of a room, which he kept lit only by his computer which was stuffed in one corner.

The next day he solemnly marched off to his school, Archibald Fisher High School. Julius arrived at the pristine, pretentious preparatory school for boys and stumbled through the morning like a kid who had dropped his glasses; everything seemed in a haze and Julius couldn’t completely tell what was happening. After his four morning classes were through, Julius walked off to lunch. He felt lethargic, but was glad for a break from the normal school day. He ate his lunch, alone, stranded on his table, a desert island lost in a sea of talking kids. Julius sat at his table wishing for friends, wishing that his old friend Jimmy hadn’t moved to Oregon. Ever since Jimmy had left Julius didn’t feel whole. He felt as though a part of him had left and he now lacked ambition. “This is Jimmy’s fault,” he thought angrily. “If Jimmy didn’t leave I wouldn’t have to change my grades in the first place.” Julius seemed to do this a lot; he would blame others for his own problems and try to weasel his way out of any situation he didn’t like.

As Julius took a bite of his bland sandwich, made of turkey and cheese piled meagerly on whole wheat bread, he heard the loudspeaker crackle to life.

“Julius Kingsly, please come to the main office,” said the school secretary in a monotonous voice as the loudspeaker cut out. Julius’ face turned a bright shade of red as blood rushed to his cheeks. His cheeks grew warm and as he got up and began walking out of the cafeteria he thought that he would melt if he got any hotter. Julius walked down the long main hall, which seemed to go on forever, to the principal’s office. The office smelled like bleach and there was a wet floor sign in one corner. Near the corner there was a closed door into the principal’s office, across the room sat Mrs. Balding, the secretary, at a small and unorganized desk. As Julius arrived in the drab office, the secretary told him to take a seat in a dirty brown chair. He grew hotter and felt fevered, everything seemed to be closing in on him as he waited. He began to feel very claustrophobic. After waiting for what felt like forever, the principal, Dr. Burbing, finally came out from his office, followed by a short, skinny kid who had tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Julius, there you are. Come into my office now,” said Dr. Burbing in a stern, unyielding voice. Julius entered the office and sat down in another brown chair across the room from the desk Dr. Burbing was sitting behind.

“I believe that you know why you are here. You have been changing your grades online, haven’t you?” Dr. Burbing asked in a harsh, muffled yell, as he glared angrily at Julius. Julius shrank into his chair, trying to escape the piercing glare of Dr. Burbing. He wished he could disappear or escape the office and the horrible fate that it represented.

“So, are you going to answer me or not?”

“Well… I… Um, well you see I just,” Julius stuttered at a loss for words. Julius was swearing uncontrollably and began to cry quietly. He was trying as hard as he could to hold back tears, but they eventually came flowing out, his eyelids were like a bursting dam as the tears erupted from his eyes. “Life is just hard sometimes sir! I just feel like I can’t… just,” Julius blurted out before becoming overwhelmed by his own tears.

“I understand that stuff happens, but you can’t just cheat the system and expect there to be no repercussions. Now the school had decided not to press charges for your hacking into the main system, but that isn’t to say that there won’t be serious ramifications.”

Julius tasted the salty tears which began to flow into his hanging mouth as he tried to compose some real words. Syllables and fragments bubbled out of his mouth in a tumultuous ocean of stuttering and pleading for forgiveness. The principal tried to avert his gaze from the pitiful sight, and coughed loudly. The principal’s coughs were loud bells and whistles telling Julius to stop with his babbling and to stop wasting Dr. Burbing’s time.

“Son, please pull yourself together,” barked Dr. Burbing in a commanding voice. At this time Julius tried to stop crying and ended up hiccupping and trying fruitlessly to stop sniffling every few seconds. “You must understand, Mr. Kingsly, you have committed a crime. Therefore, we are giving you a two week suspension. You must also change back your grades to their original values; and please, stop sniffling. It is very unbecoming. I am also requiring you to complete 30 hours of volunteer service around the school. Now, please just answer me one question: was it worth it?”

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