Midnight Mischief

July 24, 2008
Everyone knows the band kids are the good kids. We work hard, and we have 4.0 grade point averages; we have our own jobs and cars. You’ll never catch one of us disrespecting an elder, either. We’re responsible, wholesome, and moral.

Behind that innocent façade, however, there’s always mischief brewing, bubbling just below the surface. We’ve learned how much we can get away with without adult interference; we have their trust. Most us don’t even have curfews. Of course, we’re not out causing mayhem. We’re probably cleaning up after Friday night marching band or practicing for an all-state audition. At least, that’s what they figure, and we don’t bother to correct them. The band kids know the real stories, they have to. Gossip spreads faster in band than in any other group on campus. But don’t get me wrong. We don’t drink or do drugs, unlike many high school -goers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t find other ways to entertain ourselves.

I was half-expecting this; I should have known, but I still wasn’t prepared. I woke up one morning, opened my blinds, and saw nothing but a blanket of white. In my still groggy mind, I thought, “Snow?” But an instant later I realized it was the middle of July…in Arizona. But then…

I ran to my front door and yanked it open. It was worse than I thought. Toilet paper, tons of it, was covering my house and the two tall eucalyptus trees. It might as well have been snow; there was hardly an inch uncovered. I went to investigate further, but recoiled instantly, looking down. My bare foot had touched something cold and slimy. Onions. Lots of sliced, white onions. They covered the entire porch and were strewn across the lawn, which, in Arizona, was not grass, but thousands of rocks. Lovely. The onions would be there for days.

It could be worse, I thought. It’s just toilet paper. How original. A glance at the sky told me I was wrong. It was monsoon season, so it could very well rain. I shuddered at the thought of cleaning up the toilet paper. It would be monumentally worse if it was sopping wet.

Someone was going to answer for this heinous act.

It took several texting interrogations, but in the end, nothing is ever secret in band. The clarinetist will tell the percussionist who will tell the trumpetist he’s dating who will tell her best friend, the oboist, who will tell her ex, the trombonist (who she’s technically not speaking to), and he will tell his new love interest, the flautist, and from there it will spread like wild fire. Even though I knew some things get lost in translation, I felt confidant in my resources that the culprits were Zachary Fletcher trombone section leader, and Craig Jefferson, all-state tuba.

Needless to say, they were going down. I sent out a Myspace bulletin, an all-call for anyone who didn’t mind getting their hands dirty. To my surprise, I soon had an army of thirteen eager recruits including my two best friends--Emily and Kellie.

We spent the rest of the day getting very creative. After a quick trip to Wal-mart, we had built up a colossal arsenal--eggs, shaving cream, Saran Wrap, honey, mayonnaise, silly string, crepe paper, Post-It notes, sidewalk chalk, dish soap, toothpaste, salt, and, of course, toilet paper. It wasn’t exactly clear what we would do with each item, but we knew we could wreak some serious havoc. Cleaning up would be second only to capital punishment.

We were ready and fired up when midnight finally came. It was actually a little early for this kind of thing, but we couldn’t contain our enthusiasm any longer. Soon enough we were on Zachary’s lawn. I could fell the adrenaline pulsing through me, egging me on, urging me to go, and we hadn’t even started yet. We were all on the lawn, all thirteen of us, toilet paper in hand. I took a deep breath and signaled my troops to fire. Thirteen identical white comets streaked across the inky sky. It was a glorious sight.

Everyone scrambled for a roll. I turned to Kellie for a high- five, but she blanched, staring behind me. “What?” I whispered. But I turned around and felt my stomach fall through my knees.

Red and blue lights.

This was bad. This was very, very bad. “Run!” I yelled. My troops didn’t need telling twice. Eight managed to get away. I was not one of those eight. Neither were Kellie and Emily; they had never even thought about bailing. I couldn’t marvel at their unswerving loyalty then, though. I was too busy running a million different ways out of this through my head and panicking as I realized each idea would not, could not, possibly work.

Two officers stepped out of the patrol car--one short and pudgy, the other tall and burly and both highly intimidating. My heart felt like it would leap out of my chest any minute, escaping while the rest of my body stayed put, unable to move an inch. I felt sure I must run out of adrenaline soon; surely the excitement and fear had drained me, but my heart kept racing and all the emotions seemed to clump together in large knot which settled uncomfortably in the pit of my stomach.

“So, uh, what’s goin’ on ‘ere, kids?” The taller, and marginally more intimidating, officer asked. It was silent for a moment, and the tension was tangible in the air.

He’s waiting for an answer, a voice in my head said, Say something! Anything!

I can’t! a louder voice in my head said.

You have to; do it! the first voice countered.

Somehow, I found my voice. “Well,” I said in a very small voice. I felt about two inches tall. “That’s kind of a long story, Officer…”

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