Friday, April 21, 2006

Sometimes Even Saints Are Sinners: Part II

When I got back to school the following Monday, the math teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I had spiked the punch saying so and so (one of the underclassmen that I had driven to make the punch) had told him after the play that we had spiked the punch. I couldn't believe that the moron had actually gone out and told a teacher immediately after the play was over. The word was out and I knew there was going to be hell to pay.

All through the morning classrooms were humming with rumors. All the teachers and non-involved students were sure that only the three kids that actually spiked the punch would be punished. After all, there were perhaps thirty people out of the fifty people in high school who were involved in one way or another and the principle wouldn't suspend 60% of the entire high school. But as Student Council president, I had to deal with our principal Smiling Bob as I called him, more than I cared for. He too, was a recent transplant from a large suburban school and new nothing about what a small school was like. He played by the books. I had no doubt that he would suspend the entire school if that were what it would take.

All afternoon, names came over the intercom and told to report to the principals office. My name came soon enough and he ushered me into his office and asked me to tell him what I knew to which I casually replied, "Know about what?"

"You know what I mean," Smiling Bob told me smiling.

"No I don't," I replied.

"Who spiked the punch," he asked?

"The punch was spiked," I inquired back?

This went back and forth awhile before he finally cut to the chase. He told me that so and so had told him everything and he knew that I had seen them spike the punch. He said that he furthermore had examined several copies of the taped performance and knew exactly who drank the punch and who didn't. He told me again that he wanted me to confirm all these details so that justice could be served.

I told him again that I didn't know that the punch had been spiked and that if it were, why didn't Mrs. Catholic Teacher confiscate it after her taste test and even if I had known, I wasn't going to rat on my friends. I would know them a lot longer than I would him. I said, furthermore, I'm glad that I didn't drink the punch if it was spiked as you no doubt know from examining the tape and if he didn't mind, I need to get back to class.

Towards the end of the day, the intercom once again buzzed and a list of about thirty names was read over the intercom and told to meet in the gym. 60% of the school rose up out of their desks and did as they were told. A smiling Smiling Bob was standing front center of the bleachers and I knew the verdict was in. Without missing a beat or losing his smile, he read the sentences. The three who spiked the punch got three days in the "hole" to be served during school. The hole was actually a closet near the front entrance of the school with a padlock on the door where bad students served their suspensions. Those that drank the punch and whom he witness drinking on the tape, would get one day suspensions to be served on Saturday, and finally, those that knew about the spiked punch, didn't drink any and didn't tell anybody, I was the only one on that list, got two days of suspension that I could serve on Saturday and if I came in an hour earlier and stayed an hour later, would count as both days. We were dismissed.

I took it all in stride. That Saturday I made sure I got extra shitty while feeding the hogs and didn't bother to change out of my chore boots or into school clothes. I drove the farm truck into school and walked into the classroom grinning ear-to-ear and smelling like something long ago had crawled into a hole and died. Smiling Bob was there reading his paper and pointed towards a chair before going back to his paper. I sat down and a few seconds later saw that smile briefly falter before he looked up at me with a puzzled look on his face. It was only then that he shook his head, straightened out his smile and went back to reading the paper. Soon the other students arrived and another teacher who must have been on Smiling Bob's "You've been bad list," showed up to replace him and to watch over us. The sat near the windows and I sat as far away as possible. Everyone took my rebellion fairly well and one of my fellow suspended students even gave me a stack of comic books to read. We served our time; I served my extra hour and went home to a nice hot shower.

Funny thing, most people don't remember me being involved at all. I was too good of a kid to have done something like that. Fortunately, it was that saintly belief that got me out of more than one scrape during my school years. Heck, I even use it to my advantage these days.

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