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Class of 2011
8 a.m. – Homeroom
“Have you seen the main hallway?” Nadia greeted her best friend as she barged into the room, ignoring the morning announcements playing on the television. Her homeroom teacher glared at her.
“No, they made us come in the side entrance this morning. Why what’s going on?” Jess whispered.
“It’s filled with sand!”
“What? Filled with sand? What do you mean?”
“Just what I said! There’s literally just huge piles of sand all over the place. And there’s, like, two umbrellas, some beach towels, beach toys. Some people were laying in it, like Josh Davies and Matt Leonard, but teachers made them get up. I heard there was even a stereo playing some kind of Hawaiian music before one of the principals unplugged it and took it away.”
“Oh, come on, they unplugged our stereo?” Danny said as he walked down the row to his desk, behind Nadia’s.
Nadia paused. She looked from Danny to Jess and realized they were both trying to hold back laughter.
“You guys! You did that?”
“Well, not just us,” Jess explained, grinning “There were like twenty of us all together. Or was it more?”
“No, that sounds right.” He began counting on his fingers. “There was Kelly, Jake, Sammy, Kevin…”
“Well, there were supposed to be more but I think a few backed out.”
“I’m so mad they unplugged the stereo, that really set the whole atmosphere-” Danny said.
“Wait, twenty! How did you guys even pull that off? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Ask him, he’s the one who organized it. I would have thought your own brother would have let you in on the plan.”
“Danny! This was your idea? Is that seriously why you weren’t at home this morning? Mom told me that you got up and left really early to do a group project-”
“Well that’s technically true, it took a pretty big group of us to haul in all that sand…”
“I knew that sounded like such a lie-”
“Okay, does it really matter, you two?” Jess interrupted. “This is the best senior prank any class has ever done.”
“Yeah and I’m the class president, don’t you think I had a right to know about it?”
“Get over it, Nadia, you wouldn’t have done it.” Dan rolled his eyes.
“That’s not even the point! You shouldn’t have done it!”
“See, that right there, that’s why I didn’t tell you-”
“Do you know how bad this is gonna be when you get caught, after everything else you’ve pulled over the years…And I thought you were done with this kind of stuff!”
Danny waved his hand at her. “I’m not gonna get caught, Mom. Stop worrying so much. You know what would probably relax you? You could go lay out on one of those beach towels-”
“Shut up, Danny.”
10: 25 a.m. After Second Period
“Oh, you got one too?” Danny asked Nadia as she marched up to his locker, waving a slip of white paper.
“Yes, I got one too, and don’t act so casual. Thanks to you I have to go meet with the principal!”
“Oh no, not the principal!” He put his hand to his chest in mock horror. “God, calm down. I’m sure they just want to talk to all the seniors, make it look like they actually have some authority.”
“No, didn’t you notice? Only some of us got these. They know somehow who was involved in the prank. Like, half the people who actually did it are being called down. And then me, I guess, even though I had nothing to do with it!”
“Well like you said, you’re the class president and all, your just so important-”
Nadia read aloud, ignoring him. “ ‘If the leaders behind this prank choose not to come forward, every student suspected having any involvement will be punished.’ They sound really mad about this.”
“Oh, come on, Nadia, that’s such a bluff, they’re not going to punish all of us. They always do stuff like this. They just want to persuade people to confess, nothing is going to actually happen. If anyone should be mad, it’s me, Morris stole my stereo.”
Nadia rolled her eyes. “How can joke around right now? If we get in trouble for this, they might not us walk at graduation! And then I can’t do my salutatorian speech! Are you really so immature that you don’t consider things like that?”
“Trust me, you’ll do your little speech. I know how they operate. Don’t worry so much.”
“No, I don’t trust you. You’re always messing up, and just when we all thought you were finally getting your act together, you go and do this. I don’t know how you can be so selfish! I could get in trouble for something you did, and all you can say is ‘Don’t worry so much’?”
“As much as I love to hear you yell at me, I gotta go to class alright? Just tell the truth; say you had nothing to do with it, you didn’t know anything about it. You’ll be fine.”
Nadia let out an angry sigh and went to meet up with Jess to walk to Economics. She saw that Jess was also carrying a slip of paper on top of her books. “You too?”
Jess sighed. “Yeah. Why did you get one? You weren’t even there.”
