When you’re seventeen, you tend to think you can get away with everything. I certainly thought that, but the thing was, I could. As a teen, I was one of the pranksters of the Srihan Military Academy, and I was very good at my proclaimed title. One trick after another, and I never once got caught. The teachers were aware of these jokes, but never had the evidence to get me in trouble, and besides, I was towards the top of my class anyways, so who would believe them that a top student was also the class clown? That isn’t to say I did this all on my own. My best friend, Miale Terezin, helped me. He was an unassuming child prodigy who made it into the Academy at age 14, two years earlier than normal, and my long-time friend. I would come up with whatever horrible plan we had for the poor unsuspecting adult we were targeting, while he would outline exactly how to execute this plan. We were partners, and if we were going down at any point, we went down together. Me and Miale as a pair tended to surprise people. I was rather popular with my classmates, particularly the girls, while Miale was the social outcast of the grade due to the fact that he told everyone exactly what he thought, which got him into trouble that I normally had to get him out of. However, there was one thing our classmates could agree on about us-we were the best pranksters the Academy had ever known, and there was one particular event that had earned us that title: The Great Bee Fiasco.
This started the same way all of our other pranks did-as an idea we came up with in the dormitories. We shared a room, a small, simple place with two meticulously made beds and blank walls. That’s military grade for you. There was also a cluttered desk in the corner, drowning under our homework and other trinkets, and a closet that never quite closed correctly, revealing the piles of clothes within it. Otherwise, it was very neat, orderly, and bland, and our unofficial headquarters. We could bounce ideas off each other long into the night with no one bothering us. Midnight was like our hour, though. Things began to pick up, and any idea could become a reality. On this particular night, somehow, the sentence of “Let’s prank the headmaster.” sounded like the most spectacular idea anyone could pitch. It was pitch black, save for the twilight candlelight that illuminated the small gap between our beds. Despite the lighting, Miale’s icy blue eyes glittered at this suggestion.
“Jerel, that’s risky. And extremely stupid. I love it.”
I couldn’t help but grin at this. This is why I loved having Miale as my partner. He was such a stickler to the rules, yet if you could tap into his risk-taking side he would take things to another level. I chuckled at his sudden bout of moxy, then replied “We better come up with something spectacular for this.” After a brief moment of silence passed through the room, I began to muse, not necessarily to myself, but to both of us.
“Physical pain is a little too simple for this, and it would be hard to get him with enough people to publicly embarrass him…”
The headmaster was a bit of an old coot, and doled out more punishment than anyone in the history of the Academy. As a result, all of the students and alumni despised him with a passion. The reason no one had ever attempted to do something to him is that he was flanked by a few attendants at all times, and was almost always holed up in his office, making it impossible to do anything without getting caught. But Jerel, I’m sure you’re asking, couldn’t you send him something horrible in a package? It’s tempting, yes, but everything is intercepted by his secretary. The hit would have to be in his office, and set up by an actual person. The difficult part was getting in and out of there without anyone knowing. Pulling it off meant going down in school lore.
I got a questioning look from Miale, and I rushedly explained my exclamation “What if we used bees?! Everyone is afraid of bees!” This earned a chuckle from my partner, so I knew I had come up with something fantastic. There was a shuffling noise, and the sheets on the other bed moved like a ghost.
“I’ll come up with a plan in the morning. I’m too tired right now.”
That was only the beginning.
Over the next few days, we hatched our plan. We had decided to get in through the window, and we’d have to make something to climb, since the office was on the second floor. We obsessively researched our surroundings and everything we would need to pull this off. The headmaster’s schedule, the places on campus where bees lived, how to catch and contain them, and even the best material to climb up. I even cashed in a few favors with some friends and got us a grappling hook, which was going to be essential. Most of the buildings on campus were elaborate and flowery, kind of like a cake made of plaster and bricks. Even if the interiors were awful, with the bright lights, empty walls, and creaky floors, they were still nice to look at from the outside. It also meant there were plenty of nooks and crannies for the hook to latch on to, assuming it didn’t break whatever we were putting weight on. It wasn’t like we could practice this endeavour either, since it would mean that the whole scheme could be easily tracked back to us if someone saw us doing so. We came up with the idea in the winter, so we were also going to have to wait until late spring to pull this off, since the school opened all the windows to make the heat a little more bearable. It made us antsy, and the teachers were finding that there was a significant lack of pranks occurring, and that we were on edge. They even had the nerve to try to get us to reveal what we were planning, which of course didn’t happen. Soon enough, winter transitioned into the damp, stuffy early spring that became ridiculously warm later on, causing the windows to be flung open in an attempt to ward off fidgeting students complaining about the temperature.
The day was rather pleasant, and dry. We knew that the headmaster would be going to lunch with some army officials, and since the windows to his office would still be open, it was a prime time for us to make our move. We stood underneath the window, holding our grappling hook. Me and Miale stared at one another for a moment.
“May we be watched over by Lady Fortune-”
“-Otherwise we’re both going straight to hell and not coming back.”
Our mantra, acting as a child’s good luck charm. Holding my breath, I wound up our rope made of spare rags of the kitchen, and let it fly. Much to our relief, it hooked onto a crevice on the window, not budging when I gave it a firm tug. So I began to climb. If this academy had given us anything, it was fitness. Two years of brutal training was going into this climb, and made it a bit easier. Once I had crawled in, I let loose a breath that I hadn’t been aware was caught in my throat, and motioned for Miale to follow. The headmaster’s office was the only room in the whole school to mirror the exterior of the buildings. Velvety curtains framed the windows, and paintings glorifying the place of the army adorned the red and yellow walls. The desk was complicated, with many drawers, but we knew which one we were going for. Where he got his pens from. Once in the office, Miale carefully removed the jar of particularly peeved bees from his worn belt as I opened the drawer. As we were placing the jar inside, cap totally unscrewed, we heard a noise. He was back earlier than expected. Panicked, we slammed the drawer shut. The headmaster was still making small talk with his secretary, so Miale ran and slid down the rope. As I was going to take my turn, I heard the sound of a door unlocking. Making a split-second decision as my partner in crime stared at me with wide, frenzied eyes, I removed the grappling hook and jumped. Thankfully, the second floor wasn’t that high off the ground, so I wouldn’t be too badly hurt. Or so I thought. A sickening crack rang out as I hit the ground, and I bit my lip trying to not to scream, turning it into a pathetic whimper. There went my ankle. Miale looked upset “A-are you okay?!” I shook my head, motioning to my ankle, which he responded to by helping me up and getting me a walk to the nurse’s office, telling the nurse that I fell out of a tree. They believed us, thank goodness. Once I was in a cast, we were finally able to calm down and laugh. We had done it. We were amazing.
The next day, there was a rather sudden announcement in the mess hall, which was completely filled with barely enough space to walk between tables. Apparently, someone had the nerve to plant bees in the headmaster’s desk of all places, and he had to go to the hospital because he was allergic to bee stings. As rushed whispers rose around us, me and Miale just sat there quietly smiling to ourselves, tapping my cast a little, and fully aware of what we had done.