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She stands up and slowly walks into the bare kitchen, with the old wood floors creaking at every step. She senses someone is watching her, but it could just be paranoia from the weed kicking in. She turns her head slowly around her looking for peeping eyes. A shining red light catches her eye as it turns to blue, and then back to red again. She was right about that feeling.
“COPS! RUN!” She screamed from across the run down house.
A small group of teens stumble from the living room and sprint to the back door with fear in their eyes. She catches up on the back porch and they all scatter into the surrounding thick woods. They nervously hide behind trees and brush and watch as two uniforms slip into the house. They can see them though the busted windows, where smoke was drifting out, and can hear them walk on the creaky old floors.
“Damnit, they got away!” A short cop with a dark colored buzz cut yells.
She holds her breath.
“AAAACHOO” someone sneezes from behind her.
“Wait did you hear that?” the other police officer says.
“Jeez Cody! Way to go. Let’s get outta here, and fast!” she whispered.
The cops were stepping out of the back door as the teens ran wildly through the dense woods. The cops start after them. She runs with all her heart, she couldn’t let her other group of friends find out she got caught with the stoners...and what about her parents, they would flip out about something like this. She could imagine what her dad would say,
“Callie, you had so much going for you and you had to go and mess that up with a bunch of losers!” Her mom would just cry and wonder what she did wrong raising her. These thoughts race through her mind as she races though the woods along side the friends that no one would accept. She wondered why everyone judged them just because they did drugs and didn’t always fit in with the “popular” crowd. They are all smart, friendly, and enjoyable people. Her thoughts are distracted by loud yelling that was getting closer. The cops were shouting at them to stop running. The group of teens is getting tired, most likely from the blackness in their lungs. Cody is all of the sudden out of sight. She looks back and sees him lying on the ground holding his knee. She thinks about her future...the college plans, the cheerleading, all the work she’s done to get there. It’s too much to give up. She sprints ahead. A voice in the back of her head was screaming at her for not stopping to help Cody. The screaming got louder and louder until she couldn’t take it. With a swish of platinum blonde she was back at Cody’s side. He has a grimace on his face from the pain. She sees the swelling beginning under his trembling hand. His knee was almost doubled in size. The shouting of the cops get closer and thoughts of a ruined life race through her head. She knows coming back was a bad decision on her part, but she’s too nice of a person to leave Cody to fend for himself. She knows he can’t lie, she knows he will break under pressure. Her mind spins with confusion and fear. The cops quickly approach the terrified teens with enraged looks consuming their faces. The cops stop sprinting and walk closer to the teens.
“Hey, you kids!” one says loudly. “What are you two doin’ running through the woods so fast?”
“We-we-we were j-just hangin’ out back here” Cody stuttered.
She keeps her mouth shut. She knows there’s some amendment about a right to stay quiet when you’re in trouble with the law.
“What were you kids doing back at that old house? I smelled dope back there. You know what charges I can get you on?”
“Possession of a schedule 1 drug, trespassing on private property, minor in possession, and fleeing the police.” He said matter-of-factly.
She suddenly realizes how this one decision could easily affect the rest of her life. She looks toward Cody, who is still holding his knee in intense pain.
“He got hurt,” she stated nervously, “We should probably get him to a doctor.” The cops stare at her all of the sudden. Their eyes bore a hole through the shield of confidence she has, and they see the fear. The fear is beginning to consume her. Hot tears sneak their way out of her eyes and she attempts to wipe them away, as if they never came. She knows the cops see the tears, but they are trained not to care about anything but the law.
“Okay let’s go then. We’ll get your information back in the patrol car,” The short cop says emotionlessly. He grabs at her arm and the other cop helps Cody to his feet. He slowly hobbles back towards the aged house with the aid of the cop. She is forced to get up and quickly move back to where they had just run from. She and the taller cop make it back past the old house first due to Cody’s injury. He asks for her license and she reluctantly hands it over. She can hear Cody moaning as he struggles toward her. The time goes by in slow motion. The cops take their lighters and one asks what they have been doing with them. The teens look at each other and ponder what they should say. The cops already know, they are just teasing the kids by asking. She stays silent and Cody does too.
“We pretty much already know what went on, and we know this isn’t the first time,” the short cop says bluntly. Her mind begins to spin as she wonders how she got herself into this crazy situation.