“Tell me about it, I have no idea. I just talked to Danny and he’s convinced that they’re just trying to freak us out and that no one is going to be punished. Just another example of how he can’t be responsible about anything. He’s never going to just grow up.”
Jess looked like she was about to speak, but then stopped.
“Well…me and Danny have first period with Mr. Sanders. You know how they always get along. I overheard him at the end of class kind of giving Danny a heads up…they’re already pretty sure that Danny is the one who did it. They’re calling us all down to try and see who else was involved, but they know somehow that it was him. And…well, you know Danny’s school record…they’re talking expulsion…”
“Wait, what? Are you serious? Why wouldn’t he tell me that?”
“But he can’t get expelled! As much as he used to mess around, he actually has gotten his grades up so much this year. He cares about going to college now! And this’ll mess up everything for him…”
“I know. They probably wouldn’t do something so drastic, but seeing as how it’s Danny and this is his millionth time getting in trouble…I guess they’ve just had enough.”
“So…you think if someone with a clean record did it, they wouldn’t get expelled?”
“I don’t think so. I mean, it’s not like we did any permanent damage or anything. We just made an annoying mess.”
Nadia started mumbling to herself absently. “I definitely wouldn’t get expelled…but still. They could let me graduate and just not go to the ceremony…And then I still couldn’t do my speech…”
Jess waved her hand in front of Nadia’s face. “Hellooo. What are you talking about? You aren’t thinking of taking the heat for this are you?”
“Nadia! Why? You had nothing to do with this, don’t let it ruin your last month of high school. You have been so excited about giving your speech…”
“I know, I know. But Danny is actually willing to take responsibility for himself for once. And if there’s a chance that they’ll go easier on me than they do on him, I have to at least try right?”
Jess didn’t answer.
“Hi, I’m Nadia? I’m here to see Principal Morris?”
The receptionist was emptying sand from the insides of her sandals. She glared at Nadia over the desk. “You can go right in.”
Nadia took a deep breath and opened the door. “Hi, Mr. Morris.”
“Nadia, hi, have a seat. So, let’s just cut to the chase. You know why you’re here. The little beach we have now in the main hallway.”
“Yeah, I, uh…I saw that.”
“Ok. But do you know anything about it? Do you know who’s responsible for it?”
“Well, actually…I am. It was my idea.”
“Really?” Morris raised his eyebrows.
“Yeah. It’s completely my fault. I mean, I’m the class president, and I wanted our class to do something crazy that everyone would remember. I wanted to organize it. And all the classes do senior pranks, so I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal-”
“Nadia, last year’s senior class programming their cell phones to all go off in their lockers at the exact same time is not quite the same as creating a tropical beach resort in the middle of our school hallway.”
“…Right. I know, I’m really sorry. I realize now how stupid it was.”
“Can I tell you something quite interesting? You are the last of fifteen seniors I have talked to today. Do you want to know what almost all of them told me?”
Probably nothing, Nadia thought, but she said, “That is was me, probably. Because it was.”
“No. A couple of them didn’t say much of anything. But besides you, ten other students have confessed to being the leader behind this prank. And all ten of them, like you, assured me that they were the only ones to blame in this matter. Including your own brother, Daniel, who, I’m sure you know, is already on very thin ice. And Jessica Damon also, I believe you two are good friends?”
Nadia panicked. “Well, I’m sure they were just all trying to cover for me. It really was my idea, and I organized the whole thing...”
Principal Morris held up his hand. “Nadia, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. I have been doing this job a long time. And you’re right, the seniors pull a prank almost every year. And almost every year, if we threaten serious punishment, half of them are naming names within ten minutes. And their pranks are usually not in the least as creative as your class’s.”
“Wait…so…what does that mean? We’re not getting suspended?”
“Well, we can’t just let this go unpunished. We don’t want to encourage copy-cats. I think we’ll let you and your fifteen other friends stay after school this week to clean the main hallway. And the main office as well, we’ve been tracking quite a bit of sand in here.”
Nadia smiled. “…That’s really it? We just have to clean? And no one else gets punished?”
“Not unless you think I should do something else…”
“No, no, this is good. Thank you so much, Mr. Morris.”
Nadia stood up and turned to go.
“Oh, Nadia? Wait a minute.” Principal Morris bent down to get something under his desk.
“This may be helpful to pass the time while you’re all cleaning,” he said, handing her a CD labeled “Island Hits” and a small black stereo.