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A Lever Not To Pull

   

A continuous agonizing monotonous alarm three consecutive beeps, and flashing red lights.  “Oh my Lord, what did I just do?!”  My eyes, dart in every direction possible to see if anyone had just witnessed the crime I committed. All I can see is the empty and long high school hallway with red lights bouncing off the walls. Whoa, my legs feel like gelatin, but this isn’t the time to collapse. I’ve got to run and get the heck out of this place. I’m sprinting down the hall, and then in front of me I begin to see a heavy set school security man, running as fast as his stubby legs will take him. I hear him panting on his walkie-talkie through his long black beard, “ Code red, code red, code red!” I gulp in fear of what my punishment will be for this one.



           
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“...Ten, twelve, fourteen, and sixteen. I believe we are all here,” my music teacher Dan said counting heads on the cheese wagon. “Okay, head out gang, and let’s get ready for this concert,” he directed.  Stepping off the bus, with my clarinet case in hand, my friend Elizah and I gaped at the colossal high school. My fifth grade school band walked in a single file line to an English room on the second floor, where we put our instruments down so we could  get some grub in the cafeteria. I stayed close with my chaperone named Sunshine and our group, for I feared getting lost in that maze of a school.

After I ate pizza with my choice of two sides and desert, (which tasted heavenly for an elementary kid in a high school, )my group watched a brief jazz performance by several BUHS students. We yawned, applauded, then moved on to the next workshop. District band night was educational, but having the attention span of an eleven year old, I found myself easily distracted and bored.

Scuffing our feet down the crowded hallway, my friend Elizah and I looked up at the expansive ceiling, feeling smaller than overawe then observed two rambunctious older boys jumping into each other and hitting the wall. One of the boys was tall and lanky, and his voice cracked as he chuckled ramming into his stout friend. I walked on my tippy toes, curious, trying to see what the boys would do next. At that moment it seemed as if every time they hit the wall a bell would go off. “Are those boys pulling the fire alarm?” I asked Elizah. With a guess of an answer she replied, “Yeah probably.”  If I were to hear that bell go off now, I would clearly know that is was someone testing the the school bells and not a fire alarm. Too bad I was dumb enough to believe her that it was a fire alarm.

My mind wandered, thinking of what a dare devil I would be if I pulled that fire alarm. I had always wanted to try it and see what it felt like, and apparently those boys were doing it and having a good time. “Hey Elizah,” I whispered, “ should I pull the fire alarm?” She turned to me nodding eagerly and grinned biting her lip. The look she gave me had me thinking that if I followed through with this, I would be the coolest fifth grader around, and who doesn’t want to be a legend of their elementary school?

I stood against the tiled wall waiting for the halls to clear. Elizah walked along with our group, and periodically looked back at me grinning. I wasn’t enough of a rebel to go along with this dare surrounded by my peers. When no one was in sight, and not a giggle was heard, I faced the wall which held the round fire alarm. The word “Pull,”  written in white letters was infront of me. I took a glance left. Then right. I gave it a slight tug. Nothing. Another tug. Still nothing. Then, putting my left foot on the wall and my right hand on the lever, I pulled. Losing balance I stumbled backwards to notice an ink like goo covering my right hand.

My eyes widened as I looked down at my guilty covered hand. I shook my hand rapidly trying to get all the yellow goo off. It slipped off my palm like hair gel would, making a plop as it all hit the tiled floor. I looked up to see red and white lights flashing and heard an agonizing monotonous alarm. I ran as fast as I could in a tight knee-length black skirt, white blouse, and flip-flops, passing a security guard on his walkie-talkie panting, “ Code red, code red, code red!” Eventually, I caught up to a friend who turned  to look at me and said, “Come on!  It’s a real fire!” With my face forward I pretended I didn’t hear it, but on the inside I wept like the little girl I was, wishing I was dreaming.

When I was finally was outside, I felt the March air hit my face. I refused to make eye contact with anyone, and directly walked over to Sunshine, hoping she would brighten things up for me. I wanted to hold onto her leg like a child and cry until she would have to feel sorry for me, but instead, I stood next to her shaking in fear, “ Boy, you are really cold, huh?” she asked rubbing my shoulders. “Mmm hmm,” I said looking underneath my yellow, ink filled fingernails

We stood in the cold for probably thirty minutes waiting to hear what the fire fighters had to say. We finally recieved the news that was no surprise to me, that it had been a false alarm, so we all headed back inside. I washed my hands thoroughly, hoping to get rid of the evidence. It didn’t work. So I was forced to proceed with the night acting as if I were innocent. When warming up for the concert I was more jumpy than usual, and several of my friends, not including Elizah, asked if I was okay. I simply nodded. After warm ups, my music teacher stood on his chair and announced, “Okay gang, show time.” 

In an orderly fashion we walked to our seats that were smack dab in the middle of the gym, for we were one of the first performances of the night. I had almost finally found a tranquil state of mind until Mr. Rice then announced infront of the whole concert of about 100 people, “This evening, someone set off an alarm that was false.” He went on to tell the story of what happened that evening, then ended with, “ It is BUHS’ job, to find out who did this.” I sank in my seat holding my clarinet to my lips feeling my fingers slip off the buttons from my sweat.

Most the notes I hit squeaked because I was shaking so much. When the concert was finished, I put my clarinet away as fast as humanly possible. As the crowd of people tried to exit, I moved through them in search of my mom. Then I spotted hercurly blonde hair, squinting through her glasses looking for me. I ran towards her and immediately told her what I had done. In shock and disbelief her mouth dropped. She then took me by the wrist and forced me to confess to Mr. Big Bad Rice himself. I wanted to curl up into a ball and dissolve when looking into his burning eyes as I confessed what I had done. Thanks to that impulsive daring side of me, I was grounded for two months.When the concert was finished, I put my clarinet away as fast as humanly possible. As the crowd of people tried to exit, I moved through them in search of my mom. Then I spotted hercurly blonde hair, squinting through her glasses looking for me. I ran towards her and immediately told her what I had done. In shock and disbelief her mouth dropped. She then took me by the wrist and forced me to confess to Mr. Big Bad Rice himself. I wanted to curl up into a ball and dissolve when looking into his burning eyes as I confessed what I had done. Thanks to that impulsive daring side of me, I was grounded for two months.



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