It all started when she was just trying to be nice to a boy in her class that was pretty quiet. They started talking more and more in class and he asked her is she wanted to hang out over the weekend. He told her that him and his friends snuck into this old abandoned house just out of town and smoked. She knew he would think it was cool of her to go even though he didn’t come out and say it. Well obviously she wanted to be cool or else she wouldn’t be in this horrible situation now. Maybe, just maybe if she didn’t worry so much about what others thought about her, she would be home right now getting ready for a test tomorrow or preparing for college in a couple months. College, something that she hadn’t even thought about in the last couple moments. What about the scholarship for cheer? What about the money her parents have been saving? What if they didn’t even want her anymore? No important state college would want a criminal attending its prestigious school. She is, or maybe was, the only girl on the Greenville High School competitive cheer team that got a cheer scholarship to a big college. She had worked for that scholarship, for years and years. She is brought back to reality as the patrol car bumps along the dirt roads. She thinks about how cruel the world is right now. All she did was be nice to a guy in class. Now look what she got, the biggest mistake of her life!
This hanging out turned into a regular thing after a couple fun weekends. This group was different than her usual group of friends. They were carefree and didn’t seem think they would ever get in trouble. They believed in peace, legalizing weed, and living in the moment. She had heard her other friends call them hippies. Her other friends don’t know about her hanging out with them. They probably wouldn’t approve.
“Callie…Callie…are you awake?” She hears Cody talking to her.
“Sorry, just thinking about how this is the end of my life,” she whispers. They are now sitting in the back of the cop car, with thick steel bars separating the law from the lawbreakers. She could feel the cold metal wrapped tightly around her thin wrists. She is scared to say too much in front of the cops.
“Don’t worry, we just made a mistake, life will go on. It may just be a little harder now.” He was such an optimist.
“Maybe it will be okay for you Cody, but I have other friends who will think of me differently now, a scholarship I probably ruined, and a family that will want to disown me. The future doesn’t look so bright for me anymore. This isn’t me. I don’t make mistakes!” She exclaimed. The short one turned around. She shuts her mouth and looks away quickly.
“Don’t ask yourself what people want Callie, ask yourself what makes you feel alive and go do it, because what the world needs are people who feel alive,” Cody says lightheartedly. He sounded like a total hippy.
“He is right about one thing today,” the short cop says as he turns back around. The other one just nods and continues driving. The rest of the ride is silent, but inside her head is full of noisy thoughts and confusion. She notices a welcoming sign into the town of Greenville and slides down a little further in her seat. Embarrassment floods over her as they drive through the town to the police department building at the end of Main Street. The cop parks the car in the back and the two of them get out and open up the back doors. They are led into the red brick building and down a long fluorescent hall. Cody is taken into a room to the right and the short cop leads her into another room on the left. As she enters she notices how bland the room is. There is a plain wood table surrounded by four mismatching chairs. She can tell the police station doesn’t have very sufficient funding. The short cop tells her to take a seat in a chair to the right. She picks the chair that looks less breakable and places her skinny body on the edge of the chair.
“I know you just made a mistake. I see your type every once and a while, getting caught up in the wrong crowd, and just trying to be cool. With that in mind, I am going to take it easier on you,” He said with authority in his voice. She just stares at him.
“What do you mean by take it easy on me?”
“Well obviously your parents are going to have to find out…” She sighs. “And we will have you do a small amount of community service, but I will personally try to keep you out of court. Your college won’t find out, so I think your safe there.”
“Thank you so much!” She exclaimed. She never thought a cop could be so nice. Her head clears of the confusion and only one thing is on her mind, her parent’s reaction. The short cop, whose name is actually Paul Roth, walks out of the room and lets the heavy door slam behind him. At least ten minutes pass slowly and she knows her parents must be on their way. Her house is no more than five minutes down the road. They will arrive soon. She doesn’t know what they will say or what will happen, but she has a pretty good idea her life will change in the near future. She thinks back to Cody talking in the car. She knows the change will be good. She needs to stop caring what others think of her. One quote in particular sticks out from the conversation in the cop car. Don’t ask yourself what people want, ask yourself what makes you feel alive and go do it, because what the world needs is people who feel alive. She is going to start living and stop being who everyone else wants her to be.