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The Lord of the Toilets
This story is written exactly how I remember it.
It may or may not be accurate.
When I was in the Fifth grade, I was wrongly accused of clogging the toilets with toilet paper. The clogging of the toilets had been an ongoing problem in the fifth grade that year. The reason it was such a big deal was because 1. It was flooding the bathroom floors, and 2. The nastiness pouring out of the urinals and toilets was seeping through the ground, down onto the bathroom below us. And since the bathrooms were completely identical, even in placement on the floors, the liquids were dripping down onto the heads of unsuspecting third graders.
So anyways, there I was minding and doing my business in the bathroom, when a couple of kids come in. Normally I wouldn’t have seen anything wrong with this, except even to my fifth grade mind something seemed suspicious about these boys. They all crowded around their leader, who was pumping the paper towel dispenser like nobody’s business. After practically emptying the dispenser, he balled it all up and stuffed it in the urinal. Didn’t even flush it first. I started to wash my hands while the gang pumped out more paper towels.
They were thoughtful enough to leave some paper towels for me, so I started taking them out. I happened to finish ripping the towels off right as a certain goody-two-shoes named William walked in. the look on his face made it seem as if he walked in on some sort of Klan ritual. He was absolutely horrified. William stormed out of the room. I figured even if he told on the boys, I was Okay since I hadn’t done anything. I was wrong.
The next day, I witnessed Mr. Rusiciano call each one of the cloggers out of class, one by one. I thought the cloggers were done. Mr. Rusciano never dealt with fifth graders, only middle and high schoolers. I was sitting there quietly when I heard them call my name. I turned, expecting anything but what I received. Mr. Rusicano in the door. Looking at me. My heart stopped. My brain froze. I stood up in shock and slowly walked to the door.
I felt like I was being led to the electric chair as we walked down the hall. Fortunately, he only brought me to the vice-principal’s office instead of his own. I sat down across from Mrs. Broussard and listened.
“Baker, you haven’t been clogging any of the toilets upstairs, have you?”
“Are you sure?”
“Because I have a list of boys who say they witnessed you do it, along with them. They’ve all confessed.”
“Well I didn’t do it”
“Well all these boys say you did, so you’ll be punished with them,”
“WHAT? WHY? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!”
“Baker, I’ve given you three chances to come clean and you’ve lied to me all three times! You’re actually going to get it worse than the others for lying!”
I didn’t get it. It was like this lady had some personal grudge against me. Like she saw herself as some kind of superhero who fought for the justice of toilets and I was her nemesis. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke into tears and started screaming at her to listen to me. I wasn’t lying. I wasn’t. But there was only fire in her eyes. Fire and toilets.
When I got home, my parents already knew. They screamed at me some more. I cried some more. But unlike Mrs. Broussard, my mother believed me when I claimed I didn’t do it. She called each of the other convicted cloggers’ mothers, who in turn questioned their children. Sure enough, each of them admitted that they hadn’t actually seen me do it. Each of them said they heard another blame me, so they did the same. And it all led back to William.
The next day at recess, I screamed at William with the rage only a fifth grader wrongly accused of clogging toilets could muster. I really let loose on him, threatening him with playground balls, misusing curse words, and telling him how I’d never play with him again. He didn’t tell on me after that.
I was later called into Mrs. Broussard’s office again, and given another chance to “come clean”. Proudly, I informed her of my mother’s investigating. She gave me the worst response possible.
“I know, you’re still in trouble. William still claims that he saw you do it.”
I wasn’t angry with William. I was angry with her. It was how she said. She didn’t even seem convinced I’d done it. She was just mad because I hadn’t fought her accusation, I’d fought her witnesses. I’d disproved her, and she wasn’t about to be stood up by a fifth grader. So I got a longer sentence than the rest of the cloggers.
My punishment was to assist the janitors in the afternoons, which wasn’t so bad. I just felt like some kind of political prisoner the whole time, which made me furious